Posts Tagged ‘Lake George Dinner Theatre’

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: TR’s Restaurant, Lake George

Lake George Village tends to zip itself up from Labor Day to Memorial Day, then shed a layer or two in February for the Lake George Winter Carnival. In its 51st year, the Winter Carnival has had to adjust to this season’s shortage of snow and ice with re-locations and cancellations of events. Still, people braved the bitter wind on this crisp winter day, attending the many events still on the schedule. We also found them in the pub at TR’s Restaurant.

We had been referred to TR’s (Teddy Roosevelt’s) Restaurant at the Holiday Inn-Turf in Lake George several times. Devoted explorers that we are, off we went to get a better look. Located at the southerly end of the village, TR’s is on one of the highest spots in Lake George and affords a bird’s-eye view overlooking the lake.

Home to local regulars who gather to catch up with family news and prognosticate about town politics, there exists a camaraderie among fellow residents who freely flow throughout the room or talk across the bar. Bartenders Agnes and Bob greet the vast majority of customers by name.

Newcomers and hotel guests are made to feel equally at home and are frequently introduced to the regular patrons, with whom they always seem to find something in common. Representing all age groups, the majority of the clientele we met were of retirement age or older. We found the place quite full of cheerful, friendly folks who chatted easily and wasted no time finding out where we were from and what we were up to.

General Manager Michael Spilman took a few moments away from his banter with members of the Happy Hour crowd to share some of the history of the hotel and TR’s Restaurant. Though there has been a bar at the Holiday Inn since it was built in 1966, we had to admit that we had never been there. The Holiday Inn has changed hands only once since then, in 1990, and is now owned by Mike Hoffman. Three years ago, the hotel and bar were extensively renovated and remodeled and now boast, and equally deserve, resort status. With obvious pride in the establishment’s success, Michael shared information about honors and awards bestowed on this Holiday Inn, which consistently ranks among the top Holiday Inns in the country. It’s also home to the Lake George Dinner Theatre, entering its 45th season.

The pub is contemporary and sophisticated in design, neither too stark nor too trendy, with warm-toned woodwork and window moldings. A wall of windows brightens the room, bringing out the warm reddish hues of the wood and granite. Framed landscape photographs grace the linen-textured walls while oversized layered drum pendant lamps float overhead, complemented by smaller drum shades over the lustrous granite bar.

The U-shaped bar seats 18 in cider-stained slat-back bar stools with woven leather seats, while four pub tables and several small dining tables provide additional seating. The atmosphere is such that, were we Holiday Inn guests, we wouldn’t hesitate to bring our families in for lunch or dinner, or enjoy a cocktail and appetizers before dinner in the restaurant.

TR’s is open year-round from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily and offer Happy Hour drink specials from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day. Following a 12-year Happy Hour tradition, complementary hot hors d’oeuvres are provided, with a different item featured every day of the week. Many patrons were enjoying chicken strips with a delicious-looking sauce on the Saturday that we visited. Tacos were served on the Tuesday we returned for more information. Large flat-screen TVs are strategically placed to catch up on the news or a sporting event while dining or relaxing at the bar. Quick Draw is also featured. Just ask for the daily code if you need WiFi, whether a guest at the hotel or just stopping by the bar.

The wine selection includes red, white, sparkling and champagne, with house wines priced at $7 a glass. Coors and Samuel Adams seasonal drafts and 16 bottled beers, as well as the usual liquors are offered. Drink prices were reasonable. Pam’s custom Valentine’s Special, Box of Chocolates, (her own invention) consisting of three different shots, was $8. Beer prices vary by brand.

With an upscale look and a hometown heart, TR’s is a perfect mix of locals and hotel guests. The trick is telling which is which. The bartenders are genial, personable and professional. The patrons are equally friendly and won’t hesitate to start or join a conversation. Happy Hour at TR’s is full of smiles, from both sides of the bar.

Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog, or follow them on Facebook, and ADK46barfly on Twitter.


Friday, August 20, 2010

A Rebirth for Lake George Dinner Theatre?

The Lake George Dinner Theatre began more than forty years ago as a producer of light, summer stock. Over the years, it has presented entertaining but predictable fare to an increasingly aging audience, usually delivered to the door in motor coaches.

Three years ago, actor and director Terry Rabine purchased the business, fully aware that while he could ill-afford to lose the tour bus trade, the Lake George Dinner Theatre required new energy, more sophisticated shows and new audiences if it was to survive.

This year’s production, Our Son’s Wedding, may well mark the re-birth of the Lake George Dinner Theatre.

A comedy that’s nearly flawless in its construction and execution, Our Son’s Wedding is what every Dinner Theatre production is supposed to be: well-crafted, fast-paced entertainment after a perfectly fine dinner.

Our Son’s Wedding, however, also features one of the best casts ever seen in Lake George.

And the play itself, while respecting and mining all the conventions of a two-act comedy, is a far more thoughtful piece than any heretofore presented on the Dinner Theatre’s stage.

Whether you find the ostensible subject matter – the pending marriage of two gay men – objectionable or a welcome and belated nod by a local, mainstream entertainment venue toward 21st century realities, will probably depend upon your politics.

But the theme of the play, and the issues that the playwright, Donna DiMatteo, obviously wants to explore, are far more universal and timeless than contemporary attitudes toward homosexuality.

Even the class, social and ethnic fault lines that still demarcate American society, and which are also exploited for comic effect, are ultimately less important to DiMatteo than family bonds, especially the love parents naturally feel for their children.

Mary, played by Marina Re, and Angelo, played by Paul D’Amato, travel from the Bronx to Boston to attend their son’s wedding. They’re staying at the Ritz-Carleton, which is meant to stand in for all posh hotels and where Angelo is painfully uncomfortable until he can divert himself with the bathroom’s plumbing, his particular field of expertise.

Mary’s experience and observations have widened her horizons far further than her husband’s; she’s noticed enough strange things among her own family and neighbors to know that ‘normal’ is a relative term.

Nevertheless, even she describes their trip as a visit “to a foreign country, where we don’t even speak the friggin’ language.”

That foreign country is not simply a hotel in Boston; it’s every world they’re unfamiliar with, including that of their son’s.

Marina Re and Paul D’Amato are pleasures to watch. One indication of the skills of Marina Re, who created the role of Mary at Gloucester Stage Company, is the fact that she is never upstaged by D’Amato.

There’s a reason why D’Amato is still famous for his supporting role in Slap Shot, the 1977 Paul Newman movie that’s still shown on every high school hockey team’s away-game bus trips. He has a big personality, one that can command a screen and a stage and certainly a room the size of the Dinner Theatre at the Holiday Inn.

But when required, D’Amato can limit the force of his character’s own outsized personality; it’s a calibration of voice, gesture and even posture. When we learn that the bullish Angelo is no less reflective than Mary, it comes not as a surprise but as a delayed recognition.

Mick Bleyer plays Michael as someone who is charming but vulnerable; his vulnerability
and the wish to protect him unite not only Mary and Angelo, but Mary and Angelo and the steady David, played by Eric Rasmussen.

Our Son’s Wedding will be performed every evening Wednesday through Saturday until October 14.

Anyone who’s become a supporter of the Adirondack Theatre Festival, the Lake George Theater Lab and Wrightstage in recent years owes the Lake George Dinner Theater another chance. With that kind of support, Rabine could take the Dinner Theatre in any number of unpredictable directions.

Photo: Paul D’Amato and Marina Re, courtesy of Lake George Dinner Theatre

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