For the fourth season, the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts is bringing Shakespeare to the masses in a live, outdoor theatre setting. With other performances of Shrek the Musical, Cabaret and Songs for A New World, their ADK Summer Playhouse is in full swing.
The Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts Artistic Associate Danielle Melendez says, “We are doing MacBeth this year with a twist. This year we shorted the play to an hour and 15 minutes, to its purest form and only using six actors. We have the actors playing Lady Macbeth and Macbeth, but the actors portraying the three witches also play all the supporting roles. The physicality and costumes are only part of the transition.” » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Summer Playhouse puts a unique twist on the musical “Cabaret” in three performances this weekend on Gore Mountain. The production, which runs July 11-13, takes place in a modern “Spiegeltent,” an Austrian mirrored circus tent, offering classic German beer and goodies such as knödel, bratwurst, sauerkraut, sausages and pretzels.
“Cabaret” is set in Berlin in 1931, as the Nazis are rising to power. It focuses on nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub and revolves around the 19-year-old English cabaret performer Sally Bowles and her relationship with the young American writer Cliff Bradshaw. Overseeing the action is the master of ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub. “Cabaret,” which made its Broadway debut in 1966, won eight Tony Awards; a Broadway revival in 1998 won four Tony Awards and three Drama Desk Awards. The show was adapted into a film in 1972 starring Liza Minelli. » Continue Reading.
There are many ways to celebrate spring in the Adirondacks. After boiling the last of our backyard maple sap my family looks for ways to relax and appreciate the change of seasons. One way is to catch a local art exhibit at one of the many arts organizations around the Adirondacks. Of course, there is still snow on the trails and even Gore and Whiteface will be open for the weekend to get that spring ski rush.
Part of the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts (Arts Center) in Blue Mountain Lake Living-Able Series, regional actors, Long Lake Central School students and adults with disabilities from Sunmount DDSO present a musical performance of HONK this April 13-14. » Continue Reading.
My family enjoys going to the theatre as much as we enjoy hitting the trails. Thankfully because of the many wonderful Adirondack seasonal theatre companies we never have too far to travel to get our summer theatre fix. There is no need to drive to the ends of the Park in the other months thanks to Pendragon Theatre in Saranac Lake. As the Adirondack’s only year-round professional theatre, Pendragon has been bringing live theatre to the Adirondacks for over 30 years. This year Pendragon Theatre has chosen the theme of “Saints and Sinners” for the upcoming 2013 season.
Pendragon’s new Executive/Artist Director Karen Lordi-Kirkham says, “This is the first season that I’ve chosen the plays. The theme began with the fact that A Street Car Named Desire was the first play Pendragon produced. I wanted this to be a tribute to Bob and Susan. Everything else came together and followed the Saints and Sinners theme.” » Continue Reading.
Celebrities always seem to have some kooky thing happening to them, and Helen Redmond’s best story was a doozy. There’s nothing funny about someone being stalked, and there’s nothing new about it either. Helen’s adventure describes something funny that happened because of a stalker, one who so resembled Redmond physically that she was often referred to as Helen’s double. The woman became obsessed with Redmond and even followed her performances on tour.
When The Ameer was performed in New York, Helen’s double booked a room in the same place where Redmond was staying. She sat in the front row for each show, and apparently began to believe that she was actually Helen Redmond. This behavior had long been of great annoyance and concern to Helen, but it now escalated to the point where the woman showed up at rehearsal as the show’s star, demanding that she be allowed to sing (her voice bore no resemblance to that of the prima donna’s). » Continue Reading.
We are the Adirondacks, with a rich history of mountain lore, guide stories, Great Camps, and Olympic glory. But our mountain history tends to overshadow elements of the past that can serve as great attractions for both locals and tourists alike: fame and achievements by regional natives and residents in non-mountain endeavors. Among the dozens of examples I could cite, how many of us knew that one of the most popular songs ever written was penned by a native of the North Creek-Wevertown area? Or that two world-champions―a beloved cyclist, and one of the greatest of all North Country athletes―were both based in the Glens Falls area?
Learning about the unusual talents and accomplishments of locals is highly entertaining, which makes it virtual gold for local museums. But so many of these stories are overlooked. Take for instance, Port Henry’s Helen Redmond. Though you’ve never heard of her, her talents were once celebrated from coast to coast. » Continue Reading.
The Depot Theatre Main Stage 35th Anniversary Season begins on June 28, 2013 with “Route 66”, a world premier musical romantic comedy about a charmingly neurotic big-city journalist and the cowboy photographer with whom she teams up to tell the captivating and quirky stories of the historic old highway. In the process of discovering the beauty of the small towns of America that follow ROUTE 66, the two of them fall in love – not only with one another, but with the good ol’ U.S.A.
On July 19, the Depot will open “Boeing-Boeing”, a hilarious farce about playboy Bernard, as he juggles three flight attendant fiances – one American, one Italian, and one German – with careful planning and the reluctant assistance of his beleaguered housekeeper. Weather delays and the invention of a faster Boeing jet bring all three to Paris – and Bernard’s apartment – at the same time, sending his elaborate love life into chaos. » Continue Reading.
One holiday tradition for our family is to see a production of the Nutcracker ballet. Throughout the Adirondacks and beyond, this is a tradition that many hold dear to their hearts as a family-friendly way to kick off the holiday season. With productions in Old Forge, Plattsburgh, Lake Placid and Glens Falls, this ballet gathers professional and community dancers on stage for a limited performance.
“Seeing a performance of the Nutcracker is part of the theatre tradition that is wholesome and something the whole family can see,” says Old Forge Ballet Company Director Sue Ann Lorenz-Wallace.” If children are performing in the production, it is something that will stay with them the rest of their lives. If they watch it, it will always bring back fond memories of the holidays.” » Continue Reading.
It’s not often that a person is the focus of a sculptor’s attention. In the mid-1920s, a North Country woman found herself in just that position. The sculptor’s name was Pompeo Coppini, a noted artist who won several awards and whose works were featured from coast to coast. Many of his 128 principal creations are prominent in the state of Texas, including The Spirit of Sacrifice, the large monument at the Alamo, honoring those who died within the fort’s walls. It has been viewed by millions.
Coppini sculpted many historical figures of great accomplishment, including Robert E. Lee, Woodrow Wilson, Stonewall Jackson, Sam Houston, and George Washington. Add to that list Mrs. Ethel Dale, chosen as a sculpture subject for her great achievement in the field of … well, doing nothing.
Mrs. Dale’s family was living in Ticonderoga when she was born in 1895 as Cecille Dukett, daughter of Clayton and Lena Dukett. (The spelling of the family name in the media varied: most common were Ducat and Dukett.) A few years later, they moved to Crown Point. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Shakespeare Company (ADK Shakes) is back for their third season. This year’s Summer Festival Season features Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Hamlet, as well as Tom Stoppard’s comedy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and a new ADK Shakes original children’s show.
The Twelve Labors of Hercules, an original play for children, opened on July 11th at the Boathouse Theater in Schroon Lake. Hercules tells the story of Octavius and Agrippa, two young Romans who are magically transported back to Ancient Greece in order to learn an important lesson about friendship. Before they can return home, they must complete the twelve fantastical labors of Hercules. » Continue Reading.
The Lake George Theater Lab (LGTL) has announced its 2012 season, bridging classical material with new works, including the annual free outdoor Shakes on the Lake, Two Gentleman of Verona; Stupid F*ing Bird, a groundbreaking new Adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s classic The Seagull for the New Play Laboratory in a co-production with Woolly Mammoth Theater Company; Tales for Tots Players; and an evening of original Ghost Stories. » Continue Reading.
The non-profit Last of the Mohicans Outdoor Drama is seeking volunteers and interns to assist with a variety of short term and long term assignments for their annual theatrical production in Lake George, NY this summer. This outdoor drama, which recently garnered the “Tourism Excellence for Cultural Heritage” from the NYS Tourism & Vacation Association, brings alive the pages of history through James Fenimore Cooper’s classic novel. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondacks’ professional theatre company, the Depot Theatre, has announced the addition of Angel Wuellner as its new Managing Director.
“We are thrilled to welcome Angel into our theatre family,” said George Davis, president of the Depot Theatre Board of Trustees. “She was a standout in the executive team’s national search, with ample industry experience and terrific energy.”
Wuellner has worked in the theatre industry for the past twenty years, as an administrator, stage manager, director, and actor. Most recently, she worked at Actors’ Equity Association in the Auditions Department. She has also worked with The Vineyard Theatre (NYC), Clarence Brown Theatre, Actors Co-op, Tennessee Stage Company, and Smoky Mountain Shakespeare Festival. Wuellner is the founder of PromCon, an organization that collects prom dresses for underprivileged young women. She is a graduate of NYU’s Performing Arts Administration Masters’ Program and of Northern Kentucky University’s theatre department. » Continue Reading.
The Pendragon Theatre Company tackles yet another American classic with their performance of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” at View in Old Forge on Thursday, March 1st at 7:00 PM—one of several touring performances by the company, following the close of their 2011 season at their home theatre in Saranac Lake. The Pendragon Theatre secured a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts with additional funds from the Lake Placid Center for the Arts to mount an Adirondack tour of this stage adaptation by Christopher Sergal of the 1960 novel by Harper Lee. The grants allow the company to offer reduced-price tickets to schools wishing to send their classes who may be already studying this classic American novel.
This riveting story of boiling racial tension in the 1930s South as white lawyer Atticus Finch defends a black man accused of raping a white woman in a small Alabama town has as much relevance today as it did when Gregory Peck gave his 1962 academy award-winning performance. The trial takes center stage, but we share the view from the ‘colored’ balcony with Atticus’ two small children, whose innocence magnifies the ugliness of the prejudice and violence around them.
Tickets for the March 1st performance at View, located at 3273 State Rt. 28 in Old Forge, NY, are $20 for adults, $15 for members and $10 for children. For further information contact View at 315-369-6411 or visit their website at www.ViewArts.org
The tour will then go to Main Street Landing PAC: Burlington, V.T. – Friday, March 9th @ 7:30pm, and wrap the following week at the Tannery Pond Community Center: North Creek, N.Y. – Friday, March 16th. Visit the Pendragon Theatre website for more information on these and future performances.
Photo courtesy of Pendragon Theatre from their home performances of “To Kill A Mockingbird.”
Linda J. Peckel explores the Adirondacks by following the arts wherever they take her. Her general art/writing/film/photography musings on can be found at her own blog Arts Enclave.
Pendragon Theatre’s production of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, To Kill A Mockingbird is on the road throughout the Adirondack Park and beyond. The two-act play was adapted by Christopher Sergel and first performed in 1987 in England. Since that time the play has been performed in schools and theatres around the world to great acclaim.
Set in 1930 Alabama at the height of the Great Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird focuses on the intense class and racial tensions of the time as seen through the eyes of young Scout Finch. Narrated by the adult Scout, the coming of age story tackles such complex issues as interracial relationships, segregation and sterotypes. As Scout’s father Atticus, a lawyer, defends a black man accused of raping a poor white girl, the characters in the town expose their own bigotry. Throughout the story are themes of courage, innocence and the moral failures of society. Pendragon Founder and Managing Director Bob Pettee, who also plays Atticus Finch, says, “The version we at Pendragon Theatre chose to do is the only authorized version of the book. Harper Lee talked to Christoper Segel directly. The version that we’ve chosen does not have the older character of Scout, like in the movie. We felt the (Segel) version told the story more directly.” Pettee says, “ To Kill A Mockingbird is a universal story, so simple, so direct. The Boo Radley character becomes so fictionalized, larger than life and then finally known to just be human.”
Pettee comments on the larger issues that are addressed in the play with “man’s ability to be inhuman.” Pendragon Theare recently had received a letter from a teacher thanking the cast for the school performance. The teacher had overheard two students from his English class comparing the injustices of To Kill A Mockingbird with the injustices of the class reading assignment The Lottery. The teacher felt that the unprompted discussion of two pieces of literature from his students was powerful.
“I think this play has opened up conversations where children have an access to this material based on the age of the actors in this piece. The three kids we have are just dynamite, are solid performers ranging from 6th to 8th grade. They are very accomplished and adapt to the other spaces and it is a real treat to have them involved.”
“It is challenging to take a play on the road but we have a lot of experience,” says Pettee. “From an actor’s point of view it is good to see how we will connect this piece with a new audience. The Pendragon (home) theatre is a more intimate theatre where a larger performance space presents differently and we (the actors) still have to connect and be genuine and real for the audience.”
Pendragon actor Donna Moschek brings the part of Miss Maudie to life and says, “This version of the play uses Maudie as the narrator, not an older Scout, which is interesting. I think it’s a good choice because Maudie represents the female role model that Scout most admires in the novel and certainly takes a moral stand. I loved Maudie in the novel and I love her in the play because she is an inescapably part of this small town, but she believes it is possible for change to happen.”
Moschek says, “I think this play and the novel are still relevant and will always be relevant as long as racism, oppression and prejudice still exist. It’s the idea that prejudice can be so quietly present and so accepted that no one even notices what it can do. No one questions. I think the play and the book teach us that looking closely at our beliefs and our actions could be what saves us from making a decision based on prejudice, or a stereotype we have in our minds. If we can be aware of it, we can move to change it in ourselves and in others.”
The Adirondack Almanack is a public forum dedicated to promoting and discussing current events, history, arts, nature and outdoor recreation and other topics of interest to the Adirondacks and its communities
We publish commentary and opinion pieces from voluntary contributors, as well as news updates and event notices from area organizations. Contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The information, views and opinions expressed by these various authors are not necessarily those of the Adirondack Almanack or its publisher, the Adirondack Explorer.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to editor Melissa Hart.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.