Summer theater roundup

The Powerhouse Theater

Shadowland Theatre, May 31-Sept. 28, Ellenville

Ellenville’s charming old vaudeville theater is known for its high-quality productions with Actors Equity casts, often including famous names. The first show of Shadowland’s 2014 summer season will be By David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People, directed by Brendan Burke. Nominated for a Best Play Tony, this timely story explores the struggles, shifting loyalties and unshakeable hopes that come with having next to nothing in America. After losing her job, a lifelong resident of a blue-collar Boston neighborhood loses her job looks up an old fling who made it out of the neighborhood, seeking assistance and a fresh start. It runs from May 31 to June 16.

From June 20 to July 6, Shadowland will present Jeffrey Hatcher’s Three Viewings, a tragicomedy interweaving three stories in a funeral parlor in the Midwest. The regional premiere of Paul Slade Smith’s crime comedy featuring a hitman in a kilt, Unnecessary Farce, follows from July 11 to Aug. 3. Next up, from Aug. 8 to Sept. 7, is the country/Western-flavored Off-Broadway hit Honky-Tonk Highway, with a book by Richard Berg and music and lyrics by Robert Lindsey Nassif. Winding up the summer-stock season is Deanna Jent’s semi-autobiographical play about a family with an autistic child, Falling, from Sept. 12 to 28.
Tickets for all Shadowland Theatre productions cost $39 for evening performances, $34 for matinées. Full-season subscriptions run from $136 to $156. For information on casts, dates and times, to subscribe or reserve tickets, call the box office.

Shadowland Theatre, Thursdays-Sundays, May 31-Sept. 28, $34-$39, 157 Canal Street, Ellenville; 647-5511,


Newburgh Illuminated, June 20-29, Ritz Theater, Newburgh

A relative newcomer on the theatrical front in the mid-Hudson is a historic structure in Newburgh built in 1883 to house a factory, part of which was converted to a vaudeville theatre called Cohen’s Opera House in 1913. Renamed the Ritz Theater in 1933, it hosted such stars of the era as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Prima, Mary Martin, Peggy Lee, Woody Herman, Dick Powell, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Eddy Duchin, Red Skelton, Xavier Cugat, the Ink Spots, Vaughn Monroe, Montana Slim, Ricardo Cortez and Les Brown. Frank Sinatra was still an unknown when he fronted the Tommy Dorsey Band there in 1940, and it was at the Ritz that Lucille Ball made her stage debut one year later.

Recently renovated by the not-for-profit community development corporation Safe Harbors of the Hudson, the Ritz isn’t putting on a full season of summer stock just yet. But it hosts sporadic concerts and plays, and this June it’s premiering a new original play about Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as part of the annual Newburgh Illuminated festival. Lucy, Illuminated depicts the marriage, rise to fame and divorce of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, with a vaudeville twist. Adele Schulz and Pedro de Leon star in this world premiere production.

Performances of Lucy, Illuminated will begin at 8 p.m. on Fridays, June 20 and 27 and Saturday, June 28, with matinées at 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, June 28 and 29. General admission tickets cost $18. You can also find out more about a special $55 opening night dinner-and-show package.

Lucy, Illuminated, Friday, June 20, Friday-Sunday, June 27-29, $18, Ritz Theater, 107 Broadway, Newburgh; 800-838-3006,


Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, June 10-Aug. 31, Boscobel House and Gardens, Garrison

Shakespeare productions during the summer and out in the open air are a part of life in our region. Each show of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (HVSF) takes advantage of the glorious setting of Boscobel on the banks of the Hudson in Garrison. With newly appointed artistic director Davis McCallum at the helm, HVSF’s 28th season will include The Two Gentlemen of Verona, directed by Eric Tucker; Othello, directed by Chris Edwards; and David Ives’s adaptation of Corneille’s The Liar, directed by Russell Treyz.

The three plays run in repertory, alternating performances throughout the season. Ticket prices range from $27 to $68, with discounts for seniors and kids. Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts fund a special program called the Revelers to entice millennials aged 21 to 35 with $10-to-$20 tickets, plus social events and interactive programs before and after performances.

For more information or to order tickets, call the box office. A brochure with full calendar, ticket prices and details about the summer season can be downloaded from the website.

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, June 10-Aug. 31, $27-$68, Boscobel House & Gardens, 1601 Route 9D, Garrison; 265-9575,


Bird-on-a-Cliff Theater Company, July 11-Aug. 31, Comeau Park, Woodstock

Off Route 212, right on the edge of downtown Woodstock, is another chance to enjoy Shakespeare outdoors this summer. Bird-on-a-Cliff is known for their charming, relatively low-budget performances of the Bard’s work. Admission is by donation, with $5 the suggested rate, so you can’t beat this for a fine evening’s entertainment.

This summer’s choice from the Shakespeare canon will be the much-loved comedy of cross-dressing and crossed garters, Twelfth Night. It will run from July 11 to Aug. 3, directed by Nicola Sheara. The second 2014 production is what is promised as “a glorious adaptation” of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, directed by David Aston-Reese, runs from Aug. 8 to 31.

All performances start at 5 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with no reservations necessary. Bring lawn chairs or blankets.

Bird-on-a-Cliff Theater Company, Fridays-Sundays, July 11-August 31, 5 p.m., $5 suggested donation, Comeau Park, Route 212, Woodstock; 247-4007,


Woodstock Playhouse, May 30-Aug. 10, Woodstock

Risen from the ashes on the site where it was first built in 1928 at the gateway to the arts colony town where Route 375 runs into Route 212, the Woodstock Playhouse was one of the original theatres in the U.S. to offer a summer stock season. And it’s still doing that, offering four productions of popular shows each summer — mostly revivals of Broadway hits.

This year, the playhouse launch the summer repertory season this past weekend with a New York Conservatory for the Arts production of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.

The season continues with Monty Python’s Spamalot, the stage version of the highly irreverent movie parody of Arthurian legends, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The book and lyrics are by Eric Idle and the music — notably the whistle-along favorite “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” — by John Du Prez and Eric Idle. Shows begin at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with Sunday matinées at 2 p.m., running from June 19 through 29.
Next on the schedule, from July 10 to 20, is the rock musical that first put Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber on the map: Jesus Christ Superstar. The curtain goes up at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. It will be followed from Thursday to Saturday, July 24 to 26 at 8 p.m. by The Three Musketeers — presumably Ken Ludwig’s 2006 adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas novel, although there is also a 1968 version by Peter Raby.

The summer season at the Woodstock Playhouse wraps up with the 20th-century classic West Side Story, with a book by Arthur Laurents (inspired, of course, by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet), music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and choreography by Jerome Robbins. It runs from July 31 to Aug. 10, with an 8 p.m. curtain Thursday through Saturday and Sunday matinées beginning at 2 p.m.
Ticket prices for all productions this season except for Peter Pan range from $32 to $40.

Woodstock Playhouse, May 30-Aug. 10, Thursdays-Saturdays 8 p.m., Sundays 2 p.m., $32-$40, Playhouse Lane, 103 Mill Hill Road, Woodstock; 679-6900,



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