Texas-size Laughs Roll into the Depot Theatre with “Greater Tuna” on August 1

Greater Tuna

Depot Theatre presents “Greater Tuna” August 1-17

Westport, N.Y. – The Depot Theatre 2014 season continues August 1-17 with “Greater Tuna,” the now-classic comedy about the small town morals and mores of Tuna, Texas (Texas’ 3rd smallest town!).

The show is directed by Texas native Chan Harris (Broadway Tours: “Evita,” “Big River,” “Into the Woods”) and stars both Harris and Trip Plymale (Broadway: “The Robber Bridegroom.”) The production is sponsored by Emmet Carter Green Design.

Chan HarrisCHAN HARRIS is originally from East Texas, Chan Harris studied music at Juilliard with classmates Renee Fleming, Audra MacDonald and Laura Linney. As an actor, he was cast in several national Broadway tours Broadway including “Evita,” “Big River,” and “Into the Woods” and worked in regional theatres across the United States. In 1999, he directed the national tour of “Forever Plaid.” “Greater Tuna” marks Harris’ acting and directing debuts at the Depot.

Trip PlymaleTRIP PLYMALE has appeared on Broadway in “The RobberBridegroom,” and Off-Broadway in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “House of Blue Leaves,” “Music Man,” and others. This is Trip’s second performance on the Depot stage, having first performed in “Damn Yankees” in 1997.

“Greater Tuna” is followed by the musical comedy “Pete ‘N’ Keely” which caps the season with performances from August 22-31.

Tickets for all 2014 performances are $29 with discounts for seniors, groups and students. Evening, early-evening and matinee performances are available. Additional information and tickets are available online at depottheatre.org, or by contacting the box office at 518.962.4449.

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PHOTOS: Chan Harris and Trip Plymale star in the fast-paced comedy “Greater Tuna” at the Depot Theatre.

GREATER TUNA

By Jaston Williams, Ed Howard, and Joe Sears

Aug. 1 – 17, 2014

Sponsored by Emmet Carter Green Design

ABOUT THE DEPOT THEATRE

The Depot Theatre is a non-profit, professional theatre located in a historic, functioning 1876 train station in Westport, N.Y., and operates under an agreement with Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. In addition to its volunteer board of trustees, the theatre depends on the support and generosity of its loyal donors, volunteers and community members. Committed to promoting and providing exposure to the performing arts in the Adirondacks, the Depot Theatre invites all to “Take a journey without leaving the station.”  The Depot Theatre’s 2014 Season is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra – North Country Public Radio Review

[This theatre review of “My Way” by Connie Meng was aired and published by North Country Public Radio as “Theatre Review: “My Way” at the Depot Theatre in Westport” on July 14, 2014. Listen to the story.]

“My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” is a lively journey through the Sinatra song-book. It runs at the Depot Theatre overlooking Lake Champlain in Westport NY through July 27.

Tiffan Borelli, Paul Binotto, Erik Keiser, Maggie Politi in "My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra" at The Depot Theatre, July 2014 (Photo: Bonnie Brewer)

Tiffan Borelli, Paul Binotto, Erik Keiser, Maggie Politi in “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” at The Depot Theatre, July 2014 (Photo: Bonnie Brewer)

The Depot Theatre in Westport has opened their 36th season with a tuneful production of “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra.”  Created by David Grapes and Todd Olson, the show contains over 50 songs out of the nearly 1400 Sinatra recorded.  Most of the songs are familiar, but there were a couple I hadn’t heard.  With having had only five days of rehearsal, even this old “lyric Nazi” can overlook a couple of slips.

The four cast members, ably accompanied by Joe Schermann in a pianistic marathon, are all very good singers with sparkling stage presence.  Erik Keiser is an appealing song and dance man and does a specially nice job on a duet with Maggie Politi of “Nice and Easy.”  They do justice to the frisky staging of Director Evan Pappas.  Miss Politi is a natural comedienne and had me giggling with her take on “South of the Border.”

Tiffan Borelli is just an all-round good singer, who is particularly fine on various ballads.  Last but certainly not least is Paul Binotto, not only a good singer but an excellent actor who plays a mean guitar.  He’s especially strong on “One for My Baby,” “Young at Heart” and “Summer Wind,” all very different emotionally.

Music Director Joe Schermann has done a fine job on the many group vocals and the vocal blend is great on “My Way” and the encore, a lovely 4-part arrangement of “I’ll Be Seeing You.”

Bonnie Brewer’s simple set of draperies upstage, a grand piano, a short bar and a couple of small tables works extremely well for the show.  Her lighting is effective, complete with stars and a mirror ball.

Debbi Hobson’s costumes for the men are fine and allow for some versatility, while the dresses for the ladies, while well-designed and colorful, aren’t particularly flattering.

Director Evan Pappas has done a terrific job of staging a show that could easily have become static.  Especially clever are “It Was a Very Good Year,” “My Way,” “I’ll Be Seeing You,” “That’s Life” and the tour of the cities.  Perhaps my favorite was “I Only Have Eyes for You,” in an unusual arrangement, with great lighting and inventive staging.

If you like Frank Sinatra’s choice of songs this show is for you.  There are some snippets of dialogue, but it’s really about the music.  Sinatra was part of the music scene for so long that these songs will take you back no matter your generation.  “My Way” is solid entertainment – perfect fare for a summer afternoon or evening.

On a scale of one to five the Depot Theatre’s production of “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” gets four and one-third boxcars.  For North Country Public Radio I’m Connie Meng.

(Review via North Country Public Radio.)

Depot Theatre Receives NYSCA Grant for 2014 Season

Westport, N.Y. – The Depot Theatre has received a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts to support its 2014 Season. The funds are designated for general operating support in the amount of $9,960.

“All of us at the Depot are grateful to Governor Cuomo, the New York State Legislature and, especially, the folks at NYSCA for this vote of confidence in our mission and the work that we do,” said David Howson, President of the Board of Trustees. “We thank NYSCA for its continued support of the arts in the North Country.”

This summer marks the Depot Theatre’s 36th season. More information, subscriptions and tickets are available on the Depot Theatre website, depottheatre.org

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ABOUT THE DEPOT THEATRE

The Depot Theatre is a non-profit, professional theatre located in a historic, functioning 1876 train station in Westport, N.Y., and operates under an agreement with Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. In addition to its volunteer board of trustees, the theatre depends on the support and generosity of its loyal donors, volunteers and community members. Committed to promoting and providing exposure to the performing arts in the Adirondacks, the Depot Theatre invites all to “Take a journey without leaving the station.”  The Depot Theatre’s 2014 Season is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.