Depot Theatre Announces 2015 Management Team

Westport, N.Y. – The Depot Theatre in Westport, N.Y., is pleased to announce its new management team.

Erin Harrington, business manager

Erin Harrington, business manager

Erin Harrington accepted the role of the Depot’s new Business Manager in March, and has hit the ground running ever since. Erin is a graduate of SUNY Potsdam with a dual degree in theatre and English, with a focus on the study of dramaturgy. Erin’s ten minute play “Individual Toes” was produced this past summer at Unboxed Voices in New York City and at 20% Theatre in Chicago. 

Originally from the Adirondacks, Erin brings business acumen to the position with experience as a resort campground manager in the Lake George region. “It’s great to be able to work in my field in the Adirondacks, where I grew up,” said Harrington. “I’m very much looking forward to combining my business talent with my passion for theatre at one of the region’s most enduring cultural institutions.”

Popular and accomplished actor and director Jonathan Hadley returns this summer as Interim Producing Director. Jonathan, from New York City, is no stranger to Westport, having performed and worked at the Theatre, including last summer when he took both the role as Interim Producing Director and star of the main stage show “Pete & Keely.”

Jonathan Hadley

Jonathan Hadley returns to The Depot Theatre and Westport, N.Y.

Hadley most recently appeared on Broadway as “Bob Crewe” in the hit musical Jersey Boys, a role he then played for five years on the First National U.S. Tour, as well as in Seoul and Kuala Lumpur. He was previously seen on Broadway as Marvin Hamlisch and Michael Bennett in A Class Act and Off-Broadway in Finian’s Rainbow and Peg O’ My Heart at New York’s acclaimed Irish Rep. Tours include Into The Woods (with Cleo Laine), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (with Donny Osmond), Fiddler on the Roof (with Theo Bikel) and Forbidden Broadway in the US and Australia.

“I’m thrilled to return to Westport for the season,” said Hadley. “I’m looking forward to being part of both the ongoing, sustainable evolution of this wonderful professional theatre and one of my favorite communities in the world!”

Erin and Jonathan join the familiar face of Katie Shepard as box office manager.

“The board is thrilled to have this dynamic team in place,” said David Howson, president of the board. “They bring the perfect balance of professional experience, enthusiasm and skills that will support our mission and engage with our community.”

All are invited to experience this summer’s lineup for laughs and great music, and to meet and greet the team! Season subscriptions are now available online. For more information, visit depottheatre.org or contact the box office at 518.962.4449.

  

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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. Its mission is to enrich, entertain and educate the community through professional theatrical arts in a historic train station. In addition to a 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 2015 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. 

The Depot Theatre dedicates its 37th season to the memory of Gordon Decker, patron, friend, and trusted advisor whose guidance and counsel was vital to securing a financially sustainable future for one of the region’s most treasured arts institutions.  

Broadway Veteran to direct Westport Central School Play

Westport, N.Y. – The show will go on for this spring’s Westport Central School Drama Club production of  “Our Miss Brooks”.

Jonathan Hadley

Jonathan Hadley returns to The Depot Theatre and Westport, N.Y.

With the director of the play unexpectedly unavailable, the status of the production was left in question with opening night looming.  

“I was speaking with members of Westport’s Depot Theatre board of trustees, who offered to try to help us resolve this time-sensitive situation,” said Cynthia Johnston, Superintendent of Schools. “And they came through with not only a director for us, but with a professional Broadway veteran with a familiar face!”

Popular and accomplished actor and director Jonathan Hadley, from New York City, will take the reins of director for the school play, along with support from Depot Theatre business manager Erin Harrington.

“When we heard about the situation, we knew we just had to help,” said David Howson, president of the Depot’s board. “The show must go on!”

Hadley is no stranger to Westport, having performed and worked at the Depot, including last summer when he took both the role as Interim Producing Director and co-star of the hit main stage show “Pete & Keely”. 

“It’s an honor to be able to give back to the strong, vibrant Westport community that has supported the Depot Theatre for an unprecedented 36 seasons,” said Hadley. “I can’t wait to start working with the cast and crew!”

Hadley most recently appeared on Broadway as “Bob Crewe” in the hit musical Jersey Boys, a role he then played for five years on the First National U.S. Tour, as well as in Seoul and Kuala Lumpur. He was previously seen on Broadway as Marvin Hamlisch and Michael Bennett in A Class Act and Off-Broadway in Finian’s Rainbow and Peg O’ My Heart at New York’s acclaimed Irish Rep. Tours include Into The Woods (with Cleo Laine), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (with Donny Osmond), Fiddler on the Roof (with Theo Bikel) and Forbidden Broadway in the US and Australia.

“Our Miss Brooks” takes the stage at Westport Central School from May 15-16.  

Depot Theatre's Jonathan Hadley directs Westport Central School's "Our Miss Brooks".

Jonathan Hadley begins rehearsals with the Westport Central School Drama Club

Depot Theatre Announces its 37th Season

Westport, N.Y. – Complete with classic songs from the 60’s, zany romantic comedy and toe-tapping honky tonk, the Depot Theatre is pleased to announce its dynamic 2015 main stage lineup.

 

“The Bikinis” opens the season on July 10. A non-stop celebration of classics like “It’s In His Kiss,” “Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” “Heat Wave,” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” punctuate the story of a girl band’s 20-year reunion, and will have audiences dancing in the aisles!

 

The opening musical is followed by “New York Water!”. This quirky, off-kilter adult romantic comedy documents Albert and Linda’s relationship from their first fearful meeting in New York City through to the mid-west and on to the left coast as they search for meaning, happiness, and success.

 

Rounding out the season is the Northeast regional premiere of “Savin’ Up for Saturday Night: The Honky-Tonk Musical”, with an energetic combination of showstoppers, cat fights and love quadrangles set in a one-stop honky-tonk and auto body shop.

 

“We’re looking forward to another summer of great theatre in Westport,” said David Howson, board president. “We are grateful to the community, our generous donors and volunteers for the amount of support that they continue to devote to the only theatre in the Adirondacks that operates under an agreement with Actors’ Equity Association.”

 

In addition to the main stage shows, the Depot’s popular play reading series “La Depot Dangereuse” will return for its second year. This four-night series is offered for the discriminating playgoer who wants cutting-edge drama and comedy, with samples of what’s hot on and off-Broadway, read by local and New York City-based talent.

 

The Depot Theatre dedicates its 37th season to the memory of Gordon Decker, patron, friend, and trusted advisor whose guidance and counsel was vital to securing a financially sustainable future for one of the region’s most treasured arts institutions.

 

Season subscriptions are now available online. A three-show flexible subscription package is $78 per person ($75 for seniors). Single tickets go on sale to the public on June 1 and are $29 per person ($27 for seniors). For more information, updates and program announcements, visit depottheatre.org or contact the box office at 518.962.4449.

 

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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 2015 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.

 

DEPOT THEATRE INC. BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Maureen Carlo, Jim Carroll, Beth Glover (vice president), David Howson (president), John Klipper (treasurer), Lawrence Masle, Amy McNamara (secretary), Cheri Phillips, Kimberly Rielly and Shirley Bacot Shamel.

 

DEPOT THEATRE INC. ADVISORY COUNCIL
Linda Beane, Bonnie Brewer, Randy Buck, George Davis (honorary chair), Howard Fish, Michael McDonald, Mary Ellen O’Loughlin, Libby Pataki, Jane Preston, Sharon Reynolds, Annie Scavo and Sally Struthers.

 

ABOUT THE SEASON

 

THE BIKINIS
Created and Written by Ray Roderick and James Hindman
July 10-26
Sponsored by The Galley at Westport Marina

 

The Bikinis are irresistible!  The Jersey Shore girl group “The Bikinis” reunites after 20 years to take us back to their glory days of the swinging ‘60’s (and through the 80’s) sharing more than 30 songs they sang on (and under) the boardwalk in an attempt to raise money to save the “Sandy Shores Mobile Home (Beach Resort)”.  This non-stop celebration of classics like “It’s In His Kiss,” “Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” “Heat Wave,” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” will have you dancing in the aisles!

 

 

NEW YORK WATER! 
By Sam Bobrick
July 31-August 16
Sponsored by Skidmore College

 

This quirky, off-kilter adult romantic comedy documents Albert and Linda’s relationship from their first fearful meeting in New York City through to the mid-west and on to the left coast as they search for meaning, happiness, and success.   Is love enough?  Will a change of location shore it up or will ambition shake its foundation?  Join this unusual – and very funny – duo as they seek the answers.  [Not suitable for children.]

 

 

SAVIN’ UP FOR SATURDAY NIGHT: THE HONKY-TONK MUSICAL
By Jeff Goode and Richard Levinson
August 21-September 6
Sponsored by Emmet Carter Green Design

 

Y’all know lovin’ ain’t easy in a small town.  Two best friends fall for the same lady, while a spit-fire ex-wife kicks up her heels threatening the harmony of “The Ready Bar & Fill” the town’s one-stop honky-tonk and auto body shop.  You’re in for an evening of showstoppers and toe-tappers, cat fights, and love quadrangles that keeps the joint jumpin’ till way past last call.

Depot Theatre Celebrates a Successful Season and Looks to the Future

Depot Theatre board president presents 2014 Buchanan Award to Shirley Bacot Shamel

Depot Theatre board president presents 2014 Buchanan Award to Shirley Bacot Shamel

Westport, N.Y. – The Board of Trustees of the Depot Theatre is pleased to announce that the organization’s 36th season was an unquestionable success, ending the fiscal year in the black for the first time in four years thanks to high attendance and generous contributions from donors and volunteers. 

“It might come as a surprise to some that ticket sales cover only a small portion of the expense involved in running a professional theatre,” said John Klipper, board treasurer. “Earned revenue must be augmented with contributed revenue. We’re excited that our revenue goals were not only met, but surpassed!”

This news is especially gratifying given the financial shortfall that required the board to implement organizational changes at the close of the 2013 season in an attempt to secure a sustainable future for the organization.  

Following the expert advice of the New York Council on Non-Profits and a newly-formed Advisory Council of former trustees and friends, the board implemented a recovery plan that adjusted the length of the season and experimented with a seasonal staffing model that included a full-summer interim producing director and several essential part-time staff.  

Restructuring and cost cutting did not diminish the organization’s commitment to producing quality professional theatre. In 2014, all of the actors and stage managers were engaged on Actors’ Equity contracts and received pension and health contributions from the Depot.  

“Producing professional theatre in a small, rural community, while challenging, provides cultural and economic benefits to the entire region,” said David Howson, board president. “The board is committed to honing a mission-driven program that balances revenue and expenses along with a sustainable staffing model to ensure the long-term viability of the theater.” 

“We’re tremendously grateful to the community, its generous donors and volunteers for the amount of support they have given to secure the future of this theatre – the only theatre company in the Adirondacks that operates under an agreement with Actors’ Equity Association,” said Howson. 

The Depot Theatre is currently conducting a staffing search and plans to announce next year’s season lineup in early 2015.  For updates and more information, visit www.depottheatre.org.

The board extends its most heartfelt gratitude to Shirley Bacot Shamel, 2014 recipient of the Depot Theatre Buchanan Award, which was presented to her at the closing show of the season. Shamel, a longtime member of the Board of Trustees, continues to dedicate her expertise, time and resources to advance the Depot Theatre’s mission.

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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.

DEPOT THEATRE INC. BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Maureen Carlo, Jim Carroll, Beth Glover (vice president), David Howson (president), John Klipper (treasurer), Lawrence Masle, Amy McNamara (secretary), Kimberly Rielly and Shirley Bacot Shamel.

DEPOT THEATRE INC. ADVISORY COUNCIL

Linda Beane, Bonnie Brewer, Randy Buck, George Davis (honorary chair), Gordon Decker, Howard Fish, Michael McDonald, Mary Ellen O’Loughlin, Libby Pataki, Cheri Phillips, Jane Preston, Sharon Reynolds, Annie Scavo and Sally Struthers.

Depot Theatre Play Reading Series concludes with THE GRADUATE on Aug 27

Depot TheatreWestport, N.Y. – The last in the Depot Theatre’s summer series, La Depot Dangereuse, will be a reading of THE GRADUATE on Wednesday August 27 at 8:00 p.m.

La Depot Dangereuse play reading series is a showcase of what’s HOT on and off Broadway, in regional theatres, and London’s West End. Read by local and NYC talent these works are for the discriminating playgoer who wants cutting edge drama and comedy. (Material is NOT suitable for children!)

The reading will star Sam Balzac, Beth Glover, Jessica Kemp, George Davis, Fran Yardley, Burdette Parks, and Eunice Ferreira. Directed by Jonathan Hadley. All readings take place onstage at The Depot Theatre.

This is the first play adaptation of the classic novel and cult film. It premiered in April 2000 at the Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, starring Kathleen Turner as Mrs. Robinson. California in the 60s. Benjamin’s got excellent grades, very proud parents and, since he helped Mrs. Robinson with her zipper, a fine future behind him..A cult novel, a classic film, a quintessential hit of the 60s, now Benjamin’s disastrous sexual odyssey is brought vividly to life.

Tickets are available online at www.depottheatre.org or at the Box Office. $10 Suggested Donation.

THE GRADUATE, adapted by Terry Jonson, Based on the novel by Charles Webb and the motion picture screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry.

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.

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MUSICAL PETE ‘N’ KEELY CAPS DEPOT THEATRE’S 2014 SEASON

Limited engagement features only 8 performances!

Pete 'N' KeelyWestport, N.Y. – The Depot Theatre 2014 season concludes with a limited engagement of PETE ‘N’ KEELY which runs from August 22-31.

In this upbeat musical, the Depot turns back the clock to 1968 and transforms itself into a NBC studio where America’s favorite singing duo Pete ‘n’ Keely reunites in this “live” television broadcast. Despite their recent acrimonious divorce these brave, talented kids are only coming back to please their fans. This musical from the director of When Pigs Fly and the producer of The Mystery of Irma Vep features unforgettable renditions of the era’s popular favorites as well as original songs in the spirit of the times. Tunes, hilarity, and sparks are guaranteed to fly!

The show is directed by Vermont native, and NYC-based actor/director Kathryn Markey (Regional: Fiddler on the Roof, Over the Pub, Deathtrap, South Pacific, Carousel) and stars Katy Blake (Broadway tour of Mamma Mia) and the Depot’s own interim producing director Jonathan Hadley (Broadway & International Tour of Jersey Boys). Joe Schermann returns to the Depot a second time this summer as the musical director, having just completed the smash-hit My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra last month. The final production of the Depot Theatre season is sponsored by Skidmore College.

Prior productions of PETE ‘N’ KEELY have received rave reviews including:

“Campy [with] nostalgic belly laughs.” – The New York Times

“A rattling good time.” – New York Magazine

“The brightest, happiest, and most entertaining little show in town.” – New York Observer

“A sequined, bell bottomed parade of escalating fabulousness!” – Newsday

ABOUT THE CAST

Jonathan Hadley and Katy Blake rehearse for Depot Theatre's "Pete 'N' Keely"

Jonathan Hadley and Katy Blake rehearse for Depot Theatre’s “Pete ‘N’ Keely”

KATY BLAKE has been singing and dancing since she was four years old when she debuted as “child #2” in The Elixir of Love – an opera in which her mother and father both performed with the Virginia Opera Society. She’s been hooked ever since. Most recently, Katy was seen at the Signature Theatre in the new musical, Sweetie, directed by the legendary Pat Birch. Last summer, she performed the role of Grizabella in CATS at Theatre by the Sea and at North Shore Music Theatre to rave reviews. She created the role of Jesse in the Off-Broadway NYMF production of Greenwood and originated the role of Pam in the pre-New York tryout of The Last Smoker In America. Audiences around the country have seen her singing and dancing to ABBA music in the national tour of Mamma Mia. Before that, she was at the Pasadena Playhouse creating the role of Sirocco in the world premiere of Mask, directed by Tony award winner Richard Maltby, Jr., written by Oscar winner Anna Hamilton-Phelan, and music by Grammy winners Barry Mann/Cynthia Weill. She performed with Reba McEntyre in the Hollywood Bowl production of South Pacific, and was in the world premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Whistle Down the Wind. Katy played the title role of Eva in the 20th anniversary production of Evita, and played Christine in the San Francisco Company of The Phantom of the Opera. Katy has also performed in many different theatres off-Broadway and regionally. She has been in industrial shows around the country for such clients as IPOP, The Wynn Las Vegas, The Bellagio New Year’s Eve, Shaklee, and The Grammy Awards After Party, to name a few. Katy is an accomplished country singer/songwriter and has a CD of her original music available at www.katyblake.com

JONATHAN HADLEY most recently appeared on Broadway as “Bob Crewe” in the hit musical Jersey Boys, a role he then played for five years on the First National U.S. Tour, as well as in Seoul and Kuala Lumpur. He was previously seen on Broadway channeling Marvin Hamlisch and Michael Bennett in A Class Act and Off-Broadway in Finian’s Rainbow and Peg O’ My Heart at New York’s acclaimed Irish Rep. Tours include Into The Woods (with Cleo Laine), Joseph…(with Donny Osmond), Fiddler on the Roof (with Theo Bikel) and Forbidden Broadway in the US and Australia. Favorite regional credits include leading roles in Dirty Blonde, Born Yesterday, Yiddle With A Fiddle (Boston Herald Award), Amadeus, Loves Labors Lost, Call Me Madam (starring Leslie Uggams), The Secret Garden and Captains Courageous. TV: “Another World,” “Kidsworld” & “Sex and the City.” Jonathan is a director and teaching artist with Camp Broadway, TADA!, the Yip Harburg Foundation’s “Rainbow Troupe” and BRAVO’s “On With the Show.” He directed Much Ado About Nothing and Tartuffe for New York’s Sonnet Repertory Theatre and Spring Awakening for Brooklyn College. Jonathan holds a BFA in Acting from the University of the North Carolina School of the Arts and an MFA in Directing from Brooklyn College.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR – KATHRYN MARKEY

Pete ‘n’ Keely marks KATHRYN MARKEY’s directing debut at the Depot Theatre. Directing credits: Fiddler on the Roof, Over The Pub, Around the World in 80 Days, Fox on the Fairway (St. Michael’s Playhouse) Deathtrap & Boeing, Boeing (Mason Street Warehouse) South Pacific & Carousel at the New London Barn, Ragtime at the White Plains Performing Arts Center and David & Goliath at Merkin Concert Hall. Performing credits range from Broadway (3 From Brooklyn) to many NYC and regional stages including The Alliance, Symphony Space, Bay Street Theater, Pennsylvania Stage, Gayfest NYC, Northern Stage, The Emelin and Penguin Rep. On-screen: Law and Order, Premium Blend, All My Children, Filmic Achievement, DutchWest TV, CollegeHumor and Amateur Hour. Kathryn is the creator of the satirical country band The Chalks, seen and heard regularly in bars, on TV and the internet.

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.

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.

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"Pete 'N' Keely" schedule

Depot Theatre’s Shakespeare-in-the-Park Program Celebrates Its 12th Season with 12th Night

Depot Theatre Shakespeare in the Park Program

Depot Theatre Shakespeare in the Park Program

Westport, New York – The Depot Theatre’s Shakespeare-in-the-Park is celebrating its 12th season appropriately with William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

This rollicking and poignant comedy involves mistaken identity, unrequited love, a humorous rivalry between generations, capped off with a perfect comic ending consisting of many marriages that leaves you with a longing for the good ‘ole days.

“Our approach to Shakespeare is playful, physical and accurate to his intent and meaning,” says Co-Director Scott Gibbs. “This shortened version of Twelfth Night will feature both traditional and modern music performed by our actors, who are a diverse group of local high school and college students as well as theatre professionals.”

Depot Theatre Shakespeare in the Park ProgramGibbs’s production partner, Lindsay Pontius, always keeps their young cast on their toes. You might see one unexpectedly climbing a tree or surprising the audience by delivering lines already perched from a tree in the park.  The co-directors are adept at helping their students grasp exactly what the Bard had in mind and demonstrating that for audiences.

The Depot’s Shakespeare-in-the-Park Program is made possible, in part, by the Essex County Arts Council CAP Grant supported by the Essex County Board of Supervisors.

 


Adirondack locations for performances of Twelfth Night will be:

  • August 7 at 5pm onstage at The Depot Theatre in Westport 
  • August 8 at 6:00 p.m. at Ballard Park in Westport 
  • August 9 at 5:00 p.m. at Adirondack History Center Museum in Elizabethtown 
  • August 10 at 5:00 p.m. at the Amos and Julia Ward Theater at the Jay Village Green

All performances are FREE and open to the public. No reservations required.

The Depot Theatre summer season continues with Greater Tuna on the main stage until August 17. On August 22, the musical, Pete N Keely opens running through the end of the month.
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.

For more information about Depot Theatre productions call 518-962-4449 or visit depottheatre.org.

Greater Tuna: North Country Public Radio Review

[This theatre review of “Greater Tuna” by Connie Meng was aired and published by North Country Public Radio as “Theatre Review: ‘Greater Tuna’ at the Depot Theatre in Westport NY” on August 04, 2014. Listen to the story.]

The two-man comedy “Greater Tuna” opened Off-Broadway in 1982 to rave reviews. It’s been an audience favorite ever since. It runs at the Depot Theatre through August 17.

Chan Harris as Mr. & Mrs. Bumiller, Trip Plymale as Jody & Charlene (Photo: Depot Theatre)

Chan Harris as Mr. & Mrs. Bumiller, Trip Plymale as Jody & Charlene (Photo: Depot Theatre)

“Greater Tuna” by Jaston Williams, Ed Howard and Joe Sears is a show that provides the opportunity for a tour de force by the two actors involved.  Amidst the laughs and giggles it has some pithy things to say.  Although it’s set in Tuna, the third smallest town in Texas, similar characters exist in rural areas throughout the country.  They just may not have that Texas drawl.

The framework for the piece is a local radio show hosted by Arlis Struvie played by Tripp Plymale and Thurston Wheelis played by Chan Harris, who also directed.  Through call-ins, interviews and commercials we meet several Tuna residents.  The two actors play town big-wigs and the members of a dysfunctional family – young, old, male, female, and even a very noisy dog.

Bonnie Brewer’s simple set of two tables with chairs and a big cabinet radio up center is backed by a nice three-part painting of east Texas fields.  Margaret Swick’s lighting is just fine.  I assume the multitude of costumes were a group effort and work very well.  Kudos to whoever’s backstage helping with the lightning fast changes.

Chan Harris is very good as Pearl Burras, local chicken farmer and dog poisoner.  I love the scene in the funeral parlor with Pearl’s serenade to the dead Judge and the comment, “You look so…waxy.”  As the energetic Reverend Spikes he gives a very funny eulogy made up entirely of platitudes and song lyrics.  He’s also excellent as Bertha Bumiller, harassed mother of three.  We know exactly how she feels about her husband when we watch her chop vegetables. By the way, he also plays her husband.

Mr. & Mrs. Bumiller, Jody & Charlene onstage (Photo: Depot Theatre)

Mr. & Mrs. Bumiller, Jody & Charlene onstage (Photo: Depot Theatre)

Tripp Plymale is terrific as snippy Vera Carp, head of the Smut Snatchers of the New Order who plan to clean up the high school dictionaries. Her reactions to Reverand Spikes are hilarious.  He’s excellent as gentle Petey Fisk, protector of lost animals including ducks.  Mr. Plymale gives all his characters unexpected depth and three-dimensional humanity.  This is especially so with the three Bumiller children: forlorn young Jody whose only friends are the dogs who follow him around, overweight Charlene, shy amateur poet and failed cheerleader, and fresh out of reform school Stanley, his edgiest character.  Stanley’s powerful scene with the dead Judge takes a sudden twist and ceases to be funny.

The juxtaposition of prayers in Act II is funny, chilling and touching by turns.  That of Elmer Watkins, NRA member, reminds us that bigotry isn’t always to be laughed at, while that of Petey Fisk is very moving.  Director Harris has also chosen great songs that perfectly set up the atmosphere.

“Greater Tuna” is a very funny play with some wonderful serious moments.  Mr. Harris and Mr. Plymale have brought out all the nuances of the piece.  Its mixture of affectionate comment and dark satire provides a solid evening’s entertainment at the Depot Theatre.

On a scale of one to five the Depot Theatre’s production of “Greater Tuna” gets four and five-eighths box cars.  For North Country Public Radio I’m Connie Meng.

(Theatre review via North Country Public Radio)

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.)