The summer theatre season is in full swing here in the beautiful mid-Hudson Valley and there is truly something for everyone. Maybe it’s the times, maybe it’s just coincidence, but there is a definite “dream theme” going on in many of the theatrical offerings this summer.
Some are straight out dream subjects: Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and A Dream Play, by August Strindberg reinterpreted by contemporary playwright Caryl Churchill, will both be presented in the Vassar Amphitheater as part of the inspired annual six week coupling of the Powerhouse Theatre and New York Stage and Film.
However, a number of this summer’s productions are, if not dreams, re-imaginings. Columbia County’s Walking the Dog Theatre, performing at the seasonal PS 21 tent on a glorious Chatham hillside, is presenting Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, a 21st Century take on the classic myth of Orpheus from the perspective of the heroine. Shadowlands Theatre in Ellenville is offering a madcap nostalgic WWII sing-a-long with a gender-bender twist in The Andrew Brothers. They promise “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” as well as “Boogie Woogie Bugel Boy.”
This weekend, only, the Powerhouse/NYSF will feature The Nightengale, a musical re-imagining of the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale starring multiple Tony winner Michael Cerveris. Continuing is an outstanding new play by actress Patricia Wettig, F2M, which you could say is also about re-imagining, as well as lots of other things. It’s a terrific production. Also at the Powerhouse/NYSF is sound painting/performance art production of Wuthering, based loosely on Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and set to, yes, disco music. Starting tonight it will be presented on four Thursdays at 6 pm at the Vassar Art Museum. And speaking of classics, Bard’s Summerscape has an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Swan the middle of this month.
River Valley Rep, starting its second season in residence at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, opens this weekend with the Broadway hit, 39 Steps, a wacking interpretation of the classic Alfred Hitchcock film. The zany musical version of another classic film favorite — Gentlemen Prefer Blonds — is currently on until July 17th at the Rhinebeck Center for the Performing Arts and has gotten great reviews.
While I am a fan of art for art’s sake, let’s not forget that supporting local theatre, dance, music and visual arts in our region translates directly to jobs and revenues, whether it’s tourist dollars or local residents who make a night of dinner and a show. As further evidence of the burgeoning scene here in the Valley, TangentArts has announced it will be opening its own new home, The Carpenter Shop Theatre, a 50-seat performance space
on Broadway in Tivoli, later this month.
It’s not a dream. Theatre is alive and well here in the Hudson Valley. Go enjoy a midsummer’s night show!