SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – If you’re the type of person who always sees the glass half full, you won’t mind hearing that the summer theater season is half over.
In fact, it might make you happy as this week and next will feature some of the potentially best plays.
Halftime, however, is a good opportunity to check out some of the smaller and less glamorous summer theaters on offer in the Berkshires. It’s only natural to think of the bigger festivals, especially when the Barrington Stage presents Stephen Sondheim’s ‘A Little Night Music’ on Wednesday 10th August.
Most consider Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd his best work. Almost as many would support A Little Night Music, a softly romantic, funny and touching adaptation of the Ingmar Bergman film A Summer’s Night’s Smile.
It has a dream cast, features the popular song “Send in the Clowns” and likely marks Julianne Boyd’s departure as director as she steps down from the position of artistic-producing director at the end of the season. It plays until August 28th.
Also in the Berkshires, the Williamstown Theater Festival offers a new play, We Are Continuous, which explores the point where forgiveness is the only solution. It opens tonight and plays through August 14th.
However, there are some great local theater options. Park Playhouse opens the musical The Wedding Singer tonight at Washington Park in Albany.
It is performed by the students of the Playhouse Stage Company. Trust me, this is work grown-ups appreciate. The performers may be in their late teens but have the education and skills that performers as young as 10 lack.
In fact, they are an ideal age for people who are just discovering the meaning of true love. You can pay for reserved seating, but most are free. Shows start at 8pm and the show runs through August 20th.
If you are interested freely, a trip to Cambridge is in order. Hubbard Hall presents the Will Kempe Players in two plays by Shakespeare over the weekend. Both are offered free of charge, on Saturday from 5:30 p.m. “A Comedy of Errors” is on the Great Meadow, on Sunday “The Tragedy of Titus Andronicus”. Bring beach chairs and refreshments.
However, if you prefer a true dining experience with your theater, the Lake George Dinner Theater offers the romantic comedy First Night with pre-show dining.
“First Night” is about New Year’s Eve 1988. Danny is feeling like a failure working at a video store when his former girlfriend Meredith O’Connor walks in. Except now she’s Sister Meredith-Louise. It runs until October 8th. Dinner is served at 6pm, the show starts at 7:30pm
Perhaps the most unique show in the area is the concert version of a brand new musical based on the popular film Mystic Pizza at the Adirondack Theater Festival. It is being completed and this production is preparing for a national tour. In fact, it could be an opportunity to be at the beginning of a big Broadway hit. It plays Friday through Sunday at the Charles Wood Theater in Glens Falls.
In order not to neglect the children, the Fort Salem Theater offers a product of its five-week youth theater camp. Tomorrow, August 5th, they present the youth edition of The Wizard of Oz. Shows are at 3pm and 5pm
The Bridge Street Theater in Catskill has a more mature product, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The musical is presented by their summer youth program with students and graduates of Catskill High. It’s hard to imagine a more charming show about nerdy kids finding their inner powers. Performances are tonight at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
The truly grown-up musical takes place at the Mac-Haydn Theater in Chatham. Winner of three Tony Awards, Next to Normal combines a woman’s emotional story and her overwhelming sense of depression. It is supported by a contemporary score that makes an unspoken family issue powerful, human and hopeful. Tonight through August 14th
Finally, perhaps in an attempt to put local audiences in a mental trap, the Berkshire Theater Group is offering a production of the gothic horror story Dracula. It plays August 11-27 at the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.