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Offering a fresh way of helping you keep up with art and entertainment happenings around the Capital District.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Anyone who has reviewed, even for a short period of time, knows that you can't predict what shows will be good or what will be bad. Some shows that I've most anticipated have been horrid and other shows I dreaded going to were fantastic.

Thus warned, I will share (in chronological order) the 10 summer theater shows I am most anxious to attend.

"Sweeney Todd" at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Mass. June 23-July 17. "Sweeney Todd" is one of the best musicals written in the last half of the last century. No show produced this century has topped it either. The BSC company looks great. Jeff McCarthy should be an ideal "mad barber of Fleet Street" and Harriet Harris could be the perfect Mrs. Lovett. I've seen "Sweeney" perhaps a dozen times and can't wait to this version.

"What a Glorious Feeling" at Adirondack Theatre Festival in Glens Falls. June 24-July 3. It's a musical supposedly based on the true backstage events during the making of the classic film "Singin' in the Rain." It's about a love triangle between Gene Kelly, the film's dance captain Jeanne Coyle and Coyle's ex-husband, who happens to be Kelly's co-director of the film. It should have all the fun of the movie and a little intrigue as well.

Richard III at Shakespeare & Company, Lenox, Mass. July 2-Sept. 5 (in repertory). One of Shakespeare's great villains is played by John Douglas Thompson. Thompson is turning into one of the country's leading classical actors coupling his 2008 and 2009 performances as "Othello" at Shakespeare & Company with an Off-Broadway turn as the title character in "Emperor Jones." He's performed with Kevin Kline in "Cyrano" and with Denzel Washington in "Julius Caesar." Not bad credits.

Endgame at the Unicorn Theater of Berkshire Theatre Festival, Stockbridge, Mass. July 6-24. This is one of Samuel Beckett's most tantalizing plays. It's an absurdist look at the future- which to an absurdist means the end of the world. Next to "Waiting for Godot" this is Beckett's best play. It's dark and confusing, but this same BTF team made "Godot" into a very funny, accessible evening of theater without losing the point of the play. I hope the same for "Endgame."

Six Degrees of Separation, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown, Mass. July 14-25. A young man claiming to be the son of Sidney Poitier appears at a wealthy couple's home. Do they believe him because they trust him, want a walk-on role in "Cats" or because they have a need to believe in something? It's a dense play but it makes you think and even laugh.

The Guardsman at Berkshire Theatre Festival's main stage, Stockbridge, Mass. July 13-July 31. There's nothing like an old classic during the summer months and "The Guardsman" fits that bill perfectly. It's about an actor who assumes a disguise to test his wife's fidelity and finds himself in a lot of unexpected mischief of his own making. It's an old-fashioned farce directed by John Rando, a man who is an expert at farce.

Pool Boy at Music Theater Lab at Barrington Stage in Pittsfield, Mass. July 21-Aug 8. This brand new musical has been waiting to get on the Lab's schedule for two years. It sounds like a cross between "The Graduate" and "Sunset Boulevard" where an innocent young man (who happens to be an aspiring songwriter) meets the sharks of LA by the side of a pool. A number of shows given its first chance at Music Theatre Lab have moved to NYC. I sense "Pool Boy" will be another.

Imagining Madoff at Stageworks in Hudson. July 23 - Aug. 8. Talk about timely. This is a look at the man behind the greatest Ponzi scheme in history. The law couldn't get Madoff to talk about the hurt he caused others, maybe a visit to his prison cell by poet and humanitarian Solomon Galkin might do the trick.

Lies and Legends at Theatre Barn, New Lebanon. July 29 - Aug. 8. This musical revue based on the songs of Harry Chapin is simple fun and the kind of material that Theatre Barn does so well. Not everything in theater has to be dark and depressing. "Lies and Legends" is the kind of show that you enjoy in the theater and as an added gift it lingers with you when you leave.

The Last Goodbye at the Nikos Stage of Williamstown Theatre Festival Aug 5-20. This is a musical adaptation of "Romeo & Juliet." Enough said. The most beloved love story ever written with music added. It could be great or a what were they thinking?

We can't tell - but I can't wait to see it - as well and the other listed nine shows that offer promise of a great summer in the theater.


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