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February Theater highlights

2/13-15, 20-21- STRING OF PEARLS, by Michele Lowe, at the County Players, Wappingers Falls—One of the area’s most beloved community theatres, County Players presents String of Pearls. “Beauty, sophistication, elegance, sensuality . . . for the women who wear them, pearls can represent all these things and more. In Michele Lowe’s play, we follow one string of pearls on a fascinating journey that lasts thirty-five years and touches the lives of twenty-seven characters in many different ways. By turns funny and poignant, String of Pearls—which contains some adult content—explores the perceptions of mothers, daughters, wives, lovers, saints and sinners, as the necklace enters their lives, then leaves.” Directed by Rosalind Ashford Croshier, the five-women cast includes Mary Beth Boylan, Lisa Fulton, Zsuzsa Manna, Anna Marie Martino and Julie Eads Woolley. County Players, 2681 W. Main St., Wappingers Falls,, 845.298.1491. All shows 8 PM, except Su 2/15 at 2 PM

Tu 2/17- Vassar College presents AN EVENING WITH AUGUSTEN BURROUGHS, at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie— Acclaimed humorist Augusten Burroughs—author of bestseller Running With Scissors—is this year’s pick for the Alex Krieger ‘95 Memorial Lecture, and will speak about his life and work, with a question-and-answer session and book signing following. Running with Scissors tells the story of Burroughs’ upbringing under the care of an unbalanced psychiatrist in a Massachusetts mansion. After his mother gives legal guardianship of her 13-year-old son to her psychiatrist, the young author is forced onto a horrific roller coaster ride of bizarre experiences that sees him sexually abused by the doctor’s pedophile patient. Burroughs wrote his story of survival under extraordinary circumstances with a humorous tone that prompted the New York Times to describe Running with Scissors as “a bawdy, outrageous, often hilarious account of what in fact sounds like a seriously unhappy story.” The book topped the New York Times bestseller list for eight months and was one of Entertainment Weekly’s Top Ten Books of the Year. In 2006, it was developed into a film that starred Alec Baldwin, Annette Benning, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Student Bldg., 2nd Fl., Vassar College, 124 Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie,, 845.437.7000. 8 PM

Sa 2/28- GUSTAFER YELLOWGOLD’S SHOW at Bearsville Theater, Woodstock— Since his creation in 2005, Gustafer Yellowgold has become an international phenomenon, acclaimed by the New York Times, which said, “The show is a cross between ‘Yellow Submarine’ and Dr. Seuss.” Entertainment Weekly praised “. . . The most infectious original songs. It’s like tapping into some pleasure center in the brain - both adult and kid . . . absurdly appealing. Grade: A.” New York Magazine named Morgan Taylor “Best Kids’ Performer” in its 2008 Best of New York Awards. The brainchild of illustrator/songwriter Morgan Taylor, Gustafer Yellowgold combines minimally animated illustrations with catchy and original story-songs for a truly different multimedia experience that entrances children, teens and adults alike, occasionally opening for Wilco and Polyphonic Spree. Bearsville Theater, 291 Tinker St. (Rte. 212), Woodstock,, 845.679.4406. 11 AM

Sa/Su 2/28-3/1- Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre 27th Annual Gala Performance, at the Bardavon, Poughkeepsie—You can blather on about aerodynamics, the spirit of Isadora and whether Twyla will be relevant through the next century. (There is no debate on the last point, of course; the grande dame of modern dance just earned a Kennedy Center Honor.) But for those of us who have never bellied up to the barre—and for whom dance remains a spectator art—my criterion for excellence is the amount of joy radiating from the dancers. On that count, Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre is a revelation. The participants are lithe and acrobatic, to be sure. They fly about the stage like neurons on a field day. But their sheer exultation sets them apart. As you attend a performance (Feb. 28 and March 1 at Bardavon), consider this: most of these students will be pursuing other fields upon graduation, not entering the punishing world of professional dance. And you wonder why they fly so high? This year’s program includes work by Paul Taylor and New York City Ballet’s Miriam Mahdaviani and Tom Gold, as well as modern dance pieces set to the music of Steve Reich. The Bardavon, 35 Market St., Poughkeepsie. 845.473.2072. Sa 2/28 8 PM; Su 3/1 3 PM

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