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July Theatre Highlights

7/9 through 7/18- The Coach House Players present ON GOLDEN POND, by Ernest Thompson, at the Coach House, Kingston—Constructed sometime around 1894, the old Coach House on Augusta St. in Kingston served a vital function, providing a covered space to uncouple horse from drawn coach, stalls and feeding service for the horses, and storage for the coaches. But by 1950, thanks to Henry Ford, the building stood vacant and unused. A local theater group—“The Footlighters”—needed a proper space for performances, and through the generosity of Mrs. Katherine Hayes, whose husband owned gold mines in Canada, the building was purchased on their behalf, and the troupe renamed themselves the “Coach House Players.” Since then, they’ve presented over 170 plays over 55 seasons. This month it’s On Golden Pond, made popular by the screen version starring Henry Fonda, Katherine Hepburn, and Jane Fonda, and which swept the Academy Awards in 1982. The play explores the relationships of Thayer family; and elderly couple coming to grips with the twilight years of a long marriage, the complex interaction between father and daughter, and a special bond forged between grandfather and grandson. Coach House Players, 12 Augusta St., Kingston,, 845.331.2476. Fr/Sa 8 PM, Su 3 PM

Sa 7/10- The Woodstock Film Festival presents a screening of THE DRY LAND, with a Q&A following with America Ferrera, Ryan Piers Williams, Melissa Leo, Ryan O’Nan, Sabine Hoffman, and Heather Rae, at Rosendale Theater, Rosendale—Nominated for a 2010 Sundance Grand Jury Prize, THE DRY LAND—by Ryan Piers Williams—is a timely reminder of the human cost of being a warrior. James (Ryan O’Nan) returns from Iraq to face a new battle—reintegrating into his small-town life in Texas. His wife (America Ferrera), his mother (Melissa Leo), and his friend (Jason Ritter) provide support, but they can’t fully understand the pain and suffering he feels since his tour of duty ended. Lonely, James reconnects with an army buddy (Wilmer Valderrama), who provides him with compassion and camaraderie during his battle to process his experiences in Iraq. But their reunion also exposes the different ways that war affects people—at least on the surface. America Ferrera (Ugly Betty) is also the film’s executive producer, and will be present for a Q&A session, as will actors Melissa Leo and Ryan O’Nan, writer/director Ryan Piers Williams, film editor Sabine Hoffman, and producer Heather Rae. Rosendale Theater, 330 Main St., Rosendale,, 845.810.0131. 8 PM

7/10 through 8/15- The Third Annual MOUNT TREMPER ARTS FESTIVAL, at Mount Tremper Arts, Mt. Tremper/Phoenicia—When photographer Mathew Pokoik and choreographer Aynsley Vandenbroucke decided to buy a fixer-upper in the Catskills together in 2003, the original concept was to regroup and sustain careers and sanity. Apparently it worked, as the duo now has a beautiful studio in the hills, and have decided to share it with others once a year. With the visual arts meeting the movement arts in Mathew and Aynsley, it’s only natural the festival reflects the possibilities of the two together, with music of course. Oh, and they have Friday night barbecues….often with a campfire late. Mount Tremper Arts, South Plank Rd. just north off Rte. 212, Mt. Tremper/Phoenicia,, 845.688.9893.

Sa 7/10- Free Opening Extravanganza with Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener from the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the string quartet ETHEL, performing works by Terry Riley and others, and a community pig roast. 3-7 PM

7/10 through 8/15- “Seven Summits” group photography exhibition, featuring works by Michele Abeles, Shannon Ebner, Roe Ethridge, Miranda Lichtenstein, Arthur Ou, Michael Vahrenwald, and Hannah Whitaker. Opening reception Fr 7/16 6-9 PM

Sa 7/17- Dance/music performance artists Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People present HEAVENS WHAT HAVE I DONE and Untitled Project with Jenny Holzer but I’m not allowed to give it a name yet. 8 PM

Sa 7/24- Will Rawls- Census, solo dance performance by award-winning dancer/choereographer, 8 PM

Sa 7/31- Karinne Keithley- Montgomery Park, or Opulence, spoken tales offset by songs, dances, and video projections. 8 PM

Sa/Su 8/7 & 8- Foofwa d’Imobilité- Pina Jackson in Mercemoriam, dance in honor of Michael Jackson, Pina Bausch, and Merce Cunningham. Sa 8/7 8 PM, Su 8/8 3 PM

Sa 8/14- Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly- Trio Triage, collaborative work that straddles contemporary dance, experimental theater, and visual art performance. 8 PM

7/16 through 8/1- CENTERstage Productions presents THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW: book, music and lyrics by Richard O’Brien, at The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck, Rhinebeck—When is it not a good time to “do the Time Warp again?” I really couldn’t say. But it’s hard to deny the longevity of this funny little movie/musical, with these funny little songs, and the characters that are just too much fun to watch, to dress up as. 1975’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show—here with the “Picture” dropped—became a societal Rorschach test, and fans more often identified with the alien “Transylvanians,” inhabiting Frank-N-Furter, Riff Raff, Magenta, and Columbia more willingly than the white-bread Brad and Janet. Funny, that. And suddenly, the audience became the show, literally, for years and years at weekend Midnight Madness movie shows. Though greater psychoanalytical minds than mine (and there are some) can possibly explain this phenomenon, it’s still a damn fun experience, with some cool songs, and CPA’s live show allows—heck, expects—the audience participation. The toilet rolls, the rice, the newspaper, the water pistols…you know the drill. Directed by Lisa Lynds, special preview at Bard Spiegeltent Fr 7/16, 11:45 PM. The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck, 661 Rte. 308, Rhinebeck,, 845.876.3080. Fr/Sa 8 PM, Su 3 PM

Through August- Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival presents TROILUS AND CRESSIDA, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, and THE BOMB-ITTY OF ERRORS, at Boscobel Restoration, Garrison—It’s a winning formula they’ve had going for over twenty years: one tragedy, one comedy, and (more recently added) something completely different. Not to be a theatre snob or anything, but I confess: it’s really enjoy seeing Shakespeare done the way it is at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, at Boscobel. Big tent, no constructed set, minimal props and costuming, and using the open air as well as the considerable grounds that provide a backdrop and a playing field for the actors. Sure, they’ll use some modern flourishes; they’re not above staging mass dance choreography to modern pop tunes. But the acting, directing, and of course the language “ is the thing,” and director Terence O’Brien never fails to get the most out of his top-shelf troupe.

TROILUS AND CRESSIDA, long considered one of the Bard’s most difficult and least popular works, due to its unique comedy/tragedy ambiguity, follows two tracks. One is the tragic love tale of the two ordinary Trojans in the title, the other the grand story of Trojan War with all the main protagonists: Achilles, Ajax, Agamemnon, Helen, Priam, and Hector, which ends poorly for, well, all of them. It’s always fun to see what gets made of this under-performed work. THE TAMING OF THE SHREW—directed by Kurt Rhoads—is a classic comedic vehicle for a great cast, though to be honest these days Petrucchio (the “shrew tamer”) would probably be doing time for harassment and brainwashing (if in fact the latter is a crime. Oughta be.) So why does the audience cheer the taming? The acting, the directing, the language. And…well OK, she could’ve used a little. Hey, I’m just sayin’. And in the wild card spot, THE BOMB-ITTY OF ERRORS—by Jordan Allen-Dutton, Jason Catalano, Gretogy Qaiyum, and Erik Weiner; directed by Christopher V. Edwards—is apparently an “ad-rap-tation of Shakespeare’s Comedy Of Errors,” which unlike many other “rap-tations,” is completely family friendly and funny. Get there early to enjoy the CURRENT exhibition (see this month’s Roll art & image), take a picnic, and enjoy one of the all-time great Hudson River views. Boscobel Restoration, Rte. 9D just south of Cold Spring,, 845.265.9575. Su 6 PM, Tu/We/Th 7 PM, Fr/Sa 8 PM

TROILUS AND CRESSIDA: July 15, 17, 21, 24, 25, 29, August 5, 8, 10, 12, 14, more
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW: July 10, 13, 16, 18, 22, 27, 30, August 1, 4, 7, 11, 15, more
BOMB-ITTY OF ERRORS: July 11, 14, 20, 23, 28, 31, August 3, 6, 13, more

Sa/Su 7/31 & 8/1- MIDSUMMER ARTS FESTIVAL at the Center for Symbolic Studies, New Paltz—The wild folks of the Center for Symbolic Studies—who bring you the Festival of Beltane and the Celebration of Lugh—have upped the ante with this MidSummer Arts Festival (Roll is co-sponsoring). Camping is available and encouraged, art and music workshops and classes in flying trapeze, drumming, dance, kid’s music and storytelling, and more happen in the daylight hours, with dance, theater, music, and accompanied silent movies in the evenings, culminating in a late night bonfire. Regional artists and good locally grown food in a family friendly atmosphere make this a good weekend getaway. Center for Symbolic Studies, Stone Mountain Farm, 310 River Rd. Ext., New Paltz,, 845.658.8540. Call ahead to reserve camping. Sa 7/31 2-10:30 PM, Su 8/1 1:30-10 PM

7/30 through 8/15- Bard Summerscape presents THE DISTANT SOUND, opera by Franz Schrecker; and THE CHOCOLATE SOLDIER, operetta by Oscar Strauss, at the Richard B. Fisher Center, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson—When the concept of musical modernism is mentioned, it is usually the Viennese school mentioned, with Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern being the most familiar practitioners. But with the focus this year on Alban Berg (1885-1935) for the 21st Annual Bard Music Festival—coming up in August—American Symphony Orchestra director Leon Botstein brings context to the composer (Wozzeck, Lulu) by presenting Berg’s own peers and influences. Fellow Austrian Franz Schreker’s The Distant Sound (Der ferne Klang, 1910), is somewhat familiar to European audiences, and is an important work that surely influenced Berg, as he personally prepared the piano/vocal score, for this story of a composer who forsakes a woman’s love, in search of a song that seems just beyond his grasp; and the tragic fate of the woman, who retreats into her dreams. Dr. Botstein’s US premeire of the opera (in concert form) in the ASO’s 2006-7 season garnered rave reviews, inspiring this attempt at the works first ever full performance in the US. Thaddeus Strassberger—who directed Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots last year returns to direct.

Then, it’s a taste of the lighter side of pre-war Vienna with Oscar Straus’s operetta The Chocolate Soldier (1908), with a book based on George Bernard Shaw’s play Arms and the Man (librettist: Leopold Jacobson. This performance directed by Will Pomerantz.). Though Shaw permitted the use of his plot as long as it was a parody—a story about how the uniform doesn’t make the man, without his actual dialog and names used—he also unwisely eschewed any compensation. Pity; it was a huge success on Broadway in 1909, and the next year ran for 500 performances in London. With the always-scintillating ASO in the orchestra pit, both promise to be memorable performances at Bard. Richard B. Fisher Center, Bard College, Rte. 9G just north of Red Hook,, 845.758.7900.

THE DISTANT SOUND: Fr 7/30 7 PM, Su 8/1 3 PM, We 8/4 3 PM, Fr 8/6 7 PM.
THE CHOCOLATE SOLDIER: Th-Sa 8/5-7 8 PM, Su 8/8 3 PM, We 8/11 3 PM, Th/Fr 8/12 & 13 8 PM, Sa/Su 8/14 & 15 3 PM

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