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June Theatre Highlights

Sa 6/4- Kaatsbaan International Dance Center presents JENNIFER MULLER/THE WORKS performing “THE WHITE ROOM”, at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, Tivoli—Summer is also an ideal time to enjoy the dance, with the Kaatsbaan International Dance Center—a non-profit, professional creative residence and performance facility situated on a 153-acre historic site in Tivoli—in session. Founded in 1990, it provides dance companies, choreographers, composers, set designers and all dance artists with a setting where they can create and showcase new work, rehearse, perform and develop new productions. This performance features The Works, a well-traveled dance company that has performed in 39 countries on four continents and 30 states in the US, and has self-produced 21 seasons in New York City, at the Joyce, New Victory and Roundabout Theaters, City Center, and the Kaye Playhouse. Their artistic director, Jennifer Muller, has over 40 years of accolades as a dance innovator and award-winning choreographer for theatre, with work featured at The Public Theater, Second Stage, New York Stage and Film, and the Metropolitan Opera. Muller is the composer of the evening-length piece “The White Room”, which starts in a large featureless space, and alters as the piece progresses, influenced by the attitudes and actions of those inhabiting it. In the beginning, the room echoes the innocence of a young girl, who is both damaged and transformed by encounters with a diverse cast of characters. “The White Room” explores the corruption of innocence, contrasting purity with heartless self-interest, questioning the value systems of our times. The musical score is drawn from contemporary cello repertoire, including music from Break of Reality and Zoe Keating. Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, 120 Broadway (County Rte. 78), Tivoli,, 845.757.5106. 7:30 PM

6/3 through 6/19- Shandaken Theatrical Society presents INTO THE WOODS, by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, at STS Playhouse, Phoenicia—Now here’s a musical you can sink some teeth into. Fresh from his successful collaboration with book writer James Lapine, Sunday in the Park with George (1984), composer/librettist Stephen Sondheim (West Side Story, Company, Sweeney Todd, many more) went with Lapine again for his next project: a story bringing together elements and characters from classic Brothers Grimm tales. An original story about a baker and his wife trying to start a family, ties together bits from Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Cinderella into a Twilight Zone episode, set to music. Though its 1987 debut and subsequent Broadway run may have been overshadowed by the juggernaut that was Phantom of the Opera, Into the Woods went on to win several Tony Awards, including Best Score, Best Book, and Best Actress in a Musical (Joanna Gleason). Witches, wolves, giantesses…and one of the most intricate and well-conceived musical scores ever staged. (I may be biased, having musically directed this show before, and gotten to know the delightful score.) It’s an extraordinarily challenging piece too, and the Shandaken Theatrical Society (STS) appears to be up to the task, with director Amy Wallace, and musical director Kent Brown at the helm. STS Playhouse, 10 Church St., Phoenicia,, 845.688.2279. Fr/Sa 8 PM, Su 4 PM

6/24 through 7/10- World premiere of JACKASS FLATS, by C.C. Loveheart and John Simon, at Shadowland Theatre, Ellenville—One of the region’s premier not-for-profit Actor’s Equity theatre houses in the Hudson Valley, Shadowland Theatre presents the world premiere of C.C. Loveheart and John Simon’s Jackass Flats this month. If those names seem familiar, well, they ought to: Las Vegas-born C.C. Loveheart started out as a chorus girl at the Sahara Hotel and has since had an amazing 40-year career as a writer, teacher, director, and acclaimed actor. She is also an ordained minister, performing numerous interfaith marriages over the last 15 years, while directing for and gracing national and regional stages, as well as New York City. Co-writer (and husband) John Simon is one of the most respected record producers of all time, having worked on seminal records by The Band, Janis Joplin, Simon & Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen, and Joni Mitchell. He has also worked on Broadway, scored for films and television, and is an inspiring jazz pianist—a visit to his regular Thursday night gig at Aroma Thyme Bistro, in Ellenville, is always highly recommended. The duo took 16 years to write Jackass Flats (directed by Shadowland artistic director Brendan Burke)—the story of a road trip in 1952, starting from Las Vegas, under a full moon with Kay, her 9-year old daughter, and uptight sister-in-law en route to a life-changing sunset picnic. Winner of the Maxwell Anderson Award—for best un-produced play—in 1997, it finally makes its much-deserved world debut. Shadowland Theatre, 157 Canal St., Ellenville,, 845.647.5511. Th/Fr/Sa 8 PM, Su 3 PM

6/2 through 6/19- Performing Arts of Woodstock presents DANGEROUS OBSESSION, by N. J. Crisp, at Woodstock Town Hall, Woodstock—Not to be confused with Dangerous Liaisons or Fatal Obsession, Dangerous Obsession is perhaps N.J. Crisp’s most well known work for the stage. A prolific British novelist and dramatist, Crisp wrote numerous scripts for BBC series and serials through the 60s and 70s before producing this taut psychological thriller in 1987, a densely intricate plot that starts with a young wife admitting a man who she believes to be an acquaintance in to her sumptuous home. Soon after her husband arrives, the man becomes clearly distraught; his wife has been killed in a car accident, apparently. Things come to a boil, suddenly a gun is produced, and….that’s only the very first part of the story; things get weird from there. Expect the unexpected twists and turns of a master plot designer, performed by Performing Arts of Woodstock’s own Kimberly Kay, Joe Bongiorno, and Paul Duffy. And if the plot seems familiar, perhaps you caught the 1999 film Darkness Falls, with Ray Winstone, Sherilyn Fenn, and Tim Dutton, based on the premise. (Actually, Crisp hated the film so much, he had his name removed from the credits.) Directed by Nicola Sheara. Woodstock Town Hall, 63 Tinker St., Woodstock,

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