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March Theatre Highlights

Th-Su 3/4 through 3/20- Shandaken Theatrical Society (STS) presents THE FOREIGNER, by Larry Shue, at the STS Playhouse, Phoenicia—It’s always interesting what people will say in your presence when they don’t think you can understand them. This seems to be the engine of this delightful comedy, along with the tried and true fish-out-of-water scenario. Larry Shue’s The Foreigner had a nice run at New York’s Astor Place Theatre when it debuted in 1984—with Shue himself in the cast—going on to win two Obies and Outer Circle Awards, before becoming a repertory favorite. Charlie is a pathologically shy Englishman who proofreads a science fiction magazine by day, and is a milquetoast of a husband by night. When his buddy drops him off at a backwoods Georgia lodge for the weekend, Charlie pretends to be a “foreigner” who doesn’t speak English in order to get a little solitude. But before he knows it, he has overheard quite a few of the local’s darker secrets and sinister plans. When he learns of a plot to take over the lodge and force out the owner, Charlie is forced into action, using nothing but his wits, a fictional language and an assortment of local townsfolk including a southern debutante, a dim-witted farm boy and an 80 year-old widow. Co-directed by Amy Wallace and Michael Koegel, who also plays the role of Charlie. Shandaken Theatrical Society Playhouse, 10 Church Street, Phoenicia,, 845.688.2279. Th/Fr/Sa 8 PM, Su 2 PM

Sa/Su 3/12 & 13- “FREEZE FRAME” film series fundraiser for the restoration of the Beacon Theatre, featuring a screening of the documentaries HERB AND DOROTHY (Sa 3/12) at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, Galleries; and FRESH (Su 3/13) at the Howland Cultural Center, Beacon—It’s been sitting there unused for quite awhile, since going dark in the late 60s. But last June the sale went down: established not-for-profit 4th Wall Productions bought the Beacon Theatre, and will be restoring it to its original 1934 art deco splendor. The local community has responded positively to the ambitions of 4th Wall’s Jim Brady and Christine Busacca-Vittorini, who bring a wealth of experience, having worked with Madison Square Garden, Nickelodeon, and MTV, and this film series brings the assistance of two important and vital Beacon art venues. Dia:Beacon fittingly hosts a screening of the documentary Herb and Dorothy (Sa 3/12 film 12 PM, Q&A 2 PM, reception 3:15 PM), which tells the story of Herb and Dorothy Vogel, a couple who lived within very modest means—one a postal worker, the other a librarian—yet managed to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history. Several pieces from their collection currently reside at Dia:Beacon, and the Vogels will be on hand for the panel discussion following the film. Sunday’s program will offer Fresh (Su 3/13 12 PM), an inspiring movie about farmers, thinkers, and business people across America who are re-inventing how we need to be looking at our food systems. The film features activist and farmer Joel Salatin of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and sustainable farmer Will Allen, recipient of the 2008 MacArthur’s Genius Award, followed a panel discussion and a local farm lunch at the Beacon Theatre, catered by Fresh Company. All proceeds go to the Beacon Theatre restoration, naturally. Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, 3 Beekman St.,, 845.440.0100; Howland Cultural Center, 477 Main St.,, 845.831.4988.

Tu 3/15- Rosendale Theatre Collective presents screenings of SO-LA, LOUISIANA WATER STORIES and WHAT WOULD DARWIN THINK? MAN VS. GALAPAGOS, documentaries by Jon Bowermaster, with filmmaker Q&A following, at the Rosendale Theatre, Rosendale—The folks at the Rosendale Theatre Collective are in no way taking the winter off, no sirree. Lots of good things going on this month: screenings of Gerrymandering (Tu 3/1, 7 PM) presented by the League of Women Voters of the Mid-Hudson Region, and Strongman, with a Q&A with director Zachary Levy (Fr 3/11, 7:30 PM). Plus, a staged reading of He Isn’t Me, by Philip Dorling and Ron Nyswaner (Fr 3/4, 8 PM), featuring Jason Downs, Turhan Caylak, Nicole Quinn, and Sophia Raab Downs. But this particular cinema event offers a clear-eyed view of two different ecosystem encroachments by mankind, observed firsthand by author and documentary filmmaker Jon Bowermaster…often from the seat of a sea kayak. “When we first went to Louisiana—in July 2008—to make a film about the complicated relationship between man and water there, we had no idea that our reporting would conclude with the worst manmade ecologic disaster ever. SoLa, Louisiana Water Stories (2010) is a poignant look back at a way of life that may now be gone forever, as well as a prescient look at exactly how the gusher in the Gulf was allowed to happen...thanks to corruption and malfeasance.” Then, it’s Bowermaster’s short film What Would Darwin Think? Man v. Nature in the Galapagos (2010). Though most of the Galapagos Islands are off-limits to tourism, man’s heavy footprint is being felt as thousands move there to try and cash in on the tourist boom. Illegal fishing, homesteading and increased pressure on a fragile environment are the results. A Q&A with the filmmaker follows. Rosendale Theatre, 408 Main St., Rosendale,, 845.658.8989. 7 PM

Su 3/27- An Evening of Classic LILY TOMLIN, at Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC), Kingston—Gee whiz, has it really been 40 years since Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In? Wow, it sure doesn’t seem it looking at Lily Tomlin, who just seems to improve with time. I was just realizing that before seeing her on that show, I believe I had never seen a comedian getting the big laughs by completely disappearing into a character (hadn’t yet seen Richard Pryor). And let’s be honest, those characters—precocious six year-old Edith Ann, cheerfully nasal telephone operator (remember those?) Ernestine, super-snooty Tasteful Lady—have outlasted even Goldie Hawn. Since Laugh In, Lily’s been great in pretty much everything: her one-woman Broadway show The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, co-written with her partner and co-conspirator Jane Wagner (a tour-de-force classic), many films including Robert Altman’s Nashville (for which she was nominated for an Oscar) and I Heart Huckabees, plus a cool stint with TV’s The West Wing, playing an alpaca-breeding needle-sharp secretary to the President of the United States. Two Tonys, two Peabodys, six Emmys, a Grammy, an Oscar nomination, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards, plus the Mark Twain Prize for American humor. And I’m betting there’s a Ms. Congeniality in that award haul somewhere too. This show is billed as “An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin,” which considering the rich vein of comedy that suggests, bodes well indeed. Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC), 601 Broadway, Kingston,, 845.339.6088. 7 PM

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