Adiron­dack The­atre Fes­ti­val puts fresh, unique works on stage

The Record (Troy, NY) - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Bob Goepfert For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. » Chad Rabi­novitz ends ev­ery cur­tain speech at Adiron­dack The­atre Fes­ti­val say­ing, “What you see here, can’t be seen by any­one else in the world.”

The pro­duc­ing-artis­tic di­rec­tor of the Glens Falls pro­fes­sional sum­mer theater com­pany ex­plained that be­cause the com­pany is ded­i­cated to new work the ex­pe­ri­ence for au­di­ences is “al­ways gen­uine and au­then­tic.” He adds, with a slight laugh, “I hope en­ter­tain­ing and ex­cit­ing as well.”

As an ex­am­ple, he uses, “Some Lovers,” a new mu­si­cal that opens tonight at the Wood The­atre and plays through June 23. It’s not only a new mu­si­cal, but, sound­ing as if filled with pride, he calls it, “a fresh new mu­si­cal by Burt Bacharach.”

To make things clear, Rabi­novitz firmly makes the point that “Some Lovers” is not a Bacharach “juke-box mu­si­cal.” “It’s all new mu­sic con­nected to a very ro­man­tic story,” he says.

Adding to the unique­ness of the work it is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Bacharach and Steven Sater, a writer­poet whowon a Tony Award for Best Book of a Mu­si­cal with “Spring Awak­en­ing.” “Some Lovers” is in­spired by the O. Henry short story “Gift of the Magi.”

Though “Some Lovers” is new, it has been tested. The work has had a work­shop pro­duc­tion at the Old Globe in San Diego, and an­other work­shop in Lon­don. It was of­fered in a con­cert ver­sion at Lin­coln Cen­ter last year. The Adiron­dack The­atre Fes­ti­val was hand-picked by the pro­duc­ers for this fully mounted grand open­ing.

Rabi­novitz cred­its ATF’s his­tory of new work as a rea­son to be selected as an open­ing venue for a work al­most ev­ery mu­si­cal theater com­pany would kill to have. “We’ve de­vel­oped a na­tional rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing nur­tur­ing to artists and to new work. He says that in the in­dus­try, Adiron­dack The­atre Fes­ti­val is known as ‘ the hid­den gem in the Adiron­dacks.’”

He also says that be­cause of his strong sub­scrip­tion base the shows are well at­tended. “Pro­duc­ers and artists ap­pre­ci­ate play­ing to full houses”, he says. He adds, “It’s not only the size of the house. We have smart, knowl­edge­able au­di­ences. Artists learn a lot about what works or doesn’t work here.”

Rabi­novitz points to the sec­ond show of the sea­son to fur­ther ex­plain the ex­cite­ment of new work. “Loch Ness,” which plays July 5-14 in­volves a gi­ant pup­pet, which the pro­ducer says, “cost tens of thou­sands of dol­lars.” He feels the ex­pen­di­ture and lo­gis­tics of get­ting the mas­sive pup­pet to work in the Wood The­atre is worth the ef­fort and ex­pense to de­light his au­di­ence and serve the play.

“If we only wanted to do a show us­ing a large pup­pet we could have pro­duced ‘Lit­tle Shop of Hor­rors.’ I expect it would be pretty good and en­ter­tain­ing. But “Lit­tle Shop…’ is some­thing au­di­ences have likely seen some­where else. They expect more from us. They look to us to give them work they can’t ex­pe­ri­ence any­where else. That’s what makes us spe­cial.”

He doesn’t deny the need for au­di­ences to feel a lit­tle safe, even with new work. In­deed, how threat­en­ing can a mu­si­cal by Burt Bacharach be? Or for that mat­ter, a work with a love­able Loch Ness mon­ster?

The pat­tern con­tin­ues with the fi­nal two shows. Rabi­novitz calls “The Jedi Hand­book,” “a nos­tal­gic com­ing of age show.” How­ever, he in­sists it is not lim­ited in ap­peal to the fans of “Star Wars.” “It will re­mind ev­ery­one about that mo­ment they dis­cov­ered an in­ter­est in some­thing that would re­main in their lives for­ever. In ‘Jedi Hand­book’ it’s Star Wars. It could be base­ball, mu­sic, theater or girls. It cap­tures, in a non­triv­ial way, what it means to come of age.” “The Jedi Hand­book” plays July 20-27.

As for “Front Page Flo,” a mu­si­cal about a news­pa­per woman liv­ing in post-World War II, chal­lenged by Soviet spies in New York City, Rabi­novitz calls it a “golden age tap dancing mu­si­cal.” “My goal is for au­di­ences to feel as if they are see­ing a clas­sic mu­si­cal for the first time.” It closes the sea­son Au­gust 3-9.

For tick­ets and sched­ule in­for­ma­tion and news about spe­cial events, log on to at­fes­ti­val.org or call (518) 480- 4878.

PHOTO PRO­VIDED

Works from com­poser Burt Bacharach and writer-poet Steven Sater will be fea­tured at the Adiron­dack The­atre Fes­ti­val in Glens Falls.

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