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Theatre Albany: Up and running!

By   /   September 14, 2009  /   Comments

The tradition of non-stop activity at Theatre Albany continues as the staff, performers, and volunteers, wrap up the first offering of the season, continue with rehearsals for the second, and prep for an exciting fund raising event in September. By the time the six main stage performances, two special events, and theatre summer youth camp concludes at season’s end, there are going to be some tired theatre folks around these parts, but they love it. They must, because after just a few days of rest, it will start all over again next August. That’s show biz!

If you’ve been of the mind that live theatre in Albany is something for those that prefer a low-key entertainment venue, then you’ve never experienced live theatre. The energy and excitement that builds between the performers and an engaged and receptive audience, is one of the most thrilling ways to spend a few hours. Even though the 2009/2010 Special Subscription Drive has concluded, you can still get a pro-rated, annual subscription to the remainder of the season, certainly by far, one of the best entertainment dollar values in Albany.

You just missed, “King Mackerel and The Blues Are Running”, a collection of tall tales and rollicking songs of the Carolina Coast, in the Diamond Studs and Pump Boys and Dinettes tradition, penned by Bland Simpson and Jim Wann with Don Dixon and J. L. Mills. The musicians, Steve Strowbridge, Brian Willian, Kevin Blaise, and Charlie Meyer had a blast and it showed. Folks had no idea the group had not played together before, assuming they were an established local band. It’s called talent; something Theatre Albany showcases very well.

Banks and Shane with Jim Durand to perform at Theatre Albany on September 18th.

Banks and Shane with Jim Durand to perform at Theatre Albany on September 18th.

They also know how to bring it in for special events, and on Friday night, September 18th, Theatre Albany will welcome Banks & Shane, with Jim Durand to the stage as they offer up, “A Tribute To The Kingston Trio” as a wonderful fund raiser for the organization. Tickets are on sale now at Theatre Albany and are $25 per person. You don’t want to miss what has been called a “magical” trip down memory lane.

In rehearsals now, and set to open October 9th is, “It Runs In The Family”, from the master of British farce, Ray Cooney. Gathering their comedic talents for this non-stop romp are, Doug Lorber, Francie Michas, Kathleen Stroup, Sara Mackenzie, Bill Mackenzie, Marty Falkner, Ron McGhee, Andrea McCoy, Kevin Armstrong, and Jason Wallace. Rest up, because Cooney’s style will wear everybody out by evening’s end, keeping them moving, and you laughing all night. This is going to be a hoot!

On the marquee for the holidays is another comedy, but southern style, “Christmas Belles”, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jessie Wooten. The synopsis of the play at theatrealbany.com lays out a plot line that’s sure to get your attention and attendance: “A church Christmas program spins hilariously out of control in this Southern farce about squabbling sisters, family secrets, a surly Santa, a vengeful sheep and a reluctant Elvis impersonator!”

2010 will get off to a rousing, standing room only start in February with the return of Jennifer Varnedoe as country music legend, Pasty Cline, in “A Closer Walk With Pasty Cline”, by Dean Regan. Varnedoe’s previous incarnations as the legendary Cline have been amazing performances to watch, and this one is sure to be a sellout.

In March, Tom Ziegler’s “Grace and Glorie” will bring to the stage a beautifully written, stunningly lyrical, hilariously funny, and heartfelt play about two strong, stubborn women who unexpectedly forge a deep bond despite their disparate backgrounds. Also in March, the Theatre Albany board and volunteers will be holding their annual, and very popular St. Patrick’s Day fund raiser. Details will be forthcoming, so certainly watch for that.

The season’s finale in May, could not get much grander with “Big River, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. Mark Twain’s timeless characters of Huck and his friend Jim, an escaped slave, will take us on that winding journey down the mighty Mississippi as they race to gain Jim’s freedom at the mouth of the Ohio River. The award winning score from country music giant, Roger Miller, will carry you along with the currents in this heartwarming and touching celebration of pure Americana.

This very active season at Theatre Albany is shaping up to be one of the best in years. For more information on the shows, season ticket purchases, special events, and opportunities for you to get involved, check out Theatre Albany on line at theatrealbany.com.

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About the author

Written by Lon McNeil. Mr. McNeil is an Albany independent marketing consultant.

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