Fairs and Festivals

Once again, it’s that lovely and amazing time of year: summer. After a terribly long, icy winter and slow-starting spring, the sun is shining — and the region is bursting with events ripe for the picking. Whether you’re looking for quality theater, classical music, family fun, or anything in between (and we do mean anything — classic motorcycles, anyone?), there’s a fair or festival somewhere in the Valley to help you celebrate the season


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Shadowland TheatreAll seats at Ellenville’s award-winning Shadowland Theatre are within 25 feet of the stage

Photograph by Paul Cowell

Shadowland Theatre

May 29-Sept. 27

It’s Shadowland’s birthday, but it’s Valley theatergoers who are getting the gift. Ellenville’s popular professional theater celebrates its 25th anniversary year with a star-studded summer lineup (and a season subscription costs less than one ticket to a Broadway show). “This season exemplifies the mission of the theater,” says Producing Artistic Director Brendan Burke. “It’s a nice balance of challenging, rarely done, and audience favorites.” Highlights include plays by two treasured Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwrights, Arthur Miller (The Price) and David Mamet (American Buffalo), and the directorial debut of Tony-nominated actor John Cariani.

“I’m most excited it’s our 25th year, which is an accomplishment for any small, not-for-profit theater, but especially in this economy. And we’re probably in the best shape we’ve ever been,” says Burke, adding that he is thrilled that both Orson Bean and Stephanie Zimbalist are set to star in The Price, which opened the season May 29. Zimbalist, best-known for her five-year turn as Laura Holt on NBC’s Remington Steele, holds theater in the highest regard. “Theater makes me better,” she says. “It sharpens your blades.” And The Price is, by every estimation, quite a whetstone. “It’s an odd play,” says Bean. Throughout his 50 years in show business, this veteran actor has appeared everywhere from The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Broadway to How I Met Your Mother; he is most widely known as the long-standing panelist on To Tell the Truth. Despite the play’s seemingly heavy themes — reconciling the past and the ties that bind — Bean maintains it will get a lot of laughs. “At least it will when I do it, I’ll tell you that.”

Written and directed by John Cariani, Almost, Maine opens June 12. Renowned as the forensic tech Beck on Law & Order, Cariani has also appeared on Broadway as Motel the Tailor in Fiddler on the Roof, a role that garnered him a Tony nomination. This is his first foray into professional directing. Almost, Maine premiered at the Portland Stage Company in 2004 to critical acclaim, had a short run off-Broadway the following year, and is featured in New Playwrights: The Best New Plays of 2006. “It’s pretty thrilling,” Cariani admits of his work’s success. Set far from the coast in Almost, a mythical town in the deepest part of Maine, the romantic comedy paints a magical picture of people falling in and out of love over the course of one night.

The season continues with Gutenberg! The Musical! by Scott Brown and Anthony King (July 17-Aug. 9); Accomplice by Rupert Holmes (Aug. 14-Sept. 6); and closes in September with American Buffalo, a timely piece considered to be one of Mamet’s greatest (Burke will direct). The icing on the cake: Any unsold seats to Thursday and Friday performances go for whatever you can pay. Happy birthday to us!
Shows are Thurs.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. 845-647-5511 or www.shadowlandtheatre.org


Up next: County Fairs


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