Sunday, September 7, 2014


Let me continue my series of Sunday posts that are more “wandering” than “tax pro”.

My program for the performance of “LA CAGE AUX FOLLES” at the Forestburgh Playhouse in, where else, Forestburgh NY (about 50 miles from my home in Hawley JUST OFF Route 42), the last musical of the 2014 summer season, included an order form for the Summer Season 2015.

Without further ado here is next summer’s line-up –

DAME YANKEES = June 16 - 28

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN = June 30 – July 12

OLIVER! = July 14 - 26

THE MUSIC MAN = July 28 – August 9

42nd STREET = August 11 – 23

THE FANTASTIKS = August 25 – 30

DRIVING MISS DAISY = September 1 – 6

Two of the musicals selected have special meaning to me. 

THE MUSIC MAN was the first Broadway musical I saw, at age 5.  It began a 13+ year tradition of musical-going with my uncle, an avid theatre-goer, which included just about every “age appropriate” musical (including OLIVER! and 42nd STREET) that opened.  All but two occasions (the opening nights of GIGI and JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR) were Saturday matinees, and for most performances we sat in the first row of the mezzanine.

At age 8 my father took me to my first football game (by then I had seen the original Broadway productions of MY FAIR LADY, CAMELOT, and THE SOUND OF MUSIC, among others).  I was totally bored.  Where was the music?  Where was the dancing?  I am forever thankful that my uncle got to me first. 

While THE MUSIC MAN was the first Broadway musical I saw in the twentieth century, the revival with Craig Bierko and Rebecca Luker was the first Broadway musical I saw in the twenty-first century.

And, in my early twenties I produced several performances of THE FANTASTIKS during my tenure as a local producer via the HUDSON COUNTY PUBLIC THEATRE, a non-profit community theatre group I founded.

There has been theatre at the converted 100-year old barn in Forestburgh for almost 70 years.  The “Forestburgh Summer Theatre”, as it was originally named, opened on July 8, 1947, with a production of BLITHE SPIRIT.

I first discovered the Playhouse in 2011 when I attended a production of the musical IDAHO, a wonderful parody of OKLAHOMA.  I returned in 2012 to see Loretta Swit of tv’s M*A*S*H in the thriller MURDER AMONG FRIENDS.  In 2013 I saw 9 TO 5 and SPAMALOT, both for the first time.  And for 2014 I subscribed to the 5 musical productions. 

The summer of 2014 was the first season for new Producer Franklin Trapp, a former southern lawyer, taking over from retiring Norman Duttweiler, who had run the Playhouse since 1992 (and who appeared as Mr. Banks in the production of MARY POPPINS). 

Franklin began his theatrical career at the Forestburgh Playhouse in 2001 as a Resident Company member.  He remained at the Playhouse every summer through 2004, earning his equity card, writing and directing children’s shows, directing cabarets and directing Mainstage productions such as the Playhouse’s first production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC. 

This summer’s musicals were all top-notch, with experienced equity members in the leading and most featured roles, and made the most of a relatively small and limited stage.  Loretta Swit returned as MAME and Miss Mona in THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS.  The first musical of the season, MY FAIR LADY, was as good as any professional revival of the classic I have seen over the years.  

And you certainly cannot beat the price – less than $30 for a matinee and $35 for an evening performance with a subscription.

My program for LA CAGE also contained a flyer for the fall series of Friday and Saturday night cabaret, with a couple of “Game Nights” thrown in, at the Forestburgh Tavern adjacent to the theatre building, which runs through October 11th.  I plan to attend at least the LET’S GO TO THE MOVIES cabaret of favorite songs from the silver screen on Friday, October 10th. 

The Playhouse also runs pre-show, with a buffet, and after-show cabarets during the summer season.   


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