Playwright David Mamet has long been lauded for his uncanny ear for the language of the mean streets of his native Chicago. And the play that cemented his reputation on a national scale was American Buffalo, which premiered in 1975 and first moved to Broadway in 1977. How does a drama that depicts a bungled heist by three downtrodden, inarticulate, uneducated men, speaking largely in four-letter expletives, rise to the level of poetry? See the new production by Carey Harrison’s Woodstock Players and find out.
You’ll have two venues to choose from: This weekend, the troupe will perform American Buffalo at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck, with shows beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, January 6 and 7, and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 8. The following weekend the production moves to the Kleinert/James Arts Center in Woodstock, with curtain times of 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 14 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 15.
Directed by Tracy Carney, with costumes and set design by Claire Lambe, the Woodstock Players’ revival of this classic portrait of the stunted dreams of the American underclass will star the Center’s artistic/managing director Lou Trapani as Teach, the role made famous on Broadway by Al Pacino and in the film version by Dustin Hoffman. Carey Harrison will play Don, the owner of the junk shop in which the would-be coin-collection thieves hatch their scheme, and Alex Bennett will portray Don’s drug-addled assistant Bobby.
Tickets at either venue go for $20 general admission, $18 for seniors and students. To encourage more young people to attend live theater, the Woodstock Players offer a $5 Sunday matinée special for students and others aged 21 and under with a valid ID. Note, however, that due to its graphic language, this play is not suitable for children, and parental guidance is strongly advised for teens.
To purchase tickets for performances at the Center, which is located at 661 Route 308 in Rhinebeck, phone (845) 876-3080 or visit www.centerforperformingarts.org. For tickets to American Buffalo at the Kleinert, located at 34 Tinker Street in Woodstock, phone (845) 901-2893, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thewoodstockplayers.com.