Looking for a place to enjoy professional-quality live theater that captures the period ambiance of vaudeville’s heyday? Look no further than Ellenville, where Shadowland Stages has just launched their 35th anniversary season. It’s a terrific space where every seat has a great view of the action, and the talent on display is always topnotch.
The first play on this year’s list is a new drama by D. W. Gregory, Memoirs of a Forgotten Man. Based on true events, it chronicles the tale of Alexei S., a Soviet journalist with perfect memory who is seen as a threat by Stalin’s propaganda machine and targeted by a government censor. The play opened on June 1 and will run through June 16, Memoirs will be Shadowland’s first production as a member of the National New Play Network: an alliance of American theaters dedicated to developing new work.
Jen Silverman’s thoughtful comedy The Roommate begins previews on June 21, opens on June 22 and runs through July 14. When Iowan empty-nester Sharon decides that it’s time to take on a roommate, Robyn, a stranger from the Bronx, answers the call. Together this mismatched couple reinvent themselves in a delightful story of later-in-life transformation.
The comedy centerpiece of the season is the classic whodunit Shear Madness, rarely performed outside Boston and Washington, DC. A murder is committed and audience members get to spot the clues, question the suspects and ultimately solve the funniest mystery in the annals of crime. Shear Madness previews on July 19, opens on July 20 and runs through August 18.
The laughs continue with Joe DiPietro’s heartwarming comedy about family, faith and food, Over the River and through the Woods, previewing on August 23 with an August 24 opening and running through September 8. When their favorite grandchild receives a great job offer on the West Coast, two sets of grandparents find that they’ll go to any length to keep him in town.
In 2010, Shadowland scored a hit with a production of actor/playwright Jeff Daniels’ play Guest Artist, starring John Astin. Previewing on September 13, opening on the 14th and running through September 29, Daniels’ newest drama, Flint, will grace the Ellenville stage. Flint is a tough and honest portrayal of two couples (one black, one white), neighbors who have seen their lives greatly diminished two-and-a-half years after losing their jobs at the Flint, Michigan automobile plant. Their lives and relationships unravel as they lose their grip on their chance at the American Dream. It all comes to a head on a Friday evening in September 2014, six weeks before the state announced a problem with the city’s water.
The regular season will finish with the heartfelt and hilarious Cry It Out by Kingston-based playwright Molly Smith Metzler, whose comedy Elemenopea was a big hit for Shadowland in 2018. In the suburbs of Long Island, where the haves and have-nots live side-by-side, two new mothers create a strong bond despite their differences. Through daily conversations in their adjoining backyards during their kids’ nap time, these women create a powerful friendship. But the stakes are raised when a third mom asks to join the group. Cry It Out previews October 4, opens on the 5th and runs through October 20.
Tickets for Shadowland Stages productions cost $31 to $39, and can be reserved by calling (845) 647-5511 or visiting www.shadowlandstages.org. Shadowland is located at 157 Canal Street in Ellenville.