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December 05, 2016
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They say the neon lights are bright—in Forestburgh?

In a rare glimpse of a “blank canvas,” the Forestburgh Playhouse begins preparations to create theatre magic

Not too long afterward, “Idaho!’ director Matt Lenz stopped by the Forestburgh Playhouse, having just bought property in Sullivan County, and introduced himself to Duttweiler. With Broadway credits and an extensive resume to match, Lenz called on Duttweiler and the FBP again about 14 months ago and brought up the concept of bringing “Idaho!” to Forestburgh. Having recently formed the new not-for-profit FBPAC, which is committed to “developing new theatre,” Duttweiler realized that the timing was perfect for this venture and set out on the process of determining how, where and when to bring “Idaho!” to life at the FBP.

On my quest to discover all that I could about “Idaho!” I stopped by the theatre to get a peek at the rehearsal process. Scores of actors, technicians, directors (and their assistants), lighting and scenic designers and costumers were hard at work, readying themselves and the theatre itself for this bold new adventure. I chatted briefly with Buddy Sheffield (book, music and lyrics) and greeted composer and co-lyricist Keith Thompson. Director Matt Lenz waved, while in the middle of discussion with the company, all of whom made it clear that the excitement of bringing a brand new show to the FBP is palpable.

“Our audiences are going to love this show,” associate managing director Sarah Norris said, “in part because we all love Rogers & Hammerstein, ‘Oklahoma!’ and the great musicals in general. ‘Idaho!’ is a little bit naughty, a little bit bawdy and loads of fun. The story is hilarious, the score is fantastic, and I guarantee the audience will exit the theatre humming more than one of the many wonderful tunes.”

Duttweiler and Norris had a few parting words about the road to “Idaho!” for me. “Thanks to the great cooperation and encouragement from the folks at Actors Equity, we are finally embarking on this amazing journey,” Duttweiler said. “Although this trip is taking us in a new direction, we know where we are going,” Norris added, “and are thrilled to be taking our loyal audience with us.”

Since this is a new show, it is considered to be “in workshop,” and as changes are made, fine tuning will continue throughout the run of the show. As a result, each audience could see a slightly different version of “Idaho!” and return visits might be fun. Ticket prices are reduced for this particular production, to encourage first-time FBP visitors, along with seasoned regulars, to come along for the ride. Additionally, tickets (and seat selection) can be purchased online at www.FBplayhouse.org or by calling the box office at 845/794-1194.