in my humble opinion

Curtain up!

Posted 5/29/24

Well, this is exciting. Not only has spring been gorgeous, albeit wet and wild, but we’ve also gotten a sneak peek at summer, with temps already soaring into the 80s. The only thing missing is …

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in my humble opinion

Curtain up!


Well, this is exciting. Not only has spring been gorgeous, albeit wet and wild, but we’ve also gotten a sneak peek at summer, with temps already soaring into the 80s. The only thing missing is a freak snowstorm, which would certainly be unusual, noteworthy and dramatic. 

Speaking of drama: curtains are about to rise throughout the Upper Delaware River region as theatres open their doors for the season. They’re poised to welcome audiences hungry for entertainment, both indoors and out.

As I scanned website upon website for info regarding the summer seasons of venues scattered throughout the countryside, I placed a call to editor/writer extraordinaire Annemarie Schuetz, asking for advice.

“I don’t want my column to just read like a glorified calendar,” I whined in a manly voice. “I love live theatre too much to simply list the who, what, where and when. Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi—you’re my only hope.”

I’m not sure that Annemarie picked up on the “Star Wars” reference, but she asked a few pertinent questions, like “What drew you to theatre as a kid?” and “Most people never step foot on a stage; what made you want to be an actor in the first place?” 

As it happens, I was a professional actor for the first half of my life, and enjoyed a modicum of success on stage, with a little bit of television and film thrown in for good measure. 

Annemarie’s question gave me pause, and after I hung up the phone I became reflective, bordering on maudlin, as I considered her query. “Now that I think about it,” I said to the dog, “I’m not sure, but I think it was a production of ‘The Red Shoes’ that I saw in elementary school.” 

Based on the literary fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen, the children’s theatre version presented that fateful day was absolutely mesmerizing. Not only did it contain a strong moral message aimed at young people, but it had music, magic and sparkly lights sweeping us away into another realm, one in which I desired to stay forever.

Flash-forward to the present day. Although I’m a fully realized adult with responsibilities, a stack of bills and a job, the little kid still resides in me and emerges with very little coaxing once I step inside a theatre. When the lights go down and the curtain goes up, the real world melts away and theatre transports us to places we have only dreamed about. 

How fortunate for me then, that my job entails writing about that world. Honestly, I’m grateful that we all have a myriad of opportunities on the horizon with which to experience the magic of live theatre, and I would encourage each and every one of you to go, see and do. Wait, where’s that calendar again?

I love revisiting shows that I’ve seen and enjoyed, but also relish the opportunity to experience the new. I’ll make some suggestions here, but let you be the judge. Soon enough, I’ll be offering up my own humble opinion. 

Check out a sampling of what’s coming up: 

I just saw an old favorite (“Blithe Spirit”) presented by the Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop at the Rivoli in South Fallsburg, but now I’m looking forward to a show I’ve never heard of, called “The Ripple Effect” and coming up in July.

River Rep, in residence at the Delaware Valley Opera Company in Lake Huntington, has been producing thought-provoking theatre, both familiar and not. Although I’ve seen Yasmina Roza’s “ART” before, I’ve been promised that I haven’t really seen it until I do when their production opens Saturday, June 8. Hmmm.

Speaking of opera, I’m a fan of the DVO and this year they’re presenting “Pinnochio” for the little ones (I betcha it’s magical) and something I’ve never heard of called “The Old Maid and the Thief,” coming up in August. Sounds promising.

Following last week’s ribbon cutting of the Catskill Public Theater’s mobile stage, I’ve put their first show, “Terror,” on my calendar for Tuesday, July 9. Haven’t seen it; I don’t think anyone has. I think it’s interactive. Can’t wait to find out.

Speaking of new theatre, the North American Cultural Laboratory (NACL) always has loads of that on tap, and this summer is no exception, with shows like “LOONACY,” described as a “hybrid performance dance event,” and something called “LEIMAY- A Meal”—which involves a “video installation screening with hands-on instruction in making (and eating) Columbian arepas,” whatever that is. Guess we should attend to find out!

My home away from home, the Forestburgh Playhouse, never disappoints. And with main stage productions like “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical,” “Rock of Ages” and “Escape to Margaritaville,” I’m sure there’s something for everyone during the season. There always is. IMHO.

In addition, there’s the Ritz Playhouse in Hawley, PA, promising “Cats: the Young Artists Edition” and “Urinetown the Musical”—neither of which I’ve seen, but both were big hits in their original incarnation, so…

Ellenville’s Shadowland Stages has “Beehive: the 60s Musical” on tap, along with another I’ve not seen called “Dear Jack, Dear Louise,” so I’m making reservations right now. Are you?

The list goes on and on. We love the Farm Arts Collective across the river in Damascus, PA, and with their brand new barn theatre about to open, I’m thinking the sky’s the limit for that talented troupe. [See more on page 15.]

There’s more, to be sure, so be sure to visit the urls below for times and dates and check out all of the above and so much more inside the pages of the award-winning River Reporter, online and on newsstands now.

Go forth and watch

Catskill Public Theater:  






River Rep: 

in my humble opinion. upper delaware region, theatres, Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop, Delaware Valley Opera Company


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