Exit, stage left!

in my humble opinion

Posted 8/10/22

My, how the tables have turned. After more than 30 years of standing in the wings, I have once again (hesitatingly) ventured on stage in a Broadway musical. “Something Rotten!” is now …

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Exit, stage left!

in my humble opinion


My, how the tables have turned. After more than 30 years of standing in the wings, I have once again (hesitatingly) ventured on stage in a Broadway musical. “Something Rotten!” is now running at the Forestburgh Playhouse (FBP) through Sunday, August 14.

Why? Good question. After turning FBP producer Franklin Trapp down no less than three times, I finally acquiesced when he told me it was really all about the dog. “It’ll be fun,” he said. “C’mon, we think Dharma will be hilarious! Oh, right… you’ll be on stage, too.”

Checking my daunting schedule, I hesitated once more. I really wanted to check out the new Ten Mile River Scout Museum exhibit, “The Archeology of Ten Mile River/Tusten Village,” which features more than three hundred artifacts. Thankfully, the comprehensive River Reporter calendar section informed me that I can see it through Friday, August 26, so I still have time. Call 845/252-2063 for more info.

After 10 days of exhausting rehearsals, the show opened to rave reviews last Tuesday, and the adulation for my dog began. “Hi. Saw you last night in the show,” wrote now-former-friend Jeff Spitz. “Of course, Dharma was a scene stealer.” Nice.

Having heard that the Delaware Highlands Conservancy was presenting a photo contest, I was momentarily crestfallen that I wouldn’t have time to submit something for consideration. Once again, the River Reporter calendar informed me that we have until Wednesday, August 31 to enter, with this year’s photo theme being “Confluence: Land, Water Wildlife.” And no, I’m not submitting a picture of my more-famous-than-ever freakin’ dog. Questions? Email Bethany@delawarehighlands.org.

In between scenes on stage, I perused the events calendar some more, and realized that the dog would certainly want to check out Buck Brook Alpacas, which hosts walks with the gentle giants at 12 Bestenheider Rd. in Roscoe, NY. Times and dates vary, so I promised I’d take her after the 14th, when “Something Rotten” closes, which made us both simultaneously happy and sad.

My inbox was full with more notes about the pooch’s debut. FBP season subscriber Susan Hawvermale wrote, “Tell Dharma she did a fantastic job, and I want to see her back on the boards at the playhouse.” Uh-huh. As if that weren’t humiliating enough, even our own River Reporter managing editor Annemarie Schuetz sent an email after spotting a photo from the show online. “That is the best thing I have seen all week—Dharma the star!” Wow.

Sadly, because of my commitment to the show, I had to pass on my 50th (OMG) high school reunion, which took place last weekend, but former classmate (and third-grade crush) Wendy Walling Pipentacos got in on the act and sent a note backstage to my dog’s dressing room: “Dharma is being worshiped in the way she deserves!” Charming.

Deflated, I went back to www.riverreporter.com to make sure I still had time to check out the Catskill Art Society benefit auction—an exhibition of artwork by multiple artists in the Laundry King at 65 Main St. in Livingston Manor, NY, with bidding taking place online. Our dot-com informed me that I can call it in between performances at 845/436-4227, or send questions (I always have questions) to info@catskillartsociety.org.

While preparing my dog—she even has costume changes—for a matinee, I read more of her fan mail. “Dharma is such a great sport. Brava!” stated one from another former friend, Cate Cusick. To add insult to injury, WJFF’s Sabrina Artell was waiting backstage last Saturday to get a pawtograph. “So great.” Sabrina gushed. “I need a pic with the deity, Dharma” she said, laughing. Very funny.

Sulking, I ignored fans chanting my dog’s name during the curtain call and chose instead to scan a note from New York State Sen. (R) Mike Martucci, who I was sure would mention my name. “Full disclosure: I am not much of a fan of musical theater.” Martucci’s email began. Oh dear.

“The last time I saw a musical, or was even in a theater, was back in the early 2000s, around when I graduated high school,” the senator continued. “As someone who does not consider myself a fan of musical comedy, or the theater in general, I had a great time at the playhouse. The talent was amazing—Broadway-quality actors and actresses right in our very own Sullivan County! I loved the intimacy of the theater—there is not a bad seat in the house. I also thought the musical itself was hilarious.”

“Hmmm,” I muttered to the dog. “I wonder if he realized I was even on stage?”

“’Rotten’ was outstanding,” the senator wrote in conclusion, “and I encourage anyone who doesn’t consider themselves a fan of the theater to visit the Forestburgh Playhouse, you won’t be disappointed! Once again, outstanding job to you, [finally!] the cast, crew, and Franklin on a job well done. I can promise you that I will be back for your next production and many more thereafter.”

For tickets and information, go to www.fbplayhouse.org or call 845/794-1194.

Fun Fact: What well-known cartoon character says “Exit, stage left!”? Answer: Snagglepuss. That’s aside from his most famous (IMHO) perpetual exclamation of “Heavens to Murgatroyd!”

Before dashing offscreen to make an escape or run an errand, Snagglepuss, a pink anthropomorphic cougar sporting an upturned collar, shirt cuffs and bow tie, announces the move in the form of a theatrical stage direction, saying “Exit, stage left!”

For a complete listing of upcoming events, go to www.riverreporter.com/calendar.

Something Rotten, Jonathan Charles Fox, Franklin Trapp, Forestburgh Playhouse, Dharma the wonder dog, Catskill Art society, Delaware Highlands Conservancy, Buck Brook Alpacas Snagglepuss


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