Feelin’ alright in the right place at the right time

Bearsville Theater hosts Dr. John on Mardi Gras

by Paul Smart
March 03, 2011 11:45 AM | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When the late music manager and visionary Albert Grossman first came up with the idea for the Bearsville Theater over a quarter-century ago, the idea he worked out for a new upstate music venue was simple in its grandeur. The place was to be built using the best local craftspeople’s talents and incorporating the professional demands of a state-of-the-art recording studio into the embrace of a showcase where up-and-coming bands plus established acts could be enjoyed on both an immediate and a slightly removed basis.

The resulting venue nestles into a scenic streamside setting with a barnlike main theater, acoustically alive and geared to either staid seating or wild dancing, as well as a large bar area from which whatever act who’s playing can be seen through soundproof studio windows, the live sound spread evenly through the room with the aid of a complex system of remote speakers.

Over the years, this venue’s charms and professional touches have drawn a long list of stellar acts and performances. They’ve come from the renowned ranks of the many musicians who have made Woodstock one of the world’s top recording hot spots, as well as the even-wider spectrum of artists who feel a connection to the town and its deep cultural resonances.

Consider, if you might, the week: On Tuesday, March 8 – Mardi Gras – the Bearsville Theater will be presenting what could be the Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday concert of the year anywhere: the great New Orleans legend Dr. John and his newest voodoo band, the Lower 911, in a very special show in what was once his hometown way back when. What need we say about Malcolm John “Mac” Rebennack, the former Night Tripper, that isn’t seared in all our brains already, from his days as a session musician to his Gris-Gris years, “Right Place Wrong Time” and “Such a Night” hits and full career of annual albums, tributes and near-constant touring ever since? He’s absolutely fantastic live: a true character and as good an ambassador of Louisiana’s eternal hold on our musical imagination as exists. Bon temps roulet, indeed!

Tickets for intimate Bearsville Theater shows tend to go quickly, although they usually reserve some for the day of the concert. Just be sure to be safe rather than sorry.

The theater is located in the Bearsville complex envisioned and built by Grossman, who passed away 25 years ago this winter, that includes the Bear Café, the Little Bear Chinese restaurant, WDST Radio studios and the theater, on Route 212 (Tinker Street) west of Woodstock where it and Wittenberg Road split off from each other. For further information call (845) 679-4406 or visit

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