Now celebrating its 27th season, Shadowland has unveiled a lineup of plays that reflects the Actors Equity theater’s commitment to provide relevance, accessibility and affordability to Hudson Valley audiences. “Our mission is essentially to produce a diversity, a little bit of everything; so there’s a small-scale musical, a comedy, and then work that’s thought-provoking and socially relevant. To communicate stories that are important to people – not high art or anything too ‘out there’; rather, stories that can touch them and that have something to say about their lives or the state of society. I interpret ‘with a vision’ – that part of our mission – as being work that’s timely and state-of-the-art with what major regional theaters are doing. Not your simple ‘summer in the Catskills’ stuff, where you’d expect ‘lite’ fare that leaves you tapping your feet and singing a song. Our stuff usually has you thinking a little bit more. To a certain extent, it’s a risk to do more serious work, but in fact the business model shows that our audiences didn’t respond to that ‘liter’ stuff.”
The Seafarer, written by Conor McPherson and directed by Burke, opens on June 3 and runs through June 19. It’s Dublin, Ireland on Christmas Eve, and four old friends gather for a night of poker and drink. When a stranger arrives and joins the game, a man’s very soul is in the pot and up for grabs. This award-winning and epic Faustian fable of a drunken Christmas Eve has all the earmarks of its talented playwright. Witty dialogue, fascinating characters and a supernatural twist are mixed to create this hilarious and haunting cocktail that earned Tony and Olivier Award nominations for Best Play.
Shadowland has always done a number of New York and East Coast premieres. For the first time in well over a decade, it will produce a true world premiere in Jackass Flats. The play, written by Napanoch’s C. C. Loveheart and John Simon, former producer of the Band, opens June 24 and runs through July 10. Billed as an explosive and comic tale of love and survival in Las Vegas in 1951, the story exposes deceptions and truths among a mother, a daughter and a sister-in-law. Burke says, “It’s fun and funny; then all of a sudden you start to discover it’s more than what you first thought.”
The Andrews Brothers, written by Roger Bean and directed by Michael LaFleur, will play from July 15 through August 14. It’s Some Like It Hot-meets-the-Marx-Brothers in a madcap musical tribute to the Andrews Sisters of the World War II era. The Ladies’ Man is a freely translated and adapted version of Georges Feydeau’s Tailleur Pour Dames, written by Charles Morey and directed by Burke. The hilarious farce will run from August 19 through September 11. And Medal of Honor Rag brings the season to a close with a story of a soldier’s struggle to readjust to postwar life. Written by Tom Cole and directed by James Glossman, the drama is based on a true Viet Nam-era account that is as relevant today as it was when it first premiered. Medal of Honor Rag runs from September 16 through October 2.
Burke says that with the new cooling and heating system up and running, Shadowland can now present a winter schedule that focuses on educational programs, like its very successful acting classes for kids. He also wants to provide the space for play development by creating a workshop schedule and inviting playwrights to come in for residencies during the winter months to work on their plays and put on readings. Shadowland’s residential space, which opened last July to house Equity Actors and crews during the summer season, can now be occupied by playwrights in the winter.
With tickets prices topping out at $30 and subscriptions as low as $100 for five shows, Shadowland aims to include everyone. A pay-as-you-can program for filling available seats is offered to folks who would not otherwise come into the theater. A cultural hub for the community, an economic catalyst: the “little theater that could” is now the theater that does. For tickets and information call (845) 647-5511 or visit www.shadowlandtheatre.org.