Adirondack Theatre Festival announces
summer 2021 line-up at the Wood Theater and City Park
Tickets are now on sale for a comedy, a musical tribute, and a new play reading at the Wood; free PB&J Café show will stage at City Park
GLENS FALLS – Adirondack Theatre Festival is live and inside this summer, staging a comedy, a concert tribute, and a play reading at the Wood Theater. ATF is also producing free entertainment outdoors including a children’s play at City Park and nightly 30-minute music performances next to the Wood on ATF show nights.
“After a long intermission, it seemed appropriate that we open our summer with a comedy,” says Martha Banta, interim producing artistic director, of the play “Slow Food.” “Theater is a lot about human connections and what better way for audiences and actors to return together and connect through laughter.”
Another entry on the schedule is “Traffic and Weather,” a songbook production of the music of Adam Schlesinger, one of America‘s most revered songwriters of the past quarter century. “Don’t worry if you don’t know Adam’s name or the music of his band, Fountains of Wayne,” Banta suggests. “He was a master craftsman when it comes to songwriting and his melodies are accessible to anyone who might enjoy a contemporary spin on the classic pop music sounds of the 1960s and early ‘70s.”
“This is not exactly what an ATF summer season normally looks like,” Banta says of the shortened schedule and outdoor shows. “But it is the right balance between presenting strong performance art, being cautious about what civil safety guidelines might be in place when these shows are staged and restarting arts in downtown Glens Falls.”
Charles R. Wood Theater Wood Theatre line-up
Each evening ATF show at the Wood is proceeded by “Shows on the Side” – performed outside in the alley next to the theater starting at 7 p.m. The 30-minute free performances feature some of the area’s most talented musicians; a different artist will be featured nightly.
7:30 p.m. July 20-25 and July 27-31; 2 p.m. July 28 and July 31
A comedy by Wendy MacLeod and directed by Martha Banta.
There’s no escape from the world’s worst waiter. On their anniversary, a famished couple battle with an absurd waiter who has them questioning everything from the menu to their marriage! A tender, uproarious comedy that delves deeply into what we hunger for.
To learn more about Wendy MacLeod visit wendymacleod.com.
Minding Miss Mae Mae
2 p.m. July 25 and 7:30 p.m. July 26.
A staged reading of a new play by Phillip Christian Smith; directed by Tyrone Henderson. Join the playwright and the cast of actors in the first step of this play’s development.
Barbara is Miss Mae Mae’s home health aide and when Barbara’s son Jordan, the star of a network procedural, comes home ravaged from crystal meth, the women form their own unconventional rehab to detox him. Barbara believes in tough love; Miss Mae Mae, a paraplegic and a pot smoker, believes in the Lord.
To learn more about Phillip Christian Smith visit phillipchristiansmith.com
Traffic & Weather
7:30 p.m. Aug, 5-8 and 11-14; 2 .m. Aug. 7, 11, and 14
Music & lyrics by Adam Schlesinger and directed by Martha Banta.
A concert tribute to the Grammy- and Emmy-winning composer, songwriter and producer that Rolling Stone says “had one of the most unique and busiest careers in pop.” From a founder of the pop rock band Fountains of Wayne, watch and listen to an evening of music that treats the “characters in the lyrics with meticulous craftsmanship and a wry balance of compassion and scorn, parody and affection,” according to The New York Times.
Adam Schlesinger died on April 1, 2020 due to coronavirus complications. Read his obituary in The New York Times here.
Tickets for “Slow Food”, “Minding Miss Mae Mae” and “Traffic & Weather” go on sale at noon May 6 with very limited seating. There are no subscription plans; all seats are $45 Visit ATFESTIVAL.ORG to order tickets and choose seats or call the Wood Theater box office for tickets and info at 518-480-4878.
At City Park
Cinderella Goes Disco outside – weather permitting – at noon July 22-24 and July 29-30 at City Park on Maple Street. All performances are free.
A children’s play by Shubert Fendrich and directed by Marty McGuire.
PB & J Cafe Children’s Theatre returns this year in City Park in partnership with the Crandall Public Library. Bring your own picnic lunch! After receiving an invitation to go to the Prince’s Disco Dance, under-confident Cinderella needs to be told fairy tales by her fairy godmother to be convinced that she is indeed capable of becoming a Disco Princess.
ATF is the leading professional theatre in the Capital Region dedicated to emerging artists, new plays and new musicals. Each summer ATF normally produces a nine-week season at the Wood Theater. The organization, which presented its first season in 1995, operates under a Small Professional Theatre Agreement with Actors’ Equity Association (the union of professional actors). The actors seen on the ATF stage, as well as the designers and directors, have worked regularly on and off-Broadway, on television and in movies.
Adirondack Theatre Festival announces summer 2021 will be at the Wood Theater
Two shows, a new Play reading, and PB&J Café planned; titles to be announced early May
GLENS FALLS – “Determined to make theater live and inside,” Interim Producing Artistic Director Martha Banta announces Adirondack Theatre Festival is returning to the Charles R. Wood Theater for its 27th season.
Banta made the announcement today after months of organizing when and where ATF might return. “As long as state guidelines didn’t allow performing arts venues to be opened, we explored options for presenting outdoors. But once the state announced the full guidelines last week on reopening at 33 percent capacity, it became clear we would do everything necessary to return indoors for the theatrical experience which ATF is known, and it will also support the Wood.”
ATF has been the anchor tenant of the 294-seat Wood Theater since it opened in 2004; the downtown venue has been shuttered since the start of the pandemic.
ATF’s season – featuring two shows, a new play reading, and a children’s theater (PB&J Café) – will run from July 19-Aug 15. Show titles and details will be announced in early May.
Banta said the season schedule will look different in a number of ways from recent years due to the economics of being able to operate at only 33 percent capacity. “It is entirely possible that capacity will expand under state guidelines by mid-July but we have to plan with what is known right now.”
In addition to a season that is roughly half of the normal length, the theater will use all local interns, Banta said. “Many are alumni of local performing groups in the region and each will wear many hats rather than specializing in one department.”
Banta said the next step is to iron out all details with the Wood Theater, particularly seating configurations that meet state guidelines so that ATF and the Wood are ready to put tickets on sale when the season’s titles are announced.
Co-founder Martha Banta returns to Adirondack Theatre Festival as interim artistic director
ATF board, Banta anticipate a scaled-back season this summer
GLENS FALLS – The founding producing artistic director at Adirondack Theatre Festival, Martha Banta, is returning to her former role on an interim basis while the organization conducts a national search for a permanent replacement.
The theatre’s board announced last week that Chad Rabinovitz resigned after six years as ATF’s producing artistic director. Nancy Fuller, board president, in making the announcement about Banta, said “Martha will not only serve the organization artistically, she is helping guide us through the transition and search process.”
Lake George native Banta – now NYC-based – has had a storied career in American theatre. She was the original resident director for the New York Theatre Workshop, Broadway, national tour and London productions of four-time Tony winner musical “Rent”. She was associate director of “Mamma Mia!” on Broadway and for one of the national tours. She also developed and directed “Playhouse Disney Live” for Walt Disney World; later called “Disney Jr. Live”, it closed in 2018 after 17 years. More recently, she directed a new tour production of “Rock of Ages” that made a stop in April 2019 at Proctors in Schenectady.
The pandemic is a challenge for the entire theatrical field but Banta said the timing is actually a good opportunity for a transition at ATF. “We are not under duress to put on the upcoming season,” she said, signaling that the pandemic will impact ATF’s summer schedule. “We have the time to focus on finding the right person.”
As a result of the economic disruption in the arts created by the pandemic, Banta forecasted that “there is going to be a bigger pool of people applying for this position.”
Fuller said the board is committed to having the organization be active this summer with a scaled-back schedule. “There are a lot of artists who have been halted from doing what they do best, and I think they are willing to do projects to help out and we’ll definitely rope them in.”
A full-scale show, perhaps outdoors, is possible. “We’ve done it before,” Banta said, recalling ATF’s 2003 world premiere of “The Lake’s End”, which she directed. The play was staged outdoors at Lake George Recreational Center while the vacant Woolworths that ATF had used as a performance space since 1996 was being renovated into what would become the Wood Theater.
Banta and David Turner, along with a 12-member founding committee, created the Adirondack Theatre Festival in 1993 and presented its first 18-day season of new and contemporary theatre at the French Mountain Playhouse within the Lake George RV Park in June 1995. Turner, married to Banta, is an emeritus member of the ATF board of directors. He has managed a number of shows on Broadway including Book of Mormon and Six Degrees of Separation, and is executive producer of Mean Girls.
There have been only three artistic directors in ATF’s 26-year history: Banta (1995-2007), Mark Fleischer (2007-2014) and Rabinovitz (2014-2020).
Banta joins Tracey Sullivan in ATF leadership roles. Sullivan has been ATF managing director since December 2019.
More about Adirondack Theatre Festival
ATF is the leading professional theatre in the Capital Region dedicated to emerging artists, new plays and new musicals. Each summer ATF produces a nine-week season– typically four mainstage productions and four special events – for more than 9,000 audience members at Wood Theater in Glens Falls. The organization operates under a Small Professional Theatre Agreement with Actors’ Equity Association (the union of professional actors), casting Broadway-level talent. The actors seen on the ATF stage, as well as the designers and directors, have worked regularly on and off-Broadway, on television and in movies.
More about Martha Banta
Some of Banta’s New York directing credits include new plays at NYSF Public Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater, New York Theater Workshop, New Georges, The Lamb’s Theater, Clark Theater at Lincoln Center, Urban Stages, Cherry Lane and Soho Rep.
She has directed new play and musical readings/workshops at New York Theater Workshop, The Public Theater, York Theater, Children’s Theater of Minneapolis, New Dramatists, Berkshire Theater Festival, ASCAP, La MaMa, New York University and New Georges.
Regionally she has directed at The Ordway Theatre St. Paul, Portland Center Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, Pittsburgh Public Theater, St. Louis Rep, Westport Country Playhouse, Merrimack Rep, Capital Repertory Theatre, Vineyard Arts Project and the Berkshire Theater Festival. University Productions include Juilliard, NYU Graduate School, Stony Brook, Ramapo College and Dartmouth.