June 2014 Fr ee Magazine ©2014 Lone Oak Publishing Co., Inc., Glens Falls, NY • 518-792-1126 • firstname.lastname@example.org • glensfallschronicle.com
Glens Falls celebrates...
anniversary of the
Adirondack Theatre Festival! Another standing ovation for the Adirondack Theatre Festival at the Wood... Photo by Jim McLaughlin, McLaughlin Photography, Queensbury • http://mclaughlinphoto.com
anniversary of the
Charles Wood Theater!
Happy 10 Anniversary th
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How many projects work out this perfectly? prise is why so many successful indus On a frigid Monday night in January tries are built from scratch here — mak1995, in a building at the closed-for-the- ing paper, medical devices, TV listings, winter Lake George RV Park, the Ad- cement, amusement parks, banks, insurirondack Theatre Festival made its debut, ance. Amazing how many still thrive. charging $75 per ticket to watch famed Here, hand in hand with enterprise, comes zeal for civic imactors Jason Robards provement. The Hyde and Elaine Stritch read Success of the Wood Collection and Cranthe play Love Letters. Theater & Adirondack dall Public Library are 300 people turned direct results; indirect out. The room was Theatre Festival — packed. I was sitting how & why Glens Falls results are everywhere. The realization and toward the back. I was long-term success of region overachieves. struck at how rapt the the Adirondack Thecrowd was. Silent and atre Festival and the Charles Wood Thetotally attentive. The show was great. Mr. Robards’ first words after coming ater tapped and taps both traits. off the stage, ATF co-founder David Turn- Enterprise hatched and drove them. er told me later, were: “Where did you get Civic support — in money and volunteerism — brought them to full flight. that audience!?” That audience — large, supportive, I was fortunate to serve on the board generous — is one of the Glens Falls re- that created the Wood Theater. Three gion’s selling points. It’s a community. It people in particular were crucial — David Turner paused his career in New York percolates with grass roots enthusiasm. That’s part of why Glens Falls has for years to help us; Charley Wood gave much more going on than its population $750,000 (and never sought to have the theater named after him); and Tom Hoy, or wealth would seem to warrant. What’s also crucial, as I’ve written the then-CEO of Glens Falls National before and believe totally, is its ethic of Bank, put the project on his back and carenterprise and civic commitment. Enter- ried it over the goal line. Hurrah to us all!
Chronicle photo/Mark Frost
By Mark Frost
Amid the linoleum and empty space of a former Woolworth’s store, David Turner (arm outstretched) and the Adirondack Theatre Festival saw possibilities that resulted in eventual creation of the Charles R. Wood Theater in downtown Glens Falls.
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Tom Hoy: Charley Wood impact & opening night Tom Hoy, the now retired CEO of Glens Falls National Bank, was the Wood Theater board president when the funding was achieved and the theater was built. He writes: There are two significant public events that I can say are my most important events as far as the theater is concerned. The most important, and the most public and the most gratifying was the day of the ground-breaking. Here we are out on Glen Street, and the street is blocked off. Charley (Wood) was a little frail and showed up in a wheelchair. But he got up and participated and — always Charley: Smile ear-to-ear, beaming and just radiating to the whole crowd. Governor Pataki was there and spoke and, while it was a beastly hot day and I think I completely drenched my suit, it was an amazing day for Glens Falls. Lots of people were there — I would say a couple of hundred or more were there in the street, just a terrific kickoff for the theater. Of course that was before the theater was built. The fact that Charley was there and participated, and the governor made his announcement of the $400,000 grant we got from the state: It was just a spectacular day for Glens Falls all the way around.
The second was obviously opening night of the theater with Elaine Stritch: Amazing, absolutely amazing. I’ll never forget it as long as I live. Thirdly is a non-public situation which predates a lot of everything else that I just mentioned. That was when David Turner and I found out that Charley was going to support us because — up until that time — we really had no constituency and we had nobody who we could call on to really give us a high profile. And, yes, he gave us money and, yes, that was very important, but more importantly what he gave us was credibility and it opened lots of doors It gave us an opportunity to do some things and talk to some people and foundations that we never would have had if we didn’t have Charley’s name attached to the project. One of the things about the ground-breaking — I believe that was when we first publicly announced that the theater was going to be named after Charley. He fought that a little on the frontend, but ultimately he agreed to let us do that. He was incredibly gracious about the whole process, and very, very impressed that we thought enough of him to do that.”
4 • The Chronicle’s GLENS FALLS MAGAZINE: Special Edition • 2014
The 2003 ground-breaking. Governor George Pataki, left, announced a $400,000 state grant. Tom Hoy, center, was president of the Wood Theater board. Charley Wood, right, whose foundation fueled the nearly $4-million project with $750,000 in grants — and yet another $100,000 lead grant and $100,000 challenge grant announced just last month! Chronicle photo/Mark Frost
Bill Woodward spent 6 years as Wood chief: Hard, satisfying work Bill Woodward was the Wood Theater executive director for six years, until the fall of 2012. Three favorite performances? • Jimmy Webb • Senior Seminar doing The Golden Girls in 2006 • Selfishly, Saturday night of [Glens Falls Community Theatre’s] Harvey, which I directed. Audience response and my satisfaction. I think great moments for the Wood Theater are like the past 30 days and the 30 days to come: You have Jim Brickman, world star; Ellie Houghton, a 90-year-old songstress from Queensbury; six-yearold ballerinas; and the Broadway professionals of the Adirondack Theatre Festival on the same stage in a matter of days. That’s what the Wood was built for. Looking back on his directorship, Bill comments: When I was 19, I helped build a road in my home township of DePeyster, N.Y. It was a horrible job. I picked stones off the road with a dung fork, got covered in hot tar and was miserable. Twenty-five years later I drove over to that road and those shoulders still looked great and I was very proud. It is the same
cial contacts, outside interests and quality of life to do my dream job. I had moments of high pleasure in the job, but mostly it was nerve-wracking and high stress. But, like that road in DePeyster, I will spend the rest of my life driving by, attending productions and producing and directing at the Wood again if my health allows, with the satisfaction of the memory of being at the helm when I cleaned toilets, mopped floors and turned out the lights every evening and went back to book another production in so I could start over. The Wood is still standing and still thriving. I worked hard so it would do so. That is my satisfaction.
The Wood Theater’s Aug. 13 birthday bash In August 2007, the burning of the mortgage. Wood Theater executive director Bill Woodward (left) and board president Tom Hoy were all smiles. The Theater was on firm ground financially. Chronicle photo/Cathy DeDe
with the Wood. It was the hardest job of my adult life and I gave up most of my so-
The Wood Theater will throw a 10th birthday party Wednesday, Aug. 13, from 4 to 7 p.m., in conjunction with the final Take-a-Bite downtown Glens Falls food fest of the season. It will feature live performances, face painting, balloons, cake, ice cream and tours of the building. The Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce is also planning its 100th birthday party in City Park that day. The Wood will officially launch its $400,000 “NeighborWood” capital campaign then.
Our Best Wishes for Continued Success
ars 10 Ye
20 Ye a
518-792-3775 • www.lakegeorgervpark.com The Chronicle’s GLENS FALLS MAGAZINE: Special Edition • 2014 • 5
David Turner & Martha Banta: ATF & Wood entwined The Adirondack Theatre Festival had it first performances at the Lake George RV Park. Its owner David King and ATF Artistic Director Martha Banta had been classmates at Lake George High School and were ATF founding board members in 2004. David Turner, Martha’s husband, was ATF’s original producing director. ATF’s very first event was a benefit featuring Academy Award winner Jason Robards and perennial Broadway favorite Elaine Stritch doing a reading of the play Love Letters. In the dead of winter, the show drew a packed house to the RV Park playhouse. ATF co-founder Martha Banta says, “When we pulled off the first benefit with Elaine Stritch and Jason Robards, and we said: Okay. We did that. “Then after the first year, we said, we can do this, we have the support.” Soon, ATF saw opportunity in downtown Glens Falls — in the vacant former Woolworth’s store then had been purchased by a newly created not–for-profit group called Partners For Progress. ATF received permission to stage some productions there in an impromptu temporary theatre space they created. “For me,” says Martha, “one formative moment was just the memory of even looking in the window of the building and seeing its potential, then looking at the main street itself and thinking how a theater there would affect the downtown.” David Turner says, “The second year, when we went to the Woolworth’s: It’s not so hard to get a bunch of friends to-
Cheers to the Wood Theater from
The event that launched it all — Jason Robards and Elaine Stritch (at right) performed Love Letters at the Lake George RV Park in January 1995. The fund-raiser was the debut of the Adirondack Theatre Festival, whose co-founders Martha Banta and David Turner are at the left. David says that convincing the Broadway legend Ms. Stritch to perform not one but two ATF benefits — her one-woman show launched the Wood Theater in 2004 — is a highlight of his ATF career. Chronicle photo/Mark Frost
gether and do theater for one year. The second year is a more defining moment.” He says, “I would definitely say Three Tall Women  was an important moment. “It felt very clear how thrilled people were to come to that building and see a show. Clearly we had struck a chord.” Bit by bit improvements were made. Martha says an achievement was “getting air conditioning in the Woolworth’s so we could do a whole season.” ATF’s reuse of the building was the catalyst for Partners for Progress finally to decide to pursue what was originally called the Woolworth Theater Project. Not only did ATF inspire the effort, David Turner served as the full-time ex-
Congratulations Charles R. Wood Theater on 10 Years and Adirondack Theatre Festival on 20 Years!
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ecutive director as the theater plan took shape and fund-raising was pursued. The Wood Theater opened in 2004, and its first performance was an Adirondack Theatre Festival benefit by Elaine Stritch. Martha says of the theater, “Once it was finished, I remember coming in to the lobby and it wasn’t much different. Then you opened those doors into the theater and it was a completely different experience, immense and theatrical.” She says ATF’s early use of the Woolworth’s space “defined what ATF was and opened the door to becoming the Wood Theater. Since then, the two are inextricably linked. One begot the other.”
0 1 y p p a H
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Cathy: ATF’s 20th season expresses whole history By Cathy DeDe Just about everything you need to know about the Adirondack Theatre Festival’s 20-year history may be contained in this season’s schedule. • Fully Committed (June 23-25), by Becky Mode and starring Sam Lloyd (the doleful “Ted” from TV’s Scrubs). Lesson: ATF launches can go far. In 1988, ATF’s did the world premiere of this one-man tour de force about a struggling actor whose day job is taking reservations for an “it” restaurant. Mark Setlock starred. He and Committed went on to a long, acclaimed Off-Broadway run. The show is still huge with regional theaters. Note that another ATF launch, the 2010 two-man hit musical-comedy Murder for Two by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair, debuted this year Off Broadway. It’s nominated for an Obie and other prestigious awards, and has made in-demand stars of its two young composer-playwrights. • Spontaneous Broadway (July 1-3), improv comedy musical “happening” by Mop and Bucket Comany of Albany. Lesson: ATF increasingly collaborates with other arts groups such as Art in the Public Eye, and — this year — LARAC. And they have increasingly included local actors and artistic staff in the mix. • The Whale (July 10-16), local pre-
miere of the award-winning 2013 OffBroadway play by Samuel D. Hunter, about a grotesquely overweight man seeking redemption. It’s billed as “bighearted, dramatic and fiercely funny.” Lesson: ATF takes chances on fresh work and world premieres. It typically provides new works and their playwrights their first chance, top production values, and a chance to see how the piece flies with a real audience in a real theater. Playwrights often say how smart, open and helpful Glens Falls audiences are. Also: It’s got adult themes and language. That’s pretty typical for ATF, too. • Lady Liberty and the Donut Girl (July 14-15), reading of Eric Lane’s new play. Lesson: Loyalty. ATF breeds it. Much as ATF seeks new voices, it’s also about people coming back. Several founding board members remain involved. Eric Lane is one of many playwrights, directors, staff members and technicians to return — and not just because they love the restaurants downtown and outings to Lake George or Washington County. Audience feedback, from new play readings such as this one to the talkbacks after every ATF performance: It’s a key part of the equation. ATF, since its 1995 launch, has pro-
duced 17 world premieres, many as part of a two-year process beginning with a new play reading. • Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash (July 24-Aug. 2), created by Richard Maltby, Jr. and featuring David Lutken, back after his 2012 ATF hit Woody Sez. Lesson: ATF takes a different kind of chance with this musical that features some two dozen classic hits. It failed to thrive in New York City; the producers hope it might fly with a re-tweak. Along with new work, ATF aims to balance tougher material with potential crowd-pleasers. • Noah Zachary: People Watching, (July 28 and 29), cabaret by the charming Mr. Zachary (ATF’s Next to Normal and Avenue Q. Lesson: Good actors come here. ATF’s season brochure was mailed late because Mr. Noah got another gig that required ATF to change its schedule. The talented folks on stage and behind the scenes are hot, often in-demand Equity professionals. And they’re creative: This show is inspired by candid photos Mr. Zachary has taken of people around New York City. Even the interns have trajectories. Just look at Wood Theater executive director Erin Coon, who was an administrative intern with ATF in 2008.
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Mark Fleischer, ATF’s departing director Mark Fleischer succeeded founders David Turner and Martha Banta as the Adirondack Theatre Festival’s Producing Artistic Director. After this, his seventh season, he departs to become the new Associate Artistic Director of the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. Highlights he cites: PERFORMANCES • Christine Andreas as Judy Garland last summer in ATF’s Heartbreaker was a true glimpse of a star at work. • Joe Kinosian in ATF’s Murder for Two — his chameleon-like ability to transform between 13 distinct characters combined with his piano skills (and he was one fo the writers) was incredible. • Dixie in Dixie’s Tupperware Party presented by the Wood. This show wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the brazen performance of a drag queen selling tupperware was funny and one of those moments when I asked myself, “Am I still in Glens Falls?” AUDIENCES • Sitting in the audience of Next to Normal, yes, I am biased as the director, but I distinctly remember, near the end of the show thinking, “What is that noise?” only to look around and see that people were wiping their eyes, looking for tissues as they were moved by the struggles and connections of this family being portrayed on stage. • The laughter and gasps Avenue Q elicited from the audience. • Tick, Tick...Boom!, Martha Banta and David Turner’s last show at ATF. It was my introduction to this community and the enthusiasm it has for ATF. I remember feeling exhilarated and a little bit fearful as I stepped into my new role. PRIVATE THOUGHTS • Seeing the ATF interns hard at
Mark Fleischer as a Blues Brother at an ATF benefit. Cathy DeDe photo
work alongside our staff as they learn not only their craft, but the role a theatre plays in its community. As the summer progresses, their ownership in ATF, the theater, this community and the work produced on stage grows. And they, as a handful of strangers at the beginning of the summer become a team of colleagues. • The post-show conversations with audiences. Having the chance to hear directly from the audience and listening to them interact with our actors and playwrights is at the heart of ATF’s goal: To create theatre that starts a conversation. • The end of the last ATF benefit. Everyone had gone home and a handful of us collapsed in to the front row while the cast gathered around the piano and sang songs. In those moments the theatre becomes my living room.
ATF seeks new chief
2014 will be Mark Fleischer’s seventh and final season as Producing Artistic Director of the Adirondack Theatre Festival. He’s accepted the newly created position of Associate Artistic Director of the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, responsible for new play development among other roles. ATF founding board member Kate Broderick is heading the search committee for Mr. Fleischer’s successor, as Please turn to next page
Congratulations to Adirondack Theatre Festival and Wood Theater
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8 • The Chronicle’s GLENS FALLS MAGAZINE: Special Edition • 2014
Sue Ford, in praise of the Wood & ATF, both Sue Ford, a past president of the Wood Theater board, has been a board member for eight years. Favorite moments? • Wood Theater: Every year has had moments I will always remember... the groups and artists who have passed through leaving a bit of their creative energy behind, the first wedding at the Wood, the Mortgage Burning with Tom Hoy and Bill Woodward, acting on the stage with the Glens Falls Community Theatre’s Senior Theatre Seminar, which gave me a different perspective on the venue I am so very proud to be a part of. I want to give the Wood volunteers a grateful thank you! They do mailings, usher, work in the ticket office and so much more! I will never forget seeing the inner lobby carpet being laid by Wood board, Wrightstage and Community Theatre members. A true collaborative effort! • Adirondack Theatre Festival: My husband and I have been supporters of the Adirondack Theatre Festival since the beginning. We will never forget the first performance at the Lake George RV Park: Love Letters with Elaine Stritch and Jason Robards. Truly memorable! If there is one season I will always remember, it would be the one where ATF was literally all over town in various venues while the Wood Theater was being renovated. It was amazing to see how these creative people used the different spaces to create a wonderful performance area. Every season has been a terrific experience, and I am grateful that ATF chose our area as their home. Martha Banta and David Turner brought their love of new works to our area and we were hooked! Mark Fleischer has continued the mission with talkbacks after each production, and events that involve us in the process, watching dress rehearsals, a first read-through and, this year, a “Shop Party” where we will meet the technical staff in their workplace, the Wood basement shop!
Mayor Diamond: Energy Glens Falls Mayor Jack Diamond said: I’d say the Wood Theater is a vital component in the renaissance we’ve seen downtown. It’s a magnet drawing people to our central business district. On event nights at the Wood, there’s a buzz downtown; the restaurants are full, the sidewalks are bustling with activity and there’s an energy that’s palpable.
ATF to hire new chief From previous page
she did when he was hired to succeed ATF founders David Turner and Martha Banta in 2008. Mr. Turner is co-chairing the search committee. Ms. Broderick said they aim to announce the new director by end of the season, in August.
Congratulations on Your 10th!
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Co-Starring with the Wood Theater for 10 Years!
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Andi Lyons: Theater’s chief as it was built
Andi Lyons, a Greenwich native who now works at Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, was director of the Wood Theater Project during its construction and oversaw its grand opening and early seasons. She recalls: None of my most memorable moments are high-profile events, although there were a bunch of those: Governor Pataki attended our ground-breaking, Hillary Clinton speaking on our stage, Elaine Stritch’s one-woman show — I mean COME ON, she is a legend. But those aren’t the things I remember most fondly. Some of the most memorable moments that stay with me to this day, are not moments to be shared. There was often great frustration and enormous stress. And I won’t share those either! Here are three that I will share: • No turning back. There were many construction milestones but the day MLB Construction took the roof off the Woolworth building was almost surreal. I was there in the morning and there was a roof, and when I returned in the afternoon it was almost all gone. I stood there with a few others staring up and someone said, “Well, guess there is no turning back now.” That person was correct. • Community workday. We had one final push before we could open the building and the Adirondack Theatre Festival could open their season. It became a community work day, with professional labor from ATF and a lot of volunteer labor from the community. It was unbelievable the number of people who turned out and the work that got done, including building the stage! That day pretty much symbolized everything the project stood for — commu-
Once the roof came off the Woolworth building there was no turning back! Andi Lyons (center) was executive director during the Wood Theater’s construction.
nity cultural development. It took a lot of hands at a lot of levels, but no doubt the theater is there because the community wanted and worked for it. • Dreams come true. Glens Falls Community Theatre opening Annie Get Your Gun. It was Bill Woodward’s dream to do this show; I think he had been directing it in his mind for years. So many members of GFCT worked so hard to make the Wood happen. So, watching them open that show was like watching a community’s dreams come true all over again.
Mickey & Sharon Luce: ‘Legitimate stage for serious productions’ Mickey & Sharon Luce continue to operate Youtheatre, heading into its 36th summer season, and Mickey directs annual shows at the Wood Theater by the St. Mary’s-St. Alphonsus [SMSA] Players. As three favorite performances at the Wood, they cite: Big River, White Christmas, Secret Garden. They note: Of course these are SMSA’s productions, but in essence they represent all that is good about musical the-
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atre community productions encouraged by having a staging like the Wood. Bill Woodward and now Erin Coon encouraged the local art and performing art community to bring their students and programs to the Wood by making the contractual arrangements and amenities of the Wood so inviting and the theatrical experience exciting. The SMSA Players have found the Wood to be a most comforting and receptive performing space that is satisfying to performer and audience alike. The Wood has become the single most legitimate stage for serious productions, bringing many different audience members that would not ordinary come to a high school auditorium or church hall. The Wood gives the performer an air of respectability and an audience expectation of quality. We do think that the Wood has raised the theatrical awareness, not only by supporting the Adirondack Theatre Festival with professional new works, but also by giving local artists and performers a great showcase for their creative efforts. In doing so the Wood has become the cultural center of our communities. May we add that the success of the Wood has been nurtured by a great newspaper, The Chronicle.
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books many Wood shows Rutland, Vermont-based Eric Mallette has brought many performers and shows to the Wood Theater, from Judy Collins, Richard Marx and the Glenn Miller Orchestra to Ed Asner as FDR, Menopause the Musical and 50 Shades The Musical. Eric writes: The Charles R. Wood Theater offers both the audience and the artist performing a unique opportunity to spend time with one another in a format that each side rarely gets to experience, up close and personal. From the time I first set foot inside this wonderful building I could feel an energy outdone by no other venue I have presented in. From the staff to the wonderful volunteers to the audience, The CRWT is a special place. After the thrilling encore presented by The Glenn Miller Orchestra in September of 2013 an elderly patron made her way to me as she exited the building, kissing me on the cheek as she squeezed my hand. “Thank you…thank you for giving me the chance to feel young again. I haven’t danced like that in 30 years.” This is why I am in this business. No other industry sells excitement and memories like the performing arts. And no other organization does it better than The Charles R. Wood Theatre.
The Glenn Miller Orchestra has played the Wood Theater twice, one of many performances booked by Rutland, Vermont, promoter Eric Mallette. Chronicle photo/Mark Frost
Dave King: Stritch & ‘Q’ David King is a founder of the Adirondack Theatre Festival, and his Lake George RV Park hosted ATF’s first performances. The RV Park has backed both ATF and the Wood “since day one.” David remarks: I still need to pinch myself at every ATF performance at the Wood Theater to realize I didn’t have to travel 200 miles to see a Broadway-caliber production. Great accomplishments come out of dedication, hard work and vision.
Having ATF and the Wood Theater here in Glens Falls is truly a gift that keeps on giving. Three favorite memories: • Opening night of the Wood Theater and Elaine Stritch at Liberty in 2004 • Adirondack Theatre Festival’s production of Tick…Tick…BOOM! and the announcement of ATF’s first leadership transition from Turner/Banta to Fleischer in 2007 • ATF’s Avenue Q in 2013
The Chronicle’s GLENS FALLS MAGAZINE: Special Edition • 2014 • 11
Erin Coon: Ghosts, more
Erin Coon became executive director of the Charles R. Wood Theater in 2012. Favorite Wood Theater moments? She says: I have LOTS of favorites so it’s a hard choice for me. • Meet the Medium (Georgia O’Connor), a fund-raiser for Family Service Association of Glens Falls. She was gracious and mystical and wowed every person in the house. Plus she told us that we have two ghosts in the theater! • APE’s Play Fest 2013 — I’m biased because I ran the event for Art in the Public Eye. Having every square foot of the theater used for a whole day by so many different kinds of people was incredible. The nerves and energy and success of the first-time effort can’t be beat! • Being hired by the Wood. I was just out of school, inexperienced and full of crazy ideas, but Bill Woodward and the board hired me anyway. Then they made me Executive Director two-and-a-half years later! I would have fallen flat on my face if it hadn’t been for the incredible support from the Wood Theater board. Not all non-profits have boards so dedicated and involved. Each board member gives so much time to the Wood: Working shows, training me, planning events, accounting, marketing, maintaining the building, etc. The Wood Theater is uniquely lucky to have the board it has and so am I.
with a $100,000 grant and will donate another $100,000 if the Wood raises another $100,000 by December 1. The Foundation previously gave the theater $750,000.
Anne Fuller: ‘What the theater was built for’
Erin Coon is the Wood Theater’s executive director.
Wood starts $400,000 ‘NeighborWood’ drive The Charles R. Wood Theater has launched a $400,000 capital campaign, dubbed ‘NeighborWood,’ to upgrade its technology, make building improvements and increase energy efficiency. The effort was announced at a 10th anniversary gathering for invited guests on Tuesday, May 27. The Charles R. Wood Foundation kicked off the campaign
Anne Fuller, a founding Charles Wood Theater board member and member of the prior Partners for Progress, recalls the opening night in 2004: The night of the Elaine Stritch performance I remember sitting in the theater and not really believing that I was sitting in a theater that I helped make a reality, that used to be a Woolworth’s on Glen Street in Glens Falls, N.Y., watching the amazing Elaine Stritch. I thought: This is what this theater was built for. It’s already working! I have had that feeling many times over the past 10 years. When I saw The Montana Mandolin Society give a workshop on stage; when I saw Rising Stars; when I saw Hillary Clinton on stage; when I participated in PlayFest, I thought again: This is what the Wood is for. It’s still working! And I helped!
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Cathy DeDe’s three Wood Theater favorites • Tick, Tick...Boom! Not just a great Adirondack Theatre Festival show but a true moment! A video added by the director to the finale showcased the impact that the Wood Theater, David Turner and Martha Banta had on this community, as the ATF founders were about to pass the baton to Mark Fleischer. Plus, Tick, Tick was written by the late Jonathan Larson, whose Pulitzer-winning Rent was formative in the careers of many early ATF company members. • Taylor Hicks. Turns out the American Idol winner is a real, down-to-earth guy, displaying chops on blues-rocky guitar and harmonica. He also gave a generously friendly and smart interview. Songwriter Jimmy Webb was another fabulous storyteller and a favorite interview. • Glens Falls Community Theatre Senior Seminar Revue. It’s the most recent thing I saw at the Wood. Hugely satisfying, it showcased real talent we’d not have seen were it not for the Wood. It proves again how well the theater can be used for so many purposes. The Senior Seminar was launched at the Wood the year the theater opened. The theater makes programs like this possible.
Tom Murphy: The first Wood gala & more Current Glens Falls National Bank CEO Tom Murphy is a past president of the Charles R. Wood Theater board. His three highlights: • The first Charles R. Wood Annual Gala honoring Tom Hoy. Mark Frost provided a wonderful speech on Charley Wood and what he meant to the community, and then Mark Behan did the same for Tom Hoy. The event was very inspiring and confirmed for me that we need more people involved so that communities in which we live and work will continue to thrive. • The first ‘Rising Stars’ performance. Mark Frost raised this idea at a board meeting and it proved to be a memorable moment on the stage of the Wood Theater and the beginning of our annual fund-raiser. The amazing talent of these young local performers was wonderful to see and experience. • Similarly, the first performance of Tony DeSare over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Tony and his band combined home-grown talent, community appeal and a wonderful performance. The attendance was great and the Theater had strong fund-raiser at a time when finances were a major concern.
Chronicle editor Mark Frost writes: Jimmy Webb (shown with his wife Laura) at the Wood was a totally unexpected exquisite experience. Sat at a piano, told us stories of his life and career, sang songs he wrote, like “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” and the powerful “Galveston,” then met with the public at length afterward. It was magical. Chronicle photo/Mark Frost
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Catherine Gericke, still directing shows at age 90 , is a long-time Glens Falls Community Theatre director and also directs its Senior Seminar shows at the Wood. Favorite Wood Theater moments? I, quite naturally, liked some of the shows I have directed. 1. Meet Me in St. Louis (I love soldout performances). 2. Guys and Dolls (enjoyed having so many talented males in that one). 3. I liked very much the first two Rising Stars presentations (thought last year got too complicated). 4. My favorite play was A Few Good Men. Catherine adds: The Adirondack Theatre Festival deserves a lot of credit for the success of The Wood and for the upsurge in business downtown. The variety in bookings is a good thing. I have seen the lobby filled with locals, and then for other shows, a completely different group of people. I was sorry to see the Lake George Band go to the Glens Falls High School — they added yet another kind of music.
Gisella Montanez-Case Soprano Gisella Montanez-Case is an enthusiast for all things theatrical. Her three favorite Wood Theater memories? • Altar Boyz! [by the Adirondack Theatre Festival]. Probably one of the finest shows I’ve ever seen there. It always blows me away when Mark Fleischer brings great theatre to Glens Falls! It makes Glens Falls the center of Big Apple energy, and helps me remember when I was doing professional theatre. • I guess my ‘favoritest’ thought is knowing that there’s a great place for community, professional artists and anyone else who has loved our city, and wanted to share their talents at the Wood. We’ve had fantastic acts there. Remem-
ber Woody Sez? I not only saw a show that was STELLAR, but I had the incredible JOY of getting to sing with the cast, thanks to Mr. Fleischer! My heart was racing for days after that. • Are we only allowed three? What about Catherine Gericke’s 90th birthday party? She looked like the queen of Sheba, for heaven’s sake. Avery and Steve Babson’s wedding: One of the great events of my life, for sure. What about the shows, concerts, performances, fundraisers, other important events that have happened there? What about Bill Woodward? Not only a great manager, but helping the Wood to pay off its mortgage! There are so many other thoughts... some sad, most giggling in my heart. It makes me feel proud of the theatre life that we have here, thanks to so many.
Rick Davidson: Theater keeps restaurant busy Rick Davidson co-owns Davidson Brothers Restaurant and Brewery in downtown Glens Falls. He was one of the local guest playwrights for ATF’s Five and Dime Plays in 1995. • My favorite performances were, of course, the two plays my son AJ wrote for the APE 24-hour PlayFest last year and this year! So many talented people in our community contribute to provide such terrific entertainment for the rest of us. • The Adirondack Theatre Festival has given me many, many great memories, my favorites including Bomb-itty of Errors (THOSE kids were talented!); The Family Business featuring the great Lynn Cohen; Fully Committed (I missed the world premiere because the dishwasher called off and I was washing the dishes of many of the attendees! I did get to see it at The Cherry Lane in New York City and at Capitol Rep); Wit (exceptional!); Guys on Ice; ELAINE STRITCH!; Woody Sez; Eric Lane’s Filming O’Keeffe; and of
Proud to be part of the progress of Glens Falls! Glens Falls is the busiest little city in America — and the Adirondack Theatre Festival and Charles R. Wood Theater have made it even busier — and better! We’re proud to support them both — since their beginnings!
course The Five & Dime Plays. • My wife Kerry & I do not get a chance to see many performances at the Wood, including plays by the Glens Falls Community Theatre and all the different musical performances such as the awesome Tony DeSare, because we are usually busy working at the brewpub due to the large crowds generated by the shows. The Wood has done more than any other venue to bring business to our restaurant since we opened in 1996.
Jane Gibbs: Who knew? Jane Gibbs and her sister Rene Clements go to practically everything at the Wood Theater — performing, voluntneering, spectating. Highlights? Jane writes: Who knew in 1995 when an ambitious group of theatre professionals from the Adirondack Theatre Festival were looking for a home for summer theatre that it would be in an empty Woolworth’s Building in Glens Falls, N.Y.? My first memory was the Adirondack Theatre Festival’s incredibly powerful production of Three Tall Women. I remember like it was yesterday: Went with my mother and sister and remember crying my eyes out. It blew me away. This is what you go down to New York City to see, and it was right here in Glens Falls in an old Five and Dime building. I remember performing there with the Glens Falls Community Theatre for the first time. I thought I would be a nervous wreck because it was so much more intimate then the huge Glens Falls High School stage, but you could really connect to the audience. Great feeling. The Charles R. Wood Theater has been a revolving door of entertainment: Adirondack Theatre Festival, Glens Falls Community, Tony DeSare, ballet, dance recitals, art shows, benefits, movies and even a wedding, to mention a few.
Congratulations to the Wood Theater ~ 10 Years!
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