Two works from Helen Hayes Award nominee Deb Filler, one already a successful play and the other a work in progress, will highlight the 2008 summer season of the Adirondack Theatre Festival.
“Filler Up!: A Survivor’s Guide to Jewish Mothers, Baking and Kneading,” opened in Washington, D.C., in 2004 and earned Filler a Helen Hayes nomination. It will run June 30 to July 5 at the Charles R. Wood Theater in downtown Glens Falls. Another play by Filler and Briony Glasco, “I Only Laugh When it Hurts,” about comedians in the Catskills in the 1960s, will be presented to ATF audiences in workshop form July 13 and 14.
Filler performed in Glens Falls in 1999, doing her one-woman show “Punch Me in the Stomach,” and during that time gave audiences a glimpse of the first draft of “Filler Up!.”
“Bringing Deb’s show to ATF is like bringing it home,” said ATF Producing Artistic Director Mark Fleischer, who took over for ATF co-founders Dave Turner and Martha Banta at the conclusion of the 2007 season. “ATF provided the seed for a touching play, and it was important for me to keep a level of continuity between the previous administration and my tenure at ATF. ‘Filler Up!” is part of that commitment.”
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In “Filler Up!,” Filler impersonates 27 different characters while baking challah bread on stage. The play is partly based on her family, including her opinionated mother and her relationships with siblings, relatives and friends.
In “I Only Laugh When it Hurts,” Filler attempts to answer the question, “who wrote all the dirty Jewish jokes in history?” Filler portrays Biddy Schitzerman, the wife of a famous Catskill comedian Henry Simon. Also a part of the 2008 ATF season will be “Love Song” (July 19 to 28) and “Altar Boyz,” (July 10 to 19).
“Love Song” is John Kolvenbach’s contemporary romantic comedy that debuted at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago in 2006. The story centers on Beane, a lonely exile from society whose life is changed after his apartment is burglarized.
“I saw the world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre, and the audiences fell in love with the play and were swept up in Kolvenbach’s poetic language and exploration of infectious effects of love,” said Fleischer.
“Altar Boyz” is the off-Broadway musical hit that tells the inspiring story of five small-town boys who share through their music a message of tolerance, love and the power of good hair products. The play was conceived by Marc Kessler and Ken Davenport, the book was written by Kevin Del Aguila, and Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker wrote the music and lyrics.
“I believe the theater is a place we can come together as a community to share what we hold in common and celebrate our differences,” said Fleischer. “ATF is a place for us to explore together the important questions about how we live now. I hope our productions are the start of a conversation, not the end. Theater should entertain, challenge and inspire both audiences and artists alike.”
For more information, call 798-7479 or visit the ATF Web site at www.ATFestival.org.
June 19-28 — “Love Song,” written by John Kolvenbach, is a contemporary romantic comedy about a man who is cared for by his sister and brother-in-law.
June 30-July 5 — “Filler Up!: A Survivor’s Guide to Jewish Mothers, Baking and Kneading,” written and performed by Deb Filler, partly based on her family, includes her baker father, opinionated mother and a host of other siblings, relatives and friends.
July 10-19 — “Altar Boyz,” with book by Kevin Del Aguila and music and lyrics by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker, tells the inspiring story of five small-town boys who set out to save the world with their spectacular music.
July 13-14 — “I Only Laugh When it Hurts,” a workshop production by Deb Filler and Briony Glasco, tells the story of comedians working in the Catskills during the 1960s.
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