Serious issues, lighter fare on tap on regional stages

John Noble and Jerry Gretzinger are dealing with some serious issues. They’re both worried about the
Jerry Gretzinger stars in "Women in My Life," with Susan Cicarelli Caputo, Heather-Liz Copps and Erin Weaver, opening Friday at Fort Salem Theater.
Jerry Gretzinger stars in "Women in My Life," with Susan Cicarelli Caputo, Heather-Liz Copps and Erin Weaver, opening Friday at Fort Salem Theater.

John Noble and Jerry Gretzinger are dealing with some serious issues. They’re both worried about the women in their lives.

Noble stars in “The Outgoing Tide” at Curtain Call Theatre, a story about a man’s concern for his wife’s future as he suffers with Alzheimer’s, while Gretzinger plays the lead in “Women in My Life” at Fort Salem Theater, a bit more light-hearted fare about an aging singer trying to juggle his ex-wife, ex-girlfriend and current flame. Both shows open tonight, as do previews for “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” with Jannie Janes at Capital Repertory Theatre.

At Curtain Call, Noble is joined on stage by Joanne Westervelt as his wife and Kevin Gardner as his son. Carol Max is directing.

“It’s a very nice role about an older man who is developing Alzheimer’s,” said Noble, an Amsterdam native and Colonie resident who has become one of the Capital Region’s busiest actors since retiring from his state job back in 2001.

“It’s an issue a lot of us are facing these days, and while my character is going through a lot, he’s very concerned about what’s going to happen to his wife.”

To help her actors prepare for the play, Max, who founded Curtain Call in 1999, brought in some friends who are currently dealing with Alzheimer’s.

“Carol brought in two women to tell us about what they went through, and it was very helpful,” said Noble. “It made it easier to understand and appreciate what these people go through.”

Three plays opening

‘The Outgoing Tide’

WHERE: Curtain Call Theatre, 210 Old Loudon Road, Latham

WHEN: Opens Friday and runs through Aug. 2; show times are 7:30 p.m., Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday


MORE INFO: 877-7529,

‘Women in My Life’

WHERE: Fort Salem Theater, 11 East Broadway, Salem

WHEN: Opens Friday and runs through July 20; show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 8 p.m. July 18, 2 p.m. July 19 and 2 p.m July 20

HOW MUCH: $30-$18

MORE INFO: 854-9200,

‘Smokey Joe’s Cafe’

WHERE: Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 North Pearl, Albany

WHEN: Previews Friday through Sunday, opens Tuesday and runs through Aug. 10; performance times are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday

HOW MUCH: $60-$20

MORE INFO: 445-7469,

“The Outgoing Tide” was written by Philadelphia playwright Bruce Graham. It had its world premiere at the Delaware Theatre Company in 2012 and opened off-Broadway later in the year. The cast included popular television actors Michael Learned (“The Waltons”) and Peter Strauss (“Rich Man, Poor Man”).

Noble most recently worked at Curtain Call earlier this season in “Abigail/1702,” and back in 2004 was also dealing with Alzheimer’s in “Taking Leave” at Curtain Call.

His Curtain Call resume also includes playing Norman in “On Golden Pond,” and he has also performed as Scrooge at the Schenectady Civic Playhouse and as the Wizard of Oz at Home Made Theater in Saratoga Springs.

“I enjoy keeping busy, and I’ll do three sometimes four performances a year,” he said. “Also, having Joanne Westervelt and Kevin Gardner to work with is fantastic. They are both so meticulous and well-trained. You can rely on both of them to really be there with you on stage.”

Discussions about Alzheimer’s will be held after two Thursday night performances. Dr. Richard Holub of Neurological Associates in Albany will lead one on July 17, and Beth Smith-Bolvin, executive director and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association NENY, will be in charge of the post-show session on July 24.

Up in Fort Salem in Washington County, Gretzinger, a former WRGB news anchor, has his hands full in “Women in My Life,” a semi-autobiographical story by Fort Salem director Jay Kerr. who is also directing the production.

“My understanding is that the story is much about Jay’s life, his earlier experiences, but he was never able to bring himself to produce it,” said Gretzinger, a member of the “Singing Anchors” with Benita Zahn and Jessica Layton.

“It’s very exciting to do new, original work and Jay is great. The song are wonderful, but I couldn’t go listen to them somewhere and that was a challenge. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long for Jay’s music to get in your head.”

Sharing the stage with Gretzinger is Sue Caputo-Ciccarelli as his ex-wife, Heather-Liz Copps as his ex-girlfriend and Erin Weaver as his current partner.

“There are definitely some funny moments in the show, but there are also some that are very poignant,” said Gretzinger, who began working for the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering as vice president for strategic communications and public relations. “It’s a story about a guy who had some success, but he didn’t have his priorities right.”

In Albany, Capital Rep fans clamoring for another look at Jannie Jones will be happy. In “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” she primarily sings, and while her acting has quite often drawn praise in the past, its her singing voice that keeps people coming back.

“This is more like a musical revue, but the constant thread running through the show is love and relationships, falling in love, falling out of love, arguing about love,” explained Jones. “Some of it is reminiscing about past loves, and most of it is upbeat and fast-moving. You’ll be tapping your shoes.”

Jones delighted Capital Rep audiences in “Black Pearl Sings” in 2012 and “Crowns” in 2011.

“I love blues and gospel, and I enjoy Broadway music of course,” said Jones. “I enjoy anything, from opera down to bluegrass, and in this show I have some wonderful and talented singers and dancers working with me.”

Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment

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