‘State Fair,’ two Shakespeare plays and ‘Pinocchio’ on regional stages

Few Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals say summer like “State Fair.”

Few Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals say summer like “State Fair.”

Written originally as a Hollywood movie in 1945 with Dick Haymes and Jeanne Crain, “State Fair” didn’t make it to the stage until a St. Louis theater company put on a production in 1969. This weekend and next at Clifton Commons in Clifton Park, the Not-So-Common-Players will offer their version.

“This is a really nice nugget of family musical theater,” said Suzanne Rayome, who plays Melissa Frake. “It’s a show that anybody, any age, can go see and really enjoy. It’s from the Rodgers and Hammerstein archives, and while it’s probably not the musical people are most familiar with, it has a nice story line and some wonderful music.”

The production is free and outdoors, as are two Shakespeare offerings also opening this weekend. “Macbeth” will be performed by the Saratoga Shakespeare Company in Congress Park, and the Helderberg Theater Festival, produced by the Classic Theater Guild, will be mounting “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Indian Ladder Farms.

Also opening this weekend at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs is a new production of “Pinocchio” by The Creative Space International.

Classic songs

“State Fair” tells the story of the Frake family and their journey to the Iowa State Fair soon after World War II. Included in the song list are “It Might as Well be Spring,” winner of the Oscar for Best Song in 1945, “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” and “Isn’t it Kind of Fun.” When the show finally did make it to Broadway in 1996, it was nominated for a Tony for Best Original Score.

“There are a lot of people singing, but not too many solos,” said Adam Coons, who is directing the show. “I like the fact that it’s much more of an ensemble piece than a show that’s driven by one character.”

Elizabeth Sterling stars as Margy Frake, while also in the cast are Rick Reed, Tom Swimm, Laura Marra and Chris Maletesta.

Good man gone bad

Tim Dugan and Amy Prothro star in the Saratoga Shakespeare Company’s production of “Macbeth,” which opened Tuesday. Also in the cast are John Romeo, David Bunce, David Baecker and Leigh Strimbeck.

Shakespeare’s play is about a brave Scottish general named Macbeth who becomes consumed by ambition after receiving a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland.

“We’ve become collectively attracted to the good man gone bad,” said David Girard, who is directing the production. “Contemporary audiences relate to the anti-hero because of the dramatic richness of flawed characters, and we place a premium on characters who are both hero and villain.”

The eighth annual Helderberg Festival will run over two weekends at Indian Ladder Farms. Along with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” directed by Tony Pallone, the Classic Theater Guild will also offer a production of “Pinocchio,” the classic children’s story by Carlo Collodi. While the shows are free, a special performance of both productions will be mounted at Proctors’ Fenimore Gallery on Aug. 2 and serve as a fundraiser for the Classic Theater Guild.

Alex Jones will play Oberon and Colleen Lovett is Titania in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” while Isabel Witzenberg is the title character in “Pinocchio.”

Musical version

At the National Museum of Dance, Mary Jane Hansen has adapted a new musical version of “Pinocchio.” Broadway veteran Anny DeGange Holgate stars as the title character, while also in the cast are John McGuire, Ralph Hamman, Jocelyn Khoury and Colwyn Allen.

‘State Fair,’ by the Not-So-Common-Players

WHERE: Clifton Commons, Vischer Ferry Road, Clifton Park

WHEN: Opens 8 p.m. Friday and runs through July 27; show times are 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday


MORE INFO: www.notsocommonplayers.org

‘Macbeth,’ by Saratoga Shakespeare Company

WHERE: Congress Park, Saratoga Springs

WHEN: Through July 27, 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays


MORE INFO: www.saratogashakespeare.com

‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘Pinocchio,’ by the Classic Theater Guild

WHERE: Indian Ladder Farms, 342 Altamont Road, Altamont

WHEN: Opens 7 p.m. Thursday and runs through July 27; performance times vary

HOW MUCH: free

MORE INFO: www.classictheaterguild.com

‘Pinocchio,’ by The Creative Place International

WHERE: National Museum of Dance, 99 South Broadway, Saratoga Springs

WHEN: 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. Tuesday, 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday

HOW MUCH: $10, $7 for children under 12

MORE INFO: http: www.thecreativeplaceinternational.org, 584-7780

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

Categories: Entertainment

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