Schenectady Civic Players looking good at 90

Curtain Call staging 'Steel Magnolias'
From left: Civic Players' Pat Brady, Patti Noble, Robin MacDuffie (at piano), Autumn Routt, Laural Hayes and David Quinones.
From left: Civic Players' Pat Brady, Patti Noble, Robin MacDuffie (at piano), Autumn Routt, Laural Hayes and David Quinones.

The Schenectady Civic Players never seem to run out of talent, either on stage or behind the curtain.

The troupe, which turned 90 this year, finished up its 2016-2017 season with a major success in “The Curious Savage,” a drama about mental institutions and nasty stepchildren which starred Pat Brady in the role of Ethel Savage.

“The response has really surprised me,” said Brady, who plays a kind stepmother who is mistreated by her dead husband’s children. “People were so amused, so touched and they left in tears. I can’t believe what a lovely story it was.”

Written by John Patrick and first produced back in 1950, “The Curious Savage” was directed by Jennifer Van Iderstine and had a stellar cast, including newcomers David Quinones Jr. as Hannibal and Autumn Routt as Fairy May. Quinones is from Amsterdam and made his acting debut earlier this year in SCP’s “Wait Until Dark,” while Routt, who recently moved to the area from North Carolina, was making her SCP debut.

“There is plenty of talent in this area, it’s like a mecca for theater, and we keep on getting new ones,” said SCP spokesman Bill Hickman, who has been with the troupe since the 1960s. “It keeps people like Pat and me involved, and we love it when we get talented younger people and see them stay involved.”

While the Schenectady Civic Players were formed in 1927 and produced one show, their first initial season was in 1928 when they moved into the Schenectady Civic Playhouse at 12 South Church St. The building was constructed in 1869 as the St. George Masonic Lodge.

“We have a theater here that would put some off-Broadway houses to shame,” said Hickman. “We have great talent, and a lot of that is backstage in the technical aspects of the show, the lighting and the sound. I think we have a very good reputation, and it’s not just the actors. It’s also the backstage talent.”

“The Curious Savage” was Brady’s 18th show at SCP.

“It’s a wonderful theater, and we’re also putting money into the entire building,” said Brady, who expects to see a new elevator installed before the beginning of the 2017-2018 season. “It’s a great venue, and it’s going to get even nicer.

SCP’s 2017-18 season kicks off in the fall with Lanford Wilson’s “Fifth of July” taking center stage Oct. 13-22. Joe Fava is directing. The rest of the season is as follows: Dec. 1-10, “As Bees in Honey Down,” directed by Mark Stephens; Jan. 26-Feb. 4, 2018, “An Inspector Calls,” directed by Patrick White; March 16-25, 2018, “Other Desert Cities,” directed by Jennifer Van Iderstine; and May 4-13, “The School for Lies,” directed by Chris Foster.

‘Steel Magnolias’ at Curtain Call

At Curtain Call Theatre in Latham, Carol Max’s troupe is putting on a production of “Steel Magnolias,” starring Allison Tebbano as Shelby and Barbara Miner as her mother, M’Lynn. Also in the cast are Laura Graver, Pat Hoffman, Robin Leary and Christine Loffredo. Cindy Brizzell-Bates is directing.

Robert Harling wrote the play in 1987, basing it on his own experience following the death of his sister. The play was first mounted at the WPA Theatre in New York City that year, and then Harling wrote the screenplay for the 1989 Hollywood film with Sally Field and Julia Roberts.

Curtain Call has one more show left on its 2016-2017 schedule, “Buyer & Cellar,” July 14-Aug. 5.

Max will then move out of her 210 Old Loudon Road venue and move to a new theater at 2 Jeanne Jugan Lane in Latham for the 2017-2018 season and a production of “Lost in Yonkers,” Sept. 8-Oct. 7.

“The Legend of Georgia McBride” will be next up on the calendar, Oct. 20-Nov. 8, followed by “See How They Run,” Dec. 1-31. Skidmore College professor Victor Kahn will present “Fit to Kill,” Jan. 12-Feb. 10, and completing the season will be “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Feb. 23-March 24, and “Arsenic & Old Lace,” April 6-May 15.

‘Steel Magnolias’

WHERE: Curtain Call Theatre, 210 Old Loudon Rd., Latham
WHEN: Opens Friday and runs through June 24; performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday
MORE INFO: 877-7529,

Categories: Entertainment

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