Jarel Davidow is now a full-time member of the Capital Region theater community, and he feels right at home as artistic director of the Lake Theatre in Lake George.
"I was born in Brooklyn and raised in White Plains, but every summer between the ages of 11 and 16, I went to summer camp up in Hague on Lake George, so I really know this area," said Davidow. "Now, I recently moved to Glens Falls, and I've worked with the Glens Falls Community Theater and performed with iTheater in Saratoga. I'm trying to fully ensconce myself in the wonderful theater community we have here."
Named earlier this year as artistic director of the Lake Theatre by Executive Director Terry Rabine, Davidow is directing the current production of "Jerry Finnegan's Sister." The Jack Neary play from 1993 opened last week at the Lake George Holiday Inn and will run five days a week through Sept. 1. Evan Maltby and Megan Dorn, two New York City-based actors, make up the two-person cast.
"I was researching plays to produce this summer and since I was introduced to the playwright by a friend, I wrote to him and asked him if he had any small production plays, and he sent me this one," said Davidow. "I read it and I loved it. It's a sweet romantic comedy, and it was actually an easy choice for us this summer."
The play tells the story of 23-year-old Brian Dowd, who has had a crush on his best friend's sister throughout his life. When he hears that Beth Finnegan is about to be married, he decides it's not too late to tell her exactly how he feels. On Neary's website, he actually refers to the work as a "simple little play."
"It's easy to produce financially because there are only two people in the show," said Davidow. "It's a memory play, so it starts out with Brian, the main character, talking to the audience about how he's been in love with his best friend's sister his whole life. You see them at 6, you see them at 10, and then you see them grown up. It's a very popular play in college towns because it's so easy to produce. But it's also a great play that's also very popular with an older crowd. There's a lot of nostalgia in it."
Maltby is a New York City native who sang in the New York City Opera Children's Chorus before heading to Williams College. He has performed in numerous theaters in the New York area and played the role of Leon Czolgosz in "Assassins" at the Theater 2020 in Brooklyn earlier this year. Dorn, meanwhile, is the star of a recent award-winning web series, "The Hunted: Encore," while her stage credits include "The Sisters Rosensweig" at the Portland Stage Company. She is a graduate of The Boston Conservatory.
"We had auditions in New York City and this is the first time in this area for both of them," Davidow said of Maltby and Dorn. "They both really looked the part and we're happy to have them in our show."
The second production of the Lake Theatre season will be "The Long Weekend" by Norm Foster. The show opens Sept. 14 and runs through Oct. 13.
"Norm Foster is a favorite up here in Lake George," Davidow said of the playwright. "Terry's done four or five of his plays already. 'The Long Weekend' is about two couples who have been best friends all of their lives, but over the course of a long weekend all four of them find out that they secretly can't stand each other. It's a really biting script, and very funny."
Starring in the production will be Jes Bedwinek, Michael J. Connolly, Fleece and Jan-Peter Pedross, all New York City based actors.
Also a part of the Lake Theatre schedule this summer will be a series of Thursday performances, "Pookahs and Yams," aimed at younger audiences.
"We started a new program with six interns this summer and they're going to be doing a bunch of children's shows each Thursday at 6 p.m.," said Davidow. "We're still technically a dinner theater but we're going to be offering a whole lot more. That's why Terry changed the name two years ago."
Rabine's acting troupe was named the Lake George Dinner Theatre when it was created in 1986 by Glens Falls businessman David Eastwood and his wife Vicky. Rabine took over the reins in 2008, and shortened the theater's title to just "Lake Theatre" two years ago.
'Jerry Finnegan's Sister'
WHERE: Lake Theatre, Holiday Inn Resort, 2223 Route 9, Lake George
WHEN: Matinees are 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; evening performances are 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (starting times include lunch and dinner)
HOW MUCH: $69-$40 (includes meals)
MORE INFO: (518) 668-5762 ext. 411, or visit www.laketheatreproductions.com