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Civic Players roles keep actress Jupin jumpin'

Civic Players roles keep actress Jupin jumpin'

Busy weekend on area stages as four productions open
Civic Players roles keep actress Jupin jumpin'
Meigg Jupin and Michael Schaefer play multiple characters in "Looking at Christmas" at Schenectady Civic Playhouse.
Photographer: Jenn Moak

Meigg Jupin shouldn't have to worry about being typecast anytime soon. She's always mixing things up, in a very good way.

A Latham native, Shaker High grad and SUNY Plattsburgh alum, Jupin is becoming a very busy actress when she's not working as a waitress at Druthers in Saratoga Springs. She'll be moonlighting next as five different characters in the Schenectady Civic Players production of "Looking at Christmas," opening Friday and running through Dec. 16.

"Once you learn your lines, the costumes really take over and do a lot of the work for you," said Jupin, who plays Mrs. Claus and four other storefront-display characters who come to life in the 2010 Steven Banks play. "I have so many costume changes in this show, but it works. Once you put on those clothes, it's 'Oh, I am this person.'"

Obviously, Jupin isn't giving herself enough credit. She's received a number of rave reviews in the past few years, even when she's only playing one character. She was Sister James in the SCP production of "Doubt" and portrayed two characters in Albany Civic's "Dead Man's Cell Phone," both in 2017. And earlier this year she was a troubled character in the Creative License production of "Mine" at the Albany Barn.

Her "Looking at Christmas" roles provide plenty of opportunity to shine.

"I play a sexy Mrs. Claus who may or may not have done the work trying to look young for her age, and I play a Russian model and also an Irish woman from back in the day," said Jupin. "I also play a little girl, Betty, who's 5, and I play Mary, the mother of Jesus. I certainly do a lot of work, but it's a lot of fun. In this show I get to use all of my acting ability because of all of these characters, and some of them are funny, some are sarcastic and some are traumatic."

There are a host of storybook characters who come alive in "Looking at Christmas." Also playing multiple roles are Laura Graver, Martin O'Connor and Michael Schaefer. The story is centered on an aspiring writer named John (Jason Biszick) and a struggling actress named Charmian (Brigitta Giulianelli), who meet on Christmas Eve while walking the sidewalks of New York City admiring storefront displays. Mark Stephens is directing.

Jupin first popped up on area stages as a roller-skating waitress in the 2011 SCP production of "Leading Ladies," not long after she graduated from Plattsburgh. Acting hadn't been that big a part of her life until she headed upstate for college.

"I was thinking, I'm going to head up there and get a liberal arts education," remembered Jupin. "Then I decided, for no apparent reason, I wanted to be a theater major. I had never done it before. It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing. I thought it'd be a good idea."

After she made that first move into acting, she did get plenty of prompting.

"I had a lovely professor, Dr. John Schout, who I was so enamored with," said Jupin, who was also in "The Laramie Project" at Albany Civic in 2013. "I was way too nervous to audition for anything, but I loved the way he went on about the theater and acting. Finally, I got my first major part my sophomore year."

She hasn't stopped acting since.

"Community theater in this area is so wonderful, I can't imagine myself not carving out some time to do at least two shows a year," said Jupin, who also was an extra in the new Showtime series "Escape at Dannemora." "I'll probably keep doing one show in the fall and one in the spring. It all depends on the show and the director. We have so many great directors in the area. If I know the director and kind of know the vision he or she will have, I'll do it."

More shows

Also opening this weekend will be "A Christmas Story" at Home Made Theater in Saratoga Springs, "A Christmas Carol" by the Circle Theatre Players in Averill Park and "The Altar Boyz" at Albany Civic.

At Home Made Theater, Philip Grecian's adaptation of Jean Shepherd's classic story about Ralphie and his dreams of a Red Ryder BB gun will be brought to life on the stage of the Spa Little Theater. J.J. Buechner is directing the production, which stars Zeke Fiber as Ralphie, Shane Thompson as adult Ralphie, Christine Geraci as Mother and Byron Turner as the Old Man.

At the Sand Lake Center for the Arts, Schenectady native Brian Sheldon will be directing Charles Dickens' classic tale of Mr. Scrooge and Tiny Tim. Bill Douglas plays Scrooge, Liam White is Tiny Tim and George Filieau is Marley.

Albany Civic, meanwhile, won't be offering traditional Christmas fare, but in "Altar Boyz," winner of numerous off-Broadway awards when it first came out in 2005, the Albany troupe will be staging the story of an all-boys group whose goal is to "reduce the number of burdened souls." Written by Gary Adler, Michael Patrick Weber and Kevin Del Aguila, the show stars Nicholas Edwards as Matthew, Nik Gatzendorfer as Mark, Peter Darling as Luke and William Heatley as Juan. Directed by Norm Eick, rounding out the cast are John Meglino as Abraham, Barry Streifert as the Stage Manager and Gary M. Hoffman as the Voice of God.

'Looking at Christmas'

WHERE: Schenectady Civic Players, 12 South Church St., Schenectady

WHEN: Opens Friday and runs through Dec. 16; performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday


MORE INFO: (518) 382-2081 or visit www.civicplayers.org


'A Christmas Story

WHERE: Home Made Theater, Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Spa State Park

WHEN: Opens Friday and runs through Dec. 16; performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 1 and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 15

HOW MUCH: $18-$12

MORE INFO: (518) 587-4427 or visit www.homemadetheater.org


'A Christmas Carol'

WHERE: Sand Lake Center for the Arts, 2880 Route 43, Averill Park

WHEN: Opens Friday and runs through Dec. 16; performances at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday

HOW MUCH: $18-$10

MORE INFO: (518) 674-2007, or visit www.slca-ctp.org


'Altar Boyz'

WHERE: Albany Civic Theater, 235 Second Ave., Albany

WHEN: Opens Friday and runs through Dec. 16; performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday


MORE INFO: (518) 462-1297, www.albanycivictheater.org



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