When Chad Rabinowitz asked Cathryn Wake if she might consider spending another summer relatively close to home with the Adirondack Theatre Festival, she didn't have to think twice.
"I am thrilled to be able to return to ATF and work professionally at an Equity theater in the Capital Region," said Wake, a Niskayuna native who has spent much of the past decade doing stage work in New York City. "I worked at ATF last year in 'Loch Ness' with fellow Niskayuna native Gabriella Pizzolo, an incredible performer and all-around amazing human, and I'm having the time of my life rehearsing this show with another incredibly talented cast."
This season's new play at ATF is "The Enlightenment of Percival Von Schmootz," a 2015 musical comedy by Michael Kooman and Christopher Diamond, a songwriting team based in New York City. The show opens Friday and runs through July 13.
"Basically, it's Monty Python meets the Dark Ages," said Wake. "Fed up with a world filled with plagues, pestilence and poor personal hygeine, a ridiculously optimistic young man sets out on a quest to end the Dark Ages. As he attempts to bring the light of hope to the world, Percival Von Schmootz meets with hilariously disastrous results at every turn."
Percival, however, never stops fighting the good fight.
"In this outrageous, Monty Python-esque musical comedy, it is only when things look the darkest that Percival is able to discover what true enlightenment means, as he finds hope and humor in impossibly bleak circumstances," said Wake.
Wake grew up in Niskayuna, and graduated from Colonie High School in 2009 and Pace University in 2013. She landed a great gig soon after leaving Pace, earning the female lead in "The Fantasticks," one of the most successful off-Broadway shows in history.
She was on Broadway in "Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812" in 2016-2017, and most recently was in an off-Broadway production of "The Hello Girls" earlier this year. In "Percival Von Schmootz," Wake plays a handful of characters.
"Our cast of seven performs multiple roles," said Wake, who is joined onstage by fellow Broadway performers Erik Gratton and Tess Primack. "My roles range from a bloodthirsty nun, a dimwitted cockney soldier, a silly Scottish celebrant, an unfeeling doctor and more, but my favorite and most featured role is a self-indulgent, overblown male actor with a massive mustache and an even more ridiculous name: Flavian Sucretia."
ATF Executive Director Chad Rabinowitz was happy to get Wake back for another summer.
"I consider myself extremely fortunate to get Cathryn here twice," he said. "She's literally the best, extremely talented and also the loveliest human being ever. Fortunately she had such a good time with 'Loch Ness' and we had such a good time with her that convincing her to return wasn't difficult."
The title role is played by Kyle Sherman, who was recently in the off-Broadway production of "Romantics Anonymous," while rounding out the cast are Sydney Parra, Zach Kononov and John Anthime Miller. Directing the production is Scott Weinstein, who has numerous theater credits in both New York City and Chicago.
Noble at Theater Barn
While Wake will play multiple characters up in Glens Falls, Albany's John Noble will be taking on one of the most familiar character roles in stage and film history, that of Sir Wilfrid Robarts in "Witness for the Prosecution," opening Thursday at 8 p.m. and running through July 21 at The Theater Barn in New Lebanon.
"I like the British lawyerly pomposity of the role," said Noble, referring to the character that won Charles Laughton an Oscar for his 1957 movie portrayal. "It's kind of fun to play those parts. But it's also a great thriller, mystery, and it's a play where the audience is never quite sure of the accused's guilt or innocence."
"Witness for the Prosecution" was originally a short story and play written by Agatha Christie in 1925. The first stage production, written by Christie, opened in London in 1953. Phil Rice is directing the Theater Barn production, which also stars Aaron Holbritter of Cohoes and Steve King of Albany.
Along with being a regular performer at the Theater Barn the past decade, Noble is also a big fan.
"It's not a bad ride from the Albany area, and it's always a very good production," said Noble, who performed in New Lebanon during the fall of 2017's "Lucky Me," in which he played a blind man. "We have some very talented people in our cast, so it's always worth the trip."
At Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts, the final previews of "Twelfth Night" will be performed Thursday and Friday, with the show officially opening Saturday, July 5, at 7:30 p.m. The production runs through Aug. 4 in the Tina Packer Playhouse.
Director Allyn Burrows has set the story, based on one of Shakespeare's classics, in 1959.
"This production of 'Twelfth Night' unfolds in a mutable landscape of yearning and surprises, set in a dance hall on a boardwalk by the seashore in 1959," said Burrows. "Ours is a story of what arises from a shipwreck, the madness of love and the shipwreck called love. With our delightful music, costumes and dance on our evocative set by Cristina Todesco, audiences will feel literally plunged into the world of the play."
The cast includes Shakespeare & Company veterans Martin Jason Asprey, Nigel Gore, Deaon Griffin-Pressley and Cloteal L. Horne.
'The Enlightenment of Percival Von Schmootz'
WHERE: Adirondack Theatre Festival, Charles R. Wood Theater, 207 Glen St., Glens Falls
WHEN: Opens Friday and runs through July 13; performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and July 9-13, along with a 2 p.m. matinee on July 10
HOW MUCH: $35-$34
MORE INFO: www.atfestival.org, or call (518) 480-4878
'Witness for the Prosecution'
WHERE: The Theater Barn, 654 Route 20, New Lebanon
WHEN: Opens Thursday and runs through July 21; performances at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $31-$29
MORE INFO: www.thetheaterbarn.org, or call (518) 794-8989
WHERE: Shakespeare & Company, 70 Kemble St., Lenox, Massachusetts
WHEN: Tuesday-Sunday through Aug. 4; performance times vary
HOW MUCH: $60-$20
MORE INFO: www.shakespeare.org or call (413) 637-3353