November is a busy, comfortable month for theater
November is an odd month for theater. The normal scheduling pattern is that in September, local theater companies try to start their seasons with a bang in order to attract audiences back from outdoor summer fun.
November is different. The goal is now to get audiences back to the theater. Often that is accomplished with comfortable plots and familiar titles.
Well, not every organization. This week, Troy Foundry Theatre is conducting its first ever musical production, “ City of Myth: Ilium Sings” It’s a truly collaborative effort with actors having impact on both the music and the lyrics.
It’s always difficult to explain a Troy Foundry production, but this seems to be about four disconnected people finding each other through the memories of a great city in the midst of a revival. It plays at 77 Congress Street, Troy through Saturday.
Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate N.Y. is also remaining true to its mission of making the invisible who were lost in history visible again.
“Knock Me A Kiss,” which plays this week at the studio theater of Capital Rep is about Yolande, the daughter of the famed Black intellectual W.E. B. Du Bois and her marriage to the important Black poet Countee Cullen.
The play sheds light on the lives of famous people and the almost forgotten era called the Harlem Renaissance. It continues at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany through Sunday.
The first two weeks of November are exceedingly busy in terms of theater. On Thursday, November 3, Curtain Call Theatre in Latham opens “All the Days,” a light-hearted comedy about a woman who, after marrying, has avoided her dysfunctional family.
After a lapse in judgment she invites her overbearing mother to her son’s bar mitzvah. Comedy and chaos ensue. It plays through November 12.
On Friday, November 4, Schenectady Light Opera Company opens the small contemporary musical “First Date.” A blind date starts with a casual drink at a bar. Soon it turns into a hilarious evening that is always on the brink of going out of control. It’s at 427 Henry Street in Schenectady through November 13.
Also opening on Friday, November 4 is “Perfect Arrangement.” Set in the 1950s, it sounds like a clever, contemporary drama-comedy - and more.
It’s about a contemptible ploy by the government to weed out gay individuals from the Department of State. However, the couple they put in charge are gay and have a perfect cover as they married their companion’s companion.
What makes the story more incredible, it is based on a true incident. It plays at Albany Civic Theater at 235 Second Avenue through November 20.
The following week is just as busy. “Pretty Woman: the Musical” plays at Proctors for 8 performances Tuesday November 8-Sunday November 13. It’s a musical remake of one of the more popular films about a hooker with a heart of gold, melting the heart of a tough businessman.
The same week, Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill is mounting the modern classic “The Lion in Winter.” Most people remember it from the film starring Katherine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole, but the live stage production brings added emotion to this love story between Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II. It opens November 10 and performs weekends through November 20.
If you love a mystery, Schenectady Civic Players opens a classic. Agatha Christie’s beloved detective Hercule Poirot solves his most memorable case, “Murder on the Orient Express.” It plays at 12 S. Church Street, Nov 11-20.
As for comedy, “Fools” plays at Circle Theater at the Sand Lake Center for the Arts. It’s a cute show written by Neil Simon about a village cursed with stupidity. If you like puns and groaners get to Averill Park between November 11 and 20.
Perhaps the most fascinating work of the month is “The Flick” presented by Creative License at Cohoes Music Hall.
Three people cleaning an old movie house care about their jobs and the history of film, both of which are in danger of being lost.
“The Flick” is about more than the loss of old films - it’s about many socially important losses society has experienced as technology overtakes industry. It plays Friday, November 18 to Sunday, November 27 .
And finally, the last show in November is the start of the holiday season as Capital Rep offers the joyous family musical “The Wizard of Oz.” It plays downtown Albany November 18-December 24.
Bob Goepfert is theater reviewer for the Troy Record.
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