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There’s a lot to look forward to in 2023

HAMILTON And Peggy National Tour – Company
© Joan Marcus
HAMILTON And Peggy National Tour – Company

The start of a year is a time to celebrate or mourn the past 12 months. The best you can say about 2022 is that it was somewhat better than the previous two years.

In 2022 COVID was still a factor, as it interrupted almost every venue. It was not uncommon for touring shows to be missing lead performers and one show that came to Proctors had 14 replacement actors. It was not called the “year of the understudy” for nothing.

Locally, many shows lost up to a week of productions. Amongst others, “Jersey Boys” at Capital Rep, “She Loves Me” at Home Made Theater in Saratoga Springs and “Bright Star” at Cohoes Music Hall lost a significant amount of performances.

But there is hope for 2023. Over the next few months Proctors has the strongest part of its schedule. “Hamilton” returns to the Schenectady venue March 14-19. A few weeks before that the Broadway smash “Hadestown” is here February 28-March 5. “The Book of Mormon” returns February 3-5.

If you don’t mind thinking a little longer term “Tootsie” plays April 11. May 23-June 4 features what I think is one of the best musicals on the schedule - “Ain’t Too Proud.” It’s juke box material featuring the music of The Temptations, which is great fun.

January is not without its treats. “Stomp,” the dynamic dance-movement show that will close next week in New York City after 29 years, is at Proctors January 24-25 and the “Dancing With the Stars” Tour is here January 15. There are comedy shows, the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra and other attractions filling out the month.

You cannot start February any better than with Mandy Patinkin in Concert. That happens February 2 at Proctors.

Proctors is not the only venue starting 2023 with worthy work. Capital Rep in Albany introduces a world premiere of “Secret Hour.” The title refers to an hour a day when a married couple agree they must tell the truth to any question the other asks. It becomes a play that wonders how much should people know about each other? It plays January 27-February 19.

Cute and charming is the way to describe “{title of play]” a musical about two young men writing a musical for a festival in 90-minutes. It’s being done by Playhouse Stage at Cohoes Music Hall January 26- February 12.

Local non-professional theater is alive and well the beginning of the year. January 12-29, Curtain Call Theatre offers “Misery” (yes, a stage adaptation of the Stephen King thriller). Next, “Fireflies” – a heart-warming story about later-life love - is at the Latham theater March 2-19.

On January 20, the city of Schenectady sees two rarely produced shows open. Schenectady Light Opera opens Stephen Sondheim’s musical “A Little Night Music” and Schenectady Civic Players presents the controversial Edward Albee play “The Goat (or who is Sylvia?)”.

February 10-19, Home Made Theater offers “The Lifespan of a Fact,” a work based on a true incident about fabrication of a story at an important newspaper.

Theater goes into overload starting mid-March right through May. The offerings are too many to mention and probably too early in the year to care about.

But we always want to be thinking summer. Believe it or not a couple of opening shows have already been announced.

“Cabaret” opens at Barrington Stage June 14- July 8. Park Playhouse in Albany’s Washington Park offers the comic musical “Something Rotten” June 29-July 22. Capital Rep runs the country musical “Honky Tonk Angels” July 14-August 20.

If we’ve learned anything the past few years it’s that you can predict nothing. But in January of 2023 there is hope for a more normal year.

Bob Goepfert is theater reviewer for the Troy Record.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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