Adirondack Fest Has Altar Boyz, Deb Filler Plays and Love Song in 2008

News   Adirondack Fest Has Altar Boyz, Deb Filler Plays and Love Song in 2008 Adirondack Theatre Festival's 14th summer season, its first under new producing artistic director Mark Fleischer, will include three productions and a workshop of a solo play at its home in Glens Falls, NY.

The season will open June 19-28 with Love Song, a new contemporary romantic comedy by John Kolvenbach. Next will be Deb Filler's Filler Up!, a Survivor's Guide to Jewish Mothers, Baking and Kneading June 30-July 5.

The Off-Broadway musical Altar Boyz plays July 10-19.

Filler's I Only Laugh When it Hurts will get a workshop production. It's "a new solo play about what lies behind the laughter of 1960s Catskills comedians by" international performer Filler and Briony Glasco. Performances will be July 13 and 14.

In Love Song, "Beane [is] an exile from life who is cared for by his well meaning sister, Joan, and her husband Harry," according to ATF notes. "After [their] apartment is burglarized, Joan is confused by the change in her brother's behavior. He has transformed from a reclusive loner to an effervescent extrovert: He is in love. The effect of his changed outlook on life ripples through the lives of the other characters, awakening them to the joy that surrounds them even in the midst of their daily routines."

Fleischer stated, "I saw the world premiere of Love Song at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre. Audiences fell in love with the play and were swept up in Kolvenbach's poetic language and exploration of the infectious effects of love." Filler Up! is part of Fleischer's effort to "keep a level of continuity between the previous administration and my tenure at ATF." In 1999 the comic actor Deb Filler was at ATF presenting her one-woman show Punch Me in the Stomach. While she was performing at night, during the day Filler and then-artistic director Martha Banta began discussions of "a new, very personal show about the role food, specifically bread, had played in her life." Audiences that summer, who stuck around after Filler's show were able to hear the first draft of what eventually became Filler Up!

Fleischer stated, "Bringing Deb's show to ATF is like bringing it home. ATF provided the seed for a touching play that has now been a hit in England, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Germany."

In Filler Up!, Filler impersonates 27 different characters while baking challah bread onstage. In it, we meet "Deb's semi-fictional family, including her baker father, opinionated mother, as well as siblings and a host of other relatives and friends."

Filler Up! asks, "How do you take the recipe you are given by your family and make it your own?"

Also in summer 2008, during the Filler Up! run, Filler will share her newest solo show, I Only Laugh When it Hurts, for two nights. The work-in-progress is part of ATF's "commitment to supporting artists as they try out new pieces." Audiences will be invited to participate in the artistic process by providing valuable feed back to the show's artistic team, who will be in residence. In I Only Laugh When it Hurts, Filler attempts to answer the question, "Who wrote all the dirty Jewish jokes in history?"

Filler portrays Biddy Schitzerman, the wife of Catskills comedian Henry Simon — famous for his endless stream of dirty Jewish jokes. "Biddy, a quiet, lumpy 50-year-old mother of four, reluctantly arrives on stage to inform Henry's loyal audience he been taken to [the] hospital," according to ATF. "After nervously making the announcement, she takes pity on the obviously disappointed audience and reluctantly tells the one joke she knows from Henry's act. It turns to another. As Biddy tells stories, jokes are flying, filthy and not so filthy. Before long Biddy realizes she has spent her life serving dinners to someone she didn't really know."

Altar Boyz is the cult-hit Off-Broadway show that has toured and is now being reinvented in resident productions around the country. It was conceived by Marc Kessler and Ken Davenport, with a book by Kevin Del Aguila and music and lyrics by Gary Adler (music director for ATF's tick, tick... BOOM!) and Michael Patrick Walker.

The 2005 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical tells the inspiring story of five small-town boys from Greenville, Ohio — Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham — "trying to save the world one screaming fan at a time with their spectacular music, sensational dancing and uncanny ability to drop the funk in freaky five-part harmony."

The Adirondack Theatre Festival plays at the Charles R. Wood Theater, 207 Glen Street in downtown Glens Falls. Subscription packages are $82 for three shows or $71 for four shows. For more information call (518) 798-7479 or visit www.ATFestival.org.

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