By Amanda Kraus
Before the preceding performance began to cease, hundreds of people crowded to the front of the main stage at Mountain Jam, on Hunter Mountain, where Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers would be headlining — I was just one among many. The 45-minute wait time between the performances didn’t seem to faze any of his crazed fans; in fact, we were well lined up at 8:30, an hour and a half before he would take to the stage.
A distinct energy that had permeated the entire day began to condense in the crowd and intensify as his appearance drew nearer and nearer. I looked around: middle-aged women (the original fan girls), older men, entire families, and little children ran the gamut that was his audience. Despite our clear differences in age, origin, and livelihood, it was evident that we all shared a common enthusiasm for the band and their music, which had at one point gripped us all and infatuated us up until this moment.
And then it was time. The buzzing crowd erupted into a roar as the group made their way into the spotlight, opening with “Rockin’ Around (With You),” and proceeding to please with a wide variety of songs. When the air wasn’t being filled with a cascade of sultry notes, it saw endless appreciation in the form of applause, screaming, and whistling, to which the smiling Tom Petty expressed his gratitude. He didn’t need to say much; we could all feel it. The enchanting, ethereal scenery of the Catskill Mountains induced the magical feeling that encompassed his performance and the entire weekend. I had seen Tom Petty at The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, where a mass of people distanced me from the stage and the band. At Mountain Jam, you didn’t have to stare up at the huge screens to get a good look at him; the intimate setup allowed anyone to get close to the stage.
At one point in the set, Tom asked the crowd to sing along with him to his next song, which turned out to be the infamous “Free Fallin’.” It was the audience and the band, singing every word together, making music, and an unforgettable two hours. In the middle of the set, Tom welcomed Marty Stuart, who had performed earlier in the day, to the stage to play “Crawling Back to You,” with the rest of the Heartbreakers. There is no doubt that these rock legends got the audience moving and grooving for the entirety of their set — and especially me during my personal favorite, “You Got Lucky.” They closed the show with two encore’s, “You Wreck Me,” and, “American Girl,” leaving the audience fulfilled and elated.
After 40 years, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers still got it. Their music and conspicuous passion on stage enthrall the older and younger generations alike, keeping us coming back for more, time and time again — just as the ski slopes of Hunter Mountain do when they are magically transformed into the peaceful, bewitching festival grounds of Mountain Jam.
Inside Press summer intern Amanda Kraus is a rising junior at Tulane University studying English, Philosophy, and Psychology.
Now in its 18th season, The Hudson Stage Company of Armonk, founded and run by producers Denise Bessette, Olivia Sklar and Dan Foster, and operating as a professional non-profit since its inception, has been dedicated to presenting fresh, dynamic, original works since 1999.
With such a packed list of past heavy-hitters as Amy Herzog’s 4000 Miles, John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar, and Animals Out of Paper, by Rajiv Joseph, there’s no doubt they’ve got that goal well covered.
And they continued to play the field and open new doors with their latest smash, The Hound of the Baskervilles, which played Whippoorwill Hall Theater from April 28th to May 13th. “It was a complete departure from anything we’ve ever done,” says Bessette, with a laugh, citing the show’s specific aspects of quirky, physical comedy, as well as its aura of sheer and silly fun that differs greater from their previously darker work. “But in that way, it’s keeping with our mission, too. We’re all about trying new things, shaking things up, and presenting new works you’ll not see anywhere else.”
While it may have indeed been a new venture for the company, it hit all the right notes in keeping with the company’s mission. The show chronicled the renowned detective and his ragtag group of friends and colleagues as they collected clues to unveil the killer of Sir Charles Baskerville, and determine the true identity of the hound who lay beside him. But, as mentioned, with a dark plot, rooted mostly in that from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel of the same name, the brilliant presentation, helmed by Mark Shanahan, comes with an added (heaping) helping of sight gags, slapstick bits, and rapid-fire quick changes that make the stage show so thoroughly enjoyable and memorable.
To boot, it was all expertly executed by three actors of the highest Broadway caliber: Matt Ban, Joe Delafield, and Denis Lambert. Ban (who plays Watson, among others) effortlessly exhibits a mastery in physical comedy, down on the floor at the drop of a hat, exaggerating otherwise minuscule movement, and playing with props to humorous effect. Delafield, who portrays nearly all members of the Baskerville brood, revels in his cavalcade of facial expressions, while Lambert’s knack for accents (especially when portraying Latina bombshell, Cecile), is simply unmatched.
Again, a departure to say the least, but their decision to produce it–among all the other wildly exciting new works they’ve put out past and present–is what makes Hudson Stage Company such an enticing entity.
While their full slate of programming for the upcoming season is still in the works, Bessette advises those eager theatergoers to rest assured that “We’re narrowing down our selection [and] we’ve got a bunch of terrific new plays coming–all of which are new to Westchester County.”
It’s all in keeping with their aforementioned goal: to provide easy, local access to fantastic theatre productions (sans the expensive Broadway prices). Of note, their Armonk location is close enough to attract visitors from Fairfield, Putnam, and Rockland counties in addition to the devoted group of Westchester County regulars.
“We love our audiences, and we’re very proud of our fantastically diverse program,” Bessette concludes. “I mean, 18 years going strong in the county… we’ve got to be doing something right, right?!”
Hudson Stage Company holds its performances regularly at Whippoorwill Hall Theatre within North Castle Public Library at 19 Whippoorwill Road East in Armonk. For more information on upcoming performances, visit www.hudsonstage.com.
Two Family Favorites! Mamma Mia is at WBT through June 25; then it’s on to Annie, June 29-Sept. 10
If you are looking for a fun-filled evening with a delicious dinner and a musical with catchy infectious disco tunes, be sure to check out the latest production of Mamma Mia! at the Westchester Broadway Theater (WBT) in Elmsford. The show marks WBT’s 200th mainstage production and the cast features nine incredibly talented Actors Equity performers in the lead roles belting out 18 hits such as “Dancing Queen” and “Take a Chance on Me” from the 1970s Swedish pop band ABBA.
Mamma Mia! tells the story of Donna Sheridan, a single mother of a struggling small hotel on an idyllic Greek island who is about to give her daughter Sophie away for her wedding. But trouble looms when Sophie reads Donna’s diary from years ago and discovers that her mother had three boyfriends around the time of Sophie’s conception. In her quest to find out who her real father is, Sophie invites the three ex-boyfriends to her upcoming nuptials and figures she’ll be able to figure out who her real father is so that he can walk her down the aisle. With irresistible songs, show-stopping dance numbers and disco-themed costumes, it’s no wonder why Mamma Mia! was the eighth longest-running show in Broadway history.
WBT is the longest running year-round Equity theatre in the state of New York and was founded in 1974 by Bob Funking and Bill Stutler. It was their vision to create a theater with each show produced exclusively for WBT. Casting and auditions for both performers and theater staff takes place in New York City and many of WBT’s performers have gone on to grace the Great White Way. Originally dubbed “An Evening Dinner Theater” with Kiss Me Kate as their first production, Funking and Stutler eventually changed the name to WBT and founded today’s current venue in 1991 in Elmsford offering a larger performance space and state-of-the art technology.
In addition to Mamma Mia! which runs through June 25th, WBT also puts on special events, concerts and children’s theater productions. Tribute concerts to hit bands such as the Eagles, Motown musicians and comedy nights are also offered. All shows (excluding children’s theater productions) always include a lunch or dinner beforehand.The theater can accommodate almost 400 people and each seat is uniquely situated so that they all offer a good view of the production. WBT also offers luxury box seating which is a very popular option for those celebrating special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and bridal showers, according to Pia Haas, WBT’s Director of Press and Public Relations. The luxury box seating includes enhanced menu options and dining in private for groups of 6-20 people. Upcoming mainstage productions are Annie, Annie Get Your Gun and during the holiday season, The Christmas Voyager.
WBT is a great way for Westchester families to experience top-notch theater close to home. The upcoming production of Annie which runs this summer from June 29- September 10 is a wonderful opportunity for young theatergoers to see the magic of live theater. With on-site free parking and an easy commute to WBT, your family will thank you for introducing them to this local gem. For more info and reservations, please visit www.BroadwayTheater.com or call 914 592-2222.
The Armonk Players celebrates its 20th anniversary with Thornton Wilder’s Pulitizer Prize-winning play, an irrefutable classic of the American theater and a work of warmth and humanity.
Our Town transports us to Grover’s Corners, a place of secret wishes and disappointments, loves and losses, where the people we encounter are shockingly like the ones in our own lives. Meet Emily and George. They’ve grown up together in their small New England town, falling in love in a surprisingly complicated way. Their lives provide the lens through which the story is told, a story that focuses on a village but encompasses the eternal, finding the world in a grain of sand.
The Armonk Players Presents
By Thornton Wilder
Directed by Christine DiTota
Presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.
With: Rodd Berro, Danny Burke, Chloe Cerniglia, Kathy Files DiBiasi, Jim Eaton, Matthew Giovannetti, Bill Halliburton, Chris Jamison, Rex Lengyel, Dakota Martin, Sam Morell, Edward Olszewski, Jeff Rocco, Jeff Schlotman, Barbara Simonetti, Hal Simonetti, Justin Thomas, Carol Michelle Wagner and Ed Woodyard
Adults: $20, Students (18 and under): $10
June 2017 Our Town Performance Dates & Times
Friday, June 2, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, June 3, at 8 p.m.
Sunday, June 4, at 4 p.m.
Thursday, June 8, at 8 p.m.
Friday, June 9, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, June 10, at 8 p.m.
Ticket Purchase Information
“Walk-ins” are always welcome (we have ample seating), but we recommend that you purchase your tickets in advance online—you choose the exact seats you want, there is less waiting in line and you may pay with a debit card or credit card. “Walk-ins” may only pay with cash or by check (made out to either Friends of the North Castle Public Library, Inc. or FNCPL, Inc.)—we don’t accept credit cards at the theater.
We perform at Whippoorwill Hall (adjacent to the North Castle Public Library) at 19 Whippoorwill Road East, Armonk, NY 10504 (use the Kent Place entrance, please). You can get travel directions here.