With the arrival of October, the fall theatrical season gets under way in earnest across the Lower Hudson Valley. Several productions get their starts this weekend, a mix of laughter, love, pain and song that should satisfy most any theatrical taste.
Schoolhouse artistic director Pam Moller Kareman caught the show in a shorter incarnation and was taken with Del Valle’s story of growing up Puerto Rican in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The two got together and layered on detail, Del Valle says.
“Pamela helped me to get more specific, to add elements that make it more Brownsville and not a story that could be told anywhere else,” Del Valle says. But that specificity, she adds, somehow also made the story more universal, accessible to those who aren’t from Brooklyn, and who aren’t Puerto Rican.
“How many people need to be Indian to root for the characters in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’?” Del Valle adds rhetorically.
The play is a roller-coaster of emotions, with laughter and tears along the way, as Del Valle recounts a traumatic moment in her childhood. She plays several characters — “but mostly, it’s me, my mom and my dad,” she says.
Del Valle welcomes the run at the Schoolhouse, the first venue she hasn’t had to share with other productions going on at the same time.
“This is best place I’ve done this,” she says. “I love the intimacy of the space.”
“I love to hear the laughter and I love to hear a little sniffle when people are crying,” she says. “Those are the things I work off of.”
“Brownsville Bred” runs Sept. 30 to Oct. 17. 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 4 p.m. Sundays. $30 Thursdays and Fridays; $32 Saturdays and Sundays. Season subscribers pay $75 for Thursdays and Fridays, $81 for Saturdays and Sundays — 15 percent off the single-ticket price. 3 Owens Road, Croton Falls. 914-277-8477. www.schoolhousetheater.org. (Photo by Susanna Buckley)
New life for old hall
“The Best of Broadway” comes to Brewster High School’s Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. Sunday.
It’s the brainchild of Brewster’s Tony-winner Don Pippin (“Oliver!”). Pippin (photo, inset) won a Tony Award they don’t give out any more — for the year’s best musical director — and he’s lending a hand, and his star-packed Rolodex, to the effort to renovate the Old Town Hall in Brewster.
There’s a bond vote in November, but this event is about raising awareness for the campaign, with a little help from Pippin’s friends.
On the bill are Ron Raines (of TV’s “Guiding Light”), Marie Santell (the original “La Cage”), Debbie Gravitte (Tony-winner, “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway”), Doug LaBrecque (“Show Boat”) and Anne Runolfsson (“The Phantom of the Opera”).
Serving as emcee will be Olympic gold medalist Dick Button, who lives in North Salem. Button, who jokes that he was “the Ethel Merman of the skating world,” will also sing a little. Pippin will accompany some of the singers, aided by Marvin Laird, who is musical director for Bernadette Peters’ concerts. Also on the bill is concert pianist Gayle Martin Henry, fresh from a date with the Ridgefield Symphony.
Organizers hope their drive — to refurbish the 300-seat theater in the 1896 building — will bring the kind of revitalization that the Paramount brought to Peekskill, the Music Hall brought to Tarrytown, and the Town Hall Theater brought to Irvington. They envision an arts destination, with an elevator and air-conditioning.
At 7 p.m., Oct. 3. $25. Brewster High School, 50 Foggintown Road, Brewster. www.oththeater.org.
A love life in letters
The text for “Bill & Lois Wilson: In Their Own Words,” is culled from the Wilsons’ letters to each other.
The piece, conceived by Annah Perch and compiled and edited by Laurie Heffner Lewis, will feature Maya Kazan as Young Lois and Jake H. Lewis as Young Bill. June O’Neill and Jim Smith will portray Older Bill and Older Lois on Oct. 1, 2 and 3. Special guests at Thursday’s premiere performance are John Bedford Lloyd and Anne Twomey, who will portray the older Wilsons in “In Their Own Words” on Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m.
“It’s significant that we’re premiering this work at the Bedford Hills Community House,” Perch says. “Bill Wilson started an AA chapter at the Community House in the 1940s. He once wrote, ‘My workshop stands on a hill back of our home. Looking over the valley, I see the village community house where our local group meets. Beyond the circle of my horizon lies the whole world of A.A.’ It’s exciting to know that we’ll be sharing Bill and Lois’ love story from that very same community house,” she says.
Lewis adds: “The show tells a love story, stretching from 1914 to the 1970s, of two people who stayed true to their love and commitment throughout a tumultuous life journey. That journey, of course, included the creation of AA and Al-Anon Family Groups, starting what would become the worldwide recovery movement.”
The staged reading is presented by the Stepping Stones Foundation and Bedford Community Theater and will help to fund the foundation’s program to digitize the Wilsons’ archives.
7:30 p.m. Sept. 30, Oct. 1, 2 and 3. $25. Sept. 30 includes a reception at 6:30 p.m. and performance with special guests John Bedford Lloyd and Anne Twomey: $50. At Bedford Hills Community House, 74 Main St., Bedford Hills. 914-232-4822 or www.steppingstones.org. (Photo courtesy Stepping Stones: Bill & Lois Wilson, outside their Bedford Hills home.)
A ‘Mannerly’ finish
Just as theater groups are starting their new seasons, Penguin Rep is ending its 33rd, in a renovated Stony Point barn.
The production is the New York premiere of Jeffrey Hatcher’s comedy “Mrs. Mannerly,” about a demanding teacher in 1967.
Diane Ciesla plays the title character and Mark Shanahan — who directed “The Woman in Black” and appeared in last season’s “Women Who Steal” — plays her student.
8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Penguin Rep, 7 Crickettown Road, Stony Point. $33 ($16.50 for those 21 and younger). 845-786-2873. www.penguinrep.org. Half-price tickets are available for a special weekday matinee performance at 2 p.m. Oct. 1. The production is recommended for ages 12 and over.
One of the one-acts in last year’s Hand-to-Mouth Players Playwright/Directors Workshop — Albi Gorn’s “Dearth of a Salesman” — went on to fame at the Theatre Association of New York State and regional competitions.
This year’s 19th workshop includes five original one-acts.
On the bill: “Jump,” by George Bryjak, directed by Joel Karpoff; “Separated at Birth,” by Constance Humphrey Egan and directed by Jim Petrillo; “The Subject of Investigation,” by Joan Broadman and directed by Anne Rodgers Pearl; “Tea for Three,” by Rita Marcotte and directed by Marilyn Heberling; and “Thanksgiving,” by Linda Britt and directed by Susan Bond. The festival is under the artistic direction of Anne Rodgers Pearl and Gary Simon and features Heather Campbell, Tom Campbell, Connie Dyckman, Mark Firestone, Jackie Graziano, Justin Krass, Jean Moss, Kathleen Muldoon, Suzanne Ochs, Christine Orchid, Bruce Pearl and Gary Simon.
At 8 p.m. Oct. 1 and 2 and 2 p.m., Oct. 3. $15, $12 seniors. Trinity-Boscobel United Methodist Church, 275 Church St., Buchanan. 914-734-4336. www.htmplayers.com.