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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Adirondack Theatre Festival to Stage Songbook Production of Late Fountains of Wayne Member Adam Schlesinger

Also on tap for the festival is comedy 'Slow Food,' a staged reading of new production 'Minding Miss Mae Mae' and children's play 'Cinderella Goes Disco.'

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember when ’90s alt-rock band Fountains of Wayne first burst onto the scene with their eponymous debut album and singles “Radiation Vibe” and “Sink to the Bottom.” Though they only scratched the surface of fame at first, the band quickly acquired a cult following, producing a string of critically acclaimed albums. And in 2003, the band even scored a hit single with “Stacy’s Mom,” which went gold.

Sadly, bassist and cofounding member of the band, Adam Schlesinger, succumbed to COVID-19 on April 1, at just the age of 52. Since his death, there’s been an outpouring of tributes to his work, as well as heightened interest in Schlesinger’s legacy, which not only includes the music he wrote with Fountains of Wayne, but also for Broadway (he was nominated for a Tony Award for his work on Cry-Baby) and film (he was nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe Award for his work on the title track for movie That Thing You Do!). He has countless other credits to his name.

Now, Glens Falls’ Adirondack Theatre Festival (ATF) is paying tribute to Schlesinger by staging Traffic and Weather, a songbook production of his music, which will run from August 5–14. “Don’t worry if you don’t know Adam’s name or the music of his band, Fountains of Wayne,” says Martha Banta, interim producing artistic director. “He was a master craftsman when it comes to songwriting and his melodies are accessible to anyone who might enjoy a contemporary spin on the classic pop music sounds of the 1960s and early ‘70s.”

Kicking things off on the schedule, though, will be comedy Slow Food, which tells the story of the world’s worst waiter. It starts its run on July 20, with select dates up until the 31st. “After a long intermission, it seemed appropriate that we open our summer with a comedy,” says Banta of the play. “Theater is a lot about human connections and what better way for audiences and actors to return together and connect through laughter.”

ATF will also be producing free entertainment outdoors, including a children’s play at City Park (Cinderella Goes Disco) and nightly 30-minute music performances next to the Wood on ATF show nights.

“This is not exactly what an ATF summer season normally looks like,” Banta says of the shortened schedule and outdoor shows. “But it is the right balance between presenting strong performance art, being cautious about what civil safety guidelines might be in place when these shows are staged and restarting arts in downtown Glens Falls.”

Check out the full schedule below:

Charles R. Wood Theater Wood Theatre

Prior to every evening show, there will be “Shows on the Side” performed outside in the alley next to the theater starting at 7pm. The 30-minute free performances feature some of the area’s most talented musicians; a different artist will be featured nightly.

Slow Food, a comedy by Wendy MacLeod and directed by Martha Banta
July 20-25 at 7:30pm
July 27-31 at 7:30pm
July 28 at 2pm
July 31 at 2pm

There’s no escape from the world’s worst waiter. On their anniversary, a famished couple battle with an absurd waiter who has them questioning everything from the menu to their marriage! A tender, uproarious comedy that delves deeply into what we hunger for.

Minding Miss Mae Mae, a staged reading of a new play by Phillip Christian Smith; directed by Tyrone Henderson (join the playwright and the cast of actors in the first step of this play’s development)
July 25 at 2pm
July 26 at 7:30pm

Barbara is Miss Mae Mae’s home health aide and when Barbara’s son Jordan, the star of a network procedural, comes home ravaged from crystal meth, the women form their own unconventional rehab to detox him. Barbara believes in tough love; Miss Mae Mae, a paraplegic and a pot smoker, believes in the Lord.

Traffic & Weather, music and lyrics by Adam Schlesinger and directed by Martha Banta
August 5-8 at 7:30pm
August 11-14 at 7:30pm
August 7, 11 and 14 at 2pm

A concert tribute to the Grammy- and Emmy-winning composer, songwriter and producer that Rolling Stone says “had one of the most unique and busiest careers in pop.” From a founder of the pop rock band Fountains of Wayne, watch and listen to an evening of music that treats the “characters in the lyrics with meticulous craftsmanship and a wry balance of compassion and scorn, parody and affection,” according to The New York Times.

Tickets for Slow Food, Minding Miss Mae Mae and Traffic & Weather go on sale at noon May 6 with very limited seating. There are no subscription plans; all seats are $45 and can be purchased here. Guests can also order tickets and/or choose seats by calling the Wood Theater box office at 518-480-4878.

Cinderella Goes Disco, a children’s play by Shubert Fendrich and directed by Marty McGuire

The play will be staged outside, weather permitting, July 22-24 and July 29-30 at noon at City Park on Maple Street in Glens Falls. All performances are free.

PB & J Cafe Children’s Theatre returns this year in City Park in partnership with the Crandall Public Library. Bring your own picnic lunch! After receiving an invitation to go to the Prince’s Disco Dance, underconfident Cinderella needs to be told fairy tales by her fairy godmother to be convinced that she is indeed capable of becoming a Disco Princess.

Will Levith
Will Levith
Will Levith is the editorial director of Capital Region Living and Saratoga Living.

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