Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Prepare to Be Delighted

In the past, the Hudson Teen Theatre Project, under the talented direction of Carol Rusoff, has taken on Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Greek myth, and the results have been utterly charming. A clue to the secret of Rusoff's amazing success in nurturing the creative talent of teens may lie in the evolution of this year's performance, which at the start was proposed to be an adaptation of a Shakespeare comedy, As You Like It . . . Our Way, but ended up being Everybody Does It, a collection of "famous, funny, and evocative coming of age scenes and snippets from 20th-century plays and movies."

This year's HTTP performance takes its name from Neil Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs and features celebrated comedic and dramatic works spanning the 20th century. "It is amazing and quite by accident," says Rusoff, "that our array of work derives from terrific and still very relevant comedy and drama from almost all the decades . . . from John Hughes' seminal teen movie Sixteen Candles to Robert Anderson's semi-autobiographical play Tea and Sympathy, which explores the still taboo theme, in the 1950s, of sexual orientation and prejudice."

Other works included in Everybody Does It are Alice in Wonderland, adapted for the stage in 1930 by Florida Friebus and Eva Le Gallienne; One Sunday Afternoon, by James Hagan (1933); Summer and Smoke, by Tennessee Williams (1948); Adam and Eve (the beginning and the end), by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harrick (1966); The Miss Firecracker Contest, by Beth Henley (1980); The Faculty Lounge, by Michael Schulman (1981).

Ten young performers are participating in this year's HTTP: Beatrix Albin, Deborah Brannan, Aidan Collins, David Frishkoff, Emma Hanlon, Max Murphy, Kylie Pecord, Ainsley Pizzia, Markliam Sappington, and Megan Schoep.

Performances are at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday--June 26, 27, and 28--at the Hudson Opera House. Admission is free. Show is appropriate for the whole family, from age 8 on up. Reservations are recommended but not required and can be made by calling 518 822-1438.

Speaking for the ensemble about the theme of coming of age, Rusoff says, "It's fascinating to us that so much has both drastically changed and stayed the same. It is so compelling, we want to talk about it, and we hope that the audience will stay and give us their feedback over cookies after the show."

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