Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Galvan's Plans for the Community Theatre

Last night, Dan Kent and other representatives of the Galvan Foundation presented what is being proposed for the old Community Theater building at Seventh and Columbia streets, which Galvan is renaming "Hudson Forum."

Abatecola in 2010
One of the people presenting Galvan's vision for the building was the artistic director for Hudson Forum, August Abatecola. Abatecola grew up in Claverack and graduated from Hudson High School in 2008. As a teenager, Abatecola was involved in theater at school and also performed with local theater companies--the Mac-Haydn Theatre, Upstage Productions, and the Cohoes Music Hall. In 2010, an article in the Register-Star reported that Abatecola, then known as "Augie," was "working tirelessly to land a record deal and become the world's newest pop artist": "Aiming high: Abatecola aspires to be a pop star." Abatecola is currently the artistic director at Yorktown Stage Musical Theatre in Westchester County.

Abatecola told the Planning Board that the intention was to "go mainstream" with the productions at Hudson Forum, offering musicals and plays with popular appeal, "things the entire county will want to come to," rather than "high art," which he described as "obscure" and "exclusive." In planning the programming, he said he wanted to cater to "our people" and bring quality entertainment to Hudson and Columbia County. He also talked about classes and programs for children and young people, saying he wanted give the community what he didn't have when he was growing up here.

Michael Walch, the architect for the project, presented the floor plans for the restoration of the building. 

The restored theater will have a maximum of 405 seats, and the seating in the main space will be moveable to allow the space to be used for weddings and other gatherings.

At last night's meeting, the Planning Board adopted a resolution classifying the the project as an unlisted action under SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) and declaring itself the lead agency in the SEQR process. In the discussion preceding the vote on the resolution, it was revealed that Galvan has not made an application to the Hudson Industrial Development Agency for tax abatements for this project, perhaps because it is intended to be operated as a not-for-profit.


  1. I am not encouraged by the false dichotomy presented by Mr. Abatecola. Mainstream works can't also be high art? Has he seen Into The Woods? West Side Story? Fences?

    And then to assert that not only is there a line between what art "the entire county" will want to come see but that he knows exactly where that line is?

    Columbia County has wonderful theaters putting on a range of theater work. A new theater, especially one that is technologically up-to-date, is a very welcome addition, and should have the widest possible programming.

    I suggest that the artistic staff be expanded and diversified, perhaps with some of the incredible, accomplished, and multi-disciplinary performing artists who already live in the area.

  2. Couldn't agree more! The last thing Hudson needs is someplace permanently specializing in third-rate road shows of "The Fantasticks," etc., ad naseum...but, maybe, a new version of "Our Town" might be interesting, with special roles for Galvan and Colarusso characters?...

  3. Wow, is that vision filled with us-vs-them dog whistles or what? It just seethes with resentment.

  4. Don't you read this blog, or recognize sarcasm when you see it? And, yes, it's true, as I said, I don't think Hudson is the right location for that kind of entertainment. Suit yourself.

  5. I think the only thing Abatecola meant about programming is that it will not the kind of obscure activities Marina Abramović was supposedly bringing to the theater in her ill-fated (and perhaps fake) renovation plans.