(Rockland) August 5, 2021 — Penguin Rep Theatre is excited to welcome artists, staff, and audiences back inside its theatre – a repurposed 1880s hay barn located at 7 Crickettown Road in Stony Point, New York – for its ‘One Step Closer’ concert series. Thanks to an anonymous donor, the ragtime concert scheduled for Saturday, August 14th at 7 p.m. featuring Terry Waldo and his Gotham City Band, will be free.
Founding Artistic Director Joe Brancato announced that the series kicks off Sunday, August 8 at 2 p.m. with a very special tribute to Tony Bennett on the occasion of his 95th birthday by celebrated singer and bandleader Eddie Bruce. During a career that has spanned more than seven decades, Bennett has sold over 50 million records worldwide, won 19 Grammy Awards and two Emmy Awards, and was named an NEA Jazz Master and a Kennedy Center Honoree.
An unrivalled singer of traditional pop standards, big band, show tunes and jazz, Bennett’s well-known songs include: “Rags to Riches,” “(I Left My Heart in) San Francisco,” “Shadow of Your Smile,” “Blue Velvet,” “Because of You,” and “Stranger in Paradise.” During the 80-minute concert, Bruce and his band will perform highlights and hidden gems from Bennett’s songbook.
“As we take ‘one step closer’ to resuming theatrical production,” says Andrew M. Horn, Penguin Rep executive director, “we are committed to providing an unforgettable live performance experience in a safe and healthy environment.” “To ensure high standards of cleanliness and safety,” he explained, “we have developed a COVID-19 Safety Plan, which follows the guidelines and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and New York State.”
As part of the plan, Penguin has made physical modifications to its venue to make the theatergoing experience safe and comfortable, including upgrading air filtration, increasing air circulation to promote the exchange of inside and outside air, and installing high-intensity UVC light inside ductwork to remove airborne and surface contaminants.
According to Mr. Horn, “we will require all those entering the theatre to provide proof of vaccination at the door, which can be an actual vaccination card, a photo of the card, the Excelsior Pass, or proof provided by a foreign government.”
The series continues Friday, August 13 at 7 p.m. with singer Rita Harvey returning by popular demand in “Heart Like a Wheel,” her salute to rock superstar Linda Ronstadt. Ms. Harvey, Broadway star of “Phantom of the Opera” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” and principal soprano in “Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway,” will offer her own unforgettable renditions of timeless favorites – including “You’re No Good,” “Blue Bayou,” “Different Drum,” and “When Will I Be Loved.”
Ragtime, the first truly American music, reigns supreme when Terry Waldo, protégé of the legendary Eubie Blake, and the Gotham City Band, an all-star assemblage of New York’s best Trad Jazz musicians, take the Penguin stage on Saturday, August 14 at 7 p.m. “Ragtime, this great music,” says Wynton Marsalis, “needs Terry Waldo to enliven it for today’s audiences and the future.” This concert will be free thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor. Two tickets per family. Tickets must be ordered in advance online at penguinrep.org.
Come Saturday, August 21 at 7 p.m., tenor saxophonist Paul Shapiro’s bluesy-Yiddishy band, the mouthwateringly named Ribs & Brisket Revue, mines the music of the hit series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Vocalists Eleanor Reissa and Cilla Owens put their swinging stamp on Peggy Lee, Perry Como, The Barry Sisters, and other favorites from the Fifties. Opening for Ribs & Brisket is Dylan McCarthy.
On Friday, August 27 at 7 p.m., Mary Fahl who hails from Stony Point returns home for a very special concert. With “a voice for the gods that can transport listeners to other realms” (The Boston Globe), Ms. Fahl is an expressive, emotional singer/songwriter who first achieved fame as lead singer and co-founder of the October Project. Jake Thistle will be opening for Ms. Fahl.
Back by popular demand on Saturday, August 28 at 7 p.m., Broadway veteran Carter Calvert uses her magnificent voice to capture the spirit of the country music legend, Patsy Cline, in “Walkin’ After Midnight.” Singing Patsy’s greatest hits, including “Crazy”, “Walking After Midnight”, “I Fall to Pieces,” the show is packed with sensational music that will linger long after midnight. Opening act: Joe D’Urso.
With major support from New York State Council on the Arts, Orange and Rockland Utilities,and The Shubert Foundation and additional support from Gentle Giant Brewing Company and Wright Bros. Real Estate, the concert series marks the reopening of Penguin Rep Theatre to live audiences for the first time since fall, 2019.
Tickets to the concerts are $25 each (except those to Terry Waldo and the Gotham City Ragtime Band, which are free) and can purchased in advance online @ www.penguinrep.org. All seating is reserved.
Under the dynamic leadership of Brancato and Horn, Penguin Rep Theatre has grown in just over four decades from a summer theatre in a repurposed 1880s hay barn to one of the Hudson Valley’s most influential nonprofit cultural institutions. Since its founding in 1977 by Brancato and Fran Newman-McCarthy, Vice-President of the Board of Trustees, Penguin Rep has entertained more than 400,000 people with outstanding productions of more than 150 plays, specializing in new works by established and emerging writers. Many plays developed and staged by Penguin, dubbed “the gutsiest little theatre’ by the NY Times, have moved on to successful runs Off-Broadway and to showplaces around the country and abroad.