Over at Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill, we’ve just launched into rehearsals for the first play in our 2022 Fall Mainstage Season. For the first time ever, we’ve commissioned a playwright to create a totally new work to be presented on our “Priscilla” Mainstage. Based on actual events, Brad Fraser’s hilarious and touching “Shelley’s Shadow” is set to open for a two-weekend run on September 8.
“Coming out of COVID, we made a conscious decision to renew our theatre’s commitment to new works,” says Sowle. “My partner Steven and I had previously produced three of Brad Fraser’s plays (“Poor Super Man” in San Francisco, and “True Love Lies” and “Kill Me Now” over in Hudson) in the
days before we purchased the building that’s become Bridge Street Theatre. And since they were among the most artistically and financially successful shows we’ve ever presented, approaching Brad about writing our first-ever commission seemed like a slam dunk.”
As it turned out, Brad had been posting about his adventures with an upstairs neighbor in Toronto and was mulling the possibility of turning his experiences with her a play. This was a story we knew would resonate deeply with our audiences here in Catskill – we gave him the go-ahead and sent him a check. When Brad announced that this play was in the works, his Facebook page exploded! So many people had already been following the ongoing saga of Shirley and her dog online, had become personally invested in her story, and were delighted to see that it would be getting a whole new life onstage.
Virtually unique in its presentation of the lives of older gay and lesbian characters, the play tells the only slightly fictionalized story of David, an out of work writer nearing 60, who finds himself becoming the reluctant caretaker for his upstairs neighbors – Shelley, a gregarious lesbian in her 80s with encroaching Alzheimer’s-related dementia, and her long-time canine companion, Shadow. The three attempt to navigate the ups and downs of Shelley’s disease with wildly varying results – some funny, some infuriating, some absolutely heartbreaking.
Steven Patterson, who’ll be playing David (Fraser’s alter ego) in the production, says, ?This show not only re-unites us with a playwright whose work we love, but has also allowed us to re-connect with actor Janet Keller, who was in the very first Brad Fraser play we produced back in 1997. Janet brings a truly personal connection to the material, having cared for her mother through an 18-year journey with Alzheimer’s. And we’re thrilled to have Daniel Hall Kuhn, who played Connor in our 2021 production
of Samuel D. Hunter’s “Lewiston”, returning to our theatre to play Shadow, the dog. There are few things in the world more exciting and terrifying than working on a play that’s never been done before. It’s totally
uncharted territory – no one else has ever had to solve this particular set of challenges. “Shelley’s Shadow” promises to be a genuine adventure for those of us working on it but also, and perhaps especially, for our audiences. And we’re so excited to announce that Brad himself will be here in Catskill
during the final days of rehearsal and for opening night!?
“Shelley’s Shadow” will be performed Thursdays – Saturday evenings at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:00pm from September 8 ? 18, and advance tickets can be purchased at bridgest.org/shelleys-tickets. Tickets can also be purchased at the door (subject to availability) one half hour prior to each performance. A Season Pass, good for bargain admission to all three plays in Bridge Street Theatre?s 2022 Fall Season, is also available for purchase. Simply visit bridgest.org/2022-fall-season/ and click on the appropriate links. All three plays – “Shelley’s Shadow”, the US premiere of Hannah Moscovitch’s “Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes”, and James Goldman’s American classic “The Lion In Winter”, will be presented in the theatre’s intimate 84-seat “Priscilla” Mainstage, located at 44 West Bridge Street in the Village of Catskill.
If you love plays that genuinely make you think and feel, performances that lodge in your mind and heart, and productions that you’ll be discussing for weeks, months, even years after the curtain falls, you won’t want to miss “Shelley’s Shadow” or any of the other extraordinary experiences in store for you this Fall at our four-time winner of “Best Theatre/Performance Space” at the annual Best of Greene County Awards.
For more details and ticketing information, visit the theatre’s website at BridgeStreetTheatre.org.
BRAD FRASER is one of Canada’s best-known playwrights. Born in Edmonton, Alberta, in 1959, Brad won his first playwriting competition at the age of seventeen and has been writing ever since. Brad’s international hit play *Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love* premiered at the Alberta Theatre Projects’ PlayRites Festival in 1989. It has since been produced worldwide, in many languages, with highly successful runs in Toronto, New York, Chicago, Milan, Sydney and London. *Poor Super Man*, developed by Canadian Stage, was first produced by the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati in 1994 and has enjoyed successful runs in many cities, including Toronto, London, Sydney, Edinburgh and Denver. It was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama and adapted into a feature film, *Leaving Metropolis*, written and directed by Brad. *Poor Super Man*, like *Unidentified Human Remains*, was listed by *Time* magazine as one of the top ten plays of its year. Many other plays have followed in successful productions. Brad has also written extensively for magazines and newspapers, including *The Globe and Mail *and the *National Post*, and for three seasons was a writer and producer on Showtime’s *Queer As Folk. *His memoir *All the Rage* was recently published by Doubleday Canada.
Bridge Street Theatre presents The World Premiere of
A New Play by Brad Fraser
with Janett Keller, Daniel Hall Kuhn, and Steven Patterson
Directed and Designed by John Sowle
Costumes by Michelle Rogers and Christine Dempsey
Production Stage Manager: Kiara Vedovino
Artwork by Agam Neiman
8 Performances Only!
September 8 – 18, 2022
Thursdays-Saturdays @ 7:30pm, Sundays @ 2:00pm
Bridge Street Theatre?s ?Priscilla? Mainstage
44 West Bridge Street, Catskill, NY
Thursday September 8 @ 7:30pm (“Pay What You Will” preview)
Friday September 9 @ 7:30pm (Opening Night)
Saturday September 10 @ 7:30pm
Sunday September 11 @ 2:00pm (“Pay What You Will” performance)
Thursday September 15 @ 7:30pm
Friday September16 @ 7:30pm
Saturday September 17 @ 7:30pm
Sunday September 18 @ 2:00pm (Closing performance)
*Tickets:*Advance tickets available at https://bridgest.org/shelleys-tickets/
General Admission $22, $10 for Students ages 18 and under (+ a $2 service fee)
Tickets can also be purchased at the door prior to each performance (on a space available basis) for $25, $10 for Students ages 18 & under.
*Events at Bridge Street Theatre are supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor of New York and the New York State Legislature and by Public Funds from the Greene County Legislature through the Cultural Fund administered in Greene County by the
CREATE Council on the Arts.*