Rip Van Winkle at Fort Salem
Fort Salem Theater begins its summer season this week with the annual visit from Rose Center Theater’s repertory troupe of Westminster, California. ‘Rip Van Winkle: The Musical,’ written by director Tim Nelson is billed as a story for the ages, all ages. The script retells Washington Irving’s classic story of a hen-pecked villager in the pre-Revolutionary War Catskills. He is loved by his buddies at the local inn and adored by the village children for whom he fixes broken toys, but tends to shirk strenuous work to his wife’s dismay. In an effort to escape the constant barrage of criticism, Van Winkle literally takes a hike one day and manages to get lost and meets the ghosts of explorer Henry Hudson’s crew. After drinking some of their homemade brew, he falls into a drunken stupor, waking up 20 years later to find a new world. Irving’s story, published in 1819, celebrates the culture of the Catskills, a region he had never visited but had admired from afar. Nelson spent time visiting Catskill villages and interviewing descendants of those who would have been alive in the late 18th century. Their quirks color the play’s characters in a musical score sung by a professional group of actors with whom he has worked for decades. The cast features Melissa Cook, Mary Murphy-Nelson, Chris Caputo and Nelson himself in this classic musical comedy for young and old .
On June 24, families can take advantage of Fort Salem’s Farm-to-Table Dinner Theater option at Gardenworks on Salem’s Route 30. Dinner and theater tickets are discounted in a program that begins with appetizers at 5:30 p.m. at Gardenworks, and ends with the 8 p.m. show at the theater in the village of Salem. Tickets for all performances, Friday and Saturday, June 23 and 24 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, June 25, at 2 p.m., and reservations for the Farm-to-Table option are available at 518-854-9200. More information is available at fortsalemtheater.com online. Fort Salem is located at 11 East Broadway, just east of the Main Street business district in downtown Salem, N.Y.