Nothing compares to seeing a Broadway show, but it’s not always possible for students with time and financial constraints to travel to New York City regularly. Luckily for those in the Capital Region, there is another option: Proctors Theatre in Schenectady. The main stage at Proctors was built in 1926 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the premier performing arts location in the area and is known for tours of Broadway shows as well as comedic acts, dance programs, concerts, classical productions, and even movies. In addition to the Main stage, the Proctors building houses the GE Theatre, the Fenimore Gallery, and a downstairs studio. As someone who has been to numerous productions at Proctors and has performed in all four spaces at the theater, I can easily say that it is one of my favorite places to be. Though many students may know of Proctors or have taken a field trip to see something there, few may be aware of what shows are coming this year.
The first show to take note of is Elf, showing from December 23 to December 28. Based on the 2003 movie starring Will Ferrell, Elf follows the story of Buddy the Elf who travels from the North Pole to New York City to find his real father. If you’re looking for a holiday show but passing through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and walking through the Lincoln tunnel isn’t your style, you may want to check out A Christmas Carol on December 1st, It’s a Wonderful Life on December 4th, or the Northeast Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker on December 6th and 7th.
Jersey Boys, running from January 8th to January 13th, is the story of the Four Seasons. The show follows the rise of Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, and Nick Massi and features some of the hit songs that shot the group into music history. Also, on January 30th, Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild Live brings you up close and personal to a plethora of exotic and interesting animals.
From March 3rd to March 8th, Annie makes a return to the Proctors Stage. This is a brand new production of the iconic story of the fiery orphan whose seeming hopeless situation changes after she is selected to spend time at the residence of wealthy industrialist, Oliver Warbucks. Also coming in March, on the 10th and 11th, is the Blue Man Group. The Blue Man Group creates an utterly bizarre but captivating mix of comedy, music, and technology amounting to a unique theatrical experience that is sure to thrill all.
April, May, and June are big months for theater lovers! Beauty and the Beast, from April 17th to 19th, brings the classic Disney movie complete with its dancing plates, singing candlestick, and enchanted rose to life in a spectacular stage production. If you like rock and roll, Memphis, playing on April 30th, is for you. It’s a story of forbidden love in the 1950s centering around the underground dance clubs in the city. Mamma Mia, a personal favorite, will be at Proctors May 15th and 16th. It combines ABBA’s greatest hits with a tale of love, laughter, and friendship. Last, but not least, comes the high-flying show Pippin, running from May 26th to May 31st. Pippin, the 2013 Tony award winner for Best Musical Revival, tells the story of a young prince who risks everything to find meaning in his life. The show features exhilarating dance numbers along with breathtaking acrobatics!
These are just a few of the many wonderful shows that will be offered this year. A common misconception is that you must be a “theater kid” to enjoy theater; this is not at all the case. There are so many musicals and plays out there spanning hundreds of themes and topics that there literally is something for every one. Ticket prices range depending on the show, the venue it’s in, and the location of the seats you purchase. Typically, tickets for big name Broadway shows cost between $30 and $100, and tickets for smaller independent shows can cost between $20 and $40. For information about these or other shows, a complete list of the 2014 – 2015 season, or tickets, visit www.proctors.org<http://www.proctors.org>.