The Orchard Project Is Poppin’ at Putnam Den This Month


The Orchard Project – a laboratory program where theater artists and companies come to innovate, develop and refine new shows – returns for its second summer in Saratoga Springs, and Putnam Den is hosting a number of their public events, including a benefit concert by Grammy Award-winning jazz bassist-vocalist-composer Esperanza Spalding.

The Orchard Project’s residency kicks off at 8pm tonight (Friday, June 10) with a special cabaret performance featuring the “tremendously entertaining” and “kicky, neo-retro cabaret chanteuse” Molly Pope, “the Drag Queen King” Martha Graham Cracker and singer-songwriter Grace McLean. Tickets are $25; $15 students.

At 9:30pm on Saturday (June 11), it’s the Dance Cartel. Part performance, part dance party, featuring work from acclaimed company the Dance Cartel, the evening will feature pop-up performance from their hit event “ONTHEFLOOR,” as well as a sneak peek of new work developed in residence at the Orchard Project, based on stories of cinematic heroines. Driven equally by pumping bass, glitter, dance heroism and feats of endurance, this energy-busting experience is unlike any other event. The Dance Cartel will be joined by local DJs and artists for additional offerings throughout the night. Tickets are $15; $20 if under age 21.

Esperanza Spalding takes the stage at 8pm on Thursday, June 16. Seven collaborative and five solo albums into her career at age 31, Spalding has always resolutely, intuitively, deftly expanded upon both her art and herself as a world-renowned genre-bending composer, bassist and vocalist. Spalding’s work – grounded in jazz traditions but certainly not bound by them – has won her four Grammy Awards and brought her onstage at the Oscars, the Nobel Prize Ceremony, the White House, and with Prince and Herbie Hancock. Tickets for this very special Orchard Project benefit performance are $55 (standing), $80 (seating) & $130 (VIP).

If you’re lookin’ for laughs, the team of comedian-actors Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney are headed into Putnam Den at 8pm on Friday, June 17 for another cabaret evening. Najimy has been seen (and heard) on “Veronica’s Closet,” “Sister Act” and “Hocus Pocus” and heard as the voice of Peggy Hill on “King of the Hill.” Gaffney has been seen on “That ’70s Show,” “Mad About You” and “Absolutely Fabulous.” Together they have performed in two Obie Award-winning Off-Broadway shows, “The Kathy and Mo Show: Parallel Lives” and “The Kathy and Mo Show: The Dark Side.” Tickets are $25; $15 students.

And the Orchard Project’s cabaret series wraps up at Putnam Den at 8pm on Thursday, June 30 with a performance featuring poet/spoken word artist Amy Leon, “the Sizzling Sultan of Swing” Julian Fleisher and more TBA. Tickets are $25; $15 students.

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