The Park Theater Announces Exciting 2021/22 Season
If you haven’t been to the Park Theater in downtown Glens Falls, let me take a moment to sing its praises and convince you to see for yourself why it’s my favorite small venue in the Capital District.
For history buffs, stepping inside this 1911 build instantly transports you back to the era of vaudeville theatre and silent films . . . but with the sleek and elegant modern touches you hope to find in a five star hotel. The building’s 2018 renovation spared no expense, both aesthetically and musically. The updated lighting has the flexibility to set the scene for a variety of performing groups and organizations and the sound system was perfectly measured to the room’s already amazing acoustics. In fact, word on the street has it that the bluegrass powerhouse, Henhouse Prowlers, actually stepped off of the stage during their September 1st show to perform an impromptu acoustic set from the middle of the House floor after falling in love with the Park’s acoustical glory.
Perhaps my real affection for this venue stems from the individuals who keep the doors open and the Park Theater Foundation’s mission of providing quality and affordable entertainment and education in the performing arts at its forefront. I had a chance to chat with the Park’s General Manager, Chris Ristau, and let me tell you – his vision for a post-pandemic resurgence has me feeling inspired.
After a successful Free Summer Series, the theater launched their brand new Park Presents Series this month and will feature up and coming artists that are on the cusp of breaking out. Ristau mused over his hopes that Capital District audiences will have several opportunities to say in five to ten years: “Remember that time when we checked out ‘so and so’ at that cool venue in downtown Glens Falls?” In addition to singer-songwriter and virtuoso guitarist Ariel Posen’s show earlier this month, the series will also host the Jason Anick Acoustic Trio on September 18th. Personally, I’m excited to see the Villalobos – a Mexican group who fuses folk and jazz with classical – take the stage on November 20th. Two ticket options – Early Bird and Day Of – are available for each of the Park Presents shows at their website.
Several other series are scheduled up through May 2022, including a handful of listening parties hosted by Chuck Vosganian, the ‘Rewind at the Park’ tribute band programming, and a highly anticipated ‘Live and Local’ series. Ristau specified that this series will feature artists within a 200 mile radius of Glens Falls and kicks off on October 8th with the Boston-based group, Cold Chocolate (www.coldchocolatemusic.com).
For jazzers in the Capital District, the Park’s Third Thursday Jazz with the Matt Niedbalski Trio is not to be missed. Drummer, Matt Niedbalski, will feature a different soloist to join his ranks for each monthly concert. Matt is truly a Capital District treasure . . . I mean, seeing his youthful energy in performance always gives me the confidence that jazz is very much alive and well in our region. You can be sure that I’ll be checking out a few of those shows in not only an attempt to appreciate some top talent from the region but to also reminisce about two semesters spent playing piano in my undergraduate program’s jazz ensemble.
And hey, if none of these tremendous musical opportunities pique your interest, this November will usher in the “Comedy After Dark” series. New York City based comedians, several of whom you may recognize from the late night television scene, will take the stage on the last Friday of each month. Keep an eye out for the upcoming schedule.
Also of note – the venue’s COVID policies are akin to others in the area: proof of vaccination and/or negative PCR test in addition to masking when not eating or drinking is required of patrons 12 and up. Speaking of eating and drinking – Doc’s Restaurant is literally one flight of stairs below. “Come for a show, stay for a drink” is a mantra that I’ve grown to love and appreciate when visiting. Parking is also plentiful – free parking on Park Street as well as a reasonably priced parking garage just steps away from the venue’s entrance.
Check out details for yourself at www.parktheatergf.com and plan a visit this fall to take advantage of this hidden gem in the North Country.