Mountains of the arts

MOUNTAIN — We recently attended a cabaret-style musical show at Pendragon Theatre, raising funds for the Camp Pendragon summer program for teens. Huge credit goes to Saranac Lake’s own Corinne Gambacurta, who initiated, coordinated and choreographed the program, and to the performers: a big group of her fellow Camp Pendragon alumni from all three Tri-Lakes villages, all in their teens and 20s. We were blown away by their talent, skill and passion. These young stage enthusiasts are doing a great job of upholding a long local theater tradition.

Even one of the North Country’s Congress candidates, Dylan Ratigan, was a Pendragon regular back in his teen years, and since he was also a football player, that tells you something about the lure of the stage in Saranac Lake. And for decades before that, young actors with stars in their eyes used to flock to Saranac Lake for summer stock theater. In the 1920s it was done in a tent downtown beside the Saranac River. Rosalind Russell, before she became a famous movie star, acted in 26 plays in 13 weeks under that tent in the summer of 1929. Bibbe (Shapiro) Hansen, mother of rock star Beck, won acclaim at age 10 for playing Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker” at the Odd Fellows hall, where the Hotel Saranac parking garage is now.

This summer, meanwhile, there’s a wide array of theater offerings from all over the Adirondacks, with locals as well as young city actors honing their craft in hopes moving on to bigger things, like Rosalind Russell did 89 years ago. We are blessed to have such entertainment all around us.

MOUNTAIN — Tupper Arts is moving into a permanant home on Park Street in the heart of the business district, where the Tupper Lake Christian Center once met for services. This is great news, and we look forward to seeing — and reporting in the paper — what the energetic arts scene in this town produces.

MOUNTAIN — In three years, the Lake Placid Center for the Arts Gallery 46 has blossomed from, basically, a ticket booth with art on the walls to a serious, challenging, inspiring gallery bursting with works by professional artists from all over the Northeast and Canada. It’s a great place to stop in and spend a few minutes — or longer — as one walks around Lake Placid.

MOUNTAIN — The Northern Adirondack Vocal Ensemble’s recent concert at Saranac Lake’s First United Methodist Church was excellent — we especially enjoyed the John Rutter pieces — and the audience packed the place to the rafters, with every seat filled. Bravo.

MOUNTAIN — To people who book live music in our towns, most voluminously Waterhole proprietors Eric Munley and Kiki Sarko for consistently booking excellent touring bands, including the free shows on Thursday nights and perhaps highlighted (this summer) by the Felice Brothers Friday night. It takes a huge amount of commitment to do this, and we appreciate what they bring.

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