Rip Van Winkle Wakes Up Hudson Valley!

Huzzah Productions is a newly-formed theater group founded by Tarrytown residents Jim Balestrieri and Michael Raymond Fox to create original works of theater through innovative writing and staging. Many of these will draw on the history and lore of the Hudson Valley – its legends, its pivotal place in American history. Fox puts it this way, “My roots go back to some of the earliest Dutch settlers.  When you see the Hudson Valley, you feel the pull of the river, you hear the stories of her triumphs and tragedies. Nowhere else feels quite the same.” Balestrieri agrees, “The stories are waiting to be told and retold to new generations that may not be aware of them.” Their productions for adults will stimulate; their plays for young people will appeal to audiences of all ages. All aim to challenge the imagination and remind us of the ties that bind us to one another and to the richness of the place where we live.

Fox is an actor; Balestrieri is a playwright. Their most recent collaboration was Extraordinary Rendition, performed at the New York Fringe Festival. They are currently working with the Tarrytown YMCA on a staged reading of an original play, Rip Van Winkle, written by Jim Balestrieri, directed by Peter Royston, produced by Y Theatre, (Barbara Turk and Royston are principals) and featuring Michael Fox as Rip Van Winkle. All are local residents.

A brand new theatrical adaptation of Washington Irving’s classic tale of ghosts and goblins, magic and time travel among the Dutch settlers in the Hudson Valley, Jim Balestrieri’s Rip Van Winkle adds a new wrinkle to this timeless story, transforming Rip’s 20-year nap into a lightning fast pageant of the American Revolution and the founding of the United States. With a cast of seasoned actors and local children, this one-hour comedy is sure to delight young and old alike.

The readings will take place on Friday, October 21 (3rd Friday) at 7:30 pm at Christ Episcopal Church, 43 South Broadway in Tarrytown, and Sunday, November 20 at 4:30 pm at Reformed Church of the Tarrytowns on North Broadway. Donations support financial aid for underserved children in the Y Summer Shakespeare Camp.

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