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Hudson Valley Community College Proudly Announces New Resident Theater Group: The Players

CONTACT: Lisa Roche (518) 629-8063 or Sarah Boggess (518) 629-8071
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Tuesday, October 10, 2000

The local theater group The Players, launched in 1994 and most recently housed at Cohoes Music Hall, will make their new home at Hudson Valley Community College starting this fall. They will launch their season with the play "Run for Your Wife" on November 10. In the meantime, the group will offer musical vignettes at an October 26 cocktail reception featuring Maureen Stapleton and launching a Performing Arts Endowment for the college. The Players will be part of an expanded and enriched course of programming through Hudson Valley's Cultural Affairs Department.

"We are honored to have The Players take up residence at Hudson Valley Community College," said President John L. Buono. "They will help us to enrich our theater programming for our students and the whole community."

"We're excited," said Kathy O'Neill, director of The Players. "I worked there for three seasons in the 80s so I am familiar with it. There's a 350-seat theatre, the stage is larger, and the backstage is wonderful. It's a very nice house in which to work."

Other resident performing art groups in the college's Maureen Stapleton Theatre include the Ghanian drumming group Odadaa!  Masque Theater, in residence for several years, is in the process of relocating to a new home of their own. The Maureen Stapleton Theatre is used by Hudson Valley's theater group as well.

The Maureen Stapleton Theatre is a 350-seat auditorium located in the college's Siek Campus Center, which was completed in 1973. It was dedicated and named for the famed actress, a Troy native who has won an Oscar award, an Emmy award and two Tony awards, in 1981.

The Maureen Stapleton Theatre has been the venue for many diverse, internationally, nationally, and locally acclaimed artists who have been sponsored by Hudson Valley Community College's Cultural Affairs Program.

Each summer, in partnership with The Arts Center of the Capital Region, the theatre is used for a June-August Summer Performing Arts Program for children aged 6-13, who learn all aspects of putting on a production, including acting, videography, technical theater, costuming, set construction, storytelling, and scriptwriting. In all, the theatre is used more than 400 times a year.

The Players began their first season in the winter of 1994. They opened with a production of the musical melodrama "Love Rides the Rails." That first season the group also produced the Neil Simon comedy "Come Blow Your Horn," the musical "Baby" and their first summer show, "Bye, Bye Birdie." The latter production provided The Players with their hallmark: a summer musical suited for family entertainment.

Through the years The Players' summer shows have played to audiences numbering into the thousands. They have successfully brought to life "Barnum," "The Music Man," "Once Upon A Mattress," "Li'l Abner," "Finian's Rainbow," and "Grease."

The Players' initial days were transient. They performed summer shows on the stage at the Clifton Park Commons, but the season was presented as dinner theater in high school theaters and senior centers. In the spring of '97 The Players took up residency at the historic Cohoes Music Hall and took up residency there. Their opening show on-site was the comedy "Alone Together" and their first summer offering was "Once Upon a Mattress." The Players filled the theater to standing-room-only for all eight nights of the run. They just repeated that same kind of success with a recent production of "Grease."

Hudson Valley Community College, located in Troy, offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs in four academic divisions: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and an Educational Opportunity Center for academic and career training. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students each year, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training.