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Northern Dutchess News This Week...

The Northern Dutchess News is a member of the Southern Dutchess News group and is fast becoming a staple in the lives of individuals in communities north and east of Poughkeepsie. Already named an “official newspaper” of Stanfordville and Rhinebeck, it also serves Hyde Park, Red Hook, Tivoli, Milan, Pine Plains, Amenia, Dover, Millbrook, Clinton Corners, Salt Point and Pleasant Valley. The Northern Dutchess News provides coverage of local town, village and school news, the Dutchess County Legislature, county legal notices, obituaries, plus coverage of arts and entertainment, hospitals, 4-H clubs , farming news, businesses and organizations.

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11/25/15 Highlights of this week's edition...

Community giving all year round

‘Red Hook Tender Hearts’ learn valuable lessons by helping others

by jim donick

(Continued from cover) That seemingly simple concept motivated Carey, a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway Realtors in Rhinebeck, and her friend Kassie Kabat, who works at Northern Dutchess Hospital, to form the “Red Hook Tender Hearts” for their daughters and the daughters of a number of their friends. That was about two years ago, in June 2013. The success of the idea has since been demonstrated all over the northern part of the county and even across the river in Ulster.

The Tender Hearts are a homegrown local response to a perceived need.

The group currently has eight members, all girls.

“We’ve gotten a few new members and a few have moved on since we founded the group,” Carey said. “On average, they are all around eight years old, and most have been with us since the beginning.”

The Tender Hearts do all sorts of projects that range from the smallest to those that are significantly more involved.

“They need to understand that the smallest acts can have a big impact on individuals and even the whole community,” Carey said.

Read the full story in this week’s print edition.

New owner of Merritt Bookstore sees golden opportunity in Millbrook

Kira Wizner, new owner of the Merritt Bookstore in Millbrook, and former owner Alison Meyer stand outside the store. Meyer and her staff are being retained. Photo by Curtis Schmidt

by Mary Keelan

If energy, intelligence and optimism are the formula for success as an entrepreneur, then there is no doubt that Kira Wizner, who purchased the Merritt Bookstore in Millbrook on Tuesday, Nov. 17, is well launched.

Wizner, a middle school English teacher for more than a decade, mother of two young children and active volunteer in their New York City school, sees running a local bookstore in a small town the most exciting challenge. While other independent bookstores are shuttering their doors around the country, Wizner interprets taking on the Merritt Bookstore as a golden opportunity both for the buyer, but even more so for the community. The word on the streets of Millbrook could not be more upbeat that a 30-year institution will continue and all staff will be retained.Read the full story in this week’s print edition.

Larry and Murali Coryell will share a six-string family tradition at the Towne Crier.

Jazz-fusion guitarist Larry Coryell (top) and blues-rock guitarist/singer Murali Coryell (above) will join forces for a show at the Towne Crier in Beacon this Sunday evening. Courtesy photos

by Kate Goldsmith

Guitarist Larry Coryell is one of the pioneers of jazz fusion. His son, Murali, is a respected blues guitarist and singer. As families around the region gather on Thanksgiving weekend, the Coryells will be no different in that respect: both men will be winding down from separate European tours and enjoying some quality time together at Murali’s home in Ulster County.

But for Larry and Murali, “down time” includes catching up with each other musically and gearing up for a performance at the Towne Crier Café in Beacon on Sunday, Nov. 29.

Speaking earlier this month before embarking on shows in Switzerland and Spain, Murali said music-making is a welcome inevitability whenever he and his father are in the same place for any length of time.

“Oh yeah, my dad, he can’t help himself,” Murali said. “He always wants to be engaged in music.”

When Larry comes to visit, he sleeps in the guest room, a space he shares with Murali’s guitar collection.

“He can do music anytime,” Murali said. “That’s why he’s such an amazing artist. You can set him off in any direction and he’s going to do something no one else is going to do.”

Read the full story in this week’s print edition.

Theater Review

Blind terror

The CENTERstage production of ‘Wait Until Dark’ is a well-acted thriller.

“Wait Until Dark” closes its two-week run at The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck Nov. 27-29. Pictured, from left, are Julia Osterhoudt as Gloria and Jessie Truin as Susy Hendrix. Photo by Ben Covert

by jim donick

“Wait Until Dark”
Book By Frederick Knott
Directed by Lisa Lynds
Through Nov. 29
Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.
The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck
661 Rte. 308, Rhinebeck
Tickets $24 general, $22 seniors/children
(845) 876-3080

Some weekends one just isn’t in the mood for a musical. What’s sometimes called for is a heart-thumping, tension-inducing, sit-on-the-edge-of-the-seat thriller. This may be especially valuable about now as we will soon be going into the season of warm, feel-good, happy, charming musicals.
     If a thriller sounds enticing, then our friends at The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck have just the ticket right now.
“Wait Until Dark” debuted on Broadway in early 1964 and ran for about a year. The story takes place in a basement apartment, the home of Sam and Susy Hendrix. Sam’s a photographer and Susy is a blind housewife, having lost her sight in an accident only a few years previously. Sam, recently back from a trip to Canada, had met a woman, Lisa by name, in the airport who, pleading a change of plans, asked him to carry a doll back to New York for a little girl in hospital. Sam, being a good guy, agreed. As one might expect, the doll is full of heroin.
     The next day, the same lady shows up at the Hendrix door - likely pleading yet another change in her plans - and asks to recover the doll. Sam can’t find it. Unbeknown to him, it has been stolen by the little girl upstairs. Lisa is shortly killed by the man who most likely hired her and he then convinces two of her old confederates, Mike and Carlino, that they can get rich by helping him recover the doll. The two confederates are just recently out of jail after careers as small-time con men.
     An elaborate deception is created to convince Susy that her husband may have been involved in the murder of Lisa and that she needs to find this doll and destroy it before the cops get it. The leader of the scheme, Roat, a brutal sadist, ultimately ends up taking on the blind and very resourceful Susy in the dark. The final scene, when it appeared in the movie version, ended up on the list of 100 scariest scenes in 20th-century film. On stage it’s just as tense.
     Lisa Lynds, the director, is best known for her efforts in the musical theater. A singer and dancer of the first order, we don’t always think of her as mastering the intensity of drama. With “Wait Until Dark” she demonstrates a dazzling mastery. Possibly punching above her weight, she delivers a production that leaves one and all nervously on the edge of their seats.
     The mechanical details of the production are exceptional for their attention to detail. The show takes place in Greenwich Village in the Sixties. How hard can that be to get right? If it looked more like it was taking place today, who’d notice or care? In truth it’s critical because “Wait Until Dark” would never work if the audience was thinking “Why doesn’t she just use her cell phone to call her husband?” Lynds gets it all right, from the screw-in fuses in the fuse box to the costuming and the ladies’ hairstyles. Mike’s sport coat could only have come out of the mid-Sixties; and Susy’s outfit was as appropriate to the era. Adding further visual verisimilitude, Jessie Truin (Susy) looks like she is a regular patron of the local beauty salon. As for Ellie DeMan (playing Susy’s young neighbor, Gloria), what only slightly preadolescent girl these days would be caught dead in braids? There’s nothing catching the eye that seems out of place, even the camera and the old-fashioned film strip projector on the table are right.
     The production is further enhanced by what Russ Austin called “Film Noire” music. We don’t know the source of music itself, but it perfectly builds the tension as if we we’re taking in a silent movie.
     The cast are, without exception, well up to the task. On the three primary characters, Mike, Susy and Roat, more anon. We’ll start with the supporting roles.
     The 11-year-old neighbor girl, Gloria, was played by Ellie DeMan on opening night. She’ll alternate the role with Julia Osterhoudt throughout the run. DeMan was superb with an unexpected command of drama. Her temper tantrum early in the show is delivered as professionally as one might expect from one with age and experience far beyond Ms. DeMan’s. Watch for more from her in years to come.
     The third con man, Sergeant Carlino, is played by the ever unflappable John Adair. As one would expect, he doesn’t disappoint.
     Kevin McCarthy and Peter Pius, playing the husband and the real cop respectively, deliver the goods exactly as required.
     All of that said, the casting story of the show is really the three leads, Brian Kubsch, Michael Frohnhoefer and Jessie Truin.
     Kubsch plays Mike Talman, the more sympathetic of the con men. He doesn’t miss a beat throughout the evening and leaves us maybe even liking him by the time he takes a knife in the back at the end from his colleague, Roat.
     Michael Frohnhoefer, the leader of the three bad guys, is nasty enough to give even criminals a bad name. He is delightful as he exudes evil and sadism from nearly every pore. In the all-but-heart-stopping ending we are reminded of some of Hitchcock’s finest, or maybe Jack Nicholson at his most psychotic. He’ll give one the shivers.
     We save the best for last. Jessie Truin as the blind Susy doesn’t just own the stage in this production; she may have taken title to the entire theater and to half the parking lot.       Playing at being blind is one thing when blindfolded or having one’s eyes bandaged, as the Earl of Gloucester character in King Lear does. It’s easier to act blind when one can’t see. Most blind people, though, have their eyes more or less open. Truin plays the entire role with eyes open but never comes across as anything but blind. Susy’s obvious frustrations at the situation and at the possibility of someone moving the furniture could not be more authentic. (As an aside, wasn’t there a tasteless old Helen Keller joke about her parents punishing her by rearranging the furniture?)
     It’s a joy to watch Truin’s face as Susy slowly comes to understand what’s happening to her and that these men are not what they claim to be. We watch the entire transformation in her face. She never tells us what she is figuring out but we know the cogs in her brain are turning carefully. It is almost inspirational to watch as she wordlessly puts together her plan to defeat them. This woman simply refuses to lose.
     Over the years we’ve occasionally wished there were some sort of Mid-Hudson analog to Broadway’s Tony awards. Maybe they would be the Henrys in honor of Captain Hudson. In that case, an evening with The Center’s production of “Wait Until Dark” would have us reaching for the envelope and announcing as we tore it open … “And the 2015 winner of the Henry for best actress in a dramatic play goes to... (drum roll here, please) … Jessie Truin for ‘Wait Until Dark.’”
     From where we are sitting, it’s hard to imagine another performance this year that would even come close.
     All in all, an enthralling evening of theater.

Jim Donick is an award-winning automotive writer who dabbles from time to time in other topics, including theater and travel. He is the editor of Vintage Sports Car magazine and contributes to a number of publications.

ALSO in the Nov 25-Dec 1, 2015, issue:

  • DCSPCA launches holiday fund drive
  • Millbrook to brighten up Black Friday
  • Office for the Aging director Dolan to retire
  • HEAP helps low-income residents with heating needs
  • Op Ed: Close down the AC transmission upgrades proceeding
  • State law enforcement discuss counterterrorism, public safety at summit

In Creative Living:

  • Ron reviews the new Bond flick
  • Earth Wise: Cheap oil from algae
  • Holiday Happenings: Seasonal events listing
  • That’s Italian! Rococo and the Christmas Tree
  • Book sale at Astor Courts to benefit Starr Library
  • Tivoli Library to present radio production workshop
  • Staatsburgh ‘Holiday Whodunit’ set Sundays in December

Children question a costumed interpreter at Staatsburgh State Historic Site during a “Holiday Whodunit.” Courtesy photo

Schools of the Week: Red Hook High School

  • If your school has a program you’d like to see featured in School of the Week this session, e-mail and put “School of the Week” in the subject line.


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