Inside The Capital Region’s Oldest Community Theater
There’s no question: Schenectady is the place to go in the Capital Region for theater. Proctors, which hosts big-time shows like Hamilton (catch the return of the Tony-winning Broadway show later this month!) is the most obvious reason for the Electric City’s reputation, but there’s a lesser-known force that helps drives Schenectady’s arts scene—and has been doing so for nearly a century.
Founded in 1927 by Union College educators, the Schenectady Civic Playhouse is the Capital Region’s oldest community theater, boasting nearly 450 productions throughout its history. Each play requires as many as 100 volunteer performers, directors and backstage workers who work tirelessly to keep the organization in the black by way of ticket sales, season subscriptions and patron gifts.
This year’s season is already underway, but there’s still time to catch one of the final two shows of the year (or both!). Coming March 17-19 and 22-26 is The Revolutionists, a play set during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror that’s been called a “grand and dream-tweaked comedy about violence and legacy, art and activism, feminism and terrorism, compatriots and chosen sisters, and how we actually go about changing the world.”
Next up is Dinner With Friends, which comes to the picturesque theater—a mid-19th century Masonic temple located in the Stockade District—May 12-14 and 17-21. A winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Dinner With Friends follows two sets of couples who are longtime friends as one of the couples go through a divorce. “Funny and sad, wise and disturbing,” one description of the show reads, “Dinner With Friends is an acute look at the fragility of relationships.”
To purchase tickets to either show or other upcoming events put on by the Schenectady Civic Playhouse including a staged reading on April 2 and a pair of murder mystery dinners on April 21 and 22, visit civicplayers.org. Want to be even more involved? Consider auditioning for a show (auditions for Dinner With Friends are March 7 and 9), making a tax-deductible donation, purchasing a seat in the theater, or volunteering at a future show.