GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Every year, the Adirondack Theatre Festival (ATF) welcomes big talents to a hometown-sized stage at the Charles R. Wood Theatre. The authors, directors, actors and musicians who come to town span a wide variety of backgrounds – and sometimes, the shows they’re part of are just getting started on longer journeys. That’s the story behind a musical touring the west coast early next year.
“Mystic Pizza” – an adaptation of the 1988 Julia Roberts movie of the same name – is set to play across dates in January and February 2024 at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles, California, followed by stops in San Francisco and Sacramento. The show first debuted in Glens Falls as one of the Adirondack Theatre Festival’s 2022 offerings – but the story starts one step back further still.
In March 2022, four people went on a retreat in Queensbury, with the goal of writing a finished version of the “Mystic Pizza” musical. Carmel Dean, the show’s music supervisor; Casey Hushion, director; Sandy Rustin, book writer; and Connor Gallagher, choreographer, all met with ATF Producing Artistic Director Miriam Weisfeld to talk progress, direction, and pizza as they brought the show to life.
A concert rendition of the finished “Mystic Pizza” adaptation was performed in front of a weekend of sold-out audiences at the 2022 ATF. The original film tells the story of three teenage girls coming of age after high school while working at a pizza parlor in Mystic, Connecticut. The musical rendition keeps the story in place in the 1980s, using renditions of classic songs by Van Morrison, Melissa Etheridge, and more artists of the era.
The cast on the west coast is new, but the creative team behind it is the same. Now through its 2023 lineup, the ATF is no stranger to shows that have used the Glens Falls stage – and audience – as a launchpad.
“Most recently, audiences at ATF’s 2023 season were the first in America to hear the new stage adaptation of the Christian Slater movie ‘Pump Up the Volume,’ which is now in development for Broadway,” said Weisfeld. “ATF is grateful for the visionary support of the Producers Circle and the many artists, audience members, and supporters who help us bring remarkable new work from Glens Falls to the world.”
The ATF Producers Circle is a special tier of membership to the festival, open to anyone who contributes at least $500 a year to its operations. 2022 Producers Circle members’ contributions were directly responsible for the retreat that brought the “Mystic Pizza” musical into being – and members of the circle got an inside look at the work the team did in real-time.
The Adirondack Theatre Festival first opened in 1995 at the Lake George RV Park, and has brought shows to the area every year since, with exceptions made for the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2023 season included productions of “The Last Wide Open,” “Pump Up the Volume,” and “Tuning In.”