SALEM, N.Y. >> Kathy Beaver, artistic director at Fort Salem Theater from the nineties to 2006, returns to her theater home the weekend of July 22-24, in a salute to the great women singers of the Golden Age of Broadway. "Hello, Mame!" reprises iconic songs from Hello, Dolly; Mame; Oliver; Funny Girl: Follies; Sunset Boulevard and shows of the era, each of which highlighted a woman star who overcomes great odds and belts out life-affirming show stopping tunes.
Beaver is a renaissance woman, who for most of her life made a living working in multiple aspects of show business. When she wasn't producing at Fort Salem and starring in many of its productions, she was a musical director based in New York City, where she continues to conduct the performance of the Inner Circle show, the annual humor show performed by city politicians and members of the New York City Press Corps.
An accomplished professional violinist, Beaver played concerts and orchestra dates until 2006, when, while performing her dream stage role as Mama Rose in Gypsy, she had an onstage accident that shattered several bones in an arm and wrist. The accident put her violin playing on hold. With the need to adjust her professional focus, she made a major life change to become a fight attendant for JetBlue. She chronicles this transition in her cabaret act, I'm Flying, which debuted in performances at Fort Salem in 2010 and 2011, traveled to the Armory in Whitehall, and eventually saw life in Manhattan.
This spring, Kathy starred in Alice of Old Vincennes, a musical composed by current Fort Salem artistic director Jay Kerr, at the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center in Vincennes, Indiana, playing the matriarch of a French-American family during a pivotal moment in the Revolutionary War.
"I had great fun playing a supporting role, rather than those big title roles I'm aging out of. There's a lot of freedom to have fun when your character's name isn't the title of the show," she said.
For Hello, Mame, she has enlisted the services of her talented sixteen year-old niece, Holly Frendberg, who has been performing in musicals since she could talk and walk, and comes from a long line of performers descended from Quentin Beaver, who bought Fort Salem in the early seventies and trained all of his offspring in the arts. Holly will be join her aunt as a representative of the new generation of Broadway Belters, as Quentin's two legacies raises the rafters to the Gods of Song.
Kathy Beaver, starring in Hello, Mame! runs Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. A Farm-to- Table Dinner Theater option in collaboration with Gardenworks Farm accompanies the Saturday evening show. For more information, visit the theater website at fortsalemtheater.com or call the theater box office directly at (518) 854-9200.