SARATOGA SPRINGS – From the mind of Director JJ Buechner via Samuel French Inc. comes the screaming surf/Gidget meets Chucky mash-up of all time.
The Local Actors Guild presents Psycho Beach Party over the next two weekends at the Saratoga Arts Center. The play is a mélange: A parody of 50s psychodramas, 60s beach movies and 80s slasher films all at the same time – with, no doubt, a few twists and turns on tap as we have come to expect from this risk-taking independent company.
JJ Buechner will assume the dual role of director along with that of Mrs. Forest. If you know JJ’s work, you will not even think that is a typo. For the Schenectady native already lists his previous favorite role as that of Edna in Hairspray. He recently garnered tremendous critical acclaim as the ‘Man in Chair’ in this season’s Home Made Theater production of The Drowsy Chaperone.
The rest of the leads in the cast are uniformly excellent and well credentialed:
Melissa Pelletier has the perfect sunny disposition to be Chicklet. The Colonie native is most proud of her role as Amy in Little Women. “I enjoyed playing a brat,” she said, “who ends up being sophisticated.”The cast has been rehearsing since March and Melissa notes “…things come together quickly, the show’s ‘intimate’ nature (of cast members with each other) leads to getting to know people pretty well. But the real significance of this play to Melissa is even more intimate as “it will be the first time be on stage performing with (fiancé) Stephen.”
Angee Munger (Berdine) is from Gansevoort. This is her Local Actors Guild company debut, but she brings a lot of experience to the production, with both Shakespearian stage and film credits on her resume. She says her favorite role to date has been that of Elizabeth in Tim Curry’s Frankenstein. Psycho is a perfect vehicle for her as she equally enjoys horror and parody genres.
Hailing from the Hawkeye State (specifically Waterloo, IA) is Matthew Crowley (Starcat), who moved to the area four years ago after graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and was a member of the Academy Company. He recently was on stage for Indy company Channel Z’s production of The Pillow Man, in which he had his favorite role of Detective Tupolski, a wise yet detached interrogator. His multi-media resume extends through Wicked Attractions on the ID Network, and in the web series Speed Creeper.
Ellen Reidy has recently returned to her native Saratoga Springs after two years in Burlington, Vermont where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics and nutrition at UVM. One of her greatest thrills was her performance of the “Nutcracker” with the Moscow Ballet Company for two seasons.
None of which appears to fit the usual qualifications to run around the stage in swimwear as Marvel Ann, but Ellen makes it all work quite nicely. She has nothing but praise for JJ’s directorial style. “It’s relaxed, but at the end of the day he gets what he wants.” Ellen says. “Plus, he’s cute.”
So, the ginchiest cast this side of Pismo Beach invites you to forget about the spring that will never come anyway and proceed directly to summer. Surf’s up!
The Local Actors Guild of Saratoga
Psycho Beach Party
Saturdays May 10 and 17 at 2 and 8 p.m.
Sundays May 11 and 18 at 2 p.m.
Saratoga Arts Center
$15 - Reservations: (518) 393-3496