Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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July 16th, 2010

Forestburg playhouse growth benefits Sullivan County

The Forestburgh Playhouse is without a doubt one of Sullivan County’s true gems. It is one of the first places I saw a live theatrical production. I vividly remember going there while in day camp, and my parents taking me as a teenager and a young adult.

Thanks to the hard work and amazing commitment from producing director Norman Duttweiler, and philanthropists such as Stuart Salenger and Guy Spaulding, I am pleased to say live theatre is not only thriving but growing as well.

For years Duttweiler was literally the one man show running everything at our famed theatrical hall, with increased costs of doing live theatre something needed to be done to assist him in running the playhouse. Supporters of the arts like Salenger and Spaulding decided to assist Duttweiler in forming the not-for-profit Forestburgh Theatre Arts Center.

Salenger told me, “I will do anything I can to help it grow and thrive.”

Founded in 1947, the Playhouse is the oldest continuously operating professional summer theatre in New York, and famous stars like Loretta Swift and Ed Asner are often seen on the bill.

Although the Playhouse operates during summer months and offers three different types of performance experiences including Broadway shows, musical cabaret, and productions geared for children, the mission of the Arts Center is very promising for Sullivan County.

To continue the tradition, they will still be nurturing young talent and presenting an entire season of professional musicals and plays, but they will also expand their educational division, already in its third year presenting educational productions to area schools.

This year they will present a contemporary Romeo and Juliet to eight local schools and SCCC. They will also conduct experiential workshops with student audiences to build on what they have experienced on stage.

Discussing the not-for-profit status Duttweiler said, “The terrific summer season won’t change much. We will now be able to expand into new directions that were beyond our means. We will grow our educational division giving students access to the transformative experience of the arts. We can also become an incubator for new shows.”

“If we can continue to attract support from our community, our educational community, and our business community, we can create more of our product that attracts tourism to the Sullivan County and generates income for other local businesses,” Duttweiler added.

Town of Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini told me he was elated to be named to the new Playhouse Board. “I am honored to be in the likes of Loretta Swift, Ed Asner, and Leroy Reams to promote theatrical arts in Sullivan County.”

Roberta Byron-Lockwood, head of the Sullivan County Visitor’s Association said, “The new Forestburgh Theatre Arts Center affords the Sullivan County Catskills growth and development is an exciting transition that promises to generate a lengthened cultural season which will positively affect economic vitality of Sullivan County tourism industry.

I urge everyone to support the Forestburgh Playhouse and attend their fabulous shows. You will be amazed by the productions and enjoyable themed cabarets.

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