Garfield Center to open its stage for live performances

The Garfield Center for the Arts will be streaming live performances of “1959 Pink Thunderbird” starting April 30. This marks the first live performances on the Garfield’s stage since the COVID-19 pandemic closed the venue to the public last March. Pictured are, from left, Jen Friedman, Sharon Herz and Melissa McGlynn in rehearsal for “Laundry and Bourbon” — one of the two plays that make up “1959 Pink Thunderbird.”

CHESTERTOWN — The Garfield Center is returning to live performances starting April 30 with “1959 Pink Thunderbird.”

The production is being rehearsed and staged with social distancing and health considerations in mind, and it will be performed live from the Garfield stage and streamed online for home audiences.

There will be no live audiences in the theater.

“1959 Pink Thunderbird” will be offered to ticket buyers for four live-streamed performances only, each beginning at 8 p.m., Friday, April 30, Saturday, May 1, Friday May 7 and Saturday, May 8.

Tickets are $15 (plus a modest processing/streaming fee) and can be purchased starting April 8 on the GCA website at

Written by James McLure, the program is a presentation of two one-act plays, “Laundry and Bourbon” and “Lone Star,” which are related to one another by events, characters and plot. The production contains adult language and themes and is for mature audiences.

Performing “Laundry and Bourbon” are Sharon Herz, Jen Friedman and Melissa McGlynn. The director is Jennifer Kafka Smith.

The setting is the porch of Roy and Elizabeth’s home in Maynard, Texas, on a hot summer afternoon. Elizabeth and her friend Hattie are whiling away the time folding laundry, watching TV, sipping bourbon and Coke, and gossiping about the many open secrets which are so much a part of small-town life.

They are joined by the self-righteous Amy Lee who, among other tidbits, can’t resist blurting out that Roy has been seen around town with another woman. The ensuing conversation is increasingly edged with bitter humor as Elizabeth’s inner strength is tested while important understandings are realized.

Performing “Lone Star” are Paul Cambardella, Brad Chaires and Brian Whitaker. The director is Steven Arnold.

The setting is the backlot of the local bar. Roy, once the local high-school hero, is back in town after a hitch in Vietnam and trying to reestablish his position in the community. Joined by his younger brother, Ray (who worships him), Roy sets about consuming a case of beer while regaling Ray with tales of his military and amorous exploits.

Roy cherishes three things above all; his country, his wife, and his 1959 pink Thunderbird. But with the arrival of Cletis, the fatuous son of a local store owner, the underpinnings of Roy’s world begin to collapse as potentially devastating revelations are made with pathos and humor.

The production’s technical directors and set builders are Butch Clark and Nic Carter, scenic designers are Steven Arnold and Butch Clark, and the streaming engineer is Nic Carter with Charlie Joiner assisting as a streaming technology consultant. Paul Cambardella is overseeing props and Barbi Bedell provides costuming assistance.

For most of 2020, the pandemic kept the Garfield Center for the Arts closed to the public.

Only its initial production of “Greater Tuna” made it to the stage before the pandemic closed everything down in March.

The GCA remained active, though, offering free weekly streamed programs under the banner of GCTV: The Garfield Streams the Arts, and by presenting two ticketed streamed programs: September’s Short Attention Span Theatre Online 2020 and December’s (STAY) Home for the Holidays! Both ticketed events were video-captured, edited programs.

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