TRR photos by Jonathan Charles Fox

Carlos Holden and Amber Schmidt are well cast in the SCDW production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” now playing at the Rivoli in South Fallsburg, NY.

A man for all seasons

I would never call myself fashionable. Sure, I look in the mirror before I leave the house—but I’m often at a loss as to what to wear and far more concerned with my mop of hair, grateful that it still sprouts from my head in unruly abundance. So it was with a bit of trepidation that I agreed to take part in O’Toole’s Harley Davidson “Celebrity Makeover” last weekend—a tip o’ the hat to the brand’s 115th anniversary. “C’mon, man,” implored O’Toole’s co-owner Tom “Digs” Verdiglione. “You might look like a nerd now,” he said, “but we can turn you into a biker. My wife Jacquie is a magician,” he added with a laugh. “If anyone can do it, she can!”

Before heading to Wurtsboro (www.oto oleshd.com) and my new look, I threw on jeans and a T-shirt, and made my way to South Fallsburg, NY on Friday for a date with William Shakespeare (www.scdw.net) and the cast of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Rivoli Theatre. I’ll admit that I was nervous, since even Shakespeare’s comedies are not easy to do, and in a past life, I dabbled in acting myself, garnering some decent reviews for my star turn in “The Taming of the Shrew” at the National Shakespeare Company in New York. “So I’m an expert,” I declared to Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop director Harold Tighe. “This show had better be good!” And in many ways, it is.

With more than 15 actors on stage at any given moment, (including a couple of adorable children), Tighe had his work cut out for him, but his ability to stage the show in creating “pretty pictures” with his actors helps to convey the magical fairy tale originally published in 1600. Thanks to an attractive set designed by Fran Schiff coupled with dreamy costumes from the team of Ed Berens and Heather Strauss, the play looked good, allowing performers Carlos Holden, Melissa McTague, Alyssa Ashley, Juliette Nero Eddings and Christopher Morgan II to shine. Other performers  have their moments, but the heart of the play lies in the capable hands of sprightly Amber Schmidt, as Puck, who delights the audience throughout, bringing Shakespeare’s words to life. If I were calling the shots, I’d give some free tickets to local high school kids, allowing them to “brush up” their Shakespeare, as the old song says.  Call 845/436-5336 for details.

Reminding Digs that I was slated to appear at the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce “Dance through the Decades” dinner that same night, I expressed some concern when my “stylist” pulled out a fake beard and mustache. “These better come off!” I warned Jacquie, who was happily dressing me like a doll, “I’m wearing a tux tonight.” With no mirrors in the room, my concern grew. “Why can’t I see what I look like?” I asked station manager Paul Ciliberto (www.thunder102.com), who, with Digs, had planned the promotional stunt. “It’s a surprise,” he snickered. “Trust me,” he said, elbowing Digs and smirking. “You look hot.”

I’m not sure that Dan Brother agreed, but he and his fantastic band continued to play while I made my way to the showroom floor, where WVOS radio personality Eddie Wilson was waiting dressed as a cop. “Wait, what’s going on?” I asked, before realizing that I had been “made over” to look like the classic “leather dude,” and Digs was now wearing an Indian Chief headdress. “Surprise!” they all cried in unison. “Looks like ‘The Village People’ just pulled into O’Toole’s!”

Flashbulbs popped as we went “live” on Facebook, and while Ciliberto and Company had more fun at my expense, Dharma the Wonder Dog and I climbed aboard a gorgeous Harley-Davidson ‘Free-Wheeler.’ “We didn’t want you to fall off,” Digs said laughing. “But wait! There’s more!” Another quick-change transformed me (sans goatee) into an everyday biker, and I have to say, I felt kinda cool. “Just like Fonzie!” I enthused to the crowd. “Don’t go crazy,” Digs said, pulling me aside. “You’ll always be my favorite nerd.”

In my humble opinion, (IMHO) I looked more “James Bond” than “Revenge of the Nerds” at the Chamber’s spring dinner dance that evening, where everyone was dressed to impress. Held at The Sullivan in Rock Hill, and featuring a cocktail hour with delicious hors d’oeuvres, New Jersey’s “Breaking Out Ballroom” dance team entertained during dinner with glitzy moves demonstrating styles like the mambo, foxtrot and hustle while DJ Corey Gips (www.partymaster.us) kept the party moving. I might not be “fashion-forward,” but after a “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” sporting leather on a Harley and a black-tie dinner dance—I can honestly claim to be a man for all seasons, right? 

 

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