When SPAO was formed, (first meeting February 1989) we were told by Dee Sarno (Saratoga County Art's Council) that, with luck, our life expectancy was probably just 3 or 4 shows. We started anyway. At that time each show was held at the Stillwater High School Auditorium. "You Can't Take It With You" presented that fall was a huge success. After the great turn out (about 900) for that first show, each production following was measured by it. Our next few shows only brought in around 300 patrons each for our one weekend run. We had no idea that 300 a weekend was a wonderful turnout for area theatre. We were discouraged but we didn't quit - We tried harder. Each succeeding show got bigger and better. It wasn't long before people from all over wanted to become a part of that newly established theatre group that couldn't last long "The Stillwater Players Among Others". Many memories and friends were made at the auditorium, those first shows laid the pavement for the success of SPAO for the past 20 years.
Those memorable auditorium shows include:
|• 1989 - You Can't Take It With You||• 1990 - The Mousetrap|
|• 1990 - Play It Again, Sam||• 1991 - Blithe Spirit|
|• 1992 - Harvey||• 1991 - Steel Magnolias|
|• 1993 - Dracula||• 1993 - Bus Stop|
|• 1994 - Pure as the Driven Snow||• 1994 - Fools|
|• 1995 - Wait Until Dark||• 1995 - Heaven Can Wait|
Before moving on, we of SPAO cannot forget about the sell out musicals that made up our past. These musicals showed a different side of SPAO. Most starred people under 21. "The Sound of Music" and "The King and I" SRO'ed the 500+ seat auditorium each of their three performances.
Our Popular Musicals:
• 1992 - The Fantasticks
• 1994 -The Sound Of Music
• 1995 - The King and I
• 1997 - Fiddler On The Roof
As the years went on, so did SPAO. Moving from the auditorium into a different venue "The Old Mill Restaurant and Banquet House", the local restaurant was a big jump for the members of SPAO. The group converted the one weekend show with hundreds of audience members, into an intimate two weekend production with one hundred audience members max. The restaurant provided "DINNER THEATRE" an aspect of theatre that SPAO was looking for since our first taste of it - two sellout performances the winter of 1992 with "Steel Magnolias" at Panza's Starlite Inn on Saratoga Lake. This move brought SPAO closer to the audience and the audience moved closer to SPAO. They found that they were more important to SPAO, than the cast and crew members. SPAO included local area talent (The SPAO Dinner Diva's) to warm the audience during dinner and the magical comedy of "Grandpa" Willis White to introduce the show. SPAO has since expanded their dinner theatre productions to three weekends to accommodate their growing audience support. Starting with "Rumors", the spring of 2000, a second Dinner Theatre venue was established - The historic Joyce's Log Cabin Restaurant in nearby Mechanicville. Each venue lended different abilities to SPAO productions. Each venue would serve us once a year. But, Alas.. The Log Cabin closed its doors after "Arsenic and Old Lace" was presented with a three story set in the spring of 2001. So - SPAO returned home to the The Old Mill for "Over The River and Through The Woods" in the fall of 2001 and "The Foreigner" the next spring. Each had an expanded set that ran the length of the banquet room. Each show played to packed houses and standing ovations.
A new stereo sound system was added for "Lunch Hour" the fall of 2002. Full stage overhead lighting was in place for "Don't Drink The Water" the next spring. As The SPAO Dinner theatre produces realistic - on stage explosions - for their growing audiences, the SPAO explosion in Southern Saratoga County has mushroomed with record setting attendance. After six sell-out performances during the first run, a reprised 2003 "Don't Drink The Water" sent the total attendance of this SPAO show over 1,000. Although the spring 2004 presentation of "Steel Magnolias" only sold out 4 times, the average attendence per show date averaged 87 patrons each thus making it the second largest attended SPAO production ever. It passed "Don't Drink the Water" as the number one financial success.
ONWARD AND UPWARD
SPAO moved to a brand new venue in the fall of 2004, The Stillwater Parish Center Theater located in the heart of the village of Stillwater with their production of "A Bad Year For Tomatoes". The new theater provided a legimate stage over a foot higher than before with a larger patron seating area. The theater's first show set a record for overall attendence for one run, in part, due to a special benefit performance where all proceeds were donated to The Newland Wood village fire department. The fall show of 2005, "Lover's Leap", played to four sell out audiences and introduced new lighting that virtually eleminates stage shadows and a new programable lighting board that insures perfectly timed lighting changes. The new lighting technique was experienced during the next show "Everybody Loves Opal" when the ceiling caved in. The set lights flickered and blew out in time with the sizzle of electric sound effects. SPAO is currently planning their twenty-eighth Dinner Theatre production, "Murder at Howard Johnsons", opening this May 2009. It will be the tenth show presented at The Parish Center Theater, and the forty-sixth SPAO production overall. So much for the Saratoga County Art's Council prediction! SPAO provides a full evening of entertainment along with an elegant individual table dining setting with exquisite entree selections. Fine dine and enjoy an exciting hilarious evening as the people of The Stillwater Players Among Others present Dinner Theatre at its best.
Hope To See Ya There!!!!
The Dinner Theatre Shows:
• 1996 - Poisoned Pawn
• 1996 - The Sunshine Boys
• 1996 - Barefoot in the Park
• Spring 1997 - The Odd Couple
• Fall 1997 - Don't Dress For Dinner
• Spring 1998 - Divorce Southern Style
• Fall 1998 - Full Moon
• Spring 1999 - Moon Over Buffalo
• Fall 1999 - All In The Timing
• Spring 2000 - Rumors
• Fall 2000 - Murder By Mistake
• Spring 2001 - Arsenic and Old Lace
• Fall 2001 - Over the River & Through the Woods
• Spring 2002 - The Foreigner
• Fall 2002 - Lunch Hour
• Spring 2003 - Don't Drink the Water
• Fall 2003 - Kiss Or Make Up
• Spring 2004 - Steel Magnolias
• Fall 2004 - A Bad Year For Tomatoes
• Spring 2005 - The Solid Gold Cadillac
• Fall 2005 - Lover's Leap
• Spring 2006 - Everybody Loves Opal
• Fall 2006 - Eat Your Heart Out
• Spring 2007 - The Female Odd Couple
• Fall 2007 - Bus Stop
• Spring 2008 - Sylvia
• Fall 2008 - I Hate Hamlet
• Spring 2009 - Murder at Howard Johnsons
• Spring 2010 - Anybody Out There
• Fall 2010 - Last of the Red Hot Lovers
• Spring 2012 - The Prisoner of Second Avenue
• Fall 2012 - Skin Deep
• Spring 2013 - Any Suggestions???