HUDSON FALLS — The face of the rebirth of Hudson Falls’ Strand Theater said Sunday’s Martin Barre show is just the first of other national and international performers being booked to play here.
Jonathan Newell, an accomplished performer himself, said getting the iconic former Jethro Tull guitarist to come to Hudson Falls felt great.
“It’s the thing we’ve been trying to get to,” he said Thursday. “Part of our mission was wanting to support the local and regional stuff but get the national touring acts coming from time to time too. This is the first international act.”
Barre is the “kickoff” of that effort, but he said he’s close to booking another 70’s guitarist who “played in some huge, huge stuff.” He said the contract isn’t signed yet, but he expects it to be.
Newell was also pitching quality tribute bands coming to town, including one that plays early Peter Gabriel songs from Genesis and another doing Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
“The local stuff is great, but it’s nice to get this national touring sort of thing,” he said. “It’s exciting.”
Newell, who plays in various bands, teaches at the College of St. Joseph in Rutland and serves as general manager of The Strand, said he’s loving working on the rebirth of The Strand. His teaching job is temporarily halted thanks to a limited-time grant, which allows him to just handle Strand business.
Although he misses teaching, he said he’s really busy with construction work, booking acts and handling day-to-day theater business. Another grant through Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, is allowing for a new roof and sprinkler system, and painting continues inside the theater.
“We’re thinking the middle of next year for an official grand opening,” he said.
But even with the opening months away, The Strand is hopping with shows and open mics at least four nights a week, with dance, movies and theater work often filling in the gaps, he said.
And the Hudson River Music Hall is also still bustling, turning into more of a “real community center” with live music, plus other activities including dance, yoga and karate.
Newell said residents can expect New York City-caliber ballet at The Strand in the near future. Through an agreement with Chevalier Dance in New York, Newell’s Beatles tribute band, Across the Pond, is performing “Ballet Meets the Beatles” at the Kaye Theater in the city on Oct. 13 at 8 p.m., and proceeds of the event are split, with half going to The Strand, he said.
He is arranging to have 10-passenger vans, leaving from The Strand, to take people to see “Ballet Meets the Beatles” for $30 a seat.
Newell said he’s personally excited to be playing in the performance, but also excited because the agreement means ballet will be coming to The Strand.