SUNY Adirondack to stage 'Birds of a Feather'

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November 16, 2022

Play inspired by true story about love, friendship and acceptance

GLENS FALLS, New York (Nov. 16, 2022) — For Jarel Davidow, discovering “Birds of a Feather” was love at first read.

The SUNY Adirondack adjunct professor and artistic director of Lake George Dinner Theatre is directing the college’s production of the play, which is inspired by “And Tango Makes Three,” a children's book by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.

The show opens with a performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, and runs nightly through Saturday, Dec. 3, with a 2:30 p.m. matinee Sunday, Dec. 4, at Charles R. Wood Theater, 207 Glen St.

“It’s based on the real-life story of two male chinstrap penguins at Central Park Zoo who adopted an egg, hatched it and raised it,” Davidow said. “It’s a funny play, and a beautiful play about love in all its forms.”

While looking for a script with flexible casting to fit the number of students in this fall's Rehearsal and Performance class, Davidow stumbled upon “Birds of a Feather.” “The more I read it, the more I fell in love with it, and the students love it, too,” he said.

The cast includes Alisia Renteria as Paula Zahn, Gay and Wanna-Be; Nova Nusskern as Roy,  Pale Male, Bombshell, Betty, Gayer, Bored, Teen Tango and Chastity Wright; Trinity Graves as Silo, Lola, Bombshell, Porky, Gayest, Preening and Grown-up Tango; Willow Greene as Zookeeper; Eldon Hassler as Richard Cohen, Fat-Cat Senator and Man in Coveralls; and Gavin Beadnell as Birder.

“The main characters are two penguins and two hawks the playwright has anthropomorphized,” Davidow explained. “Through the birds, the play explores LGBTQ issues.”

Graves said playing Silo, a role different from what she is used to in middle and high school show, has been an exciting challenge. 

“The story is so different from what I've done,” she said. “Something that's right in my home state and that has actually happened in real life is so cool. I really love the story.” 

This is the fourth production Davidow has directed for the college, beginning with “Biloxi Blues” in 2019; the ill-fated “Almost, Maine,” which in 2020 was never performed because of the pandemic; and last year’s “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress.”

“I’ve directed professionally for years, working in professional theater with equity actors,” Davidow said. “And I work the same way with the students as I do with everybody else: I set a high standard and hold them to those standards.”

Davidow worked for many years as an actor in New York City. He auditioned for roles in Lake George Dinner Theatre productions and then directed shows there. When longtime Artistic Director Terry Rabine looked to retire, Davidow was invited to apply for the job.

“When I was a kid, I went to Boy Scout camp in Brant Lake, from ages 11 to 16, so I knew the area, and it felt like I was coming home again,” Davidow said. “It always felt like home.”

Teaching classes at the college has boosted that feeling, as he meets more people and extends his network throughout the region’s rich cultural scene, including Emily Murphy, director of Charles R. Wood Theater, where “Birds of a Feather” will be performed. 

“As an alumni of SUNY Adirondack who participated in the theater program, it's an honor to partner on bringing the Main Stage show here to the Wood,” Murphy said. “This continued partnership provides the opportunity for student actors and technicians to learn from our venue and provides unique programming for our community to support the next generation and be entertained.”

Students performing in a professional theater setting is a great experience, Davidow said. 

“Once you’re out of your ‘home gym’ and have to play a show on the road, it ups everybody’s game because it has a professional air about it,” he said. “The students get ready in real dressing rooms and see the rake of the audience, and the booth with the lighting grid, it’s a very impressive space, a great theater, and everybody gets in there and they’re a little humbled.”

The participating students help build the set and run the board. “For some students, it’s their first play and they’re very nervous, for others, they have done quite a lot of work in theater,” Davidow said. “We’re going to have a great production; I can’t wait.”

SUNY Adirondack alumna and adjunct theater instructor Johnna Maiorella is producer of "Birds of a Feather." The college offers theater classes, including Acting I and Playwriting.

Tickets are $14 for general admission; $10 for seniors and non-SUNY Adirondack students; $12 for SUNY Adirondack alumni and military; and free for SUNY Adirondack students, faculty and staff with their college-issued IDs. To purchase tickets, call 518-480-4878 or visit

A pre-dinner show is offered at Seasoned, SUNY Adirondack’s student-run restaurant at 14 Hudson Ave., on Thursday, Dec. 1. A four-course dinner is $26.95 plus tax for adults and $18.95 plus tax for children ages 12 and younger. Cash bar available. For reservations, please visit