ANCRAM—Theater artists Jeff Mousseau and Paul Ricciardi, formerly of Hudson, are the new proprietors of the Ancram Opera House. They plan a new theater season, beginning next summer.
To introduce themselves and learn more about the interests of the community, the new Opera House directors invite all to a festive open house, with live music and refreshments, Saturday, November 28 from 2 to 5 p.m.
“Our first experience at the Ancram Opera House was in 2007, when we saw a production that captured our imaginations,” Ricciardi said in a press release.
“We immediately fell in love with the theater’s charm. Its intimacy and its potential as a space in which a performance can be closely shared by the actors and audience is exciting to us.”
Theater artists Jeff Mousseau (l) and Paul Ricciardi, new directors of the Ancram Opera House, invite all to an open house with live music Saturday, November 28 from 2 to 5 p.m. Photo contributed
The Opera House was erected in 1927 as the Ancram Grange Hall, and served as a resource and meeting place for the region’s farmers. In 1972, the grange was transformed into a performance venue and renamed the Ancram Opera House. Over the years, it has been home to a ceramist, woodworker, theater and music performances and, most recently, a weekly yoga class.
Mousseau and Ricciardi said they intend to refocus programming on contemporary theater performances, best suited for an 80-seat space noteworthy for its excellent acoustics. The Opera House will create and produce shows, present performances by other companies and host occasional community productions. Residencies for guest artists will be offered, along with master classes in acting, voice and directing; classes for community members are also planned.
“We are inspired by the grange movement’s aspirations to provide farmers with a space to gather,” Mousseau said in the release.
“As a small, intimate theater located in a rural region, the Opera House provides a place for residents and visitors to connect through the performing arts. We are focusing on innovative works, contemporary in style or content; we also have a special interest in imaginative performances that resonate with audiences of all ages.”
Mousseau’s directing credits include a residency at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. His work has been seen at Tribeca Performing Arts Center, among other places in New York City, and locally at Stageworks, Hudson Opera House, Proctors Theater and Olana.
Ricciardi teaches acting and voice at the City University of New York/Kingsborough Community College. As an actor and solo performer, he has worked in New York City, regionally and abroad. Recent credits include the premiere of his new solo show, Angry and Other Stories at Dixon Place, New York City; a revival of his award-winning solo show, Moving Vehicles, at Club Helsinki; and Hamlet at Saratoga Shakespeare Company.