Ithaca, N.Y. — Ithaca’s Kitchen Theatre Company is debuting a new play called “Count Me In” this Saturday at 8 p.m.

Ithaca Is Bluegrass (Jan. 23-25)

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Written by artistic director Rachel Lampert, the show tracks how “an invitation to a 50th high school reunion sets in motion a search for forgotten friends and memories,” according to the theater’s website.

A “preview” of the show was held last night. (See the theater’s website for a full list of showtimes and options for purchasing tickets.)

Here’s a video interview with Director Emily Jackson by Ithaca Voice intern Erica Moriarty:

We also asked Lesley Greene, the theater’s associate producer, to help us come up with 5 reasons to get excited for the new show.

Here’s what she said:

1 — Writer’s past works demonstrate ‘quick wit and a full heart’

Lampert has written more than two dozen plays and musicals, according to Greene.

“They rank among the most popular plays produced at Kitchen Theatre Company,” she says. “Lampert’s works feature a quick wit and a full heart. And there’s always a special something you get when a play is brand new.”

According to the Community Arts Partnership, Lampert “is a 4-time recipient of NEA Choreography Fellowships and a CAP Individual Artist Grant.” Additionally, her co-written play The Angle of the Sun “was selected by the New York Musical Theater Festival to be presented in NYC in September 2007.”

Lampert, left, wrote the show. Photo courtesy of KTC’s Facebook page

2 — Music and dance of Broadway caliber

While not a musical, the show features both music and dancing, including an original song written by Larry Pressgrove, whose music has been featured on Broadway.

Pressgrove and Lampert have collaborated on several musicals, according to Greene, including “Waiting for Spring” and “The Angle of the Sun.”

A recent Ithaca arrival named Tucker Davis will also perform in the show, according to Greene. Davis danced in the national tours of Music Man and Cats.

3 — New Kitchen Theatre talent

Lampert is not new to the Kitchen Theatre, but some of the show’s cast is, Greene said.

Among the actors with Broadway credits include:

— Lydia Gaston (Miss Saigon; West Side Story; South Pacific)

— Keith Pillow (Dozens of television shows and movies, according to Greene).

— Tucker Davis (experienced mentioned above).

4 — Rachel’s real-life husband plays himself

The show is about a 50th high school reunion; it was inspired by Lampert’s own “looming” 50th high school reunion, according to Jim Catalano.

Not only is there a character named Rachel who mirrors the show’s writer, but the county’s recently retired Director of Finance David Squires will be playing himself as Lampert’s husband.

“He’s wonderful playing himself,” Greene says.

5 — This will be way less awkward than attending your own 50th high school reunion

About this there can’t really be much doubt.

As Greene notes in an email: “It’s way better than attending your own 50th high school reunion! You get to reminisce about old times and imagine what your 50th will be like without any of your own misgivings/angst/etc.”

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.