Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
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Dave Bullard, 315-487-7711 x 1377,

July 01, 2014

New Events in New York State Fair’s Empire Theater Feature Former “Brady Bunch” Kids Reunion, Comedians from “Chelsea Lately” Finale

“Up Close With…” Gives Fans Interaction With Favorite Performers

The Great New York State Fair’s new “Up Close With…” series kicks off at the 2014 Fair with stories from some of the former children from the classic TV series “The Brady Bunch,” and from some of the comedians featured in the roundtable on the late-night “Chelsea Lately” talk show, Acting State Fair Director Troy Waffner announced today.

The events take place on Saturday and Sunday, August 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Empire Theater of the Art & Home Center.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.  General admission tickets to each event are $20 and will only be available at the State Fair Box Office beginning July 18.  The box office will be open daily starting July 7 from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  Seating is very limited in the small auditorium.  Snacks and refreshments will be available.  Meet-and-greets with the performers will take place after the performances.

“In 2014, we are broadening our entertainment offerings like never before.  These shows will give fans a chance to see some of their favorite performers and hear unfiltered stories from behind the scenes.  This is one of the more than two dozen new events, activities, and exhibits coming to the Fair this year and I know this one will be a success,” said Waffner.

“The Way We All Became the Brady Bunch”

That line from one of TV’s most recognizable theme songs sets the stage for Sunday, August 24, when three of the Brady “kids” talk about their time on one of the best-known situation comedies of all time in a moderated discussion featuring video clips chosen by the actors. 

The performers are:

  • Barry Williams, who played oldest son Greg Brady, the handsome, confident leader of the blended Brady kid clan.  Greg aspired to become a musician and in real life, Barry did just that.  His live stage show, “70’s Music Celebration! Starring Barry Williams,” is a staple of the entertainment scene in his current hometown of Branson, Missouri.
  • Christopher Knight, who played Peter Brady, the cute but underconfident middle son in the Brady household.  In real life, Knight’s confidence led him to a career as a successful technology businessman.  He ventured back into TV as an actor and host, most notably as the star of the reality show My Fair Brady.
  • Susan Olsen, who played Cindy Brady, the precocious and pigtailed youngest daughter who delighted in broadcasting family members’ secrets.  In the Brady Bunch sequels, Cindy became a real broadcaster, as did Olsen in real life.  Olsen has become a successful artist and an advocate for those with Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder that affects her own child.

The moderator is Syracuse University Prof. Robert Thompson, director of the university’s Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture whose insights into pop culture make him a daily presence in the news and on talk shows.

The Comedians from “Chelsea Lately”

“Chelsea Lately” is a talk show fronted by comedian Chelsea Handler for more than 1,000 episodes on the E! cable channel.  Three comedians and writers who appear in the show’s Roundtable segment will perform brief standup routines and riff on popular culture on Saturday, August 23.  That’s just three days before the final episode of ”Chelsea Lately,” which is leaving the air as Handler begins a new program for Netflix.  They are:

  • Brad Wollack, the show’s co-executive producer, as well as executive producer and co-star of the scripted show “After Lately” about the lives of the “Chelsea Lately” staff.  He’s a standup comedian and contributed to Handler’s New York Times bestselling book.  He has two Emmy nominations to his credit.
  • Heather McDonald, Roundtable regular and a star of “After Lately.”  She is a popular standup comedian whose autobiography spent seven weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list.  Her latest book is “My Inappropriate Life: Some Material Not Suitable for Small Children, Nuns, or Mature Adults.”  She has also contributed a chapter to the New York Times #1 bestselling book “Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me.”
  • Fortune Feimster, who went from being a reporter focusing on entertainment to being an entertainer after taking classes in sketch comedy and improvisation.  She moved into standup comedy and joined “Chelsea Lately” as a writer and Roundtable member.  Fortune’s new standup special debuted on Comedy Central last week and has just been named one of Variety Magazine’s “10 Comics to Watch.”

The New York State Fair, operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs from August 21 – September 1, 2014.  The Fair’s mission, reflected in its 2014 theme, “Summer’s Best in Show,” is to showcase the best of New York agriculture while providing top-quality entertainment.  This year’s tagline – “New Attractions, Old Favorites, Timeless Fun” – highlights the more than two dozen new events and attractions and the expansion or enhancement of several Fairgoer favorites.

In addition to the annual New York State Fair, the Fairgrounds host dozens of agricultural events throughout the year, including some of the Northeast’s most prestigious horse and livestock shows.

The home of the Great New York State Fair is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. A year-round schedule of events is available on the Fair’s website.  Find The Great New York State Fair on Facebook, follow @NYSFair on Twitter, and enjoy photos from the Fair at Also, New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas for the Great New York State Fair at

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