Arts & Culture

Audrey Kupferberg: A Very English Scandal

Jul 20, 2018

Approximately fifty years ago, the Sexual Offences Bill 1967 decriminalized homosexuality between men over the age of 21 in private in England and Wales.  Just a couple weeks ago, Rob and I joined in the annual London Pride Festival as the streets of central London filled with mainly young people wearing rainbow colors on t-shirts and decorative face make-up.

The Woodstock Shakespeare Festival, celebrating its 22nd Anniversary, will stage the bard’s beloved tragedy “Romeo and Juliet” this summer. The production will run on Woodstock’s outdoor Elizabethan stage every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from July 27 through September 2.

Bird-On-A-Cliff Theatre Company co-founders and artistic co-directors David Aston-Reese and Elli Michaels have run the Woodstock Shakespeare Festival since its beginning 22 years ago and they join us this morning along with “Romeo and Juliet” director, Christopher Martin.

Scene from "Macbeth"
Shakespeare & Co.

LENOX, Mass. The production of “Macbeth” at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass. through August 5, is visually compelling, fascinatingly staged and articulate. But oddly, and rather sadly, this drama about a brutal tyrant who becomes a victim of his own ambitions is emotionally empty. Directed by Melia Bensussen, the work is an examination of the title character’s mental state as he assumes power by his assassination of the king and eventually the murder of all others he sees as a threat to his power.

The Badilas are a close-knit family of artists whose incredible talent and community spirit have made them a household name in Hudson. The Badila’s unique blend of Central and West African traditions and popular culture resonates at home, and reverberates on the world stage. Elombe and Pamela Badila united to create a family and legacy of education and performance that celebrates their heritage. Elombe passed away in 2012 and his family continues this mission.

Hudson Hall presents a series of Badila family events this weekend. 

We learn more from each of them but do want to make sure it’s clear that there are many other siblings and participants celebrating and performing in Hudson this weekend.

"Spirit of the River" will be performed at Hudson Hall on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Milandou Badila (aka Young Paris) creates Afrobeat hip-hop music with an electronic injection on Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label. His most recent album is “My Tribe.” Lady Moon and The Eclipse perform on Saturday at 7pm - their EP "Believe" is available now and they are working on their first LP.

Celebrating its 50-year anniversary this year, Tony Award-winning rock musical, “Hair” takes audiences back to the counterculture of the '60s with now classic songs like “Aquarius,” “Good Morning Starshine,” “I Got Life,” and many others.

The Berkshire Theatre Group presents “Hair” at the Unicorn Theater in Stockbridge, Massachusetts through August 11. The production is directed by Daisy Walker.

We are joined by three members of the cast Andrew Cekala (Claude), Brandon Contreras (Berger), and Kayla Foster (Sheila).

Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: "Sorry to Bother You," "Three Identical Strangers"

Upcoming:

  • Shannon McNally, The Dupont Brothers - Helsinki Hudson, Friday 7/20, 9 PM
  • Them! & This Island Earth (35MM prints, with 15 minute intermission) - Capitol Theatre, Rome, Friday 7/20, 7 PM
  • All-Mozart Program with Emanuel Ax and the Boston Symphony Orchestra - (Piano Concerto No. 17, “Jupiter” Symphony) - Tanglewood Shed, Lenox, Mass., Friday 7/20, 8 PM
  • Rory Block’s Gospel & Blues Fest Weekend - Friday 7/20, 8 PM: Rory Block - Saturday 7/21, 8 PM: Diunna Greenleaf and Blue Mercy - Sunday 7/22, 2 PM: Strait Way Ministries Gospel Choir - PS 21, Chatham, Friday-Sunday
  • Bang on a Can All-Stars: Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields - MASS MoCA, Hunter Center, North Adams, Mass., Saturday 7/21, 8 PM
  • Kingston Trio - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Sunday 7/22, 3 and 7 PM
  • Summer in the City Free Movies Series: The LEGO Batman Movie - Palace Theatre, Albany, Tuesday 7/24, 1 PM (doors at noon)
  • Amanda Shires - The Egg, Albany, Wednesday 7/25, 8 PM
  • Blue Oyster Cult - Empire State Plaza, Albany, Wednesday 7/25, 5:30-8:30 PM
  • Wiz Khalifa & Rae Sremmurd: Dazed and Blazed Summer Tour - SPAC, Saratoga Springs, Wednesday 7/25, 6 PM

New movies: "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again," "The Equalizer 2," "Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti"

Artist Tim Youd at his typewriter
Lucas Willard / WAMC

As part of a public art performance, William Kennedy’s classic novel “Ironweed” is being re-typed line by line this week in the author’s home city of Albany.

The Williamstown Theatre Festival’s second Main Stage production this year is the World Premiere Musical “Lempicka,” book and lyrics by Carson Kreitzer, music by Matt Gould, and directed by Rachel Chavkin.

Tamara de Lempicka, a Polish artist best known for her Art Deco paintings, was an active participant in the artistic and social life of Paris between the World Wars. She transformed herself from destitute refugee to a star of the art world. The musical explores the beauty and danger of one painter pursuing it all.

Sarah LaDuke spoke with Matt Gould and Rachel Chavkin in separate interviews that are both posted here.

Gould is the co-writer of "Invisible Thread" (Second Stage and The American Repertory Theater). He’s the recipient of the 2012 and 2014 Richard Rodgers Award, the Jonathan Larson Award and ASCAP’s Rodgers Award, Dean Kay, and Harold Adamson Awards.

Chavkin received Tony and Lortel nominations, and the Drama Desk, Elliot Norton and the prestigious Smithsonian American Ingenuity Awards for her direction of "Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812" (Broadway, Ars Nova, Kazino, A.R.T.). Other select credits include "The Royale" (Old Globe, LCT- Obie Award, Lortel & Drama Desk Nomination), "Small Mouth Sounds" (Ars Nova, Nat’lTour), and "Hadestown" (New York Theatre Workshop). She is the Founding Artistic Director of The TEAM.

Vassar and New York Stage and Film’s second Main Stage Powerhouse production this summer is “The Waves,” a musical adaptation of the novel by Virginia Woolf. The piece, which features a book by Lisa Peterson and music and lyrics by the late Davick Bucknam, was produced nearly 30 years ago in New York City. The version running at Vassar July 19-29 is directed by Peterson, features additional music and lyrics by Adam Gwon, and employs four time Tony Award nominee Raúl Esparza as creative consultant and actor.

Esparza’s Broadway credits include “Cabaret,” “The Rocky Horror Show,” “Taboo,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “Company,” “The Homecoming,” “Speed the Plow,” “Arcadia,” and “Leap of Faith.” Television credits include “Pushing Daisies,” “Hannibal,” “The Path,” “BoJack Horseman,” and he recently finished a six-season run as ADA Rafael Barba on “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.”

Esparza joins us to talk about his work.

The cast at Powerhouse features Ken Barnett, Eleasha Gamble, Douglas Lyons, Alice Ripley, and Lauren Worsham.

Actor Joshua Boone is back at The Williamstown Theatre Festival after making his debut at the festival last year in two plays, "Actually" and "Where Storms are Born." He now stars in James Anthony Tyler’s “Artney Jackson,” where he plays Perkins Howard.

Perkins is one of the employees of the cable company where the play is set. He has was left by his parents at the age of 15 when they were deported. He finished high school and made enough of himself to land a job that allows him buy cool sneakers and a $700 dollar rug from Costco.

Boone appeared on Broadway in the Tupac Shakur musical "Holler if Ya Hear Me" in 2014.

Joseph Dalton: Glimmerglass Opening Weekend

Jul 17, 2018

This is the summer of Bernstein.  Classical music festivals across the region, as well as a theater or two, are celebrating the centennial of Leonard Bernstein, who as a composer, conductor and educator was arguably the most important American musician of the 20th century.

Laila Robins in "A Doll's House, Part 2" at Barrington Stage
Daniel Rader / broadwayworld.com

In the final scene of Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 ground-breaking masterwork, “A Doll’s House,” Nora Helmer makes the shocking decision to leave her husband and children and begin a life on her own. Lucas Hnath’s “A Doll’s House, Part 2” dares to wonder what Nora has been up to since she slammed the door. The play received eight 2017 Tony Award nominations.

Joe Calarco directs “A Doll’s House, Part 2” on Barrington Stage Company’s Main Stage in Pittsfield, MA through July 28. Laila Robins stars as Nora.

Robins appeared in the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of George Bernard Shaw's “Heartbreak House,” other Broadway appearances include “Frozen” by Bryony Lavery, “The Herbal Bed” by Peter Whelan, and “The Real Thing” by Tom Stoppard, directed by Mike Nichols. Large and small screen credits include “Deception,” “Murder in the First,” “Homeland,” “Bored to Death,” and “Planes, Trains & Automobiles.”

Lauren Lovette in “Romeo + Juliet”
Paul Kolnik


  The New York City Ballet is in residence at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York July 17-21.

Lauren Lovette has been a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet since 2015; jeteing from the School of American Ballet to apprentice, to corps de ballet dancer, to soloist and now, principal dancer. She’s performing the role of Juliet in “Romeo + Juliet” at SPAC on July 19, 20, and 21; and she will dance in Warren Carlyle’s tribute to Jerome Robbins’ “Something to Dance About” at SPAC’s New York City Ballet Gala.  She’s also choreographed a work entitled “Not Our Fate” that will be part of SPAC’s 21st Century Choreographers program on July 19.

Rory Block
Sergio Kurhajec

PS21 in Chatham, New York presents Rory Block’s Gospel & Blues Fest Weekend, Friday-Sunday, July 20-22. 

This year the weekend focuses on “Power Women of the Blues.” The three-day festival kicks off this Friday night with an intimate solo concert by living legend Rory Block, followed by powerhouse singer Diunna Greenleaf and her band Blue Mercy on Saturday night, and on Sunday afternoon the Strait Way Ministries Gospel Choir.

Rob Edelman: The Good And Not So Good

Jul 16, 2018

For as long as there have been films, there have been films about young people and their dreams and desires. Will they realize their career goals? Will they fall in love? Will that love last beyond a brief moment in time? Take for example THE INCREDIBLE JESSICA JAMES, an independent American feature that was the closing night presentation at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. Jessica James, energetically played by Jessica Williams, is a twentysomething who resides in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood. Jessica has had romance, and now there is a new guy in her life. One of the issues here is that, in an instant, she may think that she is in love but, in the next, she and her beau just may act like strangers.

The Hoosick Blooms Garden and Farm Tour offers a personal introduction to the beautiful and bountiful countryside of the Hoosick, NY region while benefiting the CiviCure fund to renovate the historic Wood Block Building on Main Street in Hoosick Falls.

This Saturday, July 21 from 9-4 p.m. six private, diverse gardens and farms will welcome visitors on a driving tour and a demonstration as well as presentation by featured artist and botanical illustrator Wendy Hollender, which will be held at the unique Historic Barns of Nipmoose. A boxed lunch option prepared by Brown's Brewing Company's Walloomsac Taproom and served at the Nipmoose Barns will complete this rural community celebration.

CiviCure President Barbara Sussman joins us this morning along with event co-chairs Kelly Brown and Marianne Zwicklbauer.

ALBANY - Park Playhouse has, in recent years, earned a reputation for offering musicals that were a bit dark, kind-of daring and always entertaining.  Works like “Ragtime,” “Chicago” and “Cabaret” built a reputation for Park Playhouse as the summer place to see challenging theater.  Better yet, many seats are offered free of charge in the Washington Park outdoor space.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back with a "land"-based show.

Rogovoy Report 7/13/18

Jul 13, 2018

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include blues, folk-punk, klezmer, mariachi, Leonard Bernstein, and a whole lot more.

Ann Harada is best known for the musical "Avenue Q," in which she originated the role of Christmas Eve, the heavily accented Japanese therapist who had such winning numbers as "The More You Ruv Someone" and "Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist."

She has also starred on Broadway in "Les Miz," "Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella" and TV’s "Smash." She is at The Williamstown Theatre Festival starring in Douglas Carter Beane’s “The Closet” as Brenda, the office worker nobody quite likes or trusts but who is always ready to launch into a show tune.

Matthew Broderick will forever be linked to the cinematic classic of 1986, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." However, before doing that at age 24 – he had already won a Tony Award for Neil Simon’s "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and had starred in Simon’s follow-up "Biloxi Blues." All of this after making his stage debut in Harvey Fierstein’s "Torch Song Trilogy."

Now, Broderick stars in this world premiere comedy by Douglas Carter Beane, "The Closet," as Martin O’Reilly who is stuck in Scranton, PA in a dead-end job at a religious supply company, his marriage is over, and his son won’t return his calls. Then a stranger, played by Tony nominee Brooks Ashmanskas, sashays into his world and drags Martin and everyone around him out of their respective closets.

"The Closet" runs through Saturday night on the Main Stage at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.


"Fun Home" is a groundbreaking five-time Tony Award winning musical based on Vermont author and illustrator Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed graphic memoir. The show features a book by Lisa Kron and music by Jeanine Tesori. As the show unfolds, you meet Bechdel at three different life stages as she grows and grapples with her uniquely dysfunctional family, her sexuality, and her father’s secrets.

"Fun Home" runs on Weston Playhouse's Second Stage at Walker Farm through July 28.

Director Malcolm Ewen and Caitlin Kinnunen (Medium Alison) join us.

GLENS FALLS - The new musical “Loch Ness,” playing at Adirondack Theatre Festival in Glens Falls through July 14, is like a new puppy.   You love spending time with it because it is filled with energy and eager to please.  However, you know you’re going to like it better when it is older, calmer and has more discipline.

Julia Wolfe
Peter Sterling / juliawolfemusic.com

Three decades ago, composers Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe noticed something missing in the universe of music: a zone between rock, jazz, classical, and folk where new forms of musical expression could find new audiences and new players. So they invented a new world of music, and called it Bang on a Can.

The annual Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts includes daily performances in the museum galleries, a concert with the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and concludes with a six-hour blow-out Marathon Concert performed by the festival ensembles and special guests.

The festival also features workshops, late-night concerts, free events in North Adams, and more. This year features special festival guest composer Steve Reich.

Pulitzer Prize winning composer and Bang on a Can co-founder Julia Wolfe joins us.

Halley Feiffer
Kirk McCoy / LA Times

Halley Feiffer is a writer and actor. Her plays include "I'm Gonna Pray For You So Hard," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York City," and "How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them." Her play "Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow" had its world premiere at The Williamstown Theatre Festival last summer. She has appeared on Broadway in "The Front Page" with Nathan Lane and "The House of Blue Leaves" with Edie Falco. 

Tomorrow afternoon at 3 o'clock there will be a Fridays@3 reading of Feiffer's new play, "Saying Goodbye to the People I Love From My Bathtub." Fridays@3 readings take place at The Clark Auditorium.

Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: "Ant-Man and the Wasp," "Sicario: Day of the Soldado"

Upcoming:

  • Big Daddy Kane, plus DJ Trumastr, Und3standing, DJ Supreme - Alive at 5, Jennings Landing at the Corning Preserve, Albany, Thursday 7/12, 5 PM
  • Miranda Sings Live . . . No Offense with Colleen Ballinger - The Egg, Albany, Friday 7/13, 7:30 PM
  • Chuck Prophet & the Mission Express - Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, Friday 7/13, 9 PM
  • Frances Day ( A community open house) - Tang Teaching Museum & Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, Saturday 7/14, 2-6 PM
  • Gabacho Marco - Agnes MacDonald Music Haven, Central Park, Schenectady, Sunday 7/15, 7 PM
  • Imani Winds with Andrew Russo: Bastille Day in Paris—Celebrating the World of Josephine Baker - Maverick Concerts, Woodstock, Saturday 7/14, 8 PM
  • New York City Ballet: All Balanchine - Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, Tuesday-Wednesday 7/17-18, 8 PM
  • Toots and the Maytals, with special guests Victory - Empire State Plaza, Albany, Wednesday 7/18, opens 5:30 PM

New movies: "Sorry to Bother You," "Leave No Trace," "Three Identical Strangers," "Skyscraper," "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation"

The Green River Festival has hosted dozens of legendary performers from many genres of music from folk to indie rock, reggae to Cajun & Zydeco, Alt. Country to blues and everything in between.

This year’s festival takes place July 13-15 at Greenfield Community College and hosts a celebration of world class music, great local food, beer and wine, a handmade craft fair, family games and activities, and four hot air balloon launches and a balloon glow.

Jim Olsen is the President and co-founder Signature Sounds Presents.

Note: Full-festival and Saturday passes are sold out but there are tickets available for Friday and Sunday.

Bob Goepfert Reviews "The Cake" At Barrington Stage

Jul 10, 2018
Nemuna Ceesay and Debra Jo Rupp in a scene from "The Cake" at Barrington Stage
Carolyn Brown

Pittsfield, Mass. – “The Cake,” which is playing at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Mass. through July 15 is a really smart play about a complicated topic.   

Yidstock 2018

Jul 10, 2018

Now in its seventh year, Yidstock: The Festival of New Yiddish Music celebrates the best of Klezmer and new Yiddish music with a wide-ranging lineup of concerts that demonstrate the diversity and breadth of the genre, along with workshops, talks, and other programs.

Yidstock takes place, rain or shine, at The Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts July 12-15. Yidstock Artistic Director Seth Rogovoy, author of The Essential Klezmer: A Music Lover's Guide to Jewish Roots and Soul Music is here to tell us more along with Lisa Newman – Director of Communications at the Yiddish Book Center.

Rob Edelman: Direct To DVD, Etc.

Jul 9, 2018

More and more these days, A-list Hollywood stars of yesteryear are bringing their latest releases not to the local mall or art house but directly to the Internet. This list only begins with Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, and Chris Rock.

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