Arts & Culture | WAMC

Arts & Culture

Artwork for "An Iliad" at Weston playhouse
provided / Weston Playhouse

Weston Playhouse Theatre Company has returned to live performance with: An Iliad, running through August 6th under the Tent at Walker Farm.

The eternal, enchanting power of storytelling comes to life in Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson’s acclaimed adaptation of Homer’s classic. A chorus of ancient muses perform original compositions by winner Jenny Giering as a solitary storyteller throws us into the midst of conflict.

To tell us more we welcome Executive Artistic Director Susanna Gellert and David Bonanno who plays The Poet, an ancient teller of tales destined to share the story of war until the day human nature changes; until the day our love of rage comes to an end.

Johanna Day, Tyrone Mitchell Henderson and David Beach in "Slow Food"
Jim McLaughlin

“Slow Food” is a 90-minute three-character play about a tourist couple held as culinary hostages by a passive-aggressive waiter in a Greek restaurant in Palm Springs, California.

Logo for WAMC Listening Party

Playlist as aired on WAMC Listening Party on Saturday, July 24th, 2021: 

David Finlayson

Tonight on Person Place Thing: Every musician relishes applause – who wouldn’t? But the principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic also finds value in an audience booing. “To know that someone was infuriated by a performance or a set or something like that is kind of enjoyable...” The joys of a passionately engaged audience. Tune in as Cohen speaks with clarinetist Anthony McGill about Michael Jordan, Interlochen, and an autographed Benny Goodman LP.

Any Questions logo
Any Questions logo/WAMC

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel try to medal in honor of the 2021 edition of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Rogovoy Report 7/23/21

Jul 23, 2021

The cultural highlights for our region this weekend include classical music, avant-garde music, indie-rock, dance, opera … plus a whole lot more.

Guthrie Center in Great Barrington, MA
JD Allen / WAMC

The band Urban Renewal returns to the Guthrie Center tonight and tomorrow night. They blend a mixture of 70's funk with West African polyrhythms. The group features high energy vocals, a tight rhythm section, with some kickin' horns and percussion.

This band is a blast and lots of fun. Expect a dance floor and a very party feel! All proceeds benefit the Guthrie Center.

Featuring the music of some of the greats: Earth Wind & Fire, Tower of Power, Aretha, Stevie Wonder and Sly & The Family Stone. Band member Matthew Penn joins us this morning to tell us more.

Andrea Gallo and Stephanie Everett in "Niceties"
Elizabeth Solaka / Chester Theatre Company

“Niceties” is a two-person play that expands the claim that there are two sides to every story. This intense piece takes two people who agree on issues - but disagree on how to attain their goals. It shows how two conflicting sides of an issue can both be right and how allies can turn into enemies.

Sasha Cooke
Stephanie Girard /

  The Bard Music Festival has been committed, since its inception, to reviving important but neglected operas. This year’s immersion in “Nadia Boulanger and Her World” presents the first fully staged American production of "King Arthur," the only opera by Boulanger’s compatriot and close contemporary Ernest Chausson.

The production is directed by Louisa Proske and will run for four performances (two of which will also stream online), anchored by the American Symphony Orchestra and Bard Festival Chorale under the leadership of festival founder and co-artistic director Leon Botstein.

Baritone Norman Garrett sings the title role opposite Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke as Guinevere.

Sasha Cooke has been called a “luminous standout” ( New York Times ) and “equal parts poise, radiance and elegant directness” ( Opera News ). She is sought after by the world’s leading orchestras, opera companies, and chamber music ensembles for her versatile repertoire.

Audrey Kupferberg: Unforgotten

Jul 20, 2021
Audrey inspects a film

PBS stations across the country have started airing season four of Unforgotten.  For British detective show enthusiasts, this is a very welcome event.  With the PBS Passport streaming service, as well as other home viewing possibilities, it is possible to re-view the first three seasons of this outstanding series.

Jonathan Epstein, Jennie M. Jadow, and Christopher Lloyd  King Lear, 2021
Katie McKellick / Shakespeare & Company

It was a bright and sunny beginning for the opening night of Shakespeare & Company’s production of King Lear. Sitting in the new outdoor 540-seat New Spruce Theater on the company’s grounds in Lenox, MA, the warming sun made for a spirit of optimism. It was the first live show by the company since 2019.

Logo for WAMC Listening Party

Playlist for WAMC Listening Party as aired on Saturday, July 17th, 2021:

Sarah Carroll

Tonight on Person Place Thing: Sarah Carroll heads New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, safegarding 36,000 buildings. She discusses her person – her place – and her thing with host Randy Cohen.

Any Questions logo
Any Questions logo

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel head back to "camp."

Jay Rogoff
Penny Howell Jolly

The New York City Ballet continued its post-pandemic “On and Offstage” experiment Thursday afternoon at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center with its second sampler of ballet excerpts, this time all from the work of George Balanchine. Despite its modest trappings—no sets, no orchestra, just expert piano accompaniment by Nancy McDill and Alan Moverman— this “All Balanchine” program was simply terrific.

Rogovoy Report 7/16/21

Jul 16, 2021

The cultural highlights for our region this weekend include classical music, indie-rock, dance, theater, neo-Benshi … plus a whole lot more.

Jay Rogoff
Penny Howell Jolly

The New York City Ballet danced before a live audience Wednesday night for the first time since March 1, 2020, just before the pandemic shut dance companies down for well over a year. The special program at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, “NYCB On and Offstage: Short Stories” presented 15 dancers, a fraction of the 95-member company, in excerpts from mostly narrative ballets, to music played by pianists Nancy McDill and Alan Moverman. This “NYCB unplugged”-style event, with principal dancer Maria Kowroski as a warm and useful host giving context for the ballets, offered a more casual, more intimate look than usual at this world-class company. 

Nance Williamson, left, and Britney Simpson in “The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington” at Hudson Valley Shakespeare
Sarah Krulwich / The New York Times

This summer, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is presenting a production of “The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington” by James Ijames. The show will run under the tent at Boscobel in Garrison, New York through July 30.

In the play, a recently widowed Martha Washington lies helpless in her Mount Vernon bed, ravaged by illness and cared for by the very slaves that will be free the moment she dies. As she begins to slip away, she falls deep into a fever dream of terrifying theatricality that investigates everything from her family to her historical legacy.

“The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington” is directed at HVShakes by Taylor Reynolds.

Reynolds is a New York-based director and theatremaker from Chicago and one of the Producing Artistic Leaders of OBIE-award winning The Movement Theatre Company in Harlem and she joins.

New York City Ballet Dancer performs Balanchine's "Apollo"
Paul Kolnik / New York City Ballet

  The New York City Ballet returns to SPAC this summer - but owing to an abundance of caution related to Covid19, the full company will not grace the SPAC stage this year. Instead, tonight through Saturday, a small group of NYCB dancers and musicians will present “NYCB On and Off Stage,” an intimate, up-close look at selected excerpts from the Company’s extraordinary repertory of ballets. 


This series of educational programs has never before been presented for Saratoga audiences. All shows will be hosted by a NYCB Principal Dancer who will introduce the excerpts and provide insights on each ballet.


Jonathan Stafford is the Artistic Director of New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet and he joins us.


The two organizations have announced and do plan on a full NYCB season at SPAC in summer 2022.

WTF keyart for ROW
Williamstown Theatre Festival

Tori Murden McClure was the first woman - and the first American - to successfully row across the Atlantic Ocean. She succeeded in 1999 after an attempt in 1998 was foiled by a hurricane. Her vessel? A 23 foot rowboat she had built and named the “American Pearl.” The story of her accomplishment has inspired the new musical “Row” - with a book by Daniel Goldstein and music and lyrics by singer-songwriter, Dawn Landes.

The Williamstown Theatre Festival presents the World Premiere Musical “Row” directed by Tyne Rafaeli at The Clark through August 15. Please note, there is limited ticket availability. 

Dawn Landes and Daniel Goldstein join us, followed by Grace McClean, the actor portraying Tori Murden McClure in "Row."

McClean's performances in previous projects have been called “electrifying” by The Huffington Post and “phenomenal” by The New York Times. In addition to performing on Broadway (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812) and Off, McClean makes time for her band Grace McLean & Them Apples -- and for radio interviews.

Brian Quijada and Nygel D. Robinson - screencap from "A DIOS" video - From the MEXODUS concept album about the Underground Railroad that led south to Mexico.
Brian Quijada/Nygel D. Robinson via YouTube / via YouTube

“Mexodus” is a new musical work by Brian Quijada and Nygel D. Robinson inspired by the estimated 4,000-10,000 enslaved people in the Southern part of the United States who found new lives in Mexico instead moving to the northern United States.

With the support of New York Stage and Film, Quijada and Robinson started working on “Mexodus” at the the beginning of our recent global pandemic. They have been collaborating while physically separate through technology -- releasing one track per month, with accompanying video of the two artists performing, for twelve months. Track 7 was recorded last February at Vassar’s Modfest.

New York Stage and Film will present “Mexodus” at Vassar College on July 17 at 7 p.m. and at Marist College on July 24 at 3 p.m.

Mariah Lyttle and Hayes Fields in "Ain't Misbehavin'"
Willie Short / Playhouse Stage Company

The musical revue, “Ain’t Misbehavin’ “ is now open at Albany’s amphitheater in Washington Park.   It’s  a show that features five hard-working performers singing a lot of familiar songs.   The talent of the performers and the energy within the music makes it difficult not to enjoy the work.

Logo for WAMC Listening Party

Playlist as aired on Saturday, July 10th, 2021:

Karen Krolak
Sarah Friswell Cotton/ MonkeyHouse

Tonight on Person Place Thing, host Randy Cohen speaks with dancer and choreographer Karen Krolak. Krolak discusses her person – David Francis – her place – a Vivian Beer bench – and her thing – a Richard Dunbrack cabinet.

Any Questions logo
Any Questions logo

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel decide to live free or die.

Rogovoy Report 7/9/21

Jul 9, 2021

The cultural highlights for our region this weekend include classical music, new country, old folk, world jazz, dance, painting … plus a whole lot more.

Audrey Kupferberg: An Inspector Calls

Jul 7, 2021
Audrey inspects a film

Since Sherlock Holmes, the character of the detective has been among the most popular figures in pop culture.  Successful actors who have had their choice of leading roles on stage and screen have been pleased to head up detective series.  From John Barrymore to Helen Mirren, actors cannot resist the temptation of the detective role.

Artwork for "A Midsummer Night's Supper" at SPAC

Saratoga Performing Arts Center will be presenting “A Midsummer Night’s Supper,” inspired by George Balanchine’s ballet "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" and "The Ballet Cook Book."

Conceived by Meryl Rosofsky as an homage to Balanchine’s love of cooking and New York City Ballet’s storied history at SPAC, which began 55 years ago with a performance of "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," the magical dining experience is slated for Monday, July 12 and Tuesday, July 13 at 7 p.m. in SPAC’s new, outdoor Family Pavilion.

The suppers will serve as the kick-off to New York City Ballet’s appearance at SPAC, scheduled for Wednesday, July 14 through Saturday, July 17.

We welcome food scholar Meryl Rosofsky and Elizabeth Sobol, President and CEO of SPAC.

Chuck Webster, (b. Binghamton, New York, 1970), Summer Bomb Pop, 2008, oil on panel, 60 x 48 x 2 in., Tang Teaching Museum collection, Gift of Stefan Simchowitz , 2012.16.12.
Chuck Webster / Tang Teaching Museum collection

The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, NY has spent its time closed by COVID-19 curating just the right collection of works to present to the public once it reopened. They are once again welcoming visitors. So, Hello Again!

The museum’s halls include the Summer Bomb Pop exhibit, a collaboration from the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. The collaboration features art from both museums, including some work in the Hyde’s collection that hasn’t seen the light of day since being acquired, such as an Andy Warhol piece. Also, there is an exhibit of new sculpture by John Van Alstine.

To tell us more, we welcome Hyde Collection CEO Norm Dascher and Jonathan Canning - Director of Curatorial Affairs and Programming.

Logo for WAMC Listening Party

WAMC Listening Party playlist as aired on Saturday, July 3rd, 2021: