Arts & Culture | WAMC

Arts & Culture

Rogovoy Report 1/31/20

Jan 31, 2020

The upcoming cultural highlights in our region include South African dance, new age music, Renaissance music, and a whole lot more.

(Left to Right) James Wild, Chris Foster, Michael Lake II
Molly Rose McGrath

“Ben Butler” is a play that will offer a lot of fun to a lot of people during its run at Curtain Call Theatre in Latham, through February 8.

In the book, “Beyond Broadway: The Pleasure and Promise of Musical Theatre Across America,” Stacy Wolf examines the widespread presence and persistence of musical theatre in United States culture.

Those two words: “musical theatre” evoke images of The Great White Way - glitz and glamour on a few short blocks in New York City -- but what truly keeps the art and industry alive is the creating, watching, and listening that happens all over the country in high schools, community theaters, afterschool programs, summer camps, and dinner theaters and regional festivals.

“Beyond Broadway” - it is published by Oxford University Press. Stacy Wolf is Professor in the Program in Theatre in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University.

Artwork for Mandy Patinkin In Concert: Diaries
Peggy Sirota

Over the last few years award winning stage and screen actor Mandy Patinkin has entered a new phase of recording, working with pianist, singer, and producer Thomas Bartlett (a.k.a Doveman) with the “Mandy Patinkin: Diaries” series. Patinkin’s most recent recent, released last October, is entitled “Children and Art” and features songs from the Diary sessions by Tom Waits, Marc Anthony Thompson, Randy Newman, Laurie Anderson, Stephen Sondheim, Taylor Mac, and others.

Mandy Patinkin In Concert: Diaries with Adam Ben-David on piano will be at Proctors as part of a 30 city tour.

Patinkin won a Tony Award for originating the role of Che in “Evita” and was nominated for playing George in the Broadway run of “Sunday in the Park with George.” His film credits include “Yentl,” “Dick Tracy,” “The Princess Bride,” and “Wonder.” He’s played many notable roles on television including his multiple-time Emmy nominated turn as Saul on the Showtime series “Homeland.” The show’s eighth and final season will premiere next month.

Additionally, Patinkin has been passionately involved in volunteer work with various NGOs throughout his life, and currently is an ambassador with the International Rescue Committee.

This Saturday, February 1 at 2 p.m., the Albany Institute of History & Art will host a special program in honor of Black History Month entitled “Teaching Black History through Theater.”

The program will feature re-enactors Donald Hyman, Penny Meacham, Walter Simpkins, and Clifford Oliver portraying prominent local and national African Americans; a performance by the gospel choir from Israel AME Church in Albany; and a dance performance by Estreja Turner.

Even organizer, re-enactor and educator Donald Hyman joined us along with fellow re-enactor Walter Simpkins, Executive Director of Community Fathers Inc.

This group of re-enactors has been performing and imparting important historical stories in the Capital Region for more than ten years and will receive commendations for their work at Saturday’s event.

The Opalka Gallery presents a 25-year survey of the work of JoAnne Carson in an exhibition entitled “JoAnne Carson: Rise Up and Shine!”

Carson’s work is on view in the gallery now and there will be an opening reception and artist talk on Friday, February 7.

Carson, who is a Professor of Studio Art and Graduate Director Art & Art History at UAlbany has established a unique artistic voice that merges references to the natural world with unexpected materials and colorful world-building.

She has received many awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Louise Bourgeois Residency from Yaddo, and an artist grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

JoAnne Carson joins us along with the Director of The Opalka Gallery, Judie Gilmore.

Celebrating its 18th season, Modfest 2020 is Vassar College’s annual exploration of the arts of the 20th and 21st centuries. This year’s theme, “reflect to project,” looks backward to move forward. All events are free and open to the public.

Jeff Snyder is a composer, improviser and instrument-designer. He is the founder and lead designer of Snyderphonics, for which he designs and builds unusual electronic musical instruments. In 2009, he co-founded an experimental music record label, Carrier Records. In 2011, he received a doctorate with distinction in Music Composition from Columbia University. He is now the Director of Electronic Music at Princeton University, as well as Director of PLOrk , Princeton's Laptop Orchestra.

At Vassar, Snyder will present an open rehearsal of “Opposite Earth” on Wednesday, February 5 (a collaboration between Modfest and THinCs [The Humanities in Cognitive Science]) and on Thursday, February 6 he will give a lecture and performance entitled “Build, Destroy, Build: Spontaneous Creation of Structure.”

Celia Keenan-Bolger photographed for
Photographs by Caitlin McNaney | Styling: Sarah Slutsky | Hair: Morgan Blaul | Makeup: Rachel Estabrook /

Celebrating its 18th season, Modfest 2020 is Vassar College’s annual exploration of the arts of the 20th and 21st centuries. This year’s theme, “reflect to project,” looks backward to move forward. All events are free and open to the public.

On Saturday, February 1 at 3 p.m., Modfest 2020 presents “Reflect: An Artist’s Life, Onstage and Off” featuring Tony Award-winner Celia Keenan-Bolger sharing stories about Broadway, acting, and art. This event is sponsored by The Capotorto-Mulas Family Lecture Fund and will take place in The Martel Theater at the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film on the Vassar campus in Poughkeepsie, New York. Keenan-Bolger will be in conversation with actor and Vassar Drama Professor Shona Tucker.

Celia Keenan-Bolger’s works includes both plays and musicals, on and off-Broadway. She made her Broadway debut as Olive Ostrovsky in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” earning her first Tony Award nomination. Her other Broadway credits include Eponine in “Les Miserables,” Molly in “Peter and the Starcatcher,” Laura in “The Glass Menagerie,” Varya in “The Cherry Orchard,” and, most recently, Scout in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” She won her first Tony Award for her portrayal of the willful and reflective Scout Finch and was also nominated for “The Glass Menagerie” and “Peter and the Starcatcher.”

James Lloyd Reynolds, Jake Goodman, Michael McCorry Rose & Kate Wetherhead
Richard Lovrich

“Your Best One,” which is playing at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, through February 9, is the kind of play that almost makes you long for the days when theater was not only about making huge profits.

Rogovoy Report 1/24/20

Jan 24, 2020

The upcoming cultural highlights in our region include folk-pop, comedy, Chinese classical music, a Latin dance party, theater, and a whole lot more.

The brand new LIFT Concert Series at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall will feature four performances of new, independent music that all take place on Wednesday nights with both the audience and performers on stage at the historic hall. The series kicks off with cellist Ashley Bathgate on January 29.

The LIFT Concert series is curated by Sophia Subbayya Vastek and Sam Torres.

Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, New York is currently presenting the East Coast premiere of Meridith Friedman’s “Your Best One,” directed by Gordon Greenberg.

Eight-years since the death of their beloved matriarch, the Hoffman family rallies together – and against each other – when one of their own is confronted by a sudden health crisis. With their trademark wit and inherited neurosis, they wage battles over health insurance, child custody, inheritance, and superfoods.

Kate Wetherhead plays Laura in “Your Best One.” Wetherhead is the co-creator, writer, director and star of the popular theater-based web series "Submissions Only." She has appeared on and off Broadway in shows such as "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," "Legally Blonde" and "Ordinary Days." Kate has also performed regionally at theaters like the Guthrie, Paper Mill Playhouse, Goodspeed Opera House, George Street Theater and the Dallas Theater Center.

On January 19, The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, New York opened two new exhibitions: “Francisco Goya: The Caprichos Etchings and Aquatints” and “Dox Thrash, Black Life, and the Carborundum Mezzotint.”

The exhibitions celebrate the works of two innovative printmakers from different eras and will be on view through March 22.

Jonathan Canning is the Director of Curatorial Affairs and Programming at The Hyde Collection and he joined us.

  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: "Bad Boys for Life"


  • We Banjo 3 - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Thursday 1/23, 5 and 7:30 PM
  • National Geographic Live - "Spinosaurus: Lost Giant of the Cretaceous" - Proctors, Mainstage, Schenectady, Thursday 1/23, 7 PM
  • Eclectic Rock Showcase featuring Brasskill, The Wild Weeeds, Burt Murder - Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, Thursday 1/23, 8 PM
  • Ben Butler - Curtain Call Theatre, Latham, preview Thursday 1/23 at 7:30 PM; through Feb. 8
  • The Lawn Sausages 30th Anniversary - Hangar On the Hudson, Troy, Saturday 1/25, 5 PM
  • Courtney Barnett w/s/g Hachiku - Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Friday 1/24, 7 PM Levon Helm Studios, Woodstock, Saturday 1/25, 8 PM
  • M.A.K.U. Soundsystem - MASS MoCA, Club B10, North Adams, Mass., Saturday 1/25, 8 PM
  • The Lift Concert Series: Cellist Ashley Bathgate - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Wednesday 1/29, 6 PM
  • Greensky Bluegrass - The Egg, Albany, Wednesday 1/29, 7 PM

New movies: "The Gentlemen," "Les Miserables," "The Turning," "The Last Full Measure"

Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts and Education in Cambridge, New York presents “Stupid F*%king Bird,” a new adaptation of Chekhov's “The Seagull” by Aaron Posner, weekends January 24 through February 2. The show is produced in partnership with Bennington College.

An aspiring director rampages against the art created by his mother’s generation. A young actress wrestles with an aging Hollywood star for the affections of a renowned novelist. And everyone discovers just how disappointing love, art, and growing up can be.

We were joined by Director Kirk Jackson, actor Jesse Pennington, and Executive and Artistic Director of Hubbard Hall David Snider.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel make amends.

Audrey Kupferberg: Little Women

Jan 17, 2020

Greta Gerwig’s film adaptation of Little Women is quite the critical success.  Gerwig started out as an actress in indie mumblecore films.  Mumblecore is a term coined fifteen years ago for slice-of-life films made on almost no budgets at all with naturalistic acting, real sets, and situations that seem to be made up as the camera records them.  Lacking production values and big-name actors, the best of them still hold audience interest, even though Hollywood-style professionalism and polish are absent.

Rogovoy Report 1/17/20

Jan 17, 2020

The upcoming cultural highlights in our region include cutting-edge electronica, new classical, instrumental pop, folk-rock, jazz, choral music … and the circus comes to town….

Playwright Bess Wohl is making her Broadway debut with “Grand Horizons” - a co-commission from The Williamstown Theatre Festival and Second Stage Theater - now in previews at The Hays Theatre in New York City and officially opening on Thursday, January 23.

Wohl’s other plays include “Small Mouth Sounds” “Make Believe” “Continuity,” “American Hero,” “Barcelona,” “Touched,” “In,” “Cats Talk Back” and “Pretty Filthy.” She is an associate artist with New York based investigative theater troupe The Civilians and her plays have been produced at theater companies around the country. She is the recipient of the 2015 Sam Norkin Special Drama Desk Award for “establishing herself as an important voice in New York theater” and the John Gassner Outer Critics Circle Award. She is a MacDowell fellow and an alumna of Ars Nova’s Play Group.

“Grand Horizons” is directed by Leigh Silverman and stars Jane Alexander and James Cromwell as a couple navigating divorce after being married for 50 years. Ben McKenzie and Michael Urie play their adult sons. The cast is rounded out by Priscilla Lopez, Maulik Pancholy, and Ashley Park.

Nocturne 4 Birdhouse - an all blue nighttime landscape painting
John Gordon Gauld

Unborn Sun: The Paintings of John Gordon Gauld” is on view in The Leonhardt Galleries at the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge, Massachusetts through February 7 and there will be a "Meet the Artist" Gallery Presentation and Tea Service this Sunday, January 19 from 2 to 4 p.m. 

John Gordon Gauld graduated with a BFA with Honors from the Rhode Island School of Design and is the recent recipient of the Martha Boschen Porter Grant from the Berkshire Taconic Foundation to fund his future work.

The Tour of The Tony-Award winning revival of the musical “Once on this Island” will be at Proctors in Schenectady, New York on Friday, January 17 and Saturday, January 18.

The Lynn Ahrens/Stephen Flaherty musical, directed by Michael Arden and choreographed by Camille A. Brown, tells the story of the orphaned Ti Moune and four competitive Gods who make a wager over her life and her love. “Once on this Island” is a celebration tinged with sadness that emphasizes the importance of telling everyone’s stories.

Tyler Hardwick joined us. He plays Daniel and he joins the tour after playing a storyteller and understudying roles during the show’s Broadway run.

The Battenkill Chorale in Cambridge, New York is a 100+ voice un-auditioned chorus from six counties in New York and Vermont. Founded in 1995 by Janet McGhee, they are a dedicated group of amateur singers who perform major works from choral music literature - from intimate chamber pieces to larger scale dramatic works for soloists, chorus and orchestra.

This weekend The Battenkill Chorale celebrates 25 years with a Coronation themed concert at The Zankel Music Center at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. The chorus, now under the direction of Noah Palmer, will perform works by Handel and Mozart.

Audrey Kupferberg: Glorifying The American Girl

Jan 14, 2020

Kino Classics recently released Florenz Ziegfeld’s Glorifying the American Girl, a primitive 1929 sound film – a musical starring Mary Eaton and Rochester NY native Dan Healey, and featuring popular 1920s stage talents Eddie Cantor, Helen Morgan, and Rudy Vallee.

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WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothangel aim for 10 percent effort.

Rogovoy Report 1/10/20

Jan 10, 2020

The upcoming cultural highlights in our region include string-band music, folk-rock, literary readings, instrumental pop, choral music, and the circus comes to town….

Born in 1819, Clara Schumann was a composer and piano teacher - regarded as one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era.

This weekend The Albany Symphony will celebrate her life and music in The Clara Schumann Festival.

Musicians from the Graduate Program at Bard College Conservatory will perform vocal and instrumental chamber works on Saturday, January 11 at 3 p.m. and Sunday, January 12 at 11 a.m.

Then, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m., The Albany Symphony will present works by Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, and a World Premiere by Loren Loiacono. The orchestra will be joined by pianist Harmony Zhu.

These concerts will take place at The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, New York and we are joined by Harmony Zhu, Loren Loiacono, and Albany Symphony Music Director and Conductor, David Alan Miller.  

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


"The Simon & Garfunkel Story" - Proctors, Mainstage, Schenectady, Friday 1/10, 7:30 PM

Tommy Davidson - Funny Bone Comedy Club, Crossgates Mall, Guilderland, Friday-Saturday 1/10-11, various times

Miro Quartet (music of Mozart, Gliere, Frank, Servais, Schubert) - Friends of Chamber Music, Emma Willard School, Troy, Saturday 1/11, 7:30 PM

Elvis Birthday Bash with Johnny Raab & The Tichy Boys - Hangar On the Hudson, Troy, Saturday 1/11, 8 PM

Albany Symphony’s Clara Schumann Festival:
“Clara, Dear Clara…” Brunch and Song, Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy, Saturday 1/11, 11 AM
Clara Schumann Chamber Music Recital, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Saturday 1/11, 3 PM
Albany Symphony with pianist Harmony Zhu, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Saturday 1/11, 7:30 PM
Clara Schumann Chamber Music Recital, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Sunday 1/12, 11 AM
Albany Symphony with pianist Harmony Zhu, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Sunday 1/12, 3 PM

2020: We Hear Freedom Calling (presented by the Four Freedoms Coalition) - Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, Mass., Sunday 1/12, 2 PM (City Hall march at 1:30 PM)
"Flash Gordon" - Palace Theatre, Albany, Monday 1/13, 7 PM
Carla Fisk, soprano - Music at Noon Concerts, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Tuesday 1/14, noon

New movies: "1917," "Just Mercy," "Like a Boss," "Underwater"

Bob Goepfert Reviews "The Band's Visit" At Proctors

Jan 5, 2020
The company of "The Band's Visit" North American Tour
Matthew Murphy

SCHENECTADY - “The Band’s Visit” which is at Proctors Theatre through Sunday, January 5, is a special theatrical experience. No matter how much you love it, and I do very much, you understand why it would not appeal to everyone.

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WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel welcome Jim Levulis to the show as the first guest of 2020.

Rogovoy Report 1/3/2020

Jan 3, 2020

Before I give my weekly roundup of upcoming cultural events, I’m going to run down some of my favorite performances from the past year. On stage, I saw Lanford Wilson’s “Burn This!” starring Adam Driver and Keri Russell on Broadway. Driver in particular dominated that show and demonstrated that his theatrical chops are at least the equal of his movie chops, which of course stood out this year in Jim Jarmusch’s zombie flick, “The Dead Don’t Die” and Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story.” Apparently, Adam Driver also starred in some kind of outer space sci-fi caper film recently, but I know nothing about that. The other Broadway performance that stood out was a British revival of Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal,” starring the phenomenal Zawe Ashton and an actor named Tom Hiddleston, who apparently everyone knows from his role in a series of superhero movies called “The Avengers.” I’ll just have to take your word for that.