Arts & Culture | WAMC

Arts & Culture

Howard Pollack is the John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Music at the University of Houston. He will be speaking next Wednesday, October 30th at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York about as part of the college's Jacob Perlow Series. Pollack's subject is “American Musical Theater and the Legacy of Jewish Emigration: From Show Boat to Fiddler on the Roof.”

Jewish American composers, many of them children of Russian-Jewish immigrants, in collaboration with Jewish lyricists and librettists, played an extraordinary role in the creation of the classic Broadway and Hollywood musicals of the twentieth century, as well as American opera of the same period - composers that include Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Richard Rodgers, Marc Blitzstein, and Harold Arlen.

Pollack will focus on how the legacy of Jewish immigration impinged itself dramatically on American musicals and operas by looking at the ways in which themes of migration, departure, arrival, assimilation, and utopia inform this repertoire.

      Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region. And Joe reviews David Byrne's "American Utopia" on Broadway. 

Seen: "Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice," "Zombieland: Double Tap"

Upcoming:

  • Taldans: Dolap - EMPAC, Lobby, RPI, Troy, Thursday 10/24, 7:30 PM
  • Pink Martini - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Thursday 10/24, 7:30 PM
  • The Glenn Miller Orchestra - Capitol Theatre, Rome, Friday 10/25, 7 PM
  • All Rise: Nick Offerman American Humorist - Palace Theatre, Albany, Friday 10/25, 8 PM
  • Philadanco - The Egg, Albany, Friday 10/25, 8 PM
  • Kansas: Point of Know Return Tour - Palace Theatre, Albany, Saturday 10/26, 8 PM
  • Aqueous - Putnam Place, Saratoga Springs, Saturday 10/26, 9 PM
  • Close Encounters With Music: U.S. Premiere of Andre Hajdu’s Kohelet; cello quartet led by Yehuda Hanani, with narrator Sam Waterston - Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Mass., Sunday 10/27, 5 PM
  • Jenny Lewis, The Watson Twins - Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park, Monday 10/28, 8 PM
  • The Bad Plus - Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Wednesday 10/30, 7 PM

New movies: "The Lighthouse," "Black and Blue," "Countdown," "The Current War"

Emily Fenandes and Sky Vogel in "The Outsider"
Curtain Call Theatre

You have to see it to believe it.   Curtain Call Theatre in Latham is presenting a comedy that is really a comedy.  You might remember the type – one where you actually laugh out loud instead of just offering a chuckle or a wry smile?

The production of “Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” playing at Cohoes Music Hall through November 3, makes the 40 year old musical fresh and exciting.   It’s a must see production.

Paul Reiser and Joe Donahue on stage at Page Hall in Albany New York
Patrick Dodson

Comedian, actor, television writer, author and musician Paul Reiser co-starred as Paul Buchman in the decade-defining 1990s comedy, "Mad About You." Other starring roles include Michael Taylor in 60 episodes of "My Two Dads," Doug Getty in "Red Oaks," and Dr. Sam Owens in "Stranger Things." His films include: "Diner," "Beverly Hills Cop" 1 & 2, "Aliens" and "Whiplash."

Reiser is also the author of three bestsellers about family life, including "Couplehood," "Babyhood" and "Familyhood." This Creative Life conversation was recorded on April 4, 2019.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel switch seats for a local LCS.

Bob Goepfert Reviews HMT's Production of "Mamma Mia"

Oct 18, 2019

The musical “Mamma Mia” is as close to a guaranteed good time in the theater as you could ask.

Rogovoy Report 10/18/19

Oct 18, 2019

The highlights of the cultural weekend in our region include jazz, choral music, avant-garde, symphonic, folk, cabaret, a film festival … plus a whole lot more.

Trenton Doyle Hancock and Frank Oz at MASS MoCA
Sarah LaDuke

It is the final two weeks to visit and inhabit artist Trenton Doyle Hancock’s world of characters seen in drawings, paintings, and installations at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. Hancock has transformed his childhood love of comic books, toys, and superhero culture into his own creation myth. That mythology and the multimedia iterations that it has sparked are on display in the exhibition "Mind of the Mound: Critical Mass." The exhibition is curated at MASS MoCA by Denise Markonish.

Hancock tells the story of the Mounds protected by Torpedo Boy, and their enemies, the Vegans. These narratives explore good and evil, authority, race, moral relativism, and religion, all while creating a truly unique body of visual art.

Imani Winds
Pierre Lidar

The Albany Symphony will return to the stage for the grand opening of its new season this Saturday, October 19th at the Palace Theatre in downtown Albany with a gallery of works that includes Maurice Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s "Pictures at an Exhibition," Bernstein’s Suite from the Academy Award-winning film, “On the Waterfront,” and "Phenomenal Women," an inspiring musical portrait of powerhouse women by composer Valerie Coleman featuring Imani Winds.

This program is the first of 20 unique concerts, each curated by Grammy Award-winning conductor David Alan Miller, featuring phenomenal women in music, encounters with thrilling new music, and masterworks that have withstood the test of time.

David Alan Miller joins us along with Imani Winds’ musicians Brandon Patrick George and Toyin Spellman-Diaz.

Chita Rivera
Laura Marie Duncan

On November 16, Helsinki on Broadway in association with Gary DiMauro presents “Chita: A Legendary Celebration” at Helsinki Hudson in Hudson, New York. The one-and-only Chita Rivera will perform songs from her Tony Award winning Broadway career with her longtime trio at 7 and 9:30 p.m. At Helsinki Hudson she’ll perform songs from “West Side Story,” “Sweet Charity,” “Chicago,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” ”Bye, Bye, Birdie,” “The Rink,” “The Visit,” and more.

Theatrical icon and living legend of the stage, Rivera is among the most nominated performers in Tony Award history and received the 2018 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. Among her many honors through a lifetime of performance and activism, Rivera was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009 and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2002.

Our tech-guru Jesse Feiler is an author and developer who focuses on small business and nonprofits along with iOS technologies. He has recently added book publisher to his roles: his Champlain Arts business has published apps for a number of years, and has recently added books. Uta Hagen’s memoir "Sources" is back in print through ChamplainArts.com.

Tech aside this morning, Jesse is here to tell us about a two night event next week at SUNY Plattsburgh entitled: "The Artistry and Politics of Uta Hagen - A Centennial Celebration of Her Life."

Uta Hagen was a renowned American actress and teacher. Her Broadway career began in 1938 and spanned more than six decades, garnering her three Tony Awards. In 1947, she began teaching acting at HB Studio in Greenwich Village. She established herself as one of the most influential acting teachers of the 20th century. Her acting books, "Respect for Acting" (1973) and "A Challenge for the Actor" (1991), are considered two of the most important acting books of the 20th century.

Jesse joins us along with Ted Brunetti - producer, director, acting coach, teacher, and actor. Ted created the role of “Frankie Coffee Cake” in the Broadway Production of “A Bronx Tale: The Musical.” He was a long-time colleague and protégé of Uta Hagen.

Actor Barry Bostwick is one of the stars of the 1975 cult classic "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." On Monday, October 21, he will be part of a screening of the film at The Palace Theatre in Albany, New York with "shadow cast" The Kids of Albany. The Palace Theatre and The Kids of Albany have been doing these screenings for 10 years.

The event will begin with a pre-show meet-and-greet with Bostwick for holder of VIP tickets and he will introduce the film and do a Q&A with the whole audience.

FilmColumbia offers a rich and diverse schedule of documentaries, shorts, filmmaker Q&As and special events for film fans of all stripes to mark its 20th anniversary this year.

FilmColumbia 2019 will take place October 18– 27 in Chatham, New York and is presented by the Crandell Theatre, with festival events also taking place at the Morris Memorial and other locations in town.

FilmColumbia is programmed by Executive Director and Co-Artistic Director Peter Biskind and Co-Artistic Director Larry Kardish. Biskind is an author, film historian, contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Esquire, and past executive editor of Premiere magazine. Kardish is senior curator emeritus for film and media at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Calliope Nicholas is the Managing Director of the festival and the primary programmer of the Morris Memorial schedule.

The Adirondack Film Festival in Glens Falls, New York is the only film festival in the country operated by a prominent professional theatre company, namely, the Adirondack Theatre Festival. The film festival features panel discussions, exciting special events, and more than 100 film screenings, all taking place on six screens in downtown Glens Falls. Sharing its slogan with the Adirondack Theatre Festival – the leading professional theatre in the Capital Region dedicated to new plays – the Adirondack Film Festival is a place where audiences can always expect to see something new.

This year’s festival runs October 17-20. Festival Director Chad Rabinovitz and Programming Director Jessica Levandoski join us with a preview.

A scene from "American Underground"
Daniel Rader / Barrington Stage Company

Playwright Brent Askari is a terrific storyteller.  His play, “American Underground,” which is being given its world premiere at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Mass., is a taut political drama that has you totally engrossed for its entire 90-minute running time.  

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel audition for Lorne Michaels.

Rogovoy Report 10/11/19

Oct 11, 2019

The highlights of the cultural weekend in our region include contemporary opera, jazz, modern dance, chamber music, a harvest festival … plus a whole lot more.

In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue their series of conversations about prodigies - discussing Felix Mendelssohn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The Agricultural Stewardship Association will present its 18th Annual Landscapes for Landsake Art Sale & Exhibition October 12–14. 

The event is a fundraiser to support local farmland conservation, and the art show features artists whose work is inspired by the region's working landscapes. It takes place in the historic barn at Maple Ridge in the hamlet of Coila, just west of the Village of Cambridge.

This year's Landscapes for Landsake features the work of Virginia McNeice (1936-2019).

Teri Ptacek is Executive Director of the Agricultural Stewardship Association and she joins us for the preview this morning along with Leah McClosky, the curator of Landscapes for Landsake.

Berkshire Theatre Group presents "What The Jews Believe" at The Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, Massachusetts through October 20. The play is presented in association with The American National Theatre

Dave and his family still live in the old home built by his father in rural Central Texas, and they are still the only Jewish family in town. His son Nathan feels isolated attempting to understand the family’s beliefs, while his wife Rachel faces an even greater crisis of faith. Meanwhile, Dave struggles to maintain a sense of normalcy for his searching family.

Written and directed by Mark Harelik, "What the Jews Believe" is a poignant story about the loss of faith and the journey to find it.

        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: "Joker"

Upcoming:

  • David Sedaris - The Egg, Albany, Thursday 10/10, 8 PM
  • Paula Cole: Revolution Tour - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Friday 10/11, two shows: 6 and 8:30 PM
  • COIN - Pearl Street Nightclub, Northampton, Mass., Friday 10/11, 8:30 PM
  • Paul Taylor Dance Company - Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Mass., Fri-Sat 10/11-12 at 8 PM; Sun 10/13 at 2 PM
  • Kenari Quartet (music of Schumann, contemporary composers) - Friends of Chamber Music, Kiggins Hall, Emma Willard School, Troy, Saturday 10/12, 7:30 PM
  • "Mamma Mia!" - Home Made Theater, Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs, opens Saturday 10/12 at 7:30 PM, through Oct. 27
  • Martha Redbone - Massry Center for the Arts, College of Saint Rose, Albany, Saturday 10/12, 8 PM
  • Chowderfest (with live music in Monument Square, DJs at select locations) - Downtown Troy, Troy, Sunday 10/13, noon to 4 PM
  • The Fleshtones - Hangar on the Hudson, Troy, Sunday 10/13, 5 PM
  • Justin Hayward - The Egg, Albany, Tuesday 10/15, 8 PM

New movies: "Gemini Man," "Lucy in the Sky," "The Addams Family"

Green leaf with a yellow edge photographed against a black background
Christopher Griffith

LightField Arts aims to use the power of visual art to illuminate environmental and social issues. The organization mounts an annual exhibit in Hudson, New York that showcases the work of photographers and multimedia artists through exhibitions, moderated talks, and educational outreach.

This year’s exhibition is “Photo + Synthesis” and for it, LightField Arts has chosen seven artists to make or exhibit work focusing on the Hudson River Valley and climate change. Alongside these works, LightField exhibits the art produced in its annual Young Photographers Workshop.

We are joined by LightField Arts Director and President Anna Van Lenten and Vice President Saskia Kahn. Kahn runs the Young Photographers Workshop.

LightField Arts “Photo + Synthesis” Opening is this Saturday, October 12 from 5-7pm at Hudson Hall in Hudson, New York. The exhibition is on display through December 21.

Founded in 2010 in Kingston, New York by a small group of artists-activists, doctors and a dentist, O+ is now a national nonprofit working in cities around the country.

The group builds long-term relationships between creatives and health and wellness providers to help strengthen local communities. Their year-round efforts culminate in one-day and weekend-long celebrations, during which underinsured artists and musicians create and perform in exchange for a variety of services donated by doctors, dentists and complementary care providers.

Dance-punk band !!! (Chk Chk Chk) will play the 10th annual O+ Kingston festival of art, music and wellness beginning October 11-13 along with folk-rocker Elvis Perkins, cabaret-punk band The World/Inferno Friendship Society, Tall Juan, neo-soul band Lady Moon & The Eclipse and 40 more solo artists, bands and ensembles representing a wide cross-section of musical genres and styles.

This morning we are joined by O+ Executive Director Joe Concra, RN and Artists’ Clinic Director Shannon Donnell, and co-chair of the O+ Kingston music committee Mike Amari.

On October 10, “Linda Vista,” a new play by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Tracy Letts, directed by Dexter Bullard, opens at Second Stage’s Helen Hayes Theater in New York City.

In the play, Wheeler is a 50-year-old divorcee in a mid-life spiral. Just out of his ex-wife’s garage and into a place of his own, Wheeler starts on a path toward self-discovery. Full of opinions and short on self-examination, Wheeler navigates blind dates, old friends, and new love while reconciling the man he has become with the man he wants to be.

“Linda Vista” premiered at Steppenwolf in Chicago. It went on to have its Los Angeles premiere at Center Theatre Group in the Mark Taper Forum in February 2019 - and now it’s on Broadway.

For each of the productions, Letts’ fellow Steppenwolf ensemble member Ian Barford has played Wheeler. Barford also originated the role of Little Charles in Letts's “August: Osage County,” Ray in “Mary Page Marlowe,” and Mr. Carp “The Minutes.” Other Broadway credits include “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” and “The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.”

Audrey Kupferberg: Fiddler - A Miracle Of Miracles

Oct 8, 2019

Fiddler on the Roof is so much more than a Broadway musical about a bunch of put-upon Jews struggling to keep their traditions intact, more than a shtetl view of Jews living their lives in 1905 in the rural Russian village of Anatevka.  It has come to be a pop culture phenomenon.  The musical ran on Broadway for more than 3,000 performances from 1964 onward, and it has been performed in many parts of the world frequently over the past fifty-five years.  Right now, Fiddler is being performed hither and yon by professional theater troupes and middle school drama clubs.  Recently, a new Yiddish-language version began running on Broadway.

Paula Cole and album artwork for "Revolution"
Cole: Tim Llewellyn; Album: Frank Olinsky

Grammy Award winner Paula Cole will be playing a pair of shows this coming Friday night at Caffè Lena in Saratoga Springs, New York. Her tenth album “Revolution” came out last month.

Her 1994 debut, “Harbinger,” was followed up by a double-platinum second album, “This Fire;” her hit singles “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone” and “I Don’t Want To Wait”; her Best New Artist Grammy, an additional six Grammy nominations; and becoming a Grammy-nominated producer and founder of her own 675 record label.

With “Revolution,” Cole tells a story of those sidelined by gender, age, and race and speaks out for those who have been silenced. These songs explore familial and personal wounds and tell important, and sometimes terrible, truths.

“Water, Water, Everywhere…” is the final production of Oldcastle Theatre Company's 48th season. The play is set in the office of a small town newspaper in the fictional small town of Walloomsac, Vermont as its reporters begin work on a story about a factory spewing (PFOA) from exhaust stacks that build up over years in the groundwater and soil.

Similar things happened in Bennington, Vermont and nearby Hoosick Falls, New York. But playwright and Oldcastle’s Producing Artistic Director, Eric Peterson, cautions that the play is fiction, not a documentary.

Much of the play revolves around the local newspaper which is facing a difficult financial situation and is in danger of closing. Two young reporters team up with a veteran editor to bring the story to their readers. Peterson, a former columnist for both the Bennington Banner and the Berkshire Eagle, has written often about Vermont themes in plays such as “Civil Union.”

Overcoming obstacles such as sexism and discrimination by male artists, art critics, and art dealers, a group of fearless women including Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, and Joan Mitchell made careers for themselves by embracing avant-garde painting.

"Heroines of Abstract Expressionism," now open at Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York offers visitors a special glimpse of a one-of-a-kind private collection of paintings, works on paper, and sculpture by women artists who pioneered Abstract Expressionism in the United States during the 1940s and 1950s.

Organized by the Fenimore, this major exhibition consists of over 30 works from the Richard P. Friedman and Cindy Lou Wakefield collection featuring objects that are both visually mesmerizing and technically complex. Richard Friedman joins us this morning along with Fenimore Director of Exhibitions, Chris Rossi.

A crank radio
WAMC

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back for a new quiz, good buddy.

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