Arts & Culture | WAMC

Arts & Culture

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.

Any Questions logo
Any Questions logo

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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Any Questions logo

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.

In “The Band’s Visit,” The Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra is traveling from Egypt to play a concert in Petah Tikva, Israel but after language confusion at the border end up in Beit Hatikva - a small city where civic pride is low. Without a means of transportation out of town until the morning, the band is taken in by the locals.

Based on the 2007 movie of the same name, “The Band’s Visit” features music and lyrics by David Yazbek, a book by Itamar Moses, and is directed by David Cromer. The show won ten Tony Awards in 2018, including Best Musical and The North American tour is at Proctors in Schenectady, New York through January 5.

James Rana plays Simon in “The Band’s Visit” – and joins the North American Tour having been part of the original Broadway cast. He is also the stand-by for the lead character, Tewfiq. He joined us to talk about his journey with the show.

In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani conclude their series of conversations about prodigies.

Music - "The Michael Rabin Legacy: Unissued Recordings" - Felix Mendelssohn - Auf Flügeln des Gesanges Op.34 No.2

This is the final Classical Music According to Yehuda segment. We thank Yehuda for his time and expertise. Information about Close Encounters with Music can be found here.

    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:"Little Women"


  • T.J. Miller - Funny Bone Comedy Club, Crossgates Mall, Guilderland, Friday & Saturday 1/3-4, various times
  • New York Cat Film Festival - GE Theatre at Proctors, Schenectady, Saturday 1/4, 1 PM
  • Twelfth Night Celebration - Crailo State Historic Site, Rensselaer, Saturday 1/4, 4 PM -- AND -- Salutations of the Season! - Schuyler Mansion Historic Site, Albany, Saturday 1/4, 4-7:30 PM
  • Patty Larkin, w/s/g The Parkington Sisters - Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Saturday 1/4, 7 PM
  • Livingston Taylor, w/s/g/ Susan Werner - Academy of Music, Northampton, Mass., Saturday 1/4, 8 PM
  • Graham Tichy All Stars: Abbey Road +50 Show - Van Dyck Lounge, Schenectady, Saturday 1/4, 8 PM
  • Scott Sharrard - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Sunday 1/5, 7 PM
  • A Sunday Fire - The Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany, Tuesday 1/7, 9 PM

New movies: "The Grudge"

Will Hermes is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, a contributor to NPR’s “All Things Considered” and to The New York Times. He is the author of “Love Goes to Buildings on Fire” and an upcoming biography of the late Lou Reed. He joined us to talk about the best music of 2019. 

Will's Spotify Playlist.

[List after the break.]

Rogovoy Report 12/27/19

Dec 27, 2019

This upcoming cultural highlights in our region include blues, folk, rock, pop, chamber music … plus a whole lot more.

As a writer on "Late Night with David Letterman," Steve Young’s duties included scouring through record bins in search of potential subjects for the show’s “Dave’s Record Collection” segments. Little did he know, his hunt for offbeat vinyl would thrust him into the world of Broadway-style “industrial musicals” put on by such companies as General Electric, McDonald’s, Ford, and Xerox at their annual sales meetings in the ’50s through the ‘80s.

These productions dazzled and motivated their only intended audience, each company’s sales-force, which was regaled with lavish productions such as "Lipton on the Move," "Lucite, You and ’72," and "The Bathrooms Are Coming."

The documentary, "Bathtubs Over Broadway," follows Young’s odyssey as he tracks down these shows’ souvenir albums, finds kindred fanatics, interviews the performers, songwriters and directors, and discovers rare performance footage of songs such as “My Bathroom” and “Everything’s Coming Up Citgo.” Bathtubs over Broadway is now streaming on Netflix. The film is directed by Dava Wisenant.

One of the most powerful films of the year is Marriage Story, a feature film written and directed by Noah Baumbach, which can be streamed on Netflix or seen in theaters.  The plot follows the dissolution of a marriage between an intellectual stage director and his actress wife.  The versatile Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson star. 

The Berkshire Bach Society presents “Bach at New Year’s” with a program of all six of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti at three locations in our region: Monday, December 30 at 3 p.m. at the Academy of Music in Northampton, Massachusetts; Tuesday, December 31 at 6 p.m. at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, Massachusetts; and Wednesday, January 1 at 3 p.m. at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, New York.

Berkshire Bach Ensemble Director and soloist, Eugene Drucker, violinist and Co-Founder of the Emerson String Quartet joined us.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel wrap up another year.

Lately I have been seeing films and theatrical works that are based on history and current events.  Without spending hours reading reliable published works about various historical figures and their actions, it is a matter of using blind faith in judging their accuracy, or simply allowing for dramatic license.

Rogovoy Report 12/20/19

Dec 20, 2019

This weekend’s cultural highlights in our region include blues, avant-garde public sound art, folk music, chamber music … 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 - focussing on Clara Schumann.

Comedian and actor Colin Quinn will bring his "The Wrong Side of History" stand-up tour to The Egg in Albany, New York on Saturday, December 21.

Quinn's most recent one-man-show "Red State, Blue State" ran at The Minetta Lane Theatre in New York City earlier this year and then premiered on CNN as the network's first comedy special in May. It is now streaming on Netflix.

"Red State Blue State" followed a successful off-Broadway run of "Colin Quinn: The New York Story," directed by Jerry Seinfeld, and "Colin Quinn: Long Story Short," for which he earned a Drama Desk Award nomination. As an actor, Quinn appeared on HBO's "Girls" and "Crashing" and in the film "Trainwreck." He was the host of SNL's Weekend Update for the last few years of the 20th Century.

Elizabeth Nestlerode
Doug Liebig

If you love the Frank Capra film, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” (and who doesn’t?) you will truly appreciate the staged radio version of the material playing at Capital Rep in Albany through December 22.

  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: "Frozen 2," "Ford v Ferrari"


  • Madison Theater Re-opening Block Party with Skeeter Creek - Madison Theater, Albany, Thursday 12/19, 4 PM (films start running at 6 PM)
  • Michaela Anne - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Thursday 12/19, 7 PM
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Times Union Center, Albany, Thursday 12/19, 7:30 PM
  • The Silos, Coal Palace Kings - Hangar On the Hudson, Troy, Thursday 12/19, 8 PM
  • "It’s a Wonderful Life" - Palace Theatre, Albany, Friday 12/20, 7 PM; Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Mass., Friday 12/20, 7 PM; Capitol Theatre, Rome, Friday 12/20, 7 PM; Saturday 12/21, 2:30 & 7 PM
  • Sing Solstice! Kim & Reggie Harris and Magpie - The Eighth Step at Proctors, The Addy, Schenectady, Saturday 12/21, 7:30 PM
  • Colin Quinn: Wrong Side of History - The Egg, Albany, Saturday 12/21, 8 PM
  • The Sweetback Sisters’ Country Christmas Sing-Along - Academy of Music, Northampton, Mass., Sunday 12/22, 3 and 7 PM

New movies: "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," "Bombshell," "Little Women," "Spies in Disguise"