Arts & Culture | WAMC

Arts & Culture

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back with a sibling showcase.

Michael Mitnick and Adam Gwon in front of a RTC step-and-repeat
Jennifer Broski /

Tomorrow night, the new musical “Scotland, PA” begins previews at The Laura Pels Theatre in New York City - produced and commissioned by The Roundabout Theatre Company.

Based on the 2001 film of the same name written and directed by Billy Morrissette, “Scotland, PA” is inspired by Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” - though instead of being a Scottish general, this Mac is an American burger joint employee in 1975. Mac and his wife, Pat, make a plan to improve their lives in a darkly-comic musical directed by Lonny Price.

“Scotland, PA” features a book by Michael Mitnick and music and lyrics by Adam Gwon and they joined us to talk about the show.

Aoife O’Donovan is the inaugural FreshGrass Artist in Residence at the FreshGrass Music Festival taking place, as it always does, at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts.

She’ll perform a set of her own music on Friday, September 20, join Kronos Quartet’s Music for Change: Pete Seeger @ 100 set on Saturday, September 21, and re-visit her Fresh Score on Sunday, September 22.

O’Donovan is an acclaimed songwriter and vocalist known for her solo work, touring and recording with her band Crooked Still, frequent appearances on American Public Media’s “Live from Here” with Chris Thile, and her work with Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz, I’m With Her - the trio, just this week, was recognized as the Group of the Year at the Americana Honors & Awards.

Crooked Still will play The Egg in Albany, New York on December 11.

The exhibition “Ida O’Keeffe: Escaping Georgia’s Shadow” brings together thirty-five paintings, prints, and photographs exploring the artist’s mastery of color and composition as well as her complex relationship with her well-known sister, Georgia. The show will be on view at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts through October 14.

Organized by the Dallas Museum of Art and curated by Sue Canterbury, The Pauline Gill Sullivan Associate Curator of American Art, the exhibition debuted in Dallas in 2018 and is the first ever solo museum exhibition of works by Ida Ten Eyck O’Keeffe and the most comprehensive survey of the artist’s work to date.

Robert Wiesenberger is the Associate Curator of Contemporary Projects at The Clark and he led us through the exhibition.

    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: "After the Wedding"


  • Boyfriend - Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Thursday 9/12, 10 PM
  • Disney’s "Mary Poppins" (Staging Youths’ Futures production) - Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes, Friday 9/13 at 7 PM; Sat 9/14 at 2 & 7 PM; Sun 9/15 at 2 PM
  • Steve Martin & Martin Short - SPAC, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, Friday 9/13, 7:30 PM
  • "Friday the 13th Part 2" - Cinema Capitol, Rome, Friday 9/13, 10 PM
  • Frank Gambale - Van Dyck Lounge, Schenectady, Friday 9/13, 9 PM
  • Todd Palmer Among Friends (Tara Helen O’Connor, June Han, James Austin Smith, Omer Quartet, Doug Balliett), music of Carl Maria von Weber, Claude Debussy, Camille Saint-Saens, more Tannery Pond Concerts, New Lebanon, Saturday 9/14, 6 PM
  • Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show featuring Doug Smith - Proctors, Schenectady, Saturday 9/14, 8 PM
  • Imagination Movers - The Egg, Albany, Sunday 9/15, 1 PM
  • Clarion Concerts Presents: Xavier Foley - Hudson Hall, Hudson, Sunday 9/15, 3 PM

New movies: "Hustlers," "The Goldfinch," "Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice," "Official Secrets; "Downton Abbey" (Thursday evening preview only)

Steve Martin and Martin Short
courtesy of the artists

Steve Martin and Martin Short bring their new tour "Now You See Them, Soon You Won't" to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York on Friday, September 13. The comedy-variety show also features Grammy Award winning bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers, and Jeff Babko.

As two titans of comedy, Steve Martin and Martin Short have conquered film, television, and the stage in the course of their long, dazzling careers. But the live shows that grew out of both their friendship and their undeniable comedic chemistry create something special enough to stand out even among the many achievements of these two show-biz veterans.

In celebration of Norman Rockwell Museum’s 50th Anniversary, they are looking back at the many ways illustrators portrayed news events and reflected popular culture in 1969. Norman Rockwell’s own work reflected the changing times with his iconic depiction of the moon landing, an album cover he painted for rock musicians, and a tribute to the final issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

The exhibition, "Woodstock to the Moon: 1969 Illustrated," combines original illustrations with vintage archival material. It will be on view at The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts through October 27.

We learn more from Jesse Kowalski, Norman Rockwell’s Curator of Exhibitions as well as from Louis Mitchell, the Creative Director of Character Design at Sesame Street’s Sesame Workshop. There are many items from the Sesame Street in the exhibition.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back with season nine.

Jackson Murphy is an Emmy Award-winning film critic/entertainment analyst. He's been reviewing films, professionally, for the past 13+ years. Jackson is the youngest member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, as well as a member of SAG-AFTRA — voting annually for both the Critics Choice and SAG Awards. He's appeared on numerous TV, Radio and Online shows, and his work can found on multiple platforms, including his own website:

He joins us this morning to talk about the start of the Fall Film Season. 

The Dirt Farmer Festival 2019 will have shows at Levon Helm Studios on September 6 and 7, bringing Dirt Farmer Fest artists, food, and craft vendors to Woodstock for two great nights! Amy Helm – Levon’s daughter – joins us this morning to tell us more.

Amy Helm will also be at FreshGrass at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA on Friday, September 20.

The Drum Boogie Festival is a free, family-oriented, multi-cultural, one-day music festival that celebrates diverse styles of music, dance and voice from around the world. This year’s Drum Boogie Festival will take place on Saturday, September 7 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Andy Lee Field in Woodstock, New York.

The festival brings together world-class talent and introduces audiences to a variety of styles involving percussion such as: Jazz, Japanese Traditional Taiko, African, Brazilian, Reggae, Classical, Steel Pan and more! This year’s festival includes Jack DeJohnette, NEXUS, So Percussion and Paul Winter among many others.

Garry Kvistad, Executive Director of the Drum Boogie Festival (Founder/CEO of Woodstock Chimes and NEXUS member) joins us this morning along with Seven-time Grammy winner Paul Winter.

Any Questions #418

Aug 30, 2019

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel switch seats to switch a letter.

Bob Goepfert: In Lenox, The Play's The Thing

Aug 30, 2019
Deaon Griffin-Pressley and Bryce Michael Wood in "Top Dog/Underdog"
Daniel Rader / Shakespeare & Company

Shakespeare & Company is like one-stop shopping for theater.  It presents a diverse offering of work using their various spaces to offer dramas, comedies and, of course, the classics.   This is vividly illustrated in the two offerings that are currently at the Lenox, Mass. venue. 

Rogovoy Report 8/30/19

Aug 30, 2019

The highlights of the cultural weekend in our region include EDM, opera, a book fair, a classical vocal recital, chamber-pop, folk … plus a whole lot more.

In this week's Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani conclude their series of conversations about Rossini, sharing a live performance of the composer's "Duet for Two Cats" performed at a Close Encounters with Music concert entitled "A Rossini Extravaganza!"

Bob Goepfert: Dinner And A Show

Aug 29, 2019

Over the years the concept of dinner theater has taken a very bad rap. The prevailing image became one of over-the-hill actors performing in Neil Simon comedies. Combined with the idea that audience members had to wait on tacky buffet lines for salad and chicken - it about destroyed the genre.

"True Colors: World Masters of Natural Dyes & Pigments" by color and trends consultant Keith Recker presents the work and vision of twenty-six natural dye artists from around the world, opening a window into their culture, their lives, and the power of color. The artist’s stories are organized by color and begin with white, traveling through the spectrum to blues, purples, reds, pinks, golds, arriving at varying hues of green.

Keith Recker is President and co-founder of HAND/EYE Fund, which publishes, a multidisciplinary journal of global handmade creativity. He is also a board member and Creative Director of the International Folk Art Market.

You may know him as Mango, Mr. Peepers, the gibberish-spouting Suel Forrester, or one half of the head-bopping brothers in "A Night at the Roxbury." Not long after Chris was labeled one of the improv group Groundlings’ “must-see” performers in the company, he was cast on SNL and within the first six weeks, Chris’s film career also took off.

In his memoir "Baby Don't Hurt Me: Stories and Scars from Saturday Night Live," Kattan opens up about eight seasons on SNL, performing alongside friends and future legends including Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, and Tina Fey, and guest hosts from Charlize Theron to Tom Hanks to David Bowie.

Hershey Felder in "George Gershwin Alone"
Mark Garvin

The celebrated one-man play, “George Gershwin Alone,” features acclaimed actor, playwright and accomplished pianist, Hershey Felder rendering an intimate portrait of George Gershwin’s personal life and artistic genius.

Widely regarded as the man who brought jazz into the concert hall, Gershwin changed the musical landscape forever. Packed with Gershwin’s legendary songbook, “George Gershwin Alone” features delightful classics such as “I Got Rhythm,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” songs from “Porgy and Bess” and “An American in Paris,” and a complete performance of “Rhapsody in Blue.”

Berkshire Theatre Group presents “George Gershwin Alone” at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Massachusetts through August 31.

Wrapping up its fourth season, Berkshire Opera Festival has two performances of Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale” this week.

Donizetti's "Don Pasquale," which premiered in 1843, is a comic opera that is receiving a fully-staged production by Berkshire Opera Festival on Tuesday, August 27 and Friday, August 30 at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Directed by Jonathon Loy, the cast includes Craig Colclough as Don Pasquale, Matthew Grills as Ernesto, and Emmett O’Hanlon as Doctor Malatesta, and Metropolitan Opera soprano Deanna Breiwick plays Norina. The production is conducted by Brian Garman.

Breiwick and Garman joined us.

Whiteface Mountain
Pat Bradley/WAMC

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel go for a climb.

Rogovoy Report 8/23/19

Aug 23, 2019

The highlights of the cultural weekend in our region include New Orleans funk, cabaret, modern dance, Beethoven, R&B, cutting-edge guitar music … plus a whole lot more.

Edward Albee’s classic “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?” is being performed at the Weston Playhouse in Weston, Vermont through August 31. The production is directed by Mike Donahue.

In the play, it’s two o’clock in the morning when George and Martha return home from a college faculty party, but the night has only just begun. An evening of fun and games takes a dark turn as the line between reality and illusion blurs.

Three cast members from Weston join us this morning. Andrew Garman (George), Kristin Villanueva (Honey) and Jeffrey Omura (Nick).

    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: "Mike Wallace Is Here"


  • "Winnie the Pooh" Park Playhouse Tykes, Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes, Thursday-Friday 8/22-23, 2 PM
  • Albany Berkshire Ballet - "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" - The Egg, Albany, Friday 8/23, 7:30 PM
  • Doc Severinsen and The San Miguel 5 - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Friday-Saturday 8/23-24 at 8 PM; Sunday 8/25 at 7 PM
  • Mamalama y Andes Manta - The Century House Historical Society, Rosendale, Saturday 8/24, 3 PM
  • KISS: End of the Road World Tour - SPAC, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, Saturday 8/24, 7 PM
  • Miro Quartet (Mozart, Schubert, Kevin Puts) - Tannery Pond Concerts, New Lebanon, Saturday 8/24, 8 PM
  • Catskill Jazz Factory: The Spirit of Harlem - Hudson Hall, Hudson, Saturday 8/24, 7 PM
  • Cha Wa - MASS MoCA, Hunter Center or Courtyard C, North Adams, Mass., Saturday 8/24, 8 PM
  • Patrick Higgins - Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, Sunday 8/25, 7:30 PM
  • "My Fair Lady" - Capital Park After Dark Film Series, West Capital Park, Albany, Wednesday 8/28, 8 PM

New Movies: "The Peanut Butter Falcon," "David Crosby: Remember My Name," "One Child Nation," "Angel Has Fallen"

Audrey Kupferberg: Alice Guy-Blache

Aug 21, 2019

Pioneer filmmaker Alice Guy-Blache is celebrated in a new feature-length documentary by Pamela B. Green.  The film is called BE NATURAL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF ALICE GUY-BLACHE.  Anyone with an interest in early film history or the study of gender inequality in the modern age of the 19th and early 20th centuries will want to see this documentary, which has been released for home viewing by Kino Lorber.

The Concert, 1918–19. Oil on canvas, 29 3/4 x 36 1/2 in. Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Gift of Reuben Wells Leonard Estate, 1954, 53/27
Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Over the course of his long career, French painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir continually turned to the human figure for artistic inspiration. Renoir was born in 1841 and died a century ago in 1919. To observe the centenary of his death, the Clark Art Institute and the Kimbell Art Museum present the new exhibition, “Renoir: The Body, The Senses.” Include paintings, drawings, pastels, and sculptures by Renoir as well as works by his predecessors, contemporaries, and followers, the exhibition is on display at The Clark in Williamstown, Massachusetts through September 22.

“Renoir: The Body, The Senses” features works from The Clark’s collection and loans from all around the world. It was co-organized by Esther Bell, the Robert and Martha Berman Lipp Chief Curator at the Clark, and George T. M. Shackelford, Deputy Director at the Kimbell.

Esther Bell lead us through the exhibition.

Doc Severinsen
Sean Turi

Grammy Award-winning Doc Severinsen has been celebrated as America’s favorite trumpet player for more than half a century. Welcomed into living rooms for nearly three decades as the leader of "The Tonight Show Orchestra," (with host Johnny Carson hailing him as ‘the greatest trumpet player in the world,’) his impeccable musicianship and charismatic presence still dazzles at 92 years old, with the iconic trumpeter performing his signature stylings of big band, pop, jazz, world, and classical standards, universally hailed as one of our national treasures.

He is playing three shows with his band The San Miguel 5 at Caffè Lena in Saratoga Springs, New York on August 23, 24, and 25.

The cast of "Fall Springs"
Daniel Rader / Barrington Stage Company

There are bad plays, really bad plays and then there is “Fall Springs.” The musical being given its world premiere at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Mass. is a head-scratcher. You sit in the audience at one of the most reliable theater companies in the area and wonder – “How did this ever make the mainstage?”

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WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel strive to be the best, at least for one week.

Bob Goepfert Reviews "Hamilton" At Proctors

Aug 16, 2019
Company, HAMILTON National Tour
Joan Marcus

How rare and wonderful it is when things in life exceed your expectations. Thank you “Hamilton” and Proctors for providing one of those rare occasions.