Arts & Culture | WAMC

Arts & Culture

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.

In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue their series of conversations about prodigies focusing on Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

The Passport Series brings Music Haven to Proctors and allows audiences to “travel the world one concert at a time.”

For 30 years, the Music Haven Concert Series has presented an amazing array of global sounds in Schenectady’s Central Park, transporting summer seekers to locales like Yemen, Ukraine, Louisiana, Ireland and Peru without ever having to leave their seats.

The Passport Series takes the same beloved world music that patrons of the park series have come to cherish and brings it inside so the party can go all year.

Mona Golub is the Producing Artistic Director of Music Haven.

Bob Goepfert Reviews "Lobby Hero" At Cap Rep

Oct 3, 2019
Kenny Toll and Mark W. Soucy in "Lobby Hero"
Richard Lovrich

Great writing, excellent acting and intelligent direction make “Lobby Hero” a gripping, spellbinding play. The play, which is at Capital Repertory Theatre through October 20, is the kind of work that keeps you hanging on every word.

The Bardavon Opera House in Poughkeepsie, New York and UPAC in Kingston, New York have a very exciting slate of events this autumn.

This coming Sunday, seven-time Grammy Award winner Gladys Knight and her band will perform at The Bardavon’s 150th Anniversary Gala.

Other events this season include: The Mystical Arts of Tibet: “Sacred Music Sacred Dance;” the stage musical “Once;” stand-up comedy from Jay Leno; David Bromberg Big Band with Los Lobos; Dino Light; a play starring John Malkovich; former White House photographer Pete Souza – and so much more.

Bardavon Presents Executive Director Chris Silva joins us.

Hyde Hall dining room
HydeHall.org

Musicians of Ma’alwyck is a flexible-size chamber ensemble based in the greater Capital Region. The ensemble is celebrating the start of its 20th Season with a new commission based on ghost stories.

On Sunday, October 6, Musicians of Ma’alwyck will debut the “Hyde Sextet,” written by composer and pianist Max Caplan. The concert will take place in the drawing room of Hyde Hall in Cooperstown, New York and will also feature spooky works by John Williams, Arthur Foote, Richard Einhorn, Gerald Finzi, and Camille Saint-Saens to open the Halloween Season.

To tell us more about this concert – and other offerings this season – we welcome Musicians of Ma’alwyck founder and violinist - Ann-Marie Barker Schwartz.

      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: "Downton Abbey"

Upcoming:

  • "Moby Dick," performed by Conor Lovett - Hudson Hall, Hudson, Friday 10/4 at 7 PM; Saturday 10/5 at 7 PM; Sunday 10/6 at 5 PM
  • Paula Poundstone - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Friday 10/4, 8 PM
  • Artie Lange - Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes, Friday 10/4, 8 PM
  • James Franco’s "The Pretenders" - Palace Theatre, Albany, Saturday 10/5, 7 PM
  • GWAR "Use Your Collusion" Tour - Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park, Saturday 10/5, 7:30 PM
  • Kurt Elling - Academy of Music, Northampton, Mass., Saturday 10/5, 7:30 PM - The Egg, Albany, Sunday 10/6, 7:30 PM
  • Laura Love - The Eighth Step at Proctors, Schenectady, Saturday 10/5, 7:30 PM - Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Sunday 10/6, 7 PM
  • Kimbra, Emily Wells - MASS MoCA, Hunter Center, North Adams, Mass., Saturday 10/5, 8 PM
  • Sergei Babayan & Daniil Trifonov, duo piano - Troy Chromatics Concerts, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Sunday 10/6, 3 PM

New movies: "Joker," "Britt-Marie Was Here"

This month, Drama Desk nominee Lori Wilner revisits her one woman show “Hannah Sanesh,” which she co-created with writer/director David Schechter in 1984.

It is an intimate account of a young Hungarian Jewish girl growing up in 1930’s Budapest. Not particularly religious, she is drawn to investigate her Judaism as she experiences increasing persecution and anti-semitism.

Originally performed Off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theater, Lori received the Goldy Award, DramaLogue Award and Drama Desk nomination for her solo performance and went on to tour extensively in the states, Canada and Israel. Lori will perform the show on Saturday, October 5 at Unison Arts Center in New Paltz, New York.

"Lobby Hero" At TheRep

Oct 2, 2019

Penned nearly 20 years ago and debuting off Broadway just prior to the 9/11 tragedy, Kenneth Lonergan’s "Lobby Hero" is rife with proto-memes of #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, police brutality, workplace harassment, bullying and the millennial urge to save the world without actually doing much about it. It is now running at Capital Repertory Theatre through Oct. 20th, directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian.

In the play: Jeff is a blabbermouth. He’s not a doorman he will repeatedly tell you, but a security guard. Your secrets are not safe with him. Just ask William, his superintendent whose brother has been accused of a heinous crime. Or Bill, the veteran beat cop who has a standing tryst with a fading flower upstairs. Or Dawn, the new rookie Bill is preening despite the fact that three months into her new gig she’s already been called up on assault charges.

Kenny Toll plays Jeff, the self-imagined lobby hero whose mouth can’t stop flapping long enough for his brain to take over.

Reflecting Pool at Saratoga Spa State Park
photo provided

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center has completely reimagined their Saratoga Wine and Food Festival – happening this coming weekend. The festival will feature a collaboration between renowned regional chefs and international culinary talent including UK farm-to-table chefs.

Adding to the ambiance of the festival will be a sculpture garden presented by The Hyde Collection featuring works by artist John Van Alstine, considered one of America’s most important sculptors, in addition to live music curated by Caffè Lena, and photographic works of art created from compostables by Terri-Lynn Pellegri.

The festival is set around the Spa State Park reflecting pool, slated for October 4-5. We are joined by President & CEO of Saratoga Performing Arts Center Elizabeth Sobol and Caffè Lena Executive Director Sarah Craig.

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra has been part of the cultural landscape of the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts since 1944 and performs a series of classical and popular music concerts at Springfield Symphony Hall.

The orchestra kicks off its 76th season with an opening night gala concert on October 5 featuring works by Rachmaninoff, Dvořák, and Strauss. Pianist John Novacek joins the orchestra to play the romantic Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 1.

Conductor Kevin Rhodes is celebrating twin 18th Anniversary Seasons as Music Director of Massachusetts’ Springfield Symphony Orchestra and Michigan’s Traverse Symphony Orchestra and his ninth season as Principal Conductor of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra in Boston.

Glorious Strings will bring three internationally acclaimed Stradivari Society violinists together for a one-night-only performance at Helsinki Hudson in Hudson, New York on October 6. Augustin Hadelich, Tim Fain, and Francisco Fullana will be joined on stage by Grammy-nominated pianist Robert Koenig.

The concert has been organized to support the Preservation League of New York State’s mission of promoting historic preservation across the state.

We welcome Preservation League of New York State President Jay DiLorenzo.

A jukebox at Ed Liss' home in Somers.
Lucas Willard

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel switch seats for a show about the top albums of this century, so far.

“The Great Society,” the sequel to Robert Schenkkan's 2014 Tony-winning epic “All the Way,” began its Broadway run at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on September 6. Bill Rauch, who helmed "All the Way," also directs the new work which officially opens on October 1 for a limited run through November 30. Brian Cox stars in the production as President Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Capturing Lyndon B. Johnson's passionate and aggressive attempts to build a great society for all, the new play follows his epic triumph in a landslide election to the agonizing decision not to run for re-election just three years later.

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute is a fine arts center in Utica, New York dedicated to serving diverse audiences by advancing the appreciation, understanding, and enjoyment of the arts.

The art institute aims to promote interest and participation in the arts and stimulate artistic self-expression and personal creativity. MWPAI continues to assume a leadership and advocacy role for the arts in Utica, NY.

Founded in 1919, the institute is celebrating its 100th Anniversary and to tell us more we welcome Institute President and CEO Anna D'Ambrosio.

The Woodstock Film Festival’s 20th Anniversary will be taking place from October 2–6 in Woodstock, Rhinebeck, Kingston, Saugerties, and Rosendale, New York.

Widely acknowledged for showcasing passionate, creative and thought-provoking work by some of today's most promising and accomplished independent filmmakers, this year’s festival will showcase more than 50 features from around the world, as well as many short films, and will include panels, live performances, and other special events.

The festival has become one of the foremost regional independent film festivals. Establishing itself as a ground-breaking festival that offers a unique platform for filmmakers around the globe, the Woodstock Film Festival has been named among the top 50 film festivals worldwide.

WFF's Co-Founder and Executive Director Meira Blaustein joins us for a preview.

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