Arts & Culture | WAMC

Arts & Culture

In “Beau,” eight actor-musicians tell the story of Ace Baker, who spends the first decade of his life fatherless. At 12 years old, a phone call reveals that his grandfather, Beau, has been alive all his life and his mother knew. Family secrets unravel as Ace rushes to make up for lost time with a man who changes his life and puts a guitar in his hand.

“Beau” features a concept, book, and lyrics by Douglas Lyons and music by Ethan D. Pakchar and Lyons. Michael Wilson directs the Adirondack Theatre Festival production which runs in Glens Falls, New York August 3-9.

We are joined by Douglas Lyons and Ethan D. Pakchar, actor Matt Rodin who plays Ace, and ATF Producing Artistic Director Chad Rabinovitz.

Williamstown Theatre Festival

When a new play’s biggest problem is that it offers too much to think about, you know it has a promising future.

Gallim in "Pupil" - black and white photo of dancers doing modern/contemporary dance
Franziska Strauss

Jacob’s Pillow’s Dance Festival 2019 continues with world premieres, new commissions, international artists, anniversary celebrations, Pillow-exclusive engagements, and work developed at the Pillow Lab.

Celebrating its 87th consecutive summer, Jacob’s Pillow is home to the longest-running dance festival in the United States, a National Historic Landmark, a National Medal of Arts recipient, and has steadily expanded its reach in the field and its local community as a year-round center for dance research and development.

Festival 2019 continues for another month, attracting audiences both on and off its site in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, through August 25th. To tell us more, we welcome Jacob’s Pillow Director Pamela Tatge.

LOUD Weekend is an expansion of Bang on a Can’s long-running Bang on a Can Marathon at MASS MoCA - tripling that programming from one day, to three days.

Over this coming weekend, more than 30 concerts will take place in at MASS MoCA’s vast galleries and throughout its collection of indoor and outdoor performing arts venues.

Over the past 30 years, Bang on a Can co-founder and artistic director Michael Gordon has produced a diverse body of work, ranging from large-scale pieces for high-energy ensembles to major orchestral commissions to works conceived specifically for the recording studio.

Actor Thomas Sadoski is currently appearing on the Main Stage at the Williamstown Theatre Festival starring in the world premiere of Bess Wohl's "Grand Horizons" with Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Priscilla Lopez, Maulik Pancholy, Ashley Park, Jamey Sheridan, and JoBeth Williams. TV viewers will recognize Sadoski from his work on HBO's "The Newsroom" and the recently cancelled CBS hit "Life in Pieces." Moviegoers have seen him in "Wild" and "John Wick: Chapter 2" just to name a few and those who love theater may have seen him in his Tony nominated work in "Reasons to be Pretty" or in "House of Blue Leaves," "The Tempest," or "Other Desert Cities" - for which he won a Tony Award.

"Grand Horizons" runs through July 28 at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. The play is scheduled to run at Second Stage Theater in New York City in December. It is directed by Leigh Silverman.

The colors of the rainbow flag

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel go back to a favorite category.

Rogovoy Report 7/26/19

Jul 26, 2019

The highlights of the cultural weekend in our region include cutting edge dance; blues and gospel; early music; folk music, theater, and what I consider to be one of the greatest rock bands of all time – The Pretenders.

James Burton
Boston Symphony Orhestra

This past Tuesday, during the Tanglewood on Parade Gala, the world premiere of James Burton's "The Lost Words" for children's choir and orchestra.

Burton is the BSO's choral director and conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and he also leads the Boston Symphony Children's Choir, which he formed last year. Burton was appointed in February 2017 to succeed John Oliver, who formed the chorus in 1970, retired in 2015 and died last year.

Christine Goerke And  James Rutherford
artists' websites

This Saturday and Sunday, in one of the highlights of the 2019 Tanglewood season, Andris Nelsons leads the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra in Wagner’s complete opera “Die Walküre” - split over the course of three performances, each featuring one complete act. The performance is scheduled to coincide with The Tanglewood Learning Institute’s “Wagner Weekend.”

The talented young members of the orchestra are joined by a cast of the world’s finest Wagnerian singers. Die Walküre tackles themes of love, family, sacrifice, betrayal, punishment, and mortality. The concert performance will be sung in German with English supertitles

We are joined by soprano Christine Goerke who will sing the role of Brünnhilde, and bass-baritone James Rutherford who will perform as Wotan.

Shakespeare & Company presents William Shakespeare's madcap comedy, “The Merry Wives of Windsor” directed by founding company member and Director of Education, Kevin G. Coleman. “The Merry Wives of Windsor” runs from August 8 to September 1 outdoors in the Roman Garden Theatre.

The play begins when Sir John Falstaff vastly underestimates the Merry Wives in the town of Windsor, as he hatches a frothy scheme to drain their bank accounts and drive their husbands insane with jealousy.

Coming to Tanglewood is an experience that begins before the first note is played at any given concert. The buildings, lawns, and gardens were created and are maintained with the utmost care.

Whether you picnic on the lawn, stroll around the grounds, or even make a bee-line for your seat last minute, you can’t help but notice the beauty all around you when you are here.

We had the opportunity to get some behind-the-scenes on how it all happens with Director of Tanglewood Facilities Bobby Lahart and Tanglewood Grounds Supervisor Bruce Peeples. 

Steve Carver

Long-time Tanglewood piano technician Steve Carver will be featured in a Tanglewood Learning Institute "Meet the Makers" event on Monday afternoon at 1:30 in the Linde Center.

At the event, Carver will give an in-depth look at the art and science of keeping concert instruments in high-performing condition. Attendees can enjoy a sneak peek at the engineering and artistry of Steinway Spirio — the legendary instrument maker’s newest invention and the world’s finest high-resolution player piano.

Carver recently retired from his position of manager of piano maintenance and chief piano technician at The Juilliard School. He has also been the chief concert technician for the Tanglewood Music Festival for ten years and was previously a concert technician at the Aspen Music Festival and School and the Chautauqua Institution.

Thomas Wilkins is Music Director of the Omaha Symphony, a position he has held since 2005. Additionally he is Principal Guest Conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and holds the Germeshausen Family and Youth Concert Conductor chair with the Boston Symphony - and in that role, he will be conducting the Tanglewood Family Concert tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. at Ozawa Hall. The concert provides an engaging concert experience especially for children ages 3–8 and their families.

Paul Lewis in profile, facing left, left hand on chin, bent at elbo
Kaupo Kikkas

Tonight in The Shed at Tanglewood, Andris Nelsons will conduct a performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 2, and closes the program with Ravel’s complete “Daphnis and Chloé,” featuring the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, James Burton, conductor. In between these two works, Paul Lewis, returning to Tanglewood for his eighth summer in a row, takes center stage to perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12 in A.

Paul Lewis is internationally regarded as one of the leading musicians of his generation and as one of the world’s foremost interpreters of the central European classical repertoire.

In addition to his performance in The Shed tonight, Lewis will perform a recital of music by Haydn, Brahms, and Beethoven at Ozawa Hall on July 30.

Tony Fogg has been Artistic Administrator of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1994 and assists the Music Director in the planning and selection of all BSO concerts and repertoire.

He joins us to talk about upcoming performances at Tanglewood.

Mark Volpe

Tanglewood is a name that's recognized around the world. Just about every time we interview a conductor or musician, they mention the venue's reputation and cache. That doesn't just happen by accident. There's a hard-working team of professionals that keeps Tanglewood on the lips of both audience-members and performers.

To give us a State of Tanglewood report – we welcome back our friend Mark Volpe – the Managing Director of The Boston Symphony Orchestra. 

David Ives is probably the smartest contemporary playwright working in theater.  For certain, it’s true about his short plays, which run about 10-minutes each.  For those he is a master.

Three-time Pulitzer Prize-Winner Thornton Wilder’s "The Skin of Our Teeth" is now playing at The Berkshire Theatre Group’s Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and runs through August 3. Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-Winner David Auburn directs the show.

"The Skin of our Teeth" is an optimistic tribute to the invincibility of the human spirit. To tell us more we welcome Harriet Harris who plays Mrs. Antrobus and Danny Johnson who plays Mr. Antrobus.

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: "Crawl"


  • The Quebe Sisters - Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Thursday 7/25, 7 PM
  • Brad Paisley World Tour, with Chris Lane, Riley Green - SPAC, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, Thursday 7/25, 7:30 PM
  • Patton Oswalt - Palace Theatre, Albany, Thursday 7/25, 8 PM
  • Our Native Daughters: Rhiannon Giddens, Allison Russell, Leyla McCalla, Amythyst Kiah - The Egg, Albany, Friday 7/26, 8 PM
  • The Pretenders - MASS MoCA, Courtyard D, North Adams, Mass., Friday 7/26, 8 PM
  • A Midsummer SLAY with Queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race - Palace Theatre, Albany, Friday 7/26, 8 PM
  • Juho Pohjonen, pianist (music of Rameau, Scriabin, Beethoven) - Tannery Pond Concerts, Mount Lebanon Shaker Village, New Lebanon, Saturday 7/27, 8 PM
  • Clem Snide (Eef Barzelay) - Opalka Gallery, Sage College of Albany, Albany, Monday 7/29, 8 PM
  • Pedrito Martinez, Sten & Maria Z - Rockin on the River, Riverfront Park, Troy, Wednesday 7/31, 5 PM
  • The Philadelphia Orchestra opening night with dancers of Philadanco: Festive Fireworks - (music of Rimsky-Korsakov, Sibelius/Ravel, Tchaikovsky) - SPAC, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, Wednesday 7/31, 7 PM

New movies: "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood," "Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love"

The Secret City Art Revival in Woodstock, New York is a weekend of art, community and celebration throughout the town. This year’s event is entitled “Back to The Garden.”

Events take place July 25-28 and include parties, concerts, puppeteer-led hat-making; house events that include poetry readings, jazz house concerts, site-specific dances, art salons; brunch, karaoke, a Community Processional and – the culminating event – The Artistic Tent Revival.

The Secret City is an Obie Award winning arts organization that programs regularly in New York, Los Angeles, and Woodstock with guest appearances in other parts of the country and a weekly radio show in Kingston, New York.

We are joined by Secret City Founding Artistic Director Chris Wells and Lead designer of the Sunday processional and the Sunday revival Nancy Geaney.

The New York City Ballet has the richest dance repertory in the world, with its treasure trove of George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins works. Surprisingly, NYCB also commissions more new ballets than any other company. Wednesday night at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, three upstate premieres included one major surprise, the first work for a ballet company by Kyle Abraham, the MacArthur grant-winning modern choreographer.

GPS rendering

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel try to navigate another show.

Audrey Kupferberg: Late Night And Yesterday

Jul 19, 2019

The two summer movies to which I most looked forward have let me down.  LATE NIGHT and YESTERDAY.

Jay Rogoff: NYCB Brings its Living Doll to SPAC

Jul 19, 2019

Coppélia is the great comic ballet of the 19th century, and the New York City Ballet production should delight anyone at any age. George Balanchine and his colleague Alexandra Danilova created NYCB’s version in 1974 expressly for the company’s summer audiences at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Thursday night’s marvelous performance offered Megan Fairchild as the improbably named Swanilda and Anthony Huxley as her sweetheart, Frantz. Andrew Litton conducted the rich score by Léo Delibes.

Rogovoy Report 7/19/19

Jul 19, 2019

The highlights of the cultural weekend in our region include funky original pop; Dutch dance combined with Romanian music; jazz, new classical, folk, theater … plus a whole lot more.

The new play, “Gertrude and Claudius,” billed as a prequel to Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” began performances at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Massachusetts last night, officially opens July 21, and runs through August 3 on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage.

The play is by award-winning playwright, Mark St. Germain, author of “The Best of Enemies,” “Dancing Lessons,” “Dr. Ruth, All the Way,” and the long-running Off-Broadway hit “Freud’s Last Session” – among many other plays.

“Gertrude and Claudius” is based on John Updike’s 2000 novel of the same title. The story shows Queen Gertrude’s relationship with Hamlet’s father, who appears only as ghost in the Shakespeare play, and how she conspires with his brother Claudius to commit the murder that sets in motion the events of the classic drama.

St. Germain has a long history with Barrington Stage, this being his 13th play produced by the company.

The Capitol Steps were founded in December, 1981 when some staffers for Senator Charles Percy were planning entertainment for a Christmas party. Since then, they’ve been putting the “mock” in democracy in Washington, D.C., on tour, on the radio, and – during the summer – in Lenox, Massachusetts.

The musical satirists call The Cranwell Spa and Golf Resort their summer home – performing here every night except Tuesday through August 30th.

The CapSteps latest album is “The Lyin’ Kings.” We are joined this morning by longtime steppers, Brad van Grack and Nancy Dolliver.

To anyone who thinks opera is an old fashioned art form that has nothing to say to today’s world, I say, go see “Blue.”  The new opera debuted on Sunday July 14 at the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown.  It is a tense and powerful depiction of an African American family in contemporary Harlem.  The teenage son, innocent but earnest, gets shot and killed by a police officer at a peaceful protest.

Jay Rogoff: NYC Ballet Dazzles At SPAC

Jul 18, 2019

The New York City Ballet returned Tuesday night to its summer home, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, to begin a much-too-short run of seven performances. Upstate dance fans got their first look at the company under new artistic director Jonathan Stafford and new associate artistic director Wendy Whelan.

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: "Spider-Man: Far from Home"

French Cancan - Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Mass., Thursday 7/18, 2 PM
Jonatha Brooke - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Thursday 7/18, 7 PM
John Mayer - Times Union Center, Albany, Friday 7/19, 7:30 PM
Bettye Lavette - Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, Friday 7/19, 9 PM
Taj Mahal Quartet: Giant/De Ole Folks at Home 50th Anniversary Concert - The Egg, Albany, Saturday 7/20, 8 PM
Catalyst Quartet with pianist Daniel Gortler (music of Bach, Glass, Brahms, Franck) - Maverick Concerts, Woodstock, Sunday 7/21, 4 PM
Heart, Sheryl Crow, Lucie Silvas - SPAC, Amphitheater, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, Sunday 7/21, 7 PM
Godsmack - Cool Insuring Arena, Glens Falls, Sunday 7/21, 8 PM
"Finding Nemo" (Free Summer Movie Series) - Palace Theatre, Albany, Tuesday 7/23, 1 PM (doors at noon)
Stephen Marley - Empire State Plaza, Albany, Wednesday 7/24, 5:30 PM

New movies: "The Lion King," "The Art of Self-Defense"