Arts & Culture | WAMC

Arts & Culture

If nothing else, attending “The SpongeBob Musical,” which is at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady through Saturday, offered me some feelings of vindication.

Most weeks, Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

His segment was preempted this week for special news coverage of Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. 

Here is his list:

Seen: "Downton Abbey"


  • "The Last Picture Show" - Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Mass., Thursday 9/26, 7 PM
  • Troy Night Out: All About Animals (& Pets) with pet friendly welcomes at galleries, shops & restaurants; new exhibit at the Rensselaer County Historical Society; receptions at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, Photographer Center of the Capital Region, much more. -- Downtown Troy, Friday 9/27, 5-9 PM
  • The Figgs - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Friday 9/27, 8 PM
  • Kenneth Lonergan’s "Lobby Hero" - Capital Repertory Theatre, previews Friday 9/27 at 8 PM through 9/29; opens 10/1 at 7:30 PM
  • Duke Robillard - The Van Dyck, Schenectady, Saturday 9/28, 6:30 & 8:30 PM
  • Graham Nash & Band: Songs for Beginners, Wild Tales, more - The Egg, Albany, Saturday 9/28, 8 PM (also at Academy of Music, Northampton, Oct. 4)
  • Kandace Springs - Massry Center for the Arts, College of Saint Rose, Albany, Saturday 9/28, 8 PM
  • The Way Back featuring Boyd Tinsley - Putnam Place, Saratoga Springs, Saturday 9/28, 9 PM
  • Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra: Flamenco!, featuring music of Chabrier, Rimsky-Korsakov, De Falla; with flamenco dancers and mezzo-soprano Tascha Anderson - Glens Falls High School, Glens Falls, Sunday 9/29, 4 PM
  • Storm Large - Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, Sunday 9/29, 8 PM

New movies: "Judy," "Abominable"

The World Premiere of the new play, “American Underground,” by Brent Askari and directed by Julianne Boyd opens at Barrington Stage Company’s Boyd-Quinson Mainstage in Pittsfield, Massachusetts on October 2 and runs through October 20.

In the not-so-distant future, an interracial couple enjoys a visit from their college-aged son when a young Muslim woman arrives at their back door. She’s looking for safe passage via a new Underground Railroad as Muslims are being detained and imprisoned.

Suddenly, a government official knocks on their door wreaking havoc on the family. They must decide how much to risk to save an innocent woman.

To tell us more we welcome the playwright Brent Askari and Artistic Director of Barrington Stage Company Julianne Boyd.

Audrey Kupferberg: L’Argent And Fragment Of An Empire

Sep 24, 2019

Two films from the late 1920s, the end of the silent era – which is considered by many to be the height of silent filmmaking -- have been restored and now are available for home viewing through streaming, DVD, and Blu-ray.  The finest of silent films constitute a poetry branch of motion pictures.  The artfulness of these films takes its audience beyond storytelling.  By the mid-late 1920s, moving camerawork – the unchained cameras – provided thrilling moments of drama, confusion, automotive and technological activity, modernity, and even inner workings of mental and emotional processes. Editing is fast-moving and clever.

Twenty-five years after its first season aired, "Friends" remains incredibly popular. If it were counted in the Nielsen ratings as a new show, it would rank at #9. Even after all this time, the "Friends" phenomenon continues to grow and evolve, attracting a new generation of younger fans, who weren’t alive when the show premiered.

For the twenty-fifth anniversary of the pilot episode, in his new book, "Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era," pop culture writer and NYU professor of writing and comedy history Saul Austerlitz shares a nostalgic, fascinating look at how the show was created, cast, and filmed, analyzing the best episodes, plot points, and themes; and provides insight into why the show that defined 1990s television has a popularity and legacy that has endured beyond anyone’s wildest expectations.

Adam Rapp’s play “The Sound Inside” is currently in previews on Broadway produced by Jeffrey Richards and co-produced by Lincoln Center at Studio 54, directed by David Cromer. It stars Mary Louise Parker as Bella Lee Baird, a Creative Writing professor at Yale University, and Will Hochman as Christopher Dunn - one of her students. It had its world premiere production with the same cast and director at The Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2018.

Adam Rapp is an award-winning playwright and director. He is the author of numerous plays including “Red Light Winter” which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. “The Sound Inside” is the first of his plays to be produced on Broadway.

In “The Sound Inside” Bella, 53, conducts her life in solitude and work. Early in the play, we find out she’s been diagnosed with aggressive stomach cancer. As a college freshman, Christopher Dunn is alienated by his peers and societal expectations. The two meet and connect over a shared interest in writing and the profound capability of literature to inspire.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel urge you not to touch that dial.

Alessandro Moreschi (c. 1900)

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

In this segment we hear Castrato Alessandro Moreschi perform "Ave Maria."

The Spongebob Musical” National Tour sets sail at Proctors in Schenectady, New York on September 22 and will anchor there through September 28.

Conceived and directed by Tina Landau with a book by Kyle Jarrow, orchestrations by Tom Kitt, and choreography by Christopher Gattelli, “The Spongebob Musical” features songs by Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, The Flaming Lips, Lady Antebellum, John Legend, Panic! At The Disco, They Might Be Giants, David Bowie, Brian Eno - and more.

In the show, Nickelodeon’s popular right-angled aquatic invertebrate and his town of Bikini Bottom face catastrophe - until an unexpected hero rises to take center stage.

We are joined by the actors playing best friends SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star: Lorenzo Pugliese and Beau Bradshaw.

Audrey Kupferberg: American Factory

Sep 19, 2019

A well-made documentary is never hard to find, because there are fair-minded filmmakers out there who can sniff out a good story and tell it in an intelligent manner.  Sometimes, a documentary is really outstanding.  That is the case with American Factory, the new project by veteran documentary filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar.

FreshGrass At MASS MoCA

Sep 19, 2019

This year’s FreshGrass Music Festival takes place this Friday through Sunday in North Adams, Massachusetts. The festival is produced in partnership by MASS MoCA, the FreshGrass Foundation, and No Depression and is a family-friendly festival, featuring established, acclaimed, and new talent on four stages and in MASS MoCA’s galleries.

The line-up includes Mavis Staples, Greensky Bluegrass, Steep Canyon Rangers, Calexico and Iron & Wine, Andrew Bird, Sam Amidon, Amy Helm, Alison, Brown, The Mammals, Tony Trischka and Bruce Molsky, Johnny Irion & Friends, Jade Bird, The Gibson Brothers, Tinariwen, inaugural Artist-in-Residence Aoife O’Donovan, and more!

We are joined by MASS MoCA’s Performing Arts Director Sue Killam and Communications Director Jodi Joseph.

David Margulies is a writer whose plays offer a burning insight into contemporary relationships.   Many of his plays, like his Pulitzer Prize winning “Dinner With Friends,” tend to focus on couples struggling to hold on to a passion that once bonded them like glue.  

Lauren Hauser dancing Serenade, 1977
Steven Caras

The photographic work of acclaimed dancer and photographer Steven Caras will be on display at Vassar in Poughkeepsie, New York as the college hosts an exhibition of his work and an artist reception and lecture. All three events are open to the public.

Steven Caras was raised in New Jersey where he began studying ballet at the age of fifteen. Three years later, he was invited to join the New York City Ballet where an enthusiasm for photography joined his passion for dance.

As part of his lecture, “Survival Instinct: A Dancer’s Story of Self-Reinvention,” Caras will show PowerPoint slides and talk about his personal and professional milestones and setbacks.

Constance Shulman in "The Rose Tattoo" at The Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2016
Daniel Rader

This week, the Roundabout Theatre Company production of Tennessee Williams’ “The Rose Tattoo” begins previews on Broadway at The American Airlines Theatre, directed by Trip Cullman and starring Marisa Tomei. A version of the production premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2016. Much of the cast has changed between the two stagings, but our next guest, Constance Shulman, has remained a part of the play. She plays The Strega.

Shulman is best known as Yoga Jones on the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black” and as the voice of Patti Mayonnaise on the Nickelodeon cartoon, “Doug.” Her theatre credits include originating the role of Annelle in the first production of “Steel Magnolias” Off-Broadway.

Brian Linden as Ben and Montana Lampert Hoover as Emily.
John Sowle

It’s an open secret that most of the truly exciting and adventurous summer theater takes place in the second stages of the major theater festivals. 

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.

Any Questions logo
Any Questions logo

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
Any Questions logo
Any Questions logo

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!"