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“A Christmas Carol” As A National Fundraiser

Nov 22, 2020
Geffen Playhouse production of "A Christmas Carol"
Chris Whitaker

The ideal situation for any artist is when you can develop a quality product and use it for the good of the community.

Book cover for "Singular Sensation"
Simon & Schuster / Simon & Schuster

We welcome New York Post theater columnist Michael Riedel to the Roundtable this morning with the publication of his second book, Singular Sensation: The Triumph of Broadway.


With over 150 insider interviews, Singular Sensation portrays the people, money, and power that created the blockbuster shows and aesthetic spectacle that has dominated not only a couple of acres of real estate in the heart of Manhattan but has also captured the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world.

Michael Riedel has been the theater columnist for the New York Post since 1998. Michael’s first book, Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway was a New York Times bestseller.

Artwork for "The Thanksgiving Play" presented by WAM Theatre
provided / provided

WAM Theatre will be presenting the second digital production of their re-imagined fall season beginning later this week, the wickedly funny satire "The Thanksgiving Play" by Larissa FastHorse, directed by Associate Artistic Director Talya Kingston. The production will be available online November 19-22.

The play is fast-paced satire where good intentions collide with absurd assumptions, as a troupe of white Liberal teaching artists scramble to devise a grade school theatre performance that somehow manages to celebrate Turkey Day, while also honoring Native American Heritage Month.

To tell us more, we welcome Director Talya Kingston and actress Molly Parker Myers.

Live Summer Theater Gets A Million Dollar Reward

Nov 10, 2020
(l-r) Storm Lever, Alexandra Silber and Alysha Umphress were featured in "The Hills Are Alive with Rodgers and Hammerstein."
Daniel Rader Photo

BERKSHIRES – There was once a television series called “The Millionaire.” The concept was that one unassuming person who lived a humble but exemplary life was given a million dollars by a mysterious benefactor.

Artwork for "Typhoid Mary" at Barrington Stage
Barrington Stage Company / barringtonstageco.org

As the pandemic continues into its eighth month in the U.S. and an administration rails against the fact-based findings of doctors and medical advisors, the Barrington Stage Company is revisiting Mark St. Germain’s play, "Typhoid Mary," where arguments between God and science take center stage.

The virtual reading of "Typhoid Mary," a play by BSC Associate Artist Mark St. Germain, stars two-time Tony Award winner Judith Ivey as Mary Mallon aka ‘Typhoid Mary.’ The reading also features actors: Frances Evans, T.R. Knight, Kate Mac Cluggage and Joe Morton. The production is directed by Matthew Penn.

This is the true and turbulent story of Mary Mallon, known better as Typhoid Mary. As one of the most infamous women in America, her career as a cook left deaths in her wake. A carrier of typhoid, Mary refused to believe she was responsible, citing God’s will and the lies of science instead. Imprisoned on North Brother Island, the conflicts between her and the doctors were as impassioned then as they are today.

The reading will be available to stream on October 30 & 31 at 7:30 pm. Judith Ivey won two Tony Awards as Best Featured Actress in a Play for "Steaming" in 1983 and "Hurlyburly" in 1985. She was also nominated for "Park Your Car in Harvard Yard" in 1992 and a revival of "The Heiress" in 2013.

Book cover title artwork for "Homeland Elegies"
Little Brown / littlebrown.com

Ayad Akhtar is a novelist and playwright, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. His latest work is novel, "Homeland Elegies," a deeply personal work about identity and belonging in a nation coming apart at the seams. It blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of longing and dispossession in a world that 9/11 made.

Ghost Lights In Theaters Inspire Halloween Fun

Oct 20, 2020
Proctors by Ghost Light
Jim Murphy

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Every theater has a ghost. Why else is it that the last thing done when leaving a theater is to turn on the “ghost light?” A “ghost light” is a standing lamp with a single bulb placed in the middle of the stage. It’s left on all night.

Artwork for Troy Foundry Theatre's "Models of Perfection"
Troy Foundry Theatre / Troy Foundry Theatre

An eviction sign, cruel games and rituals of death, a documentary film crew, and a campaign launch. Brother and Sister have lived on this door step for as long as they can remember. Soon, Brother and Sister are forced to migrate as the environment violently disintegrates. But sister isn't ready to leave home behind.

Troy Foundry Theatre presents the world premiere of "Models of Perfection." The show begins performances on Wednesday and runs through November 1. It will happen in the E. Stewart Jones parking lot directly next to the Trojan Hotel in Troy, New York.

David Girard is the Artistic Director of the Troy Foundry Theatre and co-curator and devisor of the show. Niya Colbert is collaborator with Theatre in the X out of Philadelphia and co-curator and devisor of "Models of Perfection."

Artwork for WAM Theatre production of ROE
https://www.wamtheatre.com/ / https://www.wamtheatre.com/

Two Women. Multiple Truths. One Landmark Supreme Court Case. "ROE," by Lisa Loomer, is an historically sweeping play with a large ensemble cast that illuminates the history of one of the most polarizing social issues of the modern era, the Roe v. Wade, U.S. Supreme Court ruling that established a woman’s right to an abortion.

The play provides a reminder of the human stories behind the debates and how hard we have to work to compassionately communicate with people with whom we may disagree.

"ROE" will be presented as a creatively designed, digital production by WAM Theatre. Performances will be available October 17 through October 20. To tell us more, we welcome WAM Producing Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven and Scenic Designer Juliana von Haubrich.

In a collaboration devised to meet the challenges posed by the global health pandemic, the 2020 Williamstown Theatre Festival season will be the first-ever complete theatre season released by Audible, the world’s largest producer and provider of original spoken-word entertainment and audiobooks.

The 2020 WTF Season on Audible is being produced in an audio-only format safe to elevate, entertain, and transform audiences from the comfort of their homes. While this season is different, it is being made with the spirit of invention that has long been a hallmark of the Festival.

The new work looks to transport you into the world of Blanche DuBois in 1940s New Orleans, into a hotel in Thailand where Kina prepares for gender confirmation surgery, onto Tori McClure’s rowboat as she rows solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and so much more.

To tell us about it – we welcome Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Director of WTF.


  Berkshire Theatre Group presents “An Intimate Performance with Brian Stokes Mitchell” on September 5 at 8 p.m. at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

 

Stokes is a Tony Award winning actor whose Broadway credits include “Ragtime,” “Kiss Me Kate,” “Man of La Mancha,” and “Shuffle Along.” Television credits include Trapper John, MC and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Glee, Mr. Robot, Billions, and The Good Fight - among many others.

He is serving his 16th term as The Chairman of The Board of The Actors Fund and is a co-founder of the Black Theatre United Coalition.

The Growth Of Virtual Entertainment

Aug 30, 2020

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The learning curve of creative people never ceases to amaze.  Six months ago, when live entertainment, including theater, shut down, I never thought I’d be writing about how well new material can work on Zoom, and other digital platforms.

Shakespeare & Company and Cherry Orchard Festival are co-presenting the Arlekin Players Theatre’s "State vs. Natasha Banina," a live online interactive art experiment directed by Igor Golyak, winner of the 2020 Elliot Norton Award for best director and featuring Darya Denisova, winner of the 2020 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Actress.

"State vs Natasha Banina" began as an online experiment from Golyak's living room and became an overnight international sensation, bringing in virtual audiences from around the globe and garnering a New York Times Critic's Pick.

The live performance will be projected on the big screen at the Berkshire Drive-in at Shakespeare & Company’s campus, 70 Kemble Street in Lenox, MA. It can also be watched from home on ZOOM.

Bob Goepfert: Theater On The Air

Aug 2, 2020

SARATOGA - When attending theater, I always think of a conversation I had with a world-class Shakespearean scholar many years ago.  She made a point of saying that in Shakespeare’s time, people going to the theater would say they were “going to hear a play.”

Sue Frost is founding partner of Junkyard Dog Productions, which is the lead producing entity of the Broadway musical "Come From Away." They currently have 5 productions around the world - Broadway, North American Tour, Toronto, London and Australia - on hiatus. 

She is also an active member of the Broadway League, working on multiple task forces aimed at bringing Broadway and touring Broadway back. 

Lorraine Toussaint, Santino Fontana, and John Ortiz in the livestreamed world premiere of The Line, written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, and directed by Jessica Blank.
Courtesy of The Public Theater

NEW YORK, NY - Not long ago, on television, every evening you could see a clip of people standing on their balconies in major urban areas throughout the world, clapping, applauding and banging pots to salute health care workers during the height of Covid-19 crisis.

TROY – In the world of theater there has hardly been an organization that hasn’t expressed regrets about not having done enough to tell the stories of people of color.

Adirondack Theatre Festival Producing Artistic Director, Chad Rabinovitz, will be here to tell us about their entire season of interactive virtual experiences beginning this September through February 2021. 

The first ever of its kind, these experiences include a from-your-couch cruise, hands-on-insane magic shows, a holiday talent show with live voting, an interactive hunt for a criminal, a film festival, and a “wine and canvas” night gone wrong.

The full season of performances will be branded as IN THE BOX ENTERTAINMENT presented by ATF.  All shows will include a box mailed to the ticket holder prior to the show which will fuel their at-home experience. 

One of my greatest adjustments during this forced-stay-at-home period is transitioning from live theater to streaming productions.

Gina-Simone Pemberton in "Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grille"
Richard Ruotolo

If ever a show deserved to be termed a “tragic musical,” its “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grille.”  

Michael Farrell

It’s common to call a puzzling mystery a head scratcher.

“Switzerland” is a mystery, playing at Curtain Call Theatre in Latham through March 14.   The play centers about famed mystery writer Patricia Highsmith.    It’s a head scratcher in a way that is not entirely complimentary.

Danny Burstein and the company of Moulin Rouge on Derek McLane's set
http://www.derekmclane.com/


  Derek McLane is an award-winning production and set designer for stage and screen. He’s designed for The Academy Awards, NBC’s live musical productions, and nearly countless theatrical productions around the country - including on and Off-Broadway.

 

His work is currently represented on Broadway in the opulent Bohemian-Parisian spectacular of the set for “Moulin Rouge!” at the Hirschfeld Theatre and in Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of “A Soldier’s Play” at The American Airlines Theatre.

The Berkshire Theatre Group has announced its 2020 summer theatrical season, with a casting sneak-peek. And Kate Maguire - Artistic Director, CEO, and new WAMC panelist – is here to tell us more.

The 2020 season – which marks ten years since the announcement of the merger between The Colonial Theatre and Berkshire Theatre Festival – includes classics, three world premieres, and plenty in between.

The play: “Switzerland” by Joanna Murray-Smith opens tonight at the Curtain Call Theatre in Latham, New York and runs through March 14.

Somewhere in the Swiss Alps, grande dame of crime literature Patricia Highsmith lives with an impressive collection of books, and a somewhat sinister collection of guns and knives. The comfort she finds in her solitude, cats, and cigarettes is quickly broken when a mysterious international visitor arrives at her reclusive home, where her love of fictional murders becomes a dangerous reality.

We're joined by Director Aaron Holbritter, Barbara Richards who plays Patricia, and Ian LaChance who plays Edward.

  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: "The Assistant"

Upcoming:

  • Michelle Ellsworth: Work in Progress - EMPAC, Studio 1 - Goodman, RPI, Troy, Thursday 2/27, 7 PM
  • Air Supply: The Lost in Love Experience - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Thursday 2/27, 7:30 PM
  • "Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill" - Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes, opens Thursday 2/27 at 8 PM, through March 15
  • FLEX AVE. - The Egg, Albany, Friday 2/28, 7:30 PM
  • Annie & The Hedonists - The Van Dyck Lounge, Schenectady, Friday 2/28, 8 PM
  • Blue Man Group - Proctors, Mainstage, Schenectady, Friday 2/28 at 8 PM; Saturday 2/29 at 2 & 8 PM; Sunday 3/1 at 2 PM
  • Sam Evian - MASS MoCA, Club B10, North Adams, Mass., Saturday 2/29, 8 PM
  • Caitlin Canty, w/s/g Corey Laitman - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Sunday 3/1, 7 PM
  • Jennifer Block, author “Everything Below the Waist: Why Health Care Needs a Feminist Revolution” in conversation with Elisa Albert - NYS Writers Institute, New York State Museum Huxley Theatre, Albany, Tuesday 3/3, 7:30 PM

New movies: "Seberg," "The Invisible Man," "Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band," "The Traitor"

Bob Goepfert Reviews "10 x 10" At Barrington Stage

Feb 21, 2020

If the cabin fever that tends to hit hardest in February has you in its grip, there is a two-hour remedy waiting for you at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Mass. Their production of “10 X 10”, which consists of ten 10-minute plays is pure escapism fun.  

If you asked a random sampling of theatergoers to name a list of their top ten favorite musicals, there is little doubt that “ Fiddler on the Roof” would be named on every ballot. 

  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: "Downhill"

Upcoming:

  • "Magic" - GE Theatre at Proctors, Schenectady, Thursday 2/20, 7 PM
  • Low Lily - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Thursday 2/20, 7 PM
  • "Jerry Lee Lewis vs Jerry Lee Lewis" - Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes, opens Thursday 2/20, 8 PM through March 8
  • The National Reserve - Hangar on the Hudson, Troy, Friday 2/21, 8 PM
  • Kamasi Washington, Honeycomb - Calvin Theater, Northampton, Mass., Saturday 2/22, 8 PM
  • Bindlestiff Family Cirkus - Helsinki Hudson, Saturday 2/22, 9 PM
  • Jennifer Frautschi, violin, Jeewon Park, piano, Edward Arron (cello) - music of Schumann, Kodaly, Debussy, Beethoven - Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Mass., Sunday 2/23, 2 PM
  • Trixie Mattel - The Egg, Albany, Sunday 2/23, 8 PM
  • "The Princess Bride" - Palace Theatre, Albany, Monday 2/24, 7 PM

New movies: "The Assistant," "The Call of the Wild," "The Lodge," "Olympic Dreams"

Barrington Stage Company’s ninth annual 10X10 New Play Festival will have performances February 13 through March 8 at BSC’s St. Germain Stage in the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The new play festival is part of Pittsfield’s 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival.

The new play festival is part of the 2020 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival which is a collaborative effort spearheaded by Barrington Stage Company and the City of Pittsfield, and coordinated through a steering committee that includes the Beacon Cinema, Berkshire International Film Festival, Berkshire Museum, Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, and the City of Pittsfield.

Actor Peggy Pharr Wilson is performing in 5 of the 10 news plays on offer this year. She has acted often at Barrington Stage - as well as at many other theaters - and is one of Barrington Stage’s newest Artistic Associates.

  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: "The Gentlemen"

Upcoming:

  • 1st Friday Albany - Albany Institute, African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region, Opalka Gallery, Albany Center Gallery, Friday 2/7, 5-8 PM
  • Cheap Trick - Palace Theatre, Albany, Friday 2/7, 8 PM
  • Southern Avenue - The Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany, Friday 2/7, 8 PM
  • Cyrille Aimee - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Saturday 2/8, 8 PM
  • Jump the Line Film Series - "In Our Time" (Studio 1—Goodman); "Luanda-Kinshasa" (Concert Hall); "A Hundred Schools of Thought" (Theater); "What Are We Doing Here Together?" (Theater) - EMPAC, RPI, Troy, Saturday 2/8 through February 14th, various times
  • Dianne Reeves - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Sunday 2/9, 3 PM
  • Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia: "The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favorites" - The Egg, Albany, Sunday 2/9, 3 PM
  • Jeremy Denk, piano: Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Capital Region Classical at Union College, Memorial Chapel, Schenectady, Sunday 2/9, 3 PM
  • ABBA Mania - Calvin Theater, Northampton, Mass., Sunday 2/9, 7 PM

New movies: "Birds of Prey"

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