Arts & Culture

Rob Edelman: Indian Point

5 hours ago

At this time of the year, escapism rules in movie theaters. And this is understandable. It’s the summer, and people are searching for summer fun. Now granted, some seasonal theatrical releases are satisfying, but it’s been my experience that the majority are not. Yet the point here is that films that tackle serious issues are occasionally arriving onscreen. One of them, a documentary titled INDIAN POINT, not only is information-packed and provocative, but it is a film with a local connection.

Any Questions #256

6 hours ago

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel try to short-circuit this week's show.

  The 16th annual Saratoga Choral Festival takes place at the Spa Little Theater in Spa State Park - this Sunday, July 31st, at 3:00 PM. The festival will present a concert of music for children featuring a semi-staged production of the popular Magic Tree House: The Musical. 

The Magic Tree House: The Musical is based on the popular series of children’s books by Mary Pope Osborne. This show has seen sold out performances for its national tour. Several musical selections have been adapted for chorus, and special guest performers from the Saratoga Children’s Theater will provide extra speaking roles and also sing with the choir.

Also included on the program - Never-Ending Song, a Young Person’s Guide to the Choir. Originally premiered by the Vancouver Chamber Choir in 2001, the Never-Ending Song takes children through a brief history of choral singing through music.

The Saratoga Choral Festival began in the summer of 2001 and we are joined by Festival Director, Andrea Goodman, and by chorus members Mira DeGregory and Jackson Cherry. 

There were these two blokes in England, about 150 years ago…who started writing the stories and composing the music for what were at the time called comic operas.  Some of you are already ahead of me with the names of Gilbert and Sullivan.  And you are spot-on. 

Most Shakespearean scholars – of which I am not – classify The Merchant of Venice as a comedy. This play was written following a period when William Shakespeare became known for his popular portrayals of English kings.

ALBANY – Albany has another concert venue this summer. “A Night with Janis Joplin,” which plays at Capital Repertory Theatre through August 7, is more a concert than it is a theatrical production.  It’s a sincere and heartfelt tribute to the rock star that in 1967, at the age of 27, died from a drug overdose and alcohol abuse.

Rogovoy Report For 7/22/16

Jul 22, 2016

The weekend’s cultural highlights in the region include two new-music festivals; an unusual daughter-father folk duo featuring a semi-famous rocker; a rarely staged opera; several world premieres; cabaret, comedy and a whole lot more.


  Alan Ayckbourn’s The Norman Conquests is a brilliant comic trilogy telling the same story from the point of view of three different rooms: Living Together follows the romp in the living room; Table Manners times perfectly to show what happens in the dining room, and Round and Round the Garden depicts desperately funny activities in the garden.

Each play stands completely on its own, but together, they are a triumph of theatrical imagination.

Audience members have traveled from Northern Stage to Dorset Theatre Festival to see the first two plays. Now, Weston Playhouse in Weston, Vermont presents the third. Richard Gallagher has played Norman in all three productions and he joins us now.

Richard’s Broadway credits include The Lyons and Roundabout Theatre Company’s The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by Brian Bedford.

Jonathan Stafford
Henry Leutwyler

  Our final guest today is Jonathan Stafford. Jonathan is a ballet master at New York City Ballet and a member of the faculty at the School of American Ballet, NYCB’s official school.

Born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Mr. Stafford began his dance training at the age of eight. He was invited to become an apprentice with New York City Ballet in October 1998 and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in February 1999. He was promoted to the rank of soloist in March of 2006 and became a principal dancer in May 2007. After retiring from the Company in May 2014, he was appointed an NYCB ballet master.

At the School of American Ballet, Mr. Stafford served as a member of SAB’s guest faculty during the 2006-07 school year and joined the School’s permanent faculty in September 2007. Mr. Stafford received the Martin E. Segal Award from the School of American Ballet in 1999.

NYCB performs Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream
Paul Kolnik

  Marquerite Mehler is the Director of Production of New York City Ballet and has been stage managing for more than 20 years, primarily in dance. Since joining the Production Department of New York City Ballet in 1995, she has stage managed more than 2000 performances of more than 150 ballets in the New York City Ballet repertory, including world premieres by Peter Martins, Justin Peck, Alexei Ratmansky, Jerome Robbins, and Christopher Wheeldon.

With the production staff, Ms. Mehler supervises scenery, lighting, and all other production elements of the NYCB repertory both at home and on tour. She also coordinates with the other NYCB departments and supervises the NYCB and State Theatre stagehands.

Maria Kowroski
Paul Kolnik

  Maria Kowroski is a principal dancer with New York City Ballet. She began her training in Grand Rapids, where she was born.

Ms. Kowroski entered the School of American Ballet in the fall of 1992. She became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in the summer of 1994 and was invited to join the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in January of 1995. In the spring of 1997, Ms. Kowroski was promoted to the rank of soloist and in the spring of 1999, she was promoted to principal dancer.

Ms. Kowroski was a recipient of the Princess Grace Award in 1994. She will perform the principal role in Balanchine’s Agon while at SPAC.

  Troy Schumacher is a choreographer and member of New York City Ballet’s corps de ballet.

In 2010, Schumacher founded BalletCollective, and as the company’s director and resident choreographer, he collaborates closely with composers, artists, and designers on original works. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, began his ballet training with Atlanta Ballet and the Chautauqua School of Dance before entering the School of American Ballet in 2002.

He became a New York City Ballet apprentice in 2005 and a member of the corps de ballet in December of that year. His second work for New York City Ballet, Common Ground, will have its SPAC premiere at the sold-out Gala performance. He will also perform the role of “Puck” in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Lauren Lovette
Luis Pons

  Lauren Lovette is a Principal Dancer with New York City Ballet. She was born in Thousand Oaks, California and began studying ballet at the age of 11 at the Cary Ballet Conservatory in Cary, North Carolina

Ms. Lovette became an apprentice with NYCB and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in September 2010. She was promoted to soloist in February 2013 and to principal in June 2015. She was the 2012-2013 recipient of the Janice Levin Award.

Ms. Lovette will choreograph her first-ever work for New York City Ballet, which will premiere in the fall of 2016. She will perform a principal role in Balanchine’s “Rubies” from Jewels and will have her debut in Christopher Wheeldon’s most recent work for NYCB, American Rhapsody, set to Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” when it has its second SPAC performance on 7/30.

  Peter Martins first joined the New York City Ballet in 1970, having already achieved international fame with the Royal Danish Ballet. His career in New York saw him move from Principal Dancer to his current position as Ballet Master-in-Chief.

Martins most popular performances as a dancer include Apollo and as the Cavalier in mentor George Balanchine’s Nutcracker. His contributions as a world renowned choreographer include Calcium Light Night, Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet.

Martins has accompanied the Ballet on their annual summer journey up to Saratoga, and has taken the time to speak with us this morning.

  Andrews Sill is the Associate Music Director of New York City Ballet. He joined New York City Ballet in the spring of 2009 and served as Interim Music Director from 2012 to 2015. He also serves as Music Director of Milwaukee Ballet.

Andrews was just fifteen years old when he was accepted as a conducting and piano student at Yale University, where received his bachelor’s degree with honors. He continued his education under scholarship and fellowship awards from the Manhattan School of Music, earning his doctorate in 1987.

He will be conducting A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Gala program of Contemporary works on Saturday night.

Justin Peck
New York Times

  Justin Peck is a Soloist and the Resident Choreographer of New York City Ballet. He has created more than 25 works for a range of companies including New York City Ballet, the Paris Opéra Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Miami City Ballet.

In 2011, NYCB Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins designated Justin to receive New York Choreographic Institute’s first year-long choreographic residency. Peck was named New York City Ballet’s Resident Choreographer, the second in the Company’s history, in July of 2014.

His latest work Scherzo Fantastique will premiere here at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Saturday Night for SPAC’s 50th. It will be his 11th work for the Company.

  Taylor Stanley has danced at SPAC before. But, this summer marks his first performances in Saratoga as a Principal dancer.

In September 2009, Taylor became an apprentice with NYCB, and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet a year later. He was promoted to soloist in 2013 and to principal dancer in May of this year.

He will be performing a principal role in Justin Peck’s SPAC World Premiere Scherzo Fantastique which will be performed this Saturday Night as part of the Anniversary Gala. Taylor will also perform in Balanchine’s Jewels presented twice next week.

Marcia White
DONNA ABBOTT VLAHOS

  Marcia White, in a former life was a nurse and political aide, but for the past 12 seasons – she has been SPAC’s president and executive director.

In February of this year – she announced that this 50th Anniversary season – would be her last and she will retire at its conclusion. Marcia was appointed the president of SPAC in 2005 and is credited for leading major renovations, bringing the facility out of the red and maintaining SPAC’s classical offerings.


  It’s a Saturday in winter, somewhere in the suburbs, and a high school girls’ soccer team warms up for its indoor game. They stretch in sync – right quad, left quad, lunge – and their conversations spin around and off their turf, far outside the air dome bubble, and back again.

 

The Wolves, by Sarah DeLappe, is the second mainstage production this season presented by Vassar and New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theatre. The production, directed by Lila Neugebauer, runs July 21st through July 31st.

 

The play was a recipient of the American Playwriting Foundation’s inaugural Relentless Award and a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Sarah DeLappe joins us to tell us more.

James Darrah
Simon Kessler

  Bard SummerScape’s 2016 season presents seven weeks of opera, music, theater, dance, film, and cabaret. 

The prime focus of these offerings is the 27th annual Bard Music Festival, exploring the life and times of Italian composer Giacomo Puccini. The rich arts and culture of turn-of-the century Italy inspires a revival of Pietro Mascagni’s art nouveau opera, Iris. 

The production at Bard boasts a new staging and sleek, edgy design and is directed by James Darrah.

  Spencertown Academy Arts Center is presenting the new exhibit: “Mysterious and Unexpected: The Merger of Art and Science.” There will be an opening reception on Saturday, July 23rd from 4-6PM and the show will remain on display through August 14th.

Curator Barbara Lax Kranz says the exhibit displays the work of six artists who incorporate science to create their art. We will meet two of the featured artists this morning.

Often inspired by current issues in science, Carrie Crane’s recent work uses the tools of Knowledge Visualization (graphs, maps, and diagrams) to address issues of ambiguity and subjectivity in visual communication.

Karen Schoolman is an abstract painter, a student of botanical illustration, and a physician. A packet of 50-year-old x-rays of her mother’s leg inspired her current artwork.

Rob Edelman: Todd Solondz, Wiener-Dog, And More

Jul 18, 2016

Upon first hearing the title WIENER-DOG, written and directed by Todd Solondz, one of the most idiosyncratic and fiercely independent American filmmakers of the past two decades, I was immediately reminded of WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE, his breakthrough feature, which dates from 1995. WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE remains a brilliant film, not just one of the best of its year but a top film of its decade.

Audrey Kupferberg: Pioneers Of African-American Cinema

Jul 15, 2016

The 1920s through the 1940s are the Golden Age of Cinema.  It was a time of tremendous growth in the film industry, when billions of investment dollars were poured into the purchase of Hollywood real estate, and the studio system perfected the production of sophisticated motion pictures. 

Any Questions #255

Jul 15, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel focus on cable news this week.

ALBANY  -  In the musical “Chicago” there are two leads – Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart.  Both women murdered their husbands and have manipulated their way to become media darlings – which assures they will be acquitted by a celebrity obsessed jury.


  In her one woman show, Forever, Pulitzer prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith travels to the famed Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris where, by the graves of legendary artists such as Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde, and Jim Morrison, she finds unexpected grace in a gripping tale of the legacy a daughter inherits from her mother.

Forever opens tonight on Weston Playhouse’s OtherStages in Weston Vermont, directed by Steve Stettler.

  The Drama Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk Award-winning rock, horror, musical comedy, Little Shop of Horrors, is open for business at The Colonial Theater in Pittsfield, MA!

The Berskhire Theatre Group production is directed by Ethan Heard the celebrated, farcical production has music by Academy Award, Golden Globe Award and Tony Award-winners Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman.

Stanley Bahorek plays Seymour Krelborn. He and Ethan Heard join us. 

  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 and Dave Need Wedding Dates

Upcoming:

  Constance Shulman is best known as Yoga Jones on Orange is the New Black on Netflix and the voice of Patti Mayonnaise on the cartoon, Doug

She is currently performing at The Williamstown Theatre Festival as The Strega in Tennesse Williams' The Rose Tattoo, starring Marisa Tomei and directed by Trip Cullman. Shulman's daughter, Gus Birney, plays Rosa in the production. 

A perilous romance. A tragic history. An infamous wager.

Shakespeare’s most controversial yet poignant play, The Merchant of Venice, offers a visceral display of courtship, prejudice, money and revenge, ending ultimately in a choice between life and death.

Shakespeare & Company’s Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer reunites with longtime Company member Jonathan Epstein as Shylock, the Bard’s most memorable and highly charged outsider. Tamara Hickey plays Portia in the production. 

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