Sarah LaDuke

Producer

Sarah grew up in Saranac Lake, NY where she worked part time at Pendragon Theatre all through high school and college, primarily backstage as she is a truly superficial [read: bad] actress. She graduated from SUNY Albany in 2006 with a BA in English and started at WAMC a few weeks later as a part-time board-op in the control room. Through a series of offered and seized opportunities she is now the Senior Contributing Producer of The Roundtable.

Ways to Connect

Caroline O'Connor and John Bolton in Anastasia
Joan Marcus

The new Broadway musical Anastasia features a book by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally and a lush, new score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens. Tony Award-winning director Darko Tresnjak directs a cast that features Christy Altomare, Derek Klena, John Bolton, Ramin Karimloo, Tony Award nominee Mary Beth Piel, and our guest: Caroline O’Connor -- who has been nominated for a Drama League award and an Outer Critic Circle Award for her portrayal of Countess Lily.

This marks O’Connor’s third Broadway show - she’s performed on the West End, at the Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House. Some of her signature roles include Edith Piaf, Judy Garland, Velma Kelly in Chicago, Anita in West Side Story and Mabel in Mack & Mabel.

She’s well known in certain circles for playing Nini in Baz Luhrman’s 2001 film, Moulin Rouge!

Jeff Carpenter


  Ernest Shackleton Loves Me is an inventive new musical adventure running off-broadway at 2econd Stage's Tony Kiser Theatre in New York City.

 

The show stars GrooveLily’s electro-violinist Valerie Vigoda and Wade McCollum; it’s directed by Obie Award® winning director Lisa Peterson and features with music composed by Brendan Milburn and lyrics by Valerie Vigoda. The book is by Joe DiPietro.

 

DiPietro won two Tony Awards for Memphis, his other work includes The Second Mrs. Wilson, Nice Work If You Can Get It,  All Shook Up, Living on Love. The Toxic Avenger, Over the River and Through the Woods, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.

Emily Padgett at opening night of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Emilio Madrid-Kuser / broadway.com

A new musical stage adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, opened on Broadway last Sunday.

Directed by three-time Tony Award-winner Jack O’Brien, the new musical features beloved songs from the 1971 film version, including “Pure Imagination” and “The Candy Man,” alongside a brand new score from the songwriters of Hairspray, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, a book from David Greig and choreography by Joshua Bergasse. The magic of Mr. Wonka’s factory is created through Mark Thompson’s sets and costumes, lighting by Japhy Weideman, projections by Jeff Sugg, and puppets by Basil Twist.

The cast features Christian Borle and Willy Wonkoa, the titular Charlie Bucket is played by three young actors, and his mother, Mrs. Bucket, is played by Emily Padgett.

Emily’s previous Broadway credits include Legally Blonde, Rock of Ages, the revival of Side Show, and Bright Star.

  Jonathan Coulton is a singer-songwriter, fan-cruise operator, public radio one-man-house-band, and internet personality -- if in fact that is still a thing. In 2005 the Yale educated computer programmer, pledged to release one song per week for a year to prove to himself that he could produce creative output to a deadline and to see whether a professional artist could use the Internet and Creative Commons to support himself. A hair more than a decade -- and a good many musical adventures -- later, Coulton is releasing a new full-length album, Solid State, tomorrow on SuperEgo records.

SuperEgo records is Aimee Mann’s label, and Jonathan Coulton is opening for her on tour - in support of the Solid State release and that of her new album, Mental Illness.  When the tour was at The Egg in Albany, NY earlier this week, Coulton came by the studio to talk about the concept album, its companion graphic novel (written by Matt Fraction and drawn by Albert Monteys), NPR’s Ask Me Another, and The Spongebob Musical.


  Bandstand is a new musical at the Jacobs Theatre on Broadway tomorrow night.

Starring Laura Osnes and Corey Cott and directed and choreographed by Andy Blankenbeuler, Bandstand features book, music, and lyrics by Richard Oberacker and book and lyrics by former Capital Region habitant and arts participant, Robert Taylor.

Set just after World War II, musician Donny Novitski -- a veteran recently returned home to Ohio -- has to figure out where he fits now that the fighting is done. When a national contest to find America’s next music sensation offers a chance at fame and Hollywood fortune, he assembles a swing-band of fellow veterans and a young war widow and throws everything he has at winning.


  Singer-songwriter Aimee Mann will perform at The Egg in Albany, NY on Tuesday, April 25th in support of her new album, Mental Illness available now on SuperEgo Records.

 

She joins us to discuss the album.

 

Jonathan Coulton will open the show. His new album, Solid State, will be available on 4/28 -- also on Mann's label.

Betty Buckley is an award-winning actress of stage and screen. She won a Tony Award for her performance as Grizabella in the original Broadway production of CATS. From 1977 to 1981 she played  on the ABC series Eight is Enough.

She joins us today to discuss her work in M. Night Shyamalan’s recent thriller, SPLIT (which is available this week from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on Blu-ray and DVD) AND her new record, Story Songs - which was released last Friday by Palmetto Records.

In SPLIT, three girls are kidnapped by a man, played by James McAvoy, who is diagnosed with 23 distinct personalities, they must try to escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new persona. Betty Buckley plays Dr. Karen Fletcher - the man’s psychologist.


  The hip-hop string-duo Black Violin is playing at The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall this Thursday at 7:30.

Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester and William "Wil B." Baptiste met at a performing arts high school in Florida where they were both viola players. In Black Violin Kev Marcus plays violin and Wil B. plays viola - both men are also music producers raised on hip-hop. Their music incorporates classical string sounds, innovates on those sounds, and mixes them with hip-hop music. They’ve toured with Wu-Tang Clan, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, and Lupe Fiasco, Tom Petty - and others.

Sharon Wheatley, Rodney Hicks, Geno Carr and Come From Away cast
Matthew Murphy

On September 11, 2001, the air-space over the United States was closed after two planes flew into the the Twin Towers in New York City, another into The Pentagon, and a fourth (headed for D. C.) into a field near near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Thirty-eight planes were diverted from their original paths and forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada. The airport at Gander is larger than makes sense in terms of the size and population of Gander. It’s a relic from the pre-jetplane era -- when flying to or from Europe commercial and private flights stopped there to refuel.

The 38 planes that landed on 9/11 carried passengers from all over the world. Scared, confused, and all-but cut off from their loved-ones, the accidental visitors - or “come-from-aways” as the Newfoundlanders call them - nearly doubled the population of the region for the better part of a week. The locals opened their doors, pantries, hearts, and minds until the airspace was reopened.

Those friendships - formed in upsetting and stressful circumstances - are the heart at the center of Come From Away - a new musical now running on Broadway The Schoenfeld Theatre.

The book, music, and lyrics are by married Canadian writing team Irene Sankoff and David Hein - who created the show by interviewing the real people involved in the events of that day and week. The show is directed by Christopher Ashley with musical staging by Kelly Devine. The cast of 12 plays both - and various - Gander-ites and Plane people.

Cast member Sharon Wheatley joins us now. Her previous Broadway credits include Avenue Q, Les Misérables, Cats, and The Phantom of the Opera. She is the author of the memoir, Til The Fat Girl Sings: From an Overweight Nobody to a Broadway Somebody.

On Saturday, August 19, Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon will hold their annual gala. The event will include a performance featuring Frances McDormand, Suzzy Roche, and Kate Valk presenting an excerpt from The Wooster Group’s Early Shaker Spirituals: A Record Album Interpretation. The piece was originally performed in New York City in 2014.

The Wooster Group is a New York City-based experimental theater company known for creating original dramatic works and Frances McDormand has been an artistic associate and performer with the group for almost 20 years. An accomplished performer for stage and screen, McDormand has won a Tony Award, a Primetime Emmy, and an Academy Award - the latter for her portrayal of Police Chief Marge Gunderson in the Coen brothers 1996 film, Fargo.

Access to the gala event is available now at sponsorship levels. Individual tickets will go on sale after 5/1. For more information visit shakerml.org.

Tony Sheldon and Phillipa Soo in Amélie
broadwayworld.com


  Amélie is a new musical that follows the quest of an inquisitive and introverted young French woman, played by Phillipa Soo, who morphs the streets of Montmartre into a world of her own imagining - while quietly creating moments of joy for the people she works with and lives near.

 

Directed by Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon, Amélie has a book by three-time Tony Award nominee Craig Lucas, music by Daniel Messé and lyrics by Messé and Nathan Tysen.

The musical is based on the 2001 French film of the same name by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant and in 2015 had its critically acclaimed world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. It opens tonight at The Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway.

Tony Sheldon plays Dufayel - Amélie’s brittle-boned neighbor who paints Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party over and over again for years. Sheldon also plays Collignon - the mean-spirited local grocer. In the vibrant production, all of the actors provide an ensemble of bright spirits who inspire and achieve what Amelie sees in her imagination.

Tony Sheldon is an award winning Australian actor who has worked frequently in his homeland, on London’s West End, and Off-Broadway. He was previously seen on Broadway in Priscilla Queen of the Dessert - for which he earned a Tony Award nomination.

Bedlam’s latest production is Cry Havoc! As the company’s website states: Bedlam creates works of theatre that reinvigorate traditional forms in a flexible, raw space, collapsing aesthetic distance and bringing its viewers into direct contact with the dangers and delicacies of life.

In Cry Havoc! Stephan Wolfert recounts his own experiences of military service, weaving his personal narrative with lines from some of William Shakespeare’s most famous speeches. Pulling from The Bard’s war narratives to work through the trauma of the military experience. The one-actor production is directed by Bedlam co-founder Eric Tucker. Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA presented the show last summer - it is currently running at the New Ohio Theatre Off-Broadway in New York City through April 23rd.

Wolfert and Tucker are both military veterans, and Bedlam’s outreach program invites other veterans to meet - every Monday - to explore the writing and performance Shakespeare - and to be mindful in a shared space with other veterans. To relate their experiences to the literature and drama -- and to each other.

Stephan Wolfert joins us to tell us more about the outreach program and Cry Havoc!


  The new film, Speech & Debate, directed by Dan Harris, tells the story of three “outsider” teenagers frustrated by the hypocrisy they see in their parents, teachers, and their entire school board in Salem, Oregon. The film deals with issues of homophobia, First Amendment rights, and censorship alongside trust, friendship, coping with high school. In order to find a way to make their voices heard in their community, Diwata, Solomon, and Howie revive their school’s defunct Speech & Debate team.

 

The screenplay was adapted by Stephen Karam from his play of the same name. Karam is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and his three most recent plays, Speech & Debate, Sons of the Prophet, and The Humans - the latter of which won the Tony Award for Best Play last year - have all been produced in New York City by Roundabout Theatre Company.

Sarah Steele plays Diwata in the film - reprising her role in the Off-Broadway stage production in 2007. Other credit’s include Brigid in The Humans, the 2004 film Spanglish, CBS’s The Good Wife and its spin-off for CBS All-Access, The Good Fight -- on which she plays Marissa Gold.

Steele’s Speech & Debate character, Diwata, is the quintessential High School Drama kid. She sees her life through the lens of whichever play was most recently put up in her school’s auditorium. She’s impulsive -- but she means well. Sarah Steele joins us.

Mark Ruffalo and Jessica Hecht in The Roundabout Theatre Company revival of 'The Price'
Joan Marcus

  Last night in New York City, the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Arthur Miller’s The Price opened on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre. It will run through May 14 (it was scheduled to run through May 7 and was extended).

 

The Price deals with familial resentment, lies, misunderstandings and the lasting generational repercussions of The Great Depression through Miller’s signature and definitive playwriting.

Terry Kinney directs the four actor cast -- Mark Ruffalo, Tony Shaloub, Danny Davito (making his Broadway debut), and friend of WAMC, Jessica Hecht.


  Off-Broadway at The Laura Pels Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company is currently presenting Steven Levenson’s If I Forget. The play is the latest in Roundabout’s ongoing devotion to producing new plays by young playwrights with bold creative voices. Levenson is the acclaimed writer of Dear Evan Hansen and Roundabout’s The Language of Trees.

 

The show is directed by Daniel Sullivan and co-stars Kate Walsh. Walsh is best known for her television role as Dr. Addison Montgomery first on the Shonda Rhimes helmed hits, Grey’s Anatomy and then its spin-off, Private Practice.Walsh began her acting career in Chicago where she studied at the renowned Piven Theatre Workshop. She went on to star in multiple theater productions at the Shakespeare Repertory. She’s worked primarily in film in television in recent years and joins us now to discuss If I Forget and what about it made her want to get back on stage.

If I Forget runs through April 30th. 13 Reasons Why premiers on Netflix on March 31st.

Photograph of a portion of Tanja Hollander's "Are You Really My Friend?" at MASS MoCA
MASS MoCA's Instagram


  How often do you get a friend request on Facebook from someone whose name you don’t recognize? You have mutual friends. You check those names -- and then you aren’t sure exactly who some of those people are either - or how you know them. Imagine telling someone 15 years ago that you have friends you don’t know -- and not in that “a stranger is a just a friend you haven’t met yet” optimistic way.

Tanja Hollander’s new exhibition Are You Really My Friend? is currently on view at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. The show explores, through portraits and paraphernalia, what friendship means to Tanja and what friendship means today - in the age of social media and easy surface relationships. She set out to connect with and photograph her 626 Facebook friends.

I spoke with Tanja and curator Denise Markonish at the museum recently and began by asking Tanja when and where she had the idea for the project.

 Japanese Impressions: Color Woodblock Prints from the Rodbell Family Collection is the first exhibition at the Clark to focus on the Institute’s permanent collection of Japanese prints. The exhibition spans more than a century of Japanese color woodblock printing as represented by three generations of artists who produced prints from the 1830s to the 1970s.

We went to The Clark in Williamstown recently to check out the exhibition with Jay A. Clarke, the Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the museum.

Composers Mark Dancigers and Ellis Ludwig-Leone are collaborating on an evening of music performed by their respective groups NOW Ensemble and members of San Fermin that will bring them to Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, NY this Thursday at 7:30pm.

San Fermin has received critical praise from the likes of NPR, The New York Times, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Le Monde, Washington Post, CBC and more. The band’s self-titled premier album was released in 2013, the follow-up, Jackrabbit, came out in 2015. Their third album, Belong, will be released in April.

NOW Ensemble has brought some of the most exciting composers of their generation to national and international recognition.

This special collaboration between NOW Ensemble and San Fermin will be performed in New York City, Boston, and Troy.

    This week's Book Picks  come from Phil Lewis of The Bennington Bookshop.

List:
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Bailey
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis (paperback out 1/10)
Exit West by Moshin Hamid (avail in March)
The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (avail in May)
A Divided Spy by Charles Cumming (avail in February)
The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen (avail in February)

Will Hermes is a Contributing Editor and Senior Critic at Rolling Stone and the author of Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever.

He joins us with his selections for the best music of 2016.

David Bowie - “Blackstar” - Blackstar
Leonard Cohen - “You Want it Darker” - You Want It Darker
Solange - “Cranes in the Sky” - A Seat at the Table
Bon Iver - “33 “GOD”’ - 22, A Million
Nas, Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Aloe Blacc - “Wrote My Way Out” - The Hamilton MIxtape
Lori McKenna - “Giving up on Your Hometown” - The Bird & the Rifle
Miranda Lambert - “Ugly Lights” - The Weight of These Wings
Blood Orange - “Love Ya” - Blood Orange
ANOHNI - “Drone Bomb Me” - HOPELESSNESS
Angel Olsen - “Shut Up Kiss Me” - MY WOMAN
Wilco - “Normal American Kids” - Schmilco
The Roots (feat. Common & Ingrid Michaelson) - “Who Tells Your Story” - The Hamilton Mixtape


  Cirque du Soleil's Paramour combines -- for the first time - Cirque’s signature spectacle with Broadway's story-telling and song in a production currently running at The Lyric Theatre in New York City. Set in the world of Golden Age Hollywood, the show spins the tale of a beautiful young actress named Indigo who is forced to choose between success and true love.

Ruby Lewis made her Broadway debut in Paramour when it opened in May.

Shawn Stone, Digital Editor of The Alt joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Simon McBurney in The Encounter
Robbie Jack

The Encounter - conceived of, directed by, and starring, Simon McBurney is currently running at the Golden Theater in New York City. McBurney is a multi-Olivier Award-winning, Tony and SAG Award-nominated actor, writer, director and one of Europe’s most original theater makers. He is co-founder and artistic director of Complicite.

The one-man play tells the true story of National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre in 1969 - lost in Brazil as he encounters the Mayoruna - a remote people whose ancient traditions are uninfluenced by the western world. In The Encounter, McBurney also shares the story of the creation of this unique piece of theater.

Molding and stretching the classic artform of storytelling, McBurney and The Encounter team use specific and immersive binaural audio technology and sound design. Each member of the audience wears headphones which create an experience that uses their ears to trick their brain into telling their body and comprehension that events are happening that - in reality - aren’t; a voice from over your shoulder, a mosquito in your face, a fire nearby, a warm breath a little too nearby.


  The exhibition The Art of Seating: Two Hundred Years of American Design, organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville is currently on view at The Albany Institute of History and Art through December 31st.

 

In the show, the chair is experienced not only as a functional item, but as art -- with more than 40 unique chairs on view.

 

Public Relations Associate, Aine Leader-Nagy and Chief Curator Doug McCombs take us on a tour.

A Bronx Tale: The Musical begins previews on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre tomorrow night. The new musical features a book by Academy Award nominee Chazz Palminteri, music by Oscar, Grammy, and Tony Award winner Alan Menken, and lyrics by Grammy Award winner and Oscar and Tony Award nominee Glenn Slater. The show is co-directed by two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro and four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, with choreography by Tony nominee Sergio Trujillo.

Based on the one-man show written and performed by Chazz Palminteri that inspired the now classic film, this streetwise musical will takes the audience to the stoops of the Bronx in the 1960s—where a young man is caught between the father he loves and the mob boss he’d love to be. Featuring an original doo-wop score, this is a tale about respect, loyalty, love, and above all else: family.

The musical premiered at the Tony Award-winning Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ to critical and popular acclaim earlier this year and officially opens on Broadway on December 1st.

Alan Menken joins us.

Nick Cave "Until" at MASS MoCA
Sarah LaDuke


  Nick Cave is an American fabric sculptor, dancer, and performance artist. He is best known for his Soundsuits: wearable fabric sculptures that are bright, whimsical, and otherworldly.

In his new work, “Until,” Cave uses MASS MoCA’s football field-sized space to create his largest installation to date, made up of thousands of found objects and millions of beads, which will make viewers feel as if they have entered a sensory tapestry, like stepping directly inside the belly of one of his iconic Soundsuits.

For the piece Nick Cave and his curators and assistants have gathered 16,000 wind spinners; millions of plastic pony beads; thousands of ceramic birds, fruits, and animals; 1 crocodile; 17 cast-iron lawn jockeys -- and so much more.

We visited MASS MoCA during the installation of “Until” - which opened on October 15th and will be on view in North Adams, MA through early September of next year.

Nick Cave and curator Denise Markonish lead us through the exhibition.


  Earlier this week the New York premiere of Vietgone, opened at Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City. Written by Qui Nguyen and directed by May Adrales, the comedy tells the love story of two refugees from the Vietnam War who have settled in a relocation camp in Middle America - where their “new life” isn’t anything near what they’d hoped.  

 

They play isn’t what you might imagine based on that description either - for instance - one of the bios in the Playbill is for Rap Consultant, Miriam Hyman.

 

Miriam is a 2016 Leonore Annenberg Fellowship recipient for Performing Arts. She is a 2012 graduate of Yale School of Drama where she earned her MFA in acting and a 2011 Princess Grace recipient of the George C. Wolfe award in Theater. Since graduating she’s worked in film, television, regional, and Off-Broadway Theaters including LaMaMa, The Public, Manhattan Theater Club, and Lincoln Center.

 

Under her moniker, Robyn Hood, she will soon release an EP entitled For Higher.


  To Keep the Light is written and directed by Erica Fae, who also stars as Abbie -- the wife of a lighthouse keeper in Northern Maine in the late 1800s. Inspired by true stories of women lighthouse keepers, working in isolation and under extreme conditions, women who inherited their jobs from infirm or deceased husbands or fathers and were trailblazers, embodying feminism long before the word existed.

The film will screen twice at the Woodstock Film Festival - today at 1:30 at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck, NY and Sunday at 2:15 at Upstate Films in Woodstock.

Caroline Shaw wrote the score for To Keep The Light. Shaw is a Grammy-winning singer in Roomful of Teeth and a violinist in ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble). In 2013 she became the youngest ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, for her composition Partita for 8 Voices. Recent and current projects include commissions for the the Cincinnati Symphony, the Guggenheim Museum Works & Process Series, and the Folger Library, as well as collaborations with Kanye West.   

Amber Tamblyn’s directorial debut, Paint it Black, will screen twice at the Woodstock Film Festival - tonight at 6:30 at the Woodstock Playhouse in Woodstock and Sunday at the Orpheum Theatre in Saugerties at 5:30 p.m. She will also participate in the festival’s "Women in Film and Media" panel on Saturday October 15 at the Kleinert James Art Center in Woodstock. Other participants in the panel are Bette Gordon, Catherine Hardwicke, and Mary Stewart Masterson. The panel is moderated by Thelma Adams.

Based on the novel of the same name by Janet Fitch, Paint it Black explores and explodes the confusion of grief when Josie’s boyfriend, Michael, commits suicide and his death brings her into the orbit of his powerful and powerfully cold and heartbroken mother, Meredith. Their strained relationship circling around who knew Michael better, who loved him more, and what can they get from - and do to - each other now that he is gone.

Tamblyn co-wrote the adaptation with Ed Dougherty. It stars Alia Shawkat as Josie and Janet McTeer as Meredith.

  Tomorrow at 8pm, film composer and singer-songwriter Peter Salett and illustrator Michael Arthur will be at MASS MoCA in North Adams to perform Suite for the Summer Rain and Dance of the Yellow Leaf --two related song-cycles that will be accentuated and elevated through a collaboration of the artists that melds the live music performance with live illustration projected behind the band.

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