Arts & Culture

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel switch spots for their "best" quiz yet.

Rogovoy Report 4/28/17

Apr 28, 2017

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include two Grammy nominated folk-rock singer-songwriters; Bach, Beethoven, and Haydn; music of the drone; cutting-edge art exploring the surveillance society; and a whole lot more.

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.

  In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue their series of discussions about women who influenced classical composers - concluding their conversation about Augusta Holmes.

  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.

John Cariani is an actor and a playwright. He has appeared on and Off Broadway, at regional theaters across the country, and in several films and television shows.

He’s been nominated for a Tony Award. He’s done movies with Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Ed Asner. Most people seem to know him from Law & Order, where he played Forensics Tech Beck from 2002-2007.

He started writing plays when he moved to New York City in the late nineties. They include Almost Maine, Love/Sick and Last Gas. His second play, Cul-De-Sac is being produced by the Half Moon Theatre in Poughkeepsie beginning this Saturday through May 14th.                        

It is National Poetry Month and to celebrate, we welcome one of our favorites to the program this morning. Djelloul Marbrook will tell us about his latest collection: Riding Thermals to Winter Grounds.

Djelloul Marbrook was born in Algiers and grew up in New York. He served in the U.S. Navy and for many years was a newspaper reporter and editor. His awards include the Wick Poetry Prize and the International Book Award in Poetry. He hails from New York's mid-Hudson Valley. 

Audrey Kupferberg: World War I On Film

Apr 25, 2017

It has been exactly 100 years since the United States entered World War I.  To commemorate the event, PBS recently debuted THE GREAT WAR, a 6-hour documentary as part of its ongoing American Experience series.  It was called The Great War back then, because nobody had the farsightedness to predict that there would be a Second World War.  In addition to this nonfiction interpretation of the war, two feature films offering very different accounts of the Great War have been made available.


  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.

Rob Edelman: 2017, Going In Style, Old And New

Apr 24, 2017

Back in 1979-- that’s almost four decades ago, for those who are counting-- the original GOING IN STYLE was released. The stars are three then, and still, legendary actors. George Burns, Lee Strasberg, and Art Carney play elderly working class retirees who, as much to break the dreary routine of their lives, decide to pull off a bank heist. This GOING IN STYLE is not just a zany tale of novice if elderly Clyde Barrows, or even a message film about how the aged are shunted aside by society once they no longer are workers or consumers. It also reflects on the reality that, even if one might come into a million dollars-- today, that figure would be more like 10 or 20 million dollars-- one will be unable to buy a cure for old age.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back, and that's no hoax.

 Kris Anderson and Chris Foster in The Normal Heart
Amanda Brinke

One of the more notable things about the production of a “The Normal Heart” presented at Curtain Call Theatre in Latham through April 30, is that it generates a span of emotions ranging from compassion to outrage.  

  In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue their series of discussions about women who influenced classical composers. Last week we learned about Augusta Holmes - a student who inspired César Franck. This week, we learn more about Holmes herself.

April was designated as "Jazz Appreciation Month," known as JAM, in 2002 by the Smithsonian Museum to herald and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz. The year 2017 also marks the centennial of the first recorded jazz album and the first commercial use of the word “jazz,” when the Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded their New Orleans rooted music at Victor Talking Machine. The recording was an instantaneous success, ushering in a new era of popular music, the “Jazz Age.”

To celebrate all of this, and to preview an event at The Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival this summer, we welcome Danilo Perez. Pianist, composer, educator and social activist, Pérez is among the most influential and dynamic musicians of our time. 

On Saturday, June 24th, he'll perform Jazz 100: The Music of Dizzy, Mongo and Monk with Joe Lovano, Jason Palmer, Josh Roseman, Roman Diaz, Ben Street and Adam Cruz.

The Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival is one of the most renowned and longest-running jazz festivals in North America and it marks its 40th anniversary this year. 


  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.

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.

Seen: The Fate of the Furious

Upcoming:

  • Yallah! Underground - Skidmore College Palamountain Hall, Saratoga Springs, Thursday, 4/20, 6 PM
  • The Nile Project - Sanctuary for Independent Media, Troy, Friday, 4/21, 7 PM
  • Sofia Talvik - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Friday 4/21, 8 PM
  • John Pizzarelli Quartet - Massry Center for the Arts, Albany, Friday, 4/21, 7:30 PM
  • Robert Randolph and The Family Band - Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park, Saturday, 4/22, 8 PM
  • Melissa Etheridge - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Sunday 4/23, 7:30 PM
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson - Proctors, Schenectady, Monday, 4/24, 7:30 PM
  • Timothy B. Schmit - Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes, Tuesday, 4/25, 7:30 PM
  • Aimee Mann - The Egg, Albany, Tuesday, 4/25, 7:30 PM
  • Brian Wilson: Pet Sounds 50th Anniversary - Palace Theatre, Albany, Wednesday, 4/26

New movies: Free Fire, The Promise, Disney’s Born in China

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.

When playwright Kieron Barry and his longtime girlfriend broke up, he was stunned.  It took him a long time to process the ‘why’ and the ‘what did I do wrong’.  To try and sort it out, he wrote. 

The result is The Official Adventures of Kieron and Jade a comedy with its world premiere taking place at Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill tomorrow night. 

And that’s what the play is about. Not the break up, but the pros and cons of writing about the break up.

Barry is best known for his one act comedy, Numbers.  He has also been showcased locally in the enormously successful 2012 production of Tomorrow in the Battle at Stageworks/Hudson. 

We welcome him to The Roundtable this morning along with Bridge Street Theatre founder/co-owner, John Sowle.

Rob Edelman: Hail YouTube

Apr 17, 2017

The recent passing of Mary Tyler Moore led me to watch-- and savor-- episodes on YouTube of THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, her classic early-1960s TV sitcom. At this time, Mary Tyler Moore was one of the most beloved and respected women in America. She exuded a “Camelot”-style class and, in this regard, was second only in popularity to Jacqueline Kennedy.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back for their weekly trip to trivia land.

Rogovoy Report 4/14/17

Apr 14, 2017

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include a string quartet; an acrobatic dance troupe; photography from Burma; Haitian music; noir-folk; and a whole lot more.

  In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue their series of discussions about women who influenced classical composers - this week discussing Augusta Holmes - the student who inspired César Franck.

John Oates was born at the perfect time, paralleling the birth of rock ‘n roll. Raised in a small Pennsylvania town, he was exposed to folk, blues, soul, and R&B. Meeting and teaming up with Daryl Hall in the late 1960s, they developed a style of music that was uniquely their own but never abandoned their roots.

In Change of Seasons: A Memoir, John uncovers the grit and struggle it took to secure a recording contract with the legendary Atlantic Records and chronicles the artistic twists and turns that resulted in a DJ discovering an obscure album track that would become their first hit record.

Bob Goepfert Reviews "Beautiful" At Proctors

Apr 13, 2017
Julia Knitel as Carole King
Joan Marcus / Proctors Theatre

Schenectady - Sometimes you go to a Broadway musical and leave without ever hearing a familiar song. In “Beautiful – the Carole King Musical” you not only know every song, but if you are of a certain age, you will likely know what you were doing when you first heard them.

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical - Queens College. Julia Knitel 'Carole King' and Liam Tobin 'Gerry Goffin'
Joan Marcus

Long before she was Carole King, chart-topping music legend, she was Carol Klein, Brooklyn girl with passion and chutzpah. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll. But it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice.

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation.

The National Tour of the award-winning musical is at Proctors in Schenectady this week and we are joined now by Julia Knitel who plays Carole King and Liam Tobin who plays Gerry Goffin.

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.

Rob Edelman: Special Effects, 1930s-Style

Apr 10, 2017

These days, so many movies rely on special effects to draw in and dazzle audiences. But onscreen effects are not late-20th or early-21st-century phenomena. For indeed, they have evolved across the decades. You can go back to the 1930s, for example, and marvel at the effects employed in such classic films as SAN FRANCISCO, THE GOOD EARTH, and the original KING KONG. Respectively, they feature eye-opening images of Clark Gable and Jeanette MacDonald surviving the 1906 San Francisco earthquake; Paul Muni, Louise Rainer, and a locust plague in China; and, most famously, the title ape toying with Fay Wray while cavorting atop the Empire State Building.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel welcome a "third" to the studio.

Rogovoy Report 4/7/17

Apr 7, 2017

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include pioneers of late 20th-century indie-rock; new classical music; old classical music; Miles Davis jazz; literary readings, Texas folk-rock; and a whole lot more.

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