Arts & Culture

William Kunstler was an American radical lawyer and civil rights activist, known for his politically unpopular clients. He was an active member of the National Lawyers Guild, a board member of the American Civil Liberties Union and the co-founder of the Law Center for Constitutional Rights. Kunstler's defense of the Chicago Seven from 1969–1970 led The New York Times to label him "the country's most controversial and, perhaps, its best-known lawyer."

Starting later this week, Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA will present The Creative Place International/And Theatre Company production of Kunstler starring Jeff McCarthy in the title role. The show will run on BSC’s St. Germain Stage through June 10th. It is directed by Meagen Fay.

Jeff McCarthy is a Tony Award nominated actor and Associate Artist at Barrington Stage and he joins us.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back in action, hoping the quiz takes flight.

Rogovoy Report 5/12/17

May 12, 2017

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include the unveiling of a new outdoor arts space; an acoustic solo concert by a jam-band legend; Portuguese jazz; vintage jazz; dream-pop; and a whole lot more.

Bob Goepfert Reviews "Cabaret" At Proctors

May 11, 2017
Leigh Ann Larkin as Sally Bowlesand Benjamin Eakeley as Clifford Bradshawin in CABARET
Joan Marcus

SCHENECTADY  -  The national touring production of “Cabaret,” that is at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady through Sunday, is proof the show is one of the all-time great musicals.  

Will Pullen and Khris Davis in Sweat
Joan Marcus

Playwright Lynn Nottage made history last month as the first woman to win two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. Her play Sweat — her first to be produced on Broadway — was awarded the honor. She received her first Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for Ruined, which was produced off-Broadway.

Sweat first premiered and was co-commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage. After a sold-out run at off-Broadway’s prestigious Public Theater, the play moved to Broadway where it is now running at Studio 54 and is nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play.

Directed by Kate Whoriskey, Sweat takes place in Reading, PA and features characters whose way of life is falling apart after the decline of the manufacturing, steel, and coal industries. They work together and they drink together - and when layoffs and picket lines begin - they find themselves fighting each other in the hard fight to keep going.

We are joined now by actors Khris Davis and Will Pullen - they play best-friends, Chris and Jason in Sweat. (To learn more about Davis and Pullen - their bios are below.)

The Roundabout Theatre Company production of Kander and Ebb’s classic Tony Award winning musical drama, Cabaret, is at Proctors this week. This touring production was directed by Sam Mendes and co-directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall.

To set the stage:

1930s, Berlin: The Kit Kat Klub is a seedy cabaret, a place of decadent celebration. The Klub's Master of Ceremonies, or M.C., is joined by the cabaret girls and headliner-of-sorts, Sally Bowles.

In a train station, Cliff Bradshaw arrives, a young American writer coming to Berlin to work on his new novel.

At Proctors this week, Jon Peterson plays the Emcee and Benjamin Eakeley plays Cliff.

Jeremy Daniel

Based on the 2007 movie of the same name, the hit Broadway musical Waitress was directed by Diane Paulus and was nominated for 4 Tony Awards last year. The show has a book by Jessie Nelson and the music and lyrics are by Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles.

Bareilles is currently making her Broadway debut as Jenna -- a pregnant diner waitress and inventor of pies who needs to stop burying her hope and unhappy marriage in creative ingredients and make a change.

The other half of that unhappy marriage is Earl, the kind of guy who peaked in high school and never got over it. Earl is handsome but gruff, disconsolate, short tempered, beer-soaked -- and currently being played on Broadway by Will Swenson. His last performance at the pie-scented Brooks Atkinson Theatre will be on June 11th. (Sara Bareilles will leave then, too and Betsy Wolfe will begin performances as Jenna on June 13.)

Swenson’s recent Broadway credits include Disaster!, Les Misérables, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and Hair -- for which he was nominated for a Tony Award. In the summer of 2015 he played Jamie Tyrone in Eugene O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten at the Williamstown Theatre Festival - opposite is wife Audra McDonald; and last summer he served up a boisterous and bodacious Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance at Barrington Stage.

Bob Goepfert Reviews "Bandstand"

May 9, 2017

NEW YORK, NY – A new and rather special musical, “Bandstand,” just opened at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on 44th Street in Manhattan.  It’s an uplifting work about soldiers returning home after World War II. It’s a show that is filled with music and dance but never depreciates the challenges facing veterans returning from war. Indeed, it’s just the opposite. This is a work that honors all veterans, and its d it balances traditional music theater with a topic rarely addressed by and it’s accomplished with pandering.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill is now open for its 2017 season and features two new landmark exhibitions. 

“The Parlors” is an immersive installation that combines technology and meticulous historic restoration of the two parlors of Cole's 1815 Home, the rooms where America's first major art movement was born. It features a stunning discovery revealed during the restoration: the earliest-known, interior decorative painting by an American artist. 

Also, “Sanford R. Gifford in the Catskills” is an exhibition of Catskills paintings of Sanford Robinson Gifford (1823-1880), a leading member of the Hudson River School of landscape painting, who credited Cole’s works with stimulating his interest in landscape painting. Gifford grew up in Hudson, and this is the first such show of this magnitude to take place in the region that inspired Cole and Gifford.

Betsy Jacks, Executive Director of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, joins us this morning to discuss the opening these two exhibitions and their importance to the history of the region. 

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back in all their imperfect glory.

Rob Edelman: The Penguin Counters

May 8, 2017

So far in 2017, the vast majority of new films I’ve seen have been disappointing and instantly forgettable, if not downright awful. I’ll skip citing the truly dreadful titles. However, even those that have some value are deeply flawed.

SARATOGA SPRINGS – When “The Foreigner” was first produced in 1984, it was seen as a jolly, light-hearted farce.   The production that is playing at Home Made Theatre in Saratoga Springs through May 7 maintains all the comedic values in the piece, but because of today’s political climate, the play’s once seemingly innocent approach to foreigners now has more of an edge to it.

Rogovoy Report 5/5/17

May 5, 2017

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include a Grammy Award-winning guitar quartet; a cutting-edge string quartet; a Nordic folk duo; a living legend of cabaret; and a whole lot more.

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!

Albany Pro Musica Readies "The Armed Man"

May 4, 2017

Albany Pro Musica will combine orchestra, voices and film this weekend for its production of Sir Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace. The program will be presented at EMPAC on the RPI campus in Troy on Saturday at 7:30. The work is described as a dramatic portrayal of the growing menace of war, interspersed with moments of reflection, and ending with hope for peace. Albany Pro Musica artistic director Dr. José Daniel Flores Caraballo will conduct the ambitious program.

Some People Hear Thunder is a powerful musical love story - an uplifting tale of a young reporter, his true love in America, and Armenians fighting for dignity and survival in the face of brutality. Set between 1914 and 1915, in New York and southern Turkey, in the midst of shocking historical events, Some People Hear Thunder comes to life through song, dance and beautiful storytelling.

The show is running at The Capital Repertory Theater in Albany, NY through May 21.

To tell us more we welcome Gerson Smoger and Kevin McGuire. 

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.

Rob Edelman: Gifted Children

May 1, 2017

In GIFTED, a new feature that has just been released to theaters, a six-year-old girl whose mother has committed suicide becomes immersed in a custody battle between her uncle, who has been raising her, and her grandmother. The fact that she is a math wizard, a child prodigy, is irrelevant. She still is a kid, and her feelings, fears, and needs are fleshed out onscreen.

Veteran New York City songwriter Garland Jeffreys has done it all. His discography stretches back to the 1960s, when he met Lou Reed before The Velvet Underground and played at countless Manhattan nightclubs.

He's been called an edgy urban poet, the sound of New York, a confessional singer-songwriter and an explorer of the links between rock, race and rebellion. His Atlantic Records version of "Wild in the Streets" has become an anthem for skaters, and he's been featured in Martin Scorsese's documentary on blues music.

He has just released his latest album, 14 Steps To Harlem, his third in six years. He will be at The Linda - WAMC's Performing Arts Studio in Albany, NY on Saturday night.

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.

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