Arts & Culture

  Frankie Liked to Sing celebrates the life of Frank Sinatra, whose iconic voice changed popular music forever and influenced generations of listeners all over the world.

From his early days in Hoboken, New Jersey, to making it big in New York City, Sinatra was determined to follow his dream of being a singer and moving people with his voice. And now, one hundred years after his birth, his legacy lives on with this spirited and loving tribute by John Seven and Jana Christy.

  In 2010's Frank: The Voice, James Kaplan, in rich, distinctive, compulsively readable prose, told the story of Frank Sinatra's meteoric rise to fame, subsequent failures, and reinvention as a star of live performance and screen.

The story of "Ol' Blue Eyes" continues with Sinatra: The Chairman, picking up the day after Frank claimed his Academy Award in 1954 and had reestablished himself as the top recording artist in music.

Frank's life post-Oscar was incredibly dense: in between recording albums and singles, he often shot four or five movies a year; did TV show and nightclub appearances; started his own label, Reprise; and juggled his considerable commercial ventures (movie production, the restaurant business, even prizefighter management) alongside his famous and sometimes notorious social activities and commitments.

  In honor of Sinatra's 100th birthday we speak with Pete Hamill about his classic tribute, Why Sinatra Matters

In this unique homage to an American icon, journalist and award-winning author Pete Hamill evokes the essence of Sinatra--examining his art and his legend from the inside, as only a friend of many years could do.

Shaped by Prohibition, the Depression, and war, Francis Albert Sinatra became the troubadour of urban loneliness. With his songs, he enabled millions of others to tell their own stories, providing an entire generation with a sense of tradition and pride belonging distinctly to them.

Matilda The Musical is the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.

Rolling Stone called the show “hands down the best musical of the season.” Based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl, Matilda continues to thrill sold-out audiences of all ages on Broadway and in London’s West End.

The show is playing through Sunday at Proctors in Schenectady.

Rob Edelman: Youth

Dec 7, 2015

These days, so many films explore issues relating to young people: teens or twentysomethings who are coming of age, or falling in love, or seeking their place in the world. This is not surprising given the ages of the majority of contemporary moviegoers. But still, there are films that center on the lives of older folks. This list only begins with THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL and its sequel; ELSA & FRED, starring Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer; and 5 FLIGHTS UP, also known as RUTH & ALEX, with Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman.

Any Questions #223

Dec 4, 2015

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are out to prove this wasn't all a flash in the pan.

Rogovoy Report For December 4, 2015

Dec 4, 2015

This weekend our region boasts orchestral indie-rock, blissful folk, gothic folk, art openings, literary readings, country-pop, holiday funk and original roots-rock.

Photograph of Robert Battle
Andrew Eccles

  Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized as a vital “American Cultural Ambassador” to the world and New York City Center’s Principal Dance Company, returns to the New York City Center stage for the 45th consecutive year from December 2 (that’s today) through January 3rd. Led by Robert Battle in his fifth season, Ailey’s renowned artists will bring to life an expansive repertory of two dozen works by some of America’s most celebrated dance-makers during this annual season.

Dancer and choreographer Robert Battle became Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater after being personally selected by Judith Jamison, making him only the third person to head the Company since it was founded in 1958.

My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle’s Journey to Alvin Ailey is a children’s picture book about Robert’s life. It is published by Simon & Schuster.

  Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings have just released a new record, It’s A Holiday Soul Party. Their previous album, Give the People What They Want was nominated for a Grammy Award. The new Christmas album features soul revivals of holiday classics and original songs like “There Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects” and “8 Days (of Hanukkah).”

Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings are performing at The Egg in Albany, NY this Saturday, December 5th at 7:30pm -- bringing their inimitable energy and sound to the stage of The Hart Theatre. They are also guests on “Michael Bublé’s Christmas in Hollywood” which will air on NBC on December 10th. The Dap Kings blast and blare, side-step and put on a great show at the center of which is the incredible vigor of Sharon Jones - providing lead vocals and more power than seems possible.

Rob Edelman: Hitchcock Truffaut

Nov 30, 2015

In recent years, there’s been an explosion of new documentaries highlighting a host of subjects. This year, quite a few have been biographical in nature. Two high-profile titles, which have earned heaps of PR, deal with the lives and fates of very different young women. The first is AMY, a biography of Amy Winehouse. Then there is HE NAMED ME MALALA, the tale of the Pakistani schoolgirl who was harassed by the Taliban after speaking out in favor of the rights of girls to attend school.

Bob Goepfert Reviews "Charley's Aunt"

Nov 28, 2015

If this holiday season you get a yearning for chestnuts roasting on an open hearth, a visit to Curtain Call Theatre in Latham might satisfy you.  There’s no open hearth, but the comedy “Charley’s Aunt” is a certainly a theatrical chestnut.

Any Questions #222

Nov 27, 2015

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel salute this Black Friday show.

One-hundred years ago, renowned American actor William Gillette stood before the cameras at the Essanay Studios in Chicago to make a celluloid record of his celebrated stage performance as Sherlock Holmes. The play was based on four of the popular Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and was adapted by Gillette with the author’s blessing.  Gillette played the legendary fictional detective on stage 1300 times from 1899 to 1932. He acted the character wearing the deerstalker cap and smoking the large, curved pipe, according to 19th century illustrations by Sidney Paget in the Strand Magazine.

Sarah McLachlan At UPAC

Nov 25, 2015
photo of Sarah McLachlan
sarahmclachlan.com

  Three time Grammy winning folk-pop singer and songwriter Sarah McLachlan is best known for her emotional ballads, including "I Will Remember You," "Sweet Surrender," "Adia" , "Possession", "Building a Mystery" and "Angel."

She founded the concert festival Lilith Fair, and has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. She will perform at UPAC in Kingston, NY on Sunday, November 29th.

  This holiday season, Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany presents A Christmas Story: The Musical.

The Chinese food, the Red Ryder BB gun, the frozen pole, and the leg lamp are all there in this musical based on the classic 1983 movie, which itself was based on stories by legendary radio humorist Jean Shepherd. The show features music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and a book by Joseph Robinette. Maggie Mancinelli Cahill directs.

Preview performances for A Christmas Story: The Musical take place November 27th through the 29th. Opening night is Tuesday, December 1.

Rob Edelman: Frame By Frame

Nov 23, 2015

Here in the United States, a free press is an accepted fact of life. A reporter can research a story and an editor can print that story, however controversial, while a writer can offer an opinion in a column on an editorial page-- and this can be done without fear that those they are accusing or exposing will use their power to permanently silence them. Of course, however, such is not the case in other parts of the world: a sorry reality that is emphasized in FRAME BY FRAME, a sobering, illuminating documentary that has just been released theatrically.

  Glyn Johns' work as a producer and engineer of the most seminal rock and roll records of his time not only contributed to an unsurpassed string of hits, but helped to define a sound of a generation.

Many of the artists with whom he worked—The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Eric Clapton, among many others—have stood the test of time and are considered classics of the genre.

In his memoir Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits, now out in paperback, Johns opens up about his life and career in the studio, contributing to the annals of music history and sharing anecdotes.

  Following a near-fatal car accident, a world-famous novelist finds himself in a strange house being nursed back to health by his doting, self-proclaimed Number One Fan. But as her love for his work turns to dangerous obsession, he realizes he must plot his greatest story yet: how to escape with his life.

Stephen King’s novel, Misery, was adapted for the screen in 1990 directed by Rob Reiner and starring James Caan as Paul Sheldon and Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes in an Academy Award and Golden Globe hobbling -- ahem, winning -- performance.

Misery is back in a new Broadway adaptation written by two-time Academy Award winner William Goldman with action film star Bruce Willis making his Broadway debut as Paul Sheldon and Laurie Metcalf picking up Annie Wilke’s bottles of Novril ... and sledgehammer.

Will Frears directs the production which is running at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City through February 14th.

Bob Goepfert Reviews "Motown The Musical"

Nov 21, 2015

SCHENECTADY - “Motown the Musical,” which is at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady through Sunday, lists almost 60 songs in the program. Each of them should be familiar to everyone in the audience because they were the heartbeat of the country during 1960s, 70s and 80s.

  Roundabout Theatre Company is celebrating its 50th Anniversary and today we wrap up a week-long series of interviews with Roundabout artists discussing this special season.

Next month, The American Airlines Theatre will become home to a host of backstage antics and slamming doors in Michael Frayn’s superb farce, Noises Off.

Jeremy Herrin directs a cast featuring Andrea Martin, Campbell Scott, Tracee Chimo, Daniel Davis, David Furr, Kate Jennings Grant,Rob McClure, Jeremy Shamos, and Megan Hilty.

Megan Hilty played Glinda in Wicked (on tour and on Broadway) and originated the role of Doralee Rhodes in the musical adaptation of 9 to 5. She has a great and growing concert career and portrayed Ivy Lynn, the upcoming diva that viewers loved to loathe on NBC’s Broadway musical series, Smash. She wil play Brooke Ashton in Noises Off.

  Songwriter Stephin Merritt has been called “the Cole Porter of his generation” by TimeOut New York. His work includes the Magnetic Fields masterpiece 69 Love Songs and two dozen albums under four different band names besides.

He’s the author of the book 101 Two-Letter Words – which was illustrated by New Yorker cartoonist, Roz Chast.

He will be at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA this Saturday, November 21st at 8pm, playing 26 songs pulled from Merritt's repertoire, played in alphabetical order with Magnetic Fields bandmate and cellist Sam Davol.

  Singer-Songwriter, Martin Sexton, is playing The Calvin in Northampton, MA on Saturday, November 21st. Sexton's latest release is Mixtape of the Open Road. He is a walking blender of American music including soul, gospel, country, rock, blues, and rhythm and blues. His elastic vocal range, improvisational ability, scat singing, guitar solos, and finger-style guitar picking come along with a very comfy, varied, feel.

Sexton began his career busking in Harvard Square. After releasing two recordings on Atlantic Records he eventually launched his very own label.

He joined us at The Linda to talk about his musical inspirations and to play a few tunes.

Any Questions #221

Nov 20, 2015

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel switch seats for a show about classic books they may or may not have read.

Actors Gabriel Ebert, Matt Ryan, and Keira Knightley on stage in a small rowboat. The boat is in a pool of water upstage which makes it look like they are in a boat on a river.
Joan Marcus


  The Roundabout Theatre Company is celebrating its 50th Anniversary and this week we’re exploring its season with a series of interviews about current and shortly upcoming shows.

Matt Ryan plays Laurent in Thérèse Raquin which is currently running at Studio 54. The play is adapted by Helen Edmundson from the novel of the same title by Emile Zola. Evan Cabnet directs a cast that in addition to Matt Ryan features Tony Award winners Judith Light and Gabriel Ebert, and Keira Knightley making her Broadway debut.

  The Roundabout Theatre Company in New York City -- the largest not-for-profit theatre company in America -- is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this season. This week we’re highlighting some of their work.

Early next year, Roundabout will open a revival of She Loves Me. With a book by Joe Masteroff, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and music by Jerry Bock, She Loves Me is an adaptation of the Hungarian play, Parfumerie. The films The Shop Around the Corner and You’ve Got Mail used the same source material as this musical, which was first produced on Broadway in 1963.

In 1993, She Loves Me was the first musical Roundabout ever produced. It was directed by Scott Ellis and earned a Tony Award for Boyd Gaines and a Drama Desk Award for Best Revival of a Musical. Scott Ellis returns to helm this new production boasting a cast that includes Laura Benanti, Zachary Levi, Rene Auberjonois, Jane Krakowski, and Gavin Creel.

Creel originated the role of Jimmy in Thoroughly Modern Millie, for which he earned a Tony nomination. He played Claude in the 2009 revival of Hair, earning another Tony Nomination. He is currently playing Elder Price in The Book of Mormon and he’ll play Stephen Kodaly in She Loves Me.

  Featuring classic songs such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” the Broadway hit: Motown The Musical is now playing at Proctors in Schenectady through Sunday.

It is the true story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and many more.

We meet two of the stars this morning: Jarran Muse plays Marvin Gaye and Syndee Winters portrays Diana Ross.

Joan Marcus

  The Roundabout Theatre Company in New York City is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year and we are highlighting its work this week.

Roundabout produces work both on and Off-Broadway and at its Off-Broadway theater, The Laura Pels, Roundabout is currently presenting The Humans, a new play by Stephen Karam. Directed by Joe Mantello the show has announced a move from off to on Broadway next Spring -- with its current ensemble cast intact.

In the play, we join The Blakes - a solid Scranton family - as they celebrate Thanksgiving in their youngest daughter’s apartment in New York City. The family dynamic is strained and real. Karam’s writing is crisp, emotional, flip, and funny. The matriarch and patriarch of the family are played by Jane Houdyshell and Reed Birney, respectively.

Rob Edelman: Girls Lost

Nov 16, 2015

If you go back through movie history, you’ll note that countless films from certain periods and cultures mirror those periods and cultures in innumerable ways. So it is not surprising that, in 2015, so many films deal with gender issues and sexual identity, not to mention the belief that all men and all women are created equal no matter their sexual orientation.

  The Roundabout Theatre Company in New York City is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. The largest non-for-profit theatre company in America, Roundabout has grown from a small 150-seat theatre in a converted supermarket basement to operating five stages on and off Broadway. It reaches 700,000 theatergoers, students, educators and artists across the country and around the world every year.

This week, we’ve teamed up with Roundabout for a series of interviews about its 50th Anniversary Season. We begin today with Todd Haimes, the company’s Artistic Director.

Haimes joined Roundabout in 1983 working as Executive Director until 1990 when he became Artistic Director. We speak with him here about hits, misses, longevity, and legacy.

Any Questions #220

Nov 13, 2015

It's all about the Montgomerys on this week's show.

Pages