Arts & Culture

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back with the latest episode of Any Questions?

Rogovoy Report 2/3/17

Feb 3, 2017

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include a jazz-funk party; chamber music, Gypsy punk; an orchestral concert; new art exhibitions, and a whole lot more.

On Sunday, February 12th at 3pm – Troy Savings Bank Music Hall will host a live Selected Shorts event. Sonia Manzano, Michael Cerveris, and Jim True-Frost will perform moving & comical stories about Lovers & Strangers.

Sonia Manzano is known to millions as Maria on Sesame Street, a character she played from 1971 to 2015, and has earned fifteen Emmy Awards as a writer for the show. Her theater credits include The Exonerated; Love, Loss, and What I Wore; and the original production of Godspell.

She is the author of the picture books No Dogs Allowed!; A Box Full of Kittens; and Miracle on 133rd Street, as well as the middle grade novel The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano and her memoir, Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx.  In 2016, Manzano received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 43rd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  

ALBANY – It’s the middle of winter, political tensions are high, the bills for the holiday gifts have landed and before you know it, it will be tax time.  It not only sounds depressing; it is depressing.

The Manhattan Theatre Club's current Broadway production of August Wilson's Jitney, directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson, is the only work from the late two-time Pulitzer Prize winner's American Century Cycle that had never previously been seen on Broadway. The play has received rave reviews and plays at the Samuel Friedman Theatre through March 12th.

Set in the early 1970s, the play follows a group of men trying to eke out a living by driving unlicensed cabs, or jitneys. When the city threatens to board up the business and the boss' son returns from prison, tempers flare, potent secrets are revealed and the fragile threads binding these people together start to come undone.

We welcome this morning - three-time Tony Award-winning producer and actor Ron Simons, to discuss his role in producing the Broadway debut of August Wilson's Jitney.

Ron Simons is a leading Broadway producer with a list of credits that include the Tony-award winning revival of Porgy and Bess, the all-black Broadway production of A Street Car Named Desire starring Blair Underwood, and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which won the Tony award for "Best New Play."

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: Paterson, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Upcoming:

  • Palissimo Company - University at Albany Performing Arts Center, Friday 2/3, 7:30 PM
  • Molsky’s Mountain Drifters - Old Songs, Voorheesville, Friday 2/3, 7:30 PM
  • The Last Waltz at 40 featuring Warren Haynes, Michael McDonald, Don Was - Palace Theatre, Albany, Friday 2/3, 8 PM
  • Alash Ensemble - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Friday 2/3, 8 PM
  • Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild Live - Proctors, Schenectady, Friday 2/3, 7:30 PM
  • Bella’s Bartok - Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, Friday 2/3, 9 PM
  • Amazing China/National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts - The Egg, Albany, Saturday 2/4, 3 PM
  • Wild Adriatic - Putnam Den, Saratoga Springs, Saturday 2/4, 9 PM
  • Saratoga Chamber Players: Susan Rotholz and Margaret Kampmeier - Filene Recital Hall, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, Sunday 2/5, 3 PM
  • 42nd Street - Proctors, Schenectady, Monday 2/6, 3, 5 and 7 PM
  • Three Stooges Film Festival - Palace Theatre, Albany, Monday 2/6, 7 PM

New movies: The Space Between Us, Rings, The Comedian

Love lurks behind many a musical inspiration, which has inspired the Musicians of Ma’alwyck to put together a program celebrating the music, movement, and poetry of that grand, elusive feeling. Love-music somber and love-music sweet are the heart of the Valentine’s Day concert “Suite of Love,” which weaves poetry and dance into a garland of musical selections written by Bach, Schumann, Mozart, and others.

Beth Fecteau is creating dance pieces for her company, Nacre, to both the words and music; the text, much of it inspired by the writings of the composers themselves, is being written by the eternally love stricken wordsmith Byron Nilsson; the words will be realized by actors from Creative License.

The concert will be performed on Saturday, February 11th at Cohoes Music Hall and on Sunday, February 12th at Schenectady County Community College. The concert combines music, poetry, and dance. Here now to tell us more are Ann-Marie Barker Schwartz, Beth Fecteau, and Byron Nilsson.

Several points can be gleaned from the recent deaths, one day apart, of the legendary Debbie Reynolds and her daughter, the equally celebrated Carrie Fisher. First, we may adore our celebrities. We may envy their wealth and fame and wish we could be as universally beloved as they are. But still, they are human beings with human needs and feelings-- and anyone who has ever lost a child will be able to comprehend the sheer horror that Debbie Reynolds must have felt upon learning that her daughter has passed. So all the money, all the fame, all the awards and honors and Red Carpet appearances will not separate you from the everyday ravages of life. 

Barenaked Ladies
Barenaked Ladies

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel switch seats for a show about initials.

Rogovoy Report 1/27/17

Jan 27, 2017

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include an original score to a hundred-year-old classic documentary played live; a site-specific theater work about Edith Wharton; a festival of new 10-minute plays; a dreamy folk-rock duo; and a whole lot more.

What would you do if your 80-year-old father dragged you into his search for new romance after 50 years of marriage? David, a resolute bachelor learns more about love than he bargained for and as his father's wingman and screener, sees some things he'd like to forget. It is the subject of the play Assisted Loving: True Tales of Double Dating With My Dad, now at The Rep through February 19th.

Based on Bob Morris’s award winning memoir, it is a heartfelt and hilarious true tale of a year of dating dangerously. Here to tell us more – we welcome Director Gordon Greenberg and author Bob Morris.

  In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani begin a series of conversations about women who influenced composers.

Today Yehuda shares scandalous stories about the life of Alma Mahler.

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: John Cleese at Proctors, Elle, Patriots Day

Upcoming:

  • Radical Kingdoms opening reception - Mandeville Gallery, Union College, Schenectady, Thursday, 1/26, 5-6:30 PM
  • Now Ensemble + San Fermin - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Thursday, 1/26, 7:30 PM
  • Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company - Massry Center for the Arts, Albany, Friday, 1/27, 7:30 PM
  • Assisted Loving - Capital Repertory Theatre, Albany, previews open Friday, 1/27, 8 PM (through 2/19)
  • Gilbert Gottfried - The Comedy Works, Saratoga Springs. Friday, 1/27, 7:30 and 9:30 PM
  • Charles Atlas’ Tesseract - EMPAC Theater, RPI, Troy, Friday-Saturday, 1/27-28, 8 PM
  • Rock and Roll High School - Madison Theater, Albany, Friday-Sunday, 1/27-29, various times
  • Captured Moments: 170 Years of Photography from the Albany Institute - Albany Institute of History & Art, Albany, opens Saturday, 1/28 (through 5/21)
  • Los Lobos - The Egg, Albany, Sunday, 1/29, 7:30 PM
  • Why Be Good? - Proctors, Schenectady, Monday 1/30, 3, 5 and 7 PM

New movies: Paterson, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, Sleepless, A Dog’s Purpose

Rob Edelman: Scorsese’s Silence

Jan 23, 2017

Other than documentaries and other odds and ends, Martin Scorsese’s films may be divided into two distinct categories. First, there are the big, flashy, splashy titles, from MEAN STREETS and TAXI DRIVER in the 1970s to THE WOLF OF WALL STREET four years ago. Then there are the quieter, more introspective films, including KUNDUN and THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, which examine various aspects of religion. And you can add to the second list SILENCE, Scorsese’s latest. The words that come to mind to describe SILENCE are: intense; serious; and sobering.

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.

Encore: Proctors At 90

Jan 23, 2017

When Proctors opened its doors in Schenectady, N.Y., in December 1926, it was the jewel in a chain of 50 vaudeville houses spanning the East Coast from Delaware to Maine; the greatest of gilded movie palaces in a bustling, industrial city packed with nearly two-dozen theatres. Within a half-century, it was the last hall standing, nearly derelict, presiding over a deserted downtown, another symbol of American blight.

The new book Encore: Proctors at 90 presents photographs and essays to construct a narrative of renewal and rebirth, a tale of a city and a theatre taking turns saving each other. Rescued by a hardy group of citizens, and nurtured by smart leaders, Proctors began its true resurrection at the turn of this century to become much more than a playhouse.

The commerative book Encore: Proctors at 90 is now out and we welcome the authors Michael Eck and Richard Louvrich to The Roundtable.

The ACLU logo
ACLU

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back for their weekly quiz.

Rogovoy Report 1/20/17

Jan 20, 2017

The cultural highlights in the days and weeks ahead in our region include a multimedia work-in-progress; a site-specific theater work inspired by Edith Wharton; a tribute to Elvis Presley’s enduring legacy; a tribute to the enigmatic jazz great Billy Tipton; and a whole lot more.

On February 11th, Empire State Youth Orchestras signature Youth Orchestra will take the Proctors stage with Fireworks Ensemble, a cross-over classical music ensemble that was lauded by the New York Times for its “hell-for-leather arrangements” and “show-stopping solos.”

Together, the two groups will share an evening of music that will include the world-premiere of a piece written by Fireworks Ensemble member and composer Brian Coughlin commissioned by ESYO called Play.

Empire State Youth Orchestra Music Director Helen Cha-Pyo and Fireworks Ensemble member and composer Brian Coughlin join us. 

I fell in love with the movies many years ago.  Going to see a film – even a sad drama – somehow left me with a feeling of empathy or a shared moment of humanity.  But a number of the art-house films of late 2016 with their emphasis on sadness and disillusionment simply leave me emotionally wrung out.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back for a show about twins.

Rogovoy Report 1/13/17

Jan 13, 2017

The weekend’s cultural highlights in the region include new and old play readings; a new music festival; photographs of Hudson’s garages and alleyways; Moroccan trance-dub music; a literary reading; the circus comes to town; and a whole lot more.

  In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, we conclude our series about the music of Thea Musgrave.

Danielle Krysa is the writer/curator behind the contemporary art website The Jealous Curator, and the author of Creative Block and Collage.

Her new book is Your Inner Critic Is a Big Jerk: And Other Truths About Being Creative.

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: Hidden Figures, Jackie

Upcoming:

·         Rock Docs Film Series: This Is Spinal Tap - Madison Theater, Albany, Thu 1/12, 7 PM

·         Sean Rowe - The Hangar On the Hudson, Troy, Fri 1/13, 8 PM

·         The Lustre Kings Elvis Birthday Show - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Fri 1/13, 8 PM

·         Dial “M” for Murder - Curtain Call Theatre, Latham, opens Fri 1/13, 8 PM (through 2/11)

·         Bindlestiff Family Circus Cabin Fever Cabaret - Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, Fri 1/13, 9 PM

·         Hypno Hype with Assad Mecci - Proctors, Schenectady, Sat 1/14, 3:30 and 7:30 PM

·         Evan LeRoy Johnson & Mikael Eliasen: Schubert’s Die Schoen Mullerin - Union College Memorial Chapel, Schenectady, Sun 1/15, 3 PM

·         Metropolis with live organ score by Avery Tunningley - Proctors, Schenectady, Mon 1/16, 7 PM

New movies: Elle, Patriots Day, Silence, Live by Night

The critically acclaimed musical comedy Something Rotten!, directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw, ended its Broadway run on New Year’s Day at the St. James Theatre. It had been nominated for 10 Tony Awards and played 742 performances.

The show now is going on the road and the first stop is Schenectady and Proctor’s Theatre. It opened their last night and will run through Sunday.

Set in 1595, Something Rotten tells the story of Nick and Nigel Bottom, two brothers who are desperate to write a hit play. When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first musical. The man who plays that soothsayer joins us this morning.

Blake Hammond plays Nostradamus. He has been seen on Broadway in Living on Love, First Date, Sister Act, Elf, Billy Elliot, Hairspray, The Lion King and The Music Man.

Rob Edelman: Hot Docs

Jan 9, 2017

I’ve said it before and I certainly will say it again: These days, an endless number of new documentaries examine a rainbow of subjects. Here are a few just-released or about-to-be-released-to-home-entertainment documentaries that have especially intrigued me. 

He was the Wicked Wilson Pickett, the legendary soul man whose forty-plus hits included "In the Midnight Hour," "Land of 1000 Dances," "Mustang Sally," and "Don't Let the Green Grass Fool You." Remarkably handsome and with the charisma to match, Wilson Pickett was considered by many to be the greatest, the most visceral and sensual of the classic 1960s soul singers, and as a man who turned screaming into an art form, the most forceful of them all. He was the living embodiment of soul.
 

More than that, Wilson Pickett's journey reads like a guide to popular black American music in the late 20th century.  

For this first-ever accounting of Wilson Pickett's life, bestselling biographer Tony Fletcher interviewed members of the singer's family, friends and partners, along with dozens of his studio and touring musicians. Offering equal attention to Pickett's personal and professional life, with detailed insight into his legendary studio sessions and his combative road style, In the Midnight Hour: The Life and Soul of Wilson Pickett is the essential telling of an epic life.

First Night Saratoga marks the New Year.
Lucas Willard / WAMC

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel switch seats for the first show of 2017.

  In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, we continue to learn about the music of Thea Musgrave.

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