Arts & Culture

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.

Comedian Don Rickles has died at age 90 of kidney failure at his Los Angeles home.

For more than half a century, "Mr. Warmth" headlined casinos and nightclubs from Las Vegas to Atlantic City. N.J., and appeared often on late-night TV talk shows.

Rickles managed to shock his audiences without cutting social commentary or truly personal self-criticism. He operated under a code as old the Borscht Belt: Go far — ethnic jokes, sex jokes, ribbing Carson for his many marriages — but make sure everyone knows it's for fun.

To remember Don Rickles on The Roundtable this morning, we go into the audio vault (or a shoebox in Joe's basement) to play my interview from March 2001 when Don Rickles was promoting an upcoming appearance in Kingston, NY.

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.

Bob Goepfert Reviews "Sound of Music" At Proctors

Apr 6, 2017
A scene from "Sound of Music" at Proctors
Proctors Theatre

SCHENECTADY -  One of the most difficult things about reviving a classic musical is finding the balance between being faithful to the original production and presenting it so it seems fresh to modern audiences.

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: Bryan Ferry, Ghost in the Shell, The Sound of Music at Proctors

Upcoming:

  • The Lure - Time + Space Limited, Hudson. Thursday-Saturday, 4/6-8, various times
  • Lord Love a Duck - Madison Theater, Albany, Thursday-Sunday, 4/6-9, various times
  • Sarah Kilborne’s The Lavender Blues - Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, Friday, 4/7, 8 PM
  • Albany Symphony Orchestra - Beethoven’s Ninth, Joan Tower, George Tsontakis - The Palace Theatre, Albany, Saturday, 4/8, 7:30 PM
  • Meklit - The Sanctuary for Independent Media, Troy, Saturday, 4/8, 7 PM
  • Selected Shorts - Sonia Manzano (Sesame Street), Michael Urie (Ugly Betty), & Jim True-Frost (The Wire) - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Sunday, 4/9, 3 PM
  • Sonny Ochs’ 80th Birthday Concert - featuring Emma's Revolution, John Flynn, Greg Greenway, Kim & Reggie Harris, Joe Jencks, Sharon Katz, Magpie - The Eighth Step at Proctors, Schenectady, Sunday, 4/9, 4 PM
  • Dale Watson and Ray Benson - The Egg, Albany, Sunday, 4/9, 7 PM
  • Chris Rock - Palace Theatre, Albany, Monday, 4/10 8 PM

New movies: Personal Shopper, Going in Style, Frantz, Smurfs: The Lost Village

This Thursday, April 6th, Jazzstock will present a CD release concert for Teri Roiger’s new record, Ghost of Yesterday: Shades of Lady Day as part of its concert series, “Jazz at The Senate Garage” on North Front Street in Kingston, NY.

Later this month Jazzstock will present performances by Joe Lovano on April 15th and The Joey Alexander Trio on April 21st.

We are joined by Jazzstock-ers Teri Roiger and John Menegon.

Rob Edelman: The Brand New Testament

Apr 3, 2017

I see countless films at festivals and press screenings and during their theatrical runs. But I do not see every film. So when I discover and am enamored of a title that I somehow had missed, it is an extra-special treat. One such film is THE BRAND NEW TESTAMENT, directed by Belgian filmmaker Jaco Van Dormael, which has just been released to home entertainment.

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.

Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Noble Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences, and was part of the Curie family legacy of five Noble Prizes. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Pantheon in Paris.

The play Radiance; The Passion of Marie Curie by Alan Alda is a moving chronicle of the years between 1898 and 1911, between Marie’s first and second Noble Awards and a stirring look at the challenges and passions of a scientific pioneer.

The Theatre Institute at Sage is presenting a production of Radiance in the Meader Little Theater on the Russel Sage Campus in Troy, NY April 5th through the 15th.

Here to tell us more are the show’s Director, David Bunce; actor Taylor Hoffman; and the productions Science Advisor, Dr. Donna Heald.

This is one of the stadiums in this week's quiz.
Ian Pickus

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

Joseph Lin holding his violin
Koichi Miura

The Julliard String Quartet will play the Hildegard Medicus Memorial Concert presented by Friend of Chamber Music at Emma Willard School on 4/2 at 3 p.m.  The program includes selections from Mendelssohn, Davidovsky, and Beethoven. 

Our guest is Joseph Lin

  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 - speaking about the two women who inspired Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz.

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!

Easthampton City Arts will be presenting a program - Grist for the Mill - featuring Michael Musto of the Village Voice & Mickey Boardman, Editorial Director of PAPER Magazine at the Boylston Room in Easthampton on Thursday, April 6th at 8PM.

Kicking off the 3rd annual Easthampton Book Fest, the pair will explore a range of topics including the role of the artist and writer in times of political and cultural shift. Michael Musto joins us this morning to give us a preview.

Musto is a correspondent for the Village Voice, where he wrote the entertainment and nightlife column "La Dolce Musto" for 29 years. He also writes weekly e-columns for Out.com and PAPER Magazine, as well as articles for The New York Times "Styles" section. 

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