Arts & Culture

  On the centennial of his birth, the defining wunderkind of modern entertainment  -- Orson Welles -- gets his due in Young Orson: The Years of Luck and Genius on the Path to Citizen Kane Hardcover by Patrick McGilligan.

In the history of American popular culture, there is no more dramatic story—no swifter or loftier ascent to the pinnacle of success and no more tragic downfall—than that of Orson Welles. The tales of his youthful achievements were so colorful and improbable that Welles, with his air of mischief, was often thought to have made them up.

McGilligan sorts out fact from fiction and reveals untold, fully documented anecdotes of Welles’s first exploits and triumphs.

Rogovoy Report For January 8, 2016

Jan 8, 2016

This weekend’ s cultural highlights in our region include a festival of contemporary music, an album release concert by a jazz trio, a reading by three authors, an art opening, and a nightclub show by an up-and-coming riot grrrl.

  In this week's Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue their conversation about Stravinsky, hearing "The Augurs of Spring" from The Rite of Spring.

  William Cameron Menzies defined and solidified the role of art director as having overall control of the look of the motion picture, collaborating with producers like David O. Selznick and Samuel Goldwyn; with directors such as D. W. Griffith, Raoul Walsh, Alfred Hitchcock, Lewis Milestone, and Frank Capra. And with actors as varied as Ingrid Bergman, W. C. Fields, Cary Grant, Clark Gable, John Barrymore, Barbara Stanwyck, Ronald Reagan, Gary Cooper, Vivien Leigh, Carole Lombard, Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson, and David Niven.

In his new book, William Cameron Menzies: The Shape of Films to Come, film historian James Curtis creates a portrait of a man in his time that makes clear how the movies were forever transformed by his startling, visionary work.

  Michael Riedel has been a theater columnist for the New York Post since 1998. He worked at the Daily News for five years before returning to the Post, he is the cohost of Theater Talk with PBS.

In his first book, Razzle Dazzle, he pulls back the curtain on Broadway's stars, producers, and mega-hits to reveal all the shocking drama, intrigue, and power plays that happened off stage.

Razzle Dazzle is a provocative, no-holds-barred narrative account of the people and the money and the power that re-invented an iconic quarter of New York City, turning its gritty back alleys and sex-shops into the glitzy, dazzling Great White Way—and bringing a crippled New York from the brink of bankruptcy to its glittering glory.

These days, animated films are especially popular among younger audiences, and so it is no surprise that movie theaters are flooded with a range of feature-length cartoons. But not all animated works are fashioned for young children. In fact, two of the very best not only are clever and challenging and way beyond the reach of grade schoolers, but they fit right in on any cineaste’s ten-best films list for the just-concluded year.

Any Questions #227

Jan 1, 2016

 

For WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel, it must have been the roses.

Rob Edelman: Chimes At Midnight And Orson Welles

Dec 28, 2015

Back in September, I reported the following in my film commentary: “Whenever I’m in London-- and that is as often as possible-- one of my favorite haunts is BFI Southbank, formerly known as the National Film Theatre. One of the highlights of my most recent trip was attending a screening of Orson Welles’ CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT, also known as FALSTAFF, which dates from 1966. Before the screening, Simon Callow, actor/director/Welles scholar extraordinaire, was on hand to discuss Welles’ career in the theater. Callow did not so much lecture as perform, and it was a special treat to listen to this witty, articulate man and soak in his vast knowledge of Orson Welles. And in addition, Keith Baxter, one of the surviving cast members, was there to introduce the film and take post-screening questions and answers.”

Bob Goepfert Reviews "White Christmas" At Proctors

Dec 26, 2015
Kevin White

  Yes, the musical does open on Christmas Eve 1944 on a battlefield in Europe and the first songs you hear are “Happy Holidays” and the title song.”  Too most of the show takes place at Christmastime at a Vermont inn.  Also the production ends, a decade later, with the cast gathered about a large Christmas tree reprising the song “White Christmas,” while inviting the audience to sing along as snowflake fall at the rear of the stage.

Any Questions #226

Dec 25, 2015

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel celebrate an annual tradition on the show: clearance.

Douglas C. Liebig

“A Christmas Story the Musical” is a happy adaptation of a classic holiday story.  It’s at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany until December 27 and should make your holidays a little brighter.

  The timeless tale of joy and goodwill, White Christmas, filled with classic Irving Berlin songs and glorious dancing and lots of snow is now at Proctors in Schenectady through Sunday. We meet two of the stars of the show - Conrad John Schuck & Pamela Myers – this morning.

Conrad John Schuck plays General Waverly. He played Daddy Warbucks on Broadway and was in Nice Work If You Can Get It with Matthew Broderick. His film work includes: M*A*S*H, Star Trek IV & VI, and Woody Allen’s Curse of the Jade Scorpion. On TV he was Sgt. Enright in McMillan and Wife with Rock Hudson and he starred in one of my favorites – Holmes and Yoyo.

Pamela Myers plays Martha Watson in White Christmas. Her Broadway credits include: Company (where she was nominated for a Tony) and Into The Woods. She also had the pleasure of working with Charles Schulz creating the role of Peppermint Patty in Snoopy. Her TV credits include Happy Days, Alice, Major Dad, and she starred in and was the announcer for Sha Na Na.

Rob Edelman: Holiday Fare

Dec 21, 2015

Looking for a few good films to enjoy during the holiday season? Well, it's easy to cite such traditional fare as A CHRISTMAS STORY, MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET, HOLIDAY INN, WHITE CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT, and the various versions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, among many others. But there are other films to be discovered and savored.

Any Questions #225

Dec 18, 2015

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

Audrey Kupferberg: The Girl King

Dec 18, 2015

New to DVD and streaming this month is an oddly disappointing film called THE GIRL KING.  The feature, produced and directed by Finnish filmmaker Mika Kaurismaki, has an exciting story to tell, but THE GIRL KING provides little excitement as it relates the unusual life of 17th Century Swedish Queen Kristina.

Rogovoy Report For December 18, 2015

Dec 18, 2015

This weekend’s cultural highlights in our region include Moroccan trance music, a Messiah singalong, a Frank Sinatra tribute, and a community staging of Charles Dickens’s holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol.”

  The Albany Symphony will present a thrilling program of Rossini’s “William Tell” Overture, Schubert’s Symphony No. 9, “The Great,” and the world premiere of “Three Manhattan Bridges,” a major new work by Michael Torke featuring piano soloist Joyce Yang, in concerts at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

"Three Manhattan Bridges" was commissioned by the Albany Symphony and written expressly for Yang, Torke’s favorite pianist. The work was inspired by Torke’s adopted home, New York City. Its three movements are: “George Washington Bridge,” “Queensboro Bridge,” and “Brooklyn Bridge.”

To tell us more we welcome Albany Symphony Orchestra maestro, David Alan Miller and composer Michael Torke.

  Since it first opened on Broadway in September, 1964, Fiddler on the Roof has constantly been onstage somewhere. The new Broadway revival starring Danny Burstein and Jessica Hecht opens at The Broadway Theatre in New York City on Sunday.

Published in celebration of Fiddler's 50th anniversary, Tradition!: The Highly Improbable, Ultimately Triumphant Broadway-to-Hollywood Story of Fiddler on the Roof, the World's Most Beloved Musical, is a book by Barbara Isenberg -- for which she interviewed the men and women behind the original production, the film and significant revivals to produce a lively, popular chronicle of the making of Fiddler.

  Andy Griffith and Don Knotts met on Broadway in the 1950s. When Andy went to Hollywood to film a TV pilot about a small-town sheriff, Don called to ask if the sheriff could use a deputy. The comedic synergy between Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife ignited The Andy Griffith Show, elevating a folksy sitcom into a timeless study of human friendship, as potent off the screen as on.

Andy & Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show is a new book written by Don Knotts’s brother-in-law and featuring extensive unpublished interviews with those closest to both men.

  It might be a silly week to talk about the other "Star" franchise, but actor Michael Dorn has appeared in more Star Trek episodes as the same character than any other actor; playing Worf, son of Mogh of the Klingon House of Martok on both The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.

The Seth McFarlane movie Ted 2 is out on DVD, BluRay, and for digital download this week and in it Michael Dorn has a memorable role as the lover of Patrick Warburton's character, both of whom cosplay at New York Comic-Con as the real-life geek properties they’re best known for -- The Tick and Worf.

  In MJ: The Genius of Michael Jackson, Rolling Stone contributing editor Steve Knopper delves deeply into Michael Jackson’s music and talent.

From the moment in 1965 when he first stepped on stage with his brothers at a local talent show in Gary, Indiana, Michael Jackson was destined to become the undisputed King of Pop.

In a career spanning four decades, Jackson became a global icon, selling over 400 million albums, earning thirteen Grammy awards, and spinning dance moves that captivated the world. Songs like “Billie Jean” and “Black and White” altered our national discussion of race and equality, and Jackson’s signature aesthetic, from the single white glove to the moonwalk, defined a generation.

Despite years of scandal and controversy, Jackson’s ultimate legacy will always be his music.

  Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas is a very popular holiday tradition. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the group's annual tour. They have a new album out as well.

Grammy Award-winner Chip Davis has created a show that features the beloved Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller along with dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate setting. The spirit of the season comes alive with the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller music.

Chip Davis has sold over 40 million records - 27 million in the Christmas genre - making the group one of the top 50 biggest selling musical artists of all time and the biggest selling Christmas artist of all time.

Rob Edelman: Son Of Saul, Etc.

Dec 14, 2015

As each year passes, time increasingly separates us from the events in Europe during the 1930s and 40s and, specifically, World War II and the Holocaust. The youngest concentration camp survivors now are elderly and the question is: Will the Holocaust simply fade into history? Will it be at all remembered? And if so, how so?

“When I Grow Up” - The Company of Matilda The Musical National Tour
Joan Marcus

“Matilda the Musical,” which is at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady through Sunday, is a work that respects its audience. The show is the most mature young person’s entertainment you can imagine and should be appreciated equally by young and old.  But a word of caution – not too young as this is a thoughtful but dark story.

Any Questions #224

Dec 11, 2015

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel rate this week's show NC-17.

Rogovoy Report For December 11, 2015

Dec 11, 2015

This weekend’s cultural highlights in our region include a multimedia performance about the first family of Indian music; a troupe of storytellers including one big fat liar; a husband-and-wife piano duo playing holiday favorites from the classical canon; an opera legend singing seasonal songs; a photo exhibition about the decline and fall of the Catskills as a resort region; and a P-Funk-style holiday party.

  Sinatra’s Century is a collection of one-hundred short reflections on the man, his music, and his larger-than-life story, by a lifetime fan who also happens to be one of the poetry world’s most prominent voices.

David Lehman uses each of these short pieces to look back on a single facet of the entertainer’s story—from his childhood in Hoboken, to his emergence as “The Voice” in the 1940s, to the wild professional (and romantic) fluctuations that followed. Lehman offers new insights and revisits familiar stories—Sinatra’s dramatic love affairs with some of the most beautiful stars in Hollywood; his fall from grace in the late 1940s and resurrection during the “Capitol Years” of the 1950s; his bonds with the rest of the Rat Pack; and his long tenure as the Chairman of the Board, viewed as the eminence grise of popular music inspiring generations of artists.

  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.

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