Arts & Culture

  Marc Summers is an icon of a generation. You may know him from his time hosting Nickelodeon’s Double Dare and Food Network’s Unwrapped, or as the Producer of hits like Dinner: Impossible and Restaurant: Impossible, but through his new show at the Adirondack Theatre Festival, you get the chance to meet the real Marc Summers – a man who’s led a fascinating life of fame and frustration.

Everything In Its Place: The Life & Slimes Of Marc Summers is a guided tour through Marc’s life, from an early obsession with magic to his notable television career to his appearance on Oprah announcing his ongoing battle with OCD. Marc stars in this tell-all about his life, his disorder, and taking the physical challenge.

The show opens August 10th through the 13th and we are joined by the man himself, Marc Summers and the Director of the show and Producing Artistic Director of ATF – Chad Rabinovitz.

    Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen:Café Society, Jason Bourne

  Internationally acclaimed composer Michael Torke has been commissioned by SPAC, Charles and Candace Wait and The Adirondack Trust Company to create an orchestral work for The Philadelphia Orchestra to premiere during the 2016 anniversary celebration.

Torke's longtime connections to SPAC and Saratoga are deeply personal as he is a nine-time resident of Yaddo, an artists' community providing an opportunity for artists to work without interruption in a supportive environment located on a 400-acre estate in Saratoga Springs, New York.

The piece is entitled Unconquered and will be performed --for the first time-- on Friday, August 5 performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra and conducted by Stéphane Denève.

  On August 3, 2016, Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) will present Hannibal Lokumbe’s work for full orchestra, soloists and choir, “One Land, One River, One People,” on the Opening Night of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s SPAC residency.

Vocal accompaniment for The Philadelphia Orchestra’s performance will be provided by soprano Laquita Mitchell, tenor Rodrick Dixon, and combined choirs of Morgan State University and Albany Pro Musica. Conductor Stéphane Denève will lead the performance.

We are joined by Albany Pro Musica's Artistic and Executive Director, Dr. José Daniel Flores-Caraballo, and bass singer, Frank Leavitt.

  On August 3, 2016, Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) will present Hannibal Lokumbe’s work for full orchestra, soloists and choir, “One Land, One River, One People,” on the Opening Night of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s SPAC residency. SPAC’s program will be only the second complete performance of the work which was commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra. The work had its world premiere in November 2015 at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.

Described by the composer Hannibal Lokumbe as a “spiritorio,” a term that encompasses the work’s libretto and choir elements and its influences from blues, jazz and spirituals, the work speaks to the universality of human struggle, injustice and ultimately, spirituality.

Vocal accompaniment for The Philadelphia Orchestra’s performance will be provided by soprano Laquita Mitchell, tenor Rodrick Dixon, and combined choirs of Morgan State University and Albany Pro Musica. Conductor Stéphane Denève will lead the performance.

  The Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake is presenting the world premiere production of a new opera by composer Evan Mack and librettist Joshua McGuire based on the novel Roscoe by Pulitzer Prize winning author William Kennedy.

With music that draws from many popular 20th-century styles, the story follows the character Roscoe Conway, a king-pin in the mid 1940’s Albany political machine, as he navigates his way through a multitude of political and personal challenges, both past and present.

Performances take place from August 3rd through the 6th. To tell us more we welcome composer Evan Mack, librettist Joshua McGuire, Seagle Music Colony Artistic Director Darren Woods and Pulitzer Prize winning author William Kennedy. 

 

The Arkell Museum at Canajoharie, NY is presenting the exhibition Circus Circus through October 16th featuring paintings of the American circus by artists from the 1920s and 1930s alongside circus-themed marketing materials used by the Beech-Nut Packaging Company in the 1930s.

 

The circus coming to town was a highly anticipated event in small towns across America, and many artists in the twenties and thirties painted the spectacle of the parade as the circus arrived, and the excitement under the big top. The exhibition includes paintings by Jon Corbino, Ogden Pleissner and Everett Shinn.

 

Images of circus cars, animals and acrobats were also used to market food products during the 1930s. The Beech-Nut Packing Company was one of the companies to use the excitement and nostalgia of the circus to sell its products. They created magazine ads with clowns and circus animals to sell their gum.

 

This circus-themed marketing campaign culminated in the creation of Beech-Nut miniature circuses that traveled across the country in busses, and a miniature circus was displayed in their pavilion at the New York World’s Fair in 1939.

To tell us more about the exhibit we welcome Art Historian Karal Ann Marling and Museum Director and Curator Diane Forsberg.

Any Questions #257

Jul 29, 2016

It's weekly quiz time for the Pickus-Nothnagel clan.

Paul Lewis
Molina Visuals

  Renowned English pianist Paul Lewis joins Andris Nelsons and the instrumental Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra on Sunday, July 31, for the annual Leonard Bernstein Memorial Concert. The all-Brahms program opens with the Piano Concerto No. 1.

Tonight at 6 p.m. in Ozawa Hall, Mr. Lewis will perform Schubert’s Fantasia in F minor for piano four hands with pianist Jonathan Biss, and Mozart’s Piano Quartet No. 2 during a prelude concert with members of the BSO. Prelude concerts are free to ticket holders for the evening’s program.  

  Stephanie Blythe is on the vocal faculty for the Tanglewood Music Center, and has been coaching vocal Fellows for the “Sing America: Songs of Travel” vocal concert at 5 p.m. during Tanglewood on Parade.

The program features the TMC Vocal Fellows and Stephanie singing mostly classic American travel songs from the largely from the late 1800’s and early 1900s, including “Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis,” “California, Here I Come,” “Caroline in the Morning,” “Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland,” and “I Want to Go Back to Michigan.” The audience will also be encouranged to sing along during a portion of the program.

Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe is considered to be one of the most highly respected and critically acclaimed artists of her generation.

Allyn Burrows and Tod Randolph in 'Or,' at Shakespeare & Company, 2016.
Ava G. Lindenmaier

  Liz Duffy Adams' playful comedy Or, is based on the real life of Britain's first female playwright Aphra Behn.

The production runs through September 4 in Shakespeare & Company’s Tina Packer Playhouse and is staged in-the-round. Alice Reagan is the director and she joins us along with actors Tod Randolph and Allyn Burrows.

Andris Nelsons
Marco Borggreve

  Andris Nelsons is Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and he was announced as music director of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, commencing in the 2017/18 season. With both appointments, and in leading a pioneering alliance between these two esteemed institutions, Andris Nelsons is widely considered as one of the most renowned and innovative conductors on the international scene today.

Nelsons made his BSO debut in March 2011, leading Mahler’s Symphony no. 9 at Carnegie Hall. In summer 2012, Nelsons made his debut in here at Tanglewood. Nelsons began his tenure as Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the 2014/15 season and after one year in Boston his contract was extended through the 2021/22 season.

Maestro Nelsons will lead performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 tonight, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 tomorrow night and an all-Brahms program with pianist Paul Lewis.

  The man behind the music is the BSO’s Artistic Administrator, Tony Fogg. Tony was born in Australia and was trained as a pianist at the Brazilian Academy of Music in Sao Paulo and at the University of Sydney.

His career has combined performance with arts administration, and, in both aspects of his work, he has been a strong champion of contemporary composers

The Danish String Quartet
Caroline Bittencourt

    

  The Danish String Quartet, one of the most lauded classical ensembles today, is in great demand by classical concert and festival presenters alike. Their outstanding level of musicianship and command of whatever repertoire they happen to play is truly at the forefront of classical music in the 21st century.

Renowned globally for their outstanding level of musical refinement and lush interpretations of classical, contemporary, and folk traditions, offer programs featuring elegant and nuanced compositions of the 21st century, as well as the classics.

They played in Ozawa Hall here at Tanglewood last night and will play the Caramoor Festival in Katonah, NY tonight and Maverick Concerts in Woodstock, NY on Sunday. The Danish String Quartet members are: Asbjorn Norgaard, Rune Tonsgaard Sorensen, Frekrik Schoyen Sjolin, and Frederik Oland.

Ken-David Masur
Beth Ross Buckley

  When Tanglewood goes on Parade – as it will this coming Tuesday - it takes many conductors to make it all happen.

This morning we meet one of the five conductors who will be performing in the Shed. Ken-David Masur is the Assistant Conductor of the BSO as well as being the Associate Conductor of the San Diego Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the Munich Symphony.

Masur studied conducting mainly with his father, the great Kurt Masur, and was a conducting fellow at Tanglewood in July 2012 when he made an auspicious BSO debut sharing conducting duties on an all-Mozart program with his father, who was recovering from an injury. His father passed away in December.

Ken-David Masur is an alum of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute which is celebrating its 50th year and will have an anniversary concert at Tanglewood on August 6th.

garden at Tanglewood
Sarah LaDuke

    Tanglewood is a name that's recognized around the world. Just about every time we interview a conductor or musician, they mention the venue's reputation and cache.

That doesn't just happen by accident. There's a hard-working team of professionals that keeps Tanglewood on the lips of both audience-members and performers.

And, it is quite a season that gets underway tonight. To give us a State of Tanglewood report – we welcome back our friend Mark Volpe – the Managing Director of the BSO.


  Michael Mayer is the Tony-Award winning director of plays, musicals, opera, and film and television who helmed the Broadway revival of Hedwig and The Angry Inch, and the original runs of the musicals of Everyday Rapture, American Idiot, Spring Awakening, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. He’s also directed revivals of A View From the Bridge, The Lion in Winter, After the Fall, and ‘night Mother. His breakthrough of sorts was Side Man.

 

Side Man had an early production in Poughkeepsie, NY at Vassar College and New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater -- it moved to off-Off-Broadway and then to Broadway winning the Tony Award for Best Play in 1999.

 

Michael Mayer has been coming back to Poughkeepsie in the summer for 20 years, working on shows in various stages of development and recently joining the New York Stage and Film board of directors.

He was in the Hudson Valley this summer working on a new musical entitled Head Over Heels which blends Sir Philip Sidney’s The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia with the music of seminal 80s girl-group, The Go-Go’s. Jeff Whitty is writing the book and Tom Kitt will provide musical supervision.

  Obie-Award winning performance group, The Secret City, will be playing their third annual gathering in Woodstock, NY this Sunday - July 31st at 12 noon. The theme will be PLAY.

The Secret City is the brainchild of impresario and Byrdcliffe Resident, Chris Wells, who moved to Woodstock three years ago and felt the small town with its cultural history, inclusiveness and love of community were a perfect setting for this tribal art gathering.

The Secret City combines art, food, music, storytelling, meditation, singing, performance and community interaction in an event that is part tent revival, part ceremony, part salon.

For their Woodstock gathering they’ll present musical guest Eric Redd, visual art by Jacinta Bunnell, roller derby troupe The Hudson Valley Horrors, food offering by LaGusta of New Paltz, a performance by Percussion Orchestra of Kingston and Energy Dance Company, a reading by Martha Frankel, songs by The Secret City Singers and The Secret City Band and a story by Chris Wells. We welcome Chris and artist Jacinta Bunnell.

  Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

  The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice promotes the human voice as an instrument of healing, peace and artistic expression through presenting world class performances in Phoenicia, New York and surrounding areas.

This year’s festival - running August 4th through the 7th – celebrates Shakespeare and the British Isles.

We are joined by world renowned opera singers, Executive Director Maria Todaro and Artistic Director Louis Otey. 

  Poster Boy is a new American musical inspired by actual events surrounding the 2010 suicide of Tyler Clementi, a college student who brought national attention to cyber-bullying, In the show, a community of gay men in an online chat room come together to discover what drove one of their own to take his life.

Directed by Olivier Award-nominee Stafford Arima with movement by Danny Mefford, Poster Boy, is in its world premiere production on the Nikos Stage at the Williamstown Theatre Festival through August 7th.

Composer and lyricist, Craig Carnelia and bookwriter Joe Tracz join us.

  The Berkshire Theatre Group is presenting the World Premiere of playwright Shem Bitterman’s The Stone Witch at the Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge, MA. It is directed by Drama Desk and Humanities Award-winning theatre & television director Steve Zuckerman and features Tony Award, Golden Globe Award, Emmy Award and Obie Award-winning actor Judd Hirsch.

In the play, Peter, an aspiring children’s book author, is sent to the cabin of his idol, Simon, played by Hirsch, a reclusive award-winning author and illustrator of children’s books, to help him finish what might be his last book. Desperate to save his own career, Peter hopes to discover the secret of Simon’s genius, but first he must accept the impossible task: helping Simon confront the monsters that populate the woods inside his mind.

We are joined by actors Judd Hirsch, Rupak Ginn, and Kristin Griffith.

The unmistakable voice filled with raw emotion and tinged with Southern Comfort made Janis Joplin a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock.

A Night with Janis Joplin, now running at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, NY, is a musical journey celebrating Janis and her biggest musical influences.

The show is created, written and directed by Randy Johnson and stars Kelly McIntyre as Janis Joplin. 

The Carey Institute for Global Good and Yehuda Hanani have teamed up to produce the 6th Annual Catskill High Peaks Music Festival which will take place from August 8th-18th at the Carey Institute. The Festival combines a Residency program for 50 hand-picked emerging artists from around the world with evenings of classical music concerts for the public.

The mission of Catskill High Peaks Festival is to infuse students with love and enthusiasm for their musical vocation, instill a spirit of musical adventure and discovery, and imbue an appreciation for past traditions.

To tell us more, we are joined this morning by cellist and Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani and Hannah Hannani - Vice President of Close Encounters with Music and co-founder of the Catskill High Peaks Festival.

(Left to right) Stacey Yen, Nance Williamson and Maria-Christina Oliveras in Macbeth
T. Charles Erickson


  Fair is foul, and foul is fair -- more fair than usual in the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s production of Macbeth - now running in repertory at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, NY.  The fairer for having a cast of only three actors, and all three -women.

Lee Sunday Evans directs Maria-Christina Oliveras, Nance Williamson, and Stacey Yen in the production and we are joined by two-thirds of the trio, Maria-Christina and Stacey, to talk about the production.

Rob Edelman: Indian Point

Jul 25, 2016

At this time of the year, escapism rules in movie theaters. And this is understandable. It’s the summer, and people are searching for summer fun. Now granted, some seasonal theatrical releases are satisfying, but it’s been my experience that the majority are not. Yet the point here is that films that tackle serious issues are occasionally arriving onscreen. One of them, a documentary titled INDIAN POINT, not only is information-packed and provocative, but it is a film with a local connection.

Any Questions #256

Jul 25, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel try to short-circuit this week's show.

  The 16th annual Saratoga Choral Festival takes place at the Spa Little Theater in Spa State Park - this Sunday, July 31st, at 3:00 PM. The festival will present a concert of music for children featuring a semi-staged production of the popular Magic Tree House: The Musical. 

The Magic Tree House: The Musical is based on the popular series of children’s books by Mary Pope Osborne. This show has seen sold out performances for its national tour. Several musical selections have been adapted for chorus, and special guest performers from the Saratoga Children’s Theater will provide extra speaking roles and also sing with the choir.

Also included on the program - Never-Ending Song, a Young Person’s Guide to the Choir. Originally premiered by the Vancouver Chamber Choir in 2001, the Never-Ending Song takes children through a brief history of choral singing through music.

The Saratoga Choral Festival began in the summer of 2001 and we are joined by Festival Director, Andrea Goodman, and by chorus members Mira DeGregory and Jackson Cherry. 

There were these two blokes in England, about 150 years ago…who started writing the stories and composing the music for what were at the time called comic operas.  Some of you are already ahead of me with the names of Gilbert and Sullivan.  And you are spot-on. 

Most Shakespearean scholars – of which I am not – classify The Merchant of Venice as a comedy. This play was written following a period when William Shakespeare became known for his popular portrayals of English kings.

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