Arts & Culture

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. 


  The new film, Speech & Debate, directed by Dan Harris, tells the story of three “outsider” teenagers frustrated by the hypocrisy they see in their parents, teachers, and their entire school board in Salem, Oregon. The film deals with issues of homophobia, First Amendment rights, and censorship alongside trust, friendship, coping with high school. In order to find a way to make their voices heard in their community, Diwata, Solomon, and Howie revive their school’s defunct Speech & Debate team.

 

The screenplay was adapted by Stephen Karam from his play of the same name. Karam is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and his three most recent plays, Speech & Debate, Sons of the Prophet, and The Humans - the latter of which won the Tony Award for Best Play last year - have all been produced in New York City by Roundabout Theatre Company.

Sarah Steele plays Diwata in the film - reprising her role in the Off-Broadway stage production in 2007. Other credit’s include Brigid in The Humans, the 2004 film Spanglish, CBS’s The Good Wife and its spin-off for CBS All-Access, The Good Fight -- on which she plays Marissa Gold.

Steele’s Speech & Debate character, Diwata, is the quintessential High School Drama kid. She sees her life through the lens of whichever play was most recently put up in her school’s auditorium. She’s impulsive -- but she means well. Sarah Steele joins us.

Rob Edelman: Stephen K. Bannon, Filmmaker

Mar 27, 2017

To many, Steve Bannon, who appears to be President Donald Trump’s confidante and right-hand-man, is a mystery man. Now sure, he has been endlessly cited in the media but, still, the question of the moment remains: Who exactly is Steve Bannon?

The upcoming Jane Austen Conference in Saratoga Springs will take place on April 21-23, 2017.  The New York City Region of the Jane Austen Society of North America is organizing a long weekend that ties together the theme of Spas and Spies in Austen’s England.  

Lectures include "Watering Holes and Literary Rogues: Seduction and Seducers in English Spa Towns,” “Most Secret and Confidential': Espionage and Intelligence in the Age of Jane Austen,” "The Watering Place in the 18th-Century British Imagination: Sanitizing the Bath" and "History of Saratoga Springs' Spas and Spies"

Patricia Friesen of the Capital District Region of the Jane Austen Society of North America and she joins us.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel crack open the almanac.

Rogovoy Report 3/24/17

Mar 24, 2017

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include a living legend of folk-gospel; Grammy Award-winning bluegrass; choral music; Americana music; Florence Foster Jenkins; and a whole lot more.

David Salle is an internationally renowned painter whose work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Guggenheim Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tate Museum and National Galarie of Berlin, among many others.   He also has a long-standing involvement with performance working extensively over the last 25 years with choreographer Karole Armitage, creating sets and costumes for many of her ballets and operas.  Salle is also a prolific writer on art. His new book is How To See.

On Wednesday, March 23, he will be featured in the New York Writers Institute The Creative Life Series in conversation with Joe Donahue, live in the Recital Hall at UAlbany at 7pm. 

The Academy of Music Theatre is mounting a new work by playwright Carol Carpenter entitled Sweet, Sweet Spirit on March 24th and 25th at 7:30 p.m.  The play addresses gay bashing and child abuse within a West Texas conservative family whose gay teenage son is beaten into a coma by his father.

Carpenter takes her audience deeper into an exploration of a family struggling with their own fear and heart.  The son, Tyler, who is described as “different,” but not referred to by his family members as gay, affects each of the members of this Southern Christian family in disparate ways.

We are joined Debra J'Anthony, Academy of Music Theatre's Executive Director and Sheila Siragusa, director of Sweet, Sweet Spirit.

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: Kedi

Upcoming:

·        Liz Longley - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Thursday 3/23, 7 PM

·        They Live - Madison Theater, Albany, Thursday-Sunday, 3/23-26, various times

·        Kate Campbell - The Eighth Step at Underground at Proctors, Friday 3/24, 7:30 PM

·        Capital Trash Invasion 2: featuring Tex Railer’s Doomtown, The Televisionaires, Harmonica Lewinsky, and more - The Fuze Box, Albany, Saturday 3/25, 8 PM

·        Mavis Staples - MASS MoCA, North Adams, Mass., Saturday 3/25, 8 PM

·        Hyperion String Quartet - de Blasiis Chamber Music Series/The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, Sunday 3/26, 3 PM

·        New York Theatre Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty - The Egg, Albany, Sunday 3/26, 3 PM

·        Langhorne Slim - Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, Sunday 3/26, 8 PM

·        Mitsuko Uchida - Union College Memorial Chapel, Schenectady, Monday 3/27, 7 PM

·        Helena Byrne - Irish American Heritage Museum, Albany, Monday 3/27, 7 PM

New movies:

Wilson, Land of Mine, Power Rangers, The Last Word, CHiPs

ALBANY – “An Iliad,” which is at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany  through April 2, is simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting.  It’s drama that is intellectually stimulating, moving and powerful, and frequently painful to experience.  In other words it’s theater that will touch your emotions, your heart and jar your comfort level. 

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are celebrating St. Patrick's Day on the show.

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