theater

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Dorset Theatre Festival opens its 40th Anniversary Season with the World Premiere of Theresa Rebeck's Downstairs, starring brother and sister Tim Daly and Tyne Daly, who will be appearing together for the first time on the stage. Downstairs runs for 16 performances between June 22 - July 8, 2017.

Next up will be Ken Ludwig’s adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery (July 13-29).

Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride (August 3-19) will be next. The comedy follows a broke Elvis impersonator who becomes a drag queen.

And then - Pulitzer-winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis will star alongside Treat Williams in David Mamet’s American Buffalo (Aug. 24-Sept. 2).

We welcome Dina Janis, the artistic director at Dorset Theatre Festival.

Performing Arts of Woodstock will present the award-winning play Still by Jen Silverman beginning June 1st through the 18th. In the play, a child is stillborn. The play explores those affected, including the stillborn son, who wanders through the play seeking his mother and joyfully and painfully learning about life as he fades back into the ether.

Sande Shurin is director of Still and joins us via phone. Here in the studio - we welcome actor Ron Morehead and PAW Board Member and Business Manager Farrell Reynolds. 

Barrett Doss in Groundhog Day at The August Wilson Theatre
http://www.groundhogdaymusical.com/

Groundhog Day is something of an American fable - I mean that equally of the February 2nd holiday and the 1993 movie directed by Harold Ramis, written by Ramis and Danny Rubin, and starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.

What do you get when you combine the film with the British sensibilities of Tim Minchin and Matthew Warchus? You get an Olivier Award Winning and 7-time Tony Award nominated stage musical.

After an incredibly well-received run in London, Groundhog Day - directed by Matthew Warchus, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin and a book by Danny Rubin, is currently running at The August Wilson Theatre on Broadway -- starring Andy Karl as cynical egotistic weatherman, Phil Connors, and Barrett Doss as Rita Hanson.

Doss recently appeared in the Broadway revival of You Can’t Take It With You, she’s a recurring character on the Netflix and Marvel series Iron First, and for you comedy TV minutia lovers out there - she played Liz Lemon’s great-granddaughter in the last 20 seconds of the last episode of the NBC series 30 Rock.

Richard Thomas in The Little Foxes at MTC
Joan Marcus

Actor Richard Thomas is best known for his leading role as budding author John-Boy Walton in the CBS drama The Waltons, where he won an Emmy Award. That series began in 1972 and ran for 9-seasons.

Thomas is still acting on stage and on TV. He recently starred in the FX drama series The Americans. And he was just nominated for a Best Featured Actor Tony award for his role as Horace in the Manhattan Theatre Club’s production of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes with Cynthia Nixon and Laura Linney.

The Little Foxes follows Regina Giddens and her ruthless clan, including her sister-in-law Birdie, as they clash in often brutal ways in an effort to strike the deal of their lives. The Little Foxes runs at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on Broadway through July 2nd.

  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: Colossal, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Upcoming:
Brad Paisley - SPAC, Saratoga Springs, 5/18 Thursday, 7 PM
Orleans - Stanley Theatre, Utica, 5/19 Friday, 8 PM
Carl Palmer ELP Legacy - The Egg, Albany, 5/20 Saturday, 8 PM
Sisters of Slide: Rory Block & Cindy Cashdollar - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, 5/20 Saturday, 8 PM
Captured Moments: 170 Years of Photography from the Albany Institute - Albany Institute of History & Art, closes 5/21 Sunday
A Hard Day's Night - Proctors, 5/22 Monday at 3, 5 and 7 PM
The Dollyrots - The Low Beat, Albany, 5/22 Monday, 7 PM
Ana Popovic - Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes, 5/23 Tuesday, 8 PM
Sara Watkins, Mike & Ruthy - The Egg, Albany, 5/24 Wednesday, 7:30 PM

New movies: Alien: Covenant, Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent, Everything Everything Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer

Joan Marcus

Innovative, heartbreaking, and wickedly funny, Hedwig And The Angry Inch is the American musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask is a genre-bending, fourth-wall-smashing musical sensation, with a pulsing score and electrifying performances which tells the story of one of the most unique characters to ever hit the stage.

Winner of four 2014 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, Hedwig And The Angry Inch played to record-breaking sell-out crowds on Broadway and now is in Schenectady for performances tonight and tomorrow at Proctors.

Hannah Corneau plays Yitzhak in the production. She is graduate of Shen High School.

William Kunstler was an American radical lawyer and civil rights activist, known for his politically unpopular clients. He was an active member of the National Lawyers Guild, a board member of the American Civil Liberties Union and the co-founder of the Law Center for Constitutional Rights. Kunstler's defense of the Chicago Seven from 1969–1970 led The New York Times to label him "the country's most controversial and, perhaps, its best-known lawyer."

Starting later this week, Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA will present The Creative Place International/And Theatre Company production of Kunstler starring Jeff McCarthy in the title role. The show will run on BSC’s St. Germain Stage through June 10th. It is directed by Meagen Fay.

Jeff McCarthy is a Tony Award nominated actor and Associate Artist at Barrington Stage and he joins us.

Will Pullen and Khris Davis in Sweat
Joan Marcus

Playwright Lynn Nottage made history last month as the first woman to win two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. Her play Sweat — her first to be produced on Broadway — was awarded the honor. She received her first Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for Ruined, which was produced off-Broadway.

Sweat first premiered and was co-commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage. After a sold-out run at off-Broadway’s prestigious Public Theater, the play moved to Broadway where it is now running at Studio 54 and is nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play.

Directed by Kate Whoriskey, Sweat takes place in Reading, PA and features characters whose way of life is falling apart after the decline of the manufacturing, steel, and coal industries. They work together and they drink together - and when layoffs and picket lines begin - they find themselves fighting each other in the hard fight to keep going.

We are joined now by actors Khris Davis and Will Pullen - they play best-friends, Chris and Jason in Sweat. (To learn more about Davis and Pullen - their bios are below.)

The Roundabout Theatre Company production of Kander and Ebb’s classic Tony Award winning musical drama, Cabaret, is at Proctors this week. This touring production was directed by Sam Mendes and co-directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall.

To set the stage:

1930s, Berlin: The Kit Kat Klub is a seedy cabaret, a place of decadent celebration. The Klub's Master of Ceremonies, or M.C., is joined by the cabaret girls and headliner-of-sorts, Sally Bowles.

In a train station, Cliff Bradshaw arrives, a young American writer coming to Berlin to work on his new novel.

At Proctors this week, Jon Peterson plays the Emcee and Benjamin Eakeley plays Cliff.

Jeremy Daniel

Based on the 2007 movie of the same name, the hit Broadway musical Waitress was directed by Diane Paulus and was nominated for 4 Tony Awards last year. The show has a book by Jessie Nelson and the music and lyrics are by Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles.

Bareilles is currently making her Broadway debut as Jenna -- a pregnant diner waitress and inventor of pies who needs to stop burying her hope and unhappy marriage in creative ingredients and make a change.

The other half of that unhappy marriage is Earl, the kind of guy who peaked in high school and never got over it. Earl is handsome but gruff, disconsolate, short tempered, beer-soaked -- and currently being played on Broadway by Will Swenson. His last performance at the pie-scented Brooks Atkinson Theatre will be on June 11th. (Sara Bareilles will leave then, too and Betsy Wolfe will begin performances as Jenna on June 13.)

Swenson’s recent Broadway credits include Disaster!, Les Misérables, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and Hair -- for which he was nominated for a Tony Award. In the summer of 2015 he played Jamie Tyrone in Eugene O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten at the Williamstown Theatre Festival - opposite is wife Audra McDonald; and last summer he served up a boisterous and bodacious Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance at Barrington Stage.

Caroline O'Connor and John Bolton in Anastasia
Joan Marcus

The new Broadway musical Anastasia features a book by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally and a lush, new score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens. Tony Award-winning director Darko Tresnjak directs a cast that features Christy Altomare, Derek Klena, John Bolton, Ramin Karimloo, Tony Award nominee Mary Beth Piel, and our guest: Caroline O’Connor -- who has been nominated for a Drama League award and an Outer Critic Circle Award for her portrayal of Countess Lily.

This marks O’Connor’s third Broadway show - she’s performed on the West End, at the Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House. Some of her signature roles include Edith Piaf, Judy Garland, Velma Kelly in Chicago, Anita in West Side Story and Mabel in Mack & Mabel.

She’s well known in certain circles for playing Nini in Baz Luhrman’s 2001 film, Moulin Rouge!

Some People Hear Thunder is a powerful musical love story - an uplifting tale of a young reporter, his true love in America, and Armenians fighting for dignity and survival in the face of brutality. Set between 1914 and 1915, in New York and southern Turkey, in the midst of shocking historical events, Some People Hear Thunder comes to life through song, dance and beautiful storytelling.

The show is running at The Capital Repertory Theater in Albany, NY through May 21.

To tell us more we welcome Gerson Smoger and Kevin McGuire. 

Emily Padgett at opening night of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Emilio Madrid-Kuser / broadway.com

A new musical stage adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, opened on Broadway last Sunday.

Directed by three-time Tony Award-winner Jack O’Brien, the new musical features beloved songs from the 1971 film version, including “Pure Imagination” and “The Candy Man,” alongside a brand new score from the songwriters of Hairspray, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, a book from David Greig and choreography by Joshua Bergasse. The magic of Mr. Wonka’s factory is created through Mark Thompson’s sets and costumes, lighting by Japhy Weideman, projections by Jeff Sugg, and puppets by Basil Twist.

The cast features Christian Borle and Willy Wonkoa, the titular Charlie Bucket is played by three young actors, and his mother, Mrs. Bucket, is played by Emily Padgett.

Emily’s previous Broadway credits include Legally Blonde, Rock of Ages, the revival of Side Show, and Bright Star.

John Cariani is an actor and a playwright. He has appeared on and Off Broadway, at regional theaters across the country, and in several films and television shows.

He’s been nominated for a Tony Award. He’s done movies with Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Ed Asner. Most people seem to know him from Law & Order, where he played Forensics Tech Beck from 2002-2007.

He started writing plays when he moved to New York City in the late nineties. They include Almost Maine, Love/Sick and Last Gas. His second play, Cul-De-Sac is being produced by the Half Moon Theatre in Poughkeepsie beginning this Saturday through May 14th.                        


  Bandstand is a new musical at the Jacobs Theatre on Broadway tomorrow night.

Starring Laura Osnes and Corey Cott and directed and choreographed by Andy Blankenbeuler, Bandstand features book, music, and lyrics by Richard Oberacker and book and lyrics by former Capital Region habitant and arts participant, Robert Taylor.

Set just after World War II, musician Donny Novitski -- a veteran recently returned home to Ohio -- has to figure out where he fits now that the fighting is done. When a national contest to find America’s next music sensation offers a chance at fame and Hollywood fortune, he assembles a swing-band of fellow veterans and a young war widow and throws everything he has at winning.

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.

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.

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.

WAM Theatre is currently presenting a limited run remount of the company’s very successful 2013 production of Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight, written by Lauren Gunderson and directed by WAM Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven.

The production will run through April 9 at Shakespeare & Company’s Tina Packer Playhouse in Lenox, MA.

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.

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!


  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.

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.

Mark Ruffalo and Jessica Hecht in The Roundabout Theatre Company revival of 'The Price'
Joan Marcus

  Last night in New York City, the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Arthur Miller’s The Price opened on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre. It will run through May 14 (it was scheduled to run through May 7 and was extended).

 

The Price deals with familial resentment, lies, misunderstandings and the lasting generational repercussions of The Great Depression through Miller’s signature and definitive playwriting.

Terry Kinney directs the four actor cast -- Mark Ruffalo, Tony Shaloub, Danny Davito (making his Broadway debut), and friend of WAMC, Jessica Hecht.

This Friday and Saturday, The Theatre Institute at Sage will present a staged reading of the rarely-produced play Greenwood: An American Dream Destroyed by Celeste Bedford Walker. The reading is directed by Lynnie Godfrey, the inaugural artist of the Scrimshaw Distinguished Visiting Artist Fund. Godfrey, an actress, singer, director and producer based in New York City, is at Sage for a week-long residency thanks to the generous support of the fund established by The Sage Colleges President Susan Scrimshaw.

Greenwood: An American Dream Destroyed is a drama that tells the story of events surrounding the 1921 race disaster in Greenwood, Oklahoma. Greenwood, the premier Black Boomtown of its era, was referred to as the “Negro Wall Street”, and had successfully achieved complete economic independence from its neighbor Tulsa, Oklahoma. That all ended when 14 blocks of the town were burned down in one night. Follow the progress, success, joy and prosperity of the township of Greenwood and eventually the story of its demise.

Here to tell us more are aforementioned director Lynnie Godfrey and Theare Institute at Sage Artistic Director, Leigh Strimbeck. 


  Off-Broadway at The Laura Pels Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company is currently presenting Steven Levenson’s If I Forget. The play is the latest in Roundabout’s ongoing devotion to producing new plays by young playwrights with bold creative voices. Levenson is the acclaimed writer of Dear Evan Hansen and Roundabout’s The Language of Trees.

 

The show is directed by Daniel Sullivan and co-stars Kate Walsh. Walsh is best known for her television role as Dr. Addison Montgomery first on the Shonda Rhimes helmed hits, Grey’s Anatomy and then its spin-off, Private Practice.Walsh began her acting career in Chicago where she studied at the renowned Piven Theatre Workshop. She went on to star in multiple theater productions at the Shakespeare Repertory. She’s worked primarily in film in television in recent years and joins us now to discuss If I Forget and what about it made her want to get back on stage.

If I Forget runs through April 30th. 13 Reasons Why premiers on Netflix on March 31st.

Creative License was founded by Capital Region theater artists Aaron Holbritter and Casey Polomaine in March of 2014.

Their current production – opening tomorrow at The Albany Barn – is The Picture of Dorian Gray, a theatrical adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s famous novel by Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa.

We are joined by the production’s director, Aaron Holbritter, producer Casey Polomaine, and actor Ian LaChance who plays the title character.

The show runs March 10-April 1.

Wicked, the smash-hit musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman is at Proctors in Schenectady through March 12th.

Based on the 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Albany’s own Gregory Maguire, Wicked brings the audience to Oz and asks “What made the Wicked Witch wicked?” Wicked opened on Broadway in 2003 and since then has dazzled audiences in New York and all over the world.

We are joined today by Isabel Keating who plays Madame Morrible. Morrible begins as Head Mistress at Shiz University and becomes Press Secretary to The Wizerd of Oz.

Keating garnered a Tony Award nomination and won the Drama Desk award for The Boy from Oz. Other Broadway credits include Hairspray, Enchanted April, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, and It’s Only A 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: The LEGO Batman Movie, John Wick Chapter 2

Shakespeare & Company has announced its lineup for the 2017 summer season, which includes three Shakespeare plays: Cymbeline, The Tempest, and A Midsummer Night's Dream; plus two Edith Wharton comedies, Roman Fever and the newly adapted The Fullness of Life.

Additional titles include the Obie Award winning 4,000 Miles by Amy Herzog; New York Drama Critics Circle and the Outer Critics Circle Recipient, Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage; and Tony Award Winner, God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza.

This year marks the 40th Season at Shakespeare & Company -represents an opportunity to celebrate the company’s legacy. To tell us more we welcome Artistic Director Allyn Burrows and Shakespeare & Co. Founder, Tina Packer. 

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