'Next Move' brings modern dance back to Proctors

'Next Move' brings modern dance back to Proctors

Successful dance festival returns to Proctors

By Tresca Weinstein

With the return of the Next Move Festival of Modern Dance at Proctors this weekend, curator Ellen Sinopoliintroduces the Capital Region to a few more shades in the diverse palette of contemporary dance.

The range of offerings includes a solo performed with a very long piece of paper; live dancing seamlessly mixed with video; a reflection on climate change that incorporates text and song; and pure dance that celebrates the power of movement and music.

"I was looking for choreographers with very different visions of how they perceive movement and what kind of themes they're interested in conveying," Sinopoli said.

Read the full story at


DANCE Festival to reveal depth and variety of modern choreography

Festival to reveal depth and variety of modern choreography

Thursday, March 29, 2012

By Joanne E. McFadden

SCRAP Performance Group will perform “Tide" at the GE Theatre at Proctors in Schenectady on Friday as part of the Next Move: Festival of Modern Dance.

When Ellen Sinopoli curated last year’s Next Move: Festival of Modern Dance, she hoped it would be the first year of what would become an annual event.

Sinopoli, the founder and director of the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company, got her wish.

This weekend the festival returns, bringing four very different dance companies to the Proctors stage.

Read the full story by Joanne McFadden for the Daily GAZETTE at


Four cutting-edge dance troupes share stage at Proctors this weekend.

Modern dance taps into the future at festival

 SCHENECTADY — “Modern dance, and the styles and visions of modern dance choreographers, really are very broad,” said Albany-based choreographer Ellen Sinopoli. “There are lots of different ideas, lots of different choreographic styles.”

Several prominent local venues showcase modern dance, but mostly in single-company presentations, one idea at a time. In fact, until last year, when Sinopoli and Proctors partnered to create the Next Move Festival of Modern Dance, no local one- or two-day festival had offered a concentrated smorgasbord of the varied styles and choreographic voices out there.

Four cutting-edge dance troupes will share the stage at Proctors’ GE Theatre when Next Move returns this weekend.


Read Phil Drew's full report for the SARATOGIAN at:


FROM THE VAULT: Feb., 1987. The Norman Conquest, by B.A. Nilsson

Words and Music

Observations and opinions essayed in pursuit of a sensibly cultured life.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Norman Conquest

More from the Vault Dept.: In an earlier pieceI posted today, former Proctor’s Theater artistic director Dennis Madden noted (in 1987) that his pursuit of a recital by opera star Jessye Norman “was a three-year project.I wanted her ever since Musical America yearbook named her Artist of the Year. She doesn’t do a lot of recitals.” She sang at the Schenectady theater on Mon., Feb. 2, 1987. In the week leading to her recital, even as she was performing to full houses at the Metropolitan Opera, ticket sales were abysmal. Two days following her Proctor's appearance, Norman was scheduled to repeat the program at Carnegie Hall, which sold out well in advance, and with such demand that another hundred seats were sold onstage. And Carnegie Hall is the same size as Proctor's. Ultimately, something like 600 tickets were sold. And 600 smart people enjoyed the program I describe below.

My Photo

... works as a writer, actor, singer, sound designer, photographer, chef, and much, much more. See my more recent work at www.metroland.net.

Read Mr. Nilsson's blog:


New York folk song program set for Saturday at Cap Rep

News Subject: 

New York folk song program set for Saturday at Cap Rep

Friday, March 23, 2012

By Bill Buell (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

ALBANY — New York’s long and varied collection of folk songs doesn’t begin or end with Thomas Allen’s 1905 classic about the Erie Canal, “Low Bridge, Everybody Down.”

According to folklorist/musician George Ward of Rexford, musicologist Rena Kosersky of Schoharie and University at Albany professor Sheila Curran Bernard, there is so much more.

On Saturday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, Ward, Kosersky and Bernard will share their knowledge of upstate New York’s rich musical history with a special event called “New York Sings.” The program, free to the public, is being sponsored by Capital Rep, the University at Albany’s History Department and the Researching New York Conference and Documentary Studies Program.

“New York Sings” is being held in conjunction with Capital Rep’s production of “Black Pearl Sings,” Frank Higgins’ play about a musicologist in the 1930s who discovers a woman in a Texas prison who has a beautiful singing voice and a vast knowledge of 19th century music rooted in the South.

“The idea was to remind everybody that there are folk songs in this part of the world,” said Ward, who moved to the Capital Region in 1976 and taught in the Niskayuna school district before becoming a freelance musician and folklorist. “There was great music written in this area, and people like Emelyn Elizabeth Gardner and Ida Finkel, who collected those songs so that we can enjoy them today.”


MacLaine speaks with TU's Tom Keyser from Malibu, just in time!

Shirley MacLaine ready to answer your questions about stars, on earth and beyond

MacLaine brings one-woman show to Proctors
By Tom Keyser
Published 01:51 p.m., Wednesday, March 21, 2012

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You don't often get the chance to ask a movie star, especially one of the first rank like Shirley MacLaine, about UFOs, God and reincarnation. But those topics and, well, anything, really, will be on the table when MacLaine appears Friday at Proctors in what is billed as a "frank and provocative evening."

Like Carol Burnett, who appeared in 2010 at the Palace Theatre to answer questions from the audience, MacLaine will entertain questions at Proctors. However, MacLaine's show is different in that the Q&A doesn't come until the end. First, she will narrate a film that tells the story of her life.

At 77, one month shy of 78 (her birthday is April 24, which means she's a Taurus; that's likely to come up, too), she has lots to tell. She has acted in more than 60 movies, the first in 1955 at age 21 after being discovered on Broadway in "The Pajama Game."

In her first movie, Alfred Hitchcock's "The Trouble with Harry," MacLaine won the Golden Globe award for "new star of the year — actress." Three years later, for her performance in "Some Came Running" with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, she received her first of five Academy Award nominations for best actress. She won in 1984 for her work the year before in "Terms of Endearment" with, among others, Jack Nicholson.

She just finished filming episodes for Season 3 of the popular PBS series "Downton Abbey." Hers is a new character designed to butt heads with the dowager countess played by Maggie Smith.

And MacLaine has a movie coming out next month, a crime-comedy with Jack Black called "Bernie." What's more, she says, she'll start work on three more movies before the end of the year.

Still, despite her collaborating with the greatest actors of the past six decades, palling around with the infamous Rat Pack and having a brother, the actor Warren Beatty, purported to have bedded more than 12,000 women, MacLaine says what people want to talk about at her shows are her books.

She has written at least 13 with titles such as "Sage-ing While Age-ing" and "Going Within: A Guide for Inner Transformation." Her website (http://www.shirleymaclaine.com) features sections on astrology, numerology, spiritual life, dreams and prophecy, reincarnation and UFOs.

She believes, for instance, that cataclysmic astronomical events combined with what some say is the end date of the ancient Mayan calendar could bring about the end of the world as we know it. And that, which MacLaine refers to simply as "2012," would happen on Dec. 21.

We got in this interview just in time. MacLaine spoke with us by phone from her home in Malibu:

Hear all about it, from writer Tom Keyser of the Times Union:

Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/entertainment/article/Shirley-MacLaine-ready-to-answer-your-questions-3424415.php#ixzz1potktHi2

BLACK PEARL SINGS! earns its exclamation point, says METROLAND's Yeara

News Subject: 
Soul to Soul

by James Yeara on March 22, 2012 · 0 comments

By Frank Higgins, directed by Patrick Mullins Capital Repertory Theatre, through April 7
Black Pearl Sings!
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

The first song starts immediately once the lights fade into a blackout, and “Down on Me” reverberates like a call from the shores of the Hudson River far beyond the walls of the theater. Then the lights ever-so-slowly come up on the cinderblocks of a warden’s office that’s dominated by a large wooden desk, revealing Library of Congress “songcatcher” Susannah Mallally (Jessica Wortham) listening intently while standing in an open doorway.

“I want whoever that is singing brought in to me,” she calls out urgently to the guards, and soon an audience are nodding in agreement after Alberta “Pearl” Johnson (the powerful Jannie Jones) enters the stage, shackled but unbowed.

Black Pearl Sings! earns its exclamation point not only song by song (there are 20 of them, bluesy folks songs, in the two-hour show, some repeated several times to great effect, especially the surprisingly racy “Little Sally Walker”) but also story by story, layered and contrasted by the two-person cast under the sound direction of Virginia Stage Company director Patrick Mullins.

Read James Yeara's fascinating review: http://metroland.net/2012/03/22/soul-to-soul/

GAZETTE: Proctors to offer drama, fun in 2012-13

Proctors to offer drama, fun in 2012-13

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

By Bill Buell (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

The Million Dollar Quartet performs at the invitation-only Broadway Bash on the Mainstage at Proctors on Tuesday night.

SCHENECTADY — What do Victor Hugo, Walt Disney and Elvis Presley have in common? They’ll all be represented in the Proctors Key Private Bank Broadway Series package for the 2012-2013 season.

“Les Miserables” and “Mary Poppins,” two timeless classics, seemed to produce the most cheers from the 1,500 or so season subscribers that made their way into the main theater Tuesday night to listen to Proctors’ CEO Philip Morris announce next season’s lineup. Also received with much applause was “Wicked,” which packed the Schenectady theater for three weeks during December 2009 and January 2010. Also part of the Broadway series is 2011’s “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and 2010’s “Million Dollar Quartet.”

Read BILL BUELL'S full story at:


PROCTORS: Coming soon: Elvis, Mary Poppins!

Coming soon: Elvis, Mary Poppins

Proctors announces its varied 2012-13 Broadway schedule, including a jukebox musical
By Michael Janairo

SCHENECTADY — Rock legends, storybook characters, drag queens and French revolutionaries are headed to the Capital Region as part of Proctors' 2012-13 Broadway series.

Members of the Broadway cast of "Million Dollar Quartet" got a jump start on the action Tuesday night, performing seven of the show's songs — including "Blue Suede Shoes," "Folsom Prison Blues" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" — before more than 1,000 people at the venue's season announcement event.

The jukebox musical, which is slated to run at Proctors from Jan. 22 to 27, tells the story of one legendary night — Dec. 4, 1956, in Memphis — when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins came together for a recording session.

The other four shows on Proctors series are:


TIMES UNION: Proctors announces 2012-13 Broadway series!

Description: Arts Talk

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March 20, 2012 at 7:01 pm by Michael Janairo, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Cast members from the Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet perform during Proctors 2012-13 Broadway season announcement in Schenectady, NY Tuesday March 20, 2012. MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is the new smash-hit musical inspired by the famed recording session that brought together rock 'n' roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time.( Michael P. Farrell/Times Union )

Members of the Broadway cast of “Million Dollar Quartet,” one of the five announced shows, showed up Tuesday night at Proctors to perform selections from the musical to help the venue launch its next season.

Read the full story:


Shirley MacLaine sets no boundaries in one-woman chat, says GAZETTE's BUELL

A conversation with ‘Herself’

Shirley MacLaine sets up no boundaries in one-woman chat with her audience

Sunday, March 18, 2012

By Bill Buell (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

In more than 55 years in the public eye, Shirley MacLaine was never one to pull any punches. She expects nothing less from her audience.

“It’s like we’re just having a conversation in my living room, and what happens there stays there,” said MacLaine, who will be at the Mainstage at Proctors on Friday night for her one-woman chat titled “Herself. Shirley MacLaine.”

“I show some clips from my movies, talk about things and nothing is off limits. We’ll talk about anything.”

The 1983 Oscar winner for “Terms of Endearment,” MacLaine said sometimes her conversations can get pretty personal.

“At one of my Florida shows, a woman got up in the aisle and said that she had an affair with my father,” she related. “So, we talked about it. I asked her if my daddy was the guy who made her a woman, I asked her how he was in bed and why they had broken up. I actually do remember a time when my mother had been so jealous.”

Friday night’s presentation will allow time for a question-and-answer period, and

‘Herself. Shirley MacLaine’

WHERE: Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday

HOW MUCH: $70-$20

MORE INFO: 346-6204, www.proctors.org

MacLaine expects to handle a few questions about the time she spent with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and other members of The Rat Pack.

“There was no hanky-panky, never,” said MacLaine...

GAZETTE reporter BILL BUELL tells all in his facinating interview with Shirley MacLaine:


BLACK PEARL SINGS, a feel-good production, says Saratogian's GOEPFERT

News Subject: 

ALBANY — How do you define crowd-pleaser? Capital Repertory Theatre is doing it with “Black Pearl Sings” by taking two opposites and giving them a dream to share and emotional music to sing.

“Black Pearl Sings” is a touching show, as it adheres to a certain formula to establish an emotional bond between a couple of decent people who share a common goal. The play tends to be manipulative, but in its defense it adheres to the rule that says all’s fair if you take the audience where it wants to go.

Get the inside look. Read the full story:


Film historian Kupferberg hails MacLaine icon, major talent, fascinating woman!

MacLaine: icon, a major talent and  fascinating woman, says film historian Audrey Kupferberg

“Whenever I see a handbag, umbrella, mug or t-shirt with the face of Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe prominently displayed, I think of other female movie stars who deserve that kind of iconic treatment. One certainly is Shirley MacLaine, and this beautiful and intriguing woman will be appearing at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady on March 23, where she will be presenting an evening of stories, film clips, and a Q&A session.

“MacLaine’s film career pretty much begins in the mid-1950s, when she made an impression with audiences in Alfred Hitchcock’s quirky comedy of murder in New England, THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY, and then played the Princess in Mike Todd’s epic AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS. 


“Her cropped red hair was a fashion trend. Her delicate features and searching, piercing eyes have impressed movie audiences for almost  six decades – whether she is playing comedy, drama, or melodrama.  She gives strong and memorable performances even in films that miss.  I just took a look at a 1959 melodrama called CAREER which never came out on DVD but is streamable on various websites.  This is an overblown melodrama about an actor who is hell-bound to reach stardom.  In it, MacLaine plays a drunken, free-and-easy rich gal who keeps throwing her legs up over chairs to attract the men in her life.  This is the kind of role that could appear laughable today, particularly in such a problematic film, but she rises above the material.    Another lesser-known little gem of a performance by MacLaine is in MY GEISHA, a 1962 comedy that she filmed in Japan with Yves Montand and Edward G. Robinson.  In this film, she plays a movie star who poses as a geisha so convincingly that she supposedly fools her husband about her identity.  Far-fetched, yes, but a wonderful guilty pleasure movie!

“Indeed, Shirley MacLaine proved to be much more interesting than a Hollywood mannequin when she was approaching middle-age and began to reveal her interests, beliefs, and backbone to the public.   She became an expert on life in China and co-directed a feature-length, Oscar-nominated documentary on the subject.  She wrote several books and gained attention with her strong spiritual side and belief in the Occult.  In the 1970s, she was the first unchaperoned woman to insist upon being served a beer at Farrell’s bar in Brooklyn, thereby breaking down the gender wall there.

“And now Shirley MacLaine has just returned from London where she just finished shooting Season 3 Episode 1 of DOWNTON ABBEY.  She is playing Martha Levinson, Lady Cora’s American mother. The show will air in the U.S. in January 2013.  Amid the hum of excitement is the big question:  Will MacLaine as Levinson play any scenes with Maggie Smith in her role as The Right Honourable Violet Crawley, Countess of Grantham?  If so, not since the dueling banjoes of DELIVERANCE will there be such a high-strung match! 

“MacLaine really is an icon, a major talent and a fascinating woman.  We are fortunate to have the opportunity to see her – as herself—on Proctor’s main stage on March 23.”

Audrey Kupferberg is a Lecturer at the University at Albany, where she teaches courses in film history in the Art Department.

She also is a film and video consultant, archivist, and appraiser, and has been Director of the Yale University Film Study Center and Assistant Director of the National Center for Film and Video Preservation at the American Film Institute.  During her tenure at AFI, she also served as Moving Image Archivist and as Project Director of The American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films.  

Her film commentary can be heard on WAMC (Northeast) Public Radio. 

Additionally, she is a Film Consultant to the Peary MacMillan Arctic Museum at Bowdoin College and is a frequent lecturer at film screenings presented at the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie and at Mohawk Valley Library System venues.

Kupferberg is an alumnus of the University at Albany, class of ’71, and holds a Masters Degree in Cinema Studies from New York University.

With her husband and creative partner, Rob Edelman, she has co-authored several books, including Matthau: A Life; Angela Lansbury: A Life on Stage and Screen; and Meet the Mertzes, a dual biography of I Love Lucy’s Vivian Vance and William Frawley.  She has written essays for and entries in The International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers; St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture; Women Filmmakers and Their Films; St. James Women Filmmakers Encyclopedia; Leonard Maltin’ s Family Film Guide; Magill's Survey of Cinema; and Dictionary of Literary Biography: American Screenwriters.

NEW YORK SINGS explores rich musical heritage. Capital Rep., Mar 24, Free!

News Subject: 

Capital Repertory Theatre and the

University at Albany (SUNY) Department of History,  

Researching New York Conference, and Documentary Studies Program,

 with support from the New York Council for the Humanities


New YorkSings

an afternoon exploration of New York’s rich musical heritage,

featuring renowned musicologist Rena Kosersky

and famed Albany-area folklorist/performer George Ward.

Albany, NY – March 16, 2012 – Capital Repertory Theatre is pleased to announce support from the New York Council for the Humanities for its upcoming event, New York Sings!, a lively, 90-minute discussion and performance with renowned musicologist Rena Kosersky and famed folklorist/musician George Ward. New York Sings!, which is free to all (no tickets required), will be held on Saturday, March 24, from 1-2:30 pm at Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 North Pearl Street in Albany.  In discussion and song, the program explores New York’s rich musical traditions, including 19th and early 20th century folksongs gathered in the Schoharie region, such as “A Dutch Lullaby” and “Billy Boy,” that reflect the roots of New York’s earliest settlers. 

“Events such New YorkSings! are at the heart of Capital Repertory Theatre’s mission,” notes Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill. “We look at the community as a source of inspiration, and seek to celebrate the upstate region in particular as a cultural destination point, both past and present. The relevance of this exceptional offering in concert with the upcoming Black Pearl Sings! at Capital Rep cannot be overstated.”

In addition to support from the New York Council for the Humanities, the March 24 event is co-sponsored by the University at Albany Department of History and Researching New York, a conference on New York State history sponsored by the department each November; and the UAlbany Documentary Studies Program.  

New YorkSings! is scheduled to coincide with Capital Repertory Theatre’s regional premiere of Black Pearl Sings!, which runs from March 13 through April 7. A play with music by Frank Higgins, Black Pearl Sings! brings audiences back to the 1930s and an encounter in a Texas prison between Alberta "Pearl" Johnson, an African-American woman convicted of murder (played by Jannie Jones, who delighted audiences in last year’s Crowns), and Susannah Mullally, a white academic collecting traditional songs for the U.S. Library of Congress (played by Jessica Wortham, known locally for her memorable work in Boston Marriage).  When Susannah discovers that Pearl is a living storehouse of songs passed down from her African ancestors, Pearl must decide whether or not to trust her—not only with her songs, but also her only chance at freedom. 

Higgins has said that his work was inspired by the true story of song collector John Lomax, a white academic who met African-American musician Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Leadbelly, in a Louisiana prison in 1933.  The March 24 discussion invites the general public to look more deeply into the legacy of collectors like Lomax. “It seemed like a terrific opportunity to bring New York scholars, performers, and the public together to discuss and celebrate the music of New York in the context of this play,” said Sheila Curran Bernard, who organized the event with Mancinelli-Cahill and is a faculty member at the University at Albany.

Bernard contacted Rena Kosersky, an expert in American folk music and music collecting, including the work of John Lomax.  “By focusing on music in certain regions of the country, Appalachia and the Deep South, as Lomax did,” Kosersky explains, “collectors often privileged that music as ‘American’—a designation that overlooks rich traditions elsewhere.”  For the 90-minute presentation on March 24, Kosersky will team up with famed regional performer George Ward to introduce audiences to the rich song and folklore legacy of New York State.  Of particular interest is Kosersky’s research into the 19th and early 20th century folk and popular songs of Schoharie County as collected by Ida Finkell (whose “songster” or ballad book was kept from 1879-83) and Emelyn Elizabeth Gardner (Folklore from The Schohairie Hills New York, 1937). 

“In New York, as in Texas, Louisiana, and elsewhere, music played a key role in establishing and preserving communities, and it can serve as a lens through which to understand the historical past, both before and after the advent of recording technology,” adds Kosersky.  “The music of New York is an important part of the musical traditions that illustrate the United States’ dynamic and diverse population.” 

Kosersky is planning to discuss a number of songs that George Ward will perform.  While the program is not yet finalized, selections may include “Uncle Sam’s Farm,” a popular 19th century protest song; “Ding Darling,” a tune also known as “It Was on One Morning in 1855”; “When the Stars Begin to Fall,” a spiritual;and “Pretty Polly,” a ballad with English, Irish, and American roots.

Support for New YorkSings! was provided by the New York Council for the Humanities, whose mission is “to help all New Yorkers become thoughtful participants in our communities by promoting critical inquiry, cultural understanding, and civic engagement.”  Like all projects supported by the Council, New YorkSings! is intended for and open to a general public audience.  Tickets are not required, and the event is free of charge.

Please note:  A matinee performance of Black Pearl Sings! will follow the discussion, beginning at 3:00 pm on Saturday, March 24, 2012.  Tickets are required for Black Pearl Sings!  They can be purchased online at www. capitalrep.org, in person at the Tickets by Proctors Box Office, by phone at the Tickets by Proctors phone line, or in person two hours prior to the performance at the Capital Repertory Theatre Box Office.

For more information, contact:

Sheila Curran Bernard, Assistant Professor, Department of History

University at Albany, SUNY, sbernard@albany.edu

Thom O’Connor, Marketing Communications for Proctors and Capital Rep

Phone:  518-382-3884 x 166, toconnor@proctors.org


UALBANY DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY: www.albany.edu/history


RESEARCHING NEW YORK 2012:  http://nystatehistory.org/researchny/rsny.html

NEW YORKCOUNCIL FOR THE HUMANITIEShttp://www.nyhumanities.org/

RENA KOSERSKYis a renowned musicologist whose research and music supervisor credits include the PBS programs The Great Depression, Woody Guthrie and Eyes on the Prize. A resident of Schoharie County and NYC, Kosersky has expertise in the Lomax archive and in the 19th and early 20th century songs of Schoharie County, including the collections and writings of Ida Finkel, Emelyn E. Gardner, and others.

GEORGE WARD, a folklorist by academic training, has spent more than 30 years collecting and performing traditional songs and drawing on the rural singing tradition of the American Northeast. A frequent performer at concerts, festivals, and educational series, his CDs include O! That Low Bridge!: Songs of the Erie Canal and All Our Brave Tars: Songs of the Age of the Fighting Sail.   See www.mulesong.com.

SHEILA CURRAN BERNARD holds a joint appointment in history and documentary studies at the University at Albany.  She is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and the author, with Kenn Rabin, of Archival Storytelling (Focal Press). Her most recent film, Slavery by Another Name, premiered on PBS on February 13, 2012.  See www.sheilacurranbernard.com.

MAGGIE MANCINELLI-CAHILL, Producing Artistic Director of Capital Repertory Theatre, has brought new and documentary-based works by diverse playwrights to the stage at Capital Rep and elsewhere. Productions include Having Our Say, Crumbs from the Table of Joy, 33 Variations, It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues, and for young people, Friend of a Friend and Petticoats of Steel.

At a glance:

New YorkSings:

An exploration of New York State’s musical heritage with

musicologist Rena Kosersky and folklorist/musician George Ward

When:                          Saturday, March 24, 2012, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Where:                         Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 North Pearl Street, Albany, New York

Tickets:                        No tickets necessary; the event is free and open to the public

Info:                             518-346-6204, http://www.proctors.org

Primary sponsor:           New York Council for the Humanities

NOTE:  A separate, 3:00 pm performance of Black Pearl Sings! follows the discussion.  Tickets for Black Pearl Sings! can be purchased either:

1)      At Tickets by Proctors Box Office (432 State Street, Schenectady, NY)

Mon-Fri 10-6; Sat-Sun 10-5

2)      By Tickets by Proctors phone:  518-445-SHOW

Mon-Fri 10-6; Sat-Sun 10-5

3)      Online at www.capitalrep.org

4)      At Capital Rep Box Office, 111 North Pearl Street, Albany, NY two hours prior to the show.

Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in New York Sings!

do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

#  #  #

Capital Rep’s STAR Program Accepting Applications for Theatre Interns

News Subject: 

Capital Rep’s STAR Program
Accepting Job Applications from Teens
for employment as theatre interns

Albany, NY (March 16, 2012)– In cooperation with the City of Albany’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), Capital Repertory Theatre is accepting applications from teens ages 14-18 through March 23, 2012 for employment as theatre interns for the Summer Theatre At the Rep (STAR) program. 

Potential applicants for a position as a production or acting intern should contact Margaret E. Hall, Assistant to the Producing Artistic at (518) 462-4531 x410 or education@capitalrep.org

To be eligible for the SYEP program, teens must reside within the city limits of Albany, and must also register with the SYEP on March 31, 2012 at Bleecker Stadium, 721 Clinton Avenue in Albany in addition to applying with Capital Rep. SYEP has been a powerful addition to the theatre’s STAR program

Eligible teens who are interested in acting and technical theatre will learn the discipline and commitment it takes to create theatre from the ground up. Paid jobs for young people in the arts are rare, but with the assistance of the City of Albany, teens can have their first paid jobs as artists and theatre technicians.

“With many families expecting their teens to get part time jobs in the summer, Capital Rep is thrilled to be able to hire them to learn more about the art they love,” according to Margaret Hall, Assistant to the Artistic Director. “The Summer Youth Employment Program is a great gift provided by the City of Albany and a program the theatre is delighted to participate in, allowing Capital Rep the opportunity to provide young people with their first job in the arts!”  

For more information on the SYEP program, contact (518) 438-1082 or your local high school guidance office.

Grooming STARS of tomorrow

STAR is a 5-week summer theatre intensive (based on New York State Education Department’s Learning Standards for the Arts) that allows up to 35 area youth (aged 12-16) to explore the world of theatre. Students work with professional artists to develop an original work, gaining skills in writing, costume and set design, dancing, acting, and singing. The program culminates in a series of there performances offered free to the community on August 3, 4 & 5, 2012. Participants learn to work cooperatively and with professional staff – right in the theatre. 

STAR 2012 will explore the theme of Individuality and participants will create an original 45 minute musical theater presentation called “Me! The Musical” that celebrates each individual’s uniqueness and what can be accomplished when people work together. STAR 2012 promises to be a fun-filled summer of creative exploration and discovery.

Established fifteen years ago by Capital Rep's Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, STAR programs have served over 600 children of the Capital District and have helped further the careers of many young actors and theatre practitioners.

Michael Burns returns to STAR 2012 as the Playwright/Director. Burns is the Artistic Director of the Mop & Bucket Co., and has specialized in developing new theatre pieces with youth for many years for such organizations as The American Folk Theatre, Very Special Arts and Steamer 10, among others.

Music Director Elizabeth Sears and Choreographer Celeste Hudson will also be returning this year.

And joining the staff this summer, as Acting Coach, is Margaret E. Hall Assistant to the Producing Artistic Director at Capital Rep. 

Program Details
STAR begins July 2 and runs through August 5, 2012.  There will be no program activities on Wednesday, July 4th, Independence Day. Program hours: 9AM to 4PM, with extended care hours available.

Tuition for the 5-week theatre intensive is $850. Families that register before May 1st will receive $50 off the tuition fee. Limited need-based scholarships are available. 

To register for STAR, please contact Margaret E. Hall, Assistant to the Producing Artistic Director or Education Program Manager Agnes Skiff at (518) 462-4531 ext. 410 or education@capitalrep.org.

A downloadable registration form can be downloaded from the Capital Rep website at www.capitalrep.org.

Capital Repertory Theatre is a not-for-profit professional theater with a mission to create meaningful theater generated from an authentic link to the community it serves. Now in its 30th season, Capital Rep produces a balanced season of dramas, comedies, musicals, contemporary and classic plays to appeal to all tastes. Possessing a history of more than 22 world premieres and dozens of regional premieres, Capital Rep’s productions feature the finest actors, directors and designers from New York City, other American regional theaters and the world. These world-class professionals are supported by a dedicated staff of theater professionals and artists who live and work in the Capital Region, and whose talents serve the theater’s 78,000 patrons. In addition to the professional theatre of the highest caliber, Capital Rep produces education and outreach programs that serve more than 20,000 students and adult learners each year. The only affiliate of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) within the fourteen counties of the Capital Region, Capital Rep has produced more than 4,750 performances, employed more than 1,200 artists and has contributed more than $30 million to the local economy since its inception in 1981. 

- STAR -

BLACK PEARL SINGS! See this play, says music savvy reviewer Michael Eck

News Subject: 

Black Pearl Sings! @ Capital Repertory Theatre, 3/14/12

March 14, 2012 at 11:12 pm by Michael Eck

by Michael Eck
“The folk process” is a term coined by Pete Seeger to describe the way old songs are changed over time, with additions and elisions, melodic and lyrical, contributing to what is, essentially, a living entity. Some say the folk process is a corruption. Others call it a rebirth.

A similar thing has occurred in the world of historical fiction of late, with authors freely borrowing and bending facts and events to their own end. And, as with the folk process, some call such work a corruption; others, a rebirth.

“Black Pearl Sings!,” now on stage at Capital Repertory Theatre, certainly feels like the latter.

...The downtown theater is taking a chance with this play, which hinges on an obscure but important facet of American history and American song.

That gamble should be rewarded with an audience. See this play.

Read the full and informed perspective from musician and reviewer Michael Eck:


Performance reviewed: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 S. Pearl Street, Albany
Running time: 2 hours, 15 minutes; one intermission.
Continues: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; Matinees, 3 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Through April 7.
Tickets: $20-$60.
Info: 445-7469; http://www.capitalrep.org

BLACK PEARL SINGS! Double thumbs up, says Rich DiMaggio

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3/13-4/7  Black Pearl Sings


Go See This Show

by Richard DiMaggio


Black Pearl Sings made its regional debut at the Capital Repertory Theatre March 13th, to the standing  delight of the entire audience. Alberta “Pearl” Johnson  (Jannie Jones) sings, alright, to a halo of diamonds. This play is fantastic. The singing is incredible, the acting air tight, and it comes with a  story line that will make you laugh, then cry, and then leave you singing along in the audience. Two great female performers, Jones and Jessica Wortham (Susannah), two great voices, and a story line second to none.

Black Pearl is the creation of author Frank Higgins. It is the story of the Library of Congress song collector Susannah Mullally (Jessica Wortham), who travels the country collecting folk songs. She finds her way to a Depression-era prison in Texas seeking songs that came over the seas with the slaves and survived the stitches of time. We find the culture of the slaves in the songs they sang in Africa. Do any of those songs still exist today? Susannah finds herself listening to the beautiful music of a prisoner by the name of Pearl, whose voice of an angel rifles through the prison sanctuary. It is in Pearl that  Susannah finds the secret connection between the music of the slaves and today. “I want to hear the songs your great grandfather brought with him from Africa,” Susannah says.

Both Wortham and Jones are past guests of the Capital Rep, and both seasoned performers in their own right. These ladies can sing, and complement each other perfectly on stage. Pearl rocks the audience with some of our favorite melodies, all the while saving the secret African song for herself. She is pained but bittersweet, accepting what God has given her and forgiving Him for what He has not. Susannah herself is a tangled web of tension, out to prove herself to the world, leaning on Pearl’s grasp and depth of understanding of the meanness of life. One suffered externally, one suffered internally, and through their joint strengths and weaknesses they try and pull each other to the plateau.

Read the full story:


BLACK PEARL SINGS! like art imitating life, says Joe Drew

News Subject: 

'Black Pearl Sings' is like art imitating life

ALBANY — The musical drama that will open this weekend at Capital Repertory Theater, Frank Higgins’ “Black Pearl Sings,” is a story of two women from vastly different cultural backgrounds. They are brought together through a shared experience of music and discover they are kindred spirits.

Backstage at the Capital Repertory production, a parallel story is at work. Two actresses, both of whom have performed for the Albany audience before in separate productions, have been brought together by “Black Pearl” and developed a unique chemistry and friendship that informs their performances.

Jessica Wortham, a Kentucky native who made her Cap Rep debut in the surprise hit “Boston Marriage” two seasons ago, and North Carolina-born Jannie Jones, a real find in last season’s “Crowns,” re-create roles they originated in “Black Pearl Sings” as it developed in several regional theaters.

“Jannie and I were cast in the first large production of this play at San Jose Repertory in August and September of 2010,” Wortham said. “The playwright just enjoyed the energy Jannie and I brought to it.”


Though the characters in “Black Pearl Sings” are wholly fictional, they are rooted in an historic footnote. During the Depression, a host of government programs created jobs for the unemployed and the arts were often secondary beneficiaries.

Read Joe Drew,s fascinating report:


BLACK PEARL SINGS! brings audience to its feet!

News Subject: 

BLACK PEARL SINGS! made its regional debut at the Capital Repertory Theatre March 13th, to the standing  delight of the entire audience. Alberta “Pearl” Johnson  (Jannie Jones) sings, alright, to a halo of diamonds. This play is fantastic. The singing is incredible, the acting air tight, and it comes with a  story line that will make you laugh, then cry, and then leave you singing along in the audience. Two great female performances, Jones and Jessica Wortham, two great voices, and a story line second to none.

Read the fukll review :