http://blog.timesunion.com/philipmorris/ Philip Morris CEO of Proctors, Schenectady About Proctors Dancin October 17, 2011 at 10:42 pm by Philip Morris Programming for a place like Proctors is an exercise in patience and growing a thick skin. My favorite criticism is when folks realize that we don’t make a ton of money on our shows (remember supply and demand from school? Works for performance fees too!), “Well, just don’t book the losers! I want to slap my hand onto my forehead! Of course, why didn’t I think of that! Then, I book some losers on purpose. Art. Dance. Music. Isn’t that part of being a performing arts center? Diversity, access, breadth? Sometimes, like this week, two amazing limited opportunity events pop up butt to butt: Radio and Juliet (a new ballet of Romeo and Juliet done to the music of Radiohead) and Angel Reapers, a provocative look at the sexual tension of the Shakers (you know, those folks with large communities in Albany and Western Massachusetts) as interpreted by Martha Clarke, one of the brightest minds of our time. How do you say no even back to back? Relevant, interesting work. Too close together? Of course. Too important to pass? Of course! Do you love dance? The music of Radiohead? Intrigued by a group of people destined to terminate their ways by not propagating? Think Proctors only does Broadway? This week we show off other things we can do. A feast of sorts for those intrigued by the range of expression and art in the world. If you were on the fence, jump. These things don’t happen everyday or, for that matter, more than once in a lifetime!
'Rock of Ages' appeals to more than one generation Published: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 http://saratogian.com/articles/2011/10/12/entertainment/doc4e963c4bb4859... By BOB GOEPFERT firstname.lastname@example.org SCHENECTADY — The musical “Rock of Ages,” which will be performed five times at Proctors this weekend, is more than a typical juke box musical that pays tribute to the rock music of the 1980s. It’s actually a rock concert tied together by a frail plot. You might expect that the prime audience for the show would be those who grew up going to Journey, STYX, REO Speedwagon, Twisted Sister and Poison concerts. And music from all of those bands is featured in the show, but surprisingly, the musical also has great appeal to younger audiences, like the kids of the Boomers. Stephen Michael Kane, who plays the character Franz in the show, said he understands why it appeals to young people. “I was about 4 years old when most of the songs were popular,” the 25-year-old said. “When I first saw the show on Broadway, I kept going, ‘I know this song. I know this song, too.’ These are the rock classics that everyone loves.” Part of the reason why Kane loves the music is it was the music his cousins played when he was growing up. “They were big ’80s girls. They loved Whitesnake. My cousins were my heroes and I looked up to them, so I loved Whitesnake, too. I still do.” Incidentally, if at Proctors Theatre you hear a group of 40ish women squealing when Kane performs his big number — Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” — they just might be his cousins. He grew up in Binghamton and said his cousins, along with the rest of his family, are coming to see the show in Schenectady. Kane said Binghamton offered only limited opportunities for youths to perform in theater. “I saw all the touring shows that came to area, but I never thought of myself as a theater person,” he said. That changed after he performed in a production of the rock musical “Tommy” and knew he had found his future. He said that as a youth his voice was so pure he was advised not to take singing lessons, as it might do more harm than good. “I didn’t take voice lessons until I was older,” he said. That was when he attended American Musical Dramatic Academy. “A lot of people thought I should go to college. I decided to go to a two-year conservatory in New York and learn my trade,” Kane said. He learned well. Immediately after graduating, he was cast in the national tour of “Hairspray,” followed by regional productions of “West Side Story” and the musical version of “Little Women.” Despite three years of almost constant work in musical theater, Kane expanded his options and developed a successful career as a guest performer in television shows and found small roles in films. However, from the first time he saw “Rock of Ages,” he dreamed of playing Franz. “I look like the boy next door, so it was perfect for me,” he said. The character is the son of the developer who wants to gentrify California’s Sunset Strip. This would mean tearing down the seedy rock club Bourbon Street. The young crowd that finds hope and solace in the club fights back, and Franz is torn between his love for his father and his growing awareness of living a free life. Asked to define the character, Kane points to the finale of the show. “It speaks for my character,” he said. Indeed, the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” defines the appeal of the show. It was a smash in 1981 and hit the charts again in 1999. It’s a rock song for the ages. WHERE: Proctors Theatre WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday TICKETS: $20, $45, $50, $60 and $75, https://tickets.proctors.org or call 346-6204
As a special treat, Proctors has scheduled a TheatreTalk with the illustrious Martha Clarke at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 21. Most noted for her multidisciplinary approach to theatre, dance and opera productions, Ms. Clarke will offer a talk that, although open to all, may be of special interest to area dance students, artists and teachers. Attendees can expect to learn about her career, her work as a choreographer and avant garde creator of whole new theatre works, as well as her role as director of operas and plays in the classic repertoire, such as the stage works of Mozart and Shakespeare. Even when serving as director in productions of well-known classics, her approach is frequently unconventional and ambitious. A 1990 recipient of the MacArthur Award (popularly known as the "genius grant"), she also received the 2010 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement. The award is considered the most important lifetime award for choreographers. The Oct. 21 TheatreTalk session is free and groups are welcomed. RSVP required by Oct. 14. Contact Christine Sheehan at 518-382-3884 x112. Certainly, I plan to be there and to see this performance at Proctors.
Passion, repression and the Shakers By Richard DiMaggio ________________________________________ Sex. Shakers. Those words, for me, would have remained forever incongruous had I not started to follow the evolution of "Angel Reapers," the thought-provoking, powerful -– and, for some, perhaps, disturbing -– theatre piece that will play for one night only at Proctors on Oct. 21. The provocative show received its world premiere earlier this month at The Moore Theater of the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College; the Hop is located near an important center for Shaker culture, the Enfield (N.H.) Shaker Museum. Following the performance at Proctors arts and entertainment complex in downtown Schenectady, the show continues to ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage (Boston) before opening at the Joyce Theatre in New York City. "Angel Reapers" is inspired by the life of Ann Lee, founder of the Shaker movement. Mother Ann, as she came to be known, was a visionary, mystic and powerful spiritual leader. Her categorical denial of sexuality and determination to erase it from herself and her followers inspires the stunning and rhythmic choreography in "Angel Reapers." The plot is woven throughout with movement, song and dance to bring to life this extraordinary 18th century woman and the singular world she created. This multi-disciplinary piece is not biographical in the usual sense, but more loosely constructed, slipping in and out of reality and embracing Ann’s visions and those of her followers The advance buzz on "Angel Reapers" on Proctors' website posits the question, "what do you get when you combine Pulitzer-, Tony- and Academy Award-winning writer Alfred Uhry, MacArthur genius director/choreographer Martha Clarke, traditional Shaker music, and sexual repression? Audiences will experience the answer firsthand in what a Proctors press release promises to be an event to mesmerize its audience with a stunning evening of theatre. I had the good fortune to be invited by Proctors to join its van full of area writers and bloggers for a sneak preview of "Angel Reapers" in New York City. Our goal was to meet the cast and its award-winning choreographer/director Martha Clarke at a rehearsal of the show. It was she who greeted us with gracious warmth. There was never a doubt, however, about her command of the space and event unfolding around her. Her petite frame belied the massive sweep of theatrical accomplishments that comprise her reputation as a living, theatre legend. There is no room here to offer an historic overview of the Shakers, but I do want to lay a foundation from which to offer my perspective of the play. The Shakers were a small religious group founded in England that moved to America to set up shop in the late 1700s, early 1800s. They were (note the past tense, please) known for many wonderful things — furniture, farming, equality for women, and virtues to be respected by any society. They were also known for one other virtue: Celibacy. I’m not speaking about an individual opting to make celibacy a personal life choice. On the contrary, the entire Shaker society vowed to remain celibate. No sex. Not for fun, not for reproduction. Can’t look, can’t touch. Ever. Therein is the problem that doomed the Shakers: without Big Shakers having fun, there will be no Little Shakers. (If only finding out what made the dinosaur extinct were so easy.) How did the Shakers collectively grow in the 1800s if there were no homegrown Little Shakers? They routinely adopted children into their lifestyle and enforced compliance with their don’t-ask, don’t-tell, don’t- even think-about-it policy. They took in orphans and coerced them into accepting their sexual mores. Through no choice of their own, kids became teens became adults, and were forced to abide by a vow of celibacy. Feel the tension growing? Eventually, the state regulated adoption, the supply line to the Shaker community shut off, and the fabulous communities they developed dwindled to museum status today. Enter "Angel Reapers." Read complete story at: https://www.dailygazette.com/weblogs/proctors-stage/2011/oct/11/passion-...
http://blog.timesunion.com/philipmorris/ MoHu Madness October 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm by Philip Morris Madness it is. 50 arts groups trying to push into existence a week chock full of stuff normally done and stuff newly imagined. MoHu madness. No extra staff, no extra money. Just passion and a willingness to invent. I just came from a really well organized and fun concert of 7 regional choral groups (http://www.timesunion.com/default/article/Photos-Capital-District-Sings-...) To make it more fun, the folks at Open Stage Media, the public access arm of Proctors, broadcast it live (or you can go to openstagemedia.org and see it with our video on demand). The instantness of doing it live was new to us and the folks who all volunteered as camera people, on the fly editors, lighting folks and runners did a terrific job to make it happen. I interviewed for the televised part all the conductors during the intermission. That too was a blast. Impromptu and I think engaging. 7 days of MoHu left! What are you going to be part of? Mohufest.com
This article as “written by Richard Houdek, as seen in the October 2011 issue of Berkshire HomeStyle.” Shared here with permission. A Sect’s Startling Underside Revealed Most quick tours of American Shaker villages yield lots of utilitarian furniture and distinctive architecture, herds of animals and crops of nutritious food for the table, but this curious 18th-century sect also has a repressed underbelly that is only peripherally discussed. And that is what most fascinated Martha Clarke, the noted choreographer and stage director, and Alfred Uhry, the award-winning playwright, and set in force their collaboration on a new work for the theater. “Angel Reapers” is a multidisciplinary production based on the story of Ann Lee (1736-84), founder of the Shaker movement. Mother Ann, as she became known to her followers, has been described as a visionary, a mystic and a powerful spiritual leader. Her emphatic denial of sexuality and her determination to erase it from herself and those followers is the central focus of the show, which is receiving its world premiere early this month at Dartmouth College, prior to a national tour. The tour arrives later this month for an evening at Proctors in Schenectady, according to the Philip Morris - Proctors’ CEO who urges attendance: “The Shakers were a utopian religious sect that was a controversial event at the time when America was roiling with such movements,” he observed. “Anyone with a sense of history, with an appetite for intrigue, and understanding of repression and the universal quest for personal freedom will want to experience this unique theatrical event.” As the movement and dialogue in “Angel Reapers” suggest, the inability of some Shakers to live with the rule of celibacy in serious, and occasionally hilarious, ways, does not denigrate that dictum, according to Clarke. “She had four babies with her husband, and they all died at birth or soon after, and she had a vision after these deaths that sex was the root of all evil—it came out of her own personal experience, her own personal misery.” Uhry agrees: “The more we thought about celibacy, the more we found it’s not just something to smirk at,” he said. “A lot of men were attracted to it, as well as women. I think everybody, when you think about it, realizes that, now and then in your life, your body may be taking you somewhere you don’t really want to go.” Clarke’s staging of “Angel Reapers” is loosely constructed, slipping in and out of reality with Ann’s visions, and interwoven with dance and song. In addition to preaching celibacy, Ann Lee demonstrated that through shaking and trembling movements, sin could be purged from the body, and these gesticulating dancing movements led to the sect’s name. “Their worship was an important form of physical release,” explained Clarke who said the story is revealed in a spare setting of traditional Shaker furnishings, with a cast of nine dancers, along with two lead actors portraying Ann and her brother, William Lee. While Ann clearly was the community leader, Clarke noted, her brother was the devoted second-in-command, with what she called a strong chemistry between the two. And, as the movement grows, the bond between Brother William and Mother Ann becomes tighter, fueled by what may be perceived as an unmentioned sexual tension. Eventually, Clarke notes, prominent followers desert the community as the bonds of celibacy become untenable. The community falls apart. The show’s basic conflict continues to prevail in many corners of our culture—nudity is taboo, abstinence is preached and sex education and contraception may be forbidden. Far from dated, “Angel Reapers” offers food-for-thought for the moderns.
THE 2011 FIRESTORM SERIES A Unique Collaboration: Capital Repertory Theatre/The Art Center of the Capital Region showcasing Mamet’s powerful RACE Controversy. Conversation. Community. A MOHU offering Albany, NY – Oct. 5, 2011 – Art, like love, some say, is in the eye and mind of the beholder. The same might be said for the magic of theatre. Two esteemed Capital Region art organizations – Albany’s Capital Repertory Theatre and The Art Center of the Capital Region (Troy) -- test that conjecture with a special performance this October under the banner of the FIRESTORM SERIES. The event is part of this year’s inaugural MoHu Arts Festival that will envelop the Capital Region this Fall. According to Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, Capital Rep’s Producing Artistic Director, the Firestorm Series is truly a collaborative project: “Capital Rep and The Arts Center for the Capital Region share complementary missions to create powerful experiences through art. We want art to be relevant and part of community conversations about issues that people care about. Art is such an ally of critical thinking. It stirs the emotion and the intellect and can help people take action -- that’s what this series of play readings is all about.” In the spirit of the MoHu Arts Festival, the collaboration between these dynamic Capital Region arts organizations will extend to an October 14th reading of Poe’s Telltale Heart, adapted from the works of Edgar Allen Poe by Capital Repertory Theatre’s Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill. FIRESTORM SERIES A Live Reading and Discussion of David Mamet's RACE Thursday, October 13, 7 pm The Art Center of the Capital Region; 265 River Street, Troy 12180 $12/$10 members of the Arts Center and Capital Rep subscribers The popular theater and discussion series returns with Davis Mamet’s RACE, a taut legal drama that examines the assumptions about color, gender, ethnicity and class as a law firm is asked to take the case of a wealthy businessman accused of raping a woman of color. This reading features popular professional veteran actors from the region: Timothy Dugan, Timothy Hull, Erica Tryon, and Kevin Craig-West. The discussion afterward will be led by two esteemed educators: • Rochelle Calhoun, Dean of Student Affairs at Skidmore College. W. Rochelle Calhoun has worked at Mount Holyoke College for twenty-three years where she served as the Assistant Dean of Students, the Ombudsperson, the Director of Diversity and Inclusion, the Associate Dean of the College/Dean of Students, the Acting Dean of the College and ended her tenure as the Executive Director of the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College. Rochelle joined Skidmore College as the Dean of Student Affairs on July 1, 2008. She has served on the board of directors for the National Conference for Community and Justice Western Massachusetts, and the University of Massachusetts/Amherst Fine Arts Center. • Christian Sundquist, faculty, Albany Law School. Mr. Sundquist joined the Albany Law School faculty in 2006. Formerly an associate with Chadbourne & Parke LLP, New York, N.Y.; Trademark Law Clerk, Manelli, Denison & Selter LLC, Washington, D.C.; and senior editor of the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy. Each speaker has been asked to take a different viewpoint on the question, “Is it possible NOT to be a little bit racist in modern America?” About RACE “I truly believe that art can serve as a lens through which we can examine our own day-to-day circumstances more clearly – and an also distort,” says Jill Rafferty-Weinisch, Director of Performing Arts and Outreach for The Arts Center of the Capital Region. “It’s exciting to me to see how this masterful play can illuminate important issues and get us talking about them.” In his December 2009 review of RACE, titled In Mametland, a Skirmish in Black and White, The New York Times critic BEN BRANTLEY “an assured craftsman, Mr. Mamet builds his structure with precision and with what feels like a certain weariness with his own facility. What’s lacking is the fusion of story, theme and character that lends bona fide suspense to his plays. In American Buffalo, Glengarry Glen Ross and Oleanna (which received a less-than-exemplary Broadway production this season), the dialogue is fueled by the desperation of the characters. Much of the excitement in listening to them comes from hearing how their words, initially used as tools and weapons, become their prisons. John Simon of Bloomberg praised RACE "a high-voltage melodrama that is unafraid to raise painful questions while dispensing prickly ideas and provocative dialogue amid steady suspense." He added that "play is full of wry jokes, epigrammatic jolts, and acrid, even cheeky provocations, which, depending on the extent of your guilt feelings, can be taken as deserved flagellation or perfervid overstatement." Speaking from on stage at Capital Rep, Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill said that she can envision the October 13 exchange and relishes the upcoming discussion. “Selfishly, RACE is on Capital Rep’s short list for the 2012-13 season. The October 13 reading is going to do double duty for me – It’s great for discussion – and great for me to really judge more accurately the appropriateness of the play for our subscribers. “We named this annual event Firestorm for a good reason,” she says “and RACE is sure to challenge our perceptions of ourselves and the world around us. Those of us who love the exchange of ideas as much as we love theatre, find the Series enriching.” She is also pleased that Alex Broun’s 50 Guns will be the next installment of the Series. Potential Firestorm of Interest, Debate When asked why The Firestorm Series was created, Capital Repertory Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill said, “From the beginning of time, theatre has been associated with social discourse. The works in The Firestorm Series aren’t ‘safe’ or ‘politically correct’. They are meant to stir us up. They were chosen because they purposefully help us explore gray areas – through art and public discussion.” According to Jill Rafferty-Weinisch, “We hope that this series provides us with an opportunity to come together as a community and to have art fuel discussion about the issues that matter to all of us. It’s a forum for bringing these difficult ideas into the realm of public discourse.” The series marks the inauguration of the second year for the collaboration between Capital Repertory Theatre and The Arts Center of the Capital Region. Mancinelli-Cahill and Rafferty are long-time collaborators. Their work together date back 14 years when Rafferty-Weinisch worked at Capital Rep as Director of Education, creating the theatre’s summer program for teens and Artist-in-Residency programs for at-risk youth at Harriet Gibbons High School and Rensselaer Middle Schools—all ongoing programs today. “Jill and I have a great working relationship and a history of developing programs that aim to positively impact the greater good of our communities. We wanted to do something that would bring disparate voices together through art. People want to come together to examine tough issues and we want to pave the way for that to happen with new works of theatre.” Admission is $12/$10 for Capital Rep subscribers and Arts Centers members. Reservations are necessary. For tickets visit www.artscenteronline.org or call The Arts Center of the Capital Region at (518) 273-0552. THE TELLTALE HEART, an excerpt from Pure Poe Adapted from the works of Edgar Allen Poe by Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill Friday, October 14, 6:30pm & 8:00pm The Art Center of the Capital Region, 265 River Street, Troy 12180 FREE Capital Repertory Theater combines the power of art and literature to plumb the depths of remembrance, embrace the power of words, celebrate storytelling and to explore the whispered subtleties within Poe that haunt and excite us and add to his endurance as a writer. In this excerpt from Pure Poe – an educational performance currently touring area schools, actor Kent Burnham, under the direction of Maggie Mancinnelli-Cahill, brings Poe’s iconic tale of murder and guilt eerily to life. “Already,” says Jill Rafferty-Weinisch, Director of Performing Arts and Outreach at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, “we are receiving calls about this performance with Capital Rep’s Pure Poe being presented as part of the special MOHU Troy Night Out. “Because it is Troy Night Out, the performance is free. Seating will be limited and on a first-come/first-served basis for performances at 6:30pm and 8pm. The show will run approximately 20 minutes each time and the audience may not come and go. Latecomers will be turned away. The performance is excellent and we anticipate a good crowd.” For information about purchasing tickets to full performances of Pure Poe visit the Capital Rep website http://capitalrep.org/education/on-the-go.php _____ About Capital Rep Capital Repertory Theatre has a rich, local history of excellent entertainment and strong community relationships. Established in 1981, it came into existence through the dedication and perseverance of a group of Albany business, community and civic leaders. Donated labor, materials and expertise transformed the Grand Cash Market, an abandoned supermarket at 111 North Pearl Street, into what was to become the home of Albany's first professional resident theatre. Over the past 30 years, the facility on North Pearl Street has been renovated several times, and now includes a 286-seat theatre, a café space, a costume-making shop, and a rehearsal hall. In addition to returning more than 83% of its operating budget directly back to the local community, Capital Rep brings vitality and commerce to downtown in the form of more than 75,000 diners, shoppers, and tourists, serving as an economic engine in the entertainment district on North Pearl Street. In all programs and services, Capital Repertory Theatre reflects its mission by embracing its community as a source of inspiration. Capital Rep embraces cast, crew and audiences from every background to expand the horizons of thought and understanding of the human condition through the power of theatre. Capital Repertory Theatre is a professional, not-for-profit cultural organization, and the only member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) within fourteen counties of the Upper Hudson-Mohawk Valley. As a proud member of LORT, an esteemed organization that promotes the positive impact of theatres in the arts and communities nationwide, Capital Rep is able to create excellent opportunities for both up-and-coming and seasoned theatre professionals. Today, these affiliated theatres provide artists with a support system for developing new work, as well as reviving classics and perennial favorites. LORT members strive to provide hundreds of thousands of people with the opportunity to experience the highest caliber of performance right in their own communities. For more information about LORT, please visit http://www.lort.org/. About The Arts Center of the Capital Region The Arts Center of the Capital Region is a regional multi-arts center that enriches the lives of more than 60,000 people a year. Since 1962 its mission has been “to engage individuals in the making and experiencing of the arts.” Located in in downtown Troy, New York and serving visitors drawn from 13 counties surrounding the city, the 36,000 square foot, fully-accessible space includes state-of-the-art, discipline-specific studios for pottery, digital arts, printmaking, culinary arts, jewelrymaking and metalworking, woodworking, painting and drawing, stained glass, framemaking, and dance. It also includes a 99-seat theater for performing arts events, and four art galleries. Its faculty and guest curators consist of nationally and regionally renowned writers, performers, and artists. Further, many area artists and organizations use The Center for meetings, events, and performances, and depend upon it for technical assistance in finance, planning, fundraising, administration, and grantsmanship. Last year nearly 2,000 students enrolled in one of the 319 classes offered at The Arts Center, including 275 students from Hudson Valley Community College who received college credit for their work here. The Art Center’s commitment to the community goes beyond offering high-quality classes, performances, and exhibitions. It is dedicated to access in the broadest sense of the word. The Arts Center brings its programs out into the community through an, Arts In Education Outreach Program targeting students in grades k-12, and Arts Center staff participates in community-wide festivals and events. The Center has an ongoing relationship with adult special needs learners through partnerships with the Center for Disability Services, Wildwood, Rensselaer and Brunswick ARCs, New Visions, Northeast Association of the Blind at Albany, Saratoga Bridges, and the Roarke Center – and this list is growing. It also has a thriving scholarship program which allows economically disadvantaged children, teens, and adults to enroll in classes and participate in week-long arts camps during school breaks. The Arts Center’s annual operating budget is $1.3 million. Despite an uncertain economy, because it earns approximately 50% of its annual operating income and because class enrollment remains robust, The Center continues to be a thriving organization that is on sound financial footing. The Center is committed to remaining affordable, accessible, and responsive to the community. By fulfilling its mission, The Arts Center encourages artists of all ages, abilities, and economic and cultural backgrounds to experiment with their own creativity and style in a direct, hands-on way. THE ARTS CENTER OF THE CAPITAL REGION, 265 River Street, Troy, NY 12180. P (518) 273-0552; F (518) 273-4591; www.artscenteronline.org NYSCA Support Both The Arts Center of the Capital Region and Capital Repertory Theatre receive general support from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State's 62 counties. Contacts: • Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, Capital Repertory Theatre, 518-382-3884, x400; email@example.com • Jill Raferty-Weinisch, The Arts Center of the Capital Region, 518-273-0552, x233; firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, October 21st, 8 pm Angel Reapers Arrives at Proctors by Richard DiMaggio Actual non-costumed rehearsal photos follow article: See photos at: http://www.didyouweekend.com/angel-reapers/ Proctors.org says it best: “What do you get when you combine Pulitzer, Tony and Academy Award winning writer Alfred Uhry, MacArthur genius director/choreographer Martha Clarke, traditional Shaker music, and sexual repression?” We got to find out in a sneak preview in New York City, to meet the cast of Angel Reapers, to shake hands with the award-winning Martha Clarke, and get a sneak preview of what is coming to Proctor’s October 21st. This article is not a historical biography of the Shakers, but we need to lay some foundation to get the perspective of the play. The Shakers were a small religious group founded in England that moved to America to set up shop in the late 1700’s, early 1800’s. They were (note the past tense, please) known for many wonderful things—furniture, farming, equality for women, and virtues to be respected by any society. They were also known for one other virtue: Celibacy. We’re not talking a person making an individual choice of celibacy. We’re talking a society swearing to celibacy. No sex. Not for fun, not for reproduction. Can’t look, can’t touch. Ever. Therein is the problem that doomed the Shakers: Without Big Shakers having fun, there will be no Little Shakers. If finding out what made the dinosaur extinct were so easy. How did the Shakers collectively grow in the 1800’s if there were no home-grown Little Shakers? They routinely adopted children into their lifestyle and enforced compliance with their don’t- ask, don’t- tell, don’t- even think- of- policy.. They took orphans and forced them into their sexual mores. Through no choice of their own, kids became teens became adults, and were forced into celibacy. Feel the tension growing? Eventually, the State regulated adoption, the supply line to the Shaker community shut off, and the fabulous communities they developed dwindled to museum status today. Enter Angel Reapers. Angel Reapers is a take off on the sexual frustration that we can only imagine built in such a society: A society of men and women living and sleeping next to each other, in a completely hands off atmosphere. Can’t look, can’t touch. Ever. Feel the tension growing? The dancing we saw at rehearsal was awesome, reminiscent of Irish foot dances, combined with authentic chants eerily similar to the Salem witch trials. All performed, of course, with the faces and voices of angels. But these performers are no angels. The Shakers were also missionaries, but in this play you will be seeing another type of missionary. Mature audience. 15+ recommended. See photos at: http://www.didyouweekend.com/angel-reapers/
Posted by Gail M. Burns - September 2011 The Wait is Over! Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-WINNING BEST MUSICAL “Jersey Boys” DIRECTED BY DES McANUFF JERSEY BOYS Feb 28 ~ Mar 4 2012 Full engagement: Feb 28 ~ Mar 18. The New York Post raved that JERSEY BOYS is “too good to be true!” JERSEY BOYS is, of course, the enduring 2006 Tony Award®-winning Best Musical about Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi. These four blue-collar kids became one of the greatest successes in pop music history: they wrote their own songs, invented their own sound and sold 175 million records worldwide – all before they were 30! JERSEY BOYS, winner of the 2006 Grammy® Award for Best Musical Show Album and most recently, the 2009 Olivier Award for Best New Musical, features their hit songs SHERRY, BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY, RAG DOLL, OH WHAT A NIGHT and CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF YOU. “IT WILL RUN FOR CENTURIES!” proclaims Time Magazine. Rush to see it so you can see it again! Tickets buyers for JERSEY BOYS should contact Proctors Box Office at 518•346•6204; Fax: 518-881-1823; 432 State Street Schenectady or visit Proctors online at proctors.org for more information on this and other exciting entertainment offerings. Key Bank: A decade of support September marks the 10th consecutive year that the Key Private Bank Broadway Series has sponsored the best of Broadway magic at Proctors. The 2011 – 2012 season is no exception – with five of the hottest hits this side of the Great White Way– LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, SHREK The Musical, JERSEY BOYS and MEMPHIS. “KeyBank is proud of our association with Proctors,” says Senior Vice President Fran O’Rourke. “We particularly appreciate our ongoing partnership and the tradition we have established of bringing Broadway’s best to Schenectady and the entire Capital Region through the Key Private Bank Broadway series. Not only does Proctors have what it takes to host high-profile and tactically demanding shows, they do it in a first-class way that has united the community and excited the region.” The Key Private Bank Broadway Series at Proctors is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State’s 62 counties.
PROCTORS RECEIVES GRANT from TARGET For Teaching Tolerance Initiative ----- Shrek, The Musical as teaching tool SCHENECTADY, NY – Sept. 29, 2011 -- Proctors today announced a partnership with Target and the Abram Lansing School (Cohoes) to foster heightened awareness of tolerance within the Capital Region. A $2,000 grant from Target acknowledged a Proctors initiative in association with the Abram Lansing School in Cohoes to nurture tolerance for other people's beliefs and culture and enhance the students' critical thinking skills. Through the grant, students of the school will participate in role-playing workshops, story writing and telling, and creating visual arts (flags) – under the guidance of a teaching artist -- to reinforce their studies on perception and awareness. The entire student body will attend a performance of SHREK, THE MUSICAL at Proctors. The story of Shrek involves many social issues faced by today's youth -- prejudice, tolerance and acceptance of those who are different, and having respect for others. SHREK, THE MUSICAL is part of the 2011 – 2012 Key Private Bank Broadway Series that has sponsored the best of Broadway magic at Proctors for a decade. Other shows in the Series are: LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, JERSEY BOYS and MEMPHIS. SHREK THE MUSICAL is part romance, part twisted fairy tale and irreverent fun for everyone. It is based on the Oscar®-winning DreamWorks film that started it all, and brings the hilarious story of everyone's favorite ogre to life on stage. In a faraway kingdom turned upside down, things get ugly when an unseemly ogre - not a handsome prince - shows up to rescue a feisty princess. Throw in a donkey who won't shut up, a villain with a SHORT temper, a cookie with an attitude and over a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you've got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily, there's one on hand and his name is Shrek. Featuring a terrific score of 19 all-new songs, big laughs, great dancing and breathtaking scenery, WWOR-TV proclaims SHREK THE MUSICAL, "FAR, FAR AND AWAY THE FUNNIEST NEW MUSICAL ON BROADWAY!" The grant is part of ongoing efforts by Target to strengthen families and communities throughout the country. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its income to communities. Today, that giving equals more than $3 million every week. “At Target, our local grants are making a difference in communities across the country,” said Laysha Ward, President, Community Relations, Target. “We’re proud to partner with [nonprofit organization] as part of our ongoing commitment to strengthen communities where our guests and team members live and work.” Additionally, Target also gives through signature programs that are designed to inspire learning in children and families. Programs include: · Take Charge of Education®, a school fundraising program; · Target School Library Makeovers, a program that provides year-round volunteer opportunities for Target team members to get involved with their local school; · Target Field TripSM Grants, a program that helps educators bring learning to life outside the classroom through the distribution of grants; · Target House®, serves as a home away from home for families of children receiving lifesaving treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® in Memphis. The St. Jude School Program presented by Target, is staffed with accredited teachers and helps patients stay on track academically while undergoing treatments that can last months; · Target Volunteers, a nationwide network of Target team members, retirees, families and friends who volunteer millions of hours to community projects. About Target Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at 1,750 stores in 49 states nationwide and at Target.com. In addition, the company operates a credit card segment that offers branded proprietary credit card products. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its income through community grants and programs; today, that giving equals more than $3 million a week. For more information about Target’s commitment to corporate responsibility, visit Target.com/hereforgood.
LOCAL AUTHORS TO READ AT PROCTORS In MOHU Celebration ----- Books available in Proctors Gift Centre Schenectady, NY – Sept. 28, 2011 --- The spirit and energy of the upcoming Capital Region’s MOHU Arts Festival has not eluded the literary world. Local authors Winifred Elze (The Borgia Prince), John Blandly (The Greatest Novel Ever Written), Lucilla Epps (Phantom’s Legacy), and Zackary Richards (Noon) will read from their work and take questions about writing and publishing from the audience at Proctors Bookstore on Saturday, October 15, from 1:00PM to 2:30PM. The event is free and open to the public. “People regularly stop by Proctors Gift Center to inquire about the books we carry that showcase local authors,” says Robert Warlock, who manages the two gift shops along Robb Alley in Proctors. “They ask about the authors and their literary careers. It seemed only natural to schedule this rare event in concert with the 9-day MoHu Festival of the Arts. About the Authors WINIFRED ELZE’s novels have been published by St. Martin’s Press and Ari Publishing, and her most recent work is a book of short stories, The $83.20 Cat. Her latest novel, Tilde, is about a bipolar artist growing up on Staten Island during the great depression. Winifred Elze lives in Schenectady and is married to Robert Warlock. JOHN BLANDLY is an actor (EdWood Film Fest People’s Choice Award winner “G-Rated”), artist, baseball player (Capital District Senior Mens Baseball League), and filmmaker (“The John Blandly Show,” Blip TV; “johnblandly,” YouTube) from Troy, NY. He is the author of several published novels and ebooks, among them, “The Greatest Novel Ever Written,” Xlibris, 2011, “Abbie,” Synergebooks, 2011, and “Ruthy’s New Texas Lawyer Friend,” Aripublishing, 2011. LUCILLA EPPS was born in the beautiful city of Prague, in the Czech Republic. In 1970, she and her family immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Ballston Lake, NY, where “Lucy” attended BHBL High School and continues to reside today with her husband. After receiving a BA in Communications from Simmons College in Boston, MA, Lucilla worked at several jobs – always around books. Her life-long love of writing has culminated in the publication of Phantom's Legacy, her first novel. ZACKARY RICHARDS began writing horror stories as a hobby to entertain his preteen daughters. He submitted Frostie the Deadman to a contest and won the grand prize. The book was later published by Nicholas K. Burns Publishing. Richards is the founder of Ari Publishing and the author of five published books. For more information on Meet the Authors at Proctors on October 15, from 1:00PM to 2:30PM, contact Robert Warlock, Proctors Gift Centre, 432 State Street, Schenectady, NY 12305; 518-382-3884, ext. 128, cell: 518-256-8395. - 30 –
Original Glazed by The Staff on September 29, 2011 • 0 comments Superior Donuts Directed by BY TRACY LETTS, DIRECTED BY MARK FLEISCHER CAPITAL REPERTORY THEATRE, THROUGH OCT. 16 http://metroland.net/2011/09/29/original-glazed/ The opening of Capital Repertory Theatre’s Superior Donuts is the perfect metaphor for the state America is in today. The production begins in the rundown interior of missing owner Arthur Przybyszewski’s (George Tynan Crowley) 60-year-old Chicago donut shop. The glass door has been broken, the two tables, four chairs and serving have been tipped over, and someone has painted “PUSSY” in large scarlet letters behind the empty donut counter. The coffee maker is empty. A tiny, balding, oily man in a track suit (Yury Tsykun) stands by the broken glass door and repeats to Officers Randy Osteen (Lee Roy Rodgers) and James Bailey (Phil McGlaston), “A real fucking shame, you know,” in a thick Eastern European accent. By Superior Donuts’ conclusion, the shop will be cleaned, well-lit, made whole, and sold to the man in the track suit, Max Tarasov, a recent Russian émigré, who plans to tear it all down to build his American-Russian dream, a blocklong electronics store that will out-compete the big-box stores because “I’ll offer something Best Buy will never offer: the personal touch, and Croatian porn.” You don’t argue with a job creator, especially one with pretty good comedic timing. The intervening two and a half hours of Superior Donuts are filled with a few engaging character studies, many hearty chuckles from the audience, a couple of head-numbing scenes that sit like stale donuts, an amusingly klutzy stagefight worthy of the Keystone Cops, and some of the finest profanity from a Chicago playwright not named Mamet. Second City dramatists sling obscenities like dolphins swim: in fast, furious, acrobatic spurts. Playwright Tracy Letts creates Superior Donuts (his first play after the tough-to-follow 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning August: Osage County) around the intimacies and secrets of the hardscrabble characters who come and go through the small urban store. The dingy intimacy of the donut shop allows a fully engaged Crowley to gradually infuse life back into his depressed Arthur, whose wispy grey ponytail seems to be the only thing holding him together. Crowley has to juggle early scenes where Arthur is barely responding to the cops sent to investigate the break-in vandalism, especially the comely, interested, and well-named Officer Randy: “This ain’t a ‘hate crime’ cause ‘pussies’ ain’t a social group,” she helpfully explains to the stunned Arthur, whose story tumbles out in direct addresses to the audience in the exact, intimate, often painful details of memory. While the shop “Superior Donuts” allows the comedic characters to stop by for an occasional donut and a punchline, Arthur has to stay, exploring and exposing his soul in Superior Donuts, and Crowley’s artistry makes it time well-spent. But at its heart, Superior Donuts is a two-character play, and when hungry-for-work, 21-year-old African-American Franco Wicks (Brooks Brantly) enters midway through Act 1, the play’s pulse quickens. Living up fully to his family motto—“never stop moving”—Brantly’s Franco is all-American bunk, funk, and verbal junk, conducting his own job interview with Arthur, hiring himself, negotiating his pay, benefits, profit-sharing, and planning for the future of this “coffee house,” all within minutes of closing the busted glass door. So it’s perfectly plausible that Franco has written “the Great American Novel: America Will Be,” as he tells Arthur, collected in a dozen notebooks of various sizes, held together by rubber bands, and which Franco never lets out of his hands (Superior Donuts is filled with apt metaphors). And it makes sense that Franco lets Arthur read America Will Be (titled after a Langston Hughes poem) only after losing a bet that Arthur can’t name 10 African-American poets (one of the many times spontaneous applause fills the theater), and it’s wholly believable that Arthur does think American Will Be “is a Great American Novel.” When the few head-numbing scenes are done sucking the air from the play, the duo readily get back to the play’s heart. Perfectly, Superior Donuts ends, not with the selling of Arthur’s shop to Max, but with a scene of hope. For as Franco perfectly told Arthur, “Donuts are not your life; donuts are no one’s life. Your life’s your life. . . . That’s what friends do: share their stories.” Arthur takes pen in hand to write and say “America Will Be” just before the final blackout. It’s a great work of art that ends with hope for the future, and the few “fuck yous” aimed at Starbucks along the way aren’t too shabby, either. Tagged as: August: Osage County, Brooks Brantly, Capital Repertory Theater, George Crowley, Lee Roy Rodgers, Mark Fleischer, Phil McGlasston, Superior Donuts, Tracy Letts, Yury Tsykun
http://www.saratogian.com/articles/2011/09/22/entertainment/doc4e7a9da43... Review: 'Superior Donuts' at Cap Rep offers an empty society — with hope Published: Thursday, September 22, 2011 More Photos Click thumbnails to enlarge By BOB GOEPFERT Entertainment518email@example.com Click to enlarge Editor's note: Find reviews, previews and lots more about area arts and entertainment in The Saratogian's Weekender section every Thursday and online under the entertainment dropdown. Tracy Letts’ play “Superior Donuts” — which is at Albany Capital Repertory Theatre through Oct. 16 —is about the dilemma of Arthur Przybyszewski, who is struggling to carry on the family business. “Superior Donuts” is about the loss of the American Dream. But it’s also about the people in society who have lost their sanctuaries known as the family-owned businesses. Arthur is running the shop to atone to his dead father for the fact that he was a draft evader during the Vietnam war in the ’60s. Though he offers morning comfort to others, he lives an intensely private life. When Franco Wicks, a young bright African-American, talks his way into a job at the shop, Arthur for the first time in years cares about another person and soon starts to care about himself. The relationship between a bitter lonely man with a sad past and an eager young member of a minority with a hidden flaw is nothing new in the theater. What elevates “Superior Donuts” into an excellent piece of material is that Letts makes the two characters the center of a community. This is a play about the isolation of city life and the human need to share with others. George Tynan Crowley creates a nicely shaded Arthur. He is convincing as a man who will not trust another, yet makes it understood he would like to escape his self-imposed Purgatory and live among people again. The actor tends to fall in love with some of his private moments, but he delivers a forceful portrait of a man who eventually chooses to stop running and hiding from life. Brooks Brantly is a breath of fresh air as the confident, sassy and talented Franco. His enthusiasm for life is infectious, his comic timing perfect and his inner energy glows. It’s a great portrayal. His ebullience compliments Arthur’s withdrawn personality and the two bring vitality and a lot of comedy to their scenes together. It is a vitality almost missing elsewhere in the production. Except for Patrick White who brings an eccentric energy to the thug that comes to collect on a debt from Franco and the comic portrayal of Max, the Russian businessman neighbor, the supporting roles add little liveliness to the night. There is nothing compelling about the characters, all of whom have a rich subtext. Instead of being part of the tapestry of the play they seem like ornaments designed to be distractions or comic relief. It’s ironic that the Capital Repertory Theatre production excels as a two-man play and withers as a play about community. Mark Fleischer’s direction fails to capture the larger frame of the piece, focusing instead on single scenes. This causes a pace that dwells rather than sweeps the drama along and makes the rhythms of the play more staccato than flowing. Though Fleischer isn’t the fight choreographer, he is responsible for permitting Adam McLean to stage the climactic fight scene so as to appear amateurish and phony. Fleischer is, however, responsible for staging the end of the play, so it is mawkish rather than uplifting. Because “Superior Donuts” is such a good piece of material that the faults of the production are merely harmful — not fatal. The play offers a picture of an empty society but it suggests there can be hope — even for the bleakest of lives. “Superior Donuts” at Capital Repertory Theatre, Albany. Tuesdays to Sundays through Oct. 16. Albany For tickets and complete schedule 445-7469, www.capitalrep.org
Superior Donuts http://www.didyouweekend.com/superior-donuts/ Posted by rich on September 21, 2011 By State, Capital District, Cool Things to Do, Event List, Events, New York, Theatre Superior Donuts Thru October 16 Capital Repertory Theater capitalrep.org ***** The Capital Repertory Theatre is home to Tracy Letts’ “Superior Donuts” through October 16th, and last night’s opening performance squarely gives this a five star rating, both in quality of acting and production. This show is funny (you will burst out laughing), sad, and between the lines is an intense micro view of humanity we can all relate to. At the end of the day, no matter who we are, or what our background is, humanity has a spectrum we all follow. On one side of the spectrum is Arthur Przbyszewski (“Arthur P”), played by George Tynan Crowley. Arthur P. is a third generation Polish immigrant who runs his family’s dilapidated donut shop on the wrong side of Chicago. Arthur has turned fifty, let himself go, wears a Peace shirt from the sixties with fading band names you cannot read, and is clearly trapped in the trauma between a midlife crisis and the time we give up our homes and dreams. His life, not to mention hygiene, have taken on the same decay as his surroundings. Along comes Franco Wicks (Brooks Brantly), a young black kid who himself has been kicked down, looking for a job in the donut shop. “You need to change. How about some healthy choices?” “Wi-fi” “Turn this into a coffee shop and get kids in here with their lap tops”.The tension, and humor, build as Franco reminds Arthur how behind the times both his life and coffee shop have fallen. Therein lies the beauty of this play, two great actors and characters from two entirely different backgrounds, with the common tie we call humanity keeping them together. One, older with shatter dreams. “They throw you a bone and slam the door on you. It’s just one dead end after the other.” And the other, filled with the notion that not all dreams must die. “Isn’t it wonderful if you find someone you can wrap your arms who has chosen to go through this life with you?” This is a fantastic play. Both George Tynan Crowley and Franco Wicks brought the crowd to a standing ovation. Crowley himself showed the skill of being able to pull-off a mixed range of emotions in a style that made all of us relate. The entire play takes place with one scene, as one window of life after another lets in a breath of fresh air.
Superior Donuts @ Capital Repertory Theatre, 9/20/11 September 20, 2011 at 11:33 pm by Michael Eck http://blog.timesunion.com/localarts/superior-donuts-capital-repertory-t... by Michael Eck Special to The Times Union ALBANY – It’s not unusual to see a bad production of good play; an overall performance that knocks an artwork down a peg. It’s less common to see a fine production lift a piece up, but such is the case with Capital Repertory Theatre’s current production of Tracy Letts’ “Superior Donuts.” “Superior” is not a bad play, far from it. But director Mark Fleischer’s staging, not to mention his cast, certainly elevates the comedy to a higher level. What might be a nice night at the theater is made, in Fleischer’s hands, well, superior. Fleischer’s secret weapon is George Tynan Crowley who seems to have been born to the role of donut maker Arthur Przybyszewski. Przybyszewski is an aging hippie who, it turns out, has deep regrets. Letts breaks up the action of the play with direct addresses from the troubled man, and Crowley’s skill keeps those moments from feeling hackneyed. His fantastic ability to portray a man often at a loss for words informs even the moments he is offstage. Usually when a character buries his face in his hands it’s a hollow gesture, but Crowley invests it with meaning. The play opens on a cold December morning in Chicago’s North Side. Superior Donuts — an Uptown fixture for nearly 60 years — has been broken into and trashed, and neighboring business owner Max Tarasov (Yury Tsykun) has called the police, who arrive in the form of Officers Randy Osteen (Lee Roy Rogers) and James Bailey (Phil McGlaston). Quickly a small community is implied and characters are ably drawn by Letts in broad strokes. Everything changes with the arrival of Franco Wicks (Brooks Brantly), a young African American looking to answer the ‘Help Wanted’ sign on Przybyszewski’s shop window. “Superior Donuts” never loses sight of being a comedy, but it does address topics of race, class, conscience and economy; and when it is revealed that Franco is also an aspiring writer, it even embraces the redemptive power of art. The tension and release between Crowley and Brantly is wonderful, and, as noted, brings an even brighter life to Letts’ somewhat busy script. For the most part, the supporting actors (including Patrick White and Cornelius Geaney, Jr. as a pair of Irish thugs) bolster the main tale without subtracting. Roseann Cane, as alcoholic street urchin Lady Boyle, however, is too much of a caricature to be anything more than a distraction. Fleischer, who by day is the artistic director of the Adirondack Theatre Festival, is a welcome presence on the Capital Rep stage. It’s clear that he understands the origins of the play and its sense of place. Because of that he is able to make a very detailed show feel universal. “Superior Donuts” may not be filling, but it’s fun, and thoughtful, too. SUPERIOR DONUTS Performance reviewed: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday Where: Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 N. Pearl Street, Albany Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes; one intermission. Continues: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. Through Oct. 16. Tickets: $20-$60 Info: 445-7469; http://www.capitalrep.org
Proctors Presents Sneak Preview of Bubble King, Fan Yang, Star of GAZILLION BUBBLE Show At BUBBLE BLOWOUT on State Street, Wed., Sept. 21 ---- Kids, Bikers, Area Businesses, Students of all Ages Welcomed Come for the thrill of it all! Schenectady, NY – September 19, 2011 -- Fan Yang is a world-renowned bubble scientist, artist, and performer. He’s also the star of The GAZILLION BUBBLE Show that will play at Proctors for two performances only on October 8. In a rare pre-event presentation, Yang will offer a sneak preview of the show to Capital Region participants on the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 4 pm at Proctors. The half-hour show ‘n’ tell in Proctors Robb Alley is free and open to all. In addition to the spectacular feats offered by Yang, the event will include encasing a lucky participant in a bubble – along with a bike donated by Plaine and Son Bike and Ski Warehouse on State St. a family owned and operated store and Schenectady staple since the ‘60s. According to company manager Heather Rizzi, “Our staff at Plaine and Son is like family and we think of the surrounding community in the same way. The bubbles concept is an easy symbol for fun – and safety. It underscores our perspective on biking. All of us look forward to the event at Proctors.” “I can’t wait,” said Proctors CEO Philip Morris on receiving the news. “This is exciting stuff and a fun lesson in the science of thin-film technology. The fact that Fan Yang is coming to offer a sneak peak of his 90-minute show next month is something that I personally don’t intend to miss. I think that every parent and grandparent would agree.” Fan Yang: Dazzling, trippy, one-of-a kind artists The Gazillion Bubble Show –tagged as The Most Unbubblievable Family Show! -- has played worldwide for 23 years and stars Yang along with his wife Ana, and their two sons Deni and Jano, and his daughter Melody who is also in the show, who take turns as co-performers at the events. Fan, himself has explored the fascinating unknown world of soap bubbles, combining art with science. He has transformed a simple bubble into a beautiful piece of art, bringing bubble media into a new artistic dimension for the masses. Fan’s ingenious creations and dedication to the pursuit of his dream has brought to life an utterly unique form of entertainment. He emerged as Master of the Soap Bubbles and earned international acclaim in Germany, being voted “Artist of the Year” and is currently a 16-time Guinness Book of World Record holder, most recently having put an 8,800 lb elephant in a bubble. Fan Yang’s spectacular shows have been featured at the National Museum of Science and Technology (Ottawa, Canada), Pacific Science Center (Seattle, WA, USA), Singapore Science Centre (Singapore), Ontario Science Center (Toronto, Canada), and the Discovery Science Center (Santa Ana, CA). His performances have been broadcast worldwide on television. Some of his appearances include “Late Night with David Letterman”, “LIVE! with Regis and Kelly”, “The View”, “CBS Sunday Morning”, “Today in NY”, CW11, CNN, Cirque du Soleil “Soltrom”, TNN, Disney-MGM, NHK-TV in Japan, RAI-TV in Italy, Canale 5, Television Chile Guinness Prime Time, FOX TV, CCTV in Beijing, TCS in Singapore, The Learning Channel, London Weekend Television, CCTV in Canada BC, and much more. Fan also has conceived and manufactured his own bubble toy pertaining to his field of entertainment: The Ultimate Bubble Toy. Unlike any other bubble toy on the market, The Ultimate Bubble Toy was created entirely by Fan Yang based on his scientific knowledge and artistic skill. Combined with a special bubble solution made with a “secret formula”, it allows you to create the most stunning bubble elements such as bubbles inside a bubble, bouncing bubble, floating bubble, mega bubble, millions of tiny bubbles and many other unique bubble tricks. Electric City Blowout Following a Wednesday, Sept. 21 noontime appearance on WNYT, Fan Yang will meet with Capital Region admirers at 4 pm in Proctors Robb Alley for a 20-minute presentation that will include some of his noteworthy feats. The session is free and open to the public. At 4:30 pm, he will invite onlookers to join area workers, businesses, children and students to join a BUBBLE BLOWOUT in front of Proctors and along State Street. Participants will be given a bottle of bubble mix and face off against mechanical bubble machines on State Street.
Capital Rep presents regional premiere of 'Superior Donuts' Capital Rep's Chicago-set 'Superior Donuts' features characters with high hopes By Michael Eck Special to The Times Union Published 12:00 a.m., Sunday, September 18, 2011 http://www.timesunion.com/default/article/Capital-Rep-presents-regional-... 1 of 9 Mark Fleischer knows Chicago. He's lived there. He knows the feelings of neighborhoods where many mingle, where cops walk the beat past city dwellers and shops owned by people from different nations: the Russian DVD store, the Vietnamese restaurant and the Polish doughnut shop. Fleischer is directing Tracy Letts' uptown comedy "Superior Donuts" for Capital Repertory Theatre, and he says the show is about community. The story focuses on doughnut shop owner, Arthur Przybyszewski, a cranky, aging radical, and Franco Wicks, a black teenager with "something to hide." "To me," Fleischer says, "it's a very hopeful piece." "It's about a man who has spent his life cocooned in his father's family business, and how the arrival of this new employee in his shop awakens him to some possibilities of what life could be. "It's about someone realizing that the past can be exactly that, the past." For Fleischer, the play is inexorably interwoven with the American Dream, a concept, perhaps, even more central to the Second City than New York. "What is so great about this country is that there is the possibility to reinvent yourself," Fleischer says. "That is the American Dream -- and I'm not talking about pauper to president, but in terms of those little steps you can take every day. That's what this man Arthur eventually comes to realize. He's got his own secrets like we all do, secrets he's trying to live with and still move forward in life. "Then, he's got these other people around him that are very much moving forward, like Max who's trying to expand his DVD store and Franco who comes in and thinks he can improve the doughnut shop. "It's that sense of hope and moving forward in America with very small steps. Not on a grand scale, but on a very human level." Fleischer's main gig is as artistic director of the Adirondack Theatre Festival, a successful summer company based in Glens Falls and noted for its efforts at introducing both new works and new artists. His arrival at Capital Rep for "Superior Donuts" is not just a meeting of the minds, but also an acknowledgement of the depth of his resume. Fleischer was an associate at the Windy City's Steppenwolf Theater Company, where Letts developed works like the Pulitzer Prize-winning "August: Osage County" and later, in 2008, "Superior Donuts." "I've seen Letts at work as an actor and as a writer," Fleischer says. His knowledge of Chicago also provides Fleischer with a strong dramatic base to work from, especially when it comes to helping actors understand the story and their characters' motives. Fleischer, has, for example, had friends send photos of specific landmarks mentioned in the script -- like Carol's Pub -- in order explain to the cast the importance of neighborhood anchors, and to establish a real sense of place. "For a general audience, Carol's may not mean much," he says, "but to be able to say to an actor, this is why it's interesting that an African-American policeman went into this country-and-western bar to find this information, does. I think having that kind of dramaturgical knowledge of Chicago is important. "I also think that having spent my time at Steppenwolf, watching the sort of muscularity in its style, which has been there since the early days, is a boon. To be able to bring that sense, and to be able to push in terms of pace, and in terms of dialogue, is handy. It's a very testosterone-driven play, after all. There are nine characters and there are only two women." Michael Eck is a frequent contributor to the Times Union. On stage "SUPERIOR DONUTS" When: In previews; opens 7:30 p.m. Tuesday Where: Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 N. Pearl St., Albany Continues: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. Through Oct. 16. Tickets: $20-$60 Info: 445-7469; http://www.capitalrep.org
Free MVP Health Care Organ Concert Series Returns After Summer Recess Featuring Ned Spain and Scott Richards Tuesday, September 20 on the Mainstage at Proctors Presented by Hudson - Mohawk Theatre Organ Society Schenectady, NY – September 15, 2011– MVP Health Care invites all Capital Region residents and visitors to attend a free noontime organ concert featuring "Goldie" -- Proctors mighty Wurlitzer Organ on the Mainstage at Proctors. The Tuesday, September 20 event will feature two popular performers: Ned Spain and Scott Richards. These seasoned musicians will share the hour, offering selections of their own choosing. Both will demonstrate the marvels of "Goldie", an 18-voice, three-keyboard instrument that includes a full set of percussion Instruments and a grand piano that can be played from the organ console. Organists of Distinction Popular organist Ned Spain returns again for the September 20 noontime concert. He has been playing the marvelous “Goldie” since the Golub Foundation and members of the Golub family dedicated the mighty Wurlitzer in 1984, in memory of Bernard and Sunshine Golub. Proctors’ original Wurlitzer organ was installed in 1926, the year the theatre was completed, and subsequently sold and removed in 1957, twenty-six years before the arrival of Goldie. A native of Troy, Ned Spain began by playing the organ before the movies at base theaters while serving in the Marine Corps. After discharge, Ned played summers in Albany, Lake George and Saratoga Springs cocktail lounges. In the Albany area, he is best known for his 20 years as staff organist on the David Allen TV show on Channel 13. He has appeared with many celebrities, including Milton Berle, Donald O’Connor, Sergio Franchi, Jerry Vale, Johnny Ray, Gordon MacRae and Pat Boone. Currently, he plays concerts nationally and appears regularly at Proctor's Theater here in Schenectady. A former Steinway Piano and Hammond Organ dealer, Ned currently manufactures the Creepnomore, a nationally distributed accessory for digital keyboards. Ned is a retired helicopter pilot and collects antique cars. Organist Scott Richards’ history as a professional organist spans close to 35 years and encompasses performances in New York City, 14 states and four countries. He has delighted concertgoers playing in the Sioux City (Iowa) Amphitheatre, where he also served as a church organist for 15 years. The Schenectady Stockade resident chose to retire from music in 1985 until he learned about a local chapter of the America Theatre Organ Society (ATOS). He joined the club as a theatre organist. “This is my livelihood today,” he says, “and I am enjoying it very much. I look forward to seeing many new faces at the upcoming concert with colleague Ned Spain at Proctors.” All events in the free MVP Health Care Organ Concert Series at Proctors begin at noon and are sponsored by MVP Health Care - helping Capital Region residents to take on life and live well. The series showcases the artistry of area organists and the versatility and the power of "Goldie," Proctors’ mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ. Since the installation of Goldie, Proctors has hosted a chapter of the American Theater Organ Society, which provides the services of the outstanding organists who perform for Proctors noontime concerts, and the crewmembers who maintain Goldie. MVP Healthcare 2011-2012 Noontime Organ Concert 2011 • Tuesday 10/18 Al Moser, Ed Goodemote & Guests • Tuesday 11/15 Charles Jones, Tom Savoy • Tuesday 12/20 Greg Klingler, Ned Span 2012 • Tuesday 1/10 Bill Hubert • Tuesday 2/14 Claudia Bracaliello, Rob Kleinschmidt • Tuesday 3/20 Carl Hackert, Charlotte Palmeri & Guests • Tuesday 4/24 Andrew Krystopolski, Will Hayes & Nixon McMillan • Tuesday 5/22 John Wiesner, Jim Brockway • Tuesday 6/26 Avery Tunningley MORE? For more information on the MVP Health Care Organ Concert Series at Proctors, contact Frank Hackert at (518) 355-4523; firstname.lastname@example.org. - 30 -
Family Fun: Gazillions of Bubbles = Mega-entertainment Bubble Up By Tyler Murphy/Explore http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Family-Fun-Gazillions-of-Bubbles-... Updated 10:35 a.m., Friday, September 16, 2011 1 of 5 VIEW: LARGER | HIDE The Gazillion Bubbles Show is coming to Proctors Theater in Schenectady on October 8th. Photo by Jon B. Platt. () Larger | Smaller Share Printable Version Email This Font On stage a small child experiences the thrill of being completely engulfed within a giant bubble. She can't help but reach out to touch the shimmer of translucent film surrounding her. She just barely feels the surface tension snap as the bubble instantly explodes. A burst of water droplets shatter from the ruptured bubble and flicker across her face and body. The young girl seems startled for a second, but then lets out a shriek of sheer joy as laughter rolls across the audience. After more than 1,500 performances, it's a moment that world renowned Gazillion Bubble Show performer Fan Yang says he still cherishes. It reminds him of his own childhood inspirations and how his youthful imagination led him to becoming the world's premier bubble performance artist. "The show brings my joy and happiness to the world and shows a real dream to everyone -- to children and their imaginations," he says. "Child imagination is what has brought me to stages around the world." On Oct. 8 Yang will bring two 90-minute, interactive bubble, laser and light shows to the stage at the Proctors Theatre in Schenectady. The current show has been running for 23 years and stars Yang along with his wife, Ana, and their two sons Deni and Jano, who take turns as co-performers at the events. Like most of Yang's shows, audience members will find themselves surrounded by showers of tiny bubbles or perhaps called on stage and placed inside giant-sized bubbles of their own. A few could even have their whole family placed inside one. In his 27 years as a performer, Yang has endured ridicule, defied scientific skeptics and written an entirely new bubble chapter into the Guinness World Records, where he is the champion of 16 record-breaking feats. For many of those records, Yang was the first to attempt them and he forced a whole new category of bubble dynamics for consideration. In April 2008, for instance, Yang successfully encased the world's largest living land animal -- an adult elephant -- inside an 8-and-a-half-foot tall bubble. Three months earlier, he'd created a bubble with 100 people standing inside during a live broadcast of the Oprah Winfrey Show. In his five previous record-breaking acts, Yang created successively larger bubbles fitting a growing number of people inside each. Many of Yang's accomplishments have continued to gain larger scope over the course of his career as the artist has perfected his own all-natural, non-toxic, secret bubble formula. While that may sound impressive to someone used to blowing bubbles wielding a tiny wand and bottle, Yang says one of his most magnificent achievements was in August 1997, when he defied the impossible assertion of researchers at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle by creating the world's largest bubble wall. The final product was a series of 8-foot tall bubbles stretching side by side into a continuously linked chain spanning 156 feet in length, which lasted for "about 5 or 6 seconds," he says. "I proposed the idea to the science center and they told me it was impossible and good luck. They said the bubble film could not support how large it was and will collapse," Yang says. "To be honest with you, when I start doing this bubble thing everybody was laughing at me. At first I only had some simple bubbles, but I had a completely separate perception than they did. You say to them 'I can make one 100 feet long' and they say you're crazy. But you can, you can prove them wrong." Yang grew up in a mud hut in the countryside of then Yugoslavia, now the Republic of Serbia, near the Hungarian border. But even as a 6-year-old boy, Yang says he felt a deep appreciation for nature and in particular a nearby river. Yang would visit a local waterfall near its banks, where he would spend much time observing the foam and bubbles created by the splashing current. "The bubbles from the waterfall, the movement of the water, the clouds, the sky, seeing a rainbow -- there were many things I found fascinating all around," he says. In his early years Yang traveled Europe as a juggling stage performer. When he was 18, Yang saw a group of kids playing with bubbles in the park and decided to incorporate them into his routine. "I watched them and wondered if we could make them bigger, I had to try," he says. At the time, Yang says the largest bubbles he could make were about a foot in diameter and only lasted a few seconds. "Unlike most children who want to pop them, I wanted them to last longer," he says. He began to actively pursue an interest in bubble art, science and performance. Following a performance in Denmark three years later, a local television producer asked Yang to do his bubble tricks during a broadcast. He wasn't paid for his appearance and was making chains using bubbles that had grown to about 20 inches in diameter. The appearance provoked a wide interest in the artist, who was asked to appear on more shows. "This is when my bubble career really started and I began reading more about fluid, molecular water compositions and putting together my own solutions," he says. In 1997 Yang sent a letter to the Guinness World Records organization asking if they would be interested in a new record involving different bubble feats. Such a category didn't even exist. Yang created the world's largest bubble, a 7.5-foot tall marvel. The rest is history. Now when Guinness finds a new bubble feat to add to its collection, they contact Yang about setting the standard to compete against, he says. "People will not be able to believe their eyes," he says, "when they see what a bubble can do." The Gazillion Bubble Show, Saturday, Oct. 8, Proctors Theater, Schenectady. www.proctors.org for tickets. (Photos by Jon B. Platt)