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Dance troupes to reveal range of choreographers’ creativity
Thursday, March 31, 2011
By Joanne E. McFadden
The Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company will perform “A Gathering in Red, Departing,” as part of the “Next Move Festival of Modern Dance” at Proctors’ GE Theatre this weekend. (photo: Gary Gold)
Four very distinct styles of modern dance come to Proctors GE Theatre this weekend for the “Next Move Festival of Modern Dance.”
The festival was created and curated by Ellen Sinopoli, founder and artistic director of the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company, who said she wanted bring in modern dance companies that have not yet been seen by area audiences.
“Modern dance has a very broad spectrum — from almost performance art and theater with movement to something that’s extremely balletic in approach, and everything in between,” she said.
To showcase that variety, Sinopoli invited Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion and Bill Young/Colleen Thomas from New York City and Philadelphia-based Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers to perform at the festival along with her company, which represents the Capital Region.
Next Move Festival of Modern Dance
WHERE: GE Theatre at Proctors, 432 State Street, Schenectady
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday
HOW MUCH: $25, adults; $15, students
MORE INFO: 346-6204 or www.proctors.org
Friday’s performances will be by the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company, which celebrates its 20th year this year, and Kyle Abraham.
Read complete story: http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2011/mar/31/0331_dance/
Fascination at the Piano Jazz Summit
Hiromi Uehara turns emotions into musical colors
Thursday, March 31, 2011
BY GERALDINE FREEDMAN
‘I don’t know how many hours I’m at the piano. It’s so much fun to explore new things, new landscapes. I don’t like to think of the word “practice.” That’s like being forced. It sounds so boring.’ Hiromi Uehara is one of three pianist that will perform at the Piano Jazz Summit at Proctors Friday.
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SCHENECTADY — Pianist Hiromi Uehara was trying to concentrate.
“Every call I get, I think it’s my family,” she said on March 11, the day the tsunami hit northern Japan. “My parents are OK, but I’m trying to locate some family members who are missing.”
But, professional that she is, Uehara said she could go on with the interview. Later that day, the missing family members were found.
Uehara and pianists Cedar Walton and Jacky Terrasson will play tomorrow in Proctors’ first Piano Jazz Summit. One of the intents of the event, beyond showcasing Proctors’ great piano, said Proctors CEO Philip Morris, was to unite three generations of players. Each pianist will get a solo set. Uehara at 32 is the youngest.
Piano Jazz Summit
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady
HOW MUCH: $40, $30, $20
MORE INFO: 382-1083, www.proctors.org
Read full story at http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2011/mar/31/0331_hiromi/
Hiromi headlines Proctors' gathering of jazz pianists at their summit
By R.J. DeLuke Special to the Times Union
Published 12:00 a.m., Thursday, March 31, 2011
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Cedar Walton (Courtesy Proctors)
Pianist Hiromi Uehara -- known in the music world simply as Hiromi -- doesn't want to classify her music simply as jazz, because her influences are many and her love of music knows no stylistic boundaries.
Yet her identity and associations are firmly planted in the world of jazz. There are few players with the kind of fierce chops she possesses. But even as this virtuoso participates Friday in the Jazz Piano Summit tour that comes to Proctors in Schenectady, she looks upon it with the awe of a jazz fan.
The summit features three outstanding pianists of different eras. Hiromi joins Cedar Walton, 77, one of the great veterans and a National Endowment for the Arts jazz master, and Jacky Terrasson, 44, one of the distinct voices of his era on the instrument. All will play solo numbers and the pianists will combine in various contexts as well.
"I'm very, very excited. I'm planning to be on the side of the stage listening to them, the times I'm not playing," said the soft-spoken and humble artist from her New York City home a few days before the tour began. "I'm very excited to see what one instrument can deliver."
Hiromi, who turned 32 in March, has earned a superior reputation since coming from Japan in 1999 to the at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. She dazzles with Oscar Peterson-like ability on the piano and the band she fronted for a time -- Sonicbloom -- was a killer group. She blows audiences away as a matter of routine. But she is looking forward to the Summit tour as an opportunity to learn more about her craft.
Of the venerable Walton, Hiromi said, "I've been listening to him from a very young age. It will feel strange to be on the same stage with him. He's not only a great pianist, he's an amazing composer as well. So I'm very excited to be on the same stage and hungry to learn more things."
Terrasson, she said, "is another amazing pianist ... When I play with a band, I don't get to listen to another piano player. So I'm so happy to listen to the other pianists treat the piano in a different way. I think each of us has a completely different way of dealing with the piano."
To get a taste of her solo chops, one need go no further than her last release, "Place to Be" (2009, Telarc), on which she blazes unaccompanied through 11 original compositions of varying styles. She was also part of the Stanley Clarke Band last year, joining the celebrated bassist and superb drummer Lenny White on a tour that also produced a record, "The Stanley Clarke Band" (Telarc), that in February won the Grammy for the best contemporary jazz album.
She's been dealing with the piano since the age of 6 and within a couple years she was listening to the recordings of jazz giants Peterson and Errol Garner. Hiromi was performing in Japan by age 12 and at 14 she went to Czechoslovakia to play with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. She eventually made it to Berklee. Between Boston and New York City, her horizons were greatly expanded.
"The music scene in Japan is big, but I never met so many musicians in my life (as when she came here) because I never went to music school in Japan. It was a big change, and I just loved every single minute of it. I met so many different musicians I got to play with so many people."
She grew as an artist and improviser among jazz musicians. But contends, "I just play music. I never really listen to music by genre. For me, there are only two genres of music: Music which moves my heart and music which doesn't. I just play music, which moves my heart and hopefully it moves other people's hearts as well.
"Definitely, improvisation is one of the biggest important aspects of my music. But even classical composers used to improvise," she said thoughtfully. "I don't feel bad that somebody calls me a jazz pianist. It's OK. I just want to leave the opportunity to the listeners of the music to decide."
She explained that the problem with labeling something as jazz might mean people with preconceived notions about the art form may not attend a show. "Then maybe I never get the chance to play for them. Know what I mean? It's very risky. I just want to be open for every single audience and every single opportunity. You never know."
About her prodigious chops, Hiromi said she's influenced by people like pianists Sergei Rachmaninoff and Vladmir Horowitz, but "not only pianists, I love Jeff Beck, Frank Zappa. Many different people." The technique is just a tool to be used toward an end. "It's not the single most important thing. Playing music is very similar to speaking a different language. Trying to get as much of the vocabulary as I can and try to learn as many vocabularies so I can speak better. So I can express what I have in my heart better.
Hiromi has said little about the devastation of her homeland, except that she hopes people can pray for her countrymen and donate if possible. Meanwhile, she's formed a new trio with Anthony Jackson on bass and Simon Phillips on drums that will tour this summer, including a featured spot at the Newport Jazz Festival in August. Its first album, "Voice," comes out on Telarc in June.
R.J. DeLuke is a frequent contributor to the Times Union.
Piano Jazz Summit
Hiromi, Jacky Terrasson, Cedar Walton
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady
Tickets: $20, $30 and $40.
Info: 346-6204; https://www.proctors.org
Film made by kids attracting attention
Sunday, March 27, 2011
By Kathleen Moore (Contact)
CAPITAL REGION — The short movie that 19 local children wrote, directed and filmed last summer is now getting national attention.
“Phenomenon” has made it to the National Film Festival for Talented Youth in Seattle, where only a third of the submitted films were accepted. It’s also getting accolades locally, and the 10-minute film will be shown at the Spectrum and Madison Theater in Albany this week as part of the Knickerbocker Film Festival.
But for the 11-to-14-year-olds involved, it’s a little unreal.
“I tell them ‘You’re in middle school and you’re nationally recognized screenwriters!’ ” film teacher Mike Feurstein said. “They don’t say much. But they’re psyched. It’s pretty cool.”
The students created their film at Reel Adventures, a summer camp at Proctors taught by Feurstein. The camp comprised students from across the Capital Region, mostly from Schenectady County. They handled every aspect of the film, even interviewing actors and scouting out locations for the shoot.
He had promised, in the camp’s course description, to submit the film for festivals. But he had no idea whether such young students could produce something that would be accepted.
“You never want to say one way or another, especially at this age,” he said.
Read full story at: http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2011/mar/27/328_film/
Jazz Institute at Proctors
with Special Guest
Featured in Downbeat Magazine
America’s Most Influential Art Form
Alive and Well at Proctors;
Swings into its Seventh Season This Summer
Schenectady, NY, March 11, 2011 – The Jazz Institute at Proctors has made it mark in the pages of legendary DOWNBEAT Magazine, the reigning literary chronicle of an American musical idiom as rich as jazz as itself.
In an article titled, Jazz institute at Proctors: Learning to Play by Ear (March 2011, pp. 96 – 97) DOWNBEAT writer Todd Kelly highlights a popular component of Proctors SUMMER ADVENTURES program that gives kids of all ages, the opportunity to learn America’s only indigenous art form in a hands-on, fun, and all-inclusive way. A story in itself, Kelly participated in the Jazz Institute at Proctors last year because the concept interested him. He became so passionate about the project that he wrote the article that appears in the March issue.
The article highlights the contributions of Institute collaborators Keith Pray and Arthur Falbush, both well known as leading proponents of jazz. The Jazz Institute at Proctors continues to help students gain the tools needed to thrive in real-life performance situations.
• Popular jazz saxophonist and bandleader Keith Pray explores the boundaries of mainstream jazz, blues, the avant garde and gritty funk as a performer, bandleader, composer and educator. Keith has traveled from the West Coast to Europe playing with hundreds of gifted musicians, including some of the giants of the business: Paul Anka, Benny Golson, The Temptations, Ray Vega, Mark Vinci and Ralph Lalama.
• Trumpeter Dr. Arthur Falbush is a professor at the State University of New York at Oneonta. As a professional musician he has toured extensively with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and has freelanced in the New York City area for many years. He has worked with many aspiring musicians around the world and continues to educate students of all levels about the importance of jazz as an art form.
Jessica Gelarden, Proctors Education Manager, notes that the Jazz Institute at Proctors welcomes a special guest artist each summer to work with students in the program. This summer that featured guest artists is jazz trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, who also plays didgeridoo, trumpet, tuba, piano and sings.
This year’s Jazz Institute at Proctors takes July 18 - 29, 9AM - 3PM. By the end of the two-week run, participating students showcase all that they have learned with a gig at Proctors on July 29.
“Participating in the Jazz Institute at Proctors helps students build self-esteem through acquiring skills such as, listening, critical thinking, communication, and teamwork,” says Ms. Gelarden.
For more than 75 years, DOWNBEAT has instructed, recommended, criticized, praised, condemned, advocated and, in the aggregate, honored the most dynamic American music of the twentieth century. Millions have been led to records and artists on the strength of a Down Beat review, news tip, or profile. In the 1930s, before any important book on jazz had yet been written, DOWNBEAT collected the first important body of pre-1935 jazz history. It became a chronicle swing, bop, pop, rock, freedom, fusion, and ‘90s neoclassicism.
For more information on The Jazz Institute or the full array of 10 programs that comprise SUMMER ADVENTURES at Proctors, visit proctors.org/education/summer_adventures, or contact Jessica Gelarden, Education Program Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org), 518-383-3884, x150.
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Leesa Perazzo Joins Group Sales at Proctors;
Brings experience, expertise to patron outreach
Schenectady, NY – Proctors is pleased to announce the arrival of Leesa L. Perazzo to its Relationships Team as Group Sales Manager.
According to Proctors Relationships Director Dan Hannifin, Ms. Perazzo fills a key function as critical member of Proctors group sales team, a small cadre of Proctors employees charged with follow-through on sales offers to groups of 20 or more, who are eligible for ticket discounts. Group sales accounted for nearly 20 percent the total sales for currently running Disney’s The Lion King.
Ms. Perazzo brings a rich and varied management and customer fulfillment experience to Proctors: most recently, she served as the director of member services and business resources for the Chamber of Schenectady County.
Prior to her work at The Chamber, she spent the majority of 21-years in various management positions for Mazzone Management Group at Glen Sanders Mansion.
Ms. Perazzo’s background includes both advertising and marketing and human resources. She continues to feed her passion for the hospitality industry through her part-time business, Eat My Words, that specializes in menu and graphic design.
In the early to mid ‘90s, she was the sole owner of Leesa’s Restaurant, a dinner and jazz club on upper State Street in Schenectady. During that time she was awarded Small Business of the Year by the Chamber of Schenectady County. Throughout her career, she has been a strong proponent for Schenectady County and has spent numerous volunteer hours on various committees.
Ms. Perazzo serves on a number of local boards of directors including A Place for Jazz, the Heritage Home for Women and the Junior League. She is a member of the Junior League of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties and the League of Women Voters. She is a graduate of Leadership Tech Valley 2008.
In 2009, Ms. Perazzo received a Community Service award from the NAACP Schenectady Chapter.
Silent Movie with Live Organ
Organist Avery Tunningley to play Proctors Wurlitzer
April 10 - 11
The Mainstage at Proctors
Schenectady, NY -- Fearless in battle and devoted to his lady love and his King, ROBIN HOOD (Douglas Fairbanks) protects the poor and oppressed against wicked Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham.
In this costume drama, the hallmark of the Fairbanks films of the twenties, there is an entire castle, an enormous affair that dominated the Hollywood skyline for years afterwards. Until the set for the Titanic surpassed it, it was the largest set in film history, larger even than the Babylonian set D. W. Griffith built for Intolerance.
Its construction utilized hundreds of unemployed workers, a magnanimous Fairbanks' gesture towards solving the chronic unemployment problem of 1921/1922 in Hollywood. There are huge crowds in medieval costume, a medieval joust and several huge processions, all decorated with the help of numerous specialists and experts. Yet this is not an authentic recreation. It is the romantic version of the middle ages as presented in Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe.
ROBIN HOOD stars Douglas Fairbanks, Wallace Beery, Sam De Grasse, Enid Bennett, Paul Dickey, William Lowery and Alan Hale.
In its day, ROBIN HOOD was considered “THE HIGH WATER MARK OF FILM PRODUCTION” by Robert Sherwood and “A STORY BOOK PICTURE, AS GORGEOUS AND GLAMOROUS A THING IN INNUMERABLE SCENES AS THE SCREEN HAS YET SHOWN... THRILLING ENTERTAINMENT FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY” (National Board of Review).
This highly lauded 1922 silent film will be accompanied by "Goldie" the Wurlitzer Organ, played by Avery Tunningley,
Avery Tunningley has been a professional musician since 1979. Currently he is the General Music teacher for Saint John the Evangelist School in Schenectady, Saint Madeleine Sophie School in Guilderland and Organist for Union Presbyterian Church in Schenectady. He teaches private piano and organ lessons. While he is a regular performer at the Capitol Theatre in Rome, NY, he also plays shows throughout the region.
Proctors magnificent Wurlitzer “Goldie” is 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. In 1982, the Golub Foundation and members of the Golub family gifted the mighty Wurlitzer to Proctors -- in memory of Bernard and Sunshine Golub.
ROBIN HOOD 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.
Free Parking for ROBIN HOOD is available In the Broadway Garage, courtesy of the Times Union. Go to timesunion.com for news and entertainment.
Not Rated. Running Time: 127 min. Ticket Prices: $10 advance, $12 at the door, $2 off for students and senior citizens.
Three Generations of Solo Virtuoso Jazz Pianists
Piano Jazz Summit
Cedar Walton, Jacky Terrasson, Hiromi
Friday, April 1, 8:00 pm
The Mainstage at Proctors
Schenectady, NY – There will be no April Foolery at Proctors on April 1 when THE PIANO JAZZ SUMMIT showcases the amazing talents of the legendary Cedar Walton, the fresh and distinctive Jacky Terrasson and the electrifying Hiromi Uehara. For those who love jazz, this is the happening of the season.
About Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton is a hard pop jazz pianist and one of the most universally respected jazz pianists active today. His most recent honor was to be named the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master for 2010. The NEA Jazz Master is the nation’s highest honor in jazz – Cedar Walton has certainly earned that title several times over.
He has accompanied a plethora of jazz greats while also fronting his own successful groups. He played in the bands of Lou Donaldson, Kenny Dorham, J.J. Johnson, Art Farmer, and Art Blakey, and recorded with Freddie Hubbard, John Coltrane, and Joe Henderson. "Bolivia" is perhaps Walton's best known composition, while one of his oldest is "Fantasy in D," recorded under the title "Ugetsu" by Art Blakey in 1963.
About Jacky Terrasson
Jacky Terrasson, winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition and two time Grammy nominee, was acclaimed by The New York Times Magazine as “one of 30 artists under the age of 30 most likely to make an impact on American culture in the next 30 years.”
Jacky Terrasson has a complete understanding of the blues and improvisation; his feathery keyboard touch is coupled with power and passion. “Intoxicating...the marvelous Mr. Terrasson transforms familiar sounds into the stuff of gorgeous jazz.” - The Wall Street Journal
About Hiromi Uehara
Hiromi Uehara has electrified audiences and critics on both hemispheres with a creative energy that defies the conventional parameters of jazz and pushes musicianship and composition to unprecedented levels of complexity and sophistication. She appears on Duet, a two-disc live recording of a performance in Tokyo with pianist and mentor, Chick Corea. She also appeared on bassist Stanley Clarke’s Jazz in the Garden. In June 2009, she simultaneously released two concert DVDs.
Hiromi scales back to the solo piano setting – but sacrifices none of her innate energy or passion in the process. Her latest album, A Place To Be, is a musical travel journal of the many places around the world that have left an indelible impression on her creative sensibilities.
Tickets for THE PIANO JAZZ SUMMIT at Proctors on April 1 are available at Proctors Box Office, (518) 346-6204 or online at proctors.org.
Significant discounts on tickets are available for groups of 20 or more. A listing of shows and pricing may be found on proctors.org/group_sales or by contacting Proctors Group Sales at 518-382-3884 ext. 139. Save money by becoming a Frequent Buyer!
THE PIANO JAZZ SUMMIT 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.
Free Parking In the Broadway Garage provided by the Times Union. Go to timesunion.com for news and entertainment.
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Next Move fest at Proctors celebrates diversity of dance
Next Move festival at Proctors presents a spectrum of 'what's out there'
By Tresca Weinstein Special to the Times Union
Published 12:01 a.m., Sunday, March 27, 2011
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Kayle Abraham of Abraham.In.Motion (Courtesy the artist)
Jennifer Yackel of the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company (Gary Gold)
Laura Teeter, Jennifer Yackel, Melissa George, Claire Jacob Zysman (Claire is not performing)of the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company (Gary Gold)
Laura Teeter of the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company. (Gary Gold)
Bill Young/Colleen Thomas Dancers (Courtesy Proctors)
Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers (Gabriel Bienczycki)
Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers (Gabriel Bienczycki)
Modern dance -- two little words that encompass a vast spectrum of styles, approaches and influences. With the Next Move Festival of Modern Dance at Proctors, curator Ellen Sinopoli aims to give Capital Region audiences a taste of that variety.
With performances Friday and Saturday evenings, the festival offers dance that merges Eastern and Western sensibilities (Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers), hip-hop (Abraham.In.Motion), contact improvisation (Bill Young/Colleen Thomas) and the classical modern tradition (Sinopoli's company).
"Modern dance covers a huge spectrum, and I wanted to create a showcase that would demonstrate some of what's out there," Sinopoli said. "Between the four of us, we have very distinct approaches."
With two troupes performing each night, each company will claim about 45 minutes of stage time, enough, Sinopoli said, to "give audiences a really good sense of what each of us is about."
Friday's program pairs Sinopoli's troupe and the New York City-based Abraham.In.Motion, which director Kyle Abraham founded in 2006. His influences run the gamut from hip-hop to Butoh to the rave scene of the late 1980s and early '90s, and he often merges the personal and the political; he won a 2010 Bessie Award for his performance in his work "The Radio Show," inspired by his childhood and coming of age in Pittsburgh.
For the Next Move festival, Abraham presents a new work, "Live! The Realest MC," which he describes as an urban reimagination of Walt Disney's "Pinocchio," exploring gender roles in the black community and the "quest for acceptance in the world of hip-hop celebrity."
The Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company, The Egg's resident dance company, will perform work that reflects Sinopoli's background in classical modern dance; she trained with the companies of Paul Taylor, Martha Graham and Jose Limon. "A Gathering in Red, Departing," which the troupe premiered in January, now includes a fourth section that doubles its running time. The company will also reprise "Brink," from 2009, with music by trumpet player Dave Douglas that was originally composed to bring new life to the silent films of Buster Keaton.
On Saturday, the Taiwanese choreographer Kun-Yang Lin, now based in Philadelphia, presents "Autumn Skin," set to a collage of music including compositions by Philip Glass, Arvo Part and Kenneth Kirschner.
"His work mixes Western and Eastern cultures, but is very contemporary," Sinopoli said. "From his Asian background, he has an amazing stillness in his work."
Exploring nature and relationships, "Autumn Skin" is partially inspired by the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: "We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to a single garment of destiny."
Bill Young discovered dancing through contact improvisation at Oberlin College, and then got involved in the downtown dance scene in New York City. His codirector, Colleen Thomas, began her career with the Miami Ballet and went on to dance with Donald Byrd, Bebe Miller and Bill T. Jones. Their company presents excerpts from their 2003 work "Rein, Bellow," which uses tables as props for the dancers to move on and under, as well as Young's "For Want (a circus)." Both works were created in collaboration with the dancers.
"Bill's signature is contact partnering developed through improvisation," Sinopoli said.
Sinopoli hopes the festival will become an annual event; a date has already been chosen for next year's edition. The GE Theatre at Proctors, with 436 seats, is the ideal size, she says, for an intimate viewing of companies that are not typically seen in the region's venues.
"Philip is quite visionary," Sinopoli said, referring to Proctors CEO Philip Morris. "This is a unique way to present companies and draw more of an audience."
Tresca Weinstein is a regular contributor to the Times Union.
NEXT MOVE FESTIVAL OF MODERN DANCE
Where: Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday (Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company and Abraham.In.Motion) and 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers and Bill Young/Colleen Thomas)
Tickets: $25; students, $15
Info: 346-6204; http://www.proctors.org
Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/default/article/Next-Move-fest-at-Proctors-celebrates-diversity-1308789.php#ixzz1HlpW9Tmp
Friday Night, Proctors, Be There!!
March 24, 2011 at 10:09 am by Erika 'Brass Snuggles' Tebbens
We are extremely excited to be presenting 2 showings of the award-winning derby documentary Brutal Beauty at Proctors this Friday. Our own Smack Truck made this happen for us and we know you’ll enjoy it.
We will have 2 showings (see below) and in between there will be fun activities with members of our league. So if you come to the later showing, try to get there early to hang with us. Also, after the 2nd show there will be a Q&A via Skype with the director/producer Chip Mabry. If there’s time we may also do a Q&A with some of our girls too.
I actually got to see this film early and it’s really, really good. It doesn’t matter if you are a huge derby fan either. They actually explain how the game is played by using vegan donuts and it’s pretty funny, trust me on this one. It takes you through the league’s formation, where they stand today, and all the agony and joy that goes along with the sport.
The following is taken from the film’s website:
“Brutal Beauty: Tales of the Rose City Rollers tells the story of Portland, Oregon’s league, the Rose City Rollers. For more than a year and a half, an embedded film crew documented the thrills and spills of derby life. Through unlimited access to team bouts, practices and the private lives of the players, Brutal Beauty puts the viewer on the inside track to this high-contact, and sometimes dangerous, sport. In their own words, the Rose City Rollers tell how roller derby saved their souls.”
The Important Details:
Proctors GE Theater
Two showings: 4:30 & 7pm
Tickets can be purchased at the Proctor’s Box Office or online.
Hat and Heart
by James Yeara
BY REGINA TAYLOR, ADAPTED FROM THE BOOK BY MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM AND CRAIG MARBERRY, DIRECTED BY MAGGIE MANCINELLI-CAHILL
CAPITAL REPERTORY THEATRE, THROUGH APRIL 4
“Hats are like people: Sometimes they REVEAL and sometimes they CONCEAL.” Roman Tataowicz’s set for Crowns bears the quote in raised relief like a memorial on a false procenium of smooth cream plaster. Beneath it, the raked stage floor and upstage wall evoke aged, cream-washed barnwood. The combination of weathered wood and pristine plaster create the ideal setting for Capital Repertory Theatre’s production of this 2002 hit.
Style and Soul, Capital Repertory Theatre's Crowns, photo by Joe Schuyler
A play with lots of music and heart, Crowns is a melding of old and new, the contemporary and the historical, the seemingly bland and the surprisingly colorful. The fascinating history of African-American women is told in vignettes, anecdotes, songs, dances, soliloquies, monologues and poems, which the excellent seven-actor cast craft from their souls and swet under the direction of Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill. The result is a joy to see, thrilling to hear, and as unique and enticing an entertainment as you will ever find in the Capital Region.
The play begins in darkness with a scream. Onto the upstage wall, framed by the barnwood, black-and-white drawings of a Brooklyn fire escape are projected, and Deborah Constantine’s pristine lighting comes up to reveal Yolanda (Joyel Kaleei, totally believable with her mass of pouts, contradictions, and doubts) beatboxing and tap/slap dancing an angry rap, “Where I Belong,” over her brother Teddy’s murder. Eerily dressed in a contemporary beige costume and almost melting into the set, Yolanda appears close to a ghost.
When sent to live with Mother Shaw (a powerful Yvette Monique Clark), her grandmother in South Carolina, Yolanda’s titled ball cap is the thinnest of connections to the elaborate “hattitude” of the “hat queens” she meets. Each of the women in Mother Shaw’s circle has a voice to lift to God and series of hats to know your eyes out. Thom Heyer’s costume design is stunning throughout, but the hats are the highlight, some mere head scarves, some serious affairs that would put Dolly Levi to shame.
The through line of Crowns—Yolanda’s search for a place to belong after her brother’s death—becomes a frame on which to hang stirring spirituals and rousing dances. Choreographed by Alan Weeks, the numbers nearly achieve the miracle of getting the audience members up on their feet before the play’s end. Each of the women—Danielle Tomas as brassy Jeanette (“I’d lend my children before I’d lend my hats. I know my children know their way home, but my hats might not”), Jannie Jones as strong-willed Velma who coins “hattitude” to describe the power of their elaborate headwear, Julia Lema as Mabel, the hat hoarding minister’s wife with more than 200 hats, and Ama Osei as Wanda, who likes her hats like she likes her men: proper, in place, and under her control—has a moment and spiritual through which to shine. Collectively, they are summer’s evening of sparkle.
The women are joined by Nikkieli DeMone playing all the fathers, brothers, lovers and ministers the women recollect, and director Mancinelli-Cahill has again wrought a peerless ensemble that acts, sings, and dances in perfect harmony. Of the many highlights in Crowns—personal favorites were the Act 1 closer, “That’s All Right,” and “If I Could Touch the Hem of His Garment”—the “Baptism Medley” may make you want to leap out of your seat and join in the procession. A
s Yolanda finds where she belongs, and a crown of her own, the production’s design palette expands beyond ecru in the final scene’s explosion of red, orange, purple, pink and gold. Crowns creates a new community that will be humming, swaying, and looking for hats all of its own. This is a show that deserves its standing ovation simply from its rhythm alone.
Tagged as: Ama Osei, Capital Repertory Theatre, Crowns, Danielle Thomas, Deborah Constantine, Joyel Kaleei, Julia Lema, Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, Nikkieli DeMone, Regina Taylor, Thom Heyers
The privilege of playing Golda
Tovah Feldshuh well-versed in role of Israeli icon Meir
Thursday, March 24, 2011
By Bill Buell (Contact)
Tovah Feldshuh was nominated for a Tony award in 2004 for her role as Golda Meir in “Golda’s Balcony.” She reprises the role at Proctors for one night on Saturday.
Tovah Feldshuh doesn’t mind a little typecasting now and then. Ask her to play another Jewish mother and she’s fine with it.
Ask her about playing Golda Meir, however, and Feldshuh will tell you it’s the kind of opportunity that makes her happy she became an actress.
“It’s a great privilege to be asked to portray her, and it’s the kind of enriching experience you don’t want to end,” said Feldshuh, who is playing the former Israeli prime minister in “Golda’s Balcony” at 8 p.m. Saturday at Proctors. “It’s a very important and useful story to tell here, to the greatest democracy in the world, which is our country. I have played many Jewish mothers before, but playing the mother of the Jewish state is a great opportunity for an actor. It’s a wonderful role.”
“Golda’s Balcony” was written by William Gibson, who also penned “The Miracle Worker.”
READ FULL STORY AT: http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2011/mar/24/0324_golda/
Tovah Feldshuh brings "Golda's Balcony" to Proctors
By Michael Eck Special to the Times Union
Published 12:02 a.m., Thursday, March 24, 2011
Tovah Feldshuh in "Golda's Balcony." Photo credit: Aaron Epstein ()
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Tovah Feldshuh owns "Golda's Balcony."
That statement can be taken two ways. Metaphorically, it means that Feldshuh has played the role of Golda Meir in William Gibson's play so frequently and famously that she virtually possesses the play.
Literally, it means that Feldshuh has acquired the rights to the play and is now its producer as well as its star.
Feldshuh brings her property to Proctors on Saturday.
"Golda's Balcony" began its life in 1977, when Gibson wrote a play simply called "Golda." It ran on Broadway and starred Anne Bancroft. It flopped.
Feldshuh actually saw the show as a young woman.
"I was hauled down from Hebrew school. For a flop, it seemed like a success to me. I thought it was the greatest thing since French toast."
Gibson, realizing his play was flawed but fixable, eventually decided to rework the multi-character piece from the ground up, as a one-woman show.
It premiered at Shakespeare & Company, just across the state line in Lenox, Mass., in 2002. Annette Miller starred as Meir.
Miller would also star as fashion editor Diana Vreeland in "Full Gallop" at S&C, a role Feldshuh later played as well.
"We owe Annette everything. Without her, there wouldn't even be a 'Golda's Balcony,' " Feldshuh says. "I believe it was she and her husband who requested the one-woman format from William Gibson."
By the time it got to Broadway, "Golda's Balcony" had changed even more.
The premise -- with Meir reminiscing while facing the tense days of the 1973 Yom Kippur War -- remained, but Feldshuh asked for edits and modifications.
The original script, for example, started with the lines, "No wig. No swollen leg. No false nose. Use your imagination."
"Initially, I wanted to turn it down," Felshuh says, "because I felt it didn't work in the original form it was in. It was too academic. But the director, Scott Schwartz, and I went to William Gibson and asked for changes."
Feldshuh asked for a different opening, among other alterations. She got them, and she has long played the role in full fat suit and wig.
The Tony-nominated actress began her Helen Hayes Theatre run in October 2003. When it ended, 16 months and 493 performances later, she had set the record for the longest-running one-woman show in Broadway history. She's since been touring it around the world.
"It's the greatest role of my career, and the longest, too. I'm hoping this will be like Hal Holbrook's 'Mark Twain Tonight.' I plan to do this show into my 80s."
Feldshuh, now 58, has played Meir in other situations as well.
In 2006, she portrayed Meir in the film "O Jerusalem," and she recently created a one-woman show, "Mining Golda: My Journey to Golda Meir," about her intense work on the history-making prime minister.
She has done extensive research to make the portrayal vivid, including capturing Meir's unique speech patterns.
"Don't forget, Golda came from where? Milwaukee, Wisconsin! Why the research has not been done before by very renowned actresses who played her on film and television, I have no idea. I can tell you it was a very worthwhile trip to Milwaukee and to the Museum of Broadcasting and get that speech pattern down. Even her Hebrew has this terrible, flat Midwestern bricks-and-beer accent."
"It's still just a thrill to do her."
Michael Eck is a frequent contributor to the Times Union.
At a glance
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady
Info: 346-6204; http://www.proctors.org
Stories That Dance
Thursday, March 31
The Mainstage at Proctors
Thursday, March 31, 10 AM (School Day Performance)
Thursday, March 31, 7:00 pm
Come and be enthralled as real life turns into art.
Schenectady, NY -- STORIES THAT DANCE is the inspiring collaboration between the
artistry of resident dance company, Darlene Myers’ The Northeast Ballet and the
imagination and inspiration of students from local school districts. The result is a
breath-taking performance that has drawn praise, garnered applause and inspired
wonder. See it for yourself.
STORIES THAT DANCE is part of the Fenimore Asset Management and FAM Funds Family
Series at Proctors.
Introducing the arts through real-life lessons to which students can relate, STORIES
THAT DANCE uses collaborative creation to produce full-scale productions based on
student stories that involve a theme relevant to their lives and their lessons!
Three Stories, Three Classrooms, Three Performances beyond telling. Northeast Ballet
Company enriches the program by letting the students’ work come to life. This year’s
story themes are the Erie Canal, Fire Safety and the Dairy Wars.
Learn how your classroom can become involved at proctors.org/education. For more
information about our School Events or to order tickets, please contact the Group
Sales department at 518-382-3884 x 139, email@example.com or fill out the
Online Order Form.
Appropriate for 2nd - 6th ELA ARTS. Running Time: 60 minutes.
Tickets for STORIES THAT DANCE at Proctors are available at Proctors Box Office,
(518) 346-6204 or online at proctors.org.
Significant discounts on tickets are available for groups of 20 or more. A listing
of shows and pricing may be found on proctors.org/group_sales or by contacting
Proctors Group Sales at 518-382-3884 ext. 139.
STORIES THAT DANCE STORIES THAT DANCE is made possible with funds from the National
Endowment for the Arts.
Free Parking for STORIES THAT DANCE is available in the Broadway Garage, courtesy of
the Times Union. Go to timesunion.com for news and entertainment.
Read more about STORIES THAT DANCE in the March-April issue of Explore Downtown
Schenectady magazine, pp. 12 – 13.
4-Time Tony Nominee Tovah Feldshuh
Brings Her Award-Winning Performance as Golda Meir
in “Golda’s Balcony”
Saturday, March 26. One Night Only
Schenectady, NY -- Four-time Tony-Nominee Tovah Feldshuh will recreate her award-winning performance as Golda Meir in GOLDA’S BALCONY, when the acclaimed William Gibson play comes to Proctors on March 26 at 8 pm.
Supervised by Scott Schwartz, GOLDA’S BALCONY earned Ms. Feldshuh a TONY-Award nomination for Best Actress, and from 2003-2005 became the longest-running one-woman show in Broadway history. The play is a portrait of the indomitable Meir, the Milwaukee schoolteacher who became Prime Minister of Israel in 1969. From the pogroms of Russia to the halls of the Knesset, Meir’s life – and the play – encapsulates the dramatic story of Israel in the 20th Century.
For her work on the New York stage, from Yentl to Saravà! to Lend Me A Tenor to Golda’s Balcony, Tovah Feldshuh has earned four Tony nominations for Best Actress and won four Drama Desk Awards , four Outer Critics Circle Awards, the Obie, the Theatre World Award and the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Actress (for Golda’s Balcony). On October 3, 2004, Golda’s Balcony became the longest-running one-woman show in the history of Broadway. Soon after the Broadway run, Ms. Feldshuh brought Golda’s Balcony to Los Angeles’ Wadsworth Theatre and San Francisco’s Geary Theater in collaboration with Richard Willis and Marty Markinson for eight sold-out weeks. On June 7th, 2008, Ms. Feldshuh debuted Golda’s Balcony in London at The Shaw Theatre for a limited run.
Other shows on Broadway include Cyrano (with Christopher Plummer), Rodgers and Hart and Dreyfus in Rehearsal. Feldshuh portrayed the title roles in the Roundabout Theatre’s She Stoops to Conquer and Mistress of the Inn, BAM’s Three Sisters with Rosemary Harris and Ellen Burstyn, and played in the long-running hit The Vagina Monologues. Off-Broadway, she starred as the legendary Tallulah Bankhead in her own Tallulah Hallelujah!, which was chosen as one of the Ten Best Plays of the Year by USA Today.
Among other roles, Ms. Feldshuh has portrayed Diana Vreeland in Full Gallop, Jean Brodie in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Sarah Bernhardt, Stella Adler, Sophie Tucker, Katharine Hepburn, three queens of Henry VIII and nine Jews from birth to death in Off-Broadway’s Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh. She was most recently seen in theatres in Chicago and Ft. Lauderdale as movie icon Katharine Hepburn in Matthew Lombardo’s play Tea at Five.
Film audiences recognize Ms. Feldshuh from Fox Searchlight’s Kissing Jessica Stein, for which she won the Golden Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress; A Walk On The Moon with Diane Lane and Viggo Mortensen; Happy Accidents with Marisa Tomei, The Corruptor with Mark Wahlberg, Daniel, The Idolmaker (Dir. Taylor Hackford), Brewster’s Millions, Cheaper to Keep Her, Three Little Wolfs, Friends and Family, Old Love, Nunzio, The Believer, Life On The Ledge, The Alchemist, Toll Booth (winner – Best Supporting Actress - Method Fest 2005), among others.
Most recently she appeared onscreen in O Jerusalem in which she plays Golda Meir opposite Ian Holm and Tom Conti, , Lady in the Water for M. Night Shyamalan opposite Paul Giamatti and Just My Luck with Lindsay Lohan. Films soon to be released include Mount Of Olives with F. Murray Abraham, Eavesdrop (written and directed by Matthew Miele), and Love Life for German actress and director Maria Schrader. She has just wrapped filming on Buddy Gilbert Comes Alive for Mark Erlbaum and Laura Lopez's Baker in which she plays the title role of ex-Vietnam and Korean War nurse Ruth Baker.
On television, she received her first Emmy nomination for her portrayal of the Czech freedom fighter Helena in Holocaust. She starred opposite Tommy Lee Jones in The Amazing Howard Hughes, James Woods in Citizen Cohn, Bill Cosby on The Cosby Mysteries and The Cosby Show and Richard Dreyfuss in The Education Of Max Bickford. In 2004 she was nominated for her second Emmy for her work on Law & Order as defense attorney Danielle Melnick.
Two seasons ago her one-woman show, Tovah: Out Of Her Mind!, sold out in London’s West End at the Duke Of York’s and culminated in a symphonic concert with Billy Crystal at Los Angeles’ Royce Hall. The Boston Globe selected Tovah: Out Of Her Mind! as the best one-person show of 2000. Ms. Feldshuh created a new concert entitled Mining Golda: My Journey to Golda Meir which played the West End at the Savoy Theatre, the Sheridan Suites in Manchester, and the Royal Armouries in Leeds, Vodaworld in Johannesburg and the Entertainment Centre of Sydney, Australia. Most recently she was the first artist ever to be asked to extend at the reknowned FEINSTEIN’S nightclub at the Loew’s Regency in her smash cabaret show TOVAH IN A NUTSHELL!
On the US West Coast she starred at the Ahmanson as Regina in Lillian Hellman’s Another Part Of The Forest and served as a leading lady for Jack O’Brien and Craig Noel at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego in such shows as Romeo and Juliet, Two Gentlemen Of Verona, Measure For Measure, The Country Wife and Tovah: A Rush Hour Revue, where she was named an Associate Artist and won two Drama Logue Awards for her Juliet and for her first one-woman show.
Ms. Feldshuh, a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, and a winner of the McKnight Fellowship to the Guthrie Theatre and the University of Minnesota, has taught at Yale, Cornell and New York Universities and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in June, 2005. She is a supporter of Seeds Of Peace, a non-profit, non-political organization that helps teenagers from regions of conflict and is the recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitas Award and the Israel Peace Medal. Ms. Feldshuh is married to New York attorney, Andrew Harris Levy. The have two children, Garson Brandon and Amanda Claire.
GOLDA’S BALCONY is 95 minutes long and performed without intermission. Recommended for ages 10 and above
Tickets for GOLDA’S BALCONY at Proctors are available at Proctors Box Office, (518) 346-6204 or online at proctors.org.
Significant discounts on tickets are available for groups of 20 or more. A listing of shows and pricing may be found on proctors.org/group_sales or by contacting Proctors Group Sales at 518-382-3884 ext. 139.
This program (or performance) 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.
GOLDA’S BALCONY at Proctors is sponsored by Samuel Goldstein Productions and Eastern Medical Support.
Free Parking for GOLDA’S BALCONY at Proctors is available in the Broadway Garage, courtesy of Times Union. Go to timesunion.com for news and entertainment.
Petticoats of Steel at Capital Rep, March 26:
True stories of legendary women of New York State
Albany, NY – March 17 – In honor of National Women’s History Month, the Education
Department of Capital Repertory Theatre will present PETTICOATS OF STEEL as part of
the theatre’s On the Go! and Student Matinee series. Tickets for the 11AM,
Saturday, March 26 showing – the only public performance of PETTICOATS OF STEEL at
Capital Rep, are $14 for adults and $10 for children ages 18 and under.
Through PETTICOATS OF STEEL, Capital Region audiences are invited to experience the
battles for women's suffrage told in the voices of the brave warriors who fought
PETTICOATS OF STEEL is an original production crafted for Capital Repertory Theatre
by Carolyn Anderson and Jill Rafferty-Weinisch. The play uses primary sources to
tell the true stories of the women of New York State - Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner
Truth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton - and the roles they played in gaining voting
rights for all women.
As with other Capital Rep On the Go! plays, this dramatic work about women’s
suffrage supports current NYS education curriculum. PETTICOATS OF STEEL is a “Living
Newspaper,” a style of theatre which dramatizes social problems and issues in an
effort to effect social change. The Living Newspaper was initiated in 1935 in the
United States by the Federal Theatre Project as part of President Roosevelt’s Works
Progress Administration (WPA).
This production, first produced at Capital Rep in 2006, marks Capital Rep’s second
foray into “Document Based Theatre.” Previous document-based production include
last season’s The Remarkable & Perplexing Case of Henry H, celebrating New York
State’s Quadricentennial of Henry Hudson’s journey up the Hudson River, and the 2004
production of Friend of a Friend: The Underground Railroad in the Capital Region,
employed the use of primary sources to illustrate an important piece of the Capital
Region’s history. Much of the script for Petticoats of Steel was developed using
original speeches, letters and newspaper reports from the time period represented in
the play. PETTICOATS OF STEEL is recommended for families and students, grades
Directing PETTICOATS OF STEEL is Kristen van Ginhoven is a director, actor and
educator originally from Canada. She is co-Artistic Director of WAM Theatre, based
in the Capital Region of NY and the Berkshires of MA, which uses theatre to benefit
women and girls. Recent US credits include Barrington Stage Company, Actor's
Shakespeare Project, Huntington Theatre, Cohoes Music Hall, Theatre Voices and
MOPCO. She has taught theatre internationally in Brussels, Belgium and is a
freelance artist for the International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA). For ISTA
she has travelled to places such as Thailand, China, Europe, and India. She holds an
MA from Emerson College.
Featured in the cast are Erica Tryon and Hillary Parker. The cast of two portrays
over a dozen characters, including many historical figures.
J.R. Goldberg serves as production stage manager.
Hillary Parker returns to Capital Repertory Theatre where she recently appeared in
the Fall On-the-Go! production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She holds a MFA in
Acting from the University of Connecticut and a BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse
University. Her Credits include, Regional: Connecticut Rep: Restoration Comedy
(Amanda), Mary Zimmerman’s The Arabian Nights (Sympathy the Learned/Jester’s Wife),
Macbeth (Lady Macduff), Shakespeare in Hollywood (Lydia), Cabaret (Kit Kat Girl),
Pentecost (Amira), Prudence (Prudence Crandall), Loves Labours Lost (Holofernes),
The Three Penny Opera (Jenny Diver), Pericles (Marina). Peterborough Players- Our
Town w/ James Whitmore, Loves Labours Lost (Princess of France). Hope Summer Rep- A
Midsummer Night’s Dream (Titania/Hippolyta), She Loves Me (Amalia), Dames at Sea
(Mona), and The Hypochondriac (Beline). Mt. Washington Valley Theatre- Into The
Woods (The Bakers Wife). NYC: Bedroom Farce (Kate), A Doll’s House (Kristine Linde).
Erica Tryon is a performer and teaching artist originally from Chicago. She has
worked in fringe and experimental theatre in the Chicago area, performing in
productions that have been chosen as “Critic’s Choice” in the Chicago Reader and
Time Out Chicago. Before coming to Capital Rep, where she currently serves as the
Director of Residencies, she worked at the cutting-edge arts organization, Chicago
Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE). Previous to her life in U.S. theatre, she had
the privilege of teaching and studying performance in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo,
Benin, Burkina Faso, Argentina, Mexico, Thailand and Tibet. She is thrilled to be
back on stage at Capital Repertory Theatre, where she was last seen in as Calpurnia
in To Kill a Mockingbird. She holds a B.A. in Art History and Theatre from
Lawrence University and an M.A. from Brown University.
PETTICOATS OF STEEL is co-authored by Carolyn Anderson, the William R. Kenan
Professor of Liberal Arts, and Professor of Theater at Skidmore College, and Jill
Rafferty-Weinisch, Director of Performing Arts & Outreach at the Arts Center of the
Capital Region, and former Director of Education at Capital Repertory Theatre.
Audiences should not miss this wonderful opportunity to experience the rich history
of our region and the excitement of live theatre.
To reserve tickets to this the only public performance of PETTICOATS OF STEEL,
contact the box office at 445-SHOW (445-7469).
For more information about PETTICOATS OF STEEL, contact Laura W. Andruski
Coordinator Capital Repertory Theatre 111 North Pearl Street Albany, NY 12207;
518.462.4531 x301; 518-465-0213; firstname.lastname@example.org www.capitalrep.org
Proctors announces starry season
'Jersey Boys,' 'Addams Family' and 'Memphis' among Broadway shows booked for 2011-12
By Michael Janairo Arts and entertainment editor
Updated 10:35 p.m., Thursday, March 17, 2011
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In costume as Uncle Fester of the Addams Family, Proctors CEO Philip Morris announces the 2011-12 Broadway series of shows at Proctors in Schenectady Thursday March 17, 2011. (John Carl D'Annibale / Times Union)
SCHENECTADY -- Proctors announced its 2011-12 Broadway series on Thursday, with CEO Philip Morris and others taking the stage dressed as characters from one of the shows, "The Addams Family."
The other shows are "Jersey Boys," which will have a three-week run from Feb. 28 to March 19, 2012; "La Cage aux Folles," Oct. 26-30; "Shrek the Musical," Jan. 24-29; and "Memphis," April 17-22, 2012. "The Addams Family" runs from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4.
"Four of the shows are currently playing on Broadway, and that's a first for us," Morris said dressed as Uncle Fester. "Shrek" is the only one no longer on Broadway.
"Jersey Boys," he said, has consistently been one of the most requested shows. A Broadway hit since 2005, it won the Tony for best musical in 2006. It combines a jukebox musical with biography as it tells the rags-to-riches tale of kids from Newark who rose to fame as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons with hits such as "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry,"
"Can't Take My Eyes Off You" and "Oh, What a Night," which are all part of the show.
"The Addams Family" will be a homecoming of sorts, because it is the first Broadway musical Proctors had a hand in producing as part of Elephant Eye Theatrical. Elephant Eye is a consortium of 13 peer institutions across the country that develop and produce shows first for Broadway and then for national tours.
The 2010 musical, based on the famous Charles Addams cartoons, features familiar characters -- Gomez, Morticia, Lurch, Uncle Fester, Wednesday and Pugsley -- and tells the horrific tale of what the family does when Wednesday brings home a "normal" boyfriend. Despite receiving mixed reviews (the New York Times called the show "tepid"), the musical comedy continues to be popular on Broadway.
Thursday's announcement comes as the Broadway musical "The Lion King" enters its final weekend of its monthlong run at Proctors. In a later interview, Morris said "Lion King" is easily the most successful Broadway show to play at the venue, with more than 20 of its 32 performances sold out.
"La Cage aux Folles" won the 2010 Tony for best musical revival. It is an updated version of the 1983 Tony Award-winning best musical that tells the story of a gay couple -- Georges, a nightclub owner in Saint-Tropez, and Albin, who moonlights as the chanteuse Zaza -- whose lives are thrown into disarray when Georges' son brings his fiancee's conservative parents home.
"Shrek the Musical," based on the 1990 William Steig book and the 2001 movie, ran on Broadway from December 2008 to January 2010. The fractured fairy tale adventures of Shrek and Princess Fiona are told through a story and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, who won the Pulitzer for his 2007 drama "Rabbit Hole." "Shrek" also received mixed reviews; the New York Times called it "not bad."
"Memphis" won four 2010 Tony awards: best musical, book of a musical, original score and orchestration, and features music by David Bryan, a founding member of Bon Jovi. It tells the story of a white DJ in the 1950s who was one of the first to play black music, and a black club singer who is looking for her big break.
(A filmed version of "Memphis" on Broadway is scheduled to play in movie theaters beginning April 28, according to Fandango.com.)
Tickets to Proctors Broadway series are now available for subscribers, with prices ranging from $100 to $360 for one ticket to each of the five shows. Ticket sales open to the general public on April 8. For more information, contact the Proctors box office at 346-6204 or visit http://www.proctors.org.
Proctors will also have two touring Broadway shows this summer: "Mamma Mia!" from July 5 to 10; and "West Side Story" from Aug. 16 to 21, with tickets ranging from $20 to $65.
Reach Janairo at email@example.com or 454-5629.
“Hattitude” Takes over Albany: A Review of Crowns at the Capital Repertory Theater
A Review of Crowns at the Capital Repertory Theater, Albany
Vibrant musical numbers, powerhouse performances, and ultra-tight direction from Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill (CRT’s Artistic Director) mark the Capital Repertory Theater’s current show, Crowns. The title of the play refers to hats and the way they express the uniqueness of African-American culture, an element Deirdre Guion calls “hattitude.” “There’s a little more strut in your carriage when you wear a nice hat…something special about you,” Guion says. And so there is.
The play consists of intersecting monologues by black women of different ages and personalities, each telling the audience everything people wonder about hats but never ask–hat etiquette, the way to hug someone with a hat, proper hat dimensions, and hat sex appeal. The stories become more personal as the women relate them with often painful memories, and the ugly history of the South weaves in and out of the narrative.
Although centered in the South amidst the Black Protestant church, Crowns is not as much about religion as it is about the role the church plays in the lives of Black Americans, particularly Black women. The play is highly effective with symbolism, exposing the different trends of head-wear, from funky hip-hop style to the more traditional and flamboyant glamour. Self-expression displays itself fiercely through hat-wearing, while the church is portrayed as a place of community and celebration, instead of the superficial and pretentious fashion show it’s commonly referred to being.
The play was adapted from the book Crowns by photographer Michael Cunningham and journalist Craig Marberry, a collaboration of personal narratives of black women and photographs of them sporting a variety of elaborate church hats. In addition to the monologues, Regina Taylor’s adaptation adds a storyline based on one of the personal accounts in the book–that of Yolanda. As it goes, Yolanda is sent to South Carolina to live with her grandmother after her brother is shot and killed in Brooklyn. New school meets old school as Yolanda is thrust into the world of the South, hats, church and matriarchal tradition.
The explosive sound of a subway train followed by the booming sound of Yolanda’s voice: “BRO-O-KLYNNN!!” mark the opening moments of the play. When the lights go up, the spotlight is on Yolanda (wonderfully played by local talent Joyel Kaleel), defiantly sporting hip-hop gear and busting a move crunk-style as she delivers her monologue in “Brooklynized” street slang. Her flow is abruptly silenced by the change in lighting and the appearance of her grandmother and four other ladies in white church clothes (and flashy hats) singing her into submission.
Crowns also dips into the world of mythology and African indigenous religions, with its use of Orisha family lineages, presenting each character with an African identity along with their American names. An Orisha, if you’re unfamiliar, is a spirit or deity that reflects one of the manifestations of Olodumare (God) in the Yoruba (mythical) world of spirituality. For instance, Mother Shaw is Obatala (creator), and Yolanda is Ogun (forger).
Though the play revolves around Yolanda’s story, it’s more about symbolism and cultural experience than any one character. The stories of these women present a snapshot of the African-American experience, and the vibrant musical numbers sprinkled between the character’s monologues, which explain the underlying significance behind the hats–or church–or both, add to the play’s success. Especially intriguing is the obvious traditional African influence displayed by beating drums, pounding sticks and the style of tribal dance expressed through the worship scenes, as the ladies regularly “catch the spirit.” Parallels to tribal women carrying bowls on their heads as the women show off their large-brimmed head-wear can’t help but be drawn.
Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill smartly chooses a simple set, with just a few chairs, hat shelves and of course the hats themselves. Costumes are a major element, with the glamorous array of hats, including fox hats, flaming feathered pieces, and simple elegant eye-swooping styles stealing the show. Shadowing, spotlighting and full stage illumination also add to the show’s success.
However, it’s the cast that really makes the story come alive; the show features a seasoned and talented cast of performers. Yvette Monique Clark plays the matriarch “Mother Shaw,” Yolanda’s grandmother. Nikkieli Demone (“The Man”) should be credited for holding his own as the sole male presence amidst an otherwise all-female cast; his portrayal of different male characters (husband, father, and pastor) provides comic relief throughout the evening. The remaining sexy, sassy, and no-nonsense ensemble includes Amma Osei as “Wanda,” Julia Lema as “Mabel,” Danielle K. Thomas as “Jeanette,” Jannie Jones as “Velma,” and Joyel Kaleel as the central character “Yolanda.”
Crowns strummed a very personal chord with me. One hat in particular was identical to one my grandmother used to wear. She was also from the South; the nostalgic experience stirred my emotions, especially when Yolanda was finally crowned by the matriarchs with her own head-wear. Up until then, she sports her own style of glittering baseball hats with pigeon-feathers hanging off the back, spending the majority of the play slumped in a chair forced to listen to her grandmother and friends’ tales of hats, family stories and culture. When Yolanda finally finds her identity, she’s baptized Pentecostal-style (another powerful use of symbolism) and crowned with one of their hats. She eventually embraces not only the unique tradition of hat-wearing, but her cultural identity as well. The overall effect of observing this cultural tradition being passed down to the next generation was very tearful and emotional.
To celebrate the opening night, there was a live pre-show performance by the local gospel group, V.O.I.C.E.S., from the nationally-affiliated Church of God of Prophecy in Albany in the theater lobby. Members of the cast joined the group in belting out church favorites like “Our God is an Awesome God” and “O Happy Day.” This was followed by a champagne and pastry after-party for the audience, with a meet and greet with the cast members after the show.
If you’re not religious or African American or Protestant Christian for that matter, the music alone is still worth buying a ticket. The gospel renditions all tell a story of joy, pain, relationships and family history that anyone can appreciate. From the second the lights go up until the final curtain call, the soulful singing and the cast’s funky foot-stomping dance moves will have you singing along and tapping your feet all the way through.
Crowns runs through April 3rd. For tickets or more information, visit http://capitalrep.org.
–Helen Holt is an Assistant Editor for The Free George.
The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our new City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.
Theater review: Cap Rep’s ‘Crowns’ celebrates women’s lives, cultural identity
Friday, March 11, 2011
By Matthew G. Moross
For Gazette theater writer Bill Buell's preview of this show, click here.
ALBANY — It may be almost Easter bonnet weather, but it’s “singing and swingin’ and getting merry like Christmas” at Capital Rep with the current production of Regina Taylor’s “Crowns.” An interesting mix of fashion and faith, the show is making uplifting and joyful noise, and it is something to see.
“Crowns” is a visceral celebration in music, dance and drama of the finery of African-American church women and their hats. But these Sunday-go-to-meeting chapeaus are more than a fashion statement — they are a celebration of womanhood, power, inner strength and a continuation of cultural identity.
WHERE: Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 N. Pearl St., Albany
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $53-$16
MORE INFO: 445-7469 or www.capitalrep.org
Taylor’s script, based on the photo essay “Crowns — Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats” by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry, captures the essence of the importance of hats to these ladies.
For full story:
CROWNS @ CAPITAL REPERTORY THEATER, 3/9/11
March 9, 2011 at 11:30 pm by Michael Eck
by Michael Eck
Special to The Times Union
ALBANY – “I got a crown, you got a crown, all god’s children got crowns.”
“Crowns” is the musical with “hattitude.” It’s now onstage at Capital Repertory Theater in a powerful production directed by Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill.
“Crowns” might actually be best described as a show. It’s got too much talk to be a revue and not enough plot to be a play, but it is effective entertainment.
The thread for the show is Yolanda, a young Brooklyn woman who is sent south to live with her grandmother following the shooting death of her brother.
Joyel Kaleel, a Brooklyn-born Albany resident, plays Yolanda and she is a genuine find. She opens the show on her own, with hip-hop moves and a smart sense of self. She is a convincing performer who holds her own with the older women in the cast.
The arc follows her southern re-education as her grandmother and her friends tell her about the power of religion and community through a litany of stories about their Sunday church hats, their crowns.
These “hat queens” proclaim their “hattitude” throughout the show, stretching the premise nearly to the breaking point. The show, in fact, might even be more effective as a tighter 90-minute one-act.
What makes it work is playwright Regina Taylor’s interweaving of gospel standards at every turn. “Crowns,” at heart, is about singing. Mancinelli-Cahill’s cast is up to the task. Yvette Monique Clark, Danielle Thomas, Jannie Jones, Julia Lema, Amma Osei and lone male Nikkieli DeMone all know just what to do with this stuff, and they shout, coo and testify throughout both acts.
Alan Weeks deft choreography amplifies the power of the songs, especially when Kaleel is laying down modern steps and age-old hambone with gusto.
Music is also a strong element even when DeMone and the women aren’t singing. Mark Bruckner provides the keyboard backing, samples and musical direction for the show, but percussionist Romero Wyatt has a jingle, a thump or a whoosh for almost every onstage action. It’s as though Max Steiner had scored the play from the grave.
Production values are high across the board here. Roman Tatarowicz has supplied plenty of good sets for Capital Rep, but this dramatic, simple whitewashed frame might be his best work yet. And Deborah Constantine’s lighting complements the pale, earthy palette of Thom Heyer’s costumes.
When the ladies finally add some color at the close of the proceedings, it’s a louder sound than any they’ve made singing.
“Crowns” is the kind of show that will certainly grow by word of mouth, and its remarks on faith, community — and the power of a good lid — will reverberate with many.
Performance reviewed: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 N. Pearl Street, Albany
Running time: 2 hours, 10 minutes; one intermission
Continues: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Through April 3.
Info: 445-7469; http://www.capitalrep.org