Items tagged with 'theater'
Two things we should disclose before you start reading this post.
1. One half of AOA performs with the Mop & Bucket Company. (Hint: It's not Greg)
2. The Mop & Bucket Company advertises on AOA.
MopCo, the long-standing Capital Region improv company, now has its own theater -- a renovated former firehouse (and onetime strip club) on North Jay Street. It's sharing the space with its sister company, Koppett, which uses improv to train employees of companies such as Facebook and Apple in creativity.
In addition to its own improv shows, MopCo will use the new theater to host other improv troupes, classes, readings, music performances, story nights, and a wide variety of other special events.
MopCo officially opens the new space this Saturday with a TheaterSports show by its house team.
The company has been playing at Proctors for many years. For the last two years it worked on growing the business in a small rented space on Union Street while it searched for a permanent home.
The founders considered different areas in the Capital Region, but eventually found that home right around the corner in a broken down building in Schenectady's Little Italy.
The slate for the upcoming fall season at EMPAC is out. And, as usual, it includes all sorts of unusual, challenging, or experimental performances. A condensed schedule is after the jump.
Also at the venue this fall, a new tool for performances. Blurbage:
A hallmark of the fall 2016 season is the unveiling of EMPAC's recently constructed wave-field array. Consisting of 496 independently controllable loudspeakers, this audio system is one of the most precise in the world, and capable of creating a 3D "holophonic" sound environment. More immersive than ordinary surround sound, "wave field synthesis" allows composers to place sounds in specific spatial locations around the audience and will figure heavily into future EMPAC electronic music programming.
An installation opening later this month, as well as a performance in early September, will make use of the new system
OK, onto that schedule...
It's You're New Here Week on AOA. All this week we'll have stuff to help get you acquainted with the Capital Region -- whether you recently moved here, or just want to see this place through new eyes.
I'm not new here.
I haven't been new here since the late 70s, when a Bell System transfer brought my 3rd generation Brooklyn family to the suburbs of Saratoga Springs. In Brooklyn, my field trips were to Lincoln Center, BAM, and the Museum of Natural History. Nature was the Bronx Zoo and the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. I saw my first Broadway show when I was 10. In Wilton, we had a mall with an arcade and a Montgomery Ward.
My parents weren't artists -- but the arts were important to them. Movies, music, theater and art were all a part of what made a person well rounded and more interesting. They were also a source of great joy. As a little kid, if you offered me ice cream or theater tickets -- I'd take the tickets every time. (And I love ice cream.)
So when we headed north, my parents scratched the surface to try to uncover what the area had to offer arts and culture-wise. My dad would drive my mother and all six kids to Albany once a month to see ESIPA - the resident theater company at The Egg back then. There was SPAC in the summer, and a drama club visit to a pretty well-worn Proctors that made me happy in ways I had no words for at the time. There were arts and culture to be had in the Capital Region back then, but you had to work a lot harder for it than you do today.
Today it's everywhere. I can't even get to it all. So here are a few things I'd recommend.
There are new details out this week about the upcoming slate of shows for this summer's Williamstown Theatre Festival. As usual, the casts include actors you'll recognize, such as Marisa Tomei, Kate Walsh, Alfred Molina, Jane Kaczmarek, Wendell Pierce, and Justin Long.
In recent years WTF has also served as a launching point for shows headed toward Broadway. So it's notable that this summer's schedule includes four world premieres and one American premiere. It's possible one (or more) of these shows could end up on Broadway in the next few years.
Also: Single-show tickets are now available for pre-order online. (You can also save some money per ticket by buying tickets in multiple show bundles.) Many of these performances sell out, so if you're interested in going, it's a good idea to buy tickets sooner rather than later.
OK, let's have a look at the schedule.
The Broadway season at Proctors includes the Tony-winning play The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time. / photo: Joan Marcus
Proctors and Capital Rep have jointly announced their lineups for the next season of Broadway shows and theater productions. The Broadway series at Proctors includes a bunch of prominent shows -- including a little musical called Wicked. And the Cap Rep lineup again includes a world-premiere play.
Tickets for both series go on sale today (February 2) as part of subscription packages. Individual show tickets will be available closer to the season starting.
Some shows end up being very popular, so you might want to plan ahead a little bit for tickets if you're interested in going.
Without further ado...
Last year around this time, Capital Region native Gabby Pizzolo was performing as Young Fiona in a production of Shrek at the Schenectady Light Opera Company.
This year? Oh, you know, Michelle Obama is praising her during a "Broadway at the White House" event while she sits between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Matthew Morrison (see the video above). Among the other attendees: Gloria Estefan and Whoopi Goldberg.
So, a pretty typical year-to-year change for a 12 year old.
Pizzolo has already played a starring role on Broadway in Matilda. And she recently stepped into one of the star roles in the Tony-winning Broadway musical Fun Home.
The action takes place during an actual 90-minute game, with two college town colleagues meeting for their monthly session. But this night is different; there is something else in the room, and the evening becomes something more than just another match.
As it happens, the play is set in Schenectady. Backstory blurbage:
[Writer/actor John] Ahlin discovered the city's curious name as a child, on family drives from Westchester to the Adirondacks, and he was held forever in thrall by its odd collection of consonants ("I became one of the fastest spellers of Schenectady around," he says, chuckling). As fate would have it, he married a woman from Schenectady, and his longtime fascination found fruition in ChipandGus.
"My character," he says, "in particular, is a champion of the city's great dynamic history, and its glorious denizens and visitors over the years."
Ahlin plays one side of the game, fellow writer/actor Christopher Patrick Mullen the other. And apparently they really are playing ping pong during the show.
ChipandGus is Friday, November 20 at 7:30 pm in the GE Theater at Proctors. Tickets are $20 and $30. Proceeds benefit the Schenectady Light Opera Company.
photo via ChipandGus FB page
In the late 1920s there were 19 theaters in just the city of Schenectady.
"Companies like General Electric and ALCO were booming back then," says Schenectady County Historical Society librarian Michael Maloney, "and the city experienced a huge growth in population between 1900 and 1930. Theaters were able to capitalize on that."
Of course, there were also zero TVs in the city at the time. There was no internet. There was no Hulu or Netflix. There were no video games.
But that time set the stage for some remarkably long running theater institutions in the city. And almost a century later, they're helping Schenectady develop an identity as the Capital Region's theater district.
Something to consider adding to your list of stuff to do this summer: a visit to Williamstown Theater Festival. You might just see the next Broadway hit.
The Tony Award nominees were announced Tuesday morning and the The Visit -- which opened at WTF last season and transferred to Broadway -- took five nominations. The Visit stars Chita Rivera and Rodger Rees, with a book by Terrance McNally and music and lyrics by Kander and Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago), so it has a great pedigree, and the show was many years in the making.
But it's also part of a recent trend of Williamstown launching Broadway shows.
An earlier that summer is out there: The schedule for this year's Williamstown Theatre Festival is out today. As usual, it includes notable shows and actors you'll recognize, such as Kyra Sedgwick, Audra McDonald, and Cynthia Nixon.
The schedule is post jump.
Ticket bundles are currently on sale, starting at $165 for three shows, through March 6. Many of these shows end up selling out, so if you think you'd like to go this summer, buying early can be a good idea. (And you can a discount by buying one of the bundles.)
Single ticket sales start in April.
With 2014 wrapping up, we thought it'd be fun to ask a bunch of people about some of their favorite/most interesting things from the past year.
Today we check in with a group of artists, performers and reviewers for their take on some of their favorite shows of 2014.
The Williamstown Theatre Festival opens next week, which means casts and what not have been settled.
WTF usually brings in a bunch of notable and/or recognizable actors, along with a bunch of rising talent, and this year is no exception. Among them: Sam Rockwell will be stepping in for Chris Pine as the lead in Fool for Love. Other names from the lineup of performances that you might recognize: Renée Fleming, Anna Chlumsky, Nina Arianda, Nate Corddry, Chita Rivera, and Lewis Black.
The lineup is after the jump.
Many of the WTF performance sell out -- in fact, a few already have -- so if you're interested in heading for a show, it's better to get tickets sooner rather than later.
Proctors has announced the lineup of Broadway-style shows that will be at the theater over the next season. The six-show slate includes some very popular shows, including Newsies and Jersey Boys.
A condensed version of the lineup is after the jump.
Tickets for the show are currently available to renewing subscribers. New subscriptions are open May 6. And individual show tickets will be available closer to the season starting. Some shows end up being very popular -- see The Book of Mormon this current season -- so you might want to plan ahead a little bit for tickets if you're interested in going.
The schedule for this year's Williamstown Theatre Festival is out. And, as usual, it includes notable shows and actors you'll recognize such as Renee Fleming (you know, the famous opera singer), Lauren Ambrose (you know, from Six Feet Under), and Chris Pine (you know, Captain Kirk). The schedule is post jump.
Also: A guide on how to score tickets. Many of these shows end up being very popular and tickets can be hard to get. So a little planning now can increase your chances of getting tickets.
Dashira Cortes was 10 years old when she auditioned for Winnie the Pooh and won the part of Christopher Robin's favorite bear. That was the first time other people really began to recognize she could sing. Since then this Albany High School graduate has worked with Park Playhouse, played Dorothy and Aida, and even shared an Off-Broadway stage with Jeremy Irons, whom she refers to as "the voice of Scar."
This weekend Cortes plays The Moon in the regional premiere of Tony Kushner's musical Caroline or Change at Schenectady Light Opera Company.
Cortes took a few minutes to talk with AOA about Caroline, how her alma mater Albany High School often appears in the media, and a move toward more diversity in Capital Region theater.
With the end of the year coming up, we thought it'd be fun to ask a bunch of people about some of their favorite/most interesting things from the 2013.
Today, a group of musicians, actors, and arts writers look back at some of their favorite Capital Region shows of the year.
News this week that two Capital Region performers are headed for Broadway:
Ten-year-old Gabriella Pizzolo, an Albany area actress, is one of four girls who will rotate in the role of Matilda in the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit Matilda the Musical. Pizzolo has been in shows all around the Capital Region, including Ragtime and The Sound of Music at Schenectady Light Opera Company and last summer's Park Playhouse production of Shrek.
Also this week, Loudonville native Charles Franklin was named to the cast of the upcoming Broadway musical The Bridges of Madison County. The Jason Robert Brown musical premiered locally at the Williamstown Theater Festival this past summer. Franklin is currently a senior at Pace University. His brother, George Franklin, an 8th grader from Shaker Junior High, was in Broadway's A Christmas Story last season and is currently touring with the road company of Elf. Their sisters are also accomplished performers. And they're all students of Capital Region vocal coach (and Charles and George's mom) Lisa Franklin. So, you know, it's a shame there's not much talent in the family.
Proctors has announced the lineup for its 2013-2014 Broadway series -- it includes some very popular shows, a show made into a movie, and movies made into shows.
A reworking of the Tchaikovsky ballet by choreographer Matthew Bourne. A recent NYT review of the London production called it "theatrically effective, sometimes even brilliant."
February 18-23, 2014
A musical based on the movie.
The Phantom of the Opera
May 28-June 4, 2014
Tickets for the shows are currently on sale as part of Proctors subscription packages. Single show tickets will go on sale later this year.
Yep, Proctors advertises on AOA.
The slate is out for this summer's Williamstown Theatre Festival. And while the full (usually impressive) casts haven't been announced, a few of the stars are mentioned. The festival runs from June 26-August 18.
The announced schedule is post jump.
If you're thinking about seeing some of the shows this summer, it might not be a bad idea to think about buying tickets now. You can save about 20 percent on "bundles" of tickets (and you get the jump on buying tickets) -- the discount bundles are on sale until March 15.
With the end of the year coming up, we thought it'd be fun to ask a bunch of people about some of their favorite/most interesting things from the 2012.
Next up: Capital Region musicians, actors, and artists on their favorite local shows of 2012.
Here's how the rest of the slate for Cap Rep's season shapes up...
A few months back we told you that composer, lyricist and deity to music theater fans, Stephen Sondheim will be making an appearance at Hudson Valley Community College this. "An Evening With Stephen Sondheim" is slated for September 25 -- and AOA's Mary Darcy will be the on-stage interviewer.
Ticket sales have just been announced. Here are the details:
+ HVCC students faculty and staff can reserve tickets as of August 27. They're free for students. $25 for faculty and staff.
+ Tickets will be available to the general public starting September 8 -- they're $25.
The event is expected to sell out, so if you're hoping to attend, act early.
photo: Jerry Jackson
Summer theater festivals in and around the Capital Region are just getting underway for the season. We're pretty lucky to have so many high quality summer festivals within an hour's drive.
After the jump, a quick look at this year's festivals and what they're offering...
The show will be at Proctors February 5, 6, 7 in 2013.
Earlier on AOA: Proctors Broadway series 2012-2013
Yep, Proctors advertises on AOA.
Skimming through the slate for this summer's Williamstown Theatre Festival, there are a bunch of names you'll recognize: Bradley Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, David Hyde Pierce, Lili Taylor, Susie Essman, Lewis Black, and others.
The schedule -- with a few highlights -- is after the jump. Performances start toward the end of June.
Here's a guide to buying tickets for the festival. Tickets are currently available by mail for donors. Online ticketing starts June 4.
The one and only Stephen Sondheim will be appearing at Hudson Valley Community College September 25. Ticket info hasn't been settled, yet -- but the event will be open to the public. Tickets are expected to go on sale in August. HVCC students will get the first opportunity for spots.
The appearance by the composer and lyricist will be an on-stage conversation. The interviewer: AOA's own Mary Darcy. A short concert from Sonny Daye and Perley Rousseau will precede the conversation.
Sondheim is one of the all-time greats of musical theater. His works includes classics such as West Side Story, Gypsy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, and Assassins. He's won eight Tony awards, an Oscar, a Pulitzer, and eight Grammys.
photo: Jerry Jackson
She's a coloratura who owns six pairs of cowboy boots and prefers show tunes and country standards to arias.
There is nothing stereotypical about Molly Rose McGrath.
Born and raised the the Capital Region, her voice teachers pushed her toward opera and encouraged her to head for New York -- but she prefers to stay close to home.
She's been performing locally for years, most notably as Annie Oakley at Albany's Park Playhouse and Patsy Cline in Saratoga.
Now she's trying her hand at producing with a dark, funny little cult show called The Last Five Years.
One of the great things about summer in the Capital Region: all the theater festivals. And the theater season is currently at its peak.
You've probably heard the names tossed around a lot -- Berkshire Theater Festival, The Mac-Hayden, Williamstown -- but each one has a little something different to offer in mission, atmosphere, style and pricing.
So, after the jump, you'll find a quick guide to help you choose which festival you might like to attend, complete with a few details you'll want to know before you go.