Were you art-full this past week?

Did you catch the end of “Hello, Dolly!”, “The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Very, Very Abridged)” or the shows at the Cooperative Gallery? Were your rockin’ out to Rob Thomas Friday night at the golf tournament? Can you recommend a good exhibit or bar band? Please share how you participated in arts and entertainment this past week and weekend.

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Last chance to see world premiere of ‘I’m Not Dead Yet’

Final performances of the world premiere of Laura Cunningham’s “I’m Not Dead Yet” are at 8 p.m. today through Saturday (June 24-26)  and at 2 p.m. Sunday (June 27) at the Tri-Cities Opera Center, 315 Clinton St., Binghamton. The comedy, set around two elderly sisters fighting for the rights at their “last chance” assisted living center, is directed by Bill Gorman. Sunday’s performance  will be followed by a talkback with cast members and geriatric experts.

Direct from a highly applauded workshop production in New York City, this fully staged production stars Judy McMahon, Carolyn Christy-Boyden, Katherine Bacon, Betty Davenport, Sandy Monachino, Mickey Ray and Bill Denman. You can read Lee Shepherd’s Broome Arts Mirror review below.

For tickets, call 772-0400 or visit www.tricitiesopera.com.

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Financial uncertainties prompt TCO restructuring

The Tri-Cities Opera Board of Directors and TCO General Director Reed Smith presented a major restructuring of the 61-year-old opera company at its annual board and guild meeting on June 22. The following is a press release issued by TCO: 

“The Board of Directors of Tri-Cities Opera have announced a variety of changes to better position the company financially while improving its service to local and regional audiences .As a result, the following changes have already taken place.

Months of research have examined opportunities to reduce expenses, off load costs and provide better efficiencies. Most recently TCO concluded a workshop looking at these issues with the President and CEO of OPERA America.

1) The development of new partnerships through Binghamton University’s School of Music.

2) Peyton Hibbitt, Co-founder and Artistic Director Emeritus, has been offered an adjunct faculty position as part of the MM-Opera program at Binghamton University.

3) Duane Skrabalak, Senior Artistic Director, has retired. Read the rest of this entry »

Bronzissimo! That’s entertainment!

Reviewed by David L. Schriber

The Bronzissimo! select handbell choir rang a program of musical theater/cinema/opera Saturday (June 19) at Valley Christian Reformed Church in the Town of Chenango. With a light, whimsical flair and mostly familiar melodies, the ensemble invited audience participation through hum-alongs and pseudo-rhythm percussion.

Claire Bombard, who billed herself as the “mean” director (co-director Jessica Bowerman rang but is on maternity leave from directing), has been ringing since before some of her ringers were born (46 years). The average experience in this group is about 19 years (though the group does have a newcomer and two others with less than 10 years). The experience level is evident as Bronzissimo! plays the bells smoothly and in several modes of sound.

Read the rest of this entry »

Did you have an art-full week?

Did you and Dad hit the jazz concert at the Firehouse Stage? Or did you say “Hello” to Dolly? Please tell us how you participated in the arts this past week. Or perhaps you can share what art-full events you have planned for the coming weekend.

Two Tonys with Tier ties

A while back, BAMirror encouraged Southern Tier theater buffs to tune into the Tony Awards on June 13 and root for Bill T. Jones, director and choreographerof the new musical “Fela!” The story of the legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti tied for the most nominations — 11 — with the revival of the musical “La Cage aux Folles.” What we didn’t realize at the time was that “La Cage” also had local ties.

Jones studied both theater and dance at the State University of New York at Binghamton (now Binghamton University). Albert Nocciolino, president and founder of NAC Entertainment in Binghamton, is a member of the Independent Presenters Network (IPN), which is part of the consortium of producers for “La Cage.” (NAC, as you know, brings the Broadway Theatre League season to The Forum.)

Jones lost out in categories of best book of a musical and best direction of a musical — the latter to “La Cage” director Terry Johnson — but brought home the Tony for best choreography. In total, “Fela!” received three Tonys as did “La Cage,” which was named best revival of a musical, an award that went to the show’s producers.

Nocciolino also was part of the producing team for best musicals in 2005 (“Spamalot”) and 2002 (“Thoroughly Modern Millie”). Catch this June 17 clip on WBNG-TV of Nocciolino talking about his newest Tony: www.wbng.com/news/local/96610694.html

‘Not Dead Yet’ is alive and kicking

Reviewed by Lee Shepherd

Just because the Parlor City Players’ “I’m Not Dead Yet” is about cranky old folks in a nursing home, don’t expect a G rating. The play, opening tonight (Thursday, June 17) at the Tri-Cities Opera Center in Binghamton, is definitely R-rated.

At Wednesday’s open final dress rehearsal, the timing needed a bit of tightening and a few lines needed locking in, but the two-act comedy was a rollicking, bumpy, risqué ride with a cast of fine Southern Tier actors. Local playwright Laura Cunningham’s hometown references – Channel 34 news, Robbie’s liquor store and a graduated senior community resembling any one of a half dozen Broome County facilities — delighted the audience. Read the rest of this entry »

‘NY Times’ blog reports Glimmerglass changes

Here’s an item of note for regional opera fans, posted Monday (June 14) on The New York Times‘ arts blog:

“Francesca Zambello, the new general and artistic director of the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, N.Y., has put an immediate stamp on it, changing its name to the Glimmerglass Festival and adding musical theater as a regular feature. Starting next summer the festival will also include lectures, symposiums, cabarets and concerts for the public. Such activities have already been offered on a limited scale to donors, a spokeswoman said.

“Ms. Zambello takes over on Sept. 1. Her first season, the summer of 2011, will include new productions of Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ and Cherubini’s ‘Medea.’ The festival will also present a double bill of new works: ‘A Blizzard in Marblehead Neck’ by the composer Jeanine Tesori and the playwright Tony Kushner and commissioned by Glimmerglass, and ‘Later the Same Evening’ by John Musto and Mark Campbell, based on five Edward Hopper paintings. The musical will be Irving Berlin’s ‘Annie Get Your Gun.’ While Glimmerglass put on ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ in 2008, musicals will now become a regular feature, to be performed with a full orchestra and without amplification.

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May the Bard be with you: Shakespeare made mod

Reviewed by David L. Schriber

The thought of combining 37 Shakespearean plays into a single two-hour farce was too good to pass up, so we took a drive up Route 12 to the Chenango River Theatre (CRT) in Greene to take in “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).” Written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield; premiered in 1987 and performed subsequently in London and off-Broadway, the spoof encourages improvisation, adaptation to local culture and interaction with the audience.

This version, while not exactly belly-laughing slapstick comedy to the frenetic level of Mel Brooks or Robin Williams, definitely had a certain offbeat “Monty Python-meets-Reader’s Digest Condensed Books” character to it. Detailed knowledge of Shakespeare’s plays was not really necessary to appreciate the humor of themes such as “The Real Housewives of Verona,” a compilation of Will’s 12 comedies.

Read the rest of this entry »

Were the arts part of your week?

I went to a great high school choral concert (thank you, Jim Gleason and every singer at Union-Endicott High School). What did you do in the arts this past week?

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Herzog retiring from BU Anderson Center

Floyd Herzog, who has headed Binghamton University’s Anderson Center since before it opened its doors, is retiring July 1 from the position of the center’s director/producer. His successor is Gary Pedro, longtime business and operations manager of the Center, whose new title will be executive director.

To read more about Herzog’s retirement, check out the front-page article today (Saturday, June 12) in the Press & Sun-Bulletin (visit www.pressconnects.com). For Anderson Center 25th anniversary remembrances from both Herzog and Pedro, see the Spring 2010 issue of the Binghamton University Magazine (www2.binghamton. edu/magazine).

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Arts Council collectors walk the walk

With its second gallery show since moving downtown to 81 State St., Binghamton, last February, the Broome County Arts Council is advancing the idea that promoting the local arts is good, but BUYING art locally is both better and best. The exhibition “Collector’s Items — Making the Commitment” opened June 4 during the First Friday Art Walk and will run until July 2. Read the rest of this entry »

Share your art-full weekend with us

Did you say “Hello” to “Dolly” or visit the “City of Angels”? Were you celebrating spring with the Downtown Singers (or at your daughter’s dance recital)? Did you “Art Walk” on Friday (or catch a good live act at a local watering hole)? Share with us your reflections of the weekend.

Robert Johnston photo show opens at Cooperative Gallery

An exciting and touching exhibition opened Thursday (June 3) at the  Cooperative Gallery 213, 213 State St., Binghamton, and will continue through June 26, including special hours today (June 4) for First Friday. It’s exciting because it is a curated retrospective of the work of Robert C. Johnston, one of the area’s premier black-and-white photographers, and touching because he died very recently before being able to see his lifetime of work honored by this exhibit. Read the rest of this entry »

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