Busy high school musical season begins this weekend

By Barb Van Atta

“March Musical Madness.”

With a nod to collegiate basketball, that’s how Larry Kassan, director of special projects for the Binghamton City School District’s Rod Serling School of the Arts, describes the upcoming season of Broadway musicals presented by high schools in Broome County.

Performances begin this weekend — with Binghamton’s Anything Goes and Susquehanna Valley High School’s Grease — and continue through early May, with, as Kassan pointed out, many of the shows being presented in March.

Audience members who have not seen a high school musical recently will be in for a very pleasant surprise. Do not think of these ventures as “kid shows” but as serious amateur efforts complete with elaborate sets and costumes, strong direction and choreography, and bigger pit orchestras than some professional productions. And all for tickets of $10 or less.

Here’s a quick look at each school’s show: Read the rest of this entry »

Did you have an art-full week?

Gallery hopping, catching a concert or play, hearing a bar band, rehearsing for your own show? What have you been doing to fill your week with the arts?

More thoughts about the arts and education

Did you catch the guest viewpoint in the Press & Sun-Bulletin yesterday (Feb. 26)? Gretchen Dandrea Blynt of Andes, a teacher at a school in the Catskills, wrote about New York state’s recently adopted Common Core Learning Standards vis-a-vis an arts curriculum and the value of independent, critical thinking. Here’s a link: http://tinyurl.com/74exzxn.

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Civil War play debuts to full house at Roberson

Reviewed by Ralph Hall

Since Binghamton was established in the early part of the 19th Century, its residents have contributed in many ways to most world events including the American Civil War. Laura Cunningham’s new play, Apron Strings, chronicles the lives of six of those citizens returning from this war. Produced by Terry McDonald, Executive Director of the Roberson Museum and Science Center in Binghamton, and directed by Judy McMahon, Apron Strings had its premiere performance Thursday (Feb. 23) in the newly renovated ballroom of the Roberson Mansion. Read the rest of this entry »

Kim, Jokubaviciute dazzle at BPO chamber concert

Editor’s note: Julian Shepherd kindly wrote this review so that his wife, BAMirror reviewer Lee Shepherd, could attend a Madrigal Choir of Binghamton rehearsal.

Reviewed by Julian Shepherd

Soovin Kim and Ieva Jokubaviciute, two young but already internationally-known artists educated in the United States, presented a top-flight performance of violin and piano duets last Sunday (Feb. 19) at Binghamton University’s Anderson Center for the Arts. The concert was presented by the Binghamton Philharmonic. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Stomp’ is a celebration of sound

Reviewed by Nicholas Linnehan

On Valentines Day (Tuesday., Feb. 14), I, being single, took myself on a date — to see Broadway Theatre Leagues’ presentation of Stomp. I wanted something fun,and, more important, not romantic, and the touring company of Stomp delivered this well. Read the rest of this entry »

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KNOW’s ‘Bus Stop’ not to be missed

Reviewed by Ralph Hall

"Bus Stop" at Know Theatre
Zac Chastain (Bo) and Jessica Nogaret (Cherie) in “Bus Stop” at Know Theatre

A sold-out audience heartily welcomed KNOW Theatre’s production of William Inge’s play Bus Stop this past Friday night (Feb. 10).  Few writers for the stage have Inge’s powerful command of the American language. With the words of four bus riders, a driver, a sheriff and two waitresses stranded in a small diner for two hours somewhere between Kansas and Montana, he gave audiences a peek into the lives and thinking of Americans in the post-war years of the 1950s — just prior to the love-hate revolution of the ’60s.

With a powerful ensemble cast that worked with and supported each other in the best ways possible, this production demanded the attention of the audience from the first word to the last. Riley Phillips very competently and professionally incorporated her own youth into creating an innocent and eager-for-life young waitress ready to take on this new world. Her character set the pace and the premise, and she did it marvelously well. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘A Broken Key’ strings together different themes

Reviewed by Sarah Kuras

While a piano played softly, out of the dark stepped three dancers. Each of them wove in and out of the music while a fourth dancer sat at a piano bench,  mimicking the motions of a pianist.

So began A Broken Key, the dance performance featured this past weekend at Binghamton University’s Anderson Center for the Performing Arts. Read the rest of this entry »

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You’d be mad to miss TCO’s stunning ‘Lucia’

Reviewed by Lee Shepherd

Mayhem …
Madness …
Melodrama …
Magic …
The Tri-Cities Opera production of Lucia Di Lammermoor is a masterpiece, from the first fate-laden notes of the overture to the last fate-fulfilled note of the finale. Read the rest of this entry »

‘A Broken Key’ brings pieces together this weekend at BU

A Broken Key, a dance performance at Binghamton University which opens this weekend, is directed by JoEllen Kuhlman, an Owego native who teaches at Kathy Hansen School of Dance in Apalachin and has studied dance for 26 years.

By Sarah Kuras

Tell me the story behind A Broken Key.

A Broken Key is based off one piece of music, “It’s Gonna Be A Long Walk” by Apparat. I started with the music and then developed the concept. There is a variety of styles of music — classical, contemporary. The show has 10 separate numbers; some pieces are smooth, some are accented. All of them are different; for example, one of the pieces is very emotional. It’s a ballet with contemporary and modern styles. It is a very athletic show with partnering. Read the rest of this entry »

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