‘Breaking Legs’ is a very entertaining play with a talented cast

Reviewed by Ralph Hall

The Cider Mill Playhouse’s production of Breaking Legs by Tom Dulack is a nearly perfect defining of the 21st century term “profiling” with the added touch of humor. When you take everything one believes about a specific cultural, ethnic group and add a bit of slapstick comedy, identifiable human guilt and visible sexual overtones — all performed by a talented cast — the results have to be a great success. Read the rest of this entry »

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Have the arts been part of your week?

Did you catch a play or concert, hear a bar band, wander through an exhibit, listen to a reading? Share your reflections and opnions here, please.

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Aron Quartett was a gift from Vienna

Reviewed by Lee Shepherd

The Brentano and Borromeo, the Juilliard, the Kronos, the New Zealand, the Ying and many others – I’ve heard some world-class string quartets in my day — but none of them can hold a candle to the Aron Quartett of Vienna, and last Sunday’s concert.
The foursome’s utterly clean, crisp, no-nonsense performance channeled the exuberance and genius of Haydn, Schubert and Korngold directly to the listener, without intermediaries. Focused and intense as a laser pointer dot, yet relaxed and smiling, they made some incredibly difficult music look effortless. Read the rest of this entry »

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Half-Light’s ‘Barefoot’ is ‘must-see production’

Reviewed by Ralph Hall

The “watchers” battle the “doers” in Half-Light Theatre’s production of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, which opened last night (March 23)  in the newly renovated ballroom of the Roberson Mansion in Binghamton. Director Tim Mollen established a pace and beat that nourished the humor and accented the dramatic, giving the full-house audience an excellent interpretation of this 1960s comedy.

Zachary Chastain (as a young newly-wed lawyer) and Kate Murray (as the mother of the new bride) interpreted their characters with a strength, consistency, humor and energy that made this production the success that it is. Both actors have been seen and enjoyed often on local stages; however, they both stepped up to new levels of artistic performance in Barefoot in the Park.

Chastain’s character maintains a constant rock of stability with a new wife, job and apartment until the pressure builds and the volcano erupts. Whether in the controlled stable state or lost in the eruption of frustration, Chastain’s performance was outstanding.

When the mother lets down her hair, it is the watcher becoming the doer. The shifting and altering of circumstances and timing demand an equal change in intensity and motivation. Murray very successfully rose to this demand. (Shown from left in the photo: Chastain, Wade, Murray and Yajko.) Read the rest of this entry »

Did you have an art-full weekend?

Galleries, concert halls, theaters, even honky-tonks: Where did live art and your weekend collide this past week? Please share.

BU vocal ensembles excel in homage to Canada

Reviewed by Sarah Kuras

This past Thursday (March 15), I had the pleasure of attending the joint Harpur Chorale/Women’s Chorus concert at Binghamton University’s Anderson Center. The two groups performed vocal works by Canadian composers, folk songs and songs of First Nation People. This beautifully curated selection of pieces highlighted the cultural backgrounds of the many regions and peoples of Canada, a country that has been a longtime passion of conductor Peter Browne. Read the rest of this entry »

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BCAC to administer Community Foundation’s new artists’ grant program

The Community Foundation for South Central New York and the Broome County Arts Council are collaborating on a new program to provide funding to individual artists. A two-year pilot called the Artists Fund will be unveiled at a joint news conference at 10:30 a.m. today (March 15) at the Community Foundation’s offices, 520 Columbia Drive, Johnson City. The Community Foundation will fund the grant program, and BCAC will administer it. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Cats’ is the cat’s meow at The Forum

Reviewed by Sarah Kuras

The  Broadway Theater League presented another award-winning show this past Sunday(March 11) at The Forum in Binghamton: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. This was my first time seeing this iconic show, which sets a collection of T.S. Eliot poems set to music with flawless choreography and a rocking score. This musical is a great family experience, with fun dance numbers, whimsical cat costumes and memorable characters. Read the rest of this entry »

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Paul Taylor/BU Symphony Orchestra collaboration is incredible

Reviewed by Sarah Kuras

Last Saturday (March 10), the Paul Taylor Dance Company and the Binghamton University Symphony Orchestra, directed by Timothy Perry, again gave a wonderful performance at BU’s Anderson Center. These two groups, which last worked together in 2009, left me breathless. It is hard to describe the company’s dancing with just words, so please, bear with me as I try to take you with me through this performance. Read the rest of this entry »

Classic Simon comedy next up for new Half Light Theatre

By Ralph Hall

Broome County is blessed with several theatrical productions company. The newest is Half Light Theatre, which is producing Barefoot in the Park later this month in the newly redecorated ballroom of the Roberson Museum and Science Center, 30 Front St., Binghamton. The company was founded and is managed by Missy Harris, Tim Mollen and Nathan Butler. In February, Half Light produced Love Letters, which featured Mollen and Harris and was directed by Butler. Read the rest of this entry »

Were the arts part of your week?

What did you do in the arts this past week? As a loyal “stage mom,” I saw all four performances of My Fair Lady at Union-Endicott High School (and enjoyed every one of them!). How about you? Did you see The Crucible at BU (see review that follows), or catch Natalie Merchant in concert? How about the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Cats, Beauty and the Beast or the Madrigal Choir? Please share your experiences here.

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‘Crucible’ passes trial at BU

Reviewed by Sarah Kuras

Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible came to life this past weekend at Binghamton University. The Watters Theater was packed for opening night (March 9) as the audience was transported back to Salem Village in 1692. As the eerie lights came on, women danced and sang in the woods near a fiery cauldron. This mystical scene set the stage for the rest of the play. Motives and characters were questioned as the townspeople became caught up in the Salem witch trials. With plot twists and turns and hidden motivations, one was never sure of a character’s true intentions. Read the rest of this entry »

Kudos to UCF winners — and donors

The Broome County Arts Council will announce $224,754 in United Cultural Fund grant awards for 2012 at 1:30 p.m. today (March 8) at BCAC’s downtown Binghamton office and gallery.

The United Cultural Fund, BCAC’s largest program, is an annual combined campaign for the arts that provides general operating support to established nonprofit arts organizations and project grants to other community nonprofits and individual artists in Broome County. Read the rest of this entry »

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What did you do in the arts this past weekend?

Did you participate in the First Friday Art Walk? Were you in the audience — or on stage — for a high school musical? Did you catch a play, concert or reading? Please share your opinions and experiences here.

In one-woman show, Weeks makes every character come alive

Reviewed by Ralph Hall

The question is:  How many characters can one actor successfully create and portray in one 90-minute monologue?  In Slut, produced this week (Feb. 28 and 29) at the Schorr Family Firehouse Stage in Johnson City, Heidi Weeks established a persona for numerous characters in such depth that she revealed much of the heart and soul of each. In this one-woman show, her creations were so complete that the audience was always able to understand their history, emotions and desires. Read the rest of this entry »

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