‘Last Five Years’ puts pair in a pop opera time warp

Reviewed by Nancy Oliveri

Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years opened last night (March 22) in Binghamton, a production of Half Light Theatre, one of the more recent entries into the theater community here. The show is not exactly a musical and is not exactly a play, but is more like an opera. I would call it a Pop Opera, but without any instantly sing-able melodies. I didn’t leave with any one song buffering in my head, just a sense of the work as a whole.

That’s OK, though, because it was good and, first and foremost, a love story — a story about the first and, no surprise here, what turn out to be the last five years of a couple’s angst-ridden, sometimes hopeful, but never really tender relationship. Performed in the intimate setting of the Roberson  Museum and Science Center’s third-floor ballroom, the show was accompanied only by Vicky Gordon, a fine pianist. Read the rest of this entry »

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United Cultural Fund grants total $228,000 for 2013

By Barb Van Atta

Broome County Arts Council Board Chairman Fred Xlander and Executive Director Sharon Ball today (March 13) announced the awarding of more than $228,000 in United Cultural Fund (UCF) grants for 2013. Seven arts and cultural organizations will share in $210,428 in UCF general operating support grants. Project grants totaling another $18,298 will be shared by 14 organizations and individual artists. Read the rest of this entry »

SRO’s ‘Godspell’ mixes showmanship and faith

Reviewed by George Basler

In staging Godspell, co-director Ann Szymaniak wanted to put forth a message of love, acceptance and hope that “our fast-paced cynical society needs to hear.”
On a less spiritual level, the musical, which has been around for 42 years now, is an opportune chance for younger performers to try out their singing and acting skills in a zestful show that requires youthful exuberance to make it work.
Both spirituality and this exuberance are on display in the SRO Productions III’s presentation of the show that runs this weekend and next weekend in the ballroom of the Roberson Museum and Science Center in Binghamton.
While Godspell’s mixture of solemnity and hippy-dippy cuteness might not be to everyone’s taste, the SRO production is first-rate with an energetic and talented cast, ranging in age from 25 to 15, showing off the fact that there are a lot of talented young people in Broome County. Read the rest of this entry »

SRO adds ‘Little Women’ performances

Feeling bad that you missed SRO Productions’ run of the musical version of Little Women? Well, cheer up. SRO will be presenting two encore performances at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, at the Roberson Museum and Science Center, 30 Front St., Binghamton.

For tickets, call the Roberson box office at 772-0660, ext. 223, or reserve online at www.Roberson.org.

Half Light Theatre schedules ‘Master Class’ benefit; Binghamton mayor has role

By George Basler

Half Light Theatre, a new Binghamton-based theater company, is planning to mark its first anniversary with a special evening this coming weekend.

On Friday (July 27), the company will take over the grand mansion foyer of the Roberson Museum and Science Center for a gala fund-raising event that will begin with wine sampling and hors d’oeuvres at 6:30 p.m. followed by a performance of Terrence McNally’s play Master Class at 7:30 p.m. Read the rest of this entry »

Lesser-known works fare best in Elton John revue

Reviewed by George Basler

In his remarkable  40+-year career, nobody has ever accused Elton John of understatement.

To the contrary, John’s name conjures up a rock star image with over-the-top performances in large arenas and stadiums, outrageous costumes and driving rock bands. One image that doesn’t leap to mind is performing his songs in a intimate, cabaret setting, with only a keyboard accompanist.

That is the challenge being taken on this weekend by the Half Light Theatre, a new local theater group, which is peforming a wide-ranging concert of the composer’s work in the outdoor courtyard of the Roberson Museum and Science Center, 30 Front St., Binghamton. The revue, featuring eight singers backed by pianist Ken Martinak, opened Friday (July 13) and will continue at 7:30 p.m. today (Saturday, July 14) and at 3 p.m. Sunday (July 15). Read the rest of this entry »

Half Light creates hell at Roberson

Reviewed by Rebecca Sheriff

I was very intrigued when I heard there was going to be a local production of the play No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre. The work has been an absolute favorite of mine since studying existentialism as an undergraduate, and I find myself quoting the famous line “Hell is other people” on a weekly basis. I was hoping that this production by the Half Light Theatre would be traditional as the brilliance of this extraordinary play lies in its understated drama and the philosophical questions that arise from the profound dialogue. At Saturday evening’s performance (June 2), I was not disappointed. Read the rest of this entry »