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Gregory Wood was playing his cello during a concert in the Mulroy Civic Center’s Crouse-Hinds Theater when he noticed something wasn’t right. The violists were growing. Wood, the assistant principal cellist of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, continued playing as though nothing was happening, but it was hard to ignore his colleagues who were now towering above him. When Wood finally had an opportunity to look around, he realized the violists weren’t getting taller, his cello section was sinking.
The operators of the Landmark Theatre in Syracuse and the Stanley Theatre in Utica knew they were in for some tough competition when the Turning Stone Resort and Casino opened its first performance venue in 2002.Gold standard: Currently undergoing a renovation project, the Landmark Theatre, like its Utica counterpart the Stanley Theatre, is also figuring out ways to compete with the venues at Turning Stone. MICHAEL DAVIS PHOTO
During the current Great Recession, financial support for the arts is drying up like the Sahara Desert. In this fiscally arid climate, the arrival of a new funding source would be like a downpour of life-giving water to the cultural scene. The new and little-known Cultural Resources Trust (CRT) could just be that source.
It is not unusual for universities to bring musicians, visual artists, poets and dancers to their campuses to enrich student life. Columbia University in New York, for example, offers original and daring performances of new music in its 688-seat, on-campus Miller Theatre. At its Palace Theater for the Performing Arts, Colgate University in Hamilton offers a ticketed series of musical and theatrical events throughout the school year.
As artistic director of Syracuse Stage, Timothy Bond is used to hearing praise for his shows. But one instance stands out in his mind. During the intermission of August Wilson’s Fences last spring, an audience member came up to Bond. “I just want to tell you that I like what you’re doing. It’s a breath of fresh air,” Bond says he said.Timothy Bond: “I don’t see theater as a pastime to go and escape from life for two hours. I see it as an escape inside of life.”
Reading Bruce Coville is an adventure. His gaze is full of energy and his grin emphasizes his “kooky” personality. In a literal sense, to read his children’s books is transporting, as he guides readers through lands of aliens, unicorns and more.
“I like my life because I do what I love. I’m very lucky,” says Coville, 60, whose only fear is letting down his readers. As an avid reader himself, he understands the value of a well-crafted story and its influence on children. With a wildly successful career in children’s literature, theater and groundbreaking audio production, he is one of the hidden gems of Central New York.Magic man: Bruce Coville has been weaving tales of dungeons and dragons from his base on Westcott Street.
6:00. 6:30. 6:45. 7:10. 7:30.
If it’s Friday night, there’s a comedy or action movie playing with this schedule at the nearest Regal Cinema.
Syracuse’s Carousel Center Stadium 17, Clay’s Great Northern Mall 10, and DeWitt’s Shoppingtown Mall Stadium 14 usually feature many of the same films. On any given night the three multiplexes offer movies on a synchronized schedule. If the kids aren’t ready for Carousel’s 6:45 p.m. showing of the latest Pixar film, chances are there’s a 7:30 p.m. show at another location.
Consider what a trial of vanity it is for an artistic director to cast himself in one of his own shows. Cortland Repertory Theatre honcho Kerby Thompson started with the company as a performer, but with seven productions running in the short summer season he often doesn’t have time to get out on the boards. In those rare appearances, like one four years ago and again now in Richard Alfieri’s Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, he is determined to act: to create someone a bit unlike himself. Audiences feel they know Thompson from his curtain speeches where he comes across as genteel, witty and WASPy. As dance teacher Michael Minetti he turns into a character who’s snarly and Italian, but still a wit.
“The Trolley Song” and other hits drive Merry-Go-Round’s spirited revival of Meet Me in St. Louis
The Vincente Minnelli-Judy Garland Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) ranks No. 10 in the American Film Institute’s roster of all-time great movie musicals. The 22-year-old Judy has red hair, and director Minnelli’s camera is unmistakably in love with her. This gives the folks at Auburn’s Merry-Go-Round Playhouse a formidable task: take the best elements of the original, restage them and try to make you forget the movie. The key to making the live-on-stage version better is what are generally called “production values,” and as MGR gets ready to launch its nationally marketed musical theater festival, those are higher than ever.
Swank surroundings: Lush production values highlight Merry-Go-Round’s Meet Me in St. Louis, which features Joseph Cullinane surrounded by a cast of lovelies.
Performances of Tolomeo and Figaro highlight Glimmerglass Opera’s summer season in Cooperstown
No artistic enterprise is more labor-intensive than opera. For cost alone, the stakes are always high. And no theatrical enterprise must try to cosset audiences so finicky—not to say stridently opinionated—as those for opera. All of which makes you wonder how the Glimmerglass Opera Company of Cooperstown became so intoxicated with such risk-taking.
Note worthy: Patrick Carfizzi in the title role of The Marriage of Figaro at Glimmerglass Opera.
There is rarely any question about the quality of the singing, which can range from excellent to breathtaking. But when it comes to picking what operas we are going to see and how they will be interpreted, you can be sure that Glimmerglass will never deliver the same old thing. That’s why Glimmerglass draws audiences from the greatest distance. And no other company so stirs up an audience’s artistic juices and so fires debate.