ENTERTAINMENT: PS21, shuttered, makes plans, offers walks

CHATHAM—Like performance venues across the country, PS21 has
had to cancel its spring season through June 20. The venue’s earlier
hopes of reopening this summer appear increasingly unlikely.

As flux and uncertainty are hallmarks of the present moment, the PS21
staff and board work to find ways to offer performances by artists of the
highest caliber and continue fulfilling the venue’s commitment to the
community of Columbia County. They are exploring innovative
performance formats and ways to continue programs for the area’s most
vulnerable residents, such as the theater program for elders in residential
care who are now isolated from friends and family. Read more…

ENTERTAINMENT BRIEFS: Crandell introduces virtual screening room

CHATHAM—The Crandell’s curtains are drawn for the foreseeable future, but the theater is still presenting some of the programming planned for the spring.

In partnership with some of its distributors, the Crandell unveils its new Virtual Screening Room. Viewers purchase their ticket through one of the links offered at the Crandell website, crandelltheatre.org, and go to the movies in the comfort and safety of their home — with a full 50% of the box office benefitting the continued operations of the Crandell Theatre.

Current offerings are Ken Loach’s “Sorry We Missed You,” Romanian crime caper “The Whistlers” and Cannes 2019 Jury favorite “Bacurau.” Read more…

Entertainment news

PS21 apple orchards will bloom again. At PS21 in Chatham, March performances have been canceled, but the grounds, with their view of the Catskills, remain open without charge. These include 100 acres of trails, meadows, woodlands and orchards; dogs are welcome, on leads. PS21chatham.org. Photo credit: Judy Grunberg (1933-2019)


Open: Art Omi grounds. The interior of Art Omi is closed, the but the Sculpture and Architecture Park, 1405 County Route 22, Ghent, is open to the public daily. Up-to-date guidance and information will be posted on the door of the Benenson Center. Art Omi staff will be circulating the grounds, and can be easily identified by white vests. The staff also looks for ways to bring contemporary art and creative inspiration to those who cannot visit. To that end Art Omi: Education has launched a series of make-at-home projects that highlight contemporary artists and artworks. To learn more and participate, go to artomi.org and join the education email list there. A new project will be delivered each week. Photo contributed


Cole House turns to online offerings

The Thomas Cole Historic Site is closed at this time, but Cole’s art and more can be found at thomascole.org. Photo: Courtesy Thomas Cole House

CATSKILL—The Thomas Cole Historic Site has canceled events and house tours through April 30. Visitors are welcome to explore the grounds of Cole’s home, 218 Spring Street. Cole (1801-1848) is known for founding the Hudson River School of painting, this country’s first major art movement

Updates on events and programs beyond April can be found at thomascole.org. Also on the website are videos of previous programs and a curriculum-based lesson plan.

At explorethomascole.org, viewers can find an interactive tour of the site, a virtual gallery and a journey through Cole’s landscapes, connecting places with the artist’s paintings.

Rockwell’s art can be seen anytime

STOCKBRIDGE, MA—The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, is closed at least through March.

In the meantime, viewers can “explore the world of Rockwell, anywhere, anytime,” according to a press release. Curated experiences that collect related images, photography, video and audio are available at nrm.org without charge. These materials relate to the museum’s collection of Rockwell’s original paintings, his Stockbridge studio and the museum’s collection of illustration art.

THEATER REVIEW: ‘Deathtrap’s’ got lotsa plot and a 1st class cast

“Deathtrap” / Copake Grange Theater

PLOT, PLOT, PLOT! “I plot, therefore I am!” sayeth Ira Levin, the author of “Deathtrap.” (No, he didn’t really say that, but he could have.) In this play he nests his plotty murders like Russian dolls and gives the plot-device such a starring role that it thumps its chest and moves from epistemology to Peter Pan shouting “Oh the cleverness of me!” By the final murder in this mystery there is nothing to do but laugh, and the audience does–unabashedly.

The playwriting embraces a smart but surfacy conceit; and if you prefer multifaceted characters and profound insights, this play may not be for you. However, “Deathtrap” has won lots of awards and has been reproduced on film and by theater companies everywhere. For a few hours in the rustic Copake Grange, it works.

Out front, brains are mildly engaged, emotions and positive notions about humanity are largely set aside, and on stage, seductive novelty reigns. (We Americans crave novelty and often happily settle for it.) Read more…

THEATER REVIEW: Audience wins as Two of Us rises to challenge of ‘Sweeney Todd’

Taconic Hills Performing Arts Center / “Sweeney Todd”

REALLY? Community theater is doing “Sweeney Todd”? They’re doing one of the best and most difficult works in musical theater literature? Are they are doing “Sweeney Todd”–with orchestra—in spite of the fact that the whole cast, crew, and orchestra members have day-jobs, other life-responsibilities and obligations besides theater?

Yes, they’re doing it. Darn well.

While every small theater company, even the so-called “professional” unionized ones, are digging around for the smallest cast, the cheapest production, the most minimal musical accompaniment, The Two of Us Productions seems to be saying, “Hell no!” (Or in the case of wicked “Sweeney,” “Hell” yes!) Read more…