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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…

THEATER REVIEW: With fun balance overdrawn, cast, music revive ‘Stiff’

“Lucky Stiff” / The Theater Barn

Cast members in the The Theater Barn production of ‘Lucky Stiff’ are (l to r) Mark Shane-Lydon, Joseph Sicotte (in the title role) and Nicole Weitzman. The production runs through September 1 at the New Lebanon stage. Photo contributed

“LUCKY STIFF” IS A MUSICAL FARCE about a man who takes a corpse for a weekend in Monte Carlo. Murder, dogs, romance and a six-million dollar inheritance are involved.

At the Theater Barn, director Robert Schneider has chosen to emphasize a gathering-of-clowns approach to the story. I’ve seen and preferred less stylized concepts applied to “Lucky Stiff,” but it’s a choice, and his staging is clean, clear and consistent.

Set designer Sam Slack has followed suit, giving the set a lively carnival feel rather than the lush look of Monte Carlo. There are giant betting chips, giant tinsel walls, and giant face cards adorned with—yes, royal dogs. Read more…

THEATER REVIEW: ‘The Brothers Size’ brings searing story to stage

“The Brothers Size” / The Ancram Opera House

IT’S A PLAY not a musical, but at one point, Oshoosi, the younger of the Size brothers, sings. He sings an old ballad called “Try a Little Tenderness.” (Oshoosi adds his own Baroque embellishments in the mode that black jazz and pop singers have made their own.)

It is a rare moment in “The Brothers Size,” a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney. At that moment, the character is joyous, free and persuasive, though much of his young life has been none of the above.

Oshoosi has recently come home from prison. At the Ancram Opera House, home has crooked wood slats and a crooked thrusting stage adorned with unidentifiable metal objects and two metal guardians of the homestead—who look surprised to be there. The set is a marriage of African folk art and American car repair. Read more…