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May 10, 2019 - 10:57am
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Carol Burnett's Hollywood Arms opens at 7:30 p.m. at the Harvest 56 Theater.

Additional performances are at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are $13 or $11 for students and seniors.

UPDATE: While deleted some unpublished videos from our YouTube account yesterday I must have accidentally deleted the original upload of this video.  Here it is again.

May 8, 2019 - 5:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in theater, rocky horror show, GCC, news.

Above, GCC students channel "The Rocky Horror Show" while posing in costume in a special scene called "Camp" during last weekend's Fashion Show.

Submitted photo and press release:

The Forum Players Theatre Company at Genesee Community College just announced their first and biggest show of the 2019-2020 season.

"It's just a jump to left, and then a step to the ri-i-right…Let's do the time warp again!" This is one of many songs that will be emblazed upon your brain after seeing Richard O'Brien's "The Rocky Horror Show," coming to GCC, courtesy of Samuel French Inc., Oct. 17 - 20.

Tickets for "The Rocky Horror Show" will go on sale this summer.

This performance will take full advantage of all the high-tech sound and lighting equipment at the state-of-the-art Stuart Steiner Theatre. In addition, the full scene and costume shops will offer dynamic sets, clothing and the outlandish regalia that Rocky Horror fans look for.

The talented and enthusiastic theatre department is already busily preparing for this performance, which will set the tone for a new season of great theater, as well as a few Halloween celebrations, in late October.

"With a piece as dramatic and fun as the 'Rocky Horror Show', our students will combine their vocal talents, acting and dancing skills and technical skills, along with their innate theatrical enthusiasm, to bring the eccentric Rocky Horror characters to life," said Brodie McPherson, director of the show and also GCC's instructor of theater technology.

"Some crew members are already hard at work planning the special effects required for this production. Without giving away any of their surprises, this promises to be an interactive, exciting, fun performance that will be truly engaging for everyone. Save the date, indeed."

"The Rocky Horror Show" will feature members of the community, GCC students of all majors, alumni, faculty, and staff, both on stage (as you've never seen them before!) and behind the curtain.

GCC's Fashion Program students alluded to the production including a special scene in the 38th annual Fashion Show last weekend called "Camp," (above photo) which was coordinated by theater student Alannah Gross and styled by theater arts and theater technology students. The scene featured adjunct dance instructor Tara Pocock and student models representing some of the iconic characters in full makeup and costume.

April 5, 2019 - 11:54am

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Batavia Players premier their production of Shakespeare's "King Lear" at 7:30 p.m. at the Harvester 56 Theater.

There are also performances at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Next weekend, there will be two performances, Friday and Saturday, at the Wyoming Village Hall.

Tickets are available at the box office prior to each performance.

Cast:

  • King Lear, Norm Argulski
  • Gonoril, Wendy Williams 
  • Duke of Albany, Sean Williams
  • Regan, Kathy Johns
  • Duke of Cornwall, Xander Farley
  • Cordelia, Malloryann Flanagan
  • Duke of Burgundy, Russell Lang
  • King of France, Paul Meloon
  • Fool, Cynthia Nelson
  • Earl of Gloucester, Kevin Partridge
  • Edgar, James Barcomb
  • Edmund, Anthony Baldwin-Giambrone
  • Earl of Kent, Steve Coburn
  • Oswald, Erin Stamp
  • Lewis, Jim Lewis
  • Doctor Gerhart, Dorothy Gerhart
  • Curan, Patrick D. Burk
  • Captain, Michele Stamp
  • Messenger/Herald, Jocelyn Coburn
  • Jailor, Russell Lang

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January 23, 2019 - 6:04pm

Press release:

The Genesee Center for the Arts at Genesee Community College has released its spring lineup of events and opportunities, and it is going to be an emotional, fun and powerful season. 

First, the Roz Steiner Art Gallery at GCC will display a collection of paintings by Muhammad Zaman entitled "Finding Amal" from Jan. 22 - Feb. 22. Amal, meaning "hope" in Arabic, is what Zaman hopes to inspire through his work.

"Finding Amal" features compositions of urban calligraphy that combine the three languages that are the cornerstones of the artist's culture: Arabic, English and Bangla. Each individual canvas expresses a word, phrase or concept as if they were messages dedicated to the entire human race.

The artist will lecture on Jan. 31, at 12:30 p.m. and receptions will follow at 1 and 5 p.m.

The Roz Steiner Art Gallery is open to the public Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery is also open during special events as published at www.genesee.edu/campuslife/arts. Admission is free.

For more information, contact Gallery coordinator Mary Jo Whitman at (585) 343-0055, ext. 6490, or via email: [email protected]

The following live performances will take place in GCC's Stuart Steiner Theatre at the Batavia campus.

The National Circus Project brings its exciting, fun-filled circus performance to GCC in Batavia on Friday, Feb. 22, at 7:30 p.m. With juggling, plate spinning, and comedy, this act encourages audience participation and is full of surprises! The experts from National Circus Project will also hold six workshops, which are also open to the public, at GCC on Thursday, Feb. 21. Call (585) 345-6814 for the full workshop schedule.

The Forum Players will perform "Encounters: A Social Issues Anthology" at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, Friday, March 8, Saturday, March 9, and a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on March 10. This anthology, directed by Norman R. Gayford, professor of English, is a collection of six short pieces, with poetry interludes, that use stories to explore a variety of issues facing society today.

The first piece, "The Unspoken 200," written by Ehinomen Okojie of Winston-Salem, N.C., attempts to reverse the desensitization that results from using hashtags to summarize tragedies. In April 2014, 276 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the Town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria. Today, 195 of those females are still missing! The Unspoken 200 tells the story of one of the kidnapped girls.

"I wrote this play because it became easy for myself, as well as other people, to simply type the hashtag #bringbackourgirls, and merely forget them a few seconds later," Okojie said. "Through the play, I could empathize with these girls, and I believe it will do the same for many people.

"It will challenge how they live their day-to-day lives, making them appreciate the things that are so easy to come by and to remind us all that over 60 percent of those girls are still missing. Today, it is easy for us to reduce tragic events to a hashtag. I am using this play to make people truly understand that the tragedy these girls have suffered is not and never will be equitable to a couple of words." 

The second piece in the production is "Save the Date," written by Caity-Shea Violette, of Boston. Just hours before her wedding, the play's main character, Andrea, meets her estranged lover in a park. In a tug-of-war between passion and timing, they explore the expiration date of "the one that got away."

Shifting from romance to humanity, the third social issue explored in "Encounters: A Social Issues Anthology," is in "Sister," written by Kita Mehaffy of Santa Fe, N.M. This piece tells the story of Andréa, down on her luck, who sees Alex in the park early one Sunday morning.

Andréa hopes to find the humanity in a woman who had previously looked right through her. Andréa attempts to prompt Alex's memory of their previous face-to-face encounter, but to no avail. Alex only sees what she wants to see when Andréa responds with agitated frustration. "Sometimes being invisible wears on a girl," Andréa says.

The anthology's fourth act is "Summer Storms," written by Jaisey Bates, of Los Angeles. Bates was inspired to write this piece in two phrases: "they were dancing" and "I had a dream, but now I'm woke."

These words, created in the wake of the tragedies that took place during the summer of 2016 "support mutual healing, strengthened community and positive change," Bates said. "That we might build with our joined words an enduring shelter from such storms; that we might write a new story worthy of our children, our children's children; that we might learn, in the precious few moments we are gifted, to walk together in beauty on this beloved ground."

The anthology concludes with a powerful one-minute scene called "Boulder Holder," written and performed by Crystal Jackson of Pacific Grove, Calif. This scene is about violence in schools. Encounters will also be performed at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, for students at GCC's Batavia campus.

On Friday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. GCC's Forum Players also present the Children's Theatre production, "The Lamp is the Moon," written by Kirk Lynn. The program introduces Shawn, a bright young girl with a head full of science and imagination, which makes naptimes particularly difficult.

Her friend, Lamp, triggers a wide-awake adventure with the dream of learning to fly and becoming the moon. With the guidance of the audience, this voyage is fit for mission control as Shawn and her lamp escape naptime and blast into space.

"I don't like to nap, but I do like to dream," Shawn says.

This show debuted at the Seattle Children's Theatre in the spring of 2018. 

The 2019 spring season concludes with GCC adjunct professor Tara Pocock artfully directing a 20-piece modern dance showcase entitled, "Freedom: A Modern Dance Show About Your Rights."

The program questions what are basic human rights and freedoms in today's ever-changing world. This powerful performance will take place on Friday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. in the Stuart Steiner Theatre.

Tickets for these shows in the Stuart Steiner Theatre are $8 for adults, and $5 for seniors (55+) and students (16+) and GCC faculty/ staff. GCC students with ID are $3, and GCC alumni with ID will receive a $2 discount on an adult ticket. To reserve seats, contact the GCC box office at [email protected] or (585) 345-6814.

December 18, 2018 - 7:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCC History Club, a christmas carol, theater, news.

Press release:

What do Gettysburg and Charles Dickens have in common? In 1868, both were "cleaning up." One from the devastation of the famous battle, while the other was raking in cash doing a tour of America in which he read and performed his famous work, "A Christmas Carol."

This Friday night, Dec. 21, the GCC History Club will call on Buffalo Meteorologist Mike Randall to summon the spirits of Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future as he performs "A Christmas Carol" in the guise of Charles Dickens.

Randall's critically acclaimed performance represents the major fundraiser of the year for the GCC History Club, which hopes to raise enough to go on its annual trip to Gettysburg, Pa.

This educational trip takes students to the famous battlefield, where they walk the field and learn the lesser-known details of the battle. In past years, students have also made day trips to places like Washington, D.C., and Monticello, Va. This year they hope to make a trip into Philadelphia.

For many students, the History Club trip is a life-changing experience. For Bobby Washington, a GCC alumnus, former president of the Club and now Social Studies Education major at the SUNY College at Brockport, the trip was a high point of his time at GCC. A native of New York City, Washington had seen little outside the city before coming to Western New York.

The Club and the trips "helped me progress as a person and armed me with new knowledge," Washington said. "You don't know what you don't know until you have an opportunity to see these important places. And one of the things the history club taught me was if opportunity knocks, let it in."

Tickets are still available for the Friday 7 p.m. performance at the Stuart Steiner Theater. To reserve or purchase tickets in advance call (585) 343-0055, ext. 6270, and ask for Marie Kochmanski or Michelle Forster at ext. 6312. Tickets are $15 each presale or $20 at the door. All tickets are general admission, so arrive early for the best seats.

November 29, 2018 - 12:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, theater, arts, entertaiment, news.

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Genesee Community College's Forum Players present "Single Black Female," written by Lisa B. Thompson, an award-winning playwright, with an open performance tonight followed by performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

In this show, quick comic vignettes tell the story of two thirty-something African-American middle-class women looking for love, clothes, dignity and more in a world that only sees stereotypes. This production is a thesis project for co-director Jaime Arena, who is pursuing a master's degree at Regent University.

The GCC production stars Tori Ogunsanya, of Brooklyn, and Khalisah Muhammad, of Harlem.

The supporting cast includes Natsumi Sasabe, of Tokyo, Akane Hagiwara, of Tokyo, Runo Suzuki, of Hokkaido, Japan, Fu Kikuchi of Fukuoka, Japan, Chiyori Nakadai of Chiba, Japan, Lakeithia Lindsey, of Tampa, Fla., and Salma Huzair, of Waterport (not pictured in cast photo below).

Performances: 

  • Tonight, starting at 7:30
  • Tomorrow, starting at 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, 2 p.m.

Tickets for these performances are $8 for adults and $5 for seniors (55+) and students (16+) and GCC faculty/staff. GCC students with ID are $3, and GCC alumni with ID will receive a $2 discount on an adult ticket. To reserve seats, contact the GCC box office at [email protected] or (585) 345-6814.

The performance is staged on the theater stage so seating for each performance is limited.

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Photos by Howard Owens except cast photo (submitted by GCC).

November 26, 2018 - 3:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, GCC, civil war, theater.

Photo of GCC faculty Derek Maxfield and Tracy Ford, who will perform as generals Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman.

Submittted photo and press release:

The History Club at Genesee Community College continues its Historical Horizons Series with a special homegrown performance! On Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. in a unique presentation, Derek Maxfield, associate professor of History, and Tracy Ford, professor of English, will present "Now We Stand By Each Other Always."

It's the portrayal of an engaging conversation between generals Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman. The two-man play is based on historic resources and references.

Together, they recount the important meeting and conversation held at City Point, Va., in March 1865 when the two Union generals discuss the campaigns in Georgia and the Carolinas and consider how to close out the Civil War.

All lectures in this series begin at 7 p.m. in room T102 of the Conable Technology Building. All lectures are free and open to the public.

November 26, 2018 - 2:02pm
Press release:
 
The Batavia Players will be performing 10 shows at the Harvester 56 Theater in 2019.
 
The 2019 season is full of variety and sure to appeal to a wide audience. New this season: performances of Shakespeare in Springtime will also take place in Wyoming County at the Wyoming Village Hall.
 
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
Directed by Patrick D. Burk
 
Friday, Jan. 25th & Saturday, Jan. 26th -- 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, Jan. 26th -- 2 p.m.
 
Curious Incident is a triumphant production that explores the abilities and coming of age of a young autistic teen and his ability to learn from the world. TONY-award-winning play.
 
On Broadway TEN – Saving the Best for Last
Directed by Kathy White
 
Friday, Feb. 22nd, Saturday, Feb. 23rd, Friday, March 1st & Saturday, March 2nd – 7:30 p.m. AND Sunday, Feb. 24th -- 2 p.m.
 
Featuring a very talented cast of all ages performing music from the decades of Broadway. Shows to include TONY Award winners: "Wonderful Town," "Bye, Bye Birdie," "Sweeney Todd," "Les Miserables," "Sunset Boulevard," "Jersey Boys" and "Hamilton."
 
Shakespeare in Springtime Presents: King Lear
Directed by E. Jane Burk
 
Friday, April 5th, Saturday, April 6th – 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, April 7th – 2 p.m.
Friday, April 12th & Saturday, April 13th – 7:30 p.m. Special performances at the Wyoming Village Hall.
 
One of William Shakespeare’s best-known tragedies, "King Lear" delves into the themes of family, greed and madness. With Norm Argulski as King Lear.
 
Hollywood Arms 
Directed by Heather Ferris
 
Friday, May 10th & Saturday, May 11th – 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, May 12th – 2 p.m.
 
Adapted from Carol Burnett’s best-selling book "One More Time" and cowritten by her daughter, Carrie Hamilton, this amazing dramedy looks at the lives of three strong women living with poverty. "Hollywood Arms" is based on the life of Carol Burnett and her much-mentioned grandmother and mother.
 
Mamma Mia!
Directed by Patrick D. Burk – Musical Direction by Kathy White
 
Friday, June 7th, Saturday, June 8th, Friday, June 14th & Saturday, June 15th – 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 9th & Sunday, June 16th – 2 p.m.
 
Bringing the famed ABBA musical to the stage after its 14-year run on Broadway will be quite the feat! The story features one woman, her soon-to-be-married daughter and three possible dads, along with a cast of incredible characters and a Greek island. "Mamma Mia!" is being staged in this area for the first time at the Harvester 56 Theater.
 
Seussical Kids
Musically Directed by Kathy White
 
Friday, July 19th & Saturday, July 20th – 7:30 p.m.
A tremendous end to our two-week Theater Kids Camp, "Seussical Kids" looks at the world of Doctor Seuss through the use of song, dance and laughter.
 
Newsies (Summer Youth Theater)
Directed by Patrick D. Burk, with Jacquie Siegel McLean as assistant director
Musical Direction by Kathy White
 
Friday, Aug. 9th, Saturday, Aug. 10th, Friday, Aug. 16th & Saturday, Aug. 17th – 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, Aug. 11th – 2 p.m.
 
Adapted from the Disney Movie "Newsies the Musical," this major production looks at the lives, loves and day-to-day struggles of New York City’s famed newsboys during the heyday of newspaper publishing. Staged during the 1899 real-life newsboys strike in New York City, this musical is jam-packed with great songs, incredible dances and historical characters. Newsies is performed by the Summer Youth Theater; actors range in age from 13-21.
 
August: Osage County
Directed by Anthony Baldwin-Giambrone
 
Friday, Sept. 13th & Saturday, Sept. 14th – 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, Sept. 15th – 2 p.m.
 
Set in Pawhuska, Okla., this Pulitzer-Prize-winning play looks at the lives of a once-famous published poet and his quirky, demanding and damaged family. A longtime hit on Broadway as well as a TONY Award winner.
 
The Rocky Horror Show
Directed by Michele Stamp – Musical Direction by Kathy White
 
Friday, Oct. 4th, Saturday, Oct, 5th, Friday, Oct. 11th & Saturday, Oct. 12th – 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, Oct. 6th, Sunday, Oct. 13th – 2 p.m.
 
Brad and Janet stumble upon a delightful castle that is occupied by Frank-N-Furter and the FUN and Time Warp begin!
 
A Charles Dickens Christmas
Directed by Patrick D. Burk – Musical Direction by Kathy White
 
Friday, Dec. 13th, Saturday, Dec. 14th, Friday, Dec. 20th & Saturday, Dec. 21st – 7:30 & Sunday, Dec. 15th – 2 p.m.
 
A tender and poignant musical on how Charles Dickens' life was inspired and shaped while writing one of his most famous stories. Chock-full of holiday favorites as well as some incredible new music, this is a must-see production for the holiday season featuring a cast wide ranging in age.
November 9, 2018 - 4:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Players, fundraiser, theater, batavia, news.
Press release:
 
Tomorrow, Nov. 10, from 3-6 p.m., the Batavia Players are hosting a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at St. James Episcopal Church (405 E. Main St., Batavia).
 
Dinner is open to the public and includes pasta with homemade sauce, salad and bread for $10. Take out is available. At 4:30 p.m., the “orphans” from the upcoming musical "Annie" will be performing excerpts from the show.
 
"Annie" will be on stage at the Harvester 56 Theater Dec. 14,15,16 and 21, 22, 23.
 
With a cast of 40 actors, "Annie" is one of the largest productions the Batavia Players have performed at the Harvester 56 Theater. Actors come from seven counties in Western New York to participate in this show.
 
The Batavia Players also expect "Annie" to be the most popular show of the season. Tickets for the show are on sale now; one-third of all available tickets were sold in the first 24 hours.
August 30, 2018 - 3:21pm

Photo: a dance still from the dance showcase "Fear: What are you afraid of?" to be performed Dec. 7 in Stuart Steiner Theatre.

Submitted photo and press release:

The Genesee Center for the Arts at Genesee Community College in Batavia, New York has confirmed several new events for the 2018-2019 coming season.

The season begins with "Bakkhai" performed by the Genesee Community College Forum Players. Come enjoy the tale of Dionysos who has brought his fanatic religion to Thebes, but, when his holy lineage is denied, he will stop at nothing to prove his power.

Anne Carson's new version of the Euripides classic weaves this harrowing myth and its tragic end into the 21st century. Performances will take place on Oct. 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. in GCC's Stuart Steiner Theatre.

Brighten your holidays -- literally -- with "A Very Electric Christmas," performed by Lightwire Theatre on Sunday, Nov. 18, with two shows at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Stuart Steiner Theatre in Batavia. Audiences of all ages will love this magical and captivating tale of family, friendship and hope set to timeless holiday hits. Check out the production trailer at https://www.lightwiretheater.com/a-very-electric-christmas/.

GCC's Forum Players will return to the stage in "Single Black Female" written by Lisa B. Thompson, award-winning playwright. In this show, quick comic vignettes tell the story of two 30-something Africa-American middle-class women looking for love, clothes, dignity and more in a world that only sees stereotypes.

This production is a thesis project for Director Jamie Arena who is pursuing a master's degree at Regent College. Performances will take place on Nov. 29, 30 and Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m., and on Dec. 2 at 2 p.m.

On Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. a dance showcase entitled "Fear: What are you afraid of?" will take the stage in the Stuart Steiner Theatre. Directed by Tara Pocock, adjunct professor at GCC, the 20-piece performance dives into the human mind and choreographs fear to modern jazz and hip-hop style dancing.

The audience is encouraged to participate in the show which features students from Anastasia's Spotlight Dance Studio in Churchville. All proceeds will go to GCC's Forum Players.

Tickets for these shows are $8 for adults, and $5 for seniors (55+) and students (16+) and GCC faculty/ staff. GCC students with ID are $3, and GCC alumni with ID will receive a $2 discount on an adult ticket. To reserve seats, contact the GCC box office at [email protected] or (585) 345-6814.

The schedule at GCC's Roz Steiner Art Gallery continues to capture the wide array of dynamic work in the visual arts featuring drawing, painting, photography, sculpture and language arts.

From Oct. 2 - 25 the Gallery will display a special selection of works from the Gerald Mead Collection. Mead is a noted collector, Buffalo artist and educator. His private collection includes more than 1,000 historic and contemporary artworks by various artists associated with the Western New York region through birth or residency. Mead will lecture on Oct. 9 at 12:30 p.m. and receptions will follow at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Going beyond conscious intention to make coherent images from irrational juxtaposition of disparate parts is the impetus of Emily Kenas' work. While making new sense of recognizable materials, her work "Assemblage" occupies a space between painting and sculpture and will occupy the Gallery from Nov. 13 - Dec. 14. Kenas will lecture on Nov. 29 at 12:30 p.m. and receptions will follow at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

A collection of paintings by Muhammad Zaman, entitled "Finding Amal" will be exhibited from Jan. 22 - Feb. 22Amal, meaning "hope" in Arabic is what Zaman hopes to inspire through his work. "Finding Amal" features compositions of urban calligraphy that combine the three languages that are the cornerstones of the artist's culture: Arabic, English and Bangla. Each individual canvas expresses a word, phrase or concept as if they were messages dedicated to the entire human race. The artist will lecture on Jan. 31 at 12:30 p.m. and receptions will follow at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

The Roz Steiner Art Gallery is open to the public Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery is also open during special events as published at www.genesee.edu/campuslife/arts. Admission is free. For more information, contact Gallery Coordinator Mary Jo Whitman at (585) 343-0055, ext. 6490, or via email: [email protected].

March 8, 2018 - 7:49am
posted by Steve Ognibene in Oakfield Alabama, musical, theater, steve ognibene's blog.

Press release:

Oakfield Alabama Central School drama club presents "The Sound of Music" tonight at 7 p.m. with two shows also tomorrow night at 7 and Saturday at noon.

Tickets are Adults $8, students $6 and are available from any cast member or by calling 948-5211, ext. 4515.

Presented through R&H Theatricals.

Any questions contact, Advisor and Director Wendy Bergman at:  [email protected]  

Details are on the school website here.

February 1, 2018 - 5:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, theater, arts, entertainment, news.

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Genesee Community College drama students participated in a workshop today with members of Polite Ink, a sketch and improv troupe from Rochester that will perform this Saturday at the Stuart Steiner Theater.

Polite Ink is a co-ed comedy team that writes and performs its own original sketches and improv games live on stage with the help of the audience.

Saturday's performance is at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for seniors (55+) and GCC faculty/staff. Students and children are $3, and GCC alumni with ID will receive a $2 discount on an adult ticket.

To reserve seats, contact the GCC box office at [email protected](link sends e-mail) or (585) 345-6814.

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December 15, 2017 - 11:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Richmond Memorial Library, theater, arts, entertaiment, batavia, news.

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Mike Randall, WKBW's chief meteorologist and an actor, performed a reading of "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens last night at the Richmond Memorial Library. In Randall's live solo performance he takes on the role of 25 characters from the story.

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October 31, 2017 - 6:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Players, Harvester 56, theater, arts, news.

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Batavia Players presents "Frankenstein: A New Musical" this weekend and next weekend at the Harverster 56 Theater in Batavia.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and Nov. 10 and Nov. 11, and at 2 p.m. this Sunday only. Tickets are $15 per adult or $12 for students and seniors. 

The cast is Pat Burk, Richard Ferris, Cale Dehlinger, Erin Stamp, Liam Crawford, James Barcomb, Heather Ferris, Petyon Woeller, Derrick Crawford, Emily Crawford, Jocelyn Coburn, Norah Crawford, Steve Coburn, Kathryn Fitzpatrick, Kaylee Dehlinger, Jessie Pierce, Lucine Kauffman, Rose Bower, Isaiah Merrill, Samantha Rychlicki, A.T., and Gabriel Flanagan.

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August 22, 2017 - 9:43am
posted by Becky LeFevre in Batavia Players, theater, dance, arts, news.

The Harvester 56 Theater, home of the Batavia Players, is opening a new dance school this fall. Classes will be held at the Robert Morris School in Batavia. 

The Theater has sponsored summer dance camps in the past, but the new academy will offer semesters of professional dance instruction to students of all ages. Patrick Burk, president of the Board of Directors of the Batavia Players, is enthusiastic about this new venture.

He said, “A dance academy seemed like the next step. Many of our productions need dancers of all ages and yet, there was no performance-based dance company in the area -- all dance studios were designed to provide a recital piece or pieces for their students at the end of the year. We want our dance students to obtain dance skills so they can learn a dance and perform it at any time. It allows us to be skills based and not recital based.”

Classes are not just for current theater participants, but are open all members of the community. Weekly lessons will be offered in Ballet, Tap, Jazz/Contemporary, and Theater Dance, as well as the opportunity for private lessons and one-time master classes on specific dance styles or techniques.  

The Harvester 56 Theater Dance Academy is directed by Rochester native Brianna Blair Kelly. Kelly began her training in Irish Dance and attended the School of the Arts in Rochester. Kelly holds a BFA in Musical Theater from SUNY Fredonia and an MFA in Choreography and Performance from The College at Brockport. Kelly’s connections at the School of the Arts and the College at Brockport have helped her to recruit an array of diverse teachers for the 2017-2018 season.

Instructor Alyssa Bourgeois was born and raised in Houston and will be getting her master’s in Choreography and Performance from the College at Brockport in the Fall of 2017. Instructor Kaitlyn Owens is also a Rochester School of the Arts graduate and is currently a sophomore BFA dance major at SUNY Brockport. Instructor Tatiana Amaye-Obu hails from Brooklyn and brings with her extensive training in Classical Ballet but is also well versed in Hip-Hop and African Dance. 

Kelly said, “I’m very excited and proud to be starting the Harvester 56 Dance Academy. It’s thrilling to know that we are establishing a creative environment that offers a new kind of dance education -- hopefully it will become the go-to place for comprehensive, supportive and affordable dance education for Batavia and the surrounding areas.”

More information about the academy can be found online at bataviaplayers.org.

August 8, 2017 - 10:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in theater, arts, entertainment, news.

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Story and photos by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

Debbie Packard is well known in the Genesee County area.

She taught kindergarten at Jackson Elementary School in Batavia for a long time and has touched so many.

This past weekend Packard hosted her annual three-day trip to NYC for those interested in attending a Broadway play.

This trip, however, was not like the others. This year their flight was canceled at the last minute and they could not get another plane.

So the group of 24 women got creative real quick.

Taking to the rails on an Amtrak train, the group of women made their way to the Bernard Jacobs Theatre on West 45th Street to see "Bandstand," which opened on Broadway on April 27 after a successful run at Paper Mill Playhouse in the fall of 2015.

The Genesee County/Brockport assembly of women made their way past the excited fans and learned an after-show “meet and greet” was set up for family and friends of both Geoff Packard and Joey Pero, who are co-stars in the new musical which takes place in 1945 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Tony Award winning musical is directed and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler and centers around the journey of a band made up entirely of veterans who are returning home from World War II hoping that things will be the same.

Lead character Donny Novitski (Cory Cott) is held with the responsibility of checking in on his friend’s wife, Julia Trojan (Laura Osnes), after he died in a friendly fire incident.

The two quickly form a bond as they share a chemistry through music and lyric writing. Julia joins the band as their singer and the band enters a nationwide competition where the winner will be featured on a live NBC televised segment and eventually a Hollywood movie.

“The Donny Nova Band” performs live jazz orchestrations throughout the show.

The musical gives a glimpse into the world of soldiers returning home who feel like underdogs that have been left behind battling for normalcy while fighting PTSD, loss, and the secrets of war.

“Just a lot of connections here tonight,” says Elaine Watson, of Batavia.

” I absolutely loved the show. I worked for years at the VA and PTSD is very very real and a sad thing. Good to have it addressed.”

In a stairwell, backstage near the dressing rooms, a memorial wall has been created for each soldier who has had a show dedicated.

There are eight shows per week.

In his dressing room before a show, Joey Pero reflected on his own battle to overcome being struck by a van on Feb. 12 and after three surgeries on his leg and countless hours of physical therapy was able to make a return to the show on June 30th.

“I’m getting stronger and stronger, going to take some time to be back to my old self, but I’m in pretty good shape right now.”

This is Pero’s Broadway debut.

“I hope the show runs until I’m 70,” says Pero.

“I kind of developed the role as Nick Radel over the past couple of years, I have been very fortunate and you know it’s kinda of tough because I’m not that gruff in real life.”

Pero says he draws a few things from family and friends and people he knows into the role. He has had a lot of support from his hometown of Batavia.

“It always makes me more nervous to perform in front of people from my hometown, I love it though, it gives me some good energy.”

Visit the Bandstand website 

Top photo: Geoff Packard, Debbie Packard and Joey Pero.  

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Bandstand cast members from left: Geoff Packard (Wayne Wright), Joey Pero (Nick Radel), James Nathan Hopkins (Jimmy Campbell), Laura Osnes (Julia Trojan), Cory Cott (Donny Novitski), and Brandon James Ellis (Davy Zlatic). Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

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June 8, 2017 - 8:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Players, harvest 56 theater, theater, arts, entertaiment, news.

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Edith Bouvier Beale once famously said, "It could have been me instead of Jackie Kennedy in the White House."

It's not that Beale was ever courted by Jack Kennedy, but she was engaged to Joe Kennedy Jr., the young man his father groomed to eventually become president before he was killed in World War II.

We meet a young and potentially betrothed Joe  Jr. in G'rey Gardens, The Musical," being staged this weekend and next by Batavia Players at the Harvest 56 Theater.

Society and history might have forgotten the Beales except that two, young, aspiring documentary filmmakers Albert and David Maysles happened across Edith Bouvier Beale, known as "Little Edie," and her mother, "Big Edie," living alone, mostly confined to a single room, of their once-majestic East Hampton mansion in 1975. 

The Maysles brothers secured permission to show up at the mansion, known as Grey Gardens, and film whatever they saw. In an age before reality TV, the Beale women were unselfconscious and uninhibited in letting their lives be documented, with all of their odd, besotted and eccentric peculiarities. 

The documentary was critically acclaimed in 1976 but faded into near oblivion, except as a cult favorite, until resurrected in the age of Netflix and 500-channel cable boxes. That led to a feature film, starring Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore, and finally a hit Broadway musical.

The Batavia Players are presenting one of the first off-Broadway performances.

"Grey Gardens has been a unique kind of cult following, you know -- Americana story, for quite a few years," said Pat Burk, who is producing and directing the show. "I know that that's a lot of adjectives to describe it, but I don't know how else to describe it.

"The reason why Batavian Players wanted to do it was because we have always looked for sort of new and original things that can be done in the community that normally would not be done by another theater company," Burk added. "It just seemed like the right fit and I knew I had the perfect cast and I was kind of like stalking them for a little while to make sure that I had the right cast for the show."

We spoke with Burk during a taping of the WBTA radio show "Genesee Life," which is normally hosted by Lucine Kauffman. Kauffman is an avid fan of Grey Gardens, and really, a kind of subject-area expert on the documentary. Since she couldn't interview herself, The Batavian stepped as guest host (you can hear the full broadcast on WBTA's website).

"It was really just by accident (that I found the documentary)," Kauffman said. "I was browsing through Netflix -- this had to have been at least five years ago -- and I love documentaries, so I was looking to the documentary section and came across 'Grey Gardens.' I thought 'oh this sounds interesting' and watched it and just fell in love with the movie and the characters."

Like many Grey Gardens fans, Kauffman has delved deeper into the background and history of the Bouviers and the Beales and the lives of Edith and Edie, so when she heard Batavia Players was going to stage the musical, she certainly wanted to audition for the part, and in fact Burk already had her in mind to play Edith in the second act.

"She was a Bohemian and she was an artist -- she wanted to sing," Kauffman said. "She did sing in at parties. She did give some concerts, smaller concerts.

"We take for granted," Kauffman added, "that the Kennedys were a very prominent Catholic family and that it was the WASPS, the white Anglo-Saxon Protestants, were the ones who were dominating the social scene. And Phalen (Beale, husband of Edith and an uncle to Jackie), and I think Major Bouvier, to an extent, wanted to fit in with that WASP culture, and so Phalen was very conservative socially. He did not want his wife out singing in public and giving concerts. He thought she should act like a reserved society matron. She fought against that.

"When they bought Grey Gardens -- when they first married they lived in Manhattan -- when they bought Grey Gardens out on Long Island he basically just let her give recitals in the home for some of her friends. I think it broke her heart because I think she really thought she could have been a star."

The star of the documentary is, perhaps, Little Edie, the once-gorgeous, former '40s-era debutante who may have been engaged to Joe Kennedy Jr., who turned down a proposal from J. Paul Getty, and probably dated Howard Hughes. By the 1970s, in a dilapidated mansion, she seems a little touched.

"She went out with the creme de la creme of the most eligible bachelors," Kauffman said. "She was a debutante. She was absolutely gorgeous. She did some modeling."

The musical's two acts are set in better times and decaying times, first when the Beales still had some money, were still young and living the life of high society, and then in the second act Edith and Edie are living with a motley bunch of cats and scavaging raccoons. The first act is largely fictional, providing a backdrop to how the family was torn apart, and the second act cuts closer to the Beales' life as revealed by Maysles brothers.

One of the fascinating turns of the documentary is the creative ways Edie wears clothes, turning mundane garments into fashion statements, always wearing a turban or head scarf of some sort, adorned with a favorite brooch.

That came about, it seems, Kauffman said, because the Beales had no money left, or not much of it. Major Bouvier had cut his daughter Edith from the will, and once Edith and Phalen divorced, Phalen didn't pay alimony, he just left her the mansion and a small stipend. 

"So imagine you have this house, this big mansion, and you have no money for upkeep or maintenance. You don't have money to go out and buy new clothing or new furniture," Kauffman said. "You see the decay. Everything is pretty much exactly the way it was but decayed, and as far as the clothing choices, I think she (Little Edie) just made do with what she had. You know she might have had this old brown skirt from the '40s and she just turned it upside down and pinned a brooch to it. She wanted to create a new fashion out of what she had."

The first performance is Friday at 7:30 p.m. There are also shows Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., then again the following weekend with shows on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students.

The cast is: 

  • Edith Bouvier Beale (Act 1 Prologue/Act 2) -- Lucine Kauffman
  • Edith Bouvier Beale (Act 1) /Edie Beale (Act 2) -- Jennifer Neroni-Trupo
  • “Young” Edie Beale (Act1) -- Kristin Gelia
  • George Gould Strong-- Dylan Tomas Kastel
  • Jackie Bouvier -- Kathryn Fitzpatrick
  • Lee Bouvier -- Leigh Le Fevre
  • Brooks Jr/Sr. -- Gregory Munroe
  • Joseph Patrick Kennedy Jr. -- Colin Fleming
  • Major Bouvier -- James Barcomb
  • Jerry -- Jonah Bower
  • Norman Vincent Peale -- Jim Bauer

Musicians: Cindy Baldwin, Bob Chaplin, Tristan Korzelius, Pamela Wentworth, Kathy White, Melzie Case.

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April 26, 2017 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, theater, arts, entertainment, news.

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Press release:

Genesee Community College’s Stuart Steiner Theatre will be transformed into the deep jungle, allowing audiences to follow three cheeky monkeys. Seeno, Hearno and Sayno journey toward wisdom as they swing through the trees without a care, learning to survive as humans encroach upon their idyllic world.

Three Wise Monkeys is presented by GCC’s Forum Players Children’s Theatre Ensemble and features one show only at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 28. Audiences of all ages will enjoy watching Seeno, Hearno and Sayno in their quest to find their lost baby monkey, Dono, and return him to his rightful place—all while eating bananas, of course!

Tickets are $8 for adults, and $5 for seniors (55+) and students (16+) and GCC faculty/ staff. GCC students with ID are $3, and GCC alumni with ID will receive a $2 discount on adult ticket. To reserve seats contact the GCC box office at [email protected] or (585) 345-6814.

Cast and crew:

  • Maryanne Arena, artistic supervising director, Le Roy
  • Jessica Skehan, “Dono,” Holley
  • Taylor Renee Wilson, narrator, Cheektowaga
  • Mikayla Godleski, stage manager
  • Benjamin Martis, "Sayno," Curacao
  • Pedro Phellipe, "Seeno," Jundiai, Brazil
  • Valentine Strange, costume designer, Alden 
  • Becka Naber, dancer
  • Xochitl Rosario, dancer
  • Tillison Pease, sound designer, York
  • Emily Carey, narrator
  • Spencer Henley, "Hearno"/Tiger, Akron
  • Kaylee Koch, lighting designer, Alexander
  • Celeste Brownell, "Hearno"/Tiger, Batavia
  • Brie Cummings, backstage/projections, Bath
  • Gabriel Grey, backstage, Batavia
  • Robert Reiss, director, Batavia
  • Ed Hallborg, technical director
  • Tara Pocock, choreographer
  • Clare Francis, narrator, Alexander
  • Kandice Green, backstage

Photos by Maureen Spindler.

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April 21, 2017 - 1:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Players, Harvester Center, 56 Harvester, theater, arts, news.

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Hamlet may be undecided about his fate, but the Shakespeare tragedy will "be" despite heavy flooding overnight at the Harvester Center that came close to jeopardizing the stage and the costume and prop room of Batavia Players at 56 Harvester.

Batavia Players President Pat Burk said Batavia City firefighters had a lot to do with keeping the heaviest flood waters out of the most critical areas of the theater.

Most of the flooding, caused by last night's heavy rain, was confined to the common areas just outside of the theater, but some water did get into the theater and members of the troupe are being asked to come in tomorrow at 3 p.m. to clean up inside the theater.

The Players are scheduled to open Shakespeare's "Hamlet" at 7 p.m. There will definitely be a performance, Burk said.

The flood could have been a disaster except that Hunter Doran and other members of the theater group were on hand getting costumes ready for the show's opening.

There was leaking as early as 3 p.m., Doran said, but water started to flood in at 8:30 p.m. That's when he called for help.

City fire responded with shop vacs and squeegees to help stem the tide and most of the water was dumped down drains by the time firefighters had to leave for another call.

"Hamlet" is part of Batavia Player's annual Shakespeare in the Springtime production. Besides the show tomorrow, there is one at 7 p.m. Saturday, at 2 p.m., Sunday and again at 7 p.m. on April 28 and 29. Tickets are $13 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.

Photo: Ed Canty finishes water cleanup in a hallway outside the theater.

February 11, 2017 - 9:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Players, Harvester 56, theater, arts, news, batavia.

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This weekend and next, Batavia Players, now in its 85th season, is presenting "The Magic Kingdom On Broadway VIII." The musical review features performances from a variety of Disney productions, including "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah," "A Spoonful of Sugar," "A Whole New World," "The Ballad of Davy Crockett," songs from "Frozen," and songs from "High School Musical," plus several other numbers. 

The cast includes 37 local dancers and singers from age 8 to 40. The show consists of five segments with a 15-minute intermission and a total run time of an hour and 45 minutes. The show is appropriate for theatergoers of all ages.

There is a performance at 56 Harvester today at 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 2 p.m. Next weekend there are performances on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for students and seniors. 

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