Rich Copley, Lexington Herald Leader

Arts and Cultural reporter for the Lexington Herald Leader.
Rich Copley / Lexington Herald Leader

Music and venue merge on summer’s first weekend.  A tobacco barn at Shaker Village again houses the Chamber Music Festival of the Bluegrass.  If chamber music fails to appeal, then the Woodford Theater offers a musical based on Gospel.  For the eyes, a collection of portraits goes on display in downtown Lexington.  Rich Copley, of the Lexington Herald Leader, again offers a preview.


In January, Sally Wilfert was onstage in New York's Lincoln Center singing Why Do High School Teachers Make Me Cry? in a show of works by Broadway composer and lyricist William Finn. As she left the stage after the funny, poignant number, which makes reference to films including Goodbye Mr. Chips and Mr. Holland's Opus, she was encouraged by Finn to return to the stage and point out that two of her college teachers were in the audience: Eastern Kentucky University theater professors James R. Moreton and Homer Tracy.

It’s a curse felt by character actors.  Everyone knows their faces.  No one knows their names.   Such is the fate of Kentucky-born actor Harry Dean Stanton.  His movies, which include “Alien,” “The Green Mile” and “Repo Man” are the subject of a film festival this weekend in Lexington.  Also this weekend a stage adaptation of “The Graduate” is performed by Studio Players.   And, there’s news that a Broadway super hit will finally be performed in Lexington.  Offering previews is Rich Copley, who’s an arts and cultural reporter for the Lexington Herald Leader.

Hillary Brown / Lexington Herald Leader

The Lexington Philharmonic Friday presents a multi media performance of “The Planets” synced with HD video provided by NASA. “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” is performed by Actors Guild of Lexington, despite questions raised over the credibility of its playwrightRich Copley, who’s an arts and cultural reporter for the Lexington Herald Leader, offers a preview.

Lexington Herald Leader

It's the one time when southern hospitality goes Hollywood.  This week, reporters talk about the celebrities who come to Churchill Downs on Derby Day.  The most famous? The Greatest.  Also, the story of a reporter gone wild, who's Derby partying launched the "Gonzo" school of journalism.  All this, and the Derby picks of arts and cultural reporter Rich Copley, of the Lexington Herald Leader.

Courtesy the Lexington Herald Leader.

Vickie Lawrence and her alter ego "Mama" perform this weekend to Renfro Valley, in a "Two Women" show.  A reincarnation of the original "Jersey Boys" are in concert at the Lexington Opera House.  And, Baroque is the sound Friday night when the Lexington Philharmonic performs at the Singletary Center.  Rich Copley of the Lexington Herald Leader offers a preview.

A modern arts “corner” is evolving in Lexington.  Besides plans to locate a 21-C Museum-Hotel at the intersection of Main and Upper Streets, the Lexington Arts League has its eye on the same corner.  Rich Copley of the Lexington Herald Leader talks move about what those developments may mean for the community.  He also previews a celebration this weekend of vinyl records and the machines that translate them into music.

Photo courtesy American Federation of Arts

The struggles of Australia’s first residents mirror the experience of Native Americans.  A leading aboriginal artist brings his work this weekend to the Art Museum at the University of KentuckyAnother set of Australians are also in town, interpreting music written about the American Midwest.  And, “Portugal, The Man” make a stop in Lexington that’s a pleasant surprise to Rich Copley.  The arts-culture reporter for the Lexington Herald Leader previews all three shows.

April Brings Shows to LEX Library

Apr 2, 2012

A new arts venue opens tomorrow in Lexington.  The Central Library on Main Street has renovated its Farish Theater.  In its first month, Library Director Ann Hammond said the 139-seat theater hosts free events on 28 straight days. 

Lexington Herald Leader

This is one of those weekends when Kentucky culture displaces, at least in part, Kentucky arts.  Most of the state is distracted by the Kentucky teams who face off in college basketball’s Final Four.  Rich Copley of the Lexington Herald Leader has a summary of watering holes where fans can watch the semi-final.  He also has praise for a production of Three Musketeers at Woodford Theater and we look inside a new venue in central Kentucky for the performing, musical and cinematic arts.

Lexington Herald Leader

The set of blockbuster books known as “The Hunger Games” promises to be a blockbuster film.  Kentucky has strong ties to the movie.  Two natives are in lead roles and they battle in a futuristic Appalachia.  With a preview of “The Games,” a special performance of the Lexington Philharmonic and an art show that revives the daguerreotype is Rich Copley of the Lexington Herald Leader.

Rich Copley / Lexington Herald Leader

“The Bad Seed” is a 60 year old story of the original "creepy, little kid."  But a revival in Lexington of the drama focuses not on the little sociopath, but on the adults who surround her.  Arts and Culture Reporter Rich Copley of the Lexington Herald Leader previews productions of “The Bad Seed,” “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” and the premiere of an Easter Cantata based on the life of Christ.

Chris Ware / Lexington Herald Leader

The organizers of arts and cultural events in Lexington must think the unthinkable.  What if the UK Wildcats lose?  So, despite the beginning of post season play and March Madness, they’re going ahead with entertainment events like this weekend’s Christian Rock Concert at Rupp Arena and a Frank Sinatra tribute at the Lexington Opera HouseRich Copley who reports on arts and cultural events for the Lexington Herald Leader offers an explanation.

Rich Copley / Lexington Herald Leader

The play that became a sitcom that’s now a “contemporary classic” is performed this weekend in Lexington.  Besides “Hot’l Baltimore,” theater goers can also see a drama based on the scientist credited with making the 1st atomic bomb.   Rich Copley of the Lexington Herald Leader previews both stage productions.

Rich Copley / Lexington Herald Leader

Rich Copley describes “Falstaff” as “a funny opera, best known for tragedy and anguish.”  In preparation for this weekend’s performance at the University of Kentucky, the arts and culture reporter explains how Giuseppe Verdi managed that.  Also, he talks about central Kentucky’s “first family of string music.”   The Herald Leader reporter also previews the second performance in Lexington, within five months, of “August, Osage County.”

A piece from the Lexington Philharmonic’s composer-in-residence makes its world premiere tonight at the Singletary CenterRich Copley, who covers arts and culture for the Lexington Herald Leader, says Kentuckians are embracing such “new music.”  He also previews Lexington’s “almost-monthly” Gallery Hop, which focuses tonight on the city’s new distillery district

Lexington Herald Leader

The absence of African-American dancers in a show honoring Black artists troubles the director of Lexington Ballet.  Here to discuss it, and the weekend’s other events, is Rich Copley, who reports on arts and culture for the Lexington Herald Leader.

Rich Copley / Lexington Herald Leader

Actors Guild of Lexington this weekend opens a play by Sarah Ruhl called “The Clean House.” Ruhl’s a hot contemporary playwright who wrote “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” which was staged last year by the Actors’ Guild.   Also, Actors Theatre of Louisville has a production of her “In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play” on stage right now.  “Here Come the Mummies,” who built a central Kentucky following during the World Equestrian Games, return Friday evening to Lexington. Plus, there’s a bunch of string music this weekend in Lexington, Clay City and elsewhere.  With a preview is Rich Copley who’s an arts and culture reporter with the Lexington Herald Leader.

Rich Copley/Lexington Herald-Leader

Gov. Steve Beshear and country music star Tom T. Hall announced a new initiative Tuesday to promote U.S. 23 as the Country Music Highway that will include an American Idol-style competition and an education fund. Hall, an Olive Hill native, is one of numerous Kentucky musicians from the area surrounding the 144-mile north-south highway who have gone on to country music fame including sisters Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle, the mother-daughter duo of Naomi and Wynonna Judd, Keith Whitley, Billy Ray Cyrus, Patty Loveless, Ricky Skaggs, Dwight Yoakam and a number of other chart toppers. In 1994, the Kentucky State Legislature designated U.S. 23 as the Country Music Highway.

The Lexington Philharmonic puts out the ‘red carpet’ for a special 50th anniversary weekend concert Saturday night at the Opera House.  On Sunday night, a one man show about abolitionist Frederick Douglass comes to the Lyric Theater.  The annual Martin Luther King observance in downtown Lexington Monday will include a tribute to Mahalia Jackson.  The Lexington Herald’s Rich Copley runs down weekend activities on this holiday weekend.

Matt Goins / Lexington Herald Leader

Hidden behind the death of political icon Gatewood Galbraith was the passing of a woman who tried just about everything during her long life, including a stint inside the Kentucky Theater box office.  Rich Copley of the Lexington Herald Leader remembers Lee Overstreet and previews a performance this evening by Lexington singer Coralee of "Coralee and the Townies" is doing a Loretta Lynn tribute show at Cosmic Charlies.  Rich also talks about a sneak peak of  PBS' newest “Downton Abbey” series at the Kentucky Theatre on Saturday morning.

The World Equestrian Games attracted international artistic talent to the Bluegrass, but, Rich Copley of the Lexington Herald Leader says such quality continued in 2011.  Midori, Itzhak Perlman, and the Boston Pops all traveled to Lexington.  Also, in 2011, theater flourished with numerous new companies building momentum.  Also, for the first time in decades a new arts venue went on line when the Eastern Kentucky University Center for the Arts opened last fall. 

The Singletary Center for the Arts

In defense of the “Big Messiah,” the Lexington Singers perform the holiday classic this weekend at the Singletary Center.  According to Rich Copley of the Lexington Herald Leader, this Messiah will buck recent trends and offer a full blown production.  And, at the Lyric Theater, there’s an off-beat holiday comedy, titled “Smackdown for the Holiday Crown.”

Depending on your perspective, a pair of holiday plays performed this weekend in Lexington are either cynical or simply realistic. Both “Santaland Diaries” and “The 12 Dates of Christmas” are performed at the Downtown Arts Center.  Holiday choral works are also on the agenda, with the University of Kentucky Opera and the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra staging holiday shows.  Providing a preview is Rich Copley, an arts and culture reporter for the Lexington Herald Leader.

Tony Nagelmann / NPR

Radio host Peter Sagal listens to the news the way wild mushroom hunters search for their quarry. "They train themselves to walk through the woods with this single-minded vision of looking for these mushrooms, which you have to be able to see, you have to train yourself to look for them or you'll walk right by them," Sagal says from his Chicago office. "So I'm like that — I'm missing the trees, I'm missing the forest, I'm missing verdant woodland, I'm just looking for the mushrooms."

The holiday theater and music season gets underway in a big way this weekend.  Two versions of the Messiah are performed this evening.  Several plays, including “Madeline’s Christmas” and “Book of Liz” open this weekend.  And there are holiday shows at several universities.  Providing a preview, as he does every Friday, is Rich Copley, who reports on the arts for the Lexington Herald Leader.

Rich Copley / Lexington Herald-Leader

The holiday theater season begins this weekend in Lexington when Studio Players stages “Looking for Mrs. Santa Claus” at the Carriage House Theater.  Also, the New York Metropolitan Opera Saturday publicly auditions vocalists at Memorial Hall.  Also, a pair of improvisational comedians recreate a TV show at the Eastern Kentucky University Arts Center, and, a reunion of artists resurrect a defunct gallery that one operated in downtown Lexington.  Providing a preview is Rich Copley, who reports on arts and culture for the Lexington Herald Leader.

Matt Goins / Lexington Herald Leader

Tragedy inspires works performed this weekend in Lexington.  “On the Verge” Theater's production of Yasmina Resa's “God of Carnage” is performed over the next two weekends at the Downtown Arts Center. This is on “The Verge's” first play in a formal theater. Their previous productions have been site-specific works performed in antebellum homes and a funeral parlor. This time the play involves two couples and the actors are real life couples.  The Lexington Philharmonic's “Human Spirit” concert is Friday and features works written in troubled times. They’ll dedicate a plaque in honor of George Zack, who directed the Phil for 37 years. 

Mark Klett and Byron Wolf / Lexington Herald-Leader

The Mel Brooks’ Broadway sequel to “The Producers” this weekend comes to the Lexington Opera House.  Culture reporter Rich Copley of the Lexington Herald Leader says “Young Frankenstein” provides fertile ground for a musical comedy.  Plus this weekend, the landscape photographs of Mark Klett go on display at the Art Museum at the University of Kentucky.  Also, performing this weekend, the Harlem String Quartet features a violinist who was a summertime resident of Lexington. 

Pablo Alcala / Lexington Herald-Leader

Halloween stuff leads off this week in central Kentucky, with the Lexington Children's Theatre presenting Tales of Edgar Allan Poe.  There's also a revival of SummerFest's Rocky Horror Show at Busters Billiards and Backroom and the 10th annual Downtown Thriller Parade. Transylvania University also opens “Almost, Maine”, a popular play written by John Carini.  Offering a preview of these events is Rich Copley, who reports on culture for the Lexington Herald Leader.