From New York City to Lexington, this weekend we celebrate musical theater. Three Kentuckians will play prominent parts as the Tony Awards are presented. And, for the 20th summer, the University of Kentucky offers a “Grand Night for Singing.” Plus, the artworks that accompany record albums are the focus of a show in downtown Lexington. Rich Copley of the Lexington Herald Leader takes a survey of this weekend’s events.
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.
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.
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 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.