Autumn arrived officially last week, and the first days of fall are the equivalent of New Year's for many of the arts.
Our mailbox and our email inbox are overflowing with announcements of coming seasons. Some of them are local, others at a reasonable drive away.
This week, let's look at the seasons and plans of two Jamestown-based organizations, and I'll save space for as many Winks as possible, for those who like to venture a bit farther. Dunkirk/Fredonia readers may be disappointed to learn I have no season announcements from your area, yet, beyond the Walter Gloor Mainstage productions at the State University at Fredonia.
The Philadelphia Brass will be the opening presentation of the 2012-13 season for the Jamestown Concert Association. Season tickets are on sale now.
So, take a look at what's ahead and decide what sounds good to you. Please, do as much as you can. Please realize that no arts organization, even the internationally celebrated ones, have piles of money lying around, ready to invest in the costs of providing you entertainment, so the sale of season tickets is literally the life's blood of these organizations. By the time people can purchase individual tickets, the companies have already paid out nearly all the costs of the coming productions. Those who buy season memberships give the companies a bit of a headstart in making their productions possible.
Even if you are lucky enough to spend periods of weeks in warmer climes, or visiting family members, or whatever, nearly all these organizations allow you to permit others to use your tickets, so you can buy a season ticket and lend it to a friend or relative for the performances you will be missing, and help keep your favorite group alive and running.
Once again, I find myself noticing that life is, indeed, a banquet, while so many poor suckers are starving to death. No one can do everything, but most of us can do something. Please do.
Speaking of the mainstage productions at the State University of New York at Fredonia, let's take a glance at their plans for the coming year:
Oct. 19-27, enjoy the musical ''Chicago,'' a look at what happens when murderers become celebrities.
Nov. 30 through Dec. 8, see the award-winning play ''The Piano Lesson,'' by playwright August Wilson.
March 8-16, enjoy a blast from the past with Anthony Newly's examination of one little chap's life in ''Stop the World, I Want to Get Off.''
April 12-20, remind yourself why Anne Frank has become the voice of an entire generation, in a production of Wendy Kesselman's adaptation of ''The Diary of Anne Frank.''
May 3-5, the Fredonia Dance Ensemble brings to the stage a vast variety of choreography, styles and national origins of dance.
The information I have doesn't include ticket prices. You may purchase them via computer at fredo nia.edu/tickets/Performing_Arts.asp. By phone, call 673-3501. Visit the box office in the Rockefeller Arts Center in person. Prices of tickets purchased by computer or by phone include a $2 per ticket service charge.
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Fans of the television series ''Whose Line Is It Anyway,'' will want to visit the Center for the Arts of the University of Buffalo, North Campus, to enjoy a performance by comics Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood. That performance will take place tonight, at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $40 and $32. Purchase them in person at the Center for the Arts Box Office, or through Ticketmaster, at 800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com. Purchase in person at Ticketmaster outlets, as well. Tickets purchased through Ticketmaster include a per-ticket service charge, in addition to the ticket price.
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The Octagon Gallery at Westfield's Patterson Library has recently opened an art exhibit titled ''Natural Elements,'' featuring paintings and photographs by Christine French, Heather Miller Kanazawa, Toni Kelly and Kristen Paduano.
The exhibit will continue through Oct. 28. There is no admission charge. The gallery is located in the downstairs of the library, and is open whenever the library is open.
The library is located at 40 S. Portage St., in Westfield.
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The National Museum of Play is located in Rochester, in the Strong Museum. They have announced a number of coming events:
On Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., you and your children can watch the creation of a giant sculpture, entirely made of balloons. Watch artists Larry Moss and Kelly Cheatle create a complete rain forest, including plants and animals, entirely out of balloons.
Oct. 8, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., be among the first to play the digitally enhanced playground game "Johann Sebastian Joust."
Beginning Oct. 13, see the three-dimensional display of the tale of "Little Red Riding Hood," by artist Nancy Wiley. Those who attend the opening day can meet the artist and participate in acting out the well-beloved story. The exhibit will remain in place through Jan. 5.
The museum is open seven days a week, although Sunday hours are afternoons only. Admission is $13 for the general public, $12 for senior citizens, $11 for children ages 2 through 15, and free for those 2 and younger. There is an additional charge for admission to the museum's famed butterfly garden. Parking is free, on a first-come, first-served basis in the museum's lot.
The museum is located at One Manhattan Square, in downtown Rochester. Contact them by phoning 585-263-2700. Their website is www.thestrong.org.
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Famed comic personality Robin Williams will be performing for one night only in Toronto's SONY Centre on Nov. 14. David Steinberg will make a guest appearance.
Tickets range in price, in Canadian dollars, from $115.35 to $145.35. Purchase them by phone at 855-872-7669, or at their website at ticketmaster.ca. A sold-out performance is anticipated.
The SONY Centre is located at 1 Front St., near the intersection of Yonge Street, in downtown Toronto.
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Buffalo's remarkable Irish Classical Theatre Company will be performing the Pulitzer Prize winning musical ''Next to Normal,'' through Nov. 18. The show is a study of a family with many challenges and their well-meaning attempts to take care of one another.
While we're writing about companies' seasons, let's look at the rest of ICTC's coming productions, for 2012-13:
"A Couple of Blackguards" by Frank McCourt, author of "Angela's Ashes," and his brother Malachy McCourt, author of "A Monk Swimming," will be performed Oct. 25 through Nov. 25. The play draws heavily on the life stories of the two brothers, and includes lots of jokes, Irish songs, dancing and other deviltry.
'Dancing at Lughnasa'' by Brian Friel will be performed between Feb. 14 and March 10. The play concerns five Irish sisters, living in poverty in the 1930s, and highlights the surviving pagan customs which are still practiced in Catholic Ireland.
''Being Behan'' is a study of the life of Irish playwright Brendan Behan, and comes from the pen of Jim Sheridan, who wrote the Oscar nominated screenplay for the film ''My Left Foot.'' It will be performed between March 21 and April 14.
''American Buffalo,'' an American classic by award-winning playwright David Mamet will be performed by the company between April 25 and May 19. The play includes Mamet's extremely adult vocabulary, as the play concerns three men searching for meaning in their empty lives, plotting to steal the valuable coin collection of another man.
''A life,'' by Hugh Leonard will be performed between June 8 and June 30 of 2013. The play is a continuation of the lives of the characters which were first introduced in the play ''Da,'' which the Irish company performed in last season's lineup. The same actors continue the same roles.
In addition, from Jan. 10-27, the company will perform the one-man play ''Joyicity,'' by Ulick O'Connor, although that play will not be included in the season membership. Season subscribers may purchase tickets to that play at a discounted price, and will receive a chance to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the general public.
The ICTC's artistic director, Vincent O'Neill performs the play, which has been performed for both the President and the Prime Minister of Ireland, and has toured throughout Asia, Australia, Europe, Canada, and the U.S., including two separate runs off-Broadway, in New York City.
Season subscriptions are now on sale, and may be purchased by phoning 853-4282 or by computer at www.irishclassicaltheatre.com.
The company performs in the Andrews Theater, at 625 Main St., in the Downtown Buffalo Theater District. For reference, the theater is nearly directly across Main Street from Shea's Performing Arts Center.
JAMESTOWN CONCERT ASSN.
For more than a century, the Jamestown Concert Association has brought professional musicians to town to perform classical music. Not only are these concerts delightful, they provide us with a meaningful measuring stick, against which to measure local performances.
Some of our local performances are every bit as good as the pros, and some believe they are, but aren't. JCA helps you to decide for yourself.
JCA offers season tickets which admit you to all six of the locally presented concerts, plus to all five concerts on the Warren Concert Association season. That's 11 professional concerts for $90 for the general public. Folks age 65 and older can attend all those same concerts for $75.
As an additional benefit, students age 18 or younger are admitted to the concerts for free, if accompanied by a paying adult. Take your children or grandchildren and offer them a whole life's worth of wonder.
Those who are capable of paying their admission as well as supporting the organization with additional gifts can become patrons, sponsors, benefactors, or sustainers, and have the additional benefit of a tax deduction for your donation above the regular admission price.
The senior prices are offered because the organization's all volunteer board of directors understands that those older than 65 may be on fixed incomes, or have medical and other expenses, and they want to make the concerts available to everyone. On the other hand, some folks who are older than 65 are among our most well-off citizens. There is nothing to say you can't pay full price or better, if you can well afford it.
The six concerts to be performed in Jamestown are these:
Philadelphia Brass Quintet will perform on Oct. 12 at 8 p.m., at St. Luke's Episcopal Church. The church has a number of advantages as a concert site. Its smaller size and hard, bright acoustics serve better for smaller concerts, and the cost of presenting there is much lower than renting a public space, with the savings all passed directly along to ticket buyers. No one makes a dime from JCA tickets, except the musicians themselves, and some of them make little more than their travel expenses.
In recent years, JCA has made an agreement to present concerts by the winners of the Cleveland International Piano Competition. The result has been one long series of brilliant young pianists, performing in Jamestown at the beginning of careers which will almost certainly grow to the point at which you might have to travel to major world cities to hear them, and pay well over $100 for a single ticket, instead of getting six admissions for $90. The winner of the 2011 Cleveland Competition was German musician Alexander Schimpf. He will perform in Jamestown on Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. at St. Luke's.
It has become a tradition for JCA to employ the Syracuse Symphony in early December to perform a concert of holiday-related pops sounds. This year the holiday sounds will take place at the Reg Lenna Civic Center on Dec. 5. Featured artist will be Irish-American composer and conductor Sean O'Loughlin, who grew up in Western New York.
Last fall, we did a lot of publicity for the JoAnn Falletta Classical Guitar Competition in nearby Buffalo. This year internationally celebrated classical guitarist Paul Galbraith will perform on March 15 at 8 p.m. at St. Luke's. His decision to perform on the eight-string Brahms guitar, instead of the traditional instrument, enable him to do challenging classical transcriptions of some of the world's finest music.
The Syracuse Symphony will return to the Reg Lenna Civic Center on April 18 at 8 p.m. to perform that most delightful of opportunities, a classical symphony concert. This year's offering will feature cellist Julian Schwarz, performing the Haydn Concerto in D Major, plus two works by Johannes Brahms.
The JCA season will conclude on May 10, 2013, when the Carpe Diem String Quartet will perform at 8 p.m. at St. Luke's. The ensemble's music includes the traditional string quartet repertoire, but has been known to stray to gypsy, tango, folk, pop, rock, and jazz-inspired music, along the way.
For additional information about the season or any of the individual concerts, you can write to the Jamestown Concert Assn., 315 N. Main St., Suite 200, Jamestown, NY 14701. You may also check out the website at jamestowncon certassociation.org.
WARREN CONCERT ASSN.
If you purchase a season membership in JCA, you can also attend all five concerts of the Warren Concert Assn., only a 30-minute drive from Jamestown, and only 30 minutes farther than the trip to Jamestown from Dunkirk and Fredonia. All WCA concerts are performed at the Struthers Library Theatre, and they all begin at 7:30 p.m.
Or, you can join the Warren Association, and attend the Jamestown concerts for no additional charge. Let's look at the Warren series:
Oct. 13, hear the Mr. Jack Daniel's Original Silver Cornet Band.
Nov. 14, hear pianist Spencer Myer.
Dec. 10, hear the Southern Fried Jazz Band.
Jan. 23, check out a performance from the Great American Songbook.
March 17, check in on the De Pue Brothers Band, performing a concert titled ''Weapons of Grass Construction.''
For inquiries about the Warren series, phone them at 814-723-6505 or send them an email, at WarrenConcertAssocia email@example.com.
The Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown has a slightly different season than the majority of arts organizations. They end each of their seasons with the first production of the fall. Last night, they premiered the final offering of the 2011-12 performances season with the musical "Forbidden Broadway."
That is a satirical look at the shows and the personalities which grace the stages of the Great White Way. The production which opened last night will repeat tonight, tomorrow, and Oct. 4, 5, 6, and 7, at the company's own performing space on East Second Street in downtown Jamestown.
Anyone who purchases a single admission ticket to ''Forbidden Broadway'' may purchase a season ticket for the 2012-13 season and have the full price of their ''Forbidden Broadway'' ticket subtracted from the price of their new season ticket.
Anyone who purchases a season membership and pays in full before the end of business on Monday may deduct an additional $5 from the price of their membership.
A season membership which doesn't include ''Forbidden Broadway'' costs $65. A business which wishes to support the company and to obtain a listing as a commercial patron in all the coming year's playbills may do so for $150. A patron's ticket costs $75. Senior citizens of age 60 or older may purchase the season for $60. Full-time students of age 22 or younger may purchase the season for $30.
An individual may purchase a ticket good for any three of the listed shows for $50. Individual tickets are $20. In general, a season ticket holder saves about 25 percent over someone who purchases individual tickets.
Here is the 2012-13 lineup which begins after the present show:
Nov. 9-18, enjoy any of seven performances of a musical production, "The Little Mermaid Jr."
Dec. 7-16, there will be six performances of a live radio drama version of the beloved holiday film "It's a Wonderful Life."
Jan. 25-Feb. 3, something very new - six performances of a production of the musical show about men fishing in a cabin on the ice, '"Guys On Ice."
March 8-17, lovers of thrillers can look forward to ''The Desperate Hours.''
Oct. 11-20 of 2013, continuing the tradition of concluding a season in the fall of the coming year, the company will offer seven performances of Monty Python's hilarious musical show "Spamalot."
Although it is not included on the season ticket, there will be an additional performance in the LBLTJ facility, by the famed Junior Guilders. That will take place May 17-19. Season ticket holders can attend at a discounted ticket price.
Both specific dates and production titles are subject to possible changes, beyond the control of the company, but the company's seasons are remarkably accurate.
For tickets of any type or for additional information, phone 483-1095 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the website at lucilleballlittletheater.org.