Fall Arts Preview

Our annual look at the state of the arts.



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Everybody knows that autumn is the season to break out the best in entertainment, and this year our local cultural institutions certainly brought their A-games. Throughout the county you’ll find big-name performers, fantastic new series, and more ambitious collaborations than ever before. Since you could set yourself up with big-ticket events every weekend from now until Christmas, we provide this guide to take you through the best of what the season has to offer—and the best bets for books, movies, and TV shows to turn to if you just feel like staying in.

The Main Event

From Prometheus to us, clay works its magic on Westchester County.

Charles Simonds’ Mental Earth is 3-D at its best at the Katonah Museum.

 

This fall, almost every local art institution is going to have one thing on its mind: clay. Sure, you played with it when you were a kid and giggle when you think of the pot-throwing scene from Ghost (all that wasted clay!) but when was the last time you really gave clay any thought as a medium? Now, you can consider it from all angles when the county launches into All Fired Up: A Celebration of Clay in Westchester. With 67 venues participating, the event is the largest collaboration of its kind ever attempted in the county.

It was way back in December 2005 when Reena Kashyap, executive director of the Clay Art Center, approached Janet Langsam, executive director of the Westchester Arts Council, and proposed a county-wide collaboration in honor of the Clay Art Center’s upcoming 50th anniversary. The two couldn’t have guessed the response they would receive to the idea. “Cultural venues throughout the county proposed a wide range of exhibitions,” Langsam says. “There were conservative and cutting-edge, contemporary and historic, functional and conceptual—each in tandem with their organization’s mission.”

How did the idea for All Fired Up catch on so quickly? “Clay has a versatility,” says Leigh Taylor Mickelson, program director for the Clay Art Center (and a ceramic artist herself). “All of the organizations can find a way to fit clay into their missions.” For example, the Westchester Italian Cultural Center in Tuckahoe is taking the opportunity to highlight ceramics from the medieval Italian town of Este (including pieces from fashion designer Missoni), while the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden has workshops planned in Raku firing. Even Lyndhurst, which at first doesn’t seem like it has a natural association with clay, has decided to use its historical dining room to host an exhibition in elegant tabletop ceramics.

More than just a celebration of clay, All Fired Up has become a celebration of the artistic community in the county. “Arts organizations in Westchester are spread out throughout the county,” says Langsam.

“We don’t usually have a sense of critical mass. Not like the museum mile.”

Even those who don’t usually take time out to go visit a museum might find themselves unwittingly taking part in All Fired Up. “We’ve worked with the parks department, so someone who didn’t expect to see any art might come across a huge clay piece while walking in the park,” says Mickelson. “It’s clay in your face.”

While we can only hint at a fraction of All Fired Up’s offerings, you can find a complete list of exhibitions and events at allfiredup.info.

Elise Siegel’s Twenty-One Torsos is one of many “confrontational ceramics” on view at the Westchester Arts Council.

 

EXHIBITION HIGHLIGHTS

Here, a small sampling of what All Fired Up has to offer, and how clay is used to delight, amuse, and even shock us:

Confrontational Ceramics
October 3 to December 13
Westchester Arts Council, White Plains
Curated by Judith Schwartz, associate professor of art and art education and head of the Sculpture: Craft Media Area of NYU, Confrontational Ceramics surveys 60 contemporary artists that see clay as a medium completely unbound by its tradition. These artists often confront issues through the use of clay, and they’re not shy about it, either. The works are more “in-your-face” than you can ever imagine clay art could get.

The Figure Evocative
October 5 to November 15
3rd Rail Studio, New Rochelle
The last time we featured the 3rd Rail Studio, it was gently (or not) deflating the egos of some of our most beloved painters. (The Girl with a Pearl Earring was reinterpreted as a zombie.) Once again, the Studio has mounted a provocative exhibit. The artists represented all use the human body as a subject, but the figures are fragmented, distorted, exaggerated, and abstracted to demonstrate their points of view.

The Artful Tabletop
October 5 to November 16
Lyndhurst: A National Trust Historic Site, Tarrytown
Lyndhurst sets the table with wares from more than 105 potters across the nation, such as pretty casserole dishes by Naomi Cleary. The result is what curator Julia Galloway describes as a “physical thesaurus” of contemporary pottery.

 

Transformations: 6 x 6
October 3 to November 22, Clay Art Center
More than 250 clay artists were invited to distill their aesthetic down into six-inch-by-six-inch tiles. When you head over to the Center, make sure you take a close look at its exterior. For the exhibition CHILE·NEW YORK·IRAQ (❷), New Rochelle-based artist and political activist Jeff Schlanger has created an installation of faces on the building’s façade.

 

 

 

 

Hannah Wilke: Gestures
October 3 to January 4, Neuberger Museum of Art
Artist Hannah Wilke also is known for using the human body as the basis for her art, but few know that she began her career working in ceramics. That doesn’t mean that Wilke was in any way demure. Some of the works the Neuberger has on display are so racy, they can’t be pictured here. (We went with the safe Generation Process Series Geo-Logic 4 to One instead.)

Resonant Forms:
New Sounding Ceramics
October 16 to November 30
Westchester Art Workshop, White Plains
By now we know what ceramics look like, but what do they sound like? Nationally recognized artist Brian Ransom shows his resonant instruments, which make sound by the movement of air, pitched differently depending on the amount of water inside. When walking through the sound installation, you hear your own different tunes depending on the path you take.

 

 

Conversations in Clay
October 19 to January 11
Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah
The Katonah museum forgoes the beautiful little pots, plates, and tiles for something a bit…bigger. Ten acclaimed artists use clay in sculptures that explore a range of issues through installation art, including monumental works and wall reliefs, such as Betty Woodman’s Internal Courtyard.

 

 

 

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

Appreciating clay doesn’t have to be a passive pastime. Here are some other clay-related events going on in conjunction with All Fired Up:


Ceramic Workshops
September 13, September 20, October 11
The Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden, North Salem
Feeling inspired yet? Start creating some objects d’art yourself. In these workshops, artists teach hand-building techniques, like pinching, creating slabs, and coiling, along with Raku firing. Stick around for their exhibition, Earth - Fire - Alchemy, which features works like Tai Woong Kang’s Vestige.

 

Children in the Gallery: ARTyFACTS
September 27, OSilas Gallery, Concordia College, Bronxville
There’s no reason to leave the kids out of the fun. The OSilas Gallery hosts a special kid-friendly tour of its Bronxville Artists exhibition, followed by hands-on projects in its on-site studio.

Clay’s Inner Voice Exhibition and Sale
October 3 to November 30, A Mini Gallery @ 590, Scarsdale
Okay, so maybe you can’t make your own clay creation. That doesn’t mean you can’t own one. The Hudson River Potters are not only exhibiting works by their members—they’re for sale! The five artists represented all use different firing techniques, surface designs, and textures to achieve unique looks.

Clay Fest
October 25, New Rochelle and Pelham
There’s only so much ground you can cover in a day, and—let’s face it—gas is at a premium. The Clay Fest organizers have solved this problem by providing a free trolley service between eight venues along the Sound Shore, each of which have special events planned throughout the day. There will be performances by the Burnt Earth Ensemble, which fittingly uses ceramic instruments, at the Museum of Art and Culture and the New Rochelle Public library; traditional Mexican music and food in conjunction with the Herencia Milenaria exhibition at Iona College; meet-the-artist events at the Media Loft gallery; and more.

Why Clay? Clay Symposium
October 26, Performing Arts Center, Purchase
Could such a far-ranging artistic event have happened with any other medium? The Clay Art Center hosts a symposium to figure it out. The daylong event features lectures, talks, and panel discussions. The day ends with “Thrown,” where clay literally takes center stage as artist Rachael Cohen gives a one-of-a-kind clay “performance.”

Clay in Motion!
November 8, Jacob Burns Film Center, Pleasantville
The first program in the Center’s new Media and Education Center, this event gives families the opportunity to play Rankin and Bass for a day. After being inspired by clips from Claymation movies like Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit, participants create their own clay models and learn how to animate them.

 

Gallery Talk
November 8, Madelyn Jordon Fine Art, Scarsdale
Ever wonder what goes into making fine art out of clay? Artist Megumi Naitoh answers your pressing questions at the gallery talk at Madelyn Jordon Fine Art.

 

 

Fall Events

Pick your poison: opera or pop songs? Shakespeare or dinner theater? No matter your pleasure, you’re going to want at least one of these hot tickets this season.


Music{Jazz, Folk, Rock, and Pop}

 

B.B. King
September 28, The Paramount Center for the Arts
The reigning King of Blues may be 76 years old and have a successful franchise of music clubs to preserve his legacy, but you didn’t think he’d actually retire, did you? King and Lucille are hitting the road again, sounding as good as ever, and they’re likely to play some of the hits included on last February’s album, B.B. King Live. The thrill most certainly is not gone.

 

 

 

 

Andrew Bird
October 2, Tarrytown Music Hall
Musician Andrew Bird may play the violin, but he’s better known to indie-rock fans than to classical aficionados. After the release of his most recent album, Armchair Apocrypha, the tastemakers at The A.V. Club wrote: “Over his past few albums, Bird has developed a finesse for off-kilter pop that takes mortality, confusion, and unexpected realizations as its subject, shaping them all into songs that are catchier, by their own terms, than most of Top 40 radio.”

 

Dar Williams
October 4, The Emelin Theatre
Folk singer/songwriter Dar Williams is putting out a new album, The Promised Land, this month—and what better place to celebrate its release than her home county? The Chappaqua native, who still lives in the Hudson Valley, plays her homecoming show at the Emelin Theatre. The one-night-only performance is the only one announced for the New York metro area.

Judy Collins
November 14, The Paramount Center for the Arts
Interpretive folk singer Judy Collins started performing when she was just 13 years old; imagine how polished her stage show must be 56 years later. Throughout her staggering five-decade career, she’s certainly amassed an incredible repertoire, which includes favorites from musical theater (“Send in the Clowns”) as well as songs by contemporaries like Joni Mitchell (“Both Sides Now”), Leonard Cohen (“Suzanne”), and Randy Newman (“I Think It’s Going to Rain Today”). Collins also had a knack for inspiring others: She’s the Judy of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” by Crosby, Stills, and Nash.
Also Consider: “Texican” rockers Los Lonely Boys spice up the Paramount Center for the Arts (September 4). // Jazzy chanteuse Dianne Reeves shows off her Grammy-winning jazz vocals (October 10, Tarrytown Music Hall). // The British are coming, invading Connecticut once again when Badfinger plays the Ridgefield Playhouse (October 12). // George Winston gives up trick-or-treating in favor of tickling the ivories (October 31, Westchester Community College). // Livingston Taylor proves that brother James isn’t the only songwriting talent in the family (November 9, Watercolor Café).


Music {Classical & Opera}

 

REBEL Ensemble for Baroque Music

 

Photo by Howard Goodman

October 5, Bedford Presbyterian Church
As the name suggests, this feisty ensemble always goes against the grain. Why play the same concertos that have been performed time and time again? REBEL has prepared a program titled “Invention and Innovation: Rarely Performed Music of Telemann and J.S. Bach.” And, as usual, the musicians will perform on period instruments.

Amadeus String Quartet’s Classic Hip Series
October 5 and November 16, Amadeus Conservatory
St. Matthews Church in Bedford becomes home to classic music with a twist: in addition to favorites from Mozart, Beethoven, and Broadway, the Amadeus String Quartet throws a few crowd-pleasers into the mix, including music from Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars. We sense The Force is strong in this ensemble.

The Warsaw Philharmonic
November 16, The Performing Arts Center
Poland’s leading musical institution, the Warsaw Philharmonic, certainly has a distinguished history. It was founded in 1901 by a group of Polish aristocrats, and has worked with such composers as Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, and Stravinsky. Get a glimpse of the charmed life when the Philharmonic travels to the Performing Arts Center to play works by Karlowicz, Liszt, and Brahms.

Photo courtesy of Taconic Opera

A (Few) Night(s) at the Opera
Who needs the Met? There are three different opportunities for you to experience opera locally. On September 21, the New Rochelle Opera will give its “Baroque and Beyond” show at Iona College, where the group will perform excerpts of famous grand operas from the baroque and Renaissance Eras. The Taconic Opera takes on Verdi’s Il Trovatore—the one with the famous Anvil Chorus—on October 18 and 19 at the Yorktown Stage. Finally, in celebration of Puccini’s 150th birthday, the New Rochelle Opera returns on October 26 to perform a series of arias, duets, and ensembles from his operas at Westchester Community College. (No jokes about the fat lady singing, ya’ hear?)

Also Consider: Tenor James Rodgers, winner of the 2008 “Joy of Singing” competition, performs for the Chaminade Music Club of Yonkers (October 6, Grinton I. Will branch of the Yonkers Public Library). // Pianist Garrick Ohlsson, a White Plains native, shows off his fancy fingerwork (October 26, Performing Arts Center). // Pianist Alon Goldstein joins the Westchester Chamber Orchestra for Brahms’s “Concerto No. 1, Op. 15 in D minor” (November 8, Iona College). // The Music Room of Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts fills with the sound of Bach, as five pianists and one harpischordist perform “The Eternal Bach: Six Keyboard Perspectives” (November 15).

Duncan Sheik
October 18, The Emelin Theatre
Not one to be relegated to one-hit-wonder status for 1996’s ubiquitous “Barely Breathing,” singer/songwriter Duncan Sheik burst back into the popular consciousness a decade later by composing the music for the Broadway smash, Spring Awakening. Sheik will perform songs from his self-titled debut, his hit musical, and the five albums in-between as part of the Emelin Theatre’s “Popular Song” series—one of five new concert series the Theatre launched this year, along with “Indie Rock,” “Latin,” “Country,” and “Emelin Unplugged.”

The Westchester Philharmonic

Photo courtesy of Westchester Philharmonic

November 8, Performing Arts Center
Perhaps you’ve heard about the Philharmonic’s new maestro, Itzhak Perlman? Though the Philharmonic’s season opens on October 11, we recommend holding out for the November 8 performance, when Perlman takes the stage as a soloist as well. He’ll perform Bach’s “Violin Concerto No. 2,” and the program will also include works by Mozart and Brahms.

 

 

 

 

 Film

 

Wilder’s Picks
September 16, October 14, November 18, Avon Theater Film Center
From Willy Wonka to Dr. Frankenstein—you know how it’s pronounced—we love seeing Gene Wilder in movies. But what movies does Gene Wilder adore? The actor has curated a series of his favorite films, including Key Largo, Soldier of Orange, and his own The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, which he will introduce at the Avon Theater in Stamford, Connecticut. The screening on November 18 also features a reception and Q&A with the film star.

 

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
October 31, Paramount Center for the Arts
Forget Saw. Truly creepy movies can scare you without gore or startling noises. Need proof? Check out John Barrymore in Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde this Halloween at the Paramount Center for the Arts. To heighten the mood, the aptly named Devil Music Ensemble will provide live accompaniment.

Also Consider: The Fritz Lang Retrospective collects eight of the master’s films, including M, The Spiders: Part One and Two, Testament of Dr. Mabuse, and, our favorite, Metropolis (September 12 to 25, Jacob Burns Film Center). // Some of the greatest films of all time, including Scarface, A Touch of Evil, and Sunset Boulevard, make an appearance at this season’s Greenwich Classic Film Series, which features discussions with film experts afterwards (October 13 to December 8, Crowne Plaza).

90th Anniversary of United Artists
September 26 to October 9, Jacob Burns Film Center
Sure, you can rent Annie Hall any day of the week, but watching it in your living room—phone ringing, dinner burning, kids calling out for attention—doesn’t compare to the shared experience of seeing it on a big screen in a silent auditorium of film fans. To celebrate the 90th anniversary of United Artists, the Jacob Burns Film Center scored brand-new, pristine prints of some of our favorites: Annie Hall, The Great Escape, Midnight Cowboy, Pink Panther, Thieves Like Us, Marty, Last Tango in Paris, The Thomas Crown Affair, Raging Bull, The Magnificent Seven, and Some Like It Hot. Cancel your Netflix for the month.
 

 Dance

 

Parsons Dance Company
October 3, Quick Center for the Performing Arts
It’s choreographer David Parsons’s mission to bring modern dance to the
widest audience possible—and we reap the benefits when the Company performs at Fairfield University. Parsons Dance Company is known for combining the
energy and athleticism of modern dance with the discipline and precision of a traditional company.

 

 

 

Moscow Ballet
November 22, Westchester Community College
The acclaimed Russian company performs a “greatest hits,” featuring the best bits from some of our favorite ballets. Keep your eye out for the show-stopping scene from Carmen, plus some spectacular Diaghilev choreography.

Inbal Pinto Dance Company
November 7 and 8, The Performing Art Center
Part dance, part theater—with even a little mime and acrobatics thrown in—Israel’s Inbal Pinto Dance Company creates performances that seamlessly interweave fantasy, drama, and comedy. Just as the group’s movement blends both modern dance and traditional ballet, the music they dance to—from Swedish pop music to songs from the ’50s performed by Japanese pop groups—keeps them from being pigeonholed in a single style.

 


Theater

A Body of Water
September 20, Rosenthal JCC Theatre
We’re still eternally grateful to the Insights and Revelations series for bringing Conor McPherson’s Port Authority to us in Westchester so we didn’t have to fight the city crowd for tickets. We hope lightning strikes again with A Body of Water, an upcoming play by the Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-nominated Lee Blessing. As always, after the performance at the Rosenthal JCC in Pleasantville, the cast, playwright, and director will stick around for a Q&A and give an inside look at the creative process.

Hamlet
October 11, Performing Arts Center
Usually holed up in its Lenox, Massachusetts, home theater, accessible only to vacationers and Western Mass. residents, Shakespeare & Company is finally branching out on its first national tour—and ambitiously at that, taking on one of the Bard’s most famous plays. And it’s lucky for us that they’re venturing into the world: the Wall Street Journal wrote that this production of Hamlet “lights up Shakespeare’s lines like fireworks in the summer night.”

Photo courtesy of Faustwork Theatre

Faustwork Mask Theatre’s
The Mask Messenger
October 16, Iona College
Masks have been important in theater going back to the ancient Greeks, but chances are the ancients never saw masks this creepy, arty, and cool. The show explains the artistic, cultural, and historical aspects of the mask, but the real magic begins when actors take their masks off the wall and transform into a series of bizarre, funny, or poignant characters.

 

Mark Twain Tonight
November 15,
Paramount Center for the Arts
Actor Hal Holbrook really earned his Oscar nomination in Into the Wild, but his role was so darn dour. Perhaps that’s why he’s returning to the part that got him his first award nominations, one that’s not so serious: Mark Twain. Holbrook created Mark Twain Tonight, his one-man show, nearly 50 years ago, and a half-century later it’s still a pairing of one of the finest American actors reciting works by one of the best American authors.

 


 

Also consider: It may be fall, but it’s still springtime for Hitler: The Producers runs through November 15 at the Westchester Broadway Theatre. // Actress Julia Roberts hosts the Westport Country Playhouse’s Footlights and Film Gala, which celebrates great musicals from stage and screen (September 15). // Stamford Theatre Works takes on Neil LaBute’s The Mercy Seat, about a man and his lover, who happens to be his boss (September 17 to October 5). // The Blueberry Pond Theatre Ensemble performs The Conversation at Choctaw Junction, a new play by Jean-Paul DeVellard (October 24 to November 23). // L.A. Theatre Works performs War of the Worlds and The Lost World as live radio dramas from back in the days of Orson Welles (October 25, Quick Center for the Arts).


In Their Own Words

 

Photo by Robert Ascroft

Alec Baldwin
September 26, Riverspace Arts
One of the funniest rejoinders of last TV season happened on 30 Rock when, after Alec Baldwin’s character, Jack Donaghy, was asked why he was wearing a tuxedo, he replied in perfect deadpan, “It’s after six, what am I, a farmer?” Yet not all of his roles were so perfectly tailored to his acting strengths. (Remember The Shadow, before superhero movies were good?) Riverspace’s co-artistic director Elliott Forrest discusses the ups and downs of the actor’s career, along with politics and other juicy topics.

 

 

 

 

Mimi Schwartz and Nahid Rachlin
September 28, Hudson Valley Writers’ Center
Mimi Schwartz, author of Good Neighbors, Bad Times: Echoes of My Father’s German Village, and Nahid Rachlin, author of Persian Girls, double up for a reading and conversation titled “Memoir as History: From Germany to Iran.” Memoirs have gotten a lot of press recently—and most of them for dubious reasons—so it’ll be a nice change of pace to hear from some honest-to-God nonfiction writers.

 

 

 

Frances Sternhagen with Isaiah Sheffer
October 27, The Performing Arts Center
Radio host Isaiah Sheffer finally gets out of the booth and interviews his subjects on stage, Inside the Actors Studio-style, in a new series titled “Conversations on Creativity, Craft, and Career.” His first subject is Frances Sternhagen, who burst onto the theatrical scene in Thornton Wilder’s Skin of Our Teeth and has most recently been seen as Willie Ray Johnson in TV’s The Closer. While we’re certainly interested in her acting career, we’re secretly hoping he asks her how she keeps her hair that awesome shade of white.


Also Consider: The comedians from Chicago City Limits perform a live, politically-themed sketch show titled One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State (September 27, Westchester Community College). // Finalists from NBC’s Last Comic Standing perform the stand-up that kept them alive in the competition (October 25, Paramount Center for the Arts). // Whip-smart Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria discusses America’s future as part of Fairfield University’s Open Visions Forum (October 30).


Kids

 

Hudson Ferry-Go-Round
September 14, Haverstraw, Ossining, Peekskill, and Sleepy Hollow
Taking to the high seas and sailing off in search of adventure is a common child fantasy, and while you can’t ship your kids off with a band of pirates (darn), you can at least get them out on the Hudson. The Hudson Ferry-Go-Round links different sites along the river, with special events waiting in each port: food expos, live music, a Pine Derby, spin painting, a car show, crafts, fairy costumes, face-painting, and more. What’s more, the ferry rides won’t eat up your kids’ tuition money: kids 17 and under are free with a ticketed adult.

The Phantom Tollbooth
November 16, Performing Arts Center
There’s a reason people return to certain children’s stories again and again: they’re better. And we always welcome a new way to appreciate an old classic. In this case, Norton Juster’s beloved children’s novel is set to lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, Fiddler on the Roof’s Tony-winning songwriter. You never know, seeing the play might actually inspire the little ones to put down the Wiimote and pick up the book again.

Photo byAnna Williams

Dan Zanes
September 19, Riverspace Arts
Is it us, or is most music directed at children so awful that you’d rather have them listening to Metallica? Don’t worry; you can take your kids to see Dan Zanes without fear of losing your sanity—or carefully cultivated cred. Zanes was once a member of the indie band the Del Fuegos, and watching him rock out with his big bouffant and colorful suits reminds you that good music doesn’t always have to take itself so seriously.

Also Consider: The Young Audience Sunday Series at the Quick Center for the Arts hosts a slew of pint-sized performances, from the Cashore Marionettes to a stage adaptation of The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks (September 21 to April 26). // Authors, illustrators, and even some famous characters descend on Sunnyside for Children’s Book Day (September 28, Historic Hudson Valley/Washington Irving’s Sunnyside). // Speaking of kids’ music that doesn’t make you want to tear your hair out, Tom Chapin and Friends perform Chapin’s family friendly folk tunes (October 26, The Performing Art Center).

 

calling all culture vultures

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Westchester’s best arts subscription series, but didn’t know whom to ask.
By Laura Joseph Mogil

Drop that remote and reconnect to your more highbrow side—fall is the perfect time to take advantage of the many arts subscription series offered by our county’s leading cultural organizations. “Subscriptions are the best deal of the year—you get to see a wide range of top-notch performing artists usually at a fraction of the rate that you would pay if you bought the tickets individually,” says Janet Langsam, executive director of the Westchester Arts Council.
From “Conversations on Creativity, Craft and Career” at The Performing Arts Center to evenings of classical music with Itzhak Perlman and the Westchester Philharmonic, there’s something for everyone right in our collective backyard. Here’s a sampling of some of the hottest series this side of the City.

 

DANCE

The Performing Arts Center
(914) 251-6200; artscenter.org

Perfectly timed to celebrate Israel’s 60th birthday, this series opens with Tel Aviv-based Inbal Pinto Dance Company on November 7 and 8, bringing a witty blend of modern, ballet, mime, and acrobatic movement to the stage, followed by the Batsheva Dance Company, one of the most influential cultural institutions in Israel (January 30 and 31). Other highlights include Pilobolus, the unconventional and highly innovative company of choreographers and dancer-athletes (February 28); Shen Wei Dance Arts, a Chinese troupe that combines dance, theater, Chinese opera, painting, and sculpture (March 28); and the internationally acclaimed Paul Taylor Dance Company (May 9). “The range of excellent choices is inspiring,” says Carol N. Shiffman, dean of Purchase College’s Conservatory of Dance. “From great renowned companies to younger, daring choreographers, many voices and cultures will share their extraordinary work.” Subscriptions range from $168.50 to $240.50, a 20-percent savings off of individual tickets.


MUSICALS

White Plains Performing Arts Center
(914) 328-1600; wppac.com

When Jack Batman took over as executive producer of this center last year, he asked everyone he met what they’d like to see. The unanimous answer was musicals, and Batman wasted no time in putting together the theater’s enormously successful “Broadway Classics” subscription series. This season, the series opens with Oliver, at which you can hum along with the world’s favorite orphan to such favorite tunes as “Food Glorious Food,” “Oom-Pah-Pah” and “Where Is Love.” (November 20 to December 14). Next in line is the romantic comedy A Little Night Music, featuring an enchanting score by Steven Sondheim (March 5 to 22). And last but not least is Hello Dolly, alive with the personality of one of the most fabulous characters on the musical stage—matchmaker extraordinaire Dolly Gallagher Levi (April 30 to May 17). Subscription series range from $84 to $150, and subscribers get the added bonus of 10 percent off additional ticket purchases, the theater’s Spotlight Musical (Camelot), running from September 26 to October 5.


CHILDREN’S THEATRE

Emelin Theatre
(914) 698-0098; emelin.org

With more than a dozen programs to choose from in the Emelin’s “Super Saturdays: Family Fun” subscription series, there’s no need to ever worry again about keeping your young children entertained and amused. The series opens on October 4 with If You Give a Pig a Pancake & Other Story Books, a fantastic presentation of eight mini-musicals based on popular kids’ books by Theatreworks USA. Other highlights include the Paper Bag Players’ 50th Anniversary Show, featuring old-time favorites and brand-spanking-new productions by this zany and energetic troupe (December 27 and 28); Rebecca Frezza and Big Truck, a musical blend of pop/rock, country, and jazz styles with a sprinkling of world music elements and, of course, kid-friendly lyrics (January 31); and Grammy Award-nominated musician, entertainer, singer/songwriter and storyteller Tom Chapin, hailed by Billboard magazine as “the best family artist around” (May 9). While individual tickets are $234 for adults and $169 for children, when you subscribe to five or more shows, you get a 25 percent discount; sign up for all 13 to get 30 percent off.


COMEDY


Academic Arts Theatre
Westchester Community College
(914) 606-6262; sunywcc.edu

Need a laugh? Head on over to WCC where the “Comic Note Zone” series opens on September 27 with the hilarious Chicago City Limits in One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State. For this timely election show, the CCL cast goes head-to-head with the faces, places, and events that are shaping the 2008 elections, bringing to life debatable debates, candid candidates, and the carnage of a campaign trail. You’re sure to keep that smile on your face with the second program, An Evening with Groucho, featuring award-winning actor/director/playwright Frank Ferrante recreating his acclaimed portrayal of legendary comedian Groucho Marx. Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “nothing short of masterful,” the two-act comedy is packed with the best Groucho one-liners, anecdotes, and songs, and reacquaints audiences with the likes of brothers Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, and Gummo, plus Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, Greta Garbo, and more (April 25). The two-part series is $34 ($6 discount). The laughter? Priceless.


CONVERSATIONS


The Performing Arts Center
(914) 251-6200; artscenter.org

You may have heard Isaiah Sheffer, host of the popular WNYC New York Public Radio program Selected Shorts on air, but here’s your chance to get up close and personal with him as he speaks intimately with some of the most distinguished artists of our time. This new four-part series, entitled “Conversations on Creativity, Craft, and Career,” includes interviews with legendary actress Frances Sternhagen (October 27), dance luminary Carmen de Lavallade (November 17), bestselling author Frank McCourt, (February 2), and celebrated dancer and choreographer Jacques d’Amboise (March 23). Says Sheffer, “These conversations will really be heart-to-heart explorations of what creativity is all about and how it has been woven into the life of each of the participants.” Get in the know by signing up for the series, $106 to $138 (a 20-percent discount off regularly priced tickets).


CLASSICAL MUSIC


Westchester Philharmonic
(914) 682-3707; westchesterphil.org

Be among the first to see the Westchester Philharmonic begin a new era under the baton of Itzhak Perlman, who’s been heralded as “one of the greatest classical violinists of our time.” The exciting season begins on October 11 and 12, with a weekend of Beethoven featuring piano legend and Kennedy Center honoree Leon Fleisher. Next, you can double your pleasure by seeing Perlman both conducting and playing on November 8 and 9 during an evening of Bach, Mozart, and Brahms. The series continues on December 20 with a winter pops concert featuring Broadway veteran Brian Stokes Mitchell (Man of La Mancha, Kiss Me Kate, Ragtime); a spring concert of modern works by Ravel, Adams, Barber, and Stravinsky (April 18 and 19); and the season finale of Mozart, Saint-Saëns, and Tchaikovsky with acclaimed cellist Alisa Weilerstein (May 16 and 17). Don’t miss a beat by signing up for a subscription, priced at $88 to $268 for four concerts and $105 to $315 for five (a 20-percent savings).


FILM SERIES


Academic Arts Theater
Westchester Community College
(914) 606-6262; sunywcc.edu

Many film series are impossible to get subscriptions to, but here’s a little secret: you can see some of the most thought-provoking international flicks around by subscribing to Westchester Community College’s “Friday Night Film Series.” Among the top attractions this fall is Black Book, a gripping film by Dutch director Paul Verhoeven that’s set in Nazi-occupied Holland (September 12). On the lighter side is My Best Friend, an endearing comedy about the underrated topic of male friendship by French director Patrice Leconte (September 19). Bill Costanzo, professor of English and film at the college, says, “What we offer is an alternative to the multiplexes, a uniquely entertaining night out at the movies, where the diverse communities of Westchester can travel around the globe together through the magic of cinema and learn from one another.” You save 10 percent with a season subscription ($48), which includes six films, each with program notes and an introduction and post-screening discussion led by Costanzo.

 

AUTHOR READINGS


Spoken Interludes
Presented at Trinity Grill & Bar
7 Purdy St, Harrison
(914) 307-1683; spokeninterludes.com

Not only can you hear some of the hottest authors around reading from their latest works, you also can enjoy a buffet dinner, followed by a Q&A session and book signing at this critically acclaimed literary salon, the brainchild of DeLauné Michel, an acclaimed author in her own right. Offered both in Westchester and La, the salon has previously featured such touted writers as Ann Packer, Alice Sebold, Michael Korda, Arianna Huffington, Michael Connelly, and Anita Daimont. Among the literati starting off the East Coast’s fall season on October 16 is Amanda Boyden, reading from her new novel, Babylon Rolling, which Michel calls “white-hot prose that is poetic and captivating.” November and December authors to be announced. Sign up for all three salons for just $90 (not discounted from individual ticket prices).

ALSO CONSIDER:

ART LECTURES
Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase
(914) 251-6100; neuberger.org

Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah
(914) 232-9555; katonahmuseum.org

MUSIC
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, Katonah
(914) 232-1252; caramoor.org

Downtown Music at Grace, White Plains
(914) 949-0384; dtmusic.org

The Westchester Chamber Orchestra
(914)654-4926; westchesterchamberorchestra.org

Westchester Jazz Orchestra
At Irvington Town Hall Theater, Irvington
(914) 861-9100; westjazzorch.org

THEATRE
Axial Theatre
At St. John’s Episcopal Church, Pleasantville
(914) 286-7680; axialtheatre.org

Blueberry Pond Theatre Ensemble
(914) 923-3530; blueberrypond.org

The Mighty Theater
At Paramount Center for the Arts, Peekskill
(914) 739-2333; mightytheater.com

The Schoolhouse Theater
(914) 277-8477; schoolhousetheater.org

Westchester Broadway Theatre
(914) 592-2222; broadwaytheatre.com

Westco Productions
At Rochambeau School Theater, White Plains
(914) 761-7463; westcoproductions.org

Laura Joseph Mogil is a freelance writer who lives in Briarcliff Manor. She is a frequent contributor to Westchester Magazine and Westchester Home. Visit her website at lauramogil.com.

Continue reading for Fall movies & T.V.

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