The State Theater of Ithaca (107 West State Street, Ithaca, NY 14850, (607) 277-8283) has a great variety of shows on tap through December, with more shows being added all the time. Check out one of the most beloved and respected bands in America when Yo La Tengo comes to town on September 13, as well as two Lauries: Laurie Anderson in celebration of the Museum of the Earth’s 10th Anniversary on September 21 and an open-ended discussion led by Barbara Mink, founder and artistic director of the Ithaca-based nonprofit Light in Winter Festival from 1999–2011 and member artist of the Ithaca-based nonprofit State of the Art Gallery on September 22, and children’s songstress Laurie Berkner on October 12.
Michael Franti & Spearhead take the stage on September 22, and NPR fave Paula Poundstone returns to share her special brand of humor on October 4. An Oscar-nominated songwriter and leader of ‘80s New Wavers ‘Til Tuesday, Aimee Mann will be here on October 12, joined by Ted Leo, and Garrison Keillor encores on October 14. Doc Severinsen and His Big Band bring that sound to the State on October 20, and Brian Regan brings the laughs to Ithaca for the third time on October 27.
Neko Case comes to town on October 29, as does Merle Haggard on November 5 for the first time since his headlining set at Grassroots a few years back. Elvis Costello solo is as good as it gets; his show at Lynah Rink might be my favorite concert ever. The prolific songwriter is touring behind his new album, recorded with the Roots, and will surely have a new song or two to play on November 7. Built to Spill plays on November 9 with Slam Dunk and The Warm Hair. Stand-up, actor and author Lewis Black vents his spleen on November 16, and The Temptations bring it old school on December 6.
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Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind (November 15-16, 22-23, Flexible Theatre) opens the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts’s 25th season. First staged off-Broadway in 1985, the play was directed by Shepard himself, with music composed and played by the North Carolina bluegrass group the Red Clay Ramblers. Some critics consider the play the conclusion of a quintet which includes Shepard’s Family Trilogy: Curse of the Starving Class (1976), Buried Child (1979), and True West (1980), plus Fool for Love (1983). Developed under the guidance of Assistant professor Melanie Dreyer-Lude, and directed by PMA major Jesse Turk ‘14, A Lie of the Mind depicts a haunting drama of two divided families in the gritty American West.
The Bard’s bloodiest play gets its first Ithaca staging in 13 years. Titus Andronicus (Jan. 31, Feb. 1, 7-8, Blackbox Theatre) typically goes the Grand Guignol route to portray the saga of a Roman General who returns from a brutal war to bury the sons he lost in the conflict. As you can imagine with Shakespeare, the end of the war and this final act of sacrifice is not the end of bloodshed, and a chain of revenge engulfs Rome as Titus struggles to escape the horrors of a violent world. Titus Andronicus will be directed by Spencer Whale ‘14 under the guidance of PMA professor Bruce Levitt.
Students will collaborate with director and Associate professor Beth F. Milles and visiting lecturer Jeff Guyton to create In the Middle of the Night (Mar. 21-22, 26-27, Flexible Theatre), an extended long-form lazzi - an improvised comic dialogue or action - adapted from the work of silent film actor Charlie Chaplin and inspired by his short film One AM. Lazzi is a term derived from Commedia dell’Arte physical comedy; fans of Milles’ Cornell production of Moliere’s The Miser should take note.
In keeping with the Society for the Humanities’s theme of occupation, LGDF: Cultivating Space (May 1-3, Kiplinger Theatre) is a festival that explores the dramatic and psychological imaginings of a space, as conceived by dancers and actors. The festival will be directed by senior lecturers Jumay Chu, Byron Suber, and E.D. Intemann, and will include performers and choreographers across the disciplines of the department.
Student playwrights, directors, and actors will be featured in the department’s first Ten-Minute
Playfest (Oct. 4-5, Blackbox Theatre). It will be produced in collaboration with Red Shadow Productions, a new student-run theatre company at Cornell that gives students experience in all aspects of theatre. The event will feature six theatre pieces from a wide variety of genres. The Centrally-Isolated Filmfest
(Nov. 22-23, various locations) will feature films and screenplays written and produced by undergraduates throughout the region. Short films in narrative, documentary, and experimental categories, along with screenplays will be highlighted in a series of showings and readings.
Far From Canterbury (April 24-26, Flexible Theatre) is a re-imagined telling of “The Wife of Bath’sTale” from Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales will feature a contemporary musical theater score by Daniel Bernstein ’14 and student actors. The Fall & Spring Dance Concerts (Dec. 5-7, April 17-18) showcase the work of students and faculty. The concerts feature new work created in dance classes as well as experiments with new forms and musical styles.
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Ithaca College’s 2013-14 season kicks off with Fires in the Mirror (October 1-12, Clark Theatre). Written and originally performed by Anna Deavere Smith as a one-woman show, director Cynthia Henderson will configure the play to be performed by an ensemble of actors. The play chronicles the events—and divergent points of view—surrounding Brooklyn’s Crown Heights riots of 1991. Into the Woods (November 5-10, Hoerner Theatre) takes an unexpected dark turn in examining the nature of storytelling and fairy tales.
From the pen of comic playwright David Ives (All in the Timing) comes Mere Mortals (December 3-8), a collection of short comic plays, just in time to stave off the approaching winter blahs. Featuring disguise and deception, kings and peddlers, astrologers and ambassadors, Emmanuel Chabrier’s charming opéra bouffe L’etoile (February 18-23, Hoerner Theatre) is a collaborative presentation by IC’s School of Music and Department of Theatre Arts in which love triumphs over adversity. Directed by Edward Berkeley, L’etoile is conducted by Brian DeMaris.
Gone Missing (March 25-April 5), a musical constructed by the Civilians from street interviews, is a whimsical detour for the ensemble known for its vital and “investigative” theatre. The Crucible (Hoerner Theatre, April 22-27) finishes up the main-stage season. Arthur Miller’s American classic about accusation, conscience, and retribution, set during the Salem witch trials, was Miller’s response to the McCarthy “witch hunts” of suspected communists in the 1950s, of which Miller himself was a target.
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The Center for the Arts of Homer (72 South Main Street, Homer) does a lot more than produce concerts and theater in its 400-seat house. The center also offers weekly music lessons in voice, piano, guitar and other instruments. Visit the calendar on their website and you’ll also see weekly dance classes, T’ai Chi, SAT-PSAT classes, Eagle Scout ceremonies, art exhibits and more.
Paula Cole (“Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?”) performs at the Center on September 21, Bill Evans & Soulgrass play on October 5, Amy Gallatin & Stillwaters play on October 17 and Dala plays on October 19. In November, the Kenny Neal Blues Band performs on November 9, and on November 30, Brennan & De Barra present their Irish Christmas Special. On December 14, It’s a Wonderful Life will be presented as a radio play, and Cormac McCarthy slips in before the holidays for a performance on December 19.
Dates and show times are subject to change, Check out the Center’s website or call 607-749-4900 Monday through Friday from 10 to 5 p.m.