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The Golden Bride by Folksbeine

We have been working actively with our friends at the Folksbeine National Yiddish Theatre to help realize the summer run of their acclaimed operetta THE GOLDEN BRIDE, featuring 20 performers and orchestra of 14 musicians under the baton of Zalmen Mlotek, directed by Bryna Wasserman and Motl Didner.

There are only two more weeks to see the show!Di-Goldene-Kale

The Golden Bride
Nominated for 2 Drama Desk Awards!
Outstanding Revival of a Musical & Outstanding Director of a Musical

July 4, 2016 – August 28, 2016
Don’t miss the return of this critically-acclaimed musical romantic comedy!
Presented in Yiddish with English and Russian supertitles.

GET TICKETS

Lynn Kable, The real Belle of Amherst!

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Lynn Kable with Amal.

When Lynn Kable lived in New York City, she was a force to contend with.  More than a force, in fact.  As an arts administrator and producer, she conceived and created programs throughout the city, in homeless shelters, libraries, museums and professional theater venues from Broadway (when she worked for Merrick) to downtown La MaMa Experimental Theater Company and spaces between. Overseas, she worked on a number of landmark projects in East Central Europe (Macedonia, Poland,  etc), Central Asia (Uzbekistan) and more.

This year, 2013, marks the 10th year that Lynn has lived and worked in Virginia, just south of historic Charlottesville and north of the seven hills of Lynchburg.   For most of these years, she has slowly been working towards the reputation of bringing to the public a wide range of diverse and professional music, theater and outreach engagement projects.   She formed her own non-profit organization in 2006, Amherst Glebe Arts Response (AGAR) [see: http://www.amherstglebeartsresponse.org/  for the purpose of finding funding and community support for these public programs.  Some of the events take place in nearby historic churches and venues; from Amherst High School to St. Mark’s Church, and most recently a play performed for two weekends in the Parlor Room of her own landmarked home, The Glebe.

What can I say about working with Lynn? For those who know her and have had the privileged opportunity to work with her, you know what I mean.  Lynn has an unfathomable energy to see through any obstacle and bring out the best in everyone she works with.  Her demands are large, so you cannot go into a project half-heartedly; but most often her enthusiasm prevails and we find ourselves working harder than ever to be part of her dreams.

For 18 days in November, I was a more than willing witness and participant in the creation of The Belle of Amherst, a play that Lynn envisioned in her home the first day she saw the front Parlor. (In fact, I suspect that being able to have this play performed in her house was one of the reasons she and her husband Ned bought The Glebe.)  see: http://www.amherstcountymuseum.org/tour1957.html#glebe. We rehearsed and presented the play for six performances.  The Parlor seating for the audience was limited to 24 maximum each day, and Lynn managed to bring in audiences that ranged in age from 12 to 90 years old!  What a delight to perform in that historic room.  Sally Parrish Southall, who portrayed Emily Dickinson in the play, brought her own special profound energy to the show and the space.  As we gathered furniture from all of the rooms in Lynn’s home to the Parlor, we saw the creation of our 19thcentury setting appear before our eyes.  Maxim Tumenev, my partner in gardening and theater, helped the vision of the play come to fruition; and helped carry sofas tables and chairs into the parlor!

What else can I say about Lynn?  Years ago, when Lynn lived in New York I tried, with no success, to persuade the BESSIE committee to award her a producer extraordinaire award.   At this point, I feel that Award would not even come close to the level of recognition that she deserves.  Lynn Kable is simply one of a kind and describing her is a challenge and a joy.  She is, without reservation, a fiercely moral individual, who sings in choirs, holds together a major household in a landmark home, the mother of three amazing young professional women, and one of the best event producers worldwide.  AGAR is her vehicle for bringing arts, education, healthcare and related programs to the lucky audiences of Amherst, Virginia, and beyond.  Lynn is fearless, and I am one of the lucky ones – to be encouraged and supported by her energy and love.

Lynn Kable – this is for you.  Bravo! Standing Ovation!  Please continue to do what you do.  This is my award to you.  I offer you devotion and love; for I had the fortune to have worked side by side with you for 8 years in New York City in the 1990s; and 18 days in Virginia this November.  Lynn- you made it happen and I shall be forever grateful for the experience.  Looking forward to more!

TRUDY MORSE: April 7, 1919 – August 21, 2013

  BONNIE AND TRUDY060612_004
Trudy and Me, 2012
Dear Sarah, Michael, Mary, Alan, Ilene, Gale, Melvin, and all of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the remarkable Gertrude Morse,

I wanted to contribute some words to commemorate your mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Trudy, who was a dear friend and fellow traveler for so many years.  It has taken a few days for me to find something that could really say what is in my heart.  As you know, she was a very special “force of nature”, and you are all fortunate to have had her in your lives.  Sharing her with me and the wide world must  have been a challenge at times, but it might also have been rewarding — hearing all of the vast stories of her travels and meetings along the way.

Trudy, was to me, a mentor, teacher, fellow traveler, surrogate mother, energizer, companion in late night giggling, lover of life, lovely dancer, musician poet extraordinaire, artist and project supporter, lover of peace, life coach and dear friend.  We shared so many wonderful times together – watching performances, attending shules in Prague, visiting historic sites in Estonia and hanging out in New York City, where I live.  Trudy hopped the bus numerous times to New York- where she would attend a performance I produced, or we would go to see something interesting together.  Any time of year – she even came here on New Year’s Eve to see the Klezmatics (a founder, trumpetter Frank London was also a dear friend of hers), and got back on the 2am bus to DC.

I met her in the 1980s in New York. I have been trying to remember exactly when, but cannot find the exact moment.  We shared love for two virtuoso performers Cecil Taylor and Min Tanaka – two extraordinary artists that I worked with as a producer.  We saw them together in New York, at Jacob’s Pillow in Western Massachusettes and other wonderful venues.  Trudy always had wise words of caution and encouragement, and she followed my work around the world, often flying to the location of a project to “help out.”  Her presence was a joy to me and we shared some really crazy and fun times.

One time that I will relate – there are so many – was more recently in Prague  in 2006, when she visited me there.  We went together to watch Min Tanaka dance into the chilly Vltava River.  (I covered the event for Dance Magazine)  One year earlier, Prague had been inundated with a terrible flood.  Trudy and I sat on the banks of the river as Min entered the cold water, keeping ourselves warm in the chilly autumn sunshine.  Min’s dance was commemorating one year after the great Prague flood – and the reopening of Archa Theater, where he danced annually. (invited by Ondrej Hrab, producer)

Trudy always thought of the best way to support  an artist on the road.  In this case, she happened to have an instant ramen CUP NOODLE with her, the perfect food for warming up.  She handed it to Min after he came out of the water and was drying off on the shore.  It was such a brilliant cultural idea – and the exact food he needed to regain his body temperature afterwards.  Min was very moved and pleased with her gift – an inexpensive but rich and smart gesture.

Another time, in summer of 2001, we were in Tallinn, Estonia, and the presenter who I was working with (Priit Raud of AugustTants Festival), organized for Trudy to stay at the ornate and exclusive presidential hotel, not an easy thing to do. The day after checking in, she left the palacial abode and moved herself into the Youth Hostel located in the center of Tallinn, declaring the Presidential hotel to be too fancy and “too far from the action.”  Although Priit was surprised by her move, we quickly understood what she wanted and what she needed.  She did not want to be far from where we were holding daily rehearsals, which she loved to attend and wanted to leave for a nap if she needed and return later in the day.  She always gave me feedback about my production work, and kept me going strong.  I loved her for that.  We used to laugh so hard in the wee hours of the night on the internet together — me in NY and she in Maryland — telling each other stories that made me fall off my chair.

So many memories.  I would need a book, and after reading the memories of so many others who were touched by her, it is clear that a book of memories already exists.

TRUDY MORSE (Moma Gila)  , April 7, 1919 – August  21, 2013

May her memory be blessed for all time.Forever on my heart.

With love and care,Bonnie Sue Stein, Executive Director and Producer, GOH Productions/New York City

 

Beate Gordon (Oct 25, 1923-Dec. 30, 2012)

The world class impresario, Beate Gordon died peacefully in her sleep, December 30, 2012.  She was 89 years old.

I worked for Beate from 1982 to 1988, at the Asia Society’s Performing Arts department in New York City.  Six incredible years that carved my life path.  As an impresario, she was schooled in politeness, always putting the artist first and as her assistants we learned the old ways of producing.  None of us had degrees in Arts Administration, we learned on the job.  There was a stellar team during the 80s that included some powerful, creative women: Paula Lawrence, Karen Haight, Marie Stella, Lisa Chan, Lynn Winters and one amazing guy, Somi Roy.  She was like a mother to me, more than a mentor.  We never got any work done, because her stories captivated us and distracted us from the tasks at hand.  So we stayed late often, working on deadlines for press releases and promotion.

In 1985 our Performing Arts Department won an Obie Award, a Special Citation for sustained achievement presenting performing arts programs from Asia, including that year’s triumphant tour of the spectacular dancing drummers from Korea, Samul-Nori.  Beate, or BG as we sometimes called her, was unlike any other cultural leader, and a dying breed. She spoke several languages fluently, was schooled in the proper etiquette of all the countries she traveled and was a fearless leader, championing artists and education about Asian performing arts through visceral experience.  Every performance we presented had a pre-performance lecture/demonstration and a tasty tidbit from that culture’s food group.

Audiences loved these presentations.  Finding samosa, dumplings or other tidbits was one of my jobs, as her assistant – a job I did with relish, literally.  I also had to find scholars and experts to write about the performing arts we were presenting, as BG –knowing that the press community were not well versed in these art forms–  insisted that each press release be accompanied by a monograph. So many firsts happened under her tutelage – traditional groups from Asia toured the USA including the first touring group from the People’s Republic of China, the premiere tour of dancers and musicians from the Silk Route (Uzkekistan, Mongolia, etc), Kathakali dance drama from South India, Samul-nori drummers from Korea…  And contemporary groups – puppet troupe Kaze-no ko from Japan, butoh master, Kazuo Ohno, and our own US based Eiko and Koma – and more.  A list would take up all of the space allotted for this brief highlight of a life well lived.

“Would you be so kind”…was how BG began nearly every request.  It was a sure way to get us to do anything that needed to be done.  I learned that type of politeness could open doors and motivate action.  Beate was like a mother to me, to all of us.  She led the crew and we followed happily and diligently, supporting the groups of artists that traveled from all corners of Asia to New York City and around the country.

Paula Lawence, Beate Gordon, Bonnie Stein, Eiko and Koma 2010 photo by John Gillespie
Paula Lawence, Beate Gordon, Bonnie Stein, Eiko and Koma 2010 photo by John Gillespie
Beate was also responsible for helping to formulate an amendment of Japan’s postwar constitution which outlined Women’s Rights for the first time in that country —  a global achievement that was echoed in her book THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM.  These rights were something she felt strongly about and what she talked about most and leaves as part of her expansive legacy.  She was well aware that the current conservative government in Japan threatened preservation of these rights, and after a hiatus of several years, became vocal about the new initiatives to keep these rights safe.  A lot of her life was dedicated to equality of these rights.  More articles will be coming out in the next few days, so keep your eyes open.  She touched so many lives worldwide.  RIP dear friend and mentor.
photo: Paula Lawrence, Beate Gordon, Bonnie Stein, Eiko and Koma, 2010 by John Gillespie

East Village Dance Project La MaMa Moves! 2012

Young dancers
East Village Dance Project Pointe Class | photo by Bob London

EAST VILLAGE DANCE PROJECT, LA MAMA MOVES! 2012
MAY 20, 2012
by R. MacKenzie

My cousins and I used to call it “getting washing-machined”. That’s when you misjudged how the wave was going to break and either didn’t catch it nor dive through in time, and so ended up getting smashed down into the hard sand, salt water going up your nose, sand in your bathing suit and at the mercy of the water’s ferocious strength. That was just one of those recognizable moments in Martha Tornay’s concert of her students of The East Village Dance Project. That dance, Soaked to the Talking Heads Same As It Ever Was, was set on 9 children, one in a concert of 10 dances ranging from classical pointe work to authentic jazz in the East Village Dance Project’s annual concert presented by the LaMama Moves! Dance Festival and GOH Productions on East 4th St on May 20th, 2012.

She had those kids looking like waves rolling in and out, side to side, then suddenly they were a fountain, then a river, then somehow the little boy gets to dive in and surf right there in front of our eyes. Costumes included swimming goggles, bathing suits, and wonderful hoop tutus made of aquarium print shower curtains. This piece is really fun: The first time I saw it I laughed, the second I cried, the third, I laughed and cried.

This delicious program included a huge range of dancers in age (4-18), dance styles and skill levels, but the key to its sheer quality is the sure direction of Ms. Tornay. The dancers showed some excellent technique and they have obviously been encouraged to make individual choices and contributions. Then they have been set up within a structure that leaves them the freedom to shine at all levels. Martha provides rocking and elegant musical choices, bright and fitting costumes, but most importantly, the kids have been given permission to have a lot of fun. The teen company developed a piece over 8 months with completely original choreography, exploring in directions and making choices entirely their own, producing Alienation Affect which was accompanied by electric guitar played by a young man named Jack Lazar.

Trained with Mme. Gabriela Darvash, amongst others, Ms Tornay has taught and danced at Bates Festival for many years, but her crowning jewel is the amazing group of dancers she teaches year round in their lovely new home at #55 Ave C Studios. Her choreographies are surprising, human and entertaining, appropriate to the children’s skill levels and so charming! Lucas Rollings-Page, Victoria Roberts-Weirzbowski and Kiva Dawson, as well as the Teen Company, all made dances, every one a little gem. Lucas’ musical choice was a lovely ballad by Bobby Womack with the refrain of “If you don’t want my love, If you don’t need my love,…Give it back to me.” The girls in his dance were delicate, gentle creatures who I imagined barely discovering the tragedies and thrills of love. The girls in Ms. Dawson’s dance were skilled, sassy and frisky in the humorous jazz number Hot Honey Rag. Don Q-ish, music by Leon Minkus, was the first mini ballet on the program, a redux featuring Safouane Chestnut, our surfer from Soaked, as the prince and a sweet girl, earnest and committed, Gianna Bernard as his partner.  The costumes and choreography were excellent, the dancers joyous, (India Rogers has a radiant smile in both Don Q-ish and Bal-led) the variations charming, especially when it’s the gang of really little ballerinas with giant velvet flowers to offer, dance with, jump over…

The second ballet Bal-led, to all tunes by Led Zeppelin, was a great original idea. After seeing it I wonder why Martha isn’t already world famous and doing this season at the Joyce. The piece glides through several of your favorite classic Led Zeppelin songs with group variations, marvelous duets with Afinatou Thiam and Chloe London partnering Bailey Edwards and Lucas Rollings-Page (who each take rocking percussive solos), the incorporation of a love-seat, quartets and, towards the end, a magnificent solo by Talia Vilaplana that takes one’s breath away. Students in EVDP, from tiny to graduates, are variously stunning, graceful, elegant, self-possessed and even at times funky, but I’ve never seen a dancer who lives the dance in such a way that it is like a part of her skin like Talia does. This girl is destined to always be a stunning dancer, her technique, musicality and emotional commitment all add up to be so very magnetic.

Many dancers in Martha’s group are really skilled, but Martha’s genius lies in the way that she can put together a choreography for children who are NOT YET accomplished dancers and make them look good, make the dance dynamic, exciting and constructed in such a way that kids will be happy to perform with lots of gusto and confidence. I can say from experience that this always a challenge. Ms Tornay has shown year after year that she is up to it and so much more. BRAVO!