it certainly was a weird idea. In fact, the author of the
show’s book, Peter Stone, said it “sounded like the worst
idea that had ever been proposed for a musical.”
You see, 1776 tells the story of the crafting of
the Declaration of Independence. It’s full of songs about
politics and issues, sung by a mostly all-male cast in powdered
wigs that don’t even give the slightest hint of drag or
camp. And it works: There is real drama in the unlikely
birth of our nation, and some comedy, too. (As in the character
of the representative from New York, who consistently abstains
from taking a position on anything. The more things
change . . .)
As a result, 1776 (which opens tomorrow at the New
York State Theatre Institute) attracts a lot of people who
don’t usually like musicals. In fact, folks who wouldn’t
be caught dead at Cats or Les Mis eagerly
awaited the release of the restored, extended film version
on DVD a couple of years ago. Why? Well, how many musicals
out there are for both theater lovers and history buffs?
will be presented by the New York State Theatre Institute
(Schacht Fine Arts Center, Russell Sage College, Troy) beginning
tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 27) and continuing through Feb. 11.
For showtimes, reservations and information, call 274-3256
or visit www.nysti.org.
Mead Traveling Film & Video Festival
longest-running showcase for independent, international
documentaries in the United States has touched down in the
Capital Region. For the last 28 years, the American Museum
of Natural History’s Margaret Mead Traveling Film &
Video Festival (feel free to abbreviate at will) has taken
a handful of films from its larger festival (an event held
annually at the aforementioned museum) on the road, bringing
the best in nonfiction cinema to cities around the country.
Cosponsored by iEAR Presents! and the Sanctuary for Independent
Media, the festival’s Troy installment is divided into three
two-night clusters: The first film was screened last night;
this evening (Thursday, Jan. 26), catch Awake Zion,
a 2003 doc that explores the connections between reggae
culture and Judaism. Screenings continue with five films
on Feb. 1 and 2, and the festival wraps up with Home
on Feb. 8, and the Afghan film Land Mines: A Love Story
on Feb. 9.
The Margaret Mead Traveling Film & Video Festival continues
through Feb. 9 at the Sanctuary for Independent Media (3361
6th Ave., Troy). Each program begins at 7 PM. A donation
of $10 is suggested for each screening. For more information,
Peña: Flamenco in Concert
both the music and the dance, has, when it really works,
a unique intimacy and power. Both musician and dancer must
convey emotion—often violent emotion—with precision and
control. According to critics around the world, guitarist
Paco Peña and his company of guitarists and dancers are
one of the leading practitioners of this difficult art.
New York Times said that Peña is “a virtuoso, capable
of dazzling an audience beyond the frets of mortal man.”
The Boston Herald said that he exhibits a “combination
of discipline and control with [a] constant undercurrent
of passionate emotion,” which has made Peña “one of the
premiere flamenco guitarists in the world.”
And he’s coming to the Troy Music Hall tomorrow (Friday),
along with three guitarists, a singer and dancers, to heat
up a cold Capital Region night.
Paco Peña and his company will perform tomorrow (Friday,
Jan. 27) at 8 PM at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (2nd
and State streets, Troy). Tickets are $28, $25 and $15 (students).
For reservations and information, call the Music Hall box
office at 273-0038.