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Linda Ronstadt

Country, rock, folk, jazz, alt-country, operetta. . . . Name a genre of music, and it’s likely that Linda Ronstadt has done it, or at least tried to do it. Ronstadt has had perhaps the most forays into the worlds of country and rock, collaborating with artists like the Eagles, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, James Taylor, Elvis Costello, and many others. Her lush, honey voice as her instrument, Ronstadt has been a major musical player for four decades. Over Ronstadt’s long career she’s released dozens of albums, and as a result, has been nominated for dozens of Grammys, a few of which she’s won.

As Ronstadt nears her 60th birthday (July 15, for those who are curious), she’s still at it. Last month saw the release of The Best of Linda Ronstadt: The Capitol Years, a compilation that includes some previously unreleased material. Catch the voice that’s made her a star all these years when she stops in Schenectady this week.

Linda Ronstadt will perform at Proctor’s Theatre (432 State St., Schenectady) on Monday (June 5) at 8 PM. Tickets to the show are $19.75 to $59.75. For more information or to order tickets, call 346-6204, or visit www.proctors.org.

The Cat, the Sun and the Mirror

The New York State Theatre Institute ends their current season with yet another world premiere musical, The Cat, the Sun and the Mirror. Directed by Ed. Lange, with a book by Robert A. Anderson, and music and lyrics by Edward C. Sullivan, The Cat is the story “of a feline detective’s search for a missing ‘person’—the Sun—who has withdrawn from her place in the sky because of self-doubt and the feeling she is no longer appreciated.”

In case you haven’t guessed, or you don’t watch much anime on Cartoon Network, it’s based on a Japanese folk tale. (The prominence of the cat is the dead giveaway.)

The Cat, the Sun and the Mirror opens Sunday (June 4) with a 2 PM performance at the New York State Theatre Institute (Schacht Fine Arts Center, Russell Sage College, Troy). The play continues through June 16 with a variety of morning, matinee and evening performances; call the box office at 274-3256 for showtimes. Tickets are $20-$10. For more info, visit www.nysti.org.

 

Kevin James

It wouldn’t be surprising if this Saturday is the Capital Region’s last chance to catch Kevin James doing stand-up live at the Palace Theater. This is not some sort of inside tip; the guy blew up last year co-starring with Will Smith in a little movie called Hitch. So why would he bother with li’l old Albany? It would seem like a good bet that James will soon be too busy filming movies alongside Smith, Adam Sandler, and Jim Carrey—and counting his money—to spend time here.

According to James, however, it may not be such a good bet after all, because he says stand-up is not something he’ll soon give up. “It’s just something I enjoy doing,” he says. “I don’t need to do it. No, I just really enjoy doing stand-up. I love getting up there in front of a live audience. So, you know, that’s basically it. That’s why I love it, and that theater [the Palace] is awesome.”

James’ success with Hitch has eclipsed the live-action comedy success of his mentor Ray Romano, the man who gave James’ career the start that led from guest spots on Everyone Loves Raymond to James’ own show, King of Queens. I ask James, “You think you might teach Ray something about making movies?” “Uh, he’s doing a . . . OK,” he replies, half laughing, “He had a rough one with Mooseport. That didn’t go too well, but his animated films are doing well. He could teach me a few things there.”

James says that despite the fact that he broke onto the comedy scene through appearances on Star Search, he has not been paying much attention to this generation’s TV talent search, American Idol. “I haven’t watched it that much. I haven’t had the time,” he says. He pauses, and then sarcastically intones, “I hear it’s sweeping the nation.”

He pauses again and says, “It’s weird. . . . It gives new, talented people a shot, but yet when a rock star is born on there it’s got this syrupy sweet . . . I don’t know. . . . I picture a rock star being born . . . working crappy pubs and clubs and dark, smoky rooms. You know what I’m saying? I don’t picture them winning American Idol. But that doesn’t make ’em any less talented.”

Wondering if perhaps James would consider his own darker version of a talent search, I ask, “Would you consider, down the road when you’re taking down 20 mill a picture, starting your own Star Search thing for comedians? Let’s say with a darker edge than Idol?” He quickly responds, “Not just for comedians. I’ll just get up there and sing! I don’t give a crap!”

While it may be a bad bet to assume James will soon give up stand-up comedy, it is a good bet that James will soon be a ginormous Hollywood player. James has been and will be working with the biggest names in comedy. He says this fall he begins filming a movie called I Now Pronounce You Larry and Steve with Adam Sandler, and is in the soon-to-be-released animated feature Barnyard. Of his success in film, James insists, “Adam and Will [Smith] are as big as you get. So I’ve been very fortunate in that arena. It does not get bigger than those guys, and I’m just very lucky.”

In the face of so much success, it is hard to believe that James will have time to bother touring cities like Albany again. But he banishes the idea. “The last time we were there it was such an awesome, awesome audience. The Palace Theater is designed for comedy,” he declares. “So, you know, when you get to pick and choose these audiences and crowds and the venue and when it’s the right venue, it just explodes! And that’s why we are just lucky to go back.”

Kevin James will be at the Palace Theater in Albany on Saturday (June 3) at 8 PM. Tickets are $38, $48 and $58. To purchase tickets, call 465-4334.

—David King


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