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Reunion

This Civil War musical takes an interesting approach to its subject: Reunion: A Musical Epic in Miniature doesn’t try to capture the entire panorama of North vs. South, instead focusing on “the dynamics between those fighting the Union’s cause.”

Playwright Jack Kyrieleison had plenty to work with, from staunch Unionists and abolitionists to slave-owning Union supporters in border states to those (mostly in the Democratic party) who wanted to accept secession and end the war short of total victory. And the author did his research, consulting multiple sources and incorporating period songs. We are assured that “95 percent of the show’s dialogue is drawn from diaries, letters, newspapers and speeches of the famous and anonymous alike.” Though one of the main narrative threads is Lincoln’s search for a “winning general,” the martyred president is not portrayed. Instead, there is a mix of historical figures and fictional, “generalized” characters, from Mrs. Lincoln’s seamstress to Union generals.

The New York State Theatre Institute’s production of Reunion opens tomorrow (Friday, May 4) at 8 PM at the Schacht Fine Arts Center (Russell Sage College, Troy). Performances will continue through May 19; visit www.nysti.org for showtimes and details. Tickets are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors and students, and $10 for children 12 and under. For reservations, call the NYSTI box office at 274-3256.

Cats of Mirikitani

This one comes from the “truth is stranger than fiction” file.

A Cat’s Tale, a documentary by New York City-based filmmaker Linda Hattendorf, tells the remarkable story of an elderly, homeless street artist, Jimmy Mirikitani. Mirikitani paints all variety of subjects, but his favorite is cats. After befriending him, Hattendorf discovers that the man has taken quite a journey to the streets of New York.

Mirikitani was born in Sacramento, Calif., in 1920. His parents moved back to Japan, however, and Mirikitani spent his childhood in Hiroshima. Appalled by “rising Japanese militarism,” the budding artist returned to California in 1938. Guess what happened when World War II started? Mirikitani was shipped to an internment camp. He made fitful attempts to restart his art career after the war.

We won’t give away anything else. Variety sums the film up nicely, in typically abbreviated trade-paper style: “Always surprising docu makes excellent use of its many serendipities.”

A Cat’s Tale will be screened tonight (Thursday, May 3) and Saturday (May 5) at 7:30 PM at Time & Space Limited (434 Columbia St., Hudson). There is an additional screening Sunday (May 6) at 5 PM. Tickets are $7, $5 for members and students. For more info, call TSL at 822-8448.


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