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Jane Eyre: The Musical

Somehow, composer and lyricist Paul Gordon managed to get through school without having to read Charlotte Bronte’s classic Gothic novel Jane Eyre. When he finally did take the plunge into the story of orphan-governess Eyre, the tragic Rochester and the mysterious “madwoman in the attic,” the effect was immediate: “By page 10, I was weeping.” Gordon contacted Les Misérables (the musical) cowriter John Caird, and they spent seven years preparing Jane Eyre: The Musical. After the usual tryouts (in Toronto and La Jolla, Calif.), the production opened on Broadway to much acclaim, earning a fistful of Tony Award nominations.

Schenectady Light Opera Company will present the first community theater production of Jane Eyre: The Musical in New York state. Directed by Michael Mensching, the musical stars Joan Horgan (pictured at left) as Jane and John Anthony Lopez (pictured at right) as Rochester.

Jane Eyre: The Musical will be presented tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 17) through Sunday (Oct. 19) by the Schenectady Light Opera Company (826 State St., Schenectady). The Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 PM; a Sunday matinee is at 2 PM. There will be additional performances Oct. 23-25 at 8 PM and Oct. 26 at 2 PM. For reservations and information, call 393-5732 or visit

Alyson Shotz, Brushing the Present

Two fall exhibitions will open this week at Skidmore College’s Tang Museum. Alyson Shotz is an artist who works in various types of media (painting, sculpture, installations, digital photography and such) to bring to life plants, nature images and other “bio-inspired” objects that exist only in her head. She creates what she calls dream-plants of the imagination; for example, Mobile Flora is made up of faux plant stalks, with wheels instead of roots for easy transport, and tubes for self-feeding. Her show is called A Slight Magnification of Altered Things, the first of which to bring together works from all aspects of her career. Pictured is Double Oasis (2003).

The second show on view at the Tang is called Brushing the Present: Contemporary Academy Painting from China, featuring 35 works by 27 artists affiliated with universities and academies from North China. The theme of the show is the illustration of how these artists are responding to societal changes in China brought about by globalization and more flexibility in regards to artistic expression. This show is will be on view in conjunction with Different Chinas, a series of interdisciplinary events on campus this semester.

Alyson Shotz: A Slight Magnification of Altered Things and Brushing the Present: Contemporary Academy Painting from China both open today (Thursday, Oct. 16) at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College (815 N. Broadway, Saratoga Springs). The exhibits will run through Dec. 31. An opening reception to celebrate the new shows will be held tonight from 6 to 7:30 PM. Also, following the reception, a dance party will take place at 10:30 PM with DJ Nayland Blake, in conjunction with his exhibit, Performance Video 1989-2002 (which runs through Dec. 31 as well). For more information about any of the exhibits or events, call the Tang at 580-8080.

Topics in Advanced Face-Melting

What the people at Impulse Response have put together for us to experience tomorrow (Friday) is an immersion in sight, sound and, well, face-melting. The aforementioned melting refers to that loss of self experienced when a particular art form moves us to such a degree that our ego seems so last week. Prepare to strip skin, because this multimedia show features two cutting-edge musicians of the sort the IR folks tend to invite, a light (as in speed of) artist and a historic venue with cool acoustics. These guys really cover all the angles.

Topics in Advanced Face-Melting: An Evening of Light and Sound features premier area laptop musician Jesse Stiles, aka the Jesse Stiles 3000, and New York City-based “Renaissance Violinist” Todd Reynolds. Their performances will be lit by dynamic light sculptures created by Boston-based light artist Kevin McCormick. And there’s another element to Face-Melting: the venue. The Gasholder is an 1873 Troy Landmark that, back in the day, manufactured gas for light; the Troy Gas Light Company made the stuff there for 40 years. The tanks are gone, but building itself is a sight to behold, with acoustics to match. A domed ceiling rises 65 feet from the ground, and the brick walls generate five seconds of natural acoustic reverb. Stiles, Reynolds and McCormick have all created “computer-based performance systems that will exploit the architectural and sonic properties of the Gasholder.”

Jesse Stiles 3000 is a project that Stiles has been working on and with since 1996; the JS3K is described as an electronic-music performance system and character with a couple goals in its electronic mind: “extend human/sound interaction through the development of new instruments and software,” and “to extend the boundaries of electronic music by engaging in a dialogue between ‘popular’ as well as non-western world cultures.” Oh yeah, and to make life better and fun with innovative music.

A longtime member of Bang on a Can, Todd Reynolds is known to electrify his violin for the live audience, melding improv and composed sections with the aid of his Mac and digital loops, “incorporating minimalist, pop, jazz, Indian, African, Celtic and indigenous folk musics into his own sonic blend.”

MIT graduate Kevin McCormick became enchanted with all things LED, and has helped advance and explore the possibilities of the unique light source. LEDs lend themselves to computer modulation, which inspires McCormick’s art. His desired outcome: “To showcase the beauty of LED light by letting the LED define its own new medium, and to marry LED illumination to sound, video and music as an essential new component of the multimedia experience.”

Topics in Advanced Face-Melting with the Jesse Stiles 3000, Todd Reynolds and Kevin McCormick will take place at the historic Gasholder building (1115 5th Ave., Troy) tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 17). The show starts at 9 PM and won’t cost you a dime. Call 281-3206 for further information.

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