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Crumbs From the Table of Joy

Replacing a director is never easy. Replacing a director of a prestigious regional premiere of a 1995 play described as sort of a coupling of A Streetcar Named Desire and Raisin in the Sun is damned difficult. Replacing a director after six months of preproduction would be theatrical suicide. But when faced with the unfortunate withdrawal of acclaimed regional director Robert Bennett from Capital Repertory Company’s Crumbs From the Table of Joy, locally acclaimed StageWorks artistic director Laura Margolis was close at hand—and it was fortuitous for all concerned.

“Ironically, when Jeff Dannick [Capital Rep’s marketing director] showed me last year the proposed season, I told him . . . the only play with my name on it was Crumbs From the Table of Joy,” Margolis says at Capital Rep’s Orange Street space after a rehearsal. “Robert Bennett is a wonderful director, and I knew the production would be wonderful, but that was the one I would do. . . . When Robert got sick in December, I had a lull in my schedule and it just worked out.”

Having the set designed and completed without her, Margolis made the casting decisions, and has approval on costumes, lights, and sound. “Though it’s not ideal, I’ve got the time now while StageWorks’ season is being considered. The production will have my mark.”

Set in the 1950s, Crumbs From the Table of Joy is about a Southern black family moving into a Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn. Lynn Nottage’s play—the title is a line from Langston Hughes’ poem “Luck”—is a memory play viewed through both the 17-year-old Ernestine’s eyes, and a mature Ernestine’s shattered psyche: “It’s a play about a woman who thought all she was given was crumbs, but when she looks back she realizes with all these crumbs, she has a whole loaf of bread,” Margolis says, addressing her five-person ensemble cast.

“Capital Rep plans their production a year in advance, while I’m used to working on two months lead time, so replacing someone as talented and well-respected as Robert at this late stage wasn’t as hard as could have been. It was perfect ill-timing,” Margolis laughs. “Besides, hon, I think quickly, and time is not a luxury I’m used to.”

Crumbs From the Table of Joy will be presented by Capital Repertory Theater (111 N. Pearl St., Albany) tomorrow (Friday, Feb. 27) through March 27. Previews are Friday through Tuesday (March 2). Opening night is Wednesday (March 3) at 7:30 PM. Opening-night festivities include preshow entertainment and will begin at 6:30 PM with music provided by the Reflection Choir from Schenectady’s Friendship Baptist Church. Discussion nights are scheduled for every Wednesday after opening night. Regular performance times are 7:30 PM Tuesday through Thursday; 8 PM Friday; 4 and 8:30 PM Saturday; and 2:30 PM Sunday. Ticket prices range from $24 to $29 for previews and $31 to $39 for regular performances, depending upon day and time. Call 445-7469.

—James Yeara

Mancini at the Movies

The late Henri Mancini (pictured) was a musical rarity: A composer of movie scores with a real flair for pop music. He could write an involving dramatic score for a thriller like the Cary Grant-Audrey Hepburn classic Charade, or the drama Days of Wine and Roses, then pop out hits like “Moon River,” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, or the absurdly catchy nursery tune “Baby Elephant Walk” from Hatari. And let’s not forget the “Theme From Peter Gunn,” which has outlived the forgotten TV show it was composed for, or the “Theme From The Pink Panther,” which undoubtedly paid for his children’s (and children’s children’s) educations.

It’s his daughter Monica, in fact, who will be singing many of these hits at Proctor’s tomorrow (Friday). Accompanied by the Henri Mancini Institute Alumni Orchestra, and showcasing clips from the films he scored, Monica Mancini will host this tribute to her dad.

Mancini at the Movies will be presented at Proctor’s Theatre (432 State St., Schenectady) tomorrow (Friday, Feb. 27) at 8 PM. Adult tickets are $35.50 to $19.50, children $25.50 to $9.50. For reservations and information, call 346-6204.

Osiris Piano Trio

‘It was by gentleness alone that Osiris subjected country after country, winning and disarming their inhabitants by songs and the playing of musical instruments.”

That’s from the intro to the Osiris Piano Trio’s Web site. As Public Enemy used to say, “consider yourself warned.” The trio will come to Emma Willard’s Kiggins Hall Saturday night to conquer, musically. These Dutch musicians—Ellen Corver (piano), Larissa Groeneveld (cello) and Peter Brunt (violin)—will brandish works by Ravel, Beethoven, Martinu and Loevendie for weapons. Be warned.

The Friends of Chamber Music will host the Osiris Piano Trio on Saturday (Feb. 28) at 8 PM in Kiggins Hall (Emma Willard School, Troy). Tickets are $19 to $10. For more information, call 273-8135.


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