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As You Like It

Tomorrow (Friday), Shakespeare & Company kicks off its summer season with the Bard’s romantic comedy As You Like It, which in itself is good news. It’s an appropriately light way to begin—which is not to say slight. The role of the play’s herione, Rosaline, is regarded one of the best female characters in all of Shakespeare (and, therefore, many would argue, in theater). But, structurally, the play is in some ways an excuse for the stringing together of witticisms and contemporary melodies on the way to a whopping happy ending featuring four—count ’em, four—weddings. Of course, prior to the heartwarming resolution, there’s a fair share of comic crankiness in the form of pessimistic Jaques, who can “suck melancholy out of a song the way a weasel sucks eggs”—just so you know. (Those of you just champing at the bit for some real treachery and betrayal, settle down: Shakespeare & Co. will conclude its Founders’ Theatre season with Othello, so you’ll get yours.)

As an added bonus, attendees will get to sample the Preludes prior to the performance of the play. The Preludes “give Company artists an opportunity to explore the age-old tradtional form of entertainment: the street performer.” This program, which runs before Founders’ Theatre productions all season, will on Friday feature Morris Dancers, a “smattering” of Shakepearean sonnets and other Renaissance readings, and a new 10-minute comedy. Later in the season, the Preludes will include Renaissance dances, performance of Greek myths adapted for children by Nathaniel Hawthrone and—this sounds great—Dueling Clergy.

As You Like It opens tomorrow (Friday, June 18) at Shakespeare & Company’s Founders’ Theatre (Kemble Street, Lenox, Mass.). Tickets are $15-$56. For showtimes and more information, call (413) 637-3353.

John Scofield Trio

John Scofield is renowned for being a master at jazz guitar. He started playing when he was 11 and continued through high school; in the early ’70s, he went to Berklee and started playing out in the Boston area. He’s since put out dozens of albums, and worked with renowned jazz and rock musicians; he was even a member of one of Miles Davis’ groups. In his autobiography (which can be found on his Web site), Scofield says, “My stint with Miles made me sure that there really was a kind of music that was both funky and improvised at the same time.” Other artists with whom he’s joined forces include Pat Metheny and Medeski, Martin and Wood. Though Scofield has been playing for almost four decades, he says, “I’m having more fun playing now than I ever have and I feel like I can finally really learn to play the guitar.” Talented and modest.

Scofield’s most recent album, EnRoute, was released last month on Verve Records. It’s an album of live music captured during a December 2003 performance at New York City’s Blue Note jazz lounge, and it’s been getting praise from critics everywhere. His longtime collaborators, drummer Bill Stewart and bassist Steve Swallow, joined him for a night of improvisation and interplay that defied the frigid weather of the moment. The three are now touring in support of the new disc.

The John Scofield Trio will drop by the Van Dyck (237 Union St., Schenectady) to perform tonight (Thursday, June 17) at 8 PM. Tickets are $28. For more information, call the club at 381-1111 or visit www.vandyck.com.

River Street Festival

Troy, the city, is getting to the point that it needs its own theme song. Just last week, we noted a new play that had been written about the Collar City. Now, we note that a brand-new festival—the River Street Festival, sponsored by the city of Troy and the River Street Area Merchants—will debut this Saturday. Cue the music!

Here’s the rundown: A juried arts and crafts festival will feature many notable local artists, including Ronda Jeffer, Greg Haymes, Michael Eck, Loretta Ann Castagna, the 200 Proof Collective and Elissa Halloran. In the “arts for the family category,” the Arts Center of the Capital Region is sponsoring a sidewalk chalk-art competition, and a large mural project for the kids.

There also will be antiques for sale, food and music—in fact, music on two stages. The bands will include the Fleshtones, Thee Ummm, Folding Sky, the Sharks, Erin Harkes, Raisinhead, The Buckadelics!!! and more. (The music starts at noon.) There will be two Troy-based dance groups performing: Charisma, and “T” Company featuring Girls en Motion. And, last but certainly not least, Chicago-based magician Jeffrey Jene, a two-time winner of the Houdini Prize, will work the sleight-of-hand.

The River Street Festival will be held this Saturday (June 19) from 10 AM to 5 PM on River Street in Troy. For more information, call 270-4554.


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