Posts Tagged ‘Performing Arts’

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hal Smith, Alias Otis Campbell, Massena’s Shining Star (Part 3)

In early January 1938, Hal Smith, described as an “impersonator, vocalist, and musician,” left WIBX in Utica to sing, do impersonations, and perform production work for stations WGR, WKBW, and WEBR in Buffalo. Without missing a beat, he was soon serving as master of ceremonies at high-profile events, and leading a band known as Pop Martin and His Boys while hosting a radio show by the same name. He was also regularly featured on WEBR with well-known Buffalo singer Joan Hutton, on a pair of shows titled “Music is My Hobby” and “Linger Awhile.”

Despite doing well in Buffalo, Hal returned by mid-year to WIBX in Utica. One reason for the move may have been his relationship with the station secretary there, Vivian Angstadt. In early August 1938 they applied for a marriage license, and were wed in Utica on the thirteenth. After a stay at Lake Placid while touring the Adirondacks, they returned to work at WIBX. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hal Smith, Alias Otis Campbell, Massena’s Shining Star (Part 2)

For Hal Smith and his siblings, there always seemed to be a new act in the works. When she was 18, Hal’s sister Bernadeen presented the Follies of 1932 in the local opera house in January, a show that included the Smith children singing and dancing. In April of the same year, the PTA sponsored a circus act as a stage production, with dozens of cast members led by Hal Smith as ringmaster. In two different shows presented in June, including a band concert, he sang solos.

In September, at the beginning of the next school year, Bernadeen and Kathleen directed, acted, and danced in a four-act play. Just three weeks past his 16th birthday, Hal sang a solo in scene two, and between acts he sang with Joe Calipari and his orchestra.

While still directing plays and shows, the Smith sisters enrolled in Potsdam Normal School in the fall of 1932. Hal continued taking acting roles, but more and more was performing as a singer. He joined the newly formed Massena High School choir, and in November, when the school band played on radio station CFLC (in Prescott, Ontario, opposite Ogdensburg on the St. Lawrence River), Hal was the solo vocalist. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

North Country’s Hal Smith, Mayberry’s Affable Town Drunk

For millions of people, holidays are all about going home, returning to one’s roots of family and friends. That concept was epitomized by a North Country man who attained great fame in Hollywood, but to his great credit never forgot the home folks — and to their credit, the home folks never forgot him. Whenever he returned to the North Country, or old friends visited him in California, there was always an exchange of love, admiration, and deep appreciation.

He was born in northern Michigan in 1916 as Harold John Smith, about as anonymous a name as one can imagine, and likely one that stirs no sense of recognition. But if Otis Campbell were mentioned, many would instantly recall Mayberry’s affable town drunk from The Andy Griffith Show. » Continue Reading.


Friday, November 25, 2016

North Creek Theatre Group Celebrating 20th Anniversary

our town theatre groupOur Town Theatre Group will end the 2016 season with a 20th Anniversary Gala, on Saturday, December 10, at 7 pm in the Lyle Dye Auditorium at Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek.

The free event will feature music by The Jive Five featuring area favorites Al Tolomeo and Frank Conti. Refreshments, dancing, and short scenes pulled from OTTG’s history will be performed to commemorate the history of the group. OTTG memorabilia will also be on display to showcase OTTG history. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

An Adirondack Thanksgiving Tradition: The Nutcracker Ballet

ncbenutcracker_keeganphotographyThis weekend kicks off my family’s Thanksgiving tradition and it doesn’t involve standing in a queue or waking up early to nab a coveted online prize. Our Black Friday tradition involves a performance of the North Country Ballet Ensemble’s (NCBE) The Nutcracker.

Therese Wendler, principal dancer with Rebecca Kelly Ballet and Dances Patrelle, will once again dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the NCBE’s 31st Annual Nutcracker performance. Mikhail Ilyin, a sololist and principal dancer with the Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet and American Ballet Theater, will perform in the role of Cavalier alongside local and regional dancers.

The Nutcracker Ballet is the perfect blending of gorgeous sets and costumes with a timeless story and score.   This family-friendly ballet gestures in the Christmas holidays as we once again are whisked into young Claire’s adventure when her toy Nutcracker comes to life to defeat the evil Mouse King. The magical experience, accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, pulls us into a land of life-size toys, dancing sweets and a Nutcracker prince. » Continue Reading.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Delmoni-McCarty-Thomas String Trio Sunday in Saranac

delmoni-mccarty-thomas-string-trio-2In its 21-year history, Saranac’s Hill and Hollow Music has brought over 200 professional chamber music ensembles to the Adirondacks. Their community outreach has included presentations in schools, churches, senior residences and community centers. I am always so grateful for such organizations that float into our communities with seemingly little effort and bring international musicians to our door.

This Sunday, November 20 at the Saranac United Methodist Church on Rt. 3, Hill and Hollow Founder and Director Angela Brown has brought together an outstanding trio to perform at the Saranac “Little Church in the Hollow.” » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Help Sought For Tupper Lake’s Flanders Performance Park

tupper lake bandshellTupper Lake is looking to turn Flanders Park into a performance park, and it needs help from the community and visitors.

The plan is to build a bandshell on the shore of the scenic Raquette Pond and build a stone plaza in front of the bandshell. Construction will also include a rain garden behind the bandshell that will help with drainage. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 7, 2016

Historic Saranac Lake to Feature “Hotel Hope” Film

Will Rogers adHistoric Saranac Lake (HSL) will hold its 36th Annual Meeting on Wednesday, November 9, 2016 at 7 pm at the Saranac Laboratory Museum. The meeting will feature a presentation by filmmaker Jim Griebsch of a newly updated version of “Hotel Hope: the Story of Will Rogers Hospital.”

The evening will also feature the unveiling of an artifact donated to HSL by the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. The meeting is open to members of Historic Saranac Lake and those who are interested in becoming members. Light refreshments will be served.

Historic Saranac Lake contracted with Jim Griebsch to produce the historical film in 2015. Special historian for Will Rogers Memorial Hospital Leslie Hoffman provided research assistance. Caroline Welsh, Director Emerita of the Adirondack Museum, and Art and Museum Consultant, assisted with research and writing. Originally planned to be a short film of under fifteen minutes, the project grew to feature original film footage and contemporary interviews with former patients and employees of the hospital. In 2016, the film was updated with additional footage. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Historic Pickens Hall Abbott Sisters History Event

slcha-annual-meetingThe St. Lawrence County Historical Association’s 69th Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday, November 5th, from 11 am to 2 pm at Pickens Hall, 83 N. State Street in  Heuvelton.

A painted barn quilt, a tour of Pickens Hall, and a talk on the Abbott sisters will highlight the night. The public is invited and you do not have to be a member of the SLCHA to attend. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Murder Mansion, Audience Participation Play in North Creek

murder mansion castThe murder mystery “Murder Mansion” will become a traveling road show on November 4, as it hits several hot spots in North Creek.

The audience participation play will begin at Basil & Wicks, when the North Creek Business Alliance Shuttle picks up audience members at 5:27 pm.

From there the audience becomes investigators as they travel to the Wevertown Community Center and the site of the first act of “Murder Mansion” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Graveyard Walks Through Warrensburg History Planned

12066017_898903666861717_1774109501254190536_nSince 2001, the Warrensburgh Historical Society has been hosting annual Graveyard Walks. Through historical research, a narrator, actors, visitors and students have the opportunity to learn the connections between national events and local citizens. This year’s event is focusing on people who were killed or died during World War II.

According to Warrensburgh Historical Society President Paul Gilchrist, the October 21 and 28 Graveyard Walks will take place rain or shine, cold or wind. This year’s military theme focuses on five residents with a connection to the Second World War. The two-hour walks are led by a guide to each of the gravestones. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Plattsburgh’s Little-Known Theater Treasure Mary Boylan (Conclusion)

z1-maryboylanDespite increasing opportunities in other entertainment media, most of Mary Boylan’s time was spent in New York City’s theater scene, where a rejection of Broadway’s commercialism was attractive to those deeply interested in art for the sake of art itself. Already there was an established Off-Broadway scene, but this was shunned as well. The year 1958 is cited as the birth of Off-Off-Broadway at a place in Greenwich Village known as Caffe Cino, where a plaque today honors the site’s significance. Among the established and most popular regulars there from the start was Mary Boylan, with Al Pacino listed as one of many of the café’s early performers.

True to the Village’s bohemian reputation, the café’s actors received no pay directly. Patrons normally bought a coffee and sandwich, and a basket was passed as compensation for the performers. Caffe Cino’s popularity inspired similar efforts nearby in other café settings, like La Mama, and in churches, bars, and any available spaces, lending to the wild and carefree attitude of the Village. Mary was considered a star performer at both café venues (Cino and La Mama). She looked much older than her actual age, leading to many roles as elderly citizens, but in real life was a smiling, energetic personality with a great sense of humor and a ready laugh. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Mary Boylan: Plattsburgh’s Little-Known Theater Treasure

y1-maryboylanOn the west side of Lower Manhattan in New York City, Greenwich Village has long been home to progressive thinkers and artists of all types, as well as ground zero for several movements. In the 1950s and 60s, it was a mainstay of the nation’s bohemian culture, hosting beatniks, folk music originals, the strong counter-culture movement, and the Beat Generation, with such icons as Maya Angelou, Truman Capote, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Rod McKuen.

The coffeehouse scene flourished at that time, when a remarkable alternative to commercial theater was developed: Off-Off-Broadway, where productions ran the gamut from scripted to impromptu, and venues ranged from old warehouses to small cafes. At the heart of this historic movement was a little-known North Country actress and writer who was widely respected in the New York City arts community.

Mary Elizabeth Boylan was born in Plattsburgh, New York, in February 1913. Her father, John, was a mainstay of the community, serving as district deputy of the Knights of Columbus for four years, president of the chamber of commerce for two years, and general manager of the Mountain Home Telephone Company. In 1924, when Mary was 11, the family moved to Rochester, New York, where her dad became president of the Rochester Telephone Company three years later. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Remarkable Women of the Adirondacks

Sandra Weber as Kate FieldThe Alice T. Miner Museum has announced a free program featuring author Sandra Weber, who will tell tales of the strength and courage of Adirondack women, on Thursday, October 20, at 6 pm.

In this program of portrayals and stories, Sandra Weber presents the voices and wild spirit of Adirondack women. Dressed in period costume, Weber will deliver dramatic narratives of women such as pancake-flipper Mother Johnson, adventurer-activist Kate Field, poet Jeanne Robert Foster, and suffrage martyr Inez Milholland. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Last Weekend For ‘The Lone Ranger Rides Again’ Radio Drama

gem radio theatre lone ranger rehersalThere are only two chances left to see the Gem*Radio Theatre Company’s latest production of The Lone Ranger Rides Again – this weekend at the Adirondack Lake Center for the Arts in Blue Mountain Lake and at the Indian Lake Theatre. According to Director Hannah Jay the newly formed production company branched off from GemBoy Productions last year and their first radio play was a success.

“We performed It’s A Wonderful Life last year for the first time,” says Jay. “We are a small group and so far we are focusing on one production a year. There is something about a classic that appeals to all ages.”

The cast of nine includes two Foley artists that worked to perfect the sounds that replicate a radio production. The full production consists of four full-length episodes including the first and last of the original radio broadcasts. » Continue Reading.


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