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Emelin Theatre Blog - Featuring Acrobatics, Comedy & Inventive Dance, Galumpha is Perfect for Families…and One of Them Is A Local!
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Thursday, February 9, 2012, 05:30 PM - Posted by Harris

One of the highlights of the Emelin's Spring Season is sure to be the February 18 performances, now just over a week ago, by Galumpha. Combining stunning acrobatics, striking visual effects, physical comedy and inventive choreography, the performers create a sensory feast of images ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime, drawn together into a seamless whole, consistently bringing audiences to their feet.

One such audience is all the way across the country in Tacoma, Washington. The News Tribune, a paper covering the whole Seattle & Tacoma area, writes:
Each year the Broadway Center for Performing Arts in Tacoma brings in a circus-based troupe, and they always pick a good one. This year it’s Galumpha, an East Coast trio of dancers who combine acrobatics, physical comedy and truly beautiful visuals.

…Formed ten years ago, Galumpha’s success…springs from a combination of inventive choreography and a light-hearted take on the world. Pieces like “Velcro” take an everyday item and explore the hilarious fall-out from over-applying it; others like “Human Fly” balance the dancers impressively on each other’s backs and feet while using perfectly-timed choreography (angled arms, fussing hands) to imitate another creature.

“It’s collaborative, but driven by my ideas,” explains founder and dancer Andy Horowitz. “I keep a stash of ideas – costume, music, theater – and in rehearsal we’ll experiment making dances out of them. Some live on – the magic ones.”

…One thing stays constant – the number of performers. “I love the number three,” says Horowitz. “Two is a pas de deux, four is often just two pas de deux. But three – it’s a challenge. It’s exciting.”

Those three performers will be back on the East Coast on Saturday the 18th for two appearances, at 11 am & 1 pm, here at the Emelin.

And there's one more thing: among the artists in this award-winning group (Edinburgh Festival Critics' Choice Award; Moers International Comedy Arts Prize) is a Westchester native! Kate Parlato (pictured at right, courtesy of galumpha.com), who, like the Emelin, hails from Mamaroneck, is coming back to her home town—and bringing a troupe that has appeared on adobelovers.com The Late Show with David Letterman, Jerry Lewis's Legendary MDA Telethon, A&E, Showtime, and MTV to our very own stage. We couldn't feel more privileged by the opportunity.

Join us, and come see more in the Emelin's family, dance, and music series in 2012!

Buy tickets online here, call the Emelin box office at 914.698.0098 or get them in person: 153 Library Lane, Mamaroneck, NY 10543.

Friday, February 3, 2012, 04:30 PM - Posted by Harris


Here's some great news on a Friday: The Liar Show, which is coming to the Emelin in barely more than a week, has just gotten an amazing write-up in the New York Times. Rachel Lee Harris, the paper's "Weekend Miser," writes:
“The Liar Show” is Mr. Christie’s way of keeping alive his father’s love of what he calls “artistic storytelling.” A riff on a game of whodunit, the show features four performers. Each tells a story; only one is lying. Audience members are then encouraged to ask probing questions to flush out the culprit.

“That’s my favorite part of the show: the interrogation,” Mr. Christie said, as he laughed. “Sometimes it gets really heated. And the performers can even sometimes get a little resentful that they’re being doubted. One guy told a fairly heavy, serious story about finding out that his father was not really his father. During the interrogation, he got really defensive. He was even a little weepy. But at the end, he was lying.”

The show closes with a satisfying reveal, usually followed by a huge cheer from the audience members who guessed correctly and a lot of fist pumping and howling, Mr. Christie said, “way out of proportion to the free T-shirt they just won.” But everybody wants to be the one to ask the killer question, including this Miser.

…They can lie to me all night long!

Needless to say, we're delighted whenever an upcoming show at the Emelin gets a review this good. But it's especially exciting because The Liar Show is just so much fun, and its creator, Andy Christie, is such a character. Here's more from the article:
You could say that lying runs in Andy Christie’s family.

“My father was sort of a classic liar,” said Mr. Christie, a writer, illustrator and founder and host of “The Liar Show” at the Cornelia Street Café. His father, a Scottish soldier, and his mother, a Yugoslavian refugee, met during World War II.

“She was this big, imposing farm girl, and he was this 5-foot, 6-inch Scottish private, so he got next to her by lying a lot,” Mr. Christie said. “He made up stories. …She had a twin brother who had died when he was a baby, and my father told her that he had a brother who had died too. …I think he wanted things to be a little more colorful."

"More colorful." "Artistic storytelling." That's one way to put it! You can see The Liar Show here, on Saturday, February 11 @ 8 pm, for $27.

Actually, "see" is the wrong word, given that your ticket also gives you the right to ask questions, demand answers, accuse the actors, make your best guess, and find out which one wasn't making it all up.

Grab this chance to hear 3 true stories and 1 pack of lies by New York's fastest talkers. Join us, and come see more in the Emelin Theatre Series in 2012!

Buy tickets online here, call the Emelin box office at 914.698.0098 or get them in person: 153 Library Lane, Mamaroneck, NY 10543.

Friday, January 27, 2012, 06:10 PM - Posted by Harris

"You could also see the way hip-hop draws on these African dance elements — the high energy, through-the-body movement, the shimmering undulations of hips and torso — in the work of Illstyle, directed by Brandon (Peace) Albright, the show-stopping final group.

"The ensemble’s 11 men displayed some of the most dazzling breaking techniques I’ve ever seen, while Mr. Albright’s choreography possessed a sly humor and an adept sense of spatial composition. Watching these dancers was like watching the greatest ballet virtuosos, each fighting gravity and the appearance of effort, and demanding and getting the impossible from the human body. They were fabulous."

That's the New York Times writing about Illstyle & Peace's Dance Africa performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2010.

The group continues to amaze. Their moves have lost none of their splendor, their choreography none of its thrill. On February 4, they will bring all of that to the Emelin Theatre in Mamaroneck.

The day before they dance here, they will be hosting two free workshops for students at Mamaroneck High School and SUNY Purchase. We're proud of this endeavor, which fits beautifully with both the Emelin's mission to "promote a cultural life that entertains, educates, and invigorates" and the ongoing quest of Brandon “Peace” Albright, Illstyle's Artistic Director, to "share his dance ministry with diverse audiences."

A video of Illstyle's Dance Africa performance is available on YouTube, where two students who took part in the opportunity the Emelin is bring to Westchester rave about what they saw and experienced:
The group just visited our school. What a performance! It was a real treat. Not only are they entertaining but also knowledgeable. They perform with educational segments incorporated in their magnificent show. A must see. MsZenta123

They came to my school today. Totally amazing! thundertubs81

There are still tickets available to come see Illstyle & Peace perform on the Emelin stage on Saturday, February 4 @ 8 pm.

There's a spectacular 50% student discount, too. It's a fabulous show for everyone from dance aficionados to music lovers to families with kids who would benefit from a wholesome hip-hop dance experience.

Join us, and come see more in the Emelin's family, dance, and music series in 2012!

Buy tickets online here, call the Emelin box office at 914.698.0098 or get them in person: 153 Library Lane, Mamaroneck, NY 10543.

Sunday, December 11, 2011, 12:14 PM - Posted by Harris
John Saroyan has been invited to blog for the Emelin’s 2011-12 Bluegrass Series.
This entry is cross-posted at Jim's Roots and Blues.

I am still trying to figure out why J.D. Crowe’s banjo playing is so especially ear-grabbing. His right forearm perches gently on the banjo’s edge with hand at a downturned angle tented over the five-strings. The left hand’s hammer-on’s, pull-off’s, and slides have so much sustain that I look for an effects pedal that an electric guitarist would depress.

While he was playing Shuckin’ the Corn this past Friday night at the Emelin Theater, his matter-of-fact stage presence belied his high-wire above the speed limit (for the rest of us) picking. His notes fly on the front side of the beat while staying perfectly even. Earl Scruggs gave banjo pickers the three-finger roll. J.D. gives us the curl, the cut, the twist and the crunch. He’s like an Iron Chef preparing multiple delicacies in under sixty-minutes who doesn’t break a sweat.

In response to his band, the New South, saying that they won’t play the banjo in front of him, J.D. replied “The banjo? There’s nothin’ to it. Just like New York. Nothin’ to it.” I got a good laugh out of that. Summer Wages, was one of a handful of slow songs that put J.D.’s string bending and rapid fire note riffing front and center during backup and his solo. It gets my vote for the most dazzling and artful banjo work of the night.

Ricky Wasson (guitar), Dwight McCall (mandolin) and Matt DeSpain (dobro) traded lead vocals through the night and shouldered trio harmonies on almost every chorus that killed: I’m Walkin’, Girl from the North Country, Lefty’s Old Guitar, Where You Gonna Hide? When the Leaves that are Green Turn Brown, Cowboys Still Act Like Cowboys, Your Love is Like a Flower, Rock Hearts (J.D. swapped in on baritone for Matt), Back to the Bar Room, In My Next Life, and Little Bessie is a partial list.

All three singers have wide ranges (baritone to high tenor), lose themselves in the song, and bury virtuosity in the song’s story and harmony. I wouldn’t have realized that Dwight and Matt were frequently switching off singing the high harmony within choruses, depending on which combination they deem better, if I had not asked Matt about the harmonies at the end of the show.

I was most moved by Dwight’s I Don’t Know, in which the singer relates the difficulty of committing to a true love after previously being broken-hearted by another. Listening, I couldn’t help but think about the time in my own life when saying “I love you” and “I do” seemed harder than anything I had ever done. If I could have captured the song on video and posted it on YouTube with Ricky, Dwight and Matt, I would label them “The Three Kentucky Tenors.”

Matt dug into Foggy Mountain Rock, a favorite of mine from Flatt and Scruggs at Carnegie Hall and on Flatt and Scruggs 1948-59 (Bear Family). Dwight added a tremolo rich mandolin part that reminded me of Curly Seckler’s mandolin touches, which were infrequently heard in that golden Flatt and Scruggs era. The instrumental also keyed me into the J.D.’s influence on Matt’s picking. When I spoke to Matt and Kyle Perkins (bass) after the show, Matt said that you can’t play with J.D. and not be influenced by his picking and even more so his genuine warmth as a mentor and friend. Kyle commented, “I’ve been preparing, I mean dreaming of playing with J.D. my whole life.”

Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike are next up in the Bluegrass Series at the Emelin on February 17, 2012 at 8 pm. Buy tickets online here, call the Emelin box office at 914.698.0098 or get them in person: 153 Library Lane, Mamaroneck, NY 10543.

Sunday, October 23, 2011, 05:24 PM - Posted by Administrator
Posted by John Saroyan
I have been invited to blog for the Emelin’s 2011-12 Bluegrass Series. It’s fitting on many levels that the first band of the year’s season was the Gibson Brothers. My earliest post on Jim’s Roots and Blues recounted the first time I heard them; the second time I heard them perform was at the Emelin six and a half years ago. Their recent awards for Vocal Group and Album of the Year from the International Bluegrass Music Association will place them in more high profile billings for 2012 than ever before. Kudos to Arnie Fleischer, the theater’s bluegrass programmer, and the whole Emelin crew for choosing the Gibsons to kick off this season.

“Hi. How’s everybody doing?” were the words Leigh Gibson (guitar) used to welcome the near capacity audience this past Friday night. They were warm and from the heart. It’s All Right With Me and Callie’s Reel quickly followed. Eric (banjo and guitar) and Leigh’s singing was in the pocket and continued to be for over ninety minutes. When they wanted to reach for a note or wrap around one because of the song’s demands, they did. Storytelling, emotion, grit, and power flowed through their vocals and instrumentals all night.

From the beginning the band’s lockstep was apparent. I think of a great bluegrass band as a team riding in a musical peloton. Whoever is the leader receives the unwavering support of the other team members. At the core of the Gibsons is Mike Barber (bass). Mike played unobtrusive but intriguing lines that subtly shifted in style depending on the song’s placement on the old-time country and bluegrass continuum. On the left, Clayton Campbell (fiddle) displayed intensity and improvisational brilliance. On the right, Joe Walsh (mandolin) translated his muse’s song into understated virtuosity. Their symbiosis shone especially during the band’s cover of Tom Petty’s Cabin Down Below. Clayton bowed sultry double-stops that mimicked Eric’s phrasing of the line “Come and go with me babe.” Joe picked up the next solo with a wave of strums followed by a blazing scale of descending notes.

Eric’s banjo playing always continued right up to and after his singing restarted. He bent strings from within chord positions and set off delicate harmonics on the strings for the second verse of The Wishing Well, a beautiful complement to Leigh’s singing “there’s a jingle in my pocket, gotta try my luck again.” Leigh’s D18-Authentic looked and sounded just like a Martin should. In his well-placed solos, he ornamented melody without overdoing it and effectively integrated cross-picking into his flatpicking.

The evening had its share of good-natured and spontaneous humor to keep the mood fun and relaxed. Through it all every band member was a seasoned professional, taking the music more seriously than himself. The audience’s laughter was interspersed with tears, too, especially for She Paints a Picture, One Raindrop and Farm of Yesterday.

The Yankee Rebels, stalwarts of the Southstreet Seaport contests of the seventies and all in full-time jobs outside the music industry, brought great trio singing, humor and picking to the evening’s opening. Katy Daley, host of a three-hour weekday morning show on WAMU Bluegrass Country, traveled from the Washington D.C. area to host the evening. Katy has interviewed, produced, and promoted Gibson Brothers features including live performances at IBMA, and a three-hour feature with in depth interviews of Eric, Leigh and Mike that included part of Lee Michael Demsey’s conversation with their parents.

J.D. Crowe performs next in the Emelin’s Bluegrass Series on Friday December 9 at 8 pm. Tickets are available from the theater’s website.

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