Proctors Announces New Concerts

November 17th, 2015, 10:00 am by Greg
Celtic Woman

Celtic Woman

The annual CBS 6 Melodies of Christmas concert returns to Proctors for a four-show run from Thursday-Sunday, December 17-20, featuring performances by the Empire State Youth Orchestra and Youth Chorale with special guests Grand Central Station, Marquise Productions and the Northeast Ballet. Proceeds benefit the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Albany Medical Center. Tickets are $25, with limited $15 tickets available for the Thursday & Friday performances.

Ringing in 2016, Proctors’ GE Theatre will host the New Year’s Eve Country Countdown featuring Local 518 faves Skeeter Creek at 9pm on Thursday, December 31. Tickets are $35 in advance; $40 at the door.

And looking ahead to next summer, Celtic Woman – featuring vocalists Mairéad Carlin, Susan McFadden and newest member Éabha McMahon with Irish violinist Máiréad Nesbitt and a group of talented, high-energy musicians and dancers – brings their World Destiny Tour to Proctors at 3pm on Sunday, June 19. Tickets are priced at $54-$114.

Tickets for all shows are currently on sale.


LIVE: Mavis Staples / Joan Osborne @ Proctors, 11/6/15

November 16th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg
Joan Osborne and Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples and Joan Osborne

Review by Don Wilcock
Photographs by Rudy Lu

OK, I admit it. My expectations for the Mavis Staples/Joan Osborne concert at Proctors last weekend were way over the top. I have seen transcendent performances by both artists, who, at their best, grab their audiences by the throat and take them to heaven not just in their great songs, but with their personalities that cause you to fall in love with them through their intimate connections and amazing vocal prowess.

The idea that these two beautiful souls would collaborate had me fantasizing that together one plus one would equal infinity, an explosive fusion of two great sirens, one black, one white; one a legend of the civil rights movement – the moral equivalent of Martin Luther King – the other a waif from Kentucky who spent years woodshedding with the Holmes Brothers to channel the blues giants and erase society’s imposed boundaries between gospel, blues and pop. Osborne is a vocal dynamo who turned me into a believer more than two decades ago when she blew the roof of The Metro in Saratoga with a version of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Help Me” that transformed his dirty old man ballad into an erotic orgasm.

Of course, all that hope of an epic collaboration was fantasy. Four days before their major U.S. tour opened in the famed Fillmore in San Francisco, Osborne had yet to rehearse with Staples. She told me they had yet to even get together and talk about the tour. By the time the show hit Schenectady, they’d done 20 shows in a little over a month, and Mavis chided her “Skin–eck–at–diddy” audience: “I believe this is my first time here. What took you so long? You should have had us before now. You let me get older.”

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FIVE FIRSTS: Darryl Archibald of “Motown” at Proctors

November 16th, 2015, 11:00 am by Greg
Darryl Archibald

Darryl Archibald

NAME: Darryl Archibald
MUSIC AFFILIATION: Musical Director and Conductor of “Motown the Musical”

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS100 Classical Favorites. When I was five years old I saw the records advertised on TV and asked my mother to buy them for me.

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LIVE: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra @ Proctors, 10/6/15

October 19th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu

It’s a legitimate event when the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra plays your city. In many ways, it recalls Duke Ellington or Cab Calloway coming into town on a train pulling personal Pullman cars for the musicians, their instruments and (in Calloway’s case) their modes of transportation. Thanks to the publicity machine that is trumpeter/bandleader Wynton Marsalis, JALCO is the best-known big band in the world today – and their two-set performance at Proctors proved what gets proven in popular music every single day: Just because you’re the best-known band doesn’t mean you’re the best.

Mind you, this 15-piece unit certainly looks the part, thanks to the impeccably tailored suits provided by Brooks Brothers (the official clothier of Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra – and no, that’s not a joke). And it’s not like Marsalis has surrounded himself with wannabes and posers; any big band that can boast trumpeters like Ryan Kisor and Marcus Printup, multi-instrumentalists like Ted Nash, Victor Goines and Walter Blanding, and a rhythm section as potentially badass as Ali Jackson and Carlos Henriquez packs some serious heat coming into any situation. That said, it is both deliciously ironic and sadly indicative that all the suit jackets worn by the Orchestra were beige, because almost every number played was entirely colorless and incessantly bland.

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THEATER: “Pippin” @ Proctors, 5/26/15

May 27th, 2015, 3:00 pm by Greg


Review by Greg Haymes

Montreal’s Cirque Eloize won’t be returning to Proctors this summer, so if you need a European circus fix, get thee to Proctors for “Pippin” this week, and enjoy the work of another Montreal-based circus ensemble, Les 7 Doigts de la Main.

Balancing feats, trapeze, juggling, silks, acrobatics, hoops, bouncing balls, knife throwing and a wide assortment of other circus and illusionist skills figure prominently in director Diane Paulus’ sparkling, energetic, Tony Award-winning re-boot of the 1972 Stephen Schwartz/Roger O. Hirson musical.

It’s a dazzling, big-top extravaganza, but it’s got meat on the bones. The plot revolves around the identity crisis of the title character – heir to the throne of King Charlemagne, the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire – who is “searching for something important and meaningful to do” with his life. Yes, it’s a very ’60s-’70s existential theme, but Paulus and costume designer Dominque Lemieux have dressed it up magnificently for the 21st century.

The national touring company production has gone through a surprising number of cast changes since it was announced by Proctors more than a year ago (and hit the road in September), including the lead characters of Pippin (Sam Lips) and more recently the Leading Player (Lisa Karlin), as well as the role of Pippin’s grandmother Berthe (the 69-year-old Adrienne Barbeau in a single-song performance of “No Time at All,” in which she sang the final lyrics while suspended upside down, dangling from a trapeze above the stage).

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March 26th, 2015, 3:00 pm by Greg
Mick Jagger Onstage @ Altamont

Mick Jagger Onstage @ Altamont © Ethan Russell

By Don Wilcock

Rock photographer Ethan Russell is on a one-man crusade to prove that the ’60s were the first time in American history when the dream inspired our reality rather than the other way around. His photographs of John Lennon & Yoko Ono, the Rolling Stones and the Who are a peek behind the curtain into an intimate reality that gets lost in the revisionist history that Dion once told me has become “a cartoon.” Russell sees that cartoon as TV footage that has become embedded in our brains with the themes of sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Russell’s “Best Seat in the House” show at Proctors’ GE Theatre in Schenectady on Saturday (March 28) promises to show 380 pictures of the most iconic rock stars of the 1960s complete with back stories. His photos offer a reality that exploded in a cultural shift away from the black and white box that was TV at the time into a colorful embrace that brought the pop musicians of the day closer to their fans and turned the rock stars away from being actors parroting other people’s songs into complicit compatriots in a modern revolution.

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Win FREE Tickets to Celebration of Rhythm at Proctors on Thursday

February 23rd, 2015, 11:30 am by Greg
Veena Chandra

Veena Chandra of North Indian Music

Proctors’ GE Theatre in Schenectady is gearing up for its second annual Celebration of Rhythm Concert Series curated by Local 518 percussionist-around-town Brian Melick. The series kicks off at 7:30pm on Thursday (February 26) with a globe-hopping musical journey that stretches from India to Jamaica.

The internationally flavored homegrown musical talents slated to be showcased on Thursday are North Indian Music featuring the mother-son sitar-and-tabla duo of Veena and Devesh Chandra, as well as Robanic with the Caribbean Sound led by Aston “Robot” Ellis.

Tickets to the general admission concert are $15.

BUT WAIT… We’re giving away a pair of FREE TICKETS to the show. To enter, just post a comment below. Please leave your email address, too. We won’t publish it, but we’ll use it to contact you if you win. The deadline to enter is 12noon on Wednesday (February 25), and the winner will be selected at random and notified on Wednesday afternoon. Don’t delay, enter today! And good luck! Congratulations to the winner, who has been notified by email.


Robanic with the Caribbean Sound

Five Firsts: Andy Meixner of Z

February 17th, 2015, 3:00 pm by Greg
Andy Meixner

Andy Meixner

NAME: Andy Meixner

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WASAround the World in a Day by Prince & the Revolution

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