Albany Institute of History & Art

Albany Institute of History & Art

I’ve come to the conclusion that people dis blogging, even when they don’t read blogs, because they believe it’s just a bunch of personal entries, as though it were some sort of public diary. While, I’ve usually attempted to give you a much more diverse and eclectic record, every once in a while, I need a journal entry, if only for ME to keep track of my activities six or sixteen months from now.

July 23: After work, I met The Wife and The Daughter at Albany’s Washington Park at for a free Park Playhouse presentation of the musical Singin’ in the Rain. The family didn’t get there until close to 6 p.m. for a 7:30 performance, and that’s too late. We found probably the last seats in the amphitheater, in the last row, far to the right, with some obstruction from one of the light poles. This was the antepenultimate performance, and it had reviewed well.

That said, the performance of the musical was quite fine. Great singing and dancing, even though only the guy playing Donald (the Gene Kelly role in the movie) was an Equity union actor. And, as advertised, there was actual singing, in the controlled “rain.” BTW, in case of real rain, the show might be postponed or even canceled. My friend Susan, who plays the oboe in the orchestra, and who the Daughter and I happened across at intermission, said only one show was cancelled, though a couple were delayed over the four-week run.

The problem is that, because the stage gets wet, and has to get mopped up during the break, there’s not much story left afterwards; a small complaint.

July 24: I took a day off from work, and we headed for the Albany Institute of History and Art. The baseball exhibit was also in its antepenultimate day on display. While the info on the major league teams was interesting, I was most intrigued by the local history. It showed the Capital District from our now defunct minor league Yankees showcasing future stars such as Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams, to the Albany Senators playing an exhibition game against Babe Ruth, to the 1880s team in Troy that was a precursor to the San Francisco Giants.

After lunch, we went to the New York State Museum. There was an exhibit of art from students from the 64 education campuses comprising the State University of New York. There was also a fine display of photos and tools of the Shaker communities, several of which which were around the area back in the religious organizations heyday.

July 25: The folks putting on Park Playhouse had also produced a two-day run of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, with child and teen actors, at Albany’s Palace Theatre. This is the iteration in which Cinderella was played at various times by Julie Andrews, Lesley Ann Warren, and Brandy. I love this show, and this version was quite good, especially the title actress and the girl playing the herald.

However, because it was for free, and was presumably kid-friendly, parents brought their infants and toddlers, who couldn’t be still, or QUIET, for a 55-minute presentation, so it was occasionally difficult to hear. Outdoors, the noise may have been more diffused. Indoors, in the 2800-seat theater, at least 2/3s full, it was amplified.

July 26: I’ve previously touted the amazing work that happens on the very small stage of the Mac-Haydn Theatre, in Chatham, 45 minutes from Albany, where the entrances and exits become part of the set. My love for West Side Story is even more well established. This combination did not disappoint, from the very athletic mixing between the Sharks and the Jets, to the fine use of space to show Maria’s balcony.

The Wife thought the guy playing Tony was too pretty, though I disagreed. The problem with theater in the round, though, is that it may take a couple seconds to find the highlighted action, such as when Maria and Tony first meet, and Tony is, for us, briefly obscured by the crowd at the dance.

What particularly worked for me was the Somewhere dance. Often a ballet that stops the action, it was quite effective with, e.g., “Anybodies”, the “tomboy” Jet dancing with Bernardo, the now slain Shark leader. Hey, maybe there IS “a place for us.”

And to nail that down, as we found our way to our car, we saw the actors playing Tony and Bernardo get in their vehicle and drive away together.

2 Responses to “Dear diary, my short summer staycation”

  • Roger, my blog is a journal in disguise!! The grain of truth in the “dis” is that some blogs are simply that… journals of each person’s little life, with absolutely no other purpose than to celebrate the whatever of who cares! (Ha.)

    The bloggers with whom we tend to engage are more artistic, perhaps?

    Anyway, I did enjoy hearing about your little staycation. Kind of like when Berowne is stuck for a quiz and posts a delightful memory. I read the part about the musical with interest, since I remember “being” the pit band, along with my daughter on drums, for Buffalo Zings! Political satire. We never got rained out; but then, it was indoors, so…

    Tony in WWS can NEVER be too pretty, IMHO! Amy

  • lisa says:

    Your “ramblings” will be a treasure to Lydia when she gets older. To read about your and her family’s past experiences, adventures and mindsets will surely be something of which she will be always appreciative.

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