The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
The Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra announced today that it has extended music director Scott Terrell’s contract five years, through 2018-19 season.
“Scott has ushered in a new era for LexPhil which has raised the bar for all of us who love music,” Gregory Jenkins, president of the Philharmonic’s board of directors, said in a statement. “This will provide the opportunity for Scott to further hone the core values of artistic excellence, innovation, collaboration and accessibility for our orchestra and will provide the time horizon to solidify the improvements made in Scott’s first several years.”
Terrell is currently in the midst of his fourth season as the Philharmonic’s music director. He was selected after a two-year, 10-candidate search for a successor to George Zack, who wielded the baton for the Philharmonic for 37 years.
During his tenure, Terrell led the Philharmonic through its 50th anniversary season and has introduced programming innovations including presenting the annual holiday season performances of Handel’s Messiah at area churches, initiating a commissioning partnership with the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington and bringing numerous works never previously heard in Lexington to the stage. He has also broadened the auditioning pool for Philharmonic musicians to include more regional and national candidates and initiated new partnerships with a variety of area arts groups. Reviews of concerts have cited a steady improvement in the orchestra’s playing.
Announcing the current season, Philharmonic executive director Allison Kaiser said the Philharmonic had seen a 43 percent growth in its subscription base over the previous two years.
“My mission since arriving in Lexington has been to create a culture of curiosity surrounding music,” Terrell said in a statement. “I want people to be excited about what LexPhil is doing, and eagerly look forward to each of our musical adventures – because that is what the arts are at their best, an inspiring process of learning something new about our world, ourselves and each other.”
The Philharmonic’s current season continues in December with its annual Candy Cane Concert Dec. 9 at the Singletary Center for the Arts and Messiah Dec. 15 at the Cathedral of Christ the King.
Trish Clark, former drama teacher at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and former artistic director of the Lexington Shakespeare Festival, has been named as the interim artistic and executive director of Woodford Theatre.
Clark steps in for Steve Arnold, who left the theater in October after just over a year in the post. He had succeeded longtime director Beth Kirchner, who made the Versailles theater one of the region’s premier community theaters during her 16-year tenure.
Clark, 59, said the opportunity came along at a good time after her position with the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre’s educational outreach programs was eliminated in a widespread round of layoffs earlier this year. She says she has not decided whether she will apply for the permanent director job at Woodford.
“They needed some immediate care, and that’s what I can do,” Clark said, taking a break from watching rehearsals of The Christmas Foundling, which opens Friday and runs three weekends. “Being around so long, I knew I could get people together, and they’ve been really good about stepping up.”
In two weeks, Clark has retained directors for the three remaining shows on the season after The Christmas Foundling, including bringing Kirchner back to direct Driving Miss Daisy, Feb. 1 to 17. She changed the April production of Neil Simon’s God’s Favorite to Simon’s The Odd Couple, because she said the cost of the set for the originally scheduled play would be prohibitive. Tonda-Leah Fields will direct Odd Couple and retired University of Kentucky Theatre professor James W. Rodgers will direct the season finale, The Secret Garden, May 31 to June 16.
Clark said she does not know what role she will play in selecting a 2013-14 season for Woodford Theatre.
Clark’s daughter, Ellie Clark, is one of three co-directors of Lexington-based Project SEE Theatre, so there are now two theaters in the family.
University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra director John Nardolillo will conduct two of the Boston Pops Orchestra’s holiday concerts in Boston’s Symphony Hall next month.
Nardolillo will step in for the Pops’ superstar conductor Keith Lockhart, who will be conducting tour concerts in New England by the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra Dec. 15 and 16. The concerts are part of the Boston Pops’ regular holiday shows, which are a Boston tradition said Dennis Alves, director of artistic planning for the orchestra.
He said the engagement is part of the Pops’ enduring relationship with Nardolillo, which started when he was music director for folk music legend Arlo Guthrie, who has performed with the Pops. That relationship reached a high point when Lockhart and the Pops came to Lexington in October 2011 to present a concert in conjunction with the UK Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Keeneland. During that performance, Nardolillo conducted the Pops in one number and Lockhart conducted the UK orchestra for a piece. Both conducted the combined orchestras for the evening’s grand finale.
“We’ve liked John so much over the years,” Alves said. “We really saw him work when the Pops were down in Lexington and thought he deserved a shot.”
Nardolillo is the only guest conductor scheduled to conduct the holiday shows.
Alves said in addition to conducting holiday favorites, Nardolillo will be chatting with the crowd and talking to Santa Claus, “the real Santa Claus,” he added.
“Lexington is really lucky to have John with all he has brought to the orchestra and the outreach programs in Appalachia,” Alves said. “And we’re lucky you’re loaning him to Boston.”
Prior to that, Nardolillo will be conducting the UK Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 29) in a free performance of Claude Debussy’s La Mer and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in the Singletary Center for the Arts Concert Hall. The UK Symphony opened its current season with a performance by violin legend Itzhak Perlman in September and will end with a tour of China in May.
Film star and Lexington resident Steve Zahn will perform live on stage next month at the Lyric Theatre in a production by The Rep, the local theater company he runs with his wife, Robyn Peterman-Zahn, and local dance legend Diana Evans Pulliam.
It will be Zahn’s first performance on a Lexington stage.
Zahn will play the One-Man-Show-Christmas-Show-Man in the second annual production of Smackdown for the Christmas Crown, an original show by Peterman-Zahn that debuted last year at the Lyric. The role was played last year by Lexington actor Spencer Christensen, who Peterman-Zahn says has gone on to graduate school. Zahn, a member of Actors Equity, will perform under a guest-artist contract with the stage actors union.
Zahn has starred in the movies SubUrbia (1996), Daddy Day Care (2003), Sahara (2005), Rescue Dawn (2006) and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies, and he has been a voice in several animated movies and TV series, including Chicken Little (2005) and the Disney Channel’s Phineas and Ferb. He currently stars as Davis McAlary in the HBO series Treme. He’s squeezing preparation for Smackdown between shooting dates in New Orleans for Treme and the feature film Dallas Buyers Club with Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner.
He and Lexington native Peterman-Zahn met when they were both in the 1991 national tour of Bye Bye Birdie, which starred Tommy Tune and Ann Reinking. They married in Lexington in 1994 and moved here 10 years later. Peterman-Zahn became the stage director of Paragon Music Theatre in 2009. She, Pulliam and Zahn formed The Rep last year after the dissolution of Paragon, when founder Ryan Shirar departed for graduate school at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
If the actors on Two and a Half Men keep chomping like this, show creators Chuck Lorre and Lee Aronsohn might not have any hands left.
Just over a year after Charlie Sheen’s meltdown that led to his departure from the show and replacement with Ashton Kutcher, half-man Angus T. Jones, 19, is going in the other direction to bite the hand that has fed him for nearly a decade.
In a video recorded in his trailer at Warner Bros. Studios with Christopher Hudson of the Apocalyptic Christian website Forerunner Chronicles, Jones’ denounced the show as “filth” and told viewers not to watch it.
“I’m on Two and a Half Men, I don’t want to be on it,” Jones said in the video. “Please stop watching it. Please stop filling your head with filth. People say it’s just entertainment … Do some research on the effects of television on your brain, and I promise you, you’ll have a decision to make when it comes to television, and especially with what you watch on television. It’s bad news.”
The video came out just a few weeks after an episode in which his character, Jake, was engaged in a flagrantly sexual fling with a character played by America’s onetime sweetheart, Miley Cyrus. I don’t watch the show much, but last night I did catch an episode in syndication that sort of proved Jones’ point, from a conservative evangelical viewpoint: Sheen’s character, Charlie, was giving a much younger Jake girlfriend advice using cupcakes as a metaphor for sex.
The clip is part of a larger video of Jones’ testimony on the website in which he talks about going to a Christian school while he was on the show and getting into drugs and materialism until late last year when he was contemplating future endeavors (the half-hour testimony is in two parts).
“I had said, ‘God’s definitely going to be a part of this,” Jones said of his plans. “And it kind of hit me, ‘No, God is the center of all this, God is the reason for all this.’ And right when I said that, I had this feeling of warmth, acceptance, love.”
He said that at that moment, “I felt like I just accepted God into my life.”
He said after that, he contemplated whether to continue doing the show, aware that it was a compromise with his new-found beliefs.
Later in the video, he said, “You cannot be a true God-fearing person and be on a television show like that. I know I can’t.”
But will he be?
Jones did not say he is quitting the show, and Monday, representatives of CBS and the show had no comment on the video. According to England’s Daily Mail, Jones’ mother claims he is being exploited by the church.
It has been pointed out in most accounts of Jones’ testimony that he makes $350,000 per episode of the show, which would be a nice annual salary for most people. Numerous commentators have accused Jones of hypocrisy, cashing checks for something he believes is immoral. But remember, he was 10 when he started on the show, pursuing an acting career his mother suggested as a good way to make money for college. And he is under contract.
His beliefs are still forming — I think few of us hold all of the same convictions we had when we were 19.
But now he has declared beliefs and he will have some life decisions to make. In the video, he talked about possibly using his position on the show as a forum for evangelism, though it may be hard to take him seriously if he continues in a show that basically has promiscuous sex as its centerpiece. But if he is no longer on the show, how loud will his voice be? Could he pursue a career like fellow-former child star Kirk Cameron, who is now a speaker and something of a superstar of Christian film? And if he did, would he just be preaching to the choir?
Show producers may be making some of those decisions for Jones. After all, they have written around the loss of a major character before.
From a TV viewers’ perspective, you have to wonder if Jon Cryer has a meltdown in him, and what form it might take.
Or will he just be the last man standing?
SCAPA and Governor’s School for the Arts alum Jacob Yates has teamed up with veteran Broadway actress Jessica Hendy to form J String, a unique voice and cello duo that will make its live premiere with a concert at Newport’s Thompson House on Friday night.
The duo met over the summer, when Hendy was performing in Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati’s production of Next to Normal and Yates was playing cello and keyboard for the show.
“We started collaborating and making music videos together,” Yates said via email, “and those videos got some attention from sites like Broadwayworld.com and Playbill.com, so we started getting booked for gigs.”
The attention grabber was Britney Spears‘… Baby One More Time, and the duo has tackled a mashup of One Direction’s You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful and Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe and their first video, a cover of Lady Gaga’s The Edge of Glory (with a nod to J.S. Bach). That video is posted on Hendy’s YouTube page, on which she writes, “His name is Jacob Yates, and he is brilliant.”
The videos have progressed quickly from a hipster, home-made feel to the latest, a sleek production for a cover of David Guetta’s Titanium (above).
Yates graduated from SCAPA in 2011 and is studying at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. In 2010, Yates organized a successful fundraiser for Haitian earthquake victims, that featured another well-known Lexington cellist, Ben Sollee. Hendy is a graduate of the school and has appeared on Broadway in Cats, Aida and Amour.
Had Kristin Shepard been a better shot, few characters on the 1980s prime-time soap opera Dallas would have mourned the death of J.R. Ewing. Indeed, many of us spent the summer of 1980 trying to figure out who hated J.R. enough to pull the trigger.
There were a lot of options.
But the derision certainly never extended to the man who played him, Larry Hagman, who died Friday from complications of throat cancer.
Hagman himself was celebrated as a best friend by two of the people he tormented most on Dallas: Linda Gray, who played his long-suffering wife, Sue Ellen, and Patrick Duffy, who played his brother Bobby. Both were at Hagman’s bedside when he died, and both released lovely statements about their friend. Gray called him her “best friend for 35 years,” and said, “He was an original and lived life to the fullest.”
We could see that in his jovial, honest demeanor in interviews and at events, and the sheer joy he took in creating a character who made the show what it was.
Indeed, Dallas was supposed to be an ensemble drama focused on the rivalry between the Ewings and the Barneses, brought to a boil when Bobby married Pamela Barnes (Victoria Principal). But Hagman’s J.R. soon stole the show, doing dirty deeds with a wink and a tip of his cowboy hat, confident that his wealth would shield him from any real consequences. He popularized the notion that “greed is good,” well before Michael Douglas won an Oscar saying it.
You can sum up in two letters — J.R. — the reason Dallas was one of the longest running prime time dramas in television history in two letters.
When TNT brought Dallas back this summer, it was supposed to focus on J.R. and Bobby’s sons, John Ross and Christopher, and their rivalry. But as the season went along, J.R. came more into focus, and again, his schemes were an integral part of the season-ending cliffhanger.
Now the cliffhanger will be how the show handles Hagman’s and J.R.’s passing — we presume no one would be stupid enough to try to re-cast J.R. Ewing — when it starts its second season in January. The show was in production, and Hagman had shot several episodes before his death.
When J.R. dies, we are not sure which characters will shed tears, if any. But for fans of great TV and wonderful personalities, Hagman’s passing is a sad event.
The torn-paper collage depicting three Thoroughbreds running past the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs is made from hundreds of vintage images of Derbys past. It will be available on a wide variety of memorabilia including posters, T-shirts and mugs in the months leading up to the big race, May 4, in Louisville.
Gores is based in Melbourne, Fla., and his client list includes numerous sports entities such as ESPN, NASCAR, the National Football League and Adidas, and commissions have included six collages for the Amway Center, home to the NBA’s Orlando Magic. He also has worked for Lucasfilm, U2, Madonna, Harley-Davidson, Van Halen, LiveNation and JCPenney.
This is the 12th year for Churchill Downs’ Art of the Kentucky Derby series. Previous artists have included sporting art icon Peter Max, and singer and visual artist Tony Bennett.
University of Kentucky senior Rebecca Farley and Ph.D. candidate Thomas Gunther were winners in Saturday’s Kentucky District Round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and they are still in the running to sing on the Metropolitan Opera stage. Their next stop is Memphis, Tenn., for the Midsouth Regional round of the auditions on Jan. 26, where they will be joined by University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of music graduate student Edward Nelson, who rounded out the field of three winners, Saturday.
Traditionally, only one singer advances to the national semi-finals in New York from regional rounds.
The win rounds out a big fall for Farley, 22, who was one of three UK sopranos who sang the role of Christine in the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre’s blockbuster production of Phantom of the Opera. Gunther, 29, was one of three singers who played Raoul.
Also honored Saturday were two other stars of that production: baritone Jacob Brian Waid who played the Phantom and tenor Evan LeRoy Johnson who played Piangi, both 20. They received encouragement awards, which included cash prizes, though they did not advance to the next round.
All four honorees are students of UK voice professor Cynthia Lawrence.
The Met Auditions were held at the University of Kentucky’s Memorial Hall, and 24 singers competed Saturday.
Note: This post was update to correct the number of UK winners stated in the initial posting.
Lexington washes across the walls of Cross Gate Gallery this month in streams of watercolor, forming images of Cheapside, the Lexington Opera House, Al’s Bar and many other familiar locations rendered in dreamy impressions from the brush of Sandra Oppegard.
“There was one lady in here who said, ‘You make Lexington look like Paris,’” Oppegard says, leading a casual tour of her exhibit, Landscapes and Townscapes. She quickly steers toward a painting and says, “I think she was referring to the old Metropol at dusk, because that has a kind of Parisian feel.”
In her image, the restaurant, which was in the building now occupied by The Village Idiot pub, is framed by lights and occupied by a reveling crowd.
Others have told her that she makes Lexington look fabulous.
“To me, it looks that way,” Oppegard says. “That’s the thing about someone coming in from another area: new eyes.”
Oppegard, 71, was born in Cincinnati and then began moving west, eventually settling in California. Her love of art coincided with a love of horses. She was encouraged through art classes in high school to go to art school and attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. From there, she went on to a 23-year career as a freelance illustrator based in Southern California with a list of clients that included Max Factor, Redken, Mattel Toys and Baskin-Robbins.
In 1974, she married Thoroughbred trainer Victor Ellis Oppegard. The couple moved to Montana in the 1980s and Lexington in 1999.
“I even got an assistant trainer’s license in California,” Oppegard says. “I got to saddle horses at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park. I learned things that were very handy to me getting commissions to paint horses and selling work because it’s very authentic. I really know what’s going on. You can tell if an artist knows horses or not.”
While working in California, Oppegard met Cross Gate Gallery owner Greg Ladd and he started buying her work. In 1994, she visited Lexington for the first time and says that’s when she and her husband first considered moving to the Bluegrass. An added draw was family that had moved to Northern Kentucky.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich