Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Lively Experiment Goes on the Road to the Rhodes for Common Cause

A Lively Experiment takes to the road at the Rhodes! Good government group Common Cause Rhode Island holds its 45th annual meeting on Tuesday, October 20 at Rhode on the Pawtuxet in Cranston. The public is invited to attend the dinner meeting, and to watch the live taping of a special extended version of Rhode Island PBS's flagship political affairs program, A Lively Experiment

Moderator Dyana Koelsch welcomes special guest panelists for this event, Honorable Nellie Gorbea, Secretary of State; Dave Layman, corporate communications consultant and former news editor/anchor; Ted Nesi, politics and economy reporter for wpri.com; and Donna Perry, taxpayer advocate. The show format will be the same as on television, with fast-paced discussion of timely political issues, including the viewer favorite "Outrage of the Week." 

"We are thrilled to partner with Rhode Island PBS to present A Lively Experiment as part of our 45th Annual Meeting," said Common Cause Executive Director John  Marion. "A Lively Experiment and Common Cause have both been an important part of the civic dialogue in our state, and this is a unique opportunity for us to join together to bring that to a live audience."

"Our organizations have talked about bringing A Lively Experiment out to the public for some time," said David W. Piccerelli, president of WSBE Rhode Island PBS. "Now it appears timing and technology are coming together to make it happen. We recognize this is an excellent opportunity to connect to the show’s followers and to the community in a closer, more personal way. Rhode Island PBS is delighted to be working with Common Cause Rhode Island on this first remote taping of A Lively Experiment." 

Rhode Island PBS will record the full hour-long discussion, with a shorter version planned for broadcast at a later date during the show's regular 30-minute time slot, Fridays at 7 and Sundays at noon. The full recording from the event will be made available online. 

For the annual meeting, cocktail reception with cash bar opens at 5 pm. Dinner begins at 6. At the event, Common Cause Rhode Island will present its Distinguished Service Award to Former Board Chair Daniel Siegel. A Lively Experiment will follow at 7 p.m. 

Tickets are $60 per person and are available through the Common Cause RI Web site. For more information about Common Cause Rhode Island’s Annual Meeting, please call (401) 861-2322, or e-mail events at commoncauseri.org. For more information about A Lively Experiment, please call 401-222-3636, or email public at ripbs.org.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Lively Experiment, week of October 2, 2015

Jim Hummel – guest moderator; investigative reporter and principal, The Hummel Report
Kate Bramson, reporter, The Providence Journal
Joseph Paolino, Jr., real estate developer; former Providence mayor
Sharon Steele, chair, Jewelry District Association Quality of Life Committee
Dave Layman, corporate communications consultant, former TV News director and anchor

  • Route 195 Land Development
  • PawSox Future?
  • 38 Studios aftermath
  • Overhaul of the DOT
  • Providence Budget
  • Race to the White House:  Gov. Chafee to debate, latest poll numbers
A Lively Experiment airs on WSBE Rhode Island PBS (36.1) Fridays at 7 p.m., with rebroadcasts on Saturdays at 7 p.m. on WSBE Learn (36.2), and Sundays at noon on WSBE Rhode Island PBS.

WSBE Rhode Island PBS transmits standard-definition (SD) and high-definition (HD) programming over the air on digital 36.1; on Rhode Island cable: Cox 08 / 1008HD, Verizon FiOS 08 / 508HD, and Full Channel 08; on Massachusetts cable: Comcast 819HD and Verizon FiOS 18 / 518HD; on satellite: DirecTV 36 / 3128HD, Dish Network 36 / 7776.

WSBE Learn transmits over the air on digital 36.2; in Rhode Island on Cox 808; Verizon FiOS 478; Full Channel 89; and in Massachusetts on Comcast 294 or 312.

Can't get to the TV? Watch the episode online anytime and anywhere on our YouTube channel. Episodes of A Lively Experiment are generally available to watch on the next business day. Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and YouTube will notify you when a new episode is uploaded.

On Facebook? So are we! "Like" A Lively Experiment on Facebook.

House of Shadows Appears Just in Time for Halloween

Just in time for Halloween, Rhode Island PBS premieres a new film, House of Shadows, by local filmmakers Michael and Karen Iacobbo of Providence Lyceum, LLC. Tune in Wednesday, October 28 at 10 p.m. for this one-night-only treat.

Filmed at some of Rhode Island’s most beautiful and important historical sites, the hour-long Gothic romance House of Shadows is inspired by the television series Dark Shadows. And, in fact, Connecticut actress Beverly Hayes, who plays Patience Silverfield, the 19th Century mistress of Silverfield Hall in House of Shadows, appeared in Dark Shadows

Beautifully filmed as it moves between present day and 1893, the story explores the strange events that unfold - and the force that manifests - after the mansion in the family of famous Victorian poet Nathaniel Silverfield is taken by eminent domain in 2012 for a planned flood. 

Rhode Island locations showcased in the film include the Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum in Providence, the Malbone Estate in Newport, the Governor William Sprague Mansion in Cranston, the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, and the Roger Williams Park in Providence.

With a strong Rhode Island connection through its film locations, the film's cast, too, has local ties. House of Shadows stars Welsh-born actor and former Massachusetts resident Joe Michael Phillips, as Victorian-era poet Nathaniel Silverfield. Actress Jami Tennille of Massachusetts stars as Nathaniel’s fiancĂ©e, Victoria Noble. Connecticut actress Suzanne McCormick narrates House of Shadows and stars as Buffy Silverfield, mistress of the 21st Century estate. Young actor Olivia Sage Pentell, who plays heiress Annabel Lee Silverfield, is also from Connecticut.  Rhode Island actor Kevin Cahill plays the villain: Gerard Hawthorne.  Other Rhode Island actors include Lawrence  O'Leary as Jeffrey Silverfield, Linda Colvin as Aunt Lacey Silverfield, Josh Passarelli as Toby, Adam Buxbaum as Julian Murk, and Peggy Passarelli as the doctor.

Click here for stills from the film, as well as more information about the filmmakers and some of their other projects. 

updated October 8, 2015
Casting information provided by Providence Lyceum, LLC

Monday, September 28, 2015

Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy

Rhode Island PBS closes out the month of September with a special presentation of Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy on Great Performances Wednesday, September 30 at 8 p.m.

From the website:
Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy – narrated by Joel Grey — explores the unique role of Jewish composers and lyricists in the creation of the modern American musical.  Featuring interviews and conversations with some of the greatest composers and writers of the Broadway stage, Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy showcases the work of some of the nation’s pre-eminent creators of musical theatre including Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin, Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Kurt Weill, Sheldon Harnick, Jerry Bock, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz, Jule Styne and many others.

Though these remarkable songwriters were purveyors of what we think of today as the Broadway sound, the documentary demonstrates how there were echoes of Jewish strains in many of the works. From “Yiddishkeit” (all things Jewish) on the stages of the Lower East Side at the turn of the century to a wide range of shows including Porgy and BessWest Side Story and Cabaret, the film explores how Jewish music and ethos informs many of America’s favorite musicals.

Dynamic footage includes performances by stars such as David Hyde Pierce (Spamalot), Matthew Broderick and Kelli O’Hara (Nice Work if You Can Get It), Zero Mostel (Fiddler on the Roof), Betty Comden and Adolph Green (On the Town), Nathan Lane (The Producers), Al Jolson (Sinbad), Fanny Brice (The Great Ziegfeld), Barbra Streisand (Funny Girl), Joel Grey (Cabaret), Dick Van Dyke(Bye Bye Birdie), Danny Kaye (Lady in the Dark), Ethel Merman (Gypsy), and Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel (Wicked).

The film is the first of its kind to examine the phenomenon that, over the 50-year period of its development, the songs of the Broadway musical were created almost exclusively by Jewish Americans. These are the popular songs that our nation took to war, sang to their children at bedtime, and whistled while waiting for the bus; taken in total they comprise the vast majority of what is now commonly referred to as “The American Songbook.”

As historian Phil Furia cites as just one vivid example, Irving Berlin had so assimilated that he went on to “write the most popular Christmas song, ‘White Christmas’…and the most popular Easter song, ‘Easter Parade.’ It’s the Horatio Alger story told in Yiddish.”  Berlin’s “God Bless America” became so popular, it nearly replaced the National Anthem.

While Jewish Americans certainly abounded in other areas of the musical theater, their predominance in the area of songwriting was nearly complete, with only the Episcopalian Cole Porter represented as a major figure in the pantheon of America’s greatest composers of Broadway songs. And even Porter, after three Broadway flops, finally ascertained the surefire way to success: “I’m going to write Jewish tunes.”   As Andrew Lippa, the composer/lyricist ofThe Addams Family, points out in the film, “Porgy and Bessand Show Boat and Oklahoma! These are ideas that are fictions.  What do we make America into?  How do we take what we know and make it into America?”

The film features interviews with Arthur Laurents, Sheldon Harnick, John Kander, Andrew Lippa, Stephen Schwartz, Phyllis Newman, Charles Strouse, Harold Prince, Maury Yeston, Mary Rodgers Guettel, Ernie Harburg, Marc Shaiman, David Shire, Stephen Sondheim, Mel Brooks, Stephen Schwartz and many others.

Rare clips include Irving Berlin singing “God Bless America,” rehearsals for Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim’s Gypsy, and original South Pacific star William Tabbert singing “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” with Richard Rodgers at the piano.

The film was produced, written, and directed by Michael Kantor, whose Broadway: The American Musical series was originally viewed by an estimated 15 million people, and won the 2005 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Series.  

updated: 9/29/2015