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Fall into arts

Singer Johnny Mathis performs at the Colden Auditorium at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts in October. Photo courtesy Kupferberg Center for the Arts
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With the official end of summer 11 days away, it’s time to pack up the beach chairs and think about settling into a seat at one of borough’s performing arts venues.

Autumn brings longer nights, which can easily be filled watching a Broadway diva perform, a pop singing icon croon and even a Russian symphony play, all without setting one foot outside of Queens.

The fall season kicks off this weekend at Queensborough Community College’s Performing Arts Center when actress/singer Patti LuPone brings her “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda ...Played that Part” concert to Bayside.

LuPone, best known for her Tony Award-winning roles in “Evita” and the most recent revival of “Gypsy,” shares backstage tidbits with the audience about some of her career highlights and missteps.

She will also regale the crowd with songs from some of those “shoulda” shows, including “Hair,” “Bye, Bye Birdie,” “West Side Story” and “Funny Girl.”

LuPone takes the stage Sept. 14, at 3 p.m.

Although “Fiddler on the Roof” does not appear to make LuPone’s list, it likely will loom large in Queensboro­ugh’s next show, “Shalom Broadway!” Oct. 5.

Four veteran New York stage actors will trace the influence of Jewish music on today’s songs.

Performing with a live band, the quartet will explore how Synagogue melodies created the musical template for Yiddish theater, Tin Pan Alley, Hollywood and current Broadway shows.

If showtunes aren’t really your thing, then checkout the rest of Queensboro­ugh’s fall lineup starting with the Las Vegas-style performance “The Five Kings Of Motown” Oct. 12,

This tribute to The Temptations includes renditions of “My Girl,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and “Get Ready.”

By now you may be ready to break out your own singing chops, which you can do at a screening of “Cabaret,” part of the Karaoke at the Movies series Oct. 18.

Other shows on tap for Bayside include the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players production of “The Pirates of Penzance” Oct. 19, a performance by The Voca People, who create their unique sound using no instruments but their voices, Nov. 16 and Renee Taylor — who played Fran Dresher’s mother on “The Nanny” — brings her one-woman show about her 60 years in show business, “My Life on a Diet,” to town Nov. 23.

Over at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College, the Colden Auditorium will be alive with the sound of music all season long.

Grammy-winning singer Jason Mraz performs Sept. 19 as part of his week-long series playing six shows across the city’s five boroughs.

“Chances Are” you may get “Misty” at the Oct. 26 concert by pop icon Johnny Mathis. Another legendary performer, Gladys Knight, brings her soulful sound to the Colden Nov. 7.

A large-scale production, including a pit orchestra, a boy’s choir, a marching band and a Broadway-size cast, bring Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers” to life in two shows Nov. 1 and Nov. 2.

The Moscow State Symphony Orchestra pays Queens a visit Saturday, Nov. 15.

Since it is renowned for its works of the greatest composers of our time, expect a balance of orchestral, operatic, and choral classics with equally significant music of the 21st century that includes many forgotten and neglected pieces. The orchestra is led by conductor Pavel Kogan and features violin soloist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg.

And, while it may be too early to start thinking about the holiday season, the Vienna Boys Choir ushers in Christmas with a performance of traditional carols Dec. 7.

Speaking of the holidays, Queens Theatre and its new resident troupe, Titan Theatre Co., bring Ebenezer Scrooge’s story to the stage in a new production of “A Christmas Carol,” Dec. 11 - Dec. 21.

But plenty of other theatrical performances hit the stage before the snow flies.

Alan Safier stars in a new production of the Tony-nominated play “Say Goodnight Gracie” Sept. 27 and Sept. 28. The actor portrays comedian George Burns and his 90-year show business career that spanned vaudeville, radio, television and film.

Titan revives its critically acclaimed adaptation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to the Studio Theater Oct. 3 through Oct. 20.

After debuting last year in Astoria, Sandy Rustin’s rollicking comedy “The Cottage” gets another showing Nov. 7 through Nov. 16. This Nöel Coward-esque farce follows the misadventures of three couples holed up in the English countryside.

Long Island City-based Dance Entropy presents a program of three new works based on the story of the Titanic Nov. 1 and Nov. 2.

Other theater options this fall include the world premiere of “In the Bones” by Cody Daigle at the Astoria Performing Arts Center Nov. 6 - 22. This serious play looks at loss and its impact on a family one year after a suicide.

At the Chain Theatre in Long Island City, the current production of Eric Bogosian’s “Talk Radio” continues through Sept. 27.

In November, the Chain’s Variations Theatre Group presents the fifth annual Harvest Theatre Festival of new plays.

Another group of new works will be staged as part of the UNFringed Theatre Festival Sept. 16 - Sept. 27 at the Secret Theatre in Long Island City. On tap are “What If,” “Sarah Was Mine” and “Through the Glade.”

LaGuardia Performing Arts Center takes a more serious approach with its fall theater choices. “Red Wednesday,” follows the story of Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, who helped create the Islamic republic of Iran and served as the country’s foreign minister during the hostage crisis in 1979.

The piece, written by his great-niece, Sanaz Ghajarrahimi, examines the people who are left to clean up the mess after factions go to war.

Then Nov. 5 - Nov. 15, LPAC presents “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” by Rajiv Joseph, along with a work-in-progress, “Lonely Leela.”

Joseph’s piece, which ran on Broadway in 2011 and starred Robin Williams, is the story of a tiger’s ghost that haunts the streets of the Iraqi capital looking for the meaning of life.

The borough’s community theater groups are also gearing up for the fall.

Theatre by the Bay in Bay Terrace will perform the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic “South Pacific” Nov. 1 - Nov. 16.

Forest Hill’s Gingerbread Players stage Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” Nov. 8 - 16.

The Douglaston Community Theatre opts to go serious with Neil Simon’s “The Gingerbread Lady” Nov. 14 - 23.

Musicals rule out in the Rockaways with “Godspell” at Rockaway Theatre Co. continuing through Sept. 28, and the Bayswater Players’ production of “Fiddler on the Roof” settling in Nov. 20 - Dec. 21.

Something funny will be going on in Forest Hills when the Parkside Players present the comedy “The Foreigner” Nov. 22 - Dec. 6.

Although the dates have not been confirmed yet, the Free Synagogue of Flushing’s Community Theatre Group is scheduled to stage the musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in November.

Finally, at Flushing Town Hall, the autumn months will be filled with music of nearly every genre.

Arturo O’Farrill Quartet brings its Latin jazz sound to the center Sept. 19. The New York Classical Players performs Bartok and Rachmanioff and joins young violinist Itamar Zorman on Beethoven’s Violin Concerto Sept. 26.

More classical music happens Oct. 5 when 10-year-old composer and pianist Huang Tiange holds a recital of three Mozart sonatas.

Jazz returns on Oct. 17 when NEA Jazz Master pianist Barry Harris and pianist and composer Valerie Capers play together for the first time.

“From Spain to New York — Cantos de Ida y Vuelta” Oct. 24 encompasses an evening of Latin jazz with the city’s Javier Ruibal and Victor Prieto from Spain.

As part of Queens College’s Year of South Africa, drummer Kesivan Naidoo performs Cape jazz Nov. 1.

Queens College Chamber Winds incorporates 15 of the college’s best players from the Wind Ensemble and performs 20th-century works Nov. 2.

Korean music takes center stage Nov. 7 when the group Juri’s Kuns plays a free show.

Grammy nominee and MacArthur genius grant recipient Dafnis Prieto performs Afro-Cuban music on the drums Nov. 8.

NEA Jazz Masters Swing Broadway, includes six leading performers and their take on showtunes, plays Nov. 14.

Folk music gets its moment Nov. 15 when Tin Throat Ensemble gives its spin on the songs.

Then Nov. 21, singer/songwriter Martha Redbone, who uses 18th-century poetry combined with her native American and African-American roots to create a collision of cultures, brings her sound accompanied by pianist, guitarist and bassist to Flushing Town Hall.

Posted 12:00 am, September 12, 2014
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