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Until, Until, Until… ~ Transitions ~ West Edge Opera’s ‘Snapshot 2018’ ~ Bernstein’s ‘Serenade’

This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine covering the Bay Area performing arts, host David Latulippe talks with Los Angeles based artist Edgar Arcenaux, about his project Until, Until, Until…, a multi-media video installation and a live action play - written, staged, and directed by Arceneaux - that revisits a controversial 1981 performance by American actor, dancer, and singer Ben Vereen (played by Frank Lawson), which was televised nationally as part of Ronald Reagan’s inaugural celebration.

Broadway legend Ben Vereen performed the famous show tune Waiting for Robert E. Lee in blackface during the first act, which was broadcast live on ABC, but the TV network did not broadcast the second act, where Vereen sang the mournful song Nobody while removing the blackface. The omission of the second, emancipatory act from national television ruined Vereen’s reputation, particularly in the black community. The live performance part of Until, Until, Until… plays at YBCA in San Francisco February 22-24; the exhibit runs through March 25.

Also, a conversation with director, playwright and actor John Fisher, about the world premiere for Theatre Rhinoceros of his play Transitions, a ‘satirical drama ripped from the world’s headlines’, about the surprising relationship between a young Republican and a no-nonsense drag queen, in which Fisher plays both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Transitions runs from February 23 through March 17 at the Gateway Theatre (formerly The Eureka Theatre), 215 Jackson St. (at Battery) in San Francisco.

From West Edge Opera, we meet with general director Mark Streshinsky, composer Brian Rosen, and conductor Mary Chun, who share details about West Edge’s Snapshot 2018, which showcases excerpts from new, previously unproduced operas by West Coast composers and librettists. The program is brought in collaboration with New Chamber Music Ensemble Earplay, and performances are on Saturday February 24 at the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Hall in Berkeley (2288 Fulton St - 8pm), and on Sunday February 25 at the Taube Atrium Theater on Van Ness in San Francisco (3pm).

Plus, we meet with guest conductor Andrey Boreyko and violinist Vadim Gluzman, who will be wrapping up the season-long Bernstein Centennial celebration at the San Francisco Symphony, with concerts on February 22-24. On the program Bernstein’s Divertimento for Orchestra, his Serenade (with Gluzman playing the violin solo); and Symphony No. 5 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975).

Open Air with host David Latulippe; heard live on February 22 at 1pm. Listen now or anytime…