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The year 2019 was a transformative one for the Proctors Collaborative. Construction on two new venues neared completion and a number of new initiatives reflected how Proctors Collaborative is changing expectations about how the arts can serve a community. Here are some of the highlights.
The Collaborative magazine launches
The institution’s namesake magazine launched. A monthly print edition, website and podcast are filled with storytelling and unique perspectives on artists in dance, theatre, literature, style, music, food and film. The magazine also highlights local arts institutions, arts community resources and upcoming events.
World premiere features local playwright’s work
Capital Repertory Theatre’s Red Maple was the Albany theater’s 29th world premiere production, featuring the work of local playwright David Bunce. “Red Maple seems sure to have future productions; its humor and humanity make it a natural fit for theaters nationwide,” a Times-Union reviewer wrote. “Would that future productions have a cast as good as this first one.” The play was the highest-grossing world premiere in the theatre’s history.
Young adults unite for the arts
A regional group – Collaborative Social – dedicated to eliminating barriers to the arts for young adults in the Capital Region was established. The mission is to introduce members to different types of arts programming and to facilitate networking.
The first Eddies Awards are a hit
Professionals across Capital Region’s music scene gathered to celebrate at the inaugural Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Awards (aka The Eddies) on the MainStage at Proctors. Founded by two Proctors Collaborative staff members, the production involved 38 awards categories, over 140 nominees, and six live performances before a crowd of over 1,250.
UPH to be home of regional music Hall of Fame
Folk artist and Music Mobile founder Ruth Pelham and Celtic singer-songwriter Kevin McKrell were inducted into the first class of the Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Hall of Fame. It was also announced that Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga will be the Hall of Fame home beginning in 2020.
Fairgame Coalition grants announced
The Upstate Theater Coalition for a Fairgame awarded $161,550 to 59 arts and cultural organizations in 19 counties in its first round of grant announcements. The coalition – in which Proctors Collaborative played a major role in creating – was developed as a way to encourage economic cooperation among arts organizations and new casinos as gambling was legalized in New York, and as a way to prevent casinos from competing with the arts. Proctors and Rivers Casino & Resort have developed a strong working relationship; the theatre handles the casino’s ticketing and entertainment booking functions.
Record participation in H.S. Musical Theatre Awards
Proctors Collaborative celebrated the incredible talent of students from across the Capital Region during the 3rdAnnual High School Musical Theatre Awards. Students from 30 Capital Region schools came together to celebrate their achievements and highlight the importance of arts and theatre education.
theREP wins appeal for $2.5 million in historic tax credits
theREP secured $2.5 million in historic tax credits to help fund renovation of its new home in Albany. The historic 251 N. Pearl St. site won approval during an appeal process in Washington, D.C., due to a push from Proctors Collaborative CEO Philip Morris, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and local architectural and tax advisers. The new space opens July 2020.
Region shows Shakespeare some love
“Shakespeare in Love” closed a five-week run with the distinction as the highest grossing play in theREP’s history, displacing a 1997 production of To Kill a Mockingbird that was so popular its run was twice extended.
Open Stage Media partners with Channel Albany
The partnership between Open Stage Media and Channel Albany brought three public access streams to Albany. OSM Public Access, Arts/Education and Government channels are now available on Spectrum and FiOS for an expanded audience in the Capital Region.
Students again help tech Off Broadway show
New York Stage Originals returned to Schenectady to partner with the School of Performing Arts at Proctors’ TheatreTech program to present a workshop production and world premiere of Heart of Stone. Building on the success of its workshop production of Young Dr. Jekyll at Proctors in 2018, NYSO again enlisted students in the technical side of the production. The new musical was staged in The Addy at Proctors.
Hamilton tickets go on sale to public
Hundreds of theatre patrons gathered June 24 at Proctors to buy tickets to the hottest Broadway show, Hamilton. Lines formed before the sun rose, while others waited patiently in online and phone queues. Over 6,500 tickets were sold the first day.
Windows restored at UPH
The beautiful stained glass windows – which had been removed in 2019 – were restored and reinstalled. The gorgeous windows shine a new light on the Saratoga Springs’ contemporary performing arts venue, opening February 2020.
Students perform Les Misérables on the MainStage
School of Performing Arts at Proctors students presented one of theatre’s most beloved and epic tales – Les Misérables. The annual summer program gives students an opportunity to work as musicians, actors and technicians on a Broadway-scale production and present it on Proctors’ MainStage.
Hamilton hits the MainStage at Proctors
Nearly two and a half years after it was announced, Hamilton captivated audiences for 16 performances at Proctors. Patrons came from near and far to see the national tour of Broadway’s most popular show.
Celebrating the American Dream
Over 200 people gathered to celebrate the courage, hard work, resilience and sacrifices of 20 local immigrants during The Immigrants’ Ball at Proctors. The diverse group was honored for their success in a variety of fields including finance, health care and technology.
Bikini Bottom begins road trip in Schenectady
The Tony Award®-winning The Spongebob Musical opened its national tour after multiple weeks of technical rehearsals at Proctors. Schenectady was the first stop for this national tour, taking patrons on an adventure with some of the most beloved characters of all time.
Wright Family awards $1 million grant
The Wright Family Foundation offered to match Proctors’ $1 million grant, ultimately giving Proctors Collaborative $2 million to support its mission. The grant helped open more opportunities for Proctors Collaborative through education, programming and ensuring that the organization continues to serve as a regional platform for arts and culture.
In with the new
Neighbors and community leaders gathered Oct. 8 to see construction progress at the new Capital Repertory Theatre at Livingston Square in Albany. The 251 North Pearl St. venue will open in July 2020.
Disney takes over the MainStage
Technical rehearsals for the highly anticipated Disney’s FROZEN tour began in mid-October. Sets, costumes and staging were perfected over the course of a month; Schenectady was the only announced stop on the entire East Coast tour.
MARCOM names ‘Magazine of the Year’
The Collaborative was named “Magazine of the Year” through the Capital Region MARCOM Awards before the publication reached its first anniversary. It was one of 10 finalists.
Downtown Schenectady receives $10 million from state
Movers and shakers gathered in the GE Theatre at Proctors to witness New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gift the city of Schenectady $10 million in state funding through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. The economic and cultural activity of the Proctors Collaborative has been instrumental in the redevelopment of downtown Schenectady over the past two decades and we’re excited to see the next phase.
Frozen warms Proctors audiences
Full houses witnessed the magic of Disney over 17 performances as Frozen opened its national tour. The beloved story of Elsa and Anna enchanted Schenectady audiences, creating an unforgettable theatrical experience.
Opening weekend announced at UPH
The opening week of performances at the newly renovated Universal Preservation Hall was announced on Dec. 18. The downtown Saratoga venue officially opens with a Feb. 29 performance by legendary singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash. Programming ranges from comedy to musical acts to theatrical performances in the 675-seat theatre in the round.
Looking ahead to the new year
In Saratoga: Universal Preservation Hall and the new Capital Repertory Theatre are set to open in February and July, respectively. The School of the Performing Arts at UPH will begin programming in Saratoga over the summer, but not before the Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Hall of Fame is unveiled at UPH in March.
In Albany: theREP will feature The Irish and How They Got That Way in March as the last show at its current location before the new venue opens its doors less than a mile away in July with Sister Act.
In Schenectady: Proctors will unveil its 2020-21 season in late February (as will theREP). Included among the many shows on the schedule is the technical rehearsal and launch for the national tour of a much-decorated Broadway show.
There is much more coming … we’re just can’t talk about it yet. But we can say 2020 is shaping up to be another trailblazing year across the Proctors Collaborative.
Proctors Collaborative publishes The Collaborative magazine. Proctors Collaborative content is written by staff of the organization.