Highlighting the rich array of cultural offerings in Geneva, the Geneva Summer Arts Festival 2003 will kick off a full schedule of theatre, music, dance, arts exhibits and more, from July 16 through August 17 in the downtown and lake arts district in Geneva.
The festival features events by the Downstairs Cabaret Theatre and cutting edge regional artists, alongside the Geneva Theatre Guild’s production of the Tony-award winning farce, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”. The Downstairs Cabaret is widely acclaimed for developing and producing world premiers, many of which have transferred to New York City. They will bring TheatreSports, a unique comedy improv troupe in which two teams of performers compete against each other for the enjoyment of the audience, July 24 – 27 in the Cellar Pub on the Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ campus. In addition the rollicking hit musical “SUDS,” featuring early 60s music, will be play at the Smith Opera House on the same dates. The Shelter Repertory Dance Theatre will premiere “A Pure White Room,” a concert of dances exploring possible responses to being enclosed in a room, on Aug.t 2 at the newly restored Smith Opera House.
After a long silence, a unique and exciting revival of “The Sunset Trail,” an operatic cantata by noted composer Charles W. Cadman, will be featured in the Smith Opera House on Aug. 9 and 10. The cast includes world-class vocalists and musicians, and a chorus of the community’s great resource of talent. Considered an American masterwork, the opera is a tale of Native American love, war and tragedy. It takes place in the time of the ‘removal’ of many tribes to distant territories along what became know as the “Trail of Tears.” Additionally, a chamber music series featuring Cadman’s “Thunderbird Suite” and works by Bach and others will be performed in the historic Trinity Church and will feature the 1811 Redstone organ – the only organ by respected English organ-builder William Redstone known to remain in America.
Other musical performers at the Arts Festival include Nicholas Walker and Gabe Shuford in unique compositions which accomplish the amazing feat of combining styles as diverse as Baroque, jazz and popular American songs. Additionally, there are two full programs from annual summer events such as the three-day Seneca Lake Whale Watch Festival and the Lakefront Gazebo Concerts, with weekly offerings ranging from jazz to chorale. One of the Lakefront Gazebo Concerts will be a special benefit performance including four bands on July 23, titled Coffee House Under the Stars: A Concert for Hunger Relief.
The spoken word will be presented in several poetry readings, and in the new one-woman play “The Month of Not Speaking,” by Michelle Courtney Berry. Berry is a published author and playwright who ranked 16th in the nation out of 290 poets at the National Poetry Slam Festival in 2001. The play premiered this spring at The Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca, to sold-out crowds.
Two art exhibits round out the festival. At the new Geneva Art Works gallery, “Surface and Form: Paintings and Sculpture of Area Artists” will feature sculpture by Ted Aub and Dexter Benedict as well as paintings by the Rev. Nancy Birdsong. At the Inkblotz Studio and Gallery an installation titled “Natural Light” will present several area artists including photographers Carrie Logan and Krisje Deal, fabric artist Mary Ann Scarborough, and designer John Lord.
A detailed calendar of events is online at http://www.genevarts.com. Through the Web site calendar other organizations can add listings for their own events. A detailed area and venue map is also available. By telephone, information and tickets for most events are available through the Smith Opera House, at 315/781-LIVE or 1-866-355-LIVE.
The Geneva Arts Development Council was founded in 2002 as an offshoot of the Cultural Arts Center committee of the Smith Opera House. Its mission is to promote the arts in the city of Geneva in order to enrich the community and participate in the revitalization of the downtown area. Its current goals are to initiate collaboration among area organizations that share the goals of art and revitalization, to foster development of arts education programs for children, to make downtown locations hospitable for artists’ studio and gallery space, and sponsor events such as the Geneva Summer Arts Festival 2003.