Glitz & glamour
The Memorial Art Gallery is the only Northeast stop on a national tour of “Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair,” a look at the history of the traveling fashion spectacular that helped redefine empowerment for African-Americans. The exhibition, on view Jan. 30 to April 24, includes creations by world-class designers and archival materials that tell the story. Preview parties and other events are planned around the show; see details below. mag.rochester.edu
Fashion show redux
The art and elegance of high-end fashion from the 1960s to the 21st century will be on display at the Memorial Art Gallery during an exhibition created by the Chicago History Museum.
Opening Jan. 30, “Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair” brings 40 haute couture and ready-to-wear ensembles, among them glamorous gowns, feathered coats and statement designs, organizers say, as well as archival photos, memorabilia and video footage. Featured designers include Christian Dior, Yves St. Laurent and Oscar de la Renta.
The exhibition is the first to tell the story of the Ebony Fashion Fair, a traveling fashion show that ran from 1958 to 2009. Produced by the publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines, the fair brought the best of European fashion to communities eager to see African-American culture in a new light.
Events include talks by fashion stylist David Zyla, “Cheetah Girls” author and former runway model Deborah Gregory, right, and the show’s curators, along with a gala and gospel brunches.
The show will be up through April 24. Gallery members can preview the show at a party Jan. 30. mag.rochester.edu
Trouble in River City
Webster Theatre Guild will celebrate its 80th anniversary season with a full production of “The Music Man.”
Nick Faruch plays Harold Hill, the traveling con man at the center of the story who persuades the citizens of River City to form a band. He plans to skip town after getting them to buy instruments and uniforms from him—but he falls for Marian, the librarian, and has second thoughts. Faruch has acted professionally in national touring productions as well as “Melanie and the Record Man” at Blackfriars Theatre.
The cast includes six sets of parents and children. Fourteen kids are in the cast. Director Johnnie Simmons, who acts and directs at Blackfriars and other local theaters, led the guild’s 75th anniversary show.
Webster Theatre Guild and its Summer Youth Theatre Experience have staged productions every year except two since 1936 when it was founded by Erva Smith and the Rev. John Schott.
“The Music Man” will be presented Jan. 22, 23, 29 and 30 at Webster Thomas High School. webstertheatreguild.org
This year’s InspireDance Festival at the University of Rochester includes a Barbie-themed piece by Jane Comfort & Company that explores body image.
The famed choreographer’s company will perform “Beauty” at Strong Auditorium Jan. 29, followed by a panel discussion with Comfort and university faculty about cultural pressures around appearance.
The festival, which runs from Jan. 27 to Feb. 1, presents performances and 35 classes taught by guest artists and faculty, including Comfort. All are open to the public. Classes will take place on the River Campus and at the Eastman School of Music.
In addition to dancers, Comfort’s company comprises actors and singers who lend a cappella singing, acting, lip-syncing and other elements, including film, puppetry and acting.
“I’ve been interested for years in Jane’s work and the way that it connects to so many different fields of study,” said Missy Pfohl Smith, director of UR’s program of dance and movement. “Her work embodies the ways in which dance and art can be used to reflect and comment on society.”
Other festival activities include workshops in contemporary dance, ballet, capoeira, hip-hop, breakdancing, yoga and Middle Eastern dance. Featured performances include a student kickoff concert and an inspireJAM hip-hop dance battle.
InspireDance was launched in 2011 by senior Arielle Friedlander. The festival has expanded its reach in the last six years. rochester.edu/college/dance/events
1 A seven-piece funk brass band is joined by tap dancers in “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now,” presented by Rhythmic Circus and staged Jan. 23 at Nazareth College’s Callahan Theater. The tappers dance onstage, creating a staccato rhythm to complement the band. Rhythmic Circus includes dancers Nick Bowman, Galen Higgins, Ricci Milan and Kaleena Miller. artscenter.naz.edu, rhythmiccircus.com
2 The Monster Jam roars into Blue Cross Arena for three shows this weekend. Monster trucks with names such as Krazy Train, Aftershock, Bounty Hunter, Iron Outlaw, Northern Nightmare, Monster Mutt and Zombie are the stars of the show, which also features freestyle motocross. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. ticketmaster.com
3 Geva Comedy Improv heads to the Wild West as it stages “Rattlesnake Gulch” this weekend on the Fielding Nextstage. The group will stage the improvised, unscripted western. Shows are Friday and Saturday. gevacomedyimprov.org
4 Legendary trumpeter Doc Severinsen is guest conductor with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra this Jan. 22 and 23. The Grammy Award-winning artist is the former “Tonight Show” bandleader. Severinsen, 88, has recorded more than 30 albums. His most recent RPO appearance was in 2014. rpo.org
5 Pirate Island Weekend is Jan. 23 and 24 at the Strong Museum. Ocean-themed activities will abound, as mermaids, pirates and swamp creatures can be spotted. Area scuba divers also will be on hand to show off their gear. museumofplay.org
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