EDITOR’S NOTE: A big BAMirror welcome to our newest reviewer, Ralph E. Hall. Hall has been involved with local arts for many years. In the 1970s, he co-founded Golden-Hall Productions, which produced many shows at the former Ramada Inn on Front Street, Binghamton. He served on the board of directors of a Chicago-based theater in the 1980s; then, in the 90s, he served on the Working Theatre Board of Directors in New York City and produced “Songs in the Key of Stevie” at the Village Gate. In 2001 he was the interim executive director of the Broome County Arts Council. From 2006 to 2010, he served as the executive director of the KNOW Theatre in Binghamton. He now is an adjunct faculty member at Broome Community College.
“. . . not a creature was stirring” last month (December 2011) when the Phelps Mansion ballroom in Binghamton was filled with more than 100 children and adults being entertained by puppeteer Robert Rogers and his production of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Rogers did a marvelous job of entrancing and educating this young audience. He was wise in holding the performance to approximately 50 minutes. When using prerecorded voices and music, a production must be carefully thought out and timed. Rogers accomplished both. His sets and lighting supported the show very well.
Since 1980, Rogers and his puppets (marionettes) have been touring the world bringing joy to both adults and children. Rogers, an accomplished musician and composer, also has brought his puppets to the concert stage, where they have appeared in the comedic Erroneous Encores and with orchestras in productions of Peter and the Wolf and Hansel and Gretel. Based in Broome Country, he provides another unique art form for local citizens to enjoy, and the Phelps Mansion in Binghamton provides another unique venue. Lately, the Mansion’s directors have been more active than ever, making sure that both tours and entertainment available to the community.