the little theatre

Scott Pukos / WXXI

Actor Robert Forster, a Rochester native who has been in dozens of films and TV shows, was in town over the weekend.

He hosted a private showing for family and friends at The Little Theatre of his new film, called  What They Had,  which is about a family dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. Its cast also includes Hilary Swank, Blythe Danner, and Michael Shannon.

WXXI’s Randy Gorbman caught up with Forster after the screening of the film on Saturday. The Rochester screening was the first time Forster had seen the film, which has previously been shown at the Sundance Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival.

Tianna Manon/WXXI News

The Little Theatre in downtown Rochester kicked off a major fundraising campaign Thursday evening. The goal for the six-month long “Little Big Picture Campaign” is one million dollars to match the money given to the venue this year from the state’s Regional Economic Development Council.

Scott Pukos / WXXI

An East Avenue landmark will soon have a new look.

The marquee at the Little Theatre is being replaced for the first time in about 85 years. The new marquee is being installed Wednesday and a lighting party is scheduled for this coming Monday evening.

Theatre spokesman Scott Pukos won't divulge exactly what the debut message will be when the lights go on for the first time.                       

We preview the documentary, Real Boy. It's the coming-of-age story of Bennett Wallace, a trans teenager undergoing a gender transition. While navigating the transition and a strained relationship with his family, Wallace connects with trans folk singer Joe Stevens, who takes Wallace under his wing. Wallace and Stevens are in Rochester for the film's screening at The Little Theatre and a musical performance at Geva Theatre Center, but first, they're our guests on Connections. In studio:

The One Take Film Festival is coming to The Little Theatre. It's a celebration of documentary films, education, art, music, food, and empowerment.

We talk to filmmakers about their work, and learn about the origins of this festival. Our guests:

  • Linda Moroney, director and programmer for the One Take Film Festival, and producer of The Last Dalai Lama?
  • Bri Merkel, special events manager for The Little Theatre
  • Jennifer Brea, director and subject of Unrest

Why are politicians so self-destructive? That's what you might find yourself wondering after you head to The Little to watch Weiner, which some critics have called the best political documentary ever made. It's hard to watch at times; the former Congressman takes his own career apart, while nearly destroying his family.

We talk to the filmmakers, as well as a panel that will discuss why the pursuit of power is so corrosive. Our guests:

  • Dr. Kathleen Donovan, assistant professor in the Political Science Department, Legal Studies Program, and Statistics Program at St. John Fisher College
  • Joe Rittler, former chief of staff for the Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature
  • Dr. Hinda Mandell, assistant professor in the School of Communications at RIT

Rochester native Robert Forster joins us to talk about his new film, The American Side, a mystery/thriller/noir about a conspiracy involving scientist Nikola Tesla. The film will be screened as part of a special event at The Little Theatre on Thursday.

The American Side kicks off our discussion of summer films, from movies for film lovers, to popcorn flicks and more. Our guests:

We preview The Little Theatre's upcoming Science on Screen event by talking about Hitchcock's Psycho and psychology in filmmaking.

Our panel of experts discusses about how filmmakers use visual techniques to control the minds of moviegoers. We break down Psycho's famous "shower scene," and explore what rules, if any, exist in modern films. Our guests:

  • James Cutting, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Psychology at Cornell University
  • Les Friedman, Ph.D., professor and former chair of the Media and Society Program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Bri Merkel, special events manager for The Little Theatre

A Rochester photojournalist was 26 years old when he set out across the country in 1970 -- a man with only his friend and a beat-up VW bus. Throughout their journey, Mark Brady took black-and-white photographs.

Forty years later, Brady essentially rediscovered the slides, and he discovered a different America. It was more open, more accepting, and in some ways, more beautiful. His photographs became a book, and now his work is on display this month at the Little Theater's cafe.

Brady joins us to talk about the journey: the hospitality he found on the road; why hitchhiking was safe; his encounter with a young Michael McKean; the beauty of America; and the way that trip feels almost impossible today, and yet almost necessary. Our guests:

  • Mark Brady, photojournalist and author of The Paisley Tunnel, 1970
  • Roger Bruce, member of the Board of Trustees, Visual Studies Workshop

Kaki King is one of the most extraordinary guitarists in the world today. She will perform at The Little Theatre on Thursday, February 25 at 8:00 p.m. She joins us to talk about her body of work.