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2012 in review: Hudson Valley's top entertainment stories

Notable entertainment stories in 2012 included Bob Dylan's

Notable entertainment stories in 2012 included Bob Dylan's concert to kickoff the re-opening of the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, the surprise wedding of Bedford residents Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, and Mamaroneck teen Carly Rose Sonenclar competing on "The X Factor." Photo Credit: AP/WireImage/Fox

It was a big year for entertainment stories in the Hudson Valley.

The region saw the reopening of one historic local music venue and the closing of another, Hollywood stars filmed in the area and local celebrities made news on reality television and with their personal lives.

Here are some of the biggest local entertainment stories in 2012.


In September, Port Chester's venerable Capitol Theatre reopened to the public and reinvigorated the Hudson Valley music scene. The 85-year old theater, which once hosted music icons such as The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and The Rolling Stones, had only been hosting private events in recent years until its grand reopening.

On Sept. 4, 18,000 fans turned out to see the legendary Bob Dylan kick off The Cap's new slate of concerts with an energetic 17-song set.

Top acts such as The Roots, Fiona Apple, a reunited Ben Folds Five and Al Green played the Capitol Theatre this year, and Matchbox Twenty, Pat Benatar and B.B. King are among the acts scheduled to play in 2013.

While The Cap's return has been a success for the venue and music fans alike, the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill was less fortunate. The theater suspended operations Oct. 4.

The city of Peekskill is accepting proposals for the Paramount's lease, management and operation. The winning bid is expected to be selected in January.


Tina Fey, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kevin Bacon were among the A-listers who spent time shooting their film and TV projects in the Hudson Valley this year.

Westchester, in particular, has played host to a number of productions, which was by design, according to Natasha Caputo, the director of Westchester County's office of Tourism & Film.

"We are communicating that Westchester is film-friendly and we want your business," she said, in reference to the office's aggressive promotion of the area as a one-stop shopping resource for location scouts.

That promotion has paid off. This year saw the filming of Tina Fey's movie "Admission" in Bronxville and Purchase, Kevin Bacon's new television show "The Following" in Bronxville and Mount Pleasant, Catherine Zeta-Jones' movie "Bitter Pill" in Tarrytown and Leonardo DiCaprio's film "The Wolf of Wall Street" in Ardsley.

Indie films such as "Bird People" and "The Truth About Lies," as well as TV shows including "Socio" starring Denise Richards and "Deception" headlined by Victor Garber also used the region as a backdrop.

Celebrity spotting will continue into 2013, starting with "Winter's Tale," a movie starring Will Smith and Russell Crowe, which is scheduled to film at a closed set at the Yonkers Stage.


Quite a few local celebs tied the knot this year, including Hastings-on-Hudson native Ricki Lake, Peekskill native and Westchester resident Stanley Tucci, Rhinebeck native Rufus Wainwright, former Vassar student Anne Hathaway and Croton-on-Hudson resident Audra McDonald.

But the year's top weddings featuring Hudson Valley stars both had one thing in common: They were major surprises.

In August, Nyack resident Rosie O'Donnell revealed in an online blog post that she and fiancee Michelle Rounds had a private ceremony two months earlier, not long after Rounds had been diagnosed with desmoid tumors.

And in September, Bedford residents Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds pulled off a surprise wedding ceremony in South Carolina with the assistance of fellow local Martha Stewart, whose wedding magazine helped plan the nuptials.

While love was in the air across the Hudson Valley, the most newsworthy romance ultimately resulted in a breakup.

Country superstar Taylor Swift and Bedford resident Conor Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the late Mary Kennedy, had a summer romance that became public after the two were spotted at Marcella's Pizza in Mount Kisco. The two also were spotted at the Kennedy family's Cape Cod estate over the summer, and reportedly crashed a Kennedy family wedding.

The couple known as "Caylor" parted ways in October, once 18-year-old Kennedy returned to boarding school.


This year, the Hudson Valley produced three talented performers who dominated television's hottest reality shows.

In May, Harriman resident Jermaine Paul won the second season of "The Voice" based on his soulful covers of classic hits by Journey, Bon Jovi and R. Kelly. After his victory, Paul released a Father's Day single, announced plans to open a music school in Monroe and recorded his first-ever album, which is scheduled for a 2013 release.

Paul spoke about the encouragement he felt from his community during a promotional stop in New York City a few weeks after his victory.

"Their support is the leading reason why I'm here," he said at the event. "Harriman is God's country."

Another local talent who made a splash was Stony Point comedian Tom Cotter, who earned second place on "America's Got Talent" in September.

Even though he did not win the $1 million grand prize, Cotter went on to emcee the "AGT" variety show in Las Vegas this fall.

Then there was 13-year-old Mamaroneck resident Carly Rose Sonenclar, who caused a sensation during her run on "The X Factor." She earned celebrity admirers and a devoted fan base on her way to the runner-up spot in December on the reality singing series.


Local stars also made a splash on noncompetition reality series.

For Marlboro native Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, it was a year of beginnings and endings. The pint-size star got engaged and became a first-time mother when she gave birth to son Lorenzo in August. And while "Jersey Shore," the TV series that made her famous, aired its series finale in December, Snooki can still be seen in her own spinoff series, "Snooki & JWoww."

Carole Radziwill, a Suffern native, joined the "Real Housewives of New York City" this season, and became a fan favorite for not getting drawn into the drama and infighting that was commonplace among the other cast members.

"I made a promise to myself I wasn't going to do anything in front of the cameras that I wouldn't do normally in my real life," Radziwill said about filming the show.

While she has not yet announced plans to sign on for another season, the former journalist has a novel, "The Widow's Guide to Sex and Dating," slated for publication in Spring 2013.

Finally, "American Chopper," the reality-TV series about the Teutul family's custom motorcycle shops in Orange County, aired its final episode in December. The feuding father-son duo of Paul Teutul Sr., owner of Orange County Choppers in Newburgh, and Paul Teutul Jr., who left his father's Newburgh business to open Paul Jr. Designs in nearby Rock Tavern, bid adieu to reality television after a decade on the air.


With Staff Writers Betty Ming Liu and Chris Serico

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