Arts Beat

by Mark G. Auerbach

“Lionesses Dance” in The Lion King.. ©Disney. Photo by Deen van Meer.

“The Lion King” Roars at The Bushnell August 1-19

Broadway’s blockbuster musical The Lion King plays an etended summer run at The Bushnell in Hartford on August 1-19. Winner of six Tony Awards including “Best Musical”, this Disney-helmed adaptation of a popular Disney film, with a score by Elton John and Tim Rice, stunning choreography by Garth Fagan, and masterful direction by Julie Taymor, has thrilled audiences worldwide. It’s been a sell out on Broadway since 1997. The Lion King is   Broadway’s third longest-running show in history and the highest grossing Broadway production of all time, having grossed more than $1 billion

Giraffes strut. Birds swoop. Gazelles leap. The entire Serengeti comes to life as never before. And as the music soars, Pride Rock slowly emerges from the mist. More than 90 million people around the world have experienced the awe-inspiring visual artistry, the unforgettable music, and the uniquely theatrical storytelling of this Broadway spectacular – one of the most breathtaking and beloved productions ever to grace the stage. There is simply nothing else like The Lion King.

For details: 860-987-5900 or www.bushnell.org

Steve Schoenberg

Steven Schoenberg Plays the 1794 Meeting House on July 22

Steven Schoenberg, the award-winning composer and pianist whose global career began in Longmeadow, performs at the 1794 Meeting House in New Salem on July 22.

Steven Schoenberg’s acclaimed recordings, Pianoworks, Three Days in May, Steven Schoenberg Live, An Improvisational Journey, and the newly released What’s Going On?, are available on CD. After a finger injury stopped his piano improvisational concerts in 1986, Schoenberg started performing again in the late 1990’s and has appeared at concert halls throughout the United States. His recent film scores include the documentaries Monica and David, for HBO, A Class Apart, for the PBS series American Experience; An Act of Conscience, for Showtime; and Farmingville, which opened the 2005 PBS series POV. Farmingville took home the Special Jury Award from the Sundance Film Festival.

Schoenberg has scored numerous Emmy Award-winning films for other PBS series including NOVA and Smithsonian World. With his son, Adam Schoenberg, he also scored the independent thriller, Graceland, which premiered at the Tribeca Film festival, and is now available on NETFLIX. He has composed songs for Sesame Street and scored films for ZOOM and the Children’s Television Workshop. He was executive producer and composer for Kid Quest, which garnered two New England Emmy Awards in 2008. Other children’s projects include composing music for the award-winning book and CD My Bodyworks, written by his wife Jane Schoenberg.

Schoenberg, and his wife, Jane Schaffer Schoenberg grew up in Longmeadow. Son Adam, has followed in his footsteps, and his composition, Go! will be featured on the opening concert of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra’s 75th anniversary season.

For details: http://1794meetinghouse.org/#schoenberg

Of Note

Posh Picnic, the annual Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative gala, honors Berkshires filmmaker Kent Jones, whose new feature film, Diane, starring Mary Kay Place, won awards at the Tribeca Film Festival.The July 22 event at Tanglewood features a gourmet picnic, a Bloody Mary bar, silent auction, and tickets to the Boston Symphony Orchestra matinee.  Proceeds benefit BFMC’s new Community Film Fund, which provides support to non-profit organizations who want to use locally-produced film or video for their advancement efforts. For details: call 413-528.4223 or visit www.berkshirefilm.org or https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bfmcs-posh-picnic-fundraiser-at-tanglewood-tickets-47382284689

The Capitol Steps. Photo by Violet Crown Photo Works

Keep in Mind

Arts Beat Radio airs every Friday at 8AM, on 89.5fm/WSKB. On July 20, at a special time–7AM, Mark G. Auerbach and Jay Pagliuca head to Cranwell in Lenox for a two-hour special with The Capitol Steps, the musical political satire group that has been putting the “mock” in democracy for 35+years. Start your weekend with ArtsBeat Radio. Tune in live on the airwaves, on Comcast ch. 15, or www.wskb.org

Hand to God, Robert Askins’ award-winning Broadway hit, comes to Hartford’s TheaterWorks  through August 26. The controversial tale of a Christian Puppet ministry hand puppet in rural Texas, who has a mind of its own, nominee for the 2015 Tony Award for “Best Play”, is directed by Tracy Brigden, who directed TheaterWorks production of Midsummer. Nick LaMedica plays Jason, the puppet master. His puppet, Tyrone, is no Lamb Chop, but a foul-mouthed raunchy irreverent character with something to say..The cast also includes Peter Benson, Maggie Carr, Miles G. Jackson, and  Lisa Velten Smith. For details: 860-527-7838 or http://www.theaterworkshartford.org/

Avery Sharpe. Photo by Walt Steinmetz.

Jazz in July returns to UMass/Amherst for its 37th year. The summertime workshop, July 9-20 brings some of the finest jazz musicians to WMass to celebrate the jazz tradition. On July 12, vocalist Sheila Jordan, bassist Avery Sharpe and pianist Earl MacDonald perform at Bezanson Recital Hall. On July 20, Bezanson hosts trombonist Steve Davis, pianist Luis Perdomo, and saxophonist Felipe Salles. For details: 413-545-2511 or 1-800-999-UMAS, or www.jazzinjuly.com:

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s Talcott Mountain Music Festival continues with Magical Movie Music on July 20 rain or shine. at Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center in Simsbury, CT.Conductor Adam Boyles presents an evening of movie music from Academy Award-nominated films, including Chicago, The Godfather, Forrest Gump, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, La La Land and more. For details: 860-987-5900 or www.hartfordsymphony.org

Steve Henderson. Photo by Rick Teller.

White, Black & Blue, a new play by Westfield playwright Steve Henderson and Will Chalmers, has its world premiere at the Silverthorne Theater Company in Greenfield, MA, July 19-28.. Directed by Keith Langsdale, the play involves a black man who breaks into the home of an older white man, and a fragile detente develops. Sam Rush, from New Century Theatre is in the cast.  For details:  http://www.silverthornetheater.org/

Mark G. Auerbach studied theatre at American University and the Yale School of Drama. He’s worked for arts organizations and reported on theatre for newspapers and radio. Mark produces and hosts ArtsBeat Radio for 89.5fm/WSKB.

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