Arts Beat

by Mark G. Auerbach

Ann Underland

WAM Opens 10th Season with World Premiere of “Lady Randy”

Lady Randy, a new play by Berkshires playwright and actor Anne Underland, opens WAM Theatre’s  10th season, April 18-May 5 at Shakespeare and Company’s Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre in Lenox, MA. Anne Undeland stars in her play, opposite Mark Zeisler. Jim Frangione directs.

Lady Randy, according to WAM Theatre co-founder Kristen Van Ginhoven, is “a delightfully dizzying romp through the life of Jennie Jerome, mother of Winston Churchill.I n 1875, the American heiress, Jennie Jerome, seemed to have have it all. She had married an English lord, she was young, rich and beautiful, and she had just given birth to Winston Churchill. Lady Randy takes us on a dizzying ride through the treacherous, kaleidoscopic sexual and political landscape of her marriage.  A woman ahead of her time, Jennie kept everyone watching, kept them guessing, and she never, ever surrendered.”

Playwright .Anne Underland is an active member of Berkshire Voices, Berkshire Playwrights Lab’s writing group, and Howl Playwrights out of Rhinebeck, NY. This is her first full-length play.

For details: www.wamtheatre.org.

Andrew Megill. Photo Carmel Bach Festival.

Bach Festival & Symposium Returns to UMass April 12-14

The UMass/Amherst Department of Music and Dance has announced plans for the 2019 Bach Festival and Symposium on April 12-14. The multi-faceted project, the third such offering to take place at UMass, will feature a wide range of events, including concerts, scholarly presentations, community performances, and panel discussions. Highlights include a full-day symposium on April 13 featuring an international roster of scholars and a keynote by Columbia University’s Lydia Goehr, and a full performance of Bach’s epic St. Matthew Passion led by Andrew Megill, conductor of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Chorus, the Carmel Bach Festival Chorale, and Fuma Sacra.

The Festival weekend opens with a free concert by faculty pianist Gilles Vonsattel on Friday, April 12. in Bezanson Recital Hall.  The following day, the UMass Festival Orchestra and Chorus (Tony Thornton, chorus master) will present the St. Matthew Passion, one of Bach’s most enduring masterworks, in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall. Conducted by Andrew Megill, the concert will feature tenor Willliam Hite as the Evangelist and baritone Paul Max Tipton as Christus. On April 14, the Festival concludes with two free performances of Bach cantatas – the ever-popular Coffee Cantata \at Amherst Coffee, and a special Alumni Cantata Concert \ in Bezanson Recital Hall.

For details: 413-545-2511, or www.fineartscenter.com/musicanddance

Of Note

Jamilla Deria

Jamilla Deria has been named director of the UMass Fine Arts Center. Deria succeeds Dr. Willie L. Hill, who retired from the position in February after serving nearly 10 years as director. She will assume her new duties in June 2019. A Hartford native who got her undergraduate degree at William College and her Master’s from NYU, Deria comes to Amherst from The Apollo Theatre Foundation. Deria is also the founder of FeVA Productions, Inc., a non-profit theater company dedicated to supporting the new works of emerging playwrights of color.

Silverthorne Theater Company announced its  2019 season to be held at the Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield, MA. The season opens with Constance Congon’s Tales of The Lost Formicans, April 25-May 4. The Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt musical classic, The Fantasticks, runs June 20-29. One of the longest running American musicals, it features the classic “Try to Remember”. Lauren Gunderon’s The Revolutionists, a recent hit at West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park, runs September 19-28, and the season ends with the classic The Diary of Anne Frank, playing October 17-26. Silverthorne also hosts a series of free play readings. Steve Henerson’s Sandwich will be read on April 18. Harley Erdman’s Restoration Room staged by Chris Rohmann, will be read on May 16. For details: https://silverthornetheater.org

Keep in Mind

Arts Beat Radio airs every Friday at 8AM, on 89.5fm/WSKB.  On April 12, Rorianne Schrade previews Sevenars Concert Series upcoming summer season, an actor/director and musician James Barry talks about his acoustic concert in Pittsfield.. ArtsBeat Radio, live on Fridays at 8AM on 89.5fm/WSKB, on Westfield Comcast channel 15, or streamed on www.wskb.org. And, if you miss an episode, find it on YouTube at WSKB Community Radio’s page

James Barry

James Barry, director of Berkshire Theatre Group’s productions of Million Dollar Quartet and the upcoming Working, and actor at BTG and Chester Theatre, performs his new solo acoustic show, April 12 at Mission Restaurant, 436 North Street, in Pittsfield, MA. For details: https://www.missionbarandtapas.com/music-events

Alienation, a locally-made, family-friendly short film from Vanessa Querry, filmed in and around Greenfield and Turners Falls, will premiere on April 11 at The Rendezvous in Turners Falls.  It contains highly recognizable landmarks, such as Poet’s Seat Tower, downtown Greenfield, and the ruins of the Railroad Salvage building in Turners Falls. The screening is free. .For details: https://vanessaquery.com/alienation/

For the trailer:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5EtgMrvrbg&feature=youtu.be

Suzanne Bona and Brenda Moore Miller

Brenda Moore Miller, pianist, and Public Radio’s Sunday Baroque host, Suzanne Bona, flutist perform a recital of piano and fluteon April 25 at The Unitarian Universalist Church in Amherst. The program, which runs the gamut from Bach and Handel to contemporary classics, will be repeated on April 27 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford. For Amherst details: http://www.uusocietyamherst.org/  For West Hartford details: https://www.reddoormusic.org/event/spring-chamber-music-suzanne-bona-and-brenda-miller/

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Series preents its final concert of the season on April 14 at Twin Hills Country Club in Longmeadow, MA. The SSO Brass Ensemble performs. For details: 413-733-2291 or www.springfieldsymphony.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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