Arts Beat

By Mark G. Auerbach

Of Note: 

Albany Berkshire Ballet’s The Nutcracker will feature 150 Springfield area students who will perform alongside professional dancers from around the country in the company’s 45th annual production of The Nutcracker at Springfield Symphony Hall on December. 21 Following auditions held on September 22, these student dancers (ages 4 to 17)  commenced weekly rehearsals at Westside Dance Center in West Springfield. For details: https://www.albanyberkshireballet.org/

The Fall Festival Of Shakespeare Finale Performances, November 21 – 24, brings  hundreds of teenagers from ten area high schools to the Tina Packer Playhouse at Shakespeare & Company. The four-day festival marks the culmination of the award-winning program that places Shakespeare & Company Education Artists in ten high schools across Berkshire and Columbia counties for nine-weeks. Springfield Central High School is one of the participants. For details: www.shakespeare.org.

Hartford Stage will present a sensory friendly performance of A Christmas Carol–A Ghost Story of Christmas on Saturday, December 7 at 2PM. Now in its sixth year, the sensory friendly performance is designed to create an accessible, welcoming theatre experience for children and adults with autism or other sensory-input disorders, as well as their families and caregivers. For details: www.hartfordstage.org.

Keep in Mind…


Avery Sharpe, acclaimed bassist, composer, former UMass student and long-time Pioneer Valley resident, studied at UMass Amherst before embarking upon a globe-spanning career. To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans being brought to Virginia, Sharpe marks this milestone with his latest original piece of music 400: An African American Musical Portrait,  touched by spirituals, gospel, blues, jazz and classical idioms, featuring a video component. Sharpe, Don Braden (tenor saxophone), Duane Eubanks (trumpet), Davis Whitfield (piano), Ronnie Burrage (drums) and the Extended Family Choir directed by Kevin Sharpe, perform uner th auspices of the UMass Fine Arts Center, at Bowker Audiyotium on the UMass/Amherst  campus on November 21. For details: www.fineartscenter.com/Sharpe400


RUBBERBANDance, the innovative dance troupe comes to the UMass Fine Arts Center on November 19. They’ll be performing their new work Ever So Slightly. Drawing from the innovative choreography of Artistic Director Victor Quijada, Ever So Slightly combines a distinct mixture of contemporary, ballet, and hip-hop dance with live music to explore our daily challenge to find balance and reflection in our lives. For details: www.fineartscenter.com/Rubberband

Merrilee Mannerly: A Magnificient New Musical, based on the Mom’s Choice Award-Winning book by Connecticut authors Mary Cashman and Cynthia Whipple, will bring family fare to West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park Theatre for Young Audiences program, December 6-18. Sensory-friendly performances are scheduled on the mornings of December 6-7.. With lively music, dancing and lots of laughs, Merrilee Mannerly reminds us all that “Good Manners are Always in Fashion.” Ryan Ratelle will direct and Enrique Brown will choreograph. Book by William Squier, Mary Cashman & Cynthia Whipple; lyrics by William Squier; and music by Jeffrey Lodin. The how will transfer to New York early next year. For details: .www.playhouseonpark.org


Tramps Like Us–The Number One Bruce Springsteen Tribute Band in The World plays Pittsfield’s Colonial Theatre on November 22 at 8pm. With 30 years of road-tested musicianship and a repertoire of over 140 songs, this high energy band delivers Bruce Springsteen’s iconic rockers and ballads. Formed in 1990, Tramps Like Us has performed Springsteen’s classic hits such as “Dancing In the Dark,” “Born in the U.S.A.,” “Thunder Road,” “Badlands” and so many more in over 2,000 concerts to over 1 million fans.It’ presente by Berkshire Theatre Group. For etails: www.berkhiretheatregroup.org.

Basically Beethoven, The Springfield Symphony Orchestra’s  Chamber Music Series continues on November 17 at the Twin Hills Country Club in Longmeaow. For details: www.springfieldsymphony.org.

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra performs music of Chopin and Franck on December 6-8 at The Bushnell. Laura Jackon conducts, Daniela Liebman is the pianist for the Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2, and the program also includes Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. For details: www.hartfordsymphony.org.


Dom Flemons presents Black Cowboys, an anthology of the American West, November  16 at Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. Dom Flemons is known as “The American Songster” since his repertoire of music covers nearly 100 years of American folklore, ballads, and tunes. For details: www.hawksandreed.com.

Fall With Me, Northfield Mount Hermon playwright Jared Eberlein’s powerful play  rounds off Silverthorne Theater’s 2019 new play reading series, on November 21 in the Franklin County Coop meeting space at 170 Main Street, Greenfield. The reading is free and open to the public. For details: https://silverthornetheater.org


David Bowerman’s Paintings, Drawings & Sculptures an exhibition produced by MIFA Victory Theatre, is on display at Wistariahurst Museum, in Holyoke, MA through December 6. Bowerman, a Springfield-based artist, left the corporate world to become aworking artist. For information on Bowerman: www.davidbowerman.studio. For information on Wistariahurst: www.wistariahurst.org

The Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus will be Making Spirits Bright! with its annual holiday concert at the Wadsworth Atheneum,, December 6-8. Through narration and song, audiences will be delighted as the Chorus shares five touching – sometimes nontraditional – holiday tales featuring universal themes of love, family and belonging.For details:  https://hgmc.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, and is a contributor to Pioneer Valley Radio.

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