Arts Beat

By Mark G. Auerbach

Of Note:

Silverthorne Theater Company, now entering its 7th season of producing professional theater in the northern Pioneer Valley, announced the appointment of Carmela Lanza-Weil and Rebecca Daniels as the company’s new co-artistic producing directors. Lucinda Kidder, the founder of the company and current producer, is retiring. Both Lanza-Weil and Daniels have decades of experience producing theater and have served Silverthorne for several years already, as board members, working artists, and informal consultants. For details: www.silverthornetheater.org

The Berkshire Theatre Critics Association announced the winners of the 2019 “Berkies” awards for excellence in theatre in The Berkshires and contiguous areas of WMass, Vermont, Connecticut and New York, at a November 11 ceremony in Pittsfield. This is the 4th annual Berkies presentation. The Larry Murray Award for Community Outreach and Support through Theater went to Tina Packer, Founder of Shakespeare & Company, for her decades of work bringing theatre and theatre education to the Berkshire community. For a complete list of nominees and winners: http://berkshirecritics.org/index.htm:

WAM Theatre concluded its 10th season, with an announcement that the theatre company ha donated $75,000 to non-profits serving women and children in the last decade. The success of the just-closed production of Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau, enabled the company to present $4500 each to their 18th and 19th  beneficiaries,  Harmony Homestead and Wholeness Center, Inc., and The Women of Color Giving Circle. Pipeline, presented by WAM in partnership with BRIDGE, is a co-production with The Nora Theatre Company at Central Square Theatre in Cambridge, MA, where the play will be performed from March 5-29, 2020. For details: www.wamtheatre.org. 

Shakespeare & Company has announced its Shakespeare lineup for the 2020 summer season. Under the direction of Artistic Director Allyn Burrows and Managing Director Adam Davis, the season will include three Shakespeare plays: King Lear directed by Nicole Ricciardi featuring the Drama Desk and Emmy Award-winning actor Christopher Lloyd (Taxi, Back to the Future trilogy) in the title role, Much Ado About Nothing directed by Kelly Galvin, and The Comedy of Errors directed by Michael F. Toomey. For details: www.shakespeare.org

Road Trips!

The Capitol Steps play Cambridge for their 21st annual Thanksgiving weekend performances, Saturday, November 30 at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre in Cambridge. Since they brought The Lyin’ Kings to Northampton, they’ve added Rudy Giuliani and Ukraine and other current topics to putting their mock in democracy. For details: https://www.boxoffice.harvard.edu

The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra with Maestro Keith Lockhart are touring New England this holiday season. You can see them on December 6 at Worcester’s Hanover Theatre. For details:  https://thehanovertheatre.org/holidaypops19. The tour stops at UConn on December 14 at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. For details: https://jorgensen.uconn.edu/Online/default.asp

Keep in Mind…


A Christmas Carol-A Ghost Story of Christmas, returns to thrill and delight Hartford Stage audiences for its 22nd season, with performances November 29-December 28. This heartwarming adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale is adapted and originally directed by former Hartford Stage Artistic Director Michael Wilson, A Christmas Carol–A Ghost Story of Christmas is directed by Hartford Stage Artistic Associate Rachel Alderman. .Michael Preston returns as Ebenezer Scrooge, the miser who finds redemption on Christmas Eve with the help of three ghostly spirits. Preston is joined by returning actors Vanessa R Butler, Alan Rust,  and Noble Shropshire, and the large cast includes students from Hartt School at the University of Hartford,  local children, and others. For details: www.hartfordstage.org.

A Celtic Christmas

A Celtic Family Christmas, with fiddle virtuosos Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy celebrate the holiday season at The UMass Fine Arts Center Concert Hall on December 4.  The duo will be accompanied by an array of talented musicians, including their children, for a night of high-end fiddle playing and step dancing that will make you want to get out of your seat and celebrate. The entertainment world is filled with extraordinary stories, but few match the beguiling tale of fiddle players Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy. Married in 2002, the Canadian couple’s combined album sales exceed one million copies and collaborators have included classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma, bluegrass star Alison Krauss, and banjo ace Béla Fleck. For details: www.fineartcenter.com.

The UMass Department of Music and Dance presents a free faculty recital featuring Frederic T.Cohen on oboe and pianist Gilles Vonsattel on December 2 at Bezanson Recital Hall. The program includes Poulenc’s Sonata, Schumann’s 3 Romances, Britten’s 2 Insect Pieces & Fröhlich’s Divertimento. For details: www.fineartscenter.com.


Dave Brinnel, the Longmeadow-based pianist, singer, and songwriter will join forces with his daughter, Hailey Brinnel,  Philadelphhia-based trombonist, for a series of free holiday concerts, on December 21 at Shakago Martini & Piano Bar in Springfield, and on December 22 at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge. The duo had performed regularly in WMass, until Hailey went to college in Philadelphia, where she’s had a successful music career. Dave released his first CD, Finally, with twelve original tunes, last year. For details: https://www.davebrinnel.com/


Lessons and Carols at Trinity Chapel in Hartford, with Christopher Houlihan, director, celebrates the 50th anniversary of Trinity College going co-ed, on December 8. The program features carols and poetry by women, read by women. For details: https://www.trincoll.edu/spiritualandreligiouslife/chapel-music/lessons-and-carols/.

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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