Arts Beat

By Mark G. Auerbach

Hartford Stage Announces 2020-21 Season 


Melia Bensussen, Artistic Director of Hartford Stage, and Managing Director Cynthia Rider have announced four of the six productions for the upcoming season, the first totally programmed by the Obie-winning director, who joined Hartford Stage last year. This announcement came shortly after the run of Jane Eyre was cut short, the production of The King’s Speech was cancelled, and Bensussen’s staging of Ah Wilderness will likely be postponed…all due to COVID19..

Bensussen will direct Shakespeare’s beloved romantic comedy As You Like It, and the world premiere of Simona’s Search by Martin Zimmerman, author of On The Exhale, the solo play which was presented last year at Chester Theatre starring Tara Franklin. Zimmerman is also a writer for Netflix’s Ozark. In a co-production with Washington, DC’s Arena Stage and the Denver Center Theatre, Hartford Stage will present Pearl Cleage’s Angry, Raucous, and Shamelessly Gorgeous. David Catlin’s Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a big hit at Lookingglass Theatre, will come to Hartford, staged by the playwright.

A Christmas Carol, Hartford Stage’s holiday tradition returns for its 23rd season, and two additional productions will be announced soon .For details: www.hartfordstage.org.

Melia Bensussen discusses the Hartford Stage season on ArtsBeat Radio/TV, on Friday, April 3 at 8AM on Westfield’s 89.5fm/WSKB and WCPC-15 TV. To stream: www.westfieldtv.org.

Sevenars Concerts Announces 53rd Season


Sevenars Concerts, the summer chamber music series founded by The Schrade Family, announces their 53rd season of concerts in Worthington, MA. The season opens on July 12 with a Sevenars tradition, members of the extended Schrade family performing works by Lizst, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, and a salute to Dave Brubeck on his 100th birthday. The Elm Chamber Ensemble, a new chamber group, makes their Sevenars debut on July 19. Kirk Whipple and Marilyn Morales, a piano duo, return to Sevenars on July 26 with a program that includes Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue for piano four hands. The Taconic Music Festival performs on August 2 with a program that includes Beethoven. The annual Sparkman Trio performance, with clarinetist Bob Sparkman, pian ist Jerry Noble, and bass guitarist Kara Noble brings jazz to Sevenars on August 9. The season wraps up on August 16 wioth pianist Rorianne Schrade’s Beethoven 250th Birthday Salute. For details: www.sevenars.org.

Rorianne Schrade discusses the Sevenars 2019 season on ArtsBeat Radio/TV, on Friday, April 10 at 8AM on Westfield’s 89.5fm/WSKB and WCPC-15 TV. To stream: www.westfieldtv.org.

Keep in Mind…



WBUR, Boston’s NPR News Station, published an updated list of resources for artists and non-profits impacted by the COVID19 epidemic. https://www.wbur.org/artery/2020/03/24/grants-funds-resources-artists-nonprofits-covid-19-coronavirus?fbclid=IwAR1K30Dtsr5BB60NSGKDx5-4UbliHGh1EW0SkUCiExgOj4NJA8om-Aj_LP4

South Pacific, The Goodspeed season opener, will be postponed until Fall, with performance dates of September 25-December 6. The originally announced fall production of Candide has been cancelled. For details: www.goodspeed.org.

Watch From Home:


The National Theatre in London, one of the world’s finest theatres, streams its plays and musicals to cinemas everywhere in HD. They’ve launched an at-home series via its YouTube channel, with free streamings under the banner National Theatre At Home. Each plays is free to stream for one week. The upcoming season includes: One Man, Two Guvnors, starring a pre-chat-show-days James Corden (April 2); Sally Cookson’s adaptation of Jane Eyre (April 9), Treasure Island (April 16), and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (April 23). For details: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/at-home?queueittoken=e_safetyevent25mar20~q_63fb8acc-01c0-48db-bcb4-c3a55210fb24~ts_1585317717~ce_true~rt_safetynet~h_9153e23192fb5deb01af0a871af91543a7b818e58fe53a7e7ebeb5feb1ffe537

WAM Theatre’s production of Dominique Morriseau’s Pipeline, was a major hit of their fall season. A co-production with The Nora Theatre at Central Square Theatre (CST) in Cambridge, was filmed for streaming during its brief run last month. Streaming is available through April 5. For details: https://www.wamtheatre.com/

The Lava Center in Greenfield is holding on-line Open Mics. The program began March 25, with local artists: Paul Richmond, Nina Gross, Lindy Whiton, John Lentz Trio, Jan Maher, Michael Nix, Trenda Loftin, Tina Louise, Samantha Wood, Joshua Daniel Hershfield, Amie Hyson, Vanessa Query, One-Word Story Project, Zoe Lemos, Jessica Beck, Phil Ragland and s g collins. You can stream it on LAVA’s YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn76_MnpAMg–pNBRI2yR_g For details on submitting to the next events, visit https://www.localaccess.org/

Playbill Magazine has compiled a list of Broadway plays and musicals you can stream from home. If you choose Newsies, you can get a glimpse of Westfield native Joshua Burrage, who played “Jojo”. https://www.playbill.com/article/15-broadway-plays-and-musicals-you-can-watch-on-stage-from-home

Hartford Stage presents Scene and Heard on Wednesday, April 1 at 5PM online, hosted by Artistic Director Melia Bensussen and members of the theatre. For details: www.hartfordstage.org.

Valley Voices, the podcast series derived from live storytelling performances curated by New England Public Media and the Academy of Music, featured Chester Theatre’s Angela Combest in Love Me Tinder, a series of recollections of dates arranged online. Valley Voices features Western New England storytellers. For details: https://digital.nepr.net/podcasthub/valleyvoices/

SSO Homegrown, a Springfield Symphony Orchestra online program, launches this week. For details: 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, and is a contributor to Pioneer Valley Radio.


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