Arts Beat


By Mark G. Auerbach

Hershey Felder, the playwright, actor, and musician whose performances as Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Tchaikovsky are regular events on the stages of Berkshire Theatre Group and Hartford Stage, performs his portrait of Beethoven, in a live-streamed theatrical event on July 12. This is Beethoven’s 250th birthday year. For a few (a portion of which benefits Berkshire Theatre Group), folks can watch on their Smart TV, computer, smartphone or tablet. For details: www.berkshiretheatregroup.org.

The Connecticut Critics Circle honored more than two dozen artists, who appeared on Connecticut stages during the 2019-2020 season. An online awards ceremony will take place later this summer. Among those honored: actors Juan Manuel Amador, Emilio Delgado, and the production of Quixote Nuevo at Hartford Stage. The production also took honors for Rachel Healy’s costumes, KJ Sanchez’s direction. Hartford Stage’s The Flamingo Kid was honored for Denis Jones’ choreography and Lesli Margherita’s performance. Ami Brabson’s performance in TheaterWorks American Son was honored, as was the acting ensemble of The Lifespan of A Fact. Isabella Byrd’s lighting design for Hartford Stage’s Jane Eyre was honored, as was Helen Sadler’s performance in the title role. Bowdie, the canine star of Goodspeed’s Because of Winn Dixie, and Ivory McKay of Playhouse on Park’s The Scottsboro Boys were also honored. For details: https://ctcritics.org/2020/06/19/ct-critics-honor-artists-of-2019-20-theater-season/?fbclid=IwAR0B0LrzM5ICB33n4Tzc4424bB8xQHuCBlFidFHQkJuUno6RHUpyeawmWVU

Jazz in July, the UMass Fine Arts Center summer series for 39 years, moves online for a one week series July 20-24. The faculty include some of the finest talents in jazz including Jeff Holmes, Avery Sharpe, and Bruce Diehl. On July


24, there will be a public program. For details: www.jazzinjuly.com.


Hamilton, the Broadway blockbuster, will be streamed on July 3 on Disney Plus. The story of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, created by Lin Manuel Miranda, has won just about every theatre award out there. It’s always sold out on Broadway and on tour. It’s on the schedule at The Biushnell in Hartford this upcoming holiday season, if theatres re-open. For details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSCKfXpAGHc&feature=youtu.be&cid=DSS-Display-Playbill-%EBuy!-%25epid!-%EAid!-%ECid

Summer Songs: A Virtual Benefit Concert for Northampton’s Academy of Music Theatre, takes the streaming stage on July 1 at 8PM on The Academy of Music’s Facebook and YouTube pages. The program features some of the best Wmass-based music artists, including Martin Sexton, Dar Williams, Mark Mulcahy, Heather


Maloney, LLoyd Cole, Peter Mulvey, The Suitcase Junket, Winterpills, Jose Ayerve, Henning & Lesa, Kris Delmhorst, and Jeffrey Foucault. Proceeds benefit the landmark Northampton theatre, which once brought French actress Sarah Bernhardt, film star Mae West, illusionist Harry Houdini and many more luminaries to the area. The Academy has evolved over time and today, in addition to presenting their own slate of national and international artists and hosting 25+ shows presented each year by DSP Shows, the theatre is also home to local resident companies and partners including the Pioneer Valley Ballet, PanOpera, Valley Light Opera, Signature Sounds and WGBY. For details: www.aomtheatre.com

Porgy and Bess, the George and Ira Gershwin and Dubose and Dorothy Heyward musical theatre piece, is equally at home on the opera stage and in the Broadway realm, with its magnificent score of standards including “Summertime”, “I Got Plenty of Nothing” and “I Loves You Porgy”. The Metropolitan Opera’s current production will be featured on PBS Great Performances on July 17 at 9PM. Audra McDonald, who won the Tony Award for her performance as “Bess on Broadway, hosts. Choreographer Camille A. Brown is scheduled to direct and choreograph a new production of the Fats Waller musical Ain’t Misbehavin’ at Barrington Stage next year. For details: https://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/gp-at-the-met-porgy-and-bess-about-the-opera/11582/


Soldier Poet, Northampton playwright Darcy Bruce’s award-winning theatre piece, will be featured in a streamed reading, courtesy of Silverthorne Theater and Chester Theatre Company. Chester’s Artistic Director Daniel Elihu Kramer directs. You can access the streaming and the post-performance talk back with the playwright through Silverthorne’s Facebook page. For details: https://silverthornetheater.org/

TheaterWorks’ groundbreaking online series Living Room Concerts and Get Sauced with Rob Ruggiero end their summer seasons on July 15 and 16 respectively, before taking a well-deserved summer break. Both are scheduled to return this fall, with the Living Room Series showcasing black and brown artists. TheaterWorks’ robust and eclectic online programming has been amongst the best theatre programming in the region. Some of the programs are archived. For details: www.twhartford.org.

The Metropolitan Opera is streaming some operatic fireworks this week. On July 2, they stream their 2014 production of Bizet’s popular Carmen. On July 4, they showcase their 1979 production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale with the legendary Beverly Sills. For details: https://www.metopera.org/user-information/nightly-met-opera-streams/


Ann, the story of the late Texas governor Ann Richards, written and performed by Holland Taylor, is a must-see! Richards is feisty, funny, and Taylor’s script and performance is superb. If you were lucky enough to see Ann at WAM Theatre with Jayne Atkinson (a production that moved from Western Massachusetts to Washington, DC’s Arena Stage, you know what a showstopper Ann is) PBS Great Performances is streaming Ann through mid-month.. For details: https://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/ann-full-episode-3fpvx3/11569/

Same Time Next Year, Bernard Slade’s comedy hit which was turned into a movie, gets a live3-stremed staged reading with Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin on July 12. It’s the story of two lovers who meet once a year for 25 years. Bob Balaban directs the reading as a fundraiser for Guild Hall, the performing arts center in the Hamptons. For details: https://www.guildhall.org/events/alec-baldwin-and-julianne-moore-in-same-time-next-year-by-bernard-slade/

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 TV/Radio for WCPC15 and 89.5fm/WSKB, and is a contributor to Pioneer Valley Radio.

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