Arts Beat

By Mark G. Auerbach


All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, originally part of Playhouse on Park’s 2020-21 season, will be streamed Dec. 16-Jan. 3, with live in-person screenings at Hartford’s CineStudio on Dec. 18-19. Peter Rothstein’s play with music, tells the remarkable true story from the Western Front, when a soldier steps into no man’s land singing “Silent Night.” Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie between the Allied troops and German soldiers. They lay down their arms to celebrate the holiday, share food and drink, play soccer, and sing carols. All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 features musical arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach, Direction by Sasha Brätt, with music direction by Benjamin Rauch. The cast includes Lu De Jesus (from Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s Sweeney Todd), Michael Hinton, and Niko Touros. The production is being filmed to stream locally. For details: www.playhouseonpark.org.

New York City Ballet will stream its 2019 holiday season production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker’, Dec. 11-Jan. 3 on Marquee TV. A signature event of the holiday season, Balanchine’s Nutcracker premiered in954 and has been seen annually ever since. This marks the first season since its debut that it has not been performed. The production was filmed live at Lincoln Center, led by NYCB principals Maria Kowroski as the Sugarplum Fairy, Tyler Angle as Her Cavalier, and Megan Fairchild as Dewdrop. For details: https://www.nycballet.com/


Barrington Stage Company (BSC), under the leadership of Founder/Artistic Director Julianne Boyd, announces the 2020 Associate Artists: lighting designer David Lander, director/choreographer Jeffrey Page and actress Alysha Umphress. They join a distinguished roster of Associate Artists, who include: choreographer Joshua Bergasse, director Joe Calarco, costume designer Jen Caprio, music director Darren R. Cohen, actor Mark H. Dold, actress Gretchen Egolf, music director Vadim Feichtner, composer/lyricist William Finn, actor Alan H. Green, composer/lyricist Joe Iconis, actor/director Christopher Innvar, production stage manager Renee Lutz, actor Jeff McCarthy, casting director Pat McCorkle, lighting designer Scott Pinkney, scenic designer Brian Prather, director John Rando, actress Debra Jo Rupp, press director Charlie Siedenburg, playwright Mark St. Germain, actress Elizabeth Stanley, costume designer Sara Jean Tosetti, and actress Peggy Pharr Wilson. For details: www.barringtonstageco.org

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra streams Spotlight: Music for Strings and Organ, Dec. 11-Jan. 10. The program, filmed at Asylum Hill Congregational Church, features Corelli’s Twelve Concerti Grossi, Op. 6, No. 8 “Christmas Concerto,” Golijov’s Tenebrae for String Quartet, and Mendelssohn’s Octet, Op. 20, Mvt. I “Allegro moderato ma con fuoco” – performed by an ensemble of 10 HSO musicians. For details: www.hartfordsymphony.org.

The Prom comes to Netflix on Dec. 11. The 2018 Broadway musical hit was filmed by Ryan Murphy with an all-star cast including Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Rannells and Kerry Washington. When a small town in Indiana refuses to let a girl take her girlfriend to the high school prom, Broadway invades on her behalf. Streep and Corden aren’t exactly altruistic. Their big Broadway musical is in trouble, and they need all the publicity they can get, so off to Indiana they go. Hilarity ensues. For the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/embed/TJ0jBNa6JUQ?v=TJ0jBNa6JUQ&feature=emb_logo

TheaterWorks Hartford’s recent production of Sarah Gancher’s Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy, made the New York Times list of “Best of Theatre 2020.” For details: www.twhartford.org.


Holiday Getaway, Barrington Stage’s holiday cabaret with new holiday tunes and old favorites, with Alan H. Green from Broadway’s School of Rock; On The Town star Alysha Umphress, and composer/performer Joel Waggoner. Filmed to stream from Barrington Stage. Available Dec. 18-23. For details: www.nbarringtonstageco.org.

Home (Of Course) For The Holidays. The Holyoke Civic Symphony, under the direction of David Kidwell, presents a virtual holiday concert on Dec. 13, with Hannah Adler, student concerto competition winner performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, pianist Tamila Azadaliyeva, and more. For details: www.holyokecivicsymphony.org.

Sweet Honey in the Rock

Sweet Honey in the Rock: Celebrating the Holy Days performs an interactive virtual concert on Dec. 12. The Washington, DC based African-American a cappella ensemble offers a rare fusion of traditional American holiday spiritual songs and hymns, as well as songs from other cultures and religions ranging from Africa to Israel. The three-time Grammy® Award-nominated and internationally renowned group will also perform songs from the group’s extensive repertoire, which includes We Are, Let There Be Peace, The Women Gather, and Come Ye. For details: https://thirdrow.live/events/sweet-honey-in-the-rock/

Django a Gogo Festival streams live from Northampton’s Academy of Music Theatre on Dec. 19. The line-up for Django a Gogo (includes an interactive guitar workshop with Stephane Wrembel, who also performs songs from his new release The Django Experiment V, and an 8-piece band performing the traditional Django Reinhardt repertoire Produced by Third Row, a project of Laudable Productions, a Massachusetts based creative agency specializing in festival production and immersive events. For details: https://thirdrow.live/events/stephane-wrembel-friends/

Kate Maguire, Artistic Director and CEO of the Berkshire Theatre Group, was awarded the Actors Fund 2020 Encore Award, for helping to provide a vital safety net for a record number of performing arts and entertainment professionals. Congratulations.


Charles Page, the former music director of the Old First Church at Court Square in Springfield, has died. Page developed the Music at First chamber music series, which became one of the most distinguished programs in the region. Page taught music at Bay Path University and was a member of the Tuesday Morning Music Club. RIP.

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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