Arts Beat

By Mark G. Auerbach


K&E Theater Group has announced a tentative, yet quite ambitious 2021 season, which includes the previously announced (and postponed) production of Cabaret, the landmark musical by Kander and Ebb (Nov. 12-20). Artistic director Eddie Zitka, directs, choreographs, and plays the Emcee opposite Myka Plunkett as Sally Bowles. Zitka also announced a production of Michael John LaChiusa’s Hello, Again, based on La Ronde by Arthur Schnitzler. Hello, Again, which first played Lincoln Center in 1993, and then had an Off-Broadway revival, and a film adaptation, focuses on a series of intertwined romantic entanglements during ten decades of the 20th century. (There was a 2017 film adaptation of the musical, starring Audra McDonaldMartha PlimptonT. R. Knight, and Rumer Willis). Believe: A Holiday Celebration is scheduled for Dec. 17-18; all performances are held art the Center For The Arts in Northampton. For details:  http://www.ketg.org/


Yasmin Chin Eisenhauer has been named executive director of the non-profit Amherst Cinema, one of the few film venues in Western Massachusetts to showcase independent films. Eisenhauer comes to the Amherst Cinema from Smith College, where she was the associate director of a Smith College department that oversees the use and planning of technology for learning at the school. Eisenhauer, a Smith College graduate who earned a master’s degree from New York University, has been part of what’s known as the Learning, Research and Technology (LRT) team at Smith and has worked in educational technology and media for over 20 years. For details: https://amherstcinema.org/

Playhouse on Park has postponed its January production of the Kander and Ebb musical, Chicago. The show will be replaced with Elyot and Amanda: All Alone from Noel Coward’s Private Lives, available for streaming February 10-28. Details will be available on the theatre’s website: www.playhouseonpark.org.

Of Note…


Martha Mitchell Calling, Jodi Rothe’s portrait of one of the most famous people to come out of the Watergate controversy, gets an encore streaming from Shakespeare and Company on Jan. 19 via Vimeo. Martha Mitchell, was the wife of Nixon-era Attorney General John Mitchell, and her marital bliss gets shaken up when she had to choose between patriotism or personal happiness. She was outrageous, flamboyant, and the life of the party. Annette Miller stars. Mark Farrell directs. For details: For details: https://www.shakespeare.org/

The Grammy Awards, scheduled for Jan. 31, have been postponed to an unspecified date in March, according to producers, concerned about the ongoing COVID19 pandemic’s impact on California. Incidentally, this year’s nominees for Best Musical Theatre Album include the West End’s Amélie, American Utopia, Jagged Little Pill, Little Shop of Horrors, The Prince of Egypt, and The Public Theater’s Soft Power.

Encore: The Theatre Magazine is a new national magazine for Broadway, launching this month. One of the talents involved is. Robert Viagas, editor, author, journalist, lecturer, podcaster and professor with more than thirty-five years’ experience, most of it working on Broadway with Playbill Inc., the iconic theatre program company. The founding editor of Playbill.com, Playbill’s theatre news website, Viagas served as editor of the “Playbill Broadway Yearbook” annual for ten years.  Bernadette Peters graces the inaugural issue’s cover. Bernadette Inaugural Cover. Launching on an initial bimonthly schedule, Encore will move into monthly print releases later in 2021 when Broadway theatres are expected to reopen. For details: https://encoremonthly.com/


Renee Fleming is celebrated by the Metropolitan Opera this week, with free streamings nightly of some of her most beloved performances, including: Massenet’s Thais (Jan. 12), Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier (Jan. 13), Strauss’ Capriccio (Jan. 15). This is the 44th week of free opera streaming, courtesy of the Met. Incidentally, Fleming starred in the world premiere of Joe Pietro’s Living on Love at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2014, and she made her Broadway debut in that production the following year. For details: https://www.metopera.org/user-information/nightly-met-opera-streams/

Broadway on Screen. HBO Max is streaming some old films that inspired Broadway musicals. Look for the movie musical 42nd Street with Ruby Keeler, which David Merrick optioned and adapted as a Broadway musical hit. A recent revival of the musical is available for streaming on many channels). Also on tap, the original Mel Brooks film of The Producers. Brooks and Susan Stroman turned this into a 2001 megahit on Broadway. (The Broadway version with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick was filmed and is easy to find on several streaming services). Also check out The Color Purple, Steven Spielberg’s film starring Whoopi Goldberg. Oprah Winfrey, who played a supporting role in the movie, championed a Broadway musical version. Netflix is streaming the Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway version of Bonnie and Clyde, which later made its way to Broadway, starring Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan.

You I Like: A Musical Celebration of Jerry Herman, is streaming courtesy of California’s Pasadena Playhouse. Bernadette Peters and David Hyde Pierce star, along with Lesli Margherita, who starred in the world premiere of the musical The Flamingo Kid, at Hartford Stage. Herman, of course, wrote the scores to the blockbusters Hello Dolly, Mame, and La Cage Aux Folles. For details:https://playhouselive.org/pages/coming-soon

The Dream is Calling You. The Community Music School of Springfield joins the Martin Luther King Jr Family Services, DREAM Studios, Springfield College and Focus Springfield. Join forces to present Springfield’s annual citywide Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration, live online on Jan. 18, at 11 a.m. The reimaged virtual event features youth musicians from CMSS’ Sonida Musica. The Springfield Mass Choir, the Martin Luther King Festival Orchestra and The Enchanted Circle Theater. For details: https://www.communitymusicschool.com/.

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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