Arts Beat

By Mark G. Auerbach

Hershey Felder: Anna and Sergei.

Hershey Felder stars as Sergei Rachmaninoff in the world premiere of Anna & Sergei, streaming live from Florence, Italy on May 16. Taking place as a memory play in the house in which the Russian Rachmaninoff died in Beverly Hills, this is the story of a very strange meeting between Rachmaninoff and Anna Anderson, the woman who claimed to be the sole surviving member of the Romanov Dynasty, the Princess Anastasia. Featuring Rachmaninoff’s most beloved melodies and music. Special guests include Ekaterina Siurina as Natalia Alexandrovna Rachmaninoff and Igor Polesitsky as Dr. Golitzin. Felder wrote the book and co-directs. The screening benefits numerous regional theatres around the country. To purchase tickets and support Berkshire Theatre Group: www.berkshiretheatregroup.org. To purchase tickets and support Hartford Stage: www.hartfordstage.org.

Boston Pops Mother’s Day rehearsal at Symphony Hall Thursday, April 8, 2021 in Boston. (WINSLOW TOWNSON PHOTO)

The Boston Pops Spring Season will be entirely virtual, with new concerts and archival concerts. The season launches on May 6, with Keith Lockhart conducting a program of music by and about women, featuring composers Clara Schumann, Joan Tower, Carole King, and Rachel Bruerville, as well as William Grant Still, Ravel, and ABBA. Other programs of note include a tribute to John Williams; An Evening with Chris Thile and the Stars of Tomorrow stars the multiple Grammy-winning mandolinist and MacArthur Fellow in his Boston Pops debut; an archival concert from 1976, with Arthur Fiedler conducting Exquisite Ella, featuring legendary Ella Fitzgerald. For details: https://www.bso.org/Home

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra Spring Chamber Music Series streams its final concert of the series, beginning May 8. The program includes music of Beethoven and Gershwin. The concerts on this three-part series can be viewed through May 21. For details: www.springfieldsymphony.org.

Shakespeare & Company has announced three additional programs for its 2021 season. The acclaimed comedy Art by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton and directed by Christopher V. Edwards, will be performed July 30-August 22 in the Roman Garden Theatre. Hang, Debbie Tucker Green’s fascinating and explosive new play, staged by Regge Life, opens indoors in the Tina Packer Playhouse on September 10. Eugene ionesco’s The Chairs, staged by James Warwick, follows. For details: www.shakespeare.org.


Heartbeat Opera’s Breathing Free will be featured on the Mahaiwe Performing Art Center’s virtual series on May 15. The production will be followed by a live virtual talkback featuring creators Eathan Heard and Ras Dia. Breathing Free focuses on Black empowerment in the arts, featuing excerpts from Beethoven’s Fidelio, Negro Spirituals, and music from Harry T. Burleigh, Florence Price, Langston Hughes, Anthony Davis and Thulani Davis. For details: www.mahaiwe.org.


Tovah Feldshuh will play legendary sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer in Mark St. Germain’s Becoming Dr. Ruth, streaming June 9-July 4. David Ellenstein directs the play, which premiered at Barrington Stage (then titled Dr. Ruth: All The Way) and later moved to Hartford’s TheaterWorks and Off-Broadway, with local actor Debra Jo Rupp starring and Julianne Boyd directing. For details: https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/50964


Rob Ruggiero, TheaterWorks Hartford Artistic Director, gets back on the road this summer. He’ll be staging Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd at The St. Louis Muny, Aug. 12-18, and then return to New England to direct Goodspeed’s South Pacific, opening in September. For details on Sweeney Todd: https://muny.org/show/sweeney-todd/. For details on South Pacific: www.goodspeed.org.

Mark G. Auerbach studied theatre at American University and The Yale School of Drama. He has worked for arts organizations nationwide and reported on the arts for print and broadcast. Mark produces and hosts ArtsBeat and On The Mark for WCPC15 and 89.5fm/WSKB, and he’s a regular contributor to Pioneer Valley Radio.


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