Arts Beat

By Mark G. Auerbach

Playhouse on Park has announced its 13th main stage season of plays and musicals headed to its West Hartford theatre. Seth Rozin’s Two Jews Walk Into A War, a modern vaudeville about two Jews in Afghanistan hoping to repopulate the Jewish community in Kabul, opens the season. (Sept. 22-Oct. 8). Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, runs December 1-19. The musical Five Guys Named Moe, celebrating the music of Louis Jordan, kicks off the New Year, Jan. 26-Feb. 27. Playhouse on Park’s resident dance company, stop/time presents Divas: Double or Nothing on March 16-27. Mat Smart’s The Agitators has a performance run May 25-June 12. It profiles the tempestuous relationship between Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. The musical Pippin closes the season July 6-Aug. 21. For details: www.playhouseonpark.org.


Jeff McCarthy: I Promise You A Happy Ending showcases the talents of the Broadway star (Chicago, Urinetown, Smile, Side Show) and Barrington Stage Associate Artist, who has performed in Sweeney Todd, Man of La Mancha, Southern Comfort, and Mack & Mabel in Pittsfield. One performance only, July 24, at Barrington Stage’s Production Center tent on Laurel Street. For details: www.barringtonstageco.org.


Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey, will be performed at Shakespeare and Company’s Roman Garden Theatre (outdoors) through July 25. The one-woman theatrical drama, starring Debra Ann Byrd, founding Artistic Director of the Harlem Shakespeare Festival, is staged by Tina Packer. Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey is a multimedia production with music that shaped Byrd’s life, while growing up in Spanish Harlem. For details: www.shakespeare.org.

Mr. Fullerton, Anne Undeland’s steamy, eyebrow-raising return to the Gilded Age by way of a daring new play, will be performed by the upstart Great Barrington Public Theatre July 21-Aug. 1, in the intimate Liebowitz Black Box Theater at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington. Mr. Fullerton brings together Edith Wharton, Henry James, Morton Fullerton, and Edith’s saucy Irish maid for parlor games and society foreplay from Paris to Lenox in a rich retelling of Wharton’s actual romance with a younger stateroom dandy. Mr. Fullerton is a banquet of language, poise, sex, mores, and manners that rings with literary and local history. Judy Braha directs. For details: https://www.greatbarringtonpublictheater.org/

Taconic Chamber Players. Ariel Rudiakov and Joana Genova. Photo by John Sutton.

The Taconic Chamber Players headline the Sevenars concerts in Worthington on Aug. 1. The powerhouse ensemble, led by violist Ariel Rudiakov and violinist Joana Genova, will perform a program of string quartets by Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Berkshires composer Stephen Danker, and Jessie Montgomery. Incidentally, Sevenars pianist Jiayan Sun, who performs on the concert series on June 25, will present a ZOOM program from his Smith College studio on July 21.  For details: www.sevenars.org.

The Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra’s annual Summer Music Festival, in partnership with Connecticut Lyric Opera, presents ten festival performances with music from Felix, Mendelssohn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johannes Brahms, Ludwig van Beethoven, Rodolphe Kreutzer, Robert Schumann and J.S. Bach. Solo concerts from internationally-renowned opera performers Rebecca de Almeida and J?rat? Švedait? will be featured, as well as two Virtuosi Summer Music Institute Ensemble and Connecticut Lyric Opera Young Performer showcases. Festival performances will be held in Hartford and Farmington through Sunday, Aug. 1. For details: www.thevirtuosi.org and www.ctlyricopera.org

A Broadway Cabaret comes to Greenfield, as Silverthorne Theater returns to live theatre performances Aug. 6-8 at the Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center. A Broadway Cabaret features songs from the golden age of the American musical theatre, and proceeds benefit Silverthorne. John Reese directs, and Ben Ware is music director. For details: https://silverthornetheater.org/

The Wizard of Oz cast.

The Wizard of Oz comes to the Colonial Theatre tent in downtown Pittsfield, courtesy of the Berkshire Theatre Group, July 23-Aug. 15. Frank L. Baum’s classic, adapted by John Kane from the motion picture, features classic songs from Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, including “Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead,” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. E. Gray Simons III directs; Isadora Wolfe choreographs, and Jacob Kerzner is music director. For details: www.berkshiretheatregroup.org.

Barbès in the Woods returns to live music Aug. 21 with a one-day lineup that includes favorites from the NYC underground as well as international artists from Mexico and Israel making their debut US performances: Mexico City’s Son Rompe Pera, and Iranian-Israeli singer Liraz. The festival will be held at Bartlett Farm in Montague, MA. For details:  https://barbesinthewoods.com

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, Athenaeum Spotlight and On The Mark for WCPC15 and 89.5fm/WSKB. He’s a regular contributor to Pioneer Valley Radio and a member of the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association.


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