Arts Beat

By Mark G. Auerbach

MOSSO: Members of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra will perform with the Kevin Sharpe Group at The Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival in Springfield on Aug. 14. They are also scheduled to perform Morning Music at Stearns Square on Aug. 28, and Sept. 4 at NOSH in Springfield.  For details: www.springfieldsymphonymusicians.com/events.

Hershey Felder (submitted photo)

The Great American Songbook Singalong. Hershey Felder, a frequent performer at Berkshire Theatre Group and Hartford Stage, has been streaming programs for both theatres (and others nationwide) during the pandemic from his home in Florence, Italy. He’ll be streaming an audience participation program on Aug. 22, to benefit selected regional theatres, among them Berkshire Theatre Group. He’s taking song requests too. For details: www.berkshiretheatregroup.org.

Gregg Edelman (submitted photo)

Corinna May (submitted photo)

Berkshire Theatre Group has announced its fall season at its venues in Stockbridge and Pittsfield. Among the highlights: Eric Hill stages Willy Russell’s Broadway comedy hit, Shirley Valentine, the story of a drab Liverpool housewife, who is transformed by a Mediterranean holiday. Corinna May stars, Oct. 1-24, at The Unicorn Theatre. Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, adapted from the film for Broadway, comes to the Colonial Theatre, Dec. 3 to Jan. 2. Gregg Edelman directs and Gerry McIntyre choreographs. Under the tent outside the Colonial Theatre, Mike Wartella directs Tor Krautter’s J.P. Prescott’s Traveling Medicine Show on Sept. 10, a throwback to the 19th century travelling tent shows. Wartella also stars  as J.P. Prescott with Gina Coleman, The Picky Bastards, Rosebud Red and Opal Raven Cirque of Gypsy Layne, Comedian Juggler Dan Foley, the Magical Comedy of Peter Gross and Sara-tonin Flow Performance Art. There’s a fine calendar of tribute bands, local singers and dancers and more. For details: www.berkshiretheatregroup.org.

My Evil Twin, a new cabaret musical starring identical twin opera singers, Jim and John Demier, plays the Workroom at A.P.E. @Hawley in Northampton, Aug. 13-15. My Evil Twin exposes tenderness and vulnerability beneath masculine bravado as the twins tell the story of their lives in words and song. It is a tribute to sibling love, with songs by Eric Sawyer, script by Harley Erdman, and staging by Ron Bashford. For details: www.eventbrite.com/e/my-evil-twin-tickets-161654098761?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

King Lear, starring Christopher Lloyd, this summer’s big hit at Shakespeare & Company, is available via streaming through Aug. 28. For details: www.theatermania.stream/shakespeare-co.

Laiona Michelle (submitted photo by T. Charles Erickson)

Summer of Simone. Nina Simone, musician, composer, and artist to be exact. Berkshire Theatre Group celebrates the late artist with Christina Ham’s play with music, Nina Simone: Four Women, Aug. 13 to Sept. 5 at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge. Goodspeed Musicals presents a new musical, Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical to its Goodspeed by the River Series, running Aug. 4-29. The Goodspeed production features Springfield native Broadway artist Laiona Michelle as the music legend. Michelle wrote and conceived the musical with the support of Goodspeed. For details on Berkshire Theatre Group’s production: www.berkshiretheatregroup.org. For details on Goodspeed by the River: www.goodspeed.org.

Andy Warhol in Iran, a new play by Brent Askari (American Underground at Barrington Stage), will be given a staged reading at Barrington Stage on Aug. 22. Reginald L. Douglas stages the Barrington Stage commissioned play. Anthony Rapp from Broadway’s Rent and If/Then stars. For details: www.barringtonstageco.org.

Stephanie J. Block, Tony Award winner for The Cher Show, performs her concert Returning Home, at Berkshire Theatre Group’s Colonial Theatre tent in Pittsfield, on Aug. 21. She’s expected to perform songs from her many roles on Broadway. For details: www.berkshiretheatregroup.org.

Wild Thyme Band (submitted photo)

The Wild Thyme Band brings Celtic folk music to the Huntington Town Green on Aug. 15, as the Historic North Hall Association’s second outdoor concert of the summer. (In case of rain, this concert will be held inside Stanton Hall next to the Green). The Wild Thyme Band will draw from the rich repertoire of Irish and Scottish traditional music and includes some French Celtic music as well. For details: www.northhallhuntington.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, 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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