MAP Where to Dance? Struggles with Main Street Rent Highlight Northampton’s Lack of Space
Aug29

MAP Where to Dance? Struggles with Main Street Rent Highlight Northampton’s Lack of Space

Save the Last Dance Downtown Northampton’s biggest — and possibly last — public performing arts space is a real beauty: a 4,000 square foot, high-ceilinged room where local Freemasons used to hold community gatherings over a century ago. Completed in 1898, it takes up much of the fourth floor of the Masonic Block at 25 Main St., the same building that houses Fitzwilly’s restaurant. Since the mid-’80s, when Anthony De Vecchi and his...

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Stagestruck: Last of the Summer Wine
Aug22

Stagestruck: Last of the Summer Wine

The Valley’s summer theaters have folded their figurative tents, but looking west, the season isn’t quite over. Out toward the Berkshires, five troupes are still up and running through this weekend and beyond. Chester Theatre Company’s season closer is The Mountaintop, a brief historical fantasy by Katori Hall. It takes place on an April midnight in 1968, in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s motel room in Memphis where, tomorrow morning,...

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Banter in the Berkshires: “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”
Aug22

Banter in the Berkshires: “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”

“You, minion, are too saucy!” The Two Gentlemen of Verona is widely believed to be Shakespeare’s first play. It’s also one of his best. The core elements are simple: two men, one woman, and the antics that result from being struck by Cupid’s arrow. Shakespeare could always whip up some good doubling and cross-dressing, but he was also unsurpassed in his ability to set complex plots in motion specifically to set up joke after...

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Pam Tanowitz Dance is Beautifully Strange
Aug15

Pam Tanowitz Dance is Beautifully Strange

Damn, Pam Choreographer Pam Tanowitz been garnering ever more attention over the past 15 years for creating new dance techniques and styles that spring from classical dance vocabulary but glitter with abstract shapes and postmodern ideas. Her show at Jacob’s Pillow – featuring the rather eccentric “Heaven on One’s Head,” a love letter to romantic ballets – is full of sharp energy and unpredictable rhythms. The show is accompanied by...

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StageStruck: The Ones That Got Away
Aug16

StageStruck: The Ones That Got Away

I don’t fish. To be frank, I don’t approve of fishing, especially “sport” fishing, since, like hunting, it’s not a sport in the accepted sense, that is, a contest between two equal adversaries playing by the same rules. I don’t understand the outsize thrill folks seem to get from outwitting a fish. I do understand, though, that for many people fishing has a semi-mystical, almost religious allure. That devotional relationship with the...

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StageStruck: Lifted by Song
Aug11

StageStruck: Lifted by Song

So often, music makes all the difference. It not only has those famous savage-breast-soothing charms, it can turn a so-so script into a winner. Take Unexpected Joy, playing through August 20th at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater (WHAT). This world-premiere musical has a nicely topical premise, worked out in formulaic fashion and saved by its songs. The play takes place on Cape Cod, presumably not far from Provincetown, where a...

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