Stagestruck: A lawyer walks into a rabbi’s office…
Jun23

Stagestruck: A lawyer walks into a rabbi’s office…

Bar Mitzvah Boy is a comedy that looks seriously at faith, community, and loss. Its premise contains the seeds of sitcom: A middle-aged Jewish lawyer who hasn’t set foot in a synagogue since he was a boy is suddenly in a rush to have his way-overdue becoming-a-man ceremony. He convinces (or rather bullies) the rabbi, who has her – yes, her – own more pressing needs, to be his personal tutor. Chester Theatre Company’s season opener, by...

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Local Calendar: Thursday 6/21- Sunday 6/24
Jun21

Local Calendar: Thursday 6/21- Sunday 6/24

THURSDAY 6/21 MUSIC British Dance Invasion: 7 p.m. Academy of Music Theatre, 274 Main St., Northampton. Colorway Album Release with Easy Weasel, Featuring Chris Collingwood: 7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. $10 advance, $12 at the door. Colorway has been keeping the spirit of rock music alive in the valley for five years. New album release party with Easy Weasel opening. New City Brewery, 180 Pleasant St., Easthampton. Drop-in Traditional...

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Pick of the Day 6/21: Vilray at the Parlor Room
Jun21

Pick of the Day 6/21: Vilray at the Parlor Room

There’s a lot going on tonight: Junior Reid at Hawks and Reed and Liz Longley at the Iron Horse. But I thought I’d let Vilray (pronounce Vil-ree) give his own shout out for today’s pick. He posted this back on 6/11. You can see him up close and personal at the Parlor Room tonight. He describes his sound as a mix of  jazz and country-swing. The Parlor Room, 32 Masonic St, Northampton. I am at @ParlorRoomMusic 6-21 and...

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Stagestruck: “Tight Pants” and strong bonds
Jun20

Stagestruck: “Tight Pants” and strong bonds

A six-week workshop for first-time playwrights taught by the Majestic Theater’s Danny Eaton has borne unexpected fruit. It has not only brought forth a full-length play, but has inspired Eaton to establish an annual “new works” week at the theater. Betel Arnold’s Tight Pants, which grew out of that workshop, inaugurates the projected series this weekend. Arnold’s play is set in the Dominican Republic, her mother’s homeland. It’s an...

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Pick of the Day 6/20: Junior Brown at the Iron Horse
Jun20

Pick of the Day 6/20: Junior Brown at the Iron Horse

Okay, honestly, I can’t stand new country music; it’s a horrible thing.  I absolutely despise it.  So when somebody like Junior Brown blows into town, it’s an opportunity  to hear country music done right.  Junior Brown’s a country guitarist and singer, and he’s not like Brad Paisley or Zac Brown or whoever else is hot in Nascar Nation right now.  No, Junior Brown’s been playing since the ’60s...

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Pick of the Day 6/19: Mutlu at the Iron Horse
Jun19

Pick of the Day 6/19: Mutlu at the Iron Horse

After last night’s wild and woolly weather, you need a de-stressor. Check out the smoothness of Mutlu at the Iron Horse tonight.  He’s a real deal, a soulful singer-songwriter from Philly and a proud first-generation American of Turkish descent. He’s shared the stage and studio with heavyweights Darryl Hall, Adele, and The Blind Boys of Alabama.  The good people in the City of Brotherly Love have shown Mutlu a lot of love,...

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Stagestruck: A Crisis of Faith, with Laughs
Jun18

Stagestruck: A Crisis of Faith, with Laughs

Church & State is the funniest play about a serious issue I have ever seen. The issue is gun violence, specifically mass shootings, and the humor is threaded into the storyline so organically that, far from cheapening the theme, it lends to it a richer, more deeply human heart. The central figure in the Berkshire Theatre Group’s thrilling production is North Carolina’s (fictitious) junior senator, Republican Charles Whitmore, who...

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Stagestruck: Barrington’s world premiere musical — not ready for prime time
Jun15

Stagestruck: Barrington’s world premiere musical — not ready for prime time

The “royal family” of Broadway in the early 20th century was the Barrymores – Ethel, “first lady of the American theater,” John the swashbuckling Shakespearean, and Lionel, best remembered now as mean old Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life. The hit Broadway comedy of 1927 was The Royal Family, an affectionate sendup of the Barrymores and the showbiz aristocracy they embodied. Now it’s a musical, The Royal Family of Broadway, which...

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Pick of the Day 6/15: Hot Club of Cowtown at the Iron Horse
Jun14

Pick of the Day 6/15: Hot Club of Cowtown at the Iron Horse

The Hot Club of Cowtown is at the Iron Horse, swinging and twanging and doing their thing tonight.  They’re celebrating their 20th anniversary by releasing their first-ever CD format of their very first recording, Western Clambake. Western Clambake has only been available on cassette tape.  You may now party like it’s not 1999. You’re welcome.  Here’s what folks in the know say about Hot Club of Cowtown:  Their...

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Pick of the Day 6/14: Albert Lee at the Iron Horse
Jun14

Pick of the Day 6/14: Albert Lee at the Iron Horse

English guitarist Albert Lee is at the Iron Horse tonight. Lee is known for his fingerstyle and hybrid picking technique. A Grammy winner, Eric Clapton says Lee is “the ultimate virtuoso. His skill is extraordinary, his ear is extraordinary and he’s gifted on just about every level.” That’s pretty high praise from Slowhand, himself. The Iron Horse, 20 Center St.,...

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Local Calendar: Thursday 6/14- Sunday 6/17
Jun14

Local Calendar: Thursday 6/14- Sunday 6/17

THURSDAY 6/14 MUSIC Albert Lee: 7 p.m. Iron Horse Music Hall, 20 Center St., Northampton. Drop-in Traditional Music Sessions: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. $5 at the door. Friendly traditional music sessions. Moderate swingy pace. Adults and teens of all skill levels welcome – and not just fiddles. Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz St., Northampton. fiddlewesternmass@gmail.com. Greenfield Coop Concerts: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Free....

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Stagestruck: At Shakespeare & Company, the Show Must, and Did, Go On
Jun13

Stagestruck: At Shakespeare & Company, the Show Must, and Did, Go On

A theater story: For three years in the mid-’70s, Anthony Perkins starred in the long-running Broadway production of Equus, playing the psychiatrist Dr. Dysart (pause for Psycho jokes). Just before one matinee came an announcement: “Anthony Perkins will not be appearing in this performance.” Groans of disappointment! “His role will be played by Richard Burton.” Buzz of excitement! At the time, Burton, who had played the part in...

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Staff Picks: Pub Sing, Mutlu, and Deus Ex Machina
Jun13

Staff Picks: Pub Sing, Mutlu, and Deus Ex Machina

Pub sing at McNeill’s // Saturday, June 16 There isn’t enough singing in our pubs around here. But McNeill’s in Brattleboro is working to fix that. Led by Tony Barrand and Amanda Witman, the bar is open for sea shanties, work songs, pub songs, and all the rest. Open to all. NcNeill’s Brewery, 90 Elliot St., Brattleboro. 3-5 p.m. Free. — Dave Eisenstadter   Mutlu // Tuesday, June 19 Mutlu is a soulful, singer-songwriter from...

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Stagestruck: The Scotsman and “The Curious Incident”
Jun12

Stagestruck: The Scotsman and “The Curious Incident”

If you’re a regular at the NT Live series of high-def broadcasts from the London stage, you’d be forgiven for thinking Rory Kinnear is under exclusive contract to the National Theatre. (He’s not, as you’ll know if you’re also a fan of the recent James Bond films, in which he played Bill Tanner.) Kinnear has starred in National Theatre productions on an almost yearly basis since the late aughts, his staccato speech and London vowels...

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Local Calendar: Monday 6/11 – Thursday 6/14
Jun11

Local Calendar: Monday 6/11 – Thursday 6/14

MONDAY 6/11 MUSIC Music Mondays Cafe ~ An Evening with Peter Eldridge: 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. $15 adults / $10 students cash at the door. .June Music Mondays Cafe features Peter Eldridge and an evening of piano and vocal pop, jazz, standards and original works. Doors at 6:30 ~ Music at 7. Gaylord Memorial Library, 47 College St., South Hadley. 413-250-3540. anzfam4@gmail.com. Open-Mic Night: 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. Free. The Rendezvous,...

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Local Calendar Thursday 6/7 – Sunday 6/11
Jun06

Local Calendar Thursday 6/7 – Sunday 6/11

THURSDAY 6/7 MUSIC Albert Castiglia: 7 p.m. Iron Horse Music Hall, 20 Center St., Northampton. Drop-in Traditional Music Sessions: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Friendly traditional music sessions. Moderate swingy pace. Adults and teens of all skill levels welcome – and not just fiddles. $5 at the door. Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz St., Northampton. fiddlewesternmass@gmail.com. Falltown String Band: 8 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. roots...

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Stagestruck: Lessons in Survival
Jun04

Stagestruck: Lessons in Survival

Two plays now running in Hartford are framed by resistance movements against political and economic oppression, and both carry weighty metaphors. At TheaterWorks through June 23, a lesson in global economics is tucked into a torn-from-the-headlines thriller, and at Hartford Stage through this weekend, a lesson in trust and betrayal is wrapped around a tenacious plant. That plant is the aloe, the spiny green succulent that manages to...

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Pick of the Day 6/4: Gaelic Storm
Jun04

Pick of the Day 6/4: Gaelic Storm

Celtic band Gaelic Storm is at the Iron Horse tonight.  They perform traditional Irish music, Scottish music, and original tunes in both the Celtic and Celtic rock genres.  Go Climb A Tree, their most recent album, was released last year. 7 p.m. at the Iron Horse Music Hall, 20 Center St.,...

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Stagestruck: Summer Theater Preview — The Valley
Jun01

Stagestruck: Summer Theater Preview — The Valley

I’m always excited as the summer-theater season approaches, even though it means I’ll be spending even more of my entertainment hours indoors than during the dark winter. In a brief three months, we theatergoers are treated to a greater variety of fare — not to mention a greater quantity — than in the other nine combined. On this summer’s calendar, I’m looking forward to 20 productions from seven different companies in the Valley...

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Pick of the Day 6/2: Sweetback Sisters
Jun01

Pick of the Day 6/2: Sweetback Sisters

Honky Tonk goodness with the Sweetback Sisters hits the Berkshires tonight.  Their unique brand of classic country and rockabilly rave-ups is a hootin’ good time. This is real deal musicianship at its best.  Catch the show at 7:30 p.m. Hancock Shaker Village, 1843 W. Housatonic St.,...

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Local Calendar: Friday 6/1- Sunday 6/3
Jun01

Local Calendar: Friday 6/1- Sunday 6/3

FRIDAY 6/1 MUSIC Bob Stabach 4tet: 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. The Lounge, 4 High St., Brattleboro. Live Music on The Deck Friday & Saturday: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. The Deck at Union Station has live music all summer long! Friday and Saturday from 6-9pm. Check platformsportsgrill.com for the list of bands. Free. The Deck at Union Station, 125A Pleasant Street, Northampton. 413-341-3161. The Station: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Fort Hill...

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Stagestruck: Deadly Denial — Typhoid Mary at Barrington Stage
May30

Stagestruck: Deadly Denial — Typhoid Mary at Barrington Stage

Barrington Stage Company’s summer season launched on Sunday in the troupe’s St. Germain Stage, with a play by its eponym, Mark St. Germain. In her curtain speech, artistic director Julianne Boyd proudly announced that Typhoid Mary is the ninth play of his that Barrington has produced (I make it 10, but who’s counting?). She also told us it’s a play that “has to be done now,” adding, “You’ll see why.” Mary Mallon earned her...

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Pam Victor is making the Valley happier in a dirty vanilla box
May24

Pam Victor is making the Valley happier in a dirty vanilla box

“A dirty vanilla box” is how Pam Victor lovingly describes the new location of Happier Valley Comedy. The 1,300 square foot room at the end of a strip of shops on Route 9, is the culmination of years of comedic toil. “It’s the first ever improv theater and training center in Western Mass,” she says proudly. And like one of the tenets of improv, Victor says she got there “moving forward forward in positivity one small step at a...

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Pick of the Day 5/21: Guys and Dolls at the Majestic
May21

Pick of the Day 5/21: Guys and Dolls at the Majestic

Our illustrious stage connoisseur Chris Rohmann, has recommended a pick of the day, Guys and Dolls at the Majestic Theater in West Springfield. I like all the help I can get, so take it away, Chris: “Guys and Dolls, the “musical fable of Broadway,” is playing now at the Majestic Theater. The clockwork plot turns on a pair of bets and takes us from Times Square street corners to a chintzy burlesque house, a Salvation Army...

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Stagestruck: One Man, in Heels — “I Am My Own Wife” in the Valley
May16

Stagestruck: One Man, in Heels — “I Am My Own Wife” in the Valley

“I think she may be the most singular, eccentric individual the Cold War ever birthed.” So says one of the three dozen characters in I Am My Own Wife. He’s talking about Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, née Lothar Berfelde, Berlin’s most famous transvestite. In Doug Wright’s Pulitzer- and Tony-winning play, all the characters, most of all Charlotte herself, are played by one man. In a set of upcoming performances, that man is Rylan Morsbach....

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Pick of the Day 5/10: The Glass Menagerie
May10

Pick of the Day 5/10: The Glass Menagerie

If you want a little Tennessee Williams with a twist, check out Shoot The Moon Theater Company’s production of The Glass Menagerie, Williams’ signature 1944 stage play. Let’s go over the plot before we get to the good stuff. Domineering Amanda Wingfield, has two adult children: Tom the hard working malcontent and Laura, a glass menagerie-loving recluse. Tom, under Amanda’s demands, brings home an unwitting suitor for Laura. After an...

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Pick of the Day 5/4: The Tattooed Man Tells All
May04

Pick of the Day 5/4: The Tattooed Man Tells All

The weekend has begun and you can take your pick of great events happening this weekend. My recommendation?  The Tattooed Man Tells All.  This solo stage piece was written by Peter Wortsman. Wortsman interviewed Holocaust survivors in the 1970s and distilled them into one character he calls simply “the Old Man.” The production will be directed by Ellen Kaplan and stars Keith Langsdale. The Old Man relives and retells his experiences...

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Pick of the Day 5/1: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
May01

Pick of the Day 5/1: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Tennessee Williams knew how to create drama. And his Pulitzer Prize winning 1955 masterpiece Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is the perfect example. Brick, Maggie, Big Daddy and the gang are gathered for Big Daddy’s birthday. Simply put, these people are the worst. Greedy, superficial liars – the whole lot of them. So it’s no wonder when they’re all together, things reach a fever pitch. The secrets and lies are threatening to tear Maggie and...

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Pick of the Day 4/21: The Ballad of Philip Andre…
Apr20

Pick of the Day 4/21: The Ballad of Philip Andre…

If you’ve followed the long strange trip that is Mickey Rourke’s life, The Ballad of Philip Andre will ring a bell.  The Legible Bod(ies)’s The Ballad of Philip Andre, is loosely based on the life and career of Mickey Rourke. The troupe will explore the themes of violence, aging, and vulnerability as the company uses “a unique fusion of modern dance, boxing, film and spoken word.” The dance troupe has...

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Pick of the Day 4/19: Tart2f at Hawks and Reed
Apr18

Pick of the Day 4/19: Tart2f at Hawks and Reed

Silverthorne Theater Company’s  world-premiere production of TarT2f! An Irreverent Musical Comedy, by Jeff Olmsted is directed by the Advocate’s very own Stage Struck columnist,  Chris Rohmann. Tart2f is described as a “light-hearted lampoon of hypocrisy and gullibility,” adapted from Molière’s 1664 original Tartuffe.  It’s the first show of Silverthorne’s Fifth Anniversary season. Go check it out tonight...

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Stagestruck: In the Valley and New York, history becomes personal
Apr18

Stagestruck: In the Valley and New York, history becomes personal

The tattoo From the title, you might think The Tattooed Man Tells All is a memoir of life on the carnival circuit. It’s anything but. This man’s tat is a five-digit number that was etched into his forearm in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Peter Wortsman’s one-man play receives its U.S. premiere next month at Silverthorne Theater Company in Greenfield, directed by Ellen Kaplan and starring Keith Langsdale. Woven from interviews the...

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Pick of the Day 4/17: Hawktail at the Parlor Room
Apr17

Pick of the Day 4/17: Hawktail at the Parlor Room

Hawktail, an exciting acoustic group, describes themselves this way: “Haas Kowert Tice brought on mandolinist Dominick Leslie to form Hawktail. Music fans will recognize them from their various other outfits (Punch Brothers, David Rawlings, Crooked Still, A Prairie Home Companion) and enjoy this unique instrumental offering.”  They like to keep it simple. They new release, Unless, will hit the shelves on May 11....

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Pick of the Day: Valley Voices
Apr05

Pick of the Day: Valley Voices

Do you have a story to tell? Do you want to tell it in front of a bunch of people you don’t know? You’re in luck! Season 4 of Valley Voices is the place to do it. Tonight “The Silver Lining” is the theme. Listen to all sorts of stories told in five minutes by your friends and neighbors from around the Valley. The audience picks the winner, and the winner will go on to compete in this year’s Best of Valley Voices coming in...

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Valley Advocate Podcast: Advocate Theater Critic Chris Rohmann directs Tar2f!
Mar26

Valley Advocate Podcast: Advocate Theater Critic Chris Rohmann directs Tar2f!

For nearly as long as the Advocate has been around, Chris Rohmann has been writing theater reviews for it. But about a decade ago he got the chance to be on the other side of a production as a director and got hooked. Next month, Rohmann will be directing Tar2f!, a musical version of the 17th century play Tartuffe, which he says is quite current with its lampooning of swindlers gaining positions of authority. In the latest episode of...

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Stagestruck: Backstage with the Director of Tar2f! — Me
Mar22

Stagestruck: Backstage with the Director of Tar2f! — Me

It might seem like a conflict of interest, but for me, it’s a confluence of interests. You see, in addition to being the Advocate’s theater critic, I’m also a director. I work both sides of the curtain, so to speak. When I’m not sitting in a theater watching actors onstage, I’m often in a rehearsal room working with actors on a show they’ll take onstage. What I love most about being in the director’s chair is what I miss most in the...

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