Stagestruck: Play by Play by Playwrights
Sep20

Stagestruck: Play by Play by Playwrights

Before a play hits the stage, it goes through several other stages. The first is the opposite of public performance – the writing, solo and in private. Then, for the members of the Northampton Playwrights Lab, it’s shared with a small circle of fellow dramatists, who offer insights and suggestions to the work in progress. Then, usually after several revisions and further feedback, it’s put on its feet for the first time in a reading....

Read More
Stagestruck: Hometown Tales & Terrors
Sep19

Stagestruck: Hometown Tales & Terrors

Walk down Main Street in any small American town and look around. There are the unassuming shopfronts and placid homes, holding private, ordinary lives. But behind the doors lie extraordinary secrets and dreams. Three plays this weekend in our not-so-ordinary Valley take us down some increasingly twisty side streets, from Thornton Wilder’s deceptively tranquil village, to a high school that hides the portal to an underworld of...

Read More
Stagestruck: Puppets in the Green Mountains
Sep15

Stagestruck: Puppets in the Green Mountains

For two decades, Sandglass Theater, the justly world-renowned puppetry troupe headquartered in Putney, Vermont, has produced an international festival that serves as a gathering and showcase for masters of the form. The tenth biennial “Puppets in the Green Mountains” festival, Sept. 20-23 in Putney and Brattleboro, offers a variety of cross-disciplinary performances, some “for all ages” and some primarily for grownups. The performers,...

Read More
Stagestruck: Women in the Saddle
Sep12

Stagestruck: Women in the Saddle

Hot on the heels of my recent rundown of women’s representation in the area’s summer theaters comes more encouraging evidence from some of the fall season’s first shows. The Majestic Theater is playing a cowboy musical in which the lead is not a boy. WAM Theater, which provides on- and offstage opportunities for women, continues its popular staged-reading series. And Pittsfield’s Whitney Center for the Arts revives the classic...

Read More
Stagestruck: An Extraordinary Ordinary Man
Sep06

Stagestruck: An Extraordinary Ordinary Man

Two years ago I reviewed A Fiery and Still Voice, a living-history performance at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington, Mass. The delightfully engaging show by Enchanted Circle Theater is back for four Saturdays this fall – Sept. 8th & 15th and Oct. 13th & 27th, two shows a day, 11 and 1. Info and tickets here. Here’s what I wrote about it at its premiere. If you’re like me, you studied William Cullen...

Read More
Stagestruck: Minority Report — Women and people of color on summer-theater stages
Sep05

Stagestruck: Minority Report — Women and people of color on summer-theater stages

Readers of this column will know my practice of periodically reporting on the progress (or not) in the representation of women and people of color in area theaters. The summer season has recently ended, so I’ve been making a tally of this summer’s shows. The news is good. My usual accounting falls into three categories — plays written by, directed by, and centrally featuring women and/or “minorities.” This year the results are better...

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/29: Betty: They Say I’m Different
Aug29

Pick of the Day 8/29: Betty: They Say I’m Different

Betty Davis was more than just Miles Davis’ wife; she was a funky musical force who was a head of her time when it came to demanding control over her image and her recordings. In the early 1980s Betty disappeared from public life.  In 2012 filmmakers discovered Betty living in Pittsburgh and eventually captured her story. Amherst Cinema, 28 Amity St.,...

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/28: Mama Caught Fire, Kimaya Diggs, and Emma June at the Iron Horse
Aug28

Pick of the Day 8/28: Mama Caught Fire, Kimaya Diggs, and Emma June at the Iron Horse

 Minneapolis trio Mama Caught Fire heads a line up of girl power tonight! Kimaya Diggs and Emma June complete the trifecta. Iron Horse Music Hall, 10 Center St.,...

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/26: Louie Anderson at the Academy
Aug26

Pick of the Day 8/26: Louie Anderson at the Academy

Louie Anderson is a bonafide comedic icon.  His Emmy winning turn as Christine on the FX show Baskets has only cemented his legacy.  Anderson brings his humor to the Academy of Music tonight! 274 Main St., Northampton. Tickets are $25-$45.

Read More
Stagestruck: Physick and Physics at Shakespeare & Company
Aug25

Stagestruck: Physick and Physics at Shakespeare & Company

A few years ago, when I told my brother I was directing a production of As You Like It, he said, “That’s the one about Beatrice and Benedick, isn’t it?” Well, no, but the confusion is understandable. Several of Shakespeare’s comedies have interchangeable titles: As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing (the one my brother was thinking of), All’s Well That Ends Well, and for that matter, Twelfth Night. As You Like It is the one about the...

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/25: BSO celebrates Bernstein Centennial at Tanglewood
Aug25

Pick of the Day 8/25: BSO celebrates Bernstein Centennial at Tanglewood

The great conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein would be 100 this year! Happy birthday, Maestro! Celebrate with the BSO at Tanglewood tonight. 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the Shed. 297 West St., Lenox.

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/24: RPM
Aug25

Pick of the Day 8/24: RPM

Three days of metal, punk, and rock? Could it be? Yes! And it happening NOW!!  RPM Fest is New England’s biggest heavy music and camping festival, featuring 50 bands including Black Tusk, Tombs, Whores, Acid Witch, Child Bite, INCITE, Against the Grain, S.N.A.F.U. , Dead Empires, BARISHI, Heavy Temple, Worshipper, and more!  Performances on three stages, beer, food, vendors, games, and more.  Millers Falls Rod and Gun Club. 210...

Read More
Stagestruck: At Barrington Stage, a revival and a premiere
Aug24

Stagestruck: At Barrington Stage, a revival and a premiere

Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield is ending its impressive summer season with a pair of productions, one celebrating a 50-year-old milestone, the other confronting our troubled present. On the mainstage, a lovingly rendered revival of West Side Story, running through Sept. 1st, honors the musical’s half-century along with the 100th birthdays of its prime creators, composer Leonard Bernstein and director/choreographer Jerome...

Read More

Pick of the Day 8/23: Dick Dale

“King of the Surf Guitar” Dick Dale is at the Iron Horse tonight.  Dale  “pretty much invented the style single-handedly.” Just think of Pulp Fiction‘s reintroduction to “Misirlou.” He’s the precursor to Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen. Catch him tonight,...

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/22: Louise Dunphy’s “Celtic Crossing” at the Iron Horse
Aug22

Pick of the Day 8/22: Louise Dunphy’s “Celtic Crossing” at the Iron Horse

Louis Dunphy’s Celtic Crossings began in 2005 as a LIVE radio program on WMUA 91.1fm Amherst and now airs every Sunday morning @ 7am on The River.  The show focuses on Celtic music and often hosts nationally and internationally recognized performers with live studio interviews and performances.  Dunphy will celebrate a milestone birthday with headliners House of Hamill. Local musicians, John Coster and Friends will open. The...

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/21: Transperformance 28: Amperbands
Aug21

Pick of the Day 8/21: Transperformance 28: Amperbands

Celebrate community and the arts with Transperformance 28: AmperBands! Featuring Colorway as Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Soul Magnets as Sly & the Family Stone, Fancy Trash as Paul McCartney & Wings, King Radio as Simon & Garfunkel, Eric Olsson and Free Range Cats as Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, and so many more!  4:00-9:30 p.m.  Pines Theater-Look Park, 300 N Main St., Florence.   Adults $10;...

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/20: Michelle Malone at the Iron Horse
Aug20

Pick of the Day 8/20: Michelle Malone at the Iron Horse

The New York Times says Michelle Malone is “the kind of singer and songwriter who can jolt things into overdrive.” She’s been on the scene for decades and she’s  collaborated with artists like Steve Earle Malone,  the late Gregg Allman, ZZ Top, and The Indigo Girls.  She’s known for “explosive” live performances and she’s also released more than a dozen records.  Slings and Arrows is her...

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/18: I, Claude Monet
Aug18

Pick of the Day 8/18: I, Claude Monet

I, CLAUDE MONET is reveals the “heart and soul of arguably the world’s most loved artist.”  Although Monet struggled with depression, loneliness, and thoughts of suicide, his love of art and gardening led to some of the finest works the world has known.  The story is told through Monet’s own words and the film is shot on location at Giverny.  Amherst Cinema, 28 Amity St.,...

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/17: Tuvan Throat Singers
Aug17

Pick of the Day 8/17: Tuvan Throat Singers

Tuvan throat singers to perform in Brattleboro, Vermont Brattleboro Museum & Art Center presents Alash Ensemble, a trio of Tuvan throat singers. The central Asian republic of Tuva is home to a style of throat singing whereby  one singers produces two or more notes simultaneously. “Often a low drone and a high-pitched melody or other-worldly vocal effects not found in western music.” The musicians of Alash, however,...

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/16: Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers
Aug16

Pick of the Day 8/16: Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers

If you’re aching for the Blues, check out Erin Harpe and the Delta Swingers at Hawks & Reed tonight. Or if you’re yearning for some “Electric Delta Boogie–” you got it, check out Erin Harpe and the Delta Swingers at Hawks and Reed.  Harpe has been called one of “the most dynamic, talented, and exciting roots rocking blues women on the scene,” by Living Blues Magazine.  8 p.m. (doors open at 7...

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/15: The Quebe Sisters at the Iron Horse
Aug15

Pick of the Day 8/15: The Quebe Sisters at the Iron Horse

If you’re a fan of Americana, Western, Progressive and Jazz-influenced Swing, Country, and Texas-Style Fiddling, you’re a fan of the Quebe Sisters. Hailing from Dallas, between these three sibs, they’ve won a number of state, regional, and national fiddle championships. The vocals are reminiscent of swing era harmonies. Performing since 2003, these ladies know how to have a good time. Iron Horse, 20 Center St.,...

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/14: Black Klansman
Aug14

Pick of the Day 8/14: Black Klansman

He’s back…and better than ever.  Spike Lee is putting an historical mirror up to our present day faces.  A lot has changed and a lot has stayed the same. Black Klansman, winner of the  2018 Cannes Film Festiva lGrand Prix, is at Amherst Cinema tonight; here’s the synopsis: “It’s the early 1970s, a time of great social upheaval as the struggle for civil rights rages on. Ron Stallworth (John David Washington)...

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/13: Eighth Grade
Aug13

Pick of the Day 8/13: Eighth Grade

If you’ve been through eighth grade, then you know how AWKWARD life can be.  It’s no different for  Kayla Day (Elsie Fisher), the subject of You Tube star Bo Burnham’s directorial debut, also called Eighth Grade.  Kayla is the average kid who makes You Tube videos about being confident–which she’s not. “In the final week of a thus-far-disastrous school year—and with high school looming on the...

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/12: Sweet Crude at the Iron Horse
Aug12

Pick of the Day 8/12: Sweet Crude at the Iron Horse

If you have doubts about the beauty of all the different ethnic and cultural nooks and crannies in America, this act may well erase them.  Sweet Crude is straight out of Louisiana and they proudly sing out in French and in English.  As a matter of fact, one of their desires is to preserve the relevancy of their beautiful French language in the arts.  Fun, energetic, bayou-y, and just plain talented, Sweet Crude is at the Iron Horse...

Read More

Pick of the Day 8/11: Punk Prom at the Flywheel Arts Collective

It’s not an ordinary lame prom at the Flywheel. Western Mass punks unite wearing their best alternative formal wear as they jam to local favorites, pose in a photobooth, and stop by a temporary tattoo station. The musical lineup for the evening includes pop punk band Nanny, alternative fuzz pop group Kindling, math metal punk band OroborO, atl-country meets punk group Julie Cira & the Wake, and Brinna Dessert. The Flywheel Arts...

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/10:Colorway at Luxe Burger Bar in Springfield
Aug10

Pick of the Day 8/10:Colorway at Luxe Burger Bar in Springfield

Colorway is awesome. They blew us away during their Advocate Sessions performance and I’ve gotten to see them here and there since then. Here’s a chance to catch them at a no cover, all ages show in Springfield. Luxe Burger Bar, 1200 West Columbus Ave., Springfield. 413-785-5893.

Read More
Stagestruck: End-of-summer shows in the Berkshires — food for fun and thought
Aug08

Stagestruck: End-of-summer shows in the Berkshires — food for fun and thought

When Shakespeare & Company first set up shop in the Berkshires, their mainstage was a greensward before a wooded glade at the Mount, Edith Wharton’s Lenox estate, with the audience seated on folding lawn chairs. That tradition has lately been revived, with outdoor performances at their present home in Lenox, as well on the grounds of the Mount, just down the road. The productions are generally the Bard’s comedies that have some...

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/8: Concert for George
Aug08

Pick of the Day 8/8: Concert for George

It’s hard to believe that George Harrison of the Beatles shuffled off his mortal coil almost twenty years ago. But, alas, it’s been that long.  If you’re feeling like you want to reminisce, check out Concert for George, the 2002 performance tribute in his honor.  Held at London’s Royal Albert Hall and featuring Harrison’s songs and the music he loved, the concert includes rock luminaries Eric Clapton, Joe...

Read More
Staff Picks 8/9- 8/15
Aug07

Staff Picks 8/9- 8/15

Punk Prom at the Flywheel Arts Collective // SATURDAY, AUGUST 11 It’s not an ordinary lame prom at the Flywheel. Western Mass punks unite wearing their best alternative formal wear as they jam to local favorites, pose in a photobooth, and stop by a temporary tattoo station. The musical lineup for the evening includes pop punk band Nanny, alternative fuzz pop group Kindling, math metal punk band OroborO, atl-country meets punk group...

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/7: BSO at Tanglewood
Aug07

Pick of the Day 8/7: BSO at Tanglewood

One of the finest reasons to live in western Mass is our proximity to great art.  So get out there and lap it up! It’s a day of musical activities for the entire family at Tanglewood and the whole shabang ends with an 8 p.m. concert featuring all the festival’s orchestras performing together.  Tanglewood on Parade: 12 p.m. – 10 p.m. Tanglewood Music Festival, 297 West St.,...

Read More
Local Calendar: Monday 8/6 – Wednesday 8/9
Aug06

Local Calendar: Monday 8/6 – Wednesday 8/9

MONDAY 8/6 MUSIC 43rd Annual Vermont Jazz Center Summer Jazz Workshop: 4 p.m. The Putney School, 418 Houghton Brook Rd., Putney. Berkshire High Peaks Music Festival: $12 – $50. The Berkshire School, 245 N. Undermountain Rd., Sheffield. 800-843-0778. cewmusicinfo@aol.com. Plainfield Concert Series: 7 p.m. Free. Donations are accepted. Plainfield Congregational Church, 356 West Main St., Plainfield. 413-634-0025....

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/6: The Berkshire High Peaks Music Festival
Aug06

Pick of the Day 8/6: The Berkshire High Peaks Music Festival

So what’s happening in Sheffield? Yes, Sheffield, Massachusetts. You know that small town out west in the Berkshires and home to Big Elm Brewing. Well, the Berkshire High Peaks Music Festival is happening, that’s what.  French Baroque, Russian piano, and Moonlight Sonatas.  August 6-16: $12 – $50. The Berkshire School, 245 N. Undermountain Rd., Sheffield. 800-843-0778....

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/5: Dangerous House
Aug05

Pick of the Day 8/5: Dangerous House

The Williamstown Theater continues it summer run with a new play called Dangerous House. An aspiring black South African footballer named Noxolo moves to London for a fresh start. But she’s drawn back when Cape Town becomes host to the World Cup and she discovers her ex-lover (played by Emmy nominee Samira Wiley of Orange is the New Black) may be in danger. Will Noxolo risk everything to confront the secrets of a life she swore to...

Read More
Pick of the Day 8/4: Valley Showgirl
Aug04

Pick of the Day 8/4: Valley Showgirl

The Valley Advocate’s own Valley Show Girl columnist Jennifer Levesque is curating a lineup of local acts at the 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence, which includes guitar and synth driven duo Fire Letters, progressive synth sorcerer John Trudeau, Grey Matter, led by ex Sebadoh member Eric Gaffney, and doom folk songwriter Celseigh. 99 Main St., (Above JJ’s Tavern), Florence. 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. 18+, $7.  We love you, Jen! Keep on...

Read More
Stagestruck: Dancing down Hubbard Street— 40 years young
Aug03

Stagestruck: Dancing down Hubbard Street— 40 years young

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is a frequent and popular visitor to the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. This year, celebrating its 40th season, the company presents a quartet of works showcasing its history and its current 16-member troupe, one of the most technically accomplished ensembles I’ve seen. The program, running through Sunday on the Pillow’s Ted Shawn mainstage, begins with “Decadance/Chicago,” excerpts from Israeli...

Read More