Arts Fuse critics select the best in theater, visual arts, film, music, author events, and dance for the coming week.
By The Arts Fuse Staff
June 27 at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
Big Screen Classics and the Goethe Institut present this masterpiece of German cinema from director Wolfgang Peterson. Ideally, the film should be seen on the big screen and in German with subtitles. Set aboard a submarine during WW II, the story emphasizes the men’s cramped and desperate situation. The narrative’s anti-war sentiments won over the American public and it became a huge hit. That year Peterson was nominated as Best Director at the Academy Awards along with Spielberg, Lumet, and Pollack. Richard Attenborough took the award for Ghandi. If you have only seen Das Boot in a dubbed version, or on TV, here is a rare chance to see it at its best.
Different Face Different Voices Film Festival
June 29 and 30
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Over the course of two days, this unique film festival showcases 29 original films from the Flicks4Chicks contest. The movies feature women as central characters; they were made by women filmmakers along with male collaborators. The entries offer ground-breaking perspectives on topics as diverse as female superheroes, unwanted pregnancy, a strange sci-fi future, and the trauma of war. The fest will culminate in an awards ceremony on June 30th. In addition, four workshops will be held at a nearby location, 66 Winthrop Street, between 2:30 and 5:15 p.m.
Not many screenings of notable independent film offerings this week, so here are three of the best documentaries at local cinemas.
Tickled: In her Arts Fuse review, Peg Aloi cautions that what seems like a rollicking film about the culture of tickling has a “dark and twisted labyrinth at the heart … thoroughly unexpected, and ultimately terrifying.”
The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble: This splendid production has won multiple awards. A soaring camera takes the audience around the world to the home countries of the gifted musicians that make up this ensemble, each a star in their own land. There is plenty of music performed in the process. The film works at many levels: as an appreciation of world music, an insightful look into the challenges and healing powers of music in different cultures, and a outstanding profile of Yo-Yo Ma, prodigy and world class musician.
Weiner: This is one of the year’s most surprisingly delightful films. With access to Anthony Weiner’s campaign and private life, directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg have fashioned a profile of a progressive though vain politician with a good heart but who indulges in some very bad behavior. Arts Fuse review.
– Tim Jackson
ETM: Double Down
Saturday, July 2 at 11 a.m. & 7 p.m.
Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center
Martha’s Vineyard, MA
Head to The Yard this weekend for TapTheYard Week 1, which is presenting Dorrance Dance’s ETM: Double Down—a multi-year collaboration between Nicholas Young and Dorrance that makes use of electronic tap instruments.
And further afield…
Bereishit Dance Company
June 29-July 3
Bereishit Dance Company, which specialized in urban-inspired contemporary dance, travels from its base in Seoul, South Korea.
– Merli V. Guerra
The Taming by Lauren Gunderson. Directed by Nicole Ricciardi. Staged by Shakespeare & Company at the Elayne Bernstein Theatre, Lenox, MA, through July 30.
A political satire/farce with a cartoon premise: “Super-patriot Miss Georgia has something bigger in mind for the Miss America pageant than winning a crown. She wants to jump-start a movement to rewrite the Constitution. So she’s locked herself in a hotel room with two captive political opposites and the ensuing conflict plays out in hilarious fashion, complete with a screwball chase scene, underwear gags, and slyly developing sexual attractions.”
I Was Most Alive with You, written and directed by Craig Lucas. Staged by the Huntington Theater Company, at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through June 26.
“A family’s faith is severely tested when their adult son, a Deaf, gay, recovering addict played by Russell Harvard (Fargo, Spring Awakening), sees his carefully calibrated world fall apart after an accident. Performed simultaneously in English and American Sign Language.” Arts Fuse review
Peter and the Starcatcher by Rick Elice, based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. Music by Wayne Barker. Directed by Spiro Veloudos. Music Director, Catherine Stornetta, Choreography by Ilyse Robbins. Staged by Lyric Stage of Boston, 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA, through June 26.
A prequel to Peter Pan: “An acclaimed new play (partly inspired by the theatricality of Nicholas Nickleby) that uses ingenious stagecraft, the talents of a dozen of our favorite actors, and the limitless possibilities of your imagination to create theatrical magic.” The show “chronicles the adventures of Molly, a girl charged to protect a cargo of stardust from falling into the wrong hands, and an orphan named Peter who eventually becomes The Boy Who Never Grew Up.” The cast includes some real pros — Margaret Ann Brady, Ed Hoopman, Margarita Martinez, Will McGarrahan, Marc Pierre, and Robert Saoud. Arts Fuse review
Lobster Girl, written and directed by Weylin Symes with original music and lyrics by Steven Barkhimer. Staged by Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main Street Stoneham, MA, through June 26
“When Hank invites his girlfriend’s 14-year-old daughter, Cora, out for the day on his lobster boat off Cape Ann, things go swimmingly until his assistant lets it slip that wedding bells will soon chime. That’s when the seas start to get a bit choppy.” The cast includes, among others, Barkhimer, William Gardner, Ceit Zweil, and Brigit Smith. Arts Fuse review
The Maids by Jean Genet. Directed by Jim Byrne. Staged by the Provincetown Community Theater Project at the Provincetown Theater, 238 Bradford Street, Provincetown, MA, through July 10.
Genet’s infamous 1947 tale of sexual gamesmanship “follows the elaborate role playing by two chambermaids (Solange and Claire) … Genet based the play on a real-life tabloid story about the murder of a wealthy woman by her maids. Genet was obsessed with the story and used it as a framework to explore the existence of political and sexual outcasts as well as themes of class hatred. Within the play, there is a continual drawing of curtains, revealing and masking the complex problems of social and sexual identity.”
Ugly Lies the Bone by Lindsey Ferrentino. Directed by Daniela Varon. Staged by Shakespeare & Company at the Bernstein Theatre, through August 28.
The regional premiere of a script that examines the trauma of war: “Combat veteran Jess comes home to Florida after three tours in Afghanistan bearing deep physical and emotional scars. An innovative, experimental video game therapy offers an escape from her excruciating pain, but can virtual reality help Jess come to terms with the altered reality of her hometown, relationships, and dreams?”
Miss Julie by August Strindberg. A new version adapted and directed by Robert Kropf. Staged by Harbor Stage Company, 15 Kendrick Avenue, Wellfleet Harbor, Wellfleet, MA, through July 9.
Another revival of Strindberg’s class-ridden battle of the sexes: this one claims to be “a fiery new version” that “explores how passion and privilege ensnare the daughter of a wealthy aristocrat and an enigmatic hired hand.”
Cock by Mike Bartlett. Directed by Jeffry George. Staged by Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater at the Julie Harris Stage, Wellfleet, MA, through July 10.
A provocative title to what sounds like another variation on the old love-triangle-showdown: “A good relationship is worth a good fight. John has been in a stable relationship with his boyfriend for a number of years, but when the two take a break, he unexpectedly falls in love with a woman. Torn between the two, and filled with guilt and conflicting emotions, he doesn’t know which way to turn. Both are willing to wait for him to make a decision – and both are prepared to fight.”
American Son by Christopher Demos-Brown. Directed by Julianne Boyd. Staged by Barrington Stage Company at the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage
30 Union Street, Pittsfield, MA, through July 9.
Boy, the old notion of summer theater as escapism is changing. “Winner of the prestigious Laurents/Hatcher Award for Best New Play of 2016, this explosive new drama examines our nation’s racial divide through the eyes of an estranged, interracial couple. Over the course of one evening, the couple’s disparate backgrounds collide as they confront an unexpected crisis involving their son, the police, and an abandoned car.” This is a world premiere production.
Fiorello!, Book by Jerome Weidman and George Abbott. Music by Jerry Bock. Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Original production presented by Robert E. Griffith and Harold S. Prince. Directed by Bob Moss. Choreography by Michael Callahan. Music direction by Evan Zavada. Staged by the Berkshire Theatre Group at The Unicorn Theatre, The Larry Vaber Stage, BTG’s Stockbridge Campus, 6 East Street, Stockbridge, MA, through July 23.
An tantalizing revival of a music that is not often seen. “What is a progressive politic? Look no further than Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning Fiorello!. A big-hearted look at Mayor La Guardia and his battle for the people of New York City.”
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams. Directed by David Auburn. Staged by the Berkshire Theatre Group at the Fitzpatrick Main Stage, BTG’s Stockbridge Campus, 83 East Main Street, Stockbridge, MA, through July 16.
Big Daddy and company are in town! “A powerful depiction of greed and deception that lies at the heart of a Southern American family, this Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning play will be directed by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winner David Auburn (Proof), returning to the Fitzpatrick Main Stage where he has directed A Delicate Balance, Period of Adjustment, and Anna Christie.”
Ultimate Things by Carl Danielson. Directed by Danielson and Amy Bennett-Zendzian. Staged by Unreliable Narrator at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Boston, MA, July 1 through 9.
Two darkly comic one-act plays (Jesusness and Hellancholy) about religion, atheism, and the stuff people do with both. “Intrigued by all humanity and suspicious of all dogma,” the company promises to twist “our fears and passions in a crucible of human comedy.”
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare. Directed by Tina Packer. Presented by Shakespeare & Company at the the Tina Packer Playhouse, Lenox, MA, July 1 through August 21.
Shakespeare & Company “will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Bard during this 39th performance season with a newly configured theatre, and [with this script] will debut its first production in-the-round.” This is one of the Bard’s most notorious texts. Director Packer observes that “every person in the play is racist and sexist” and “ill-will abounds.” Longtime company member Jonathan Epstein plays Shylock in a production that will offer “a visceral display of courtship, prejudice, clashing religions, money, and revenge.”
The Last Schwartz by Deborah Zoe Laufer. Directed by Paula Plum. Staged by the Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA, July 7 through 30.
The New England premiere of a script by Deborah Zoe Laufer, who has “penned another brilliantly funny and provocative examination of family life.”
Twelfth Night: Twelfth Night (or What You Will) and What You Will (or Twelfth Night), by William Shakespeare. Directed by Eric Tucker. Nora Theatre Company presents the Bedlam stagings at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, through July 10.
Another thrilling theatrical venture from Bedlam. Two different versions of Shakespeare’s beloved romantic comedy, both of them staged by the same director and performed by the same five-person cast, whose members share between them all 12 parts. Arts Fuse interview with Bedlam’s Eric Tucker.
My Jane by Daniel Elihu Kramer. Directed by Knud Adams Staged by the Chester Theatre at the Chester Town Hall, 15 Middlefield Road, Chester, MA, June 29 through July 10.
The world premiere of Kramer’s adaptation of Jane Eyre. “A struggle to survive. A romance with dark secrets. Two love affairs—Jane and Rochester, and Jane and her readers. The sweeping drama of Charlotte Brontë’s beloved novel Jane Eyre is given a contemporary twist as the story of Jane’s journey from Victorian hardship to independence and happiness works its magic on people today.”
The Rose Tattoo by Tennessee Williams. Directed by Trip Cullman. At the Williamstown Theater Festival’s Main stage, Williamstown, MA, June 28 through July 17th.
Not one of my favorite of Williams plays, but it offers an opportunity for “passion, gossip, music, and mystery [to] fill the air in a steamy Gulf Coast town, where possibility and promise ignite.” Obie Award winner Trip Cullman directs Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei.
– Bill Marx
17th-Century German Music for Trombones and Voices
Society for Historically Informed Performance
June 28 at 8 p.m.
St. Anne’s in-the-Fields, 147 Concord Road, Lincoln, MA
June 29 at 8 p.m.
The Chapel at West Parish, 129 Reservation Road, Andover, MA
June 30 at 8 p.m.
First Lutheran Church, 299 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA
On the program: Meravelha’s Uncivil Discourse: Political Songs for Election Year; Colla Parte’s 17th Century Music for Trombones and Voices; Cavalier Consort’s Music from Court and College — A musick meeting at Oxford; Ensemble ad Libitum’s The Clarinet Collaboration Gold and Glitter – Crossing Borders: 18th Century Masterpieces from Germany and France; Zweikampf’s Sehnsucht: All the Feels of the Late Baroque.
Rockport Chamber Music Festival: Pianist Jeremy Denk
June 30 at 8 p.m.
Shalin Liu Performance Center, 37 Main Street, Rockport, MA
On the program; Mozart’s Sonata in A minor and Sonata in F major 533/494; Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2 (“The Tempest”), and Schubert’s Fantasie in C major, Op. 15 (D. 760) (“Wanderer Fantasy”)
– Susan Miron
Tribute to Conlon Nancarrow
June 26 at 10:30 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.
Great potential here: the trio of pianist Isaac Wilson, bassist Max Ridley, and drummer Dor Herskovits — who have been working together since meeting as students in Boston — takes on the player-piano pieces of composer Conlon Nancarrow (1912-1997).
Noah Preminger Quartet
June 28 at 10 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA.
Tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger created some buzz as a 21-year-old, in 2007, with his debut as a leader, Dry Bridge Road. A fine composer, Preminger on his latest disc, Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground, digs into Delta blues. He’s joined at the Lily Pad by guitarist Tim Miller, bassist Simon Willson, and drummer Jongkuk Kim.
Valentine Komissarouk Quintet
June 29 at 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA.
The singer and composer Valentine Komissarouk comes to us from Ukraine by way of Israel and Berklee. Well-schooled at home and in Boston, she these days pushes the progressive/experimental edge with her quintet: vibist Ryan Fedak, guitarist Lior Tsemah, bassist James Heazlewood Dale, and drummer/percussionist Juan Mejia.
June 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
The Brazilian-born, Berklee-educated, NYC-based drummer and composer Mauricio Zottarelli has a resume a mile long, recording, by his count, on more than 70 albums, and “sharing the stage with” the likes of Hiromi, Eliane Elias, Esperanza Spalding, Joe Lovano, and Richard Bona. But his own carefully designed, exuberant Latin jazz-rock fusion is also worth catching (on video, his group plays a dandy extended arrangement of Wayne Shorter’s “Pinocchio”). He plays in this Medici Musica show with some of his regular cohort: pianist and flutist Oriente Lopez, bassist Itaiguara Brandão, and guitarist Gustavo Assis Brasil.
July 1 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
Barbadian alto saxophonist Elan Trotman hews to Caribbean-inflected jazz-pop that even the grouchiest purist (okay, me) might find himself singing along to. He makes one of his regular stops at Scullers with his Boston-based band.
July 4 at 6 p.m.
Charles Courtyard, Cambridge, MA.
The Panamanian Berklee scholarship student Samuel Batista plays as part of this free series in the upper courtyard of the Charles Hotel, courtesy of Berklee and the Regattabar. A sampling of his online clips shows the young alto saxophonist already moving beyond his authoritative command of Charlie Parker into his own conception, free and eager — especially in this duo performance, with drummer Ruben Coca, of Horace Silver’s “Nica’s Dream.” And did I mention? It’s free.
– Jon Garelick
World Music and Roots
Bruce Molsky and Darol Anger
Club Passim, Cambridge, MA
Usually the July 4th weekend is when local acoustic music fans flock to the New Bedford Folk Festival. With that fest taking place on July 8 though 10, it’s a quiet time, with the exception of this stand-out pairing. Anger made his mark as one of acoustic music’s most adventurous spirits long before a Berklee teaching job brought him to Boston. Molsky is a multi-instrumentalist master of old-time music.
— Noah Schaffer
Rock, Pop, and Folk
Steve Gunn is indeed a superb guitarist, but his arguably virtuoso playing is always in service of his equally well-honed songwriting skills. The Pennsylvania native’s third album Eyes on the Lines came out on June 3, and he will be showcasing material from it at Great Scott on Wednesday.
The Vancouver quintet Black Mountain says its genre is “Spaced Age Rock’n'roll” on Facebook. While the sounds it makes and the images it employs are indicative of ‘70s hard rock and prog influences, the band is by no means living in the past. Black Mountain’s new album is IV, the title of which infinitely less imaginative than the music that it contains.
The indie folk group Stolen Jars hails from Montclair, NJ, and is fronted by Cody Fitzgerald and Molly Grund. The duo and its backing band will serve both Boston and the North Shore this weekend with stops in Allston and Salem. The O’Brien’s show will be a triple bill with Boston’s Photocomfort headlining and the Opus Underground gig will include the Montpelier, VT-based Lake Superior.
Formed in Brighton, England, and now based in London, Fear of Men’s latest album Fall Forever is the follow-up to its 2014 debut Loom. The Los Angeles duo Puro Instinct and the Somerville-by-way-of-Austin, TX Mini Dresses will join them at Great Scott next Sunday.
Upcoming and on sale:
And the Kids (July 7, The Sinclair); Hallelujah the Hills (July 8, The Sinclair); Guided By Voices (July 11, Paradise Rock Club); Girlpool (July 11, Middle East Downstairs); Sonny & The Sunsets (July 12, ONCE Ballroom); Paper Waves (July 12, Lizard Lounge); Wussy (July 13, Middle East Upstairs); Rhett Miller (July 16, ONCE Ballroom); John Sebastian and David Bromberg (July 16, The Cabot); Marissa Nadler (July 19, Great Scott); Super Furry Animals (July 24, The Sinclair); Unknown Mortal Orchestra (July 27, The Sinclair); Booker T. Jones (July 28, Shalin Liu Performance Center); Marc Ribot & the Young Philadelphians (July 29, The Sinclair); Chris Robinson Brotherhood (July 30, The Cabot); White Lung (July 30, Brighton Music Hall); The Go-Go’s (August 8, House of Blues); EPMD (August 13, Middle East Downstairs); X (August 15, Brighton Music Hall); George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic (August 19, House of Blues); Ani DiFranco (September 1 and 2, Shalin Liu Performance Center); The Robert Cray Band (September 3, The Cabot); The Heavy (September 5, The Sinclair); Little Feat (September 8, The Wilbur); Echo & the Bunnymen (September 8, House of Blues); Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys (September 9, The Sinclair); Okkervil River (September 14 and 15, The Sinclair); The Feelies (September 16, The Sinclair); Barrence Whitfield & the Savages (September 29, ONCE Ballroom); Dar Williams (September 29, Somerville Theatre); Leon Russell (September 30, The Cabot); Billy Bragg and Joe Henry (October 2, The Wilbur); Built To Spill (October 3 and 4, Paradise Rock Club); Sloan (October 14, Brighton Music Hall)
– Blake Maddux
The Book of Esther
June 28 at 7 p.m.
The Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley MA
Barton has been called a writer who works in the tradition of Calvino and Borges. In this alternative historical fiction, she tells the story of a Jewish Joan of Arc who leads a band of Turkish Jewish warriors to fight against Germany in World War II.
Hustling Hitler: The Jewish Vaudevillian Who Fooled the Fuhrer
June 28 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
Freeman Bernstein, the larger-than-life hustler, card shark, and self-proclaimed “Jade King of China,” was arrested in 1937 because Hitler accused him of having committed fraud against the German government. Shapiro tells his story and explains how he changed history.
Julie M Fenster
Jefferson’s America: The President, the Purchase, and the Explorers Who Transformed A Nation
June 29 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
After the Louisiana Purchase, the expansion into the rest of the American continent was assured. Lewis and Clark were hired to survey the land. Fenster focuses on the trials and tribulations of the lesser-known but equally adventurous explorers who helped define the shape of the country and the third President’s vision for the continent.
Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space
June 29 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
In 1916, Einstein was working on his theory of black holes, his ideas drawing on the behavior of electromagnetic waves. Ever since, astronomers have been obsessed with the phenomenon of black holes. Levin, a theoretical astrophysicist, makes the scientific obsession with the nature of black holes witty and accessible. How hip is her writing? One admirer claims it is as “If Hunter S Thompson had gotten a PhD in physics.”
June 29 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
The distinguished human rights activist and bestselling author of The Republic of Fear, a harrowing account of life under Saddam Hussein, reads from his first novel. It concerns a Shiite militiaman who witnesses Saddam’s execution, which change his life in ways neither he nor the reader can imagine.
Michael J Graetz and Linda Greenhouse
The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right
June 30 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
Considering the glaring fact that we don’t have all nine Supreme Court justices at the present time, it might be a good time to examine the rise of the right wing in recent American history. The volume draws on the personal papers of the members of the Burger supreme court, particularly those that deal with such timely issues as criminal law, race, and corporate power.
The Female Gaze: Naomi Chase and Tahmima Anam
The Journals of Empress Galla Placidia and The Bones of Grace
July 6 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
Two new historical novels told from a woman’s perspective. Chase explores the court of one of the female servants of Galla Placidia, the only woman to rule Rome and one of the few ever to rule a nation. Anam’s novel uses the perspective of three generations of women in one family to tell the turbulent history of Bangladesh’s independence and beyond.
– Matt Hanson