Fuse Coming Attractions: What Will Light Your Fire This Week

Arts Fuse critics select the best in music, film, theater, and author readings for the coming  week.

By The Arts Fuse Staff


Boston Area Film Schedules — What is playing today, Where and When

The Wizard of Oz
Thursday, November 27
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA

This masterpiece was once a staple for families gathering around the TV at Thanksgiving. The Brattle keeps the tradition alive. Eat early and come on down. Is this a populist parable about American monetary policy? Is it a religious, atheist, or feminist allegory? Is it a
 Jungian a quest toward self-actualization? Or perhaps it’s just the most entertaining screen musical of all time? Ask the kids. One night only!

A scene from Lonesome, which will be screened at Coolidge Corner Theatre this week.

A scene from “Lonesome,” which will be screened (with Alloy Orchestra providing the music) at Coolidge Corner Theatre this week.

Monday, December 1 at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA

The Alloy Orchestra returns to the Coolidge with another live performance of an original score. This time around the music is for Paul Fejos’s Lonesome. The director drew on his background as a medical doctor and an anthropologist to create “this lovely, largely silent New York City symphony set in antic Coney Island during the Fourth of July weekend.” (The Criterion Collection). The ambitious 1928 film uses color tinting, superimposition effects, experimental editing, and a roving camera. (Plus there are three dialogue scenes!)

We Always Lie To Strangers
Monday, December 1, at 7:00 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA

This acclaimed documentary, co-directed by David Wilson and AJ Schnack, is a story of family, community, music, and tradition set against the backdrop of Branson, Missouri, which is one of America’s biggest tourist destinations. A remote Ozark Mountain town of just 10,500, Branson hosts more than 7.5 million visitors a year, which generates nearly 3 billion dollars in annual tourism revenue. Four families of entertainers are examined in order to form a composite of both Branson and contemporary America. Wilson will be at the screening and will take part in a Q&A moderated by documentary filmmaker Jane Gillooly (Suitcase of Love and Shame).

— Tim Jackson


O.P.C. by Eve Ensler. Directed by Pesha Rudnick. Staged by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, November 28 through January 4, 2015.

The world premiere of a political satire from the author of The Vagina Monologues. The script is billed as “a wildly funny exploration of consumption and politics that asks, “How are we to survive as a species if we insist on destroying the world we love?”‘ The cast includes Kate Mulligan and Olivia Thirlby.

Photo: Courtesy of the Merrimack Repertory Theatre.

Penny Fuller as Virginia Carpolotti and Paul Greenwood on the piano in “13 Things About Ed Caroplotti.” Photo: Courtesy of the Merrimack Repertory Theatre.

13 Things About Ed Carpolotti, a one-woman musical with book, music, and lyrics by Barry Kleinbort, based on a play by Jeffrey Hatcher. Directed by Kleinbort. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, November 28 through December 21.

Based on one of the segments in Hatcher’s Three Viewings, this musical was written for actress Penny Fuller, who stars in the MRT production,. The evening focuses on “Virginia Carpolotti, a devoted widow with loving memories of her recently-deceased husband. Though her love endures, her confidence in him flounders as one shady character after another comes calling for the debt that Ed put in her name, and things really heat up when a mysterious $1 million ransom note appears.”

The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife by Charles Busch. Directed by Larry Coen. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, through December 20.

A revival of Busch’s mainstream hit about “a middle-aged Upper-West-Side doctor’s wife who is devoted to mornings at the Whitney, afternoons at MOMA, and evenings at BAM. Plunged into a mid-life crisis of Medea-like proportions, she’s shaken out of her lethargy by the reappearance of a fascinating and somewhat mysterious childhood friend.” The production marks the 30th anniversary of the Off-Broadway debut of Busch (Vampire Lesbians of Sodom in 1985) as well as the 15th anniversary of his Broadway debut (The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife in 2000). The Lyric cast includes Marina Re, Ellen Colton, and Joel Colodner.

The Little Prince, adapted from the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Book and lyrics by John Scoullar. Music by Rick Cummins. Directed by Ilyse Robbins. Musical Direction by Todd C. Gordon. Staged by New Rep Theatre at the Charles Mosesian Theater, Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA, through December 21.

A musical adaptation of the classic tale that, according to the Chicago Sun Times, not only clearly captures “the tale of a man whose creativity was crushed in childhood only to re-emerge at a moment of great stress, but it deftly illuminates Saint-Exupery’s themes of the meaning of love, the opposing pulls of solitude and companionship, and man’s relationship to the universe itself.”

Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon. Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw. Staged by the SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through November 29.

The New England premiere of a comedy in which Jews behave badly. The plot sounds like a variation on Arthur Miller’s The Price: “two cousins wage war over a coveted family heirloom after the death of their beloved grandfather.” See Arts Fuse review

Marianna Bassham's in the midst of target practice in the Gamm Theatre production of "Hedda Gabler"

Marianna Bassham’s Hedda Gabler is enjoying a little target practice in the Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre production of “Hedda Gabler.” Photo: Peter Goldberg.

Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen. Adapted and directed by Tony Estrella. Staged by the Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, through November 30.

We had Ibsen lite with the recent production of Arthur Miller’s sledgehammer-the-message-home adaptation of An Enemy of the People at the Barrington Stage. Let’s hope the Feinstein-Gamm production gives us the real complicated thing. From what I have seen, Marianna Bassham has what it takes to play Hedda, a volatile combination of steel, self-destruction, and idealism. See Arts Fuse review

The Trip to Bountiful by Horton Foote. Directed by Michael Wilson. Presented by ArtsEmerson and Jonathan Reinis Productions in association with Center Theatre Group. At the Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre, through December 7.

“Cicely Tyson reprises her Tony Award-winning performance as the feisty and funny Carrie Watts in Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Horton Foote’s beloved American classic, a story of intergenerational family dynamics.” The first-rate cast includes Blair Underwood and Vanessa Williams. Arts Fuse review

War by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz. At the Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, CT, through December 13.

The world premiere production of a script commissioned by the Yale Repertory Theatre. The drama “is a wildly provocative, bracingly funny, and all-too-human portrait of a family navigating the landmines of the past as they try to broker peace with each other—and themselves—in the present.” Jacobs-Jenkins’s dramas An Octoroon and Appropriate were honored together with the 2014 OBIE Award for Best New American Play.

Identity Crisis by Peter Snoad. Directed by Jackie Davis. Staged at Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley Street, Dudley Square, Boston, MA, through December 7.

Hibernian Hall’s visiting playwright has penned what sounds like a very provocative comedy. The play “is a social satire about family and friendship, love and marriage, and racial categories versus personal integrity. The award-winning script revolves around a phenomenon no one wants to talk about: White people are turning Black.”

Phèdre by Jean Racine. Translation by Ted Hughes. Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara
through December 7
First Church In Boston, Back Bay Boston, MA

“A pedigree filled with philandering gods and bloodthirsty warriors does not make for domestic tranquility, as evidenced in this smoldering tale of erotic obsession and betrayal. Phèdre Paula Plum), daughter of King Minos, and second wife to Theseus (Robert Walsh), falls hard for her stepson, Hippolytus, after her husband’s six-month absence appears to becoming more of a permanent vacation.” Hughes’s translation has garnered plenty of critical praise. The Guardian on a National Theatre production: “Hughes’s version, first heard in Jonathan Kent’s 1998 West End production, replaces Racine’s alexandrines with a language that is characteristically sinewy, abrasive, and even animalistic. Phèdre, guilt-ridden over her passion for her stepson Hippolytus, cries: ‘Venus has fastened on me like a tiger.’ Later, she declares: ‘I stink of incest and deceit.'”

Will LeBow in the Huntington Theatre Company production of Clifford Odets’ s "Awake and Sing."  Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Will LeBow in the Huntington Theatre Company production of Clifford Odets’ s “Awake and Sing.” Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

Awake and Sing! by Clifford Odets. Directed by Melia Bensussen.
Through December 7
Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Boston University Theatre, Boston, MA

Odets, where is thy sting? Does this ’30s warhorse still feel, according to a blurb on the HTC web site, as if it could have been written yesterday? Arts Fuse review

— Bill Marx


Matt Glaser Trio
November 23, 8 p.m.
Green Room, Somerville, MA.

Violinist Matt Glaser — director of Berklee’s American Roots program, a Ken Burns’s Jazz talking head, and all-around irrepressible enthusiast — fronts a trio with the distinguished jazz guitarist John Wheatley and bassist Brittany Karlson.

Keyboardist Dave Bryant

This week keyboardist Dave Bryant does his harmolodic thing at Outpost 186 in Cambridge, MA.

Dave Bryant Group
November 24, 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA.

Ornette Coleman keyboardist Dave Bryant brings his best harmolodic self to the intimate Outpost 186 with like-minded confreres Neil Leonard on saxophone, Jeff Song on cello, and Eric Rosenthal on drums.

James Merenda & Tickle Juice
November 28, 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA.

Alto saxophonist James Merenda, long one of Boston’s most exuberant explorers of the outer edge, brings his band Tickle Juice to Outpost 186: cornettist Tom Duprey, guitarist David Hawthorne, pianist Vanessa Morris, bassist John Dreyer, and drummer Miki Matsuki.

Arturo Sandoval
November 28-29, 8 p.m. + 10 p.m., November 30, 4 p.m. + 7 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston

The dynamo Cuban trumpeter, pianist, and composer Arturo Sandoval spends a whirlwind weekend at Scullers, including Sunday matinee and evening performances.

The Music of Bob Nieske and Jimmy Giuffre
December 4, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA.

Bassist and composer Nieske leads the NEC Jazz Orchestra in works by himself and his former colleague and bandmate, the late reedman and composer Jimmy Giuffre (1921-2008). Giuffre’s work extended from “Four Brothers,” his signature composition for the Woody Herman Orchestra, through several iterations of the Jimmy Giuffre 3, including a famous early version with Jim Hall and Bob Brookmeyer and a slightly later, legendary version with Steve Swallow and Paul Bley. So that’s big band, chamber jazz, and a kabuki-esque version of free jazz, all under one hat. Nieske will cover much of it, including his own arrangement of Giuffre, and his own compositions, with the NEC Jazz Orchestra.

— Jon Garelick

Roots and World Music

Photo by: Jeff Fasano

Chris Smither, the master of deep dark songwriting, comes to Cambridge this week. Photo by: Jeff Fasano

Louis Vargas and Toño Rosario
November 26
Wonderland Ballroom, Revere, MA

Two of the Dominican Republic’s most enduring stars come together for a pre-Thanksgiving dance party. Vargas’s hot guitar playing has been heard on scores of bachata hits.The flamboyant Rosario sings frenetic merengue songs. His live band contains real horns, but he leaves the accordion sounds to his keyboardist.

Orchestre Tropicana d’Haiti
November 29
Wonderland Ballroom, Revere, MA

A Haitian institution celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, Tropicana is a glorious twenty-two-piece throwback to a by-gone era. Originally inspired by the Cuban big band scene – it’s named after a Havana nightclub – Tropicana keeps the dance floor filled all night while its members play lengthy solos over Kompas rhythms. Their Revere appearance is a post-Thanksgiving tradition that always brings out hundreds of well-dressed couples.

Darlene Love
November 29
Zeiterion Theater, New Bedford, MA

The big voice behind many of Phil Spector’s greatest moments, Love got a huge career boost from the 20 Feet from Stardom documentary. This is a holiday show full of chestnuts like “Christmas Baby Please Come Home,” the song she’s sung for David Letterman 27 times.

Chris Smither
November 30
The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA

It can be frustrating when great artists put out an album of re-recordings of their finest songs. But for Smither, the recent Still on the Levee makes a lot of sense. The master of deep dark songwriting only got to record under ideal circumstances when his career was reborn in the ’90s. The new LP’s sessions were done in the longtime New Englander’s hometown of New Orleans; many of the songs have been reborn with spare, bluesy arrangements. This fall has been a bonanza for fans because he was also the subject of a tribute album, Link of Chain, which finds folkie types from Dave Alvin to Patty Larkin putting their spin on the Smither songbook. This is a rare show that features Smither’s occasional band, the Motivators.

Romaine Vigo. Photo: Perry Galindo.

Romaine Vigo — one of Jamaica’s most popular purveyors of romantic rock comes to Dorchester. Photo: Perry Galindo.

Romaine Virgo
November 30
Russell Auditorium, Dorchester, MA

One of Jamaica’s reigning champs of ‘lover’s rock,’ Virgo can even make a Michael Bolton or Sam Smith cover soulful. He’d be great performing in a ‘full package’ show, but there are a lot of caveats about this “Black Tie Affair.” No band is mentioned on the flyer, so Virgo will likely be singing to tracks. And be warned: his last few U.S. appearances were scuttled because of visa woes. Fans might want to stay tuned to local reggae pirate stations to make sure he actually made it into town.

Barbados Independence Dance featuring Lew Dreyton
November 29
Annunciation Hall, 7 VFW Parkway, West Roxbury, MA

The Latin-tinged reggae offshoot known as spouge exploded out of Barabdos in the late ’60s. The opportunity to hear live performances of the genre in these parts are rare. Amazingly, two of the greatest voices in spouge are coming to Boston in a 7 day stretch. Lew Drayton, lead singer and namesake of the Draytons Two, will do a medley of his hits to a backing tape. He is coming to Boston as part of a annual dance sponsored by a community member known as King Arthur. Also on hand will be the Bajan radio DJ Ian “Cupid” Gill. Unfortunately, the event has no web presence, but Arthur can be reached at 617-298-0643. Next Saturday (December 6), fellow expert practitioner of spouge (and recent Arts Fuse interviewee) Shirley Stewart returns to the Reggie Lewis Track Center in Roxbury.

Mr. Sun
November 30
Davis Square Theater, Somerville, MA

Fiddler Darol Anger was in the original version of the David Grisman Quintet. Guitarist Grant Gordy was in the most recent Grisman outfit until a few months ago. In Mr. Sun, they team up with local mandolin hero Joe Walsh and bassist Ethan Jodziewicz to perform a wide-reaching and challenging mix of newgrass, jazz, and other progressive acoustic sounds.

— Noah Schaffer

Classical Music

Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition
Presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
November 25, 28, and 29, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

Violinist-conductor Leonidas Kavakos returns to the BSO podium for the orchestra’s last subscription series of 2014. He is the soloist in Bartók’s Two Portraits and then conducts Haydn’s Symphony no. 82 (The Bear) and Ravel’s BSO-commissioned orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Photo: Yannis Boumias

Violinist-conductor Leonidas Kavakos returns to the BSO podium this week. Photo: Yannis Boumias

— Jonathan Blumhofer

Charles Fisk
Sunday, November 23 at 7 p.m.
Jewett Art Center Auditorium, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA

For his final recital as a Professor of Music at Wellesley, pianist Fisk will perform Robert Schumann’s Fantasy in C Major and then, joined by violinist Gabriela Diaz and cellist David Russell, he will play Franz Schubert’s Piano Trio in E-flat Major. Also featured: music from J.S.Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II, Alban Berg’s Sonata, Op.1, and the premiere of a new work by Fist’s longtime colleague Martin Brody.

Boston Chamber Music Society
Sunday, November 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Sanders Theater, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

The program features violinist Harumi Rhodes, cellist 
Ronald Thomas, and pianist 
Mihae Lee performing the chamber music by Johannes Brahms: 
Cello Sonata in F major, Op. 99
; Violin Sonata in A major, Op. 100
; and Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 101.

Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem
Monday, November 24 at 8 p.m.
Presented by the Boston University School of Music, Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

The monumental Britten War Requiem will be conducted by Ann Howard Jones, professor of music and director of choral activities at the College of Fine Arts School of Music, and David Hoose, professor of music and director of orchestral activities at the School of Music. The Requiem will feature soloists Kelly Kaduce, soprano; Mark Goodrich, tenor; William Sharp, baritone; and the All Saints’ Choir of Men and Boys, conducted by Jeremy Bruns.

Purported portrait of GB Pergolesi.

Purported portrait of GB Pergolesi.

The Boston Early Music Festival Chamber & Vocal Ensemble
Saturday, November 29 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, November 30 at 3 p.m.
New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, Boston, MA

A double bill of Neapolitan comic opera! Pergolesi’s delightfully charming duo — La serva padrona and Livietta e Tracollo — will receive intimate chamber productions featuring lavish costumes and effervescent period staging led by BEMF Musical Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs and Stage Director Gilbert Blin.

Windsor Music — Thanksgiving Concert
Chamber Series II — Young artist: Rebecca Printz, mezzo-soprano
Sunday, November 30 at 7:00 pm
At the Follen Community Church, 755 Mass. Ave., Lexington, MA

Printz joins Windsor Music Artistic Director Peggy Pearson and other musicians in a program that includes Haydn’s Quartet in B flat, Op. 33, No. 4; Bolcom’s Serenata Notturna; Mamuya’s Song for the Spirit (premiere), and Bach’s Cantata BWV 170 “Vergnügte Ruh,’ beliebte Seelenlust.”

— Susan Miron


Greg Trooper
November 23
Atwood’s Tavern, Cambridge, MA

There are few singer-songwriters I love more than Greg Trooper. His songs have been covered by Steve Earle and Billy Bragg among others, but Trooper is his own best interpreter. While “Little Sister” (covered by Earle) is probably his greatest composition, my favorite has to be “So French.” It’s a funny song, and people always laugh when he performs it, but the tune is no joke. It is one of the best artistic representations of the workings of the male mind that you’re ever likely to hear, read, or see. The insecurity, the bravado, the moodiness, the humor…it’s all there.

And when Trooper isn’t making his audience laugh with “So French,” he’s making them cry with the beautiful “Everywhere,” “Ireland,” and “Biologically Blue.” Oh, and then there’s “Muhammad Ali (Meaning of Christmas)”…and “This I Do”…and “Don’t Let It Go to Waste”…and “Time For Love”…and…a hell, all of them. Trooper is the greatest. Note that this show starts at 4 p.m., which is unfortunate because it coincides with the end of the Patriots/Lions game. Hopefully the Pats will blow Detroit out early so folks can get down to Atwood’s Tavern.

Julian Casablancas + the Voidz
November 26
House of Blues, Boston, MA

It’s been a while since the Strokes have played Boston, but at least we get the band’s frontman and his backing band (the Voidz) coming to town this month. The group has a new album out — Tyranny. It’s an eclectic record for sure, at times even embracing the political. Probably not the direction Casablancas’s main band will be heading in the future, but hey, this is exactly what side projects are supposed to be for.

Upcoming and On Sale…

Keep Boston Safe (Benefit for Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts) (12/10/2014, Brighton Music Hall); Future Islands (1/7/2015, Royale); The Vaselines (1/17/2015, Brighton Music Hall); Gang of Four (3/6/2014, Paradise Rock Club); Belle and Sebastian (3/30/2015, House of Blues); The Who (5/24/2015, Mohegan Sun Arena); The Who (10/29/2015, TD Garden)

Author Events


William Powers
New Slow City
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
December 1 at 7 p.m.

“Burned-out after years of doing development and conservation work around the world, William Powers spent a season in a 12-foot-by-12-foot cabin off the grid in North Carolina. Could he live a similarly minimalist way in the belly of the beast — New York City?” Sounds like TV’s Green Acres in reverse.

Rebecca Alexander
Not Fade Away
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
December 2 at 7 p.m.

Alexander was born with a rare genetic mutation called Usher Syndrome type III, which has caused her to gradually lose both her sight and hearing since childhood. Doctors told her she would be blind and deaf by 30. Then, to make matters worse, a fall at the age of 18 contributed to her physical problems. Now 35, Alexander talks about how she became a psychotherapist with two master’s degrees from Columbia University and an athlete who regularly participates in extreme endurance races.

Ha Jin
A Map of Betrayal
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
December 3 at 7 p.m.

The eminent Boston University professor’s latest novel revolves around the fallout that follows when American-raised Lillian Shang discovers the diary of her father, who was the most important Chinese spy to ever join the C.I.A. Not only does this diary contain a tremendous tale of intrigue and duplicity, but also reveals that the man had a second family. Jin’s novel questions the standard notions of identity, family, and home.

Wonder Woman -- the subject of Jill new book.

Wonder Woman — the subject of Jill Lepore’s new book.

Jill Lepore
The Secret History of Wonder Woman
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge MA
December 3 at 6 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30)
$5 Tickets

The Harvard University professor and New Yorker staff writer discusses her new biography of the comic book heroine, which  also reflects the secret history of feminism in the 20th Century. Lepore dug deep into the archives of William Marston, a former Harvard professor who had deep connections to some of the female pioneers in American history. She will also screen the 1974 pilot for a Wonder Woman TV series after the discussion.

James Lenfestey
Seeking The Cave
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
December 4 at 7 p.m.

The award-winning poet and essayist undertook an epic journey to find Cold Mountain Cave, the mythological  birthplace of his hero, Chinese poet Han Shan. The trip, which starts in the Midwest and jumps to Tokyo and then moves into the rural regions of mainland China, becomes an adventure in cultural, aesthetic, and psychological discovery.

— Matt Hanson

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