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
Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, adapted by Lee Hall from Alan Warner’s novel The Sopranos. Directed by Vicky Featherstone. A co-production between the National Theatre of Scotland and Live Theatre, Newcastle, presented by the International Festival of Arts & Ideas at the Yale Repertory Theatre, 1120 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT, through June 25.
The American premiere of a critically admired musical that “follows six Catholic school girls on the cusp of change when love, pregnancy, and death all spiral out of control in a single day.” The show is “about losing your innocence and finding yourself, featuring music by Handel, Bach, and 70s classic rock band Electric Light Orchestra.”
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
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.
Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Directed by Hatem Adell. Staged by It’s a Fiasco and presented under the auspices of Actors Equity Association’s Members’ Project Code at Danehy Park, Cambridge, MA on June 19.
The woods of Cambridge stand in for the Birnam forest in this outdoor production of the Scottish play.
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.
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.”
Blinders by Patrick Gabridge. Directed by Korinne T. Richey. Staged by Flat Earth Theatre at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA, through June 25.
Trump would seem to go well beyond the wildest dreams of the most imaginative political satire, but in this play Gabridge is going to give it a try: “The world is in awe of a scientific miracle: two genetically identical humans, unrelated but more twin than twins, exactly the same in every way! No one can tell them apart – except journalist Karen Sayer, whose declaration to the brainwashed public that they don’t look anything alike destroys her career and throws her sanity into question. As the duplicates parlay their commercial success into a bid for President of the United States, Karen’s quest for truth takes her on an unexpected mission with some unlikely allies and even stranger enemies.” Arts Fuse review
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.”
Dreambook, a play with music. Book by Dan Osterman. Songs by Nick Thorkelson. Directed by Jaime Carrillo. Staged by Fort Point Theatre Channel at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, through June 25.
A “theatrical reimagining of pre–Civil War New Orleans, a place that is often considered the most unique of U.S. cities. Osterman and Thorkelson’s fictional drama, with musical elements performed live, serves as an invitation to envision this particular past with fresh eyes and ears, while also coming to grips with what changes have developed in American culture since then. Or not.” Fans of American literature should know that the play involves Walt Whitman, who spent three months in the spring of 1848 in New Orleans as the editor of The Daily Crescent newspaper.
All Together Now, a Boston multimedia series. Presented by Anna Rae and Jane Park at The Lilypad gallery in Cambridge, MA on June 25.
The show brings together artists from Boston and NYC, and incorporates music, performance art, experimental film, short form video, comedy, and other genres. The participants include Jane Park a folk rock musician based in Boston; Hemway, a pop rock band based in Boston; Hye Yun Park, a writer, actor, film producer, and comedian based in Brooklyn, and Diana Oh, a musician, actor, and performance artist based in Brooklyn.
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, June 22 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.”
— Bill Marx
Georges Braque: Surface and Space
June 22—September 11
Portland Museum of Art
The early 20th-century movement misleadingly known as “Cubism” so thoroughly shattered the conventions of art that, more than a century later, critics and scholars are still debating its implications. Although Pablo Picasso was once considered the “inventor” of Cubism, his close friend Georges Braque may have played an even more seminal role (an old tale has Braque’s wife rushing into his studio, shouting “Hide everything! Picasso is coming over!”). This exhibition focuses on the singular tensions within Braque’s work— illusion vs. abstraction, surface vs. depth, tradition vs. radical change— that make him a perpetually fascinating artist. Each work in the show develops a traditional art historical theme— still life, landscape, figure— but abruptly overthrows all the conventions they had established before Braque came along.
O’Keeffe, Stettheimer, Torr, Zorach: Women Modernists in New York
June 24—September 18
Portland Museum of Art
The four women in this show—-Georgia O’Keeffe, Marguerite Thompson Zorach, Florine Stettheimer, and Helen Torr–were near contemporaries (Stettheimer was about 15 years older than the others) and sometime friends and associates with connections to New York, where all of them developed a devotion to modern art. Three of them lived with male modernist artists for much of their lives, sometimes not emerging from their shadows for decades. This exhibition, the first to show these path-breaking women side by side, explores a time when both art and women’s work were undergoing rapid change and embracing radical new ideas. Although their careers later diverged— some became celebrities, others chose to work in obscurity—all four are now recognized as major figures in American modernism, creating when modern art was deeply unpopular in America.
2016 Biennial Members Exhibition
June 25–September 18
Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton
Established in 1946 with funds from local geologist Myron Fuller, the Fuller Museum had a fairly rocky history until it reinvented itself as New England’s only craft museum. The Members Biennial is the Fuller’s salon for local artists-members, whose careers range at all levels. This year’s juror is James Lawton, Professor of Ceramics and Director of the Department of Artisanry at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.
— Peter Walsh
18th Annual Roxbury International Film Festival
June 22 – July 1
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Roxbury International Film Festival showcases and honors the work of emerging and established filmmakers of color, taking place over 11 days, with workshops and screenings at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Haley House Bakery Café. The opening night films are the comedy Driving While Black and the documentary The Amazing Nina Simone. The festival features several premiere features and three shorts programs.
Unlocking the Cage
Sunday, June 26 at 2 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA
Unlocking the Cage follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in his unprecedented challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans. After 30 years of struggling with ineffective animal welfare laws, Steve and his legal team, the Nonhuman Rights Project, are making history by filing the first lawsuits that seek to transform an animal from a “thing” with no rights to a “person” with legal protections. Supported by affidavits from primatologists around the world, Wise maintains that, based on scientific evidence, cognitively complex animals such as chimpanzees, whales, dolphins, and elephants have the capacity for limited personhood rights (such as bodily liberty) that would protect them from physical abuse. Steven Wise, President, Nonhuman Rights Project, along with directors Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker, will be present for a post-screening Q&A.
— Tim Jackson
Pianist George Li at the Rockport Music Festival
Thursday, June 23, at 8 p.m.
Shalin Liu Performance Center
37 Main Street, Rockport, MA
The young virtuoso’s program includes Haydn’s Sonata in B minor, Hob.XVI:32; Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35; Rachmaninoff’s Variations on a Theme by Corelli; and Liszt’s Consolation No. 3 in D-flat major and Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C-sharp minor.
The Society for Historically Informed Performance presents “Uncivil Discourse: Political Songs for Election Year,” performed by Meravelha
Tuesday, June 21, at 8 p.m.
St. Anne’s in-the-Fields
145 Concord Road, Lincoln
Wednesday, June 22, at 8 p.m.
The Chapel at West Parish
129 Reservation Road, Andover
Thursday, June 23, at 8 p.m.
First Lutheran Church
299 Berkeley Street, Boston
In its 30th anniversary season, SOHIP presents a timely selection of medieval exhortations and elegies, performed by vocalist Teri Kowiak and her ensemble, Meravelha featuring Karen Burciaga, vielle and hurdy-gurdy; Barbara Allen Hill, voice and recorder; Jaya Lakshminarayanan, voice and harp; Daniel Meyers, voice, winds & percussion; and Ari Nieh, voice.
— Susan Miron
The “sick puppy” is back. The New England Conservatory’s annual Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice (SICPP) is in full swing, and on Monday evening its Ensemble-in-Residence, the Callithumpian Consort, anchors an epic reprise of two historic premieres from the U.S. Bicentennial.
I had the privilege of being in Town Hall in 1976 for the first performance of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, and it was one of those unforgettable evenings when the conclusion of the music was followed by a moment of awed silence, and then the audience leaping to its feet in recognition that they had witnessed an indelible event in music history: the unveiling of the first incontrovertible masterpiece to arise from minimalism.
Opening the program is a rare performance of John Cage’s Apartment House 1776, a transformation of musical elements that would have been heard at the time of the Declaration of Independence.
— J. R. Carroll
Nancy L. Rosenblum
Good Neighbors: The Democracy of Everyday Life in America
June 22 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
Rosenblum, a professor of Ethics in Politics and Government at Harvard, will read and discuss her latest book which investigates the politics of daily life in America. Loving thy neighbor is a difficult goal, but what does the daily interaction between people do to change the social life of the nation as a whole?
Witness to the Revolution: Radicals, Resisters, Vets, Hippies, and the Year America Lost Its Mind and Found Its Soul
June 22 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner, MA
After the calendar end of the sixties, the turmoil didn’t let up. From the fall of 1969 to the fall of 1970, there were 9,000 protests and over 80 acts of arson or bombings at schools around the country. This book presents an oral history of this pyrotechnic side of the sixties.
The Whale: A Love Story
June 24 at 7 p.m.
The Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA
We’ll probably never be finished reading the work of Herman Melville, and his peripatetic life continues to intrigue biographers and scholars. The Whale explores Melville’s turbulent mindset after his initial fame as a spinner of sea tales gave way to the writing of his widely panned masterpiece Moby-Dick and his creative obsession with his friend Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Tribe: On Homecoming and Surviving
June 20 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA
June 25 at 7 p.m.
AmVets Post 32, 14 Prospect St, Gloucester, MA
The esteemed and best-selling journalist and author of The Perfect Storm and War takes on the timely and complex subject of tribalism. In the postmodern world, it’s easy to assume that all sense of community is lost, but Junger traces the history of group identity and shows how regaining it might be essential to the survival of the human race.
World Music and Roots
Nashville’s reigning kings of Latin ‘honky tonk lounge’ return to the last country music park in the region, Indian Ranch, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary. Here is an earlier ArtsFuse profile of the Mavericks.
Russell Auditorium, 70 Talbot Ave., Dorchester, MA
Rastafarian singjay Spice has been a reggae mainstay since he broke through with “Earth a Run Red” in 2004. He kicks off a busy month of local gigs that also include appearances by Beres Hammond, Tarrus Riley, and Protoje.
— Noah Schaffer
Wednesday, June 22 at 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA
It’s billed as “Original music inspired by the Ottoman Art Tradition,” but the headlong propulsion of odd meters and daunting virtuosity and, yes, the improvisation, make for what some would consider very special jazz indeed. (Or punk rock, if you’re so inclined.) The players are Tev Stevig on tanbur, 7-string fretless guitar, saz, and oud; Michael Harrist on contrabass and yayli tanbur; and Fabio Pirozzolo on hand percussion.
Friday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA
Vocalist Dane Vannatter combines assured jazz swing, a secure, pliant instrument, and a cabaret singer’s repertoire and theatrical attention to narrative. So you don’t have to worry that he’ll screw up “Lover Come Back to Me” by swinging too much. (I know you know what I mean.) He celebrates the release of Give Me Something Real, which includes the aforementioned Hammerstein/Romberg, plus Burke/Van Heusen, Strayhorn, Al Green, and even a Coldplay/Leonard Cohen diptych. He’s joined by trumpeter Steve Ahern, pianist Freddy Boyle, bassist Ron Ormsby, drummer Bart Weisman and, as a special guest, the equally savvy vocalist Donna Byrne.
James Merenda and Tickle Juice
Friday, June 24 at 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA
Irrepressible alto saxophonist and musical omnivore and adventurer James Merenda leads his current edition of his long-running project Tickle Juice: cornettist Tom Duprey, guitarist Paul Dilley, bassists David Hawthorne and Jon Dreyer, pianist Vanessa Morris, and drummer Miki Matsuki.
Henrique Eisenmann/Ehud Ettun
Saturday, June 25 at 5 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA
The gifted Israeli bassist Ehud Ettun trades ideas with Brazilian pianist Henrique Eisenmann in a program featuring “original compositions, free improvisation, and surprising arrangements.”
Saturday, June 25 at 8 and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA
New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton has a big, beautiful sound, and a restless desire to create an all-inclusive music that covers spirituals, gospel, blues, soul, R&B, bebop, and beyond — so he can flip from Louis Armstrong to Earth, Wind & Fire in a flash. These days he plays keyboards as well as trumpet, and even sings a bit. He brings bassist Vincente Archer and drummer Joe Dyson to Scullers.
Tribute to Conlon Nancarrow
Sunday, 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).
Thursday, June 23 at 8 p.m.
Warehouse XI, Somerville, MA
The perfect event for artists and appreciators of all types, Tabula Rasa showcases performances by musicians, poets, and dancers, while welcoming viewers in these disciplines—along with visual arts and photography—to join in during the second half of the event.
Festival of You & Us & We & Them
Friday, June 24—Sunday, June 26
Dance Complex, Cambridge, MA
Enjoy the return of the Dance Complex’s Festival of You & Us & We & Them—part open-house, part performance showcase, and part celebration of inclusiveness through the arts and dance.
Sunday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Arts at the Armory, Somerville, MA
Head to the Armory cafe this Sunday for an evening of Middle Eastern and fusion dance. Doors open at 7pm and the cafe will be open late, selling food, beer, and wine.
And further afield…
Thursday, June 23 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, June 25 at 6:30 p.m.
The Yard’s Patricia N. Nanon Theater, Martha’s Vineyard, MA
For its residency at The Yard, Headlong Dance Theater has developed its choreographic work “Island,” along with a series of participatory installations and performances called “The Quiet Circus.”
–Merli V. Guerra
Rock, Pop, and Folk
Friday, June 24 (doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m.)
Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA
The prolific and always innovative Deerhoof will trot into Allston on the day of the release of its new album The Magic.
Friday, June 24
Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, Boston, MA
The singer-songwriter behind one of the richest catalogs in American popular music recently unveiled Stranger to Stranger, his first collection of new material in five years. His first visit to Boston in presumably just as long brings him to Blue Hills Bank Pavilion on Friday.
This is not the most obvious of double bills, given that the Birmingham, England-founded ska band The English Beat enjoyed its run of hits (“Mirror in the Bathroom,” “Twist and Crawl,” “Save It For Later”) in the early 1980s, while Minneapolis’s Soul Asylum didn’t achieve MTV and radio ubiquity until nearly a decade later (thanks to “Somebody To Shove,” “Runaway Train,” and “Misery”). However, there is undoubtedly an overlap between the fans of each band, and the cross section thereof at Royale this Saturday should be an interesting one.
Saturday, June 25 (doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.)
Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA
This influential ‘80s American punk band best known for the song “Holiday In Cambodia” and other subtly titled tunes such as “Calfornia Über Alles,” “Nazi Punks Fuck Off,” and “MTV-Get Off the Air” is sure to set the Paradise Rock Club ablaze on Friday.
Monday, June 27 (doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m.)
The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
Pere Ubu was one of the most challenging and influential acts to emerge from northern Ohio’s surprisingly fertile late-70s rock scene. Still fronted by the imposing David Thomas, the band brings its “Coed Jail!” tour—which is devoted to song from Ubu’s 1975–1982 heyday—to The Sinclair next Monday. The line-up will also include Steve Mehlman and Gary Sperko, who played with Thomas in the latest version of the Pere Ubu precursor Rocket from the Tombs (click for the Arts Fuse review) at Brighton Music Hall last December.