Coming Attractions: March 11 through 27 — What Will Light Your Fire

Arts Fuse critics select the best in film, dance, visual arts, theater, music, and author events for the coming weeks.

By The Arts Fuse Staff


Sidney Poitier in “Buck and the Preacher” — screening on 35mm film on March 16 at 10 p.m. at the Somerville Theatre.

Somerville Theatre’s fantastic Sidney Poitier retrospective wraps up this weekend with a mix of hits and rarities. By all means see the movies that got Oscar attention—A Patch of Blue, In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and the one for which Poitier received the first Best Actor statue given to an African-American, Lilies of the Field (1963). But don’t neglect the rarities that have made this series a knockout, and have shown off the many facets of this man often seen more as a symbol than as an actor. These include the thrillers The Slender Thread (Sidney is a crisis center volunteer trying to keep Anne Bancroft from killing herself) and The Lost Man (in this loose remake of Odd Man Out, Sidney is a militant on the run). And a last minute addition to the line-up is the very rarely screened Buck and the Preacher, a 1972 Western that became Poitier’s directorial debut after he took over the reins from Joseph Sargent (it screens at 10 p.m. on Friday, March 16). As a wagonmaster in the period just after the Civil War, Sidney takes former slaves from the Deep South to a new life in the west. He becomes reluctant buddies with a phony preacher played by Harry Belafonte when a band of mercenary white men (led by Cameron Mitchell) tries to stop the exodus and coerce the blacks to return, thus restoring cheap labor to the plantations. The cast includes Poitier’s frequent movie spouse, the great Ruby Dee, and veteran character actor Clarence Muse. And don’t forget, these movies are all shown on 35mm film, that warmer alternative to the scratchless-but-antiseptic digital projection.

— Betsy Sherman

Hangman’s House (1928)
March 15 at 8 p.m.
The Capitol Theatre, 204 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington

A woman marries the wrong man in this intense melodrama set in Ireland. Features a nail-biting horserace sequence that shows silent film story-telling at its best. Directed by a young John Ford and notable as the first film appearance of John Wayne in a bit part. Jeff Rapsis at the organ will accompany the film.

In the Hills and Hollows
March 15 at 7 p.m.
Bright Lights Theater at Paramount Center 559 Washington Street Boston, MA

The Bright Lights Series, co-sponsored by the MIT Women Take the Reel Series, present Keely Kernan’s documentary about the boom and bust coal industry, which has dominated the landscape of West Virginia for over a century. It is now being replaced by natural gas. The film documents the lives of rural West Virginians and their communities, with conversations steeped in history and heritage as well as responding to yet another uncertain future. Discussion with director and MFA candidate Keely Kernan to follow. Free and open to the public.

“Revolting Rhymes” is screening at the Harvard Film Archive.

Revolting Rhymes
March 17 at 3 p.m.
Harvard Film Archives, Cambridge, MA

Nominated for Best Animated Film Revolting Rhymes is inspired by Roald Dahl’s 1982 poem, a retelling of classic fairy tales with different twists and endings. The 58 minute film is spectacularly clever in terms of its storytelling, animation, narration, and voice acting. Directors Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer retell Dahl’s narrative, it visual style inspired by Quentin Blake’s original illustrations. Other bonuses: an enchanting narration by Dominic West (as the Big Bad Wolf) and unconventional, daring female characters. Preceded by fairy tale shorts from the Harvard Film Archive collection.

A scene from “The Workshop.”

Belmont World Film (BWF)
March 18 – May 14
All screenings are on Mondays at 7:30 p.m.
Studio Cinema, 376 Trapelo Road, Belmont, MA

This 17th Annual International Film Series promotes cross-cultural cultural performances as well aa ethnic cuisine via Monday screenings of international feature films, documentaries, animation, and shorts. The line-up features mostly premieres of some of the best in international film. Check the schedule for further dining and cultural opportunities brought to you by this unique organization. Schedule of films and events

March 18: The Workshop (2017), directed by Laurent Cantet (The Class). Using mostly non-professional actors, Cantet examines class privilege, artistic authenticity, immigration, and generational perspective in a psychological thriller that takes place “in the once bustling port town of La Ciotat on the Mediterranean where a group of young writers with different backgrounds are trying to reflect the town’s current situation in their group. Where one participant soon alarms his peers and the instructor with his graphic and nihilistic imaginings.” Odile Cazenove, Professor of French and Francophone Culture and Chair of the Romance Studies at Boston University will speak.

March 26: The premiere of The Wound (2017 – South Africa, Germany, The Netherlands, France). This is an exploration of tradition and sexuality set amid South Africa’s Xhosa culture. A lonely factory worker joins other men in his community for an annual two-week journey in the mountains to initiate a group of adolescent boys into manhood. His life unravels when a defiant initiate discovers his well-guarded secret. South Africa’s submission, and on the short list for the Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film.

Wide Lens with Jordan Peele’s Get Out
March 21 at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, MA

This new discussion series presents a forum for community conversation around pressing social issues and underrepresented perspectives. Following the screening, Boston University’s Dr. Raul Fernandez will lead a discussion on race and micro-aggressions, featuring Boston Globe editor Patricia Wen (who oversaw the recent “Spotlight” series on Race in Boston) and Vice Chair of Boston Public Schools Committee Hardin Coleman.

Irish Film Festival
March 22–25
Somerville Theatre in Davis Square, Somerville, MA

A robust selection of features shorts and documentaries from Ireland make up this popular festival. With a large Irish population in the area, it is recommended that you get tickets early! Half of the award winners this year are female.

Salem Film Festival
March 22 – 29
Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) Morse Auditorium, Salem Cinema, National Park Service Visitor Center

The all-volunteer Salem Film Fest presents a diverse and unique selection of the world’s best documentary films. The gathering includes Salem Sketches Shorts series as well aa The Doc-A-Chusetts Pitch – a discussion with local filmmakers as they pitch their upcoming documentary films to a panel of industry and media in which you have a vote

20th Annual Boston Underground Film
March 21 through 25
Brattle Theater and Harvard Film Archives in Cambridge, MA

The 20th annual bacchanalia of sound and vision offers five days of synaptic snap-crackle-and-pop ecstasy, welcoming worship at the altar of fantastically strange and unusual moving pictures from around the world. Most are world premieres. Here are a few worthy picks:

Good Manners — Clara, a lonely nurse from the outskirts of São Paulo, is hired by mysterious and wealthy Ana as the nanny for her unborn child. The two women develop a strong bond, but a fateful night changes their plans.

Mexman — Documentary. Germán is a young artist and filmmaker striving to complete his first feature film while plagued by the ghost of a long-lost love and a battle for creative control with his producers.

Spoor – Dir. Agnieszka Holland. Janina Duszejko, an elderly woman, lives alone in the Klodzko Valley where a series of mysterious crimes are committed. Duszejko is convinced that she knows who or what the murderer is, but nobody believes her.

The Queen Of Hollywood Blvd – On her 60th birthday, the proud owner of a Los Angeles strip club finds herself in hot water over a twenty-five-year-old debt to the mob, leading her on a downward spiral of violence and revenge through the underbelly of Los Angeles.

The Ranger – When Chelsea and her friends get in trouble with the cops, they flee the city and go on the run. Fueled by a hallucinogenic drug called Echo, they hope to lay low—and get high—in an old family hideout in the woods. But Chelsea’s got reservations about going back to nature and secrets she’s not sharing with her friends. When a shot rings out, her past comes crashing back, and the punks find themselves pitted against the local authority— an unhinged park ranger with an ax to grind.

The Theta Girl – Gayce, a straight forward young woman, deals a hallucinogenic drug called “theta,” facilitating an audience for her friends’ all-girl rock band. When Gayce’s friends are brutally murdered, she must solve the mystery behind the murders and protect herself from the killer. She discovers the connections between theta and the murders – and learns a terrifying truth.

Tigers Are Not Afraid – A dark fairy tale about a gang of five children trying to survive the horrific violence of the cartels and the ghosts of the drug war.

— Tim Jackson

Something of Value: Sidney Poitier on Screen, through March 18

Somerville Theatre’s fantastic Sidney Poitier retrospective wraps up this weekend with a mix of hits and rarities. By all means see the movies that got Oscar attention—A Patch of Blue, In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and the one for which Poitier received the first Best Actor statue given to an African-American, Lilies of the Field (1963). But don’t neglect the rarities that have made this series a knockout, and have shown off the many facets of this man often seen more as a symbol than as an actor. These include the thrillers The Slender Thread (Sidney is a crisis center volunteer trying to keep Anne Bancroft from killing herself) and The Lost Man (in this loose remake of Odd Man Out, Sidney is a militant on the run). And a last minute addition to the line-up is the very rarely screened Buck and the Preacher, a 1972 Western that became Poitier’s directorial debut after he took over the reins from Joseph Sargent (it screens at 10 p.m. on Friday, March 16). As a wagonmaster in the period just after the Civil War, Sidney takes former slaves from the Deep South to a new life in the west. He becomes reluctant buddies with a phony preacher played by Harry Belafonte when a band of mercenary white men (led by Cameron Mitchell) tries to stop the exodus and coerce the blacks to return, thus restoring cheap labor to the plantations. The cast includes Poitier’s frequent movie spouse, the great Ruby Dee, and veteran character actor Clarence Muse. And don’t forget, these movies are all shown on 35mm film, that warmer alternative to the scratchless-but-antiseptic digital projection.

— Betsy Sherman


Dorothy Anderson and Haissan Booth in rehearsal for “The Wild Divine.” Photo: Merli V. Guerra.

The Wild Divine
March 17 at 7:30 p.m. and March 18 at 3 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center
Boston, MA

Deborah Abel Dance Company premieres its newest evening-length production The Wild Divine this week. Based on the true story of Abel’s friend — who tragically passed away of ALS in her 40s — the performance is a narrative of healing as well as a spiritual journey of “inner self discovery.”

Stolen Hearts
Through March 18
The Sanctuary Theatre
Cambridge, MA

In the stunning Sanctuary Theatre the José Mateo Ballet Theatre proffers an homage to Valentine’s Day with Stolen Hearts. The evening features three original Mateo ballets. Enjoy wine and beer while witnessing Mateo’s “Time Beyond Time” (2005), “Released” (2014), and “Affairs” (2017) within the stunning Sanctuary Theatre.

DanzAbierta performs “MalSon” at the ICA, Boston.

DanzAbierta’s “Malson”
March 16 & 17 at 8 p.m.
Institute of Contemporary Art
Boston, MA

World Music/CRASHarts presents DanzAbierta, the award-winning contemporary dance company hailing from Cuba. DanzAbierta performs the Boston premiere of Malson, a punctuated and emotional “love letter” to Havana, set in a virtual world of relationships and conflict. The work is heightened by a series of film vignettes depicting Cuba’s colorful streets and shores, alongside original music by renowned Afro-fusion composer X Alfonso.

Transitional State
March 16 & 17 at 8 p.m.
The Dance Complex
Cambridge, MA

Kelley Donovan and Dancers presents Transitional State, which aims to bring a sense of community to the stage, from “beautifully synchronized group unison phrases” to “dynamic solos of athletic power and aesthetic grace.” The production also highlights Guest Artist teXtmoVes, whose work encompasses the interdisciplinary intersection between spoken word and movement.

Alvin Ailey 50th Anniversary Performance
March 22-25
Boch Center Wang Theater
Boston, MA

Celebrity Series of Boston presents the culminating performance of a four-month 50th Anniversary celebration of Alvin Ailey’s 1968 Boston debut. For 50 years, the company has impressed Boston audiences with its vast repertory and abundance of new-to-Boston works. This year’s performance again brings an array of Boston premieres, along with classic works, including a nightly finale of Ailey’s world renowned Revelations, which was performed at the company’s very first Boston performance.

Further afield…

Forty Steps Dance 25th Anniversary Spring Concert
March 24 at 8 p.m.
Nahant Town Hall
Nahant, MA

Modern dance company Forty Steps Dance presents its annual spring concert next week, yet this time, the concert will celebrate the launch of the company’s 25th season. The performance includes both new choreography and repertory favorites from the past 25 years, among them: Fragile (2002), created in response to September 11, 2001, and Trees (2017), originally presented outdoors at Red Rock Park in Lynn and now adapted for the traditional indoor stage.

— Merli V. Guerra

Visual Arts

Puppets: World on a String
Through June 3
Shelburne Museum, 6000 Shelburne Road, Shelburne, VT

Storytelling, performance, and visual arts magically combine in this captivating exhibition, which promises to immerse its viewers into fantastical realms “where animals speak, shadows come alive, and politicians face their harshest critics.” On show there will be a plethora of multimedia works by local and national artists that celebrate and push the boundaries of this treasured, age old art form. Masterfully sculptured figurines and set designs span from 19th century marionettes to contemporary digital installations and mediate between worlds real and imagined.

One of the Paston Treasures: Medusa cameo ring. South Germany, about 1580. Enamelled gold, set with a layered agate cameo. Photo: courtesy of Yale Center for British Art.

The Paston Treasure: Microcosm of the Known World
Through May 22
Yale Center for British Art, 1080 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT

This curious exhibition examines the backstory of a puzzling masterpiece, the seventeenth century Dutch painting The Paston Treasure (1663). The work defies categorization, gathering together different aspects of several genres: still life, portraiture, animal painting, and allegory. On display are 140 different objects from the widely disbursed collection of the wealthy estate created by the Pastons, a landowning family of Norfolk. Among the objects will be five treasures from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that appear in The Paston Treasure painting: a pair of silver-gilt flagons, a Strombus shell cup, two unique nautilus cups, and a perfume flask with a mother of pearl body.

William Kentridge: Triumphs and Laments
Through April 14
Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery, 120 Boylston Street, Boston, MA

“Every victory has a [corresponding] defeat; therefore, for every person riding in triumph, there will always be someone following behind with a lament.” – states William Kentridge, an internationally revered South African artist, who lives and works in Johannesburg. His 550-meter-long frieze created on the banks of the Tiber River in Rome depicts a procession of ninety figures; a broad sweep of Italian history stenciled on the walls between Ponte Sisto and Ponte Mazzini. Created via process described as “reverse graffiti,” the work contains portions of the grime that has accumulated on the travertine over the centuries. This exhibit includes the complete set of aquatint etchings and woodcuts used in the frieze, two long maquettes that diagram the processional, a set of monumental stencils, and a video showcasing its opening performance.

Renée Green – Within Living Memory
Le Corbusier’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts (CCVA), Harvard University, 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA
Through April 15

This exhibition ties together several bodies of work created over the past decade from a prolific and internationally recognized American artist, writer, and film maker. In her highly layered and formally complex installations, Green addresses “conditions of residency and displacement, subjective experience, institutional memory, notions of progress, and the inevitability of decay.” She creates immersive encounters that slowly untangle themselves through “films, videos, sound works, photographs, banners, and prints.” Her work is not didactic, but explores complex shifting perspectives that invite viewers to participate as equals in the creation of meaning. In the show, she debuts a new film, inspired by her extensive material findings in the Harvard libraries during her two year residency at the Center.

M. C. Escher: Infinite Dimensions
Charlotte F. and Irving W. Rabb Gallery, Museum of Fines Arts, Boston
Through May 28

“We adore chaos because we love to produce order” – M. C. Escher. The MFA hosts Boston’s first exhibition dedicated to displaying a selection (50 of his works from public and private collections) of the famous Dutch mastermind’s original prints. Escher’s genius, via his flawless technical ability, was for creating perspectival puzzles and interlocking forms that have mesmerized and intrigued millions. The exhibition is an absolute must-see. The major Escher show stopper: the “13-foot-long Metamorphosis II (1939-40), a monumental exploration of the fluidity of time and space in which a chessboard, hive of bees, rustic village, and other elements merge into a continuous woodcut printed from 20 blocks.”

Fantastical, Political
Fitchburg Art Museum, 185 Elm Street, Fitchburg, MA
Through June 23

In this unique exhibition, five talented local artists create unexpected meaning by layering together the political and the extravagantly absurd. Many of the show’s works initially lure viewers in with a decorative appeal created through marbling, blue and white ceramic traditions, and architectural ornamentation. A closer look reveals their underlying political agendas. One towering work of surreal fantastical aesthetics: Dave Cole’s “The Music Box, 2012,” a massive caterpillar CS-553 compacter that plays the national anthem.

Storytellers: Picasso, Chagall, Matisse & More
Galerie d’Orsay, 33 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
Through March 30

This joyous exhibition of masterful works is a celebration of scholarly love. Marvel at examples of the famed art of Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Salvador Dali, and Joan Miro, amongst others. The show highlights the rich history of the artist’s book, a trend that was popular from the late 19th century to the 1970s. The exhibition also details the stories behind the creation of these works.

Jodi Colella: Loom Large
Through April 1
Boston Sculptors Gallery, 486 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA

This must-see inaugural exhibition presents work that melds sculpture with fiber art. The work explores “social structures embodied in objects, and investigates the complex, often entangled qualities of power, emergence, and fear.” The show came about when this prolific local artist returned from a residency in Thailand. The anchoring work, a larger-than-life black scorpion seamlessly sculpted out of sewn together lace dollies, was inspired by the appearance of an unwelcome house guest that haunted the bathroom sink drain of her traditional mud house during her stay abroad. (Other images include enigmatic and strange figures, drawn from indigenous culture and folklore, as well as ostrich eggs and wax encaustics.) This psychologically charged and inventive work reinvigorates a craft that is too frequently dismissed as feminine handiwork.

Before Projection: Video Sculpture 1974 – 1995
Through April 15
MIT List Visual Arts Center, 20 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA

This brilliant exhibition of monitor based sculpture reclaims relevancy for a body of work created an overlooked historical moment. This video sculpture investigates the “connections between our current moment and the point at which video art was transformed dramatically with the entry of large-scale, cinematic installation into the gallery space.” Some of the featured artists include Dara Birnbaum, Ernst Caramelle, Takahiko Iimura, Shigeko Kubota, Mary Lucier, Muntadas, Tony Oursler, Nam June Paik, Friederike Pezold, Adrian Piper, Diana Thater, and Maria Vedder.

David Brewster: Urban Pastorale
Though March
Chase Young Gallery, 450 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA

Born and raised in Baltimore, this widely exhibited American artist’s work exemplifies a continued space for Regionalism in contemporary art. Large paintings, teaming with energetic lines and lush colors, explore such contemporary topics such as “Baltimore uprising, immigration, trans visibility/LGBT rights, global warming, degrading infrastructure, and the U.S.’s deep political divide.”

– Aimee Cotnoir


Aaron Muñoz (Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle) and Kristen Mengelkoch (Will) in the Merrimack Rep production of “Lost Laughs.” Photo: Meghan Moore

Lost Laughs: The Slapstick Tragedy of Fatty Arbuckle by Andy Bayiates and Aaron Muñoz. Directed by Nathan Keepers. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre at 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, through March 11.

“During silent film’s golden age, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle’s comedic genius outshone even Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton as Hollywood’s first million-dollar man. Then after one tragic weekend, he became America’s biggest villain. What really happened to him and Virginia Rappe?” Arts Fuse review

Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, adapted by Sarah Ruhl. Directed by A.Nora Long. Staged by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, through March 25.

“In this joyful romance of gender roles and expectations, Orlando the man wakes up, after a particularly wild night in 17th-century Constantinople, to find himself a woman! She abandons herself to three centuries of navigating love, desire, and the world from an entirely different perspective.” Arts Fuse review

The White Card by Claudia Rankine. Directed by Diane Paulus. ArtsEmerson presents the American Repertory Theater staging at the Emerson Paramount Center, the Robert J. Orchard Stage, Boston, MA, through April 1

“At a dinner party thrown by an influential Manhattan couple for an up-and-coming artist, questions arise about what—and who—is actually on display. Claudia Rankine’s 2014 New York Times best-selling book, Citizen: An American Lyric, unpacked the insidious ways in which racism manifests itself in everyday situations. Now, this world premiere play poses the question, ‘Can American society progress if whiteness stays invisible?'” Art Fuse review

Ripe Frenzy by Jennifer Barclay. Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary. A New Rep co-production with the Boston Center for American Performance at Studio ONE, Boston University, 855 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA, through March 11.

“Winner of the National New Play Network’s 2016 Smith Prize for Political Theatre, this site-specific premiere brings us to Tavistown, New York, where a recent tragedy has rocked the community to its core. Narrator and town historian, Zoe, recounts the days leading up to the incident, as the high school prepares for the semi-annual production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.” Arts Fuse review

Brawler by Walt McGough. Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara. Produced by the Boston Playwright’s Theatre in collaboration with Kitchen Theatre Company at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, through March 18.

A world premiere production: “Adam was the scariest man in the National Hockey League, but now he’s been demoted to the minors, gotten high on painkillers, and trashed the locker room at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. His friends need to talk him down before he gets into real trouble, but he’s got his own agenda…and it isn’t about making saves, dekes, dangles, snipes, and passes. A modern-day take on Sophocles’ Ajax as seen through the lens of the last true gladiator sport.”

Old Money by Wendy Wasserstein. Directed by Karen MacDonald. Staged by the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company at the Carling-Sorenson Center, Babson College, 231 Forest Street, Wellesley, MA., through March 18.

“A dinner party in a fashionable home offers a rich and witty look at social classes and issues of wealth and privilege from the Gilded Age of the early 20th century to the present day. A wealthy robber baron and his family, their descendants and assorted characters in their midst — a Hollywood producer, a social climbing decorator, an Irish maid, confused teenagers, and eccentric artists — mingle in a contrast of old money and new.”

Jacob Athyal and Harsh J. Gagoomal in a scene from the Underground Railway Theater production of “Guards at the Taj.” Photo: courtesy of Central Square Theater.

Guards at the Taj by Rajiv Joseph. Directed by Gabriel Vega Weissman. Staged by the Underground Railway Theater at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, through March 10.

“Rajiv Joseph’s dark comedy incisively examines two average men who get swept up in the beauty, carnage, and zealotry surrounding one of the legendary wonders of the world.” Arts Fuse review

The Hotel Nepenthe by John Kuntz. Directed by Alex Lonati. Staged by Brown Box Theater Project at the Atlantic Wharf, 290 Congress Street, Boston, MA, through March 11.

A revival of John Kuntz’s zany dark comedy with a difference. “At Brown Box, we are committed to breaking down the geographical and financial barriers that keep potential audiences away from the theatre. We are proud to make this brilliant piece by John Kuntz accessible to all audiences by offering completely free tickets for all six performances.”

Every Brilliant Thing by Duncan MacMillan. Directed by Marianna Bassham. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, through March 31.

Adrianne Krstansky stars “in this warm and winning one-person show about the lengths we go to help those we love, and the irrepressible resilience inside all of us.” Arts Fuse review

Steve by Mark Gerrard. Directed by David J. Miller. Staged by the Zeitgeist Stage Company in the Plaza Black Box Theater at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through March 23.

“Longtime partners, Steven and Stephen, are raising a son conceived with a surrogate while chafing at the confines of domesticity. A casual case of sexting sets off a series of questions and recriminations between the couple and their circle of friends. A surprisingly serious comedy.”

Bedlam’s Hamlet and Saint Joan in repertory. Directed by Eric Tucker. Staged by Bedlam at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston, MA., through March 25 (Hamlet); through March 24 (Saint Joan).

“2 Plays, 4 Actors, 49 Characters: Behold William Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw’s most famous creations side by side, in repertory, in Hamlet and Saint Joan. Iconic figures are brought vividly to life in two riveting, unexpectedly funny, stripped-down stagings by four actors from Bedlam, the high-wire, adrenaline fueled New York City theater company, and directed by Eric Tucker.” I saw an earlier visit by Bedlam’s Saint Joan and it was fabulous.

From left to right: Maureen Aducci, Brian McCarthy, Ambjörn Elder, Phil Thompson, and Lindsay Beamish in a scene from the Apollinaire Theatre Company production of “Winter Solstice.” Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Winter Solstice by Roland Schimmelpfenning. Translated by David Tushingham. Directed by Brooks Reeves. Staged by Apollinaire Theatre Company at Chelsea Theatre Works, 189 Winnisimmet St., Chelsea, MA through March 11.

“Fascism doesn’t show up in jackboots and swastikas. It arrives in the form of a polite older gentleman on Christmas Eve.” Arts Fuse review

Antigone, adapted by Lewis Galantiere from the play by Jean Anouilh. Directed by Lindsay Eagle. Staged by Flat Earth Theatre at the Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown, March 16 through 31.

“Tyranny, demagoguery, and absolute power are disrupted in Jean Anouilh’s modern adaptation of Antigone, written in 1940s France as a form of resistance against Nazi occupation. In an act of treason punishable by death, Antigone acts on her moral duty to bury her brother, defying the will of the ruthless King Creon.”

The Bakelite Masterpiece by Kate Cayley. Directed by Jim Petosa. Staged by New Repertory Theatre on the MainStage at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA, March 17 through April 8.

At the end of World War II, artist Han van Meegeren sits in a prison cell accused of selling a long-lost Vermeer to the Nazis, a crime tantamount to treason. Van Meegeren contends that the painting was a forgery, which he skillfully produced and aged with a special treatment of the plastic known as Bakelite. Now he must create another masterpiece in front of his jailer, art historian Geert Piller, to save his life.

Little Orphan Danny Book, Lyrics & Music by Dan Finnerty, Created by Dan Finnerty & Sean Daniels. Additional music by Dan Lipton. Directed by Sean Daniels. Staged by Merrimack Repertory Theatre at 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, March 21 through April 15.

“The musical memoir of The Dan Band’s brilliant frontman Dan Finnerty: Growing up a small town altar boy in a nice conservative family doesn’t always suit our adopted protagonist. Childhood outbursts of blasphemy in church only lead to pathetic adolescent attempts at playing sports. But of the many lessons he’ll learn, none could prepare him for the fateful day he and his mother meet the woman who gave birth to him. An irreverent-yet-tender story of a boy and the women who made him.”

Father Comes Home From the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3 by Suzan-Lori Parks. Directed by Liz Diamond. Staged by Yale Rep with American Conservatory Theater at the University Theatre, 222 York Street, New Haven, CT, March 16 through April 7.

A revival of the first installment of Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks’s new American Odyssey. Arts Fuse review of the American Repertory Theater’s 2015 production.

Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau. Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakin. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, Boston, MA, through March 31.

“In the breakroom of the last small auto plant still standing, a makeshift family of workers swap stories, share dreams, and take pride in their work. When confronted with the possibility of the factory closing, power dynamics shift and each is pushed to the limits of survival.” Arts Fuse review of the 2017 Chester Theatre Company production.

A scene from Arlekin Players production of “Dead Man’s Diary: A Theatrical Novel.” Photo: courtesy of Arlekin Players.

Dead Man’s Diary: A Theatrical Novel by Mikhail Bulgakov. Directed by Igor Golyak. Adapted and staged by Arlekin Players ​Theatre at the Emerson Paramount Center’s Jackie Liebergott Black Box, Boston, MA March 17 through April 1

A revival of a play and production, filled with boldness and imaginative panache, that offers a powerfully dream-like adaptation of Bulgakov’s satiric novel about working with the Moscow Art Theatre. Arts Fuse review

— Bill Marx


Lello Molinari’s Italian Job
March 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

The show celebrates the second CD volume of Italian Job, a disc from esteemed Boston bassist and bandleader Lello Molinari. The album features Italian folk and opera arias arranged for jazz ensemble. And yes, there are some Italians in the band: Marco Pignataro on saxes, clarinet, flute, and Ewi; Sal Difusco, on acoustic and electric guitars; and drummer/percussionist Marcello Pellitteri. The treatments on the CD cover a broad range of approaches, from acoustic swing to electric jazz-rock, all executed with depth of experience and a go-for-it daring.

Jon Batiste brings his “Solo in the Round” tour to The Sinclair on March 14.

Jon Batiste
March 14, 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA.

New Orleans native, Juilliard-educated pianist and songwriter Jon Batiste had already been breaking out at places like the Newport Jazz Festival when Stephen Colbert tapped him and his band Stay Human to be the house band on Colbert’s new Late Show stint. There, Batiste is known to throw jazz curveballs into the mix of funk-driven originals and provide cheeky musical commentary to Colbert’s monologue (a favorite: Monk’s “Trinkle Tinkle” following a Trump pee-tape joke). These days Batiste — a formidably talented musician by any measure — is on his “Solo in the Round” tour, prepping the release of a solo CD. The first show is already sold out, so if you have an inclination, don’t sit on it.

Charlie Kohlase’s Explorers Club
March 15 at 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA.

Fusical Award winner Charlie Kohlhase makes another welcome return to Outpost 186, including, this time out, tenor saxophonist Seth Meicht, trumpet and flugelhorn player Daniel Rosenthal, trombonist Jeb Bishop, tubist Josia Reibstein, bassist Aaron Darrell, drummer Curt Newton, and, as always, the leader on alto, tenor, and baritone. Expect adventurous Kohlhase originals and unusual covers.

The Bad Plus
March 16 and 17 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

If I’m not mistaken, this is the Bad Plus’s first outing with new pianist Orrin Evans, who joined the band in January following the departure of founding member Ethan Iverson. Fans of the band will still probably have the stellar November 2017 show at Berklee ringing in their ears — with Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and drummer David King covering everything from Ornette Coleman to Barry Manilow, with of course, their own mix of prog-flavored originals. Time to contrast and compare.

Brian Friedland Big Band
March 16 at 9 p.m.
Third Life Studio, Somerville, MA

Confession: I don’t know Brian Friedland’s music. But he’s convinced all the right people to play his original compositions. Woodwinds: Rick Stone, Lihi Haruvi, Laura Heinrichs, Kelly Roberge, Kathy Olson, and Tyler Burchfield; brass players Jerry Sabatini, Alex Lee-Clark, Pete Kenagy, Daniel Rosenthal, Grant Randall, Ben Griffin, Tim Schneier, and Josiah Reibstein; singer Laura Jaye; guitarist Phil Sargent
and drummer Mike Connors.

Rudresh Mahanthappa
March 18 at 7:30 p.m.
ICA, Boston, MA.

The charismatic alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa fronts one of his most intriguing ensembles, the Indo-Pak coalition, featuring guitarist Rez Abbasi and drummer/percussionist Dan Weiss. The American-born Mahanthappa and the Pakistani-born, California-raised Abbasi bring a deep wealth of jazz knowledge as well as a learned and revelatory examination of their heritage, which also happens to deliver visceral excitement.

Jazzmeia Horn will perform at the Berklee College of Music. Photo: Jacob Blickenstaff.

Jazzmeia Horn
March 20 at 8 p.m..
Berklee College of Music, 160 Mass. Ave., Boston, MA

The Dallas-born Jazzmeia Horn was a 2015 winner of the coveted Thelonious Monk Jazz Vocal Competition. She splits the difference between jazz swing and neo-soul with technical agility, intellectual curiosity, political awareness, and emotional commitment. The Celebrity Series of Boston is presenting her as part of its “Stave Sessions” for emerging artists in varied and unclassifiable genres.

Brubeck Brothers Quartet
March 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

The progeny of jazz deity Dave Brubeck have long since proved their versatility and range in all manner of music – from jazz swing to varied chamber-music and orchestral settings. Bassist and trombonist Chris and drummer Dan are joined by guitarist Mike Demicco, and pianist Chuck Lamb in playing Chris’s originals and maybe a standard or two.

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque come to Scullers Jazz Club on March 23.

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque
March 23 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

Some years ago the Canadian soprano saxophonist and flutist Jane Bunnett, on one of her regular trips to Cuba (Canadians could always travel freely to Cuba, you’ll recall), was impressed with a number of phenomenally talented young women and ended up forming a band with some of them. The result, Maqueque (roughly translated, “spirit of a young girl”), has done regular tours for the past five years or so, and the music is deep-rooted and virtuoso in its parts and, as a whole, explosive (a word I used twice in one live review).

Carl Testa Sextet
March 23 at 8:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.

Bassist and composer Carl Testa’s latest project operates at “the intersection of improvisation, electronics, experimental music, new media.” The sextet at this show will be “performing with the latest iteration of Carl Testa’s interactive electronic music system called Sway, inspired by the works of George Lewis and Richard Teitelbaum, that runs without direct intervention from Carl or the ensemble.” Aside from Testa, on bass and electronics, the band includes Erica Dicker on violin, and baritone violin, Junko Fujiwara on cello, Louis Guarino Jr. on trumpet, Andria Nicodemou on vibes and percussion, and singer Anne Rhodes.

“Kit Demos Presents Dark Matter”
March 24 at 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA.

Bassist Kit Demos presents the avant-improv session of the week, joined by saxophonist Seth Meicht, guitarist Jeff Platz, trombonist Jeb Bishop, and drummer Max Goldman, with Jeff Lipsky doing “live art.”

— Jon Garelick

Roots and World Music

Balkan Music Night
March 17
51 Performing Arts Center, Concord, MA
Doors open from 7 p.m.- 1 a.m.
Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the door

This annual multi-stage bash celebrating the music and dance of the Balkans is well into its third decade, and it’s likely the only time you can party until 1 in the morning in Concord. The Cocek! Brass Band, Beth Bahia Cohen, and Bashkimi Dance Co. are among the many performers who will be playing and teaching throughout the night.

House of Waters
March 20
Stave Sessions at 160 Mass Ave, Boston
Doors at 7 p.m., show begins at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $35

When Berklee takes its spring break the CelebritySeries transforms its cafeteria into an acoustically splendid cabaret filled with some notably adventurous programming. Among this year’s lineup are House of Waters, whose  brand of Afro-funk makes use of an Asian dulcimer.

Riders in the Sky
March 22
City Winery, 80 Beverly Street, Boston MA
Doors open at 6 p.m. and begins at 8 p.m.
Tickets range from $24- $32

It’ll never be the last roundup for cowboy music as long as Riders in the Sky are still riding down the trail. The ambassadors of real Western music have been singing about ‘tumbling tumbleweeds’ for decades, combining smooth harmonies with goofy antics.

Zakir Hussain with Rakesh Chaurasia
March 23
Sanders Theater, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA
Doors open at 8 p.m.
Tickets range from $28- $58

World Music is presenting tabla superstar Zakir Hussain in three different contexts. Later in the season he’ll be collaborating with dancers and then with legendary jazz bassist Dave Holland. Kicking off the series is a traditional night of ragas, including a duet with flutist Chaurasia.

Hollie Cook with the Flying Vipers
March 24
ONCE, 156 Highland Ave, Somerville MA
Doors open at 8 p.m., show starts at 8:30 p.m.
Tickets are between $16- $20

Cook might have rock and pop in her DNA (her dad was a Sex Pistol and her mom sang for Boy George)  but she is going in another direction. She is producing some of the best and most personal reggae to emerge from the UK in years. Several of Boston’s best reggae and ska vets comprise the opening act — Flying Vipers.

— Noah Schaffer

Classical Music

Zander conducts Mahler
Presented by Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra
March 11, 3 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

Benjamin Zander leads the BPYO in Mahler’s valedictory Ninth Symphony. If last year’s Mahler Sixth was any indication, this is one of the season’s mustn’t-be-missed events.

BMV’s Family Concert
Presented by Boston Musica Viva
March 11, 3 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center, Boston, MA

Boston Musica Viva’s annual Family Concert features two pieces: the world premiere of Barbara White’s ballet The Wrong Child (featuring the Northeast Youth Ballet), and Bruce Adolphe’s The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses (with the Boston City Singers). Joyce Kulhawik narrates both.

Bernstein’s Kaddish Symphony
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
March 15-17, 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

The BSO’s commemoration of Leonard Bernstein’s centenary continues with the orchestra’s first performances since 1964 of his controversial Symphony no. 3, “Kaddish.” Laila Robins is the narrator and Tamara Wilson sings the soprano solos. Giancarlo Guerrero conducts. The first half of the concert is to another Bernstein specialty, Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique Symphony.

The Threepenny Opera
Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
March 16, 18, 23, 24, and 25, 7:30 p.m. (3 p.m. on Sundays)
Huntington Avenue Theater, Boston, MA

BLO’s season continues with the great Weill-Brecht collaboration from 1928. The cast includes Kelly Kaduce, Christopher Burchett, Daniel Belcher, and Renée Tatum. David Angus conducts and James Darrah directs.

Beethoven’s Missa solemnis
Presented by Cantata Singers
March 16, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA

David Hoose leads the Cantata Singers in Beethoven’s sacred masterpiece, with an excellent roster of soloists to boot: Dana Varga, Emily Marvosh, Yeghishe Manucharyan, and Mark Andrew Cleveland.

St. Lawrence String Quartet in Concord
Presented by Concord Chamber Music Society
March 18, 3 p.m.
Concord Academy Performing Arts Center, Concord

The SLSQ comes to Concord with a program built around John Adams’ 2014 Second Quartet. It’s framed by Beethoven’s last quartet (the F major op. 135) and Sibelius’s “Voces Intimae.”


Jean-Yves Thibaudet will perform with the Boston Symphony Orchestra

Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
March 22-24 and 27, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

Jean-Yves Thibaudet is the soloist in Leonard Bernstein’s piano-and-orchestra Symphony no. 2. Andris Nelsons also continues his survey of Shostakovich symphonies with the BSO, leading the massive, crepuscular Fourth.

— Jonathan Blumhofer

Giants of Romanticism
March 9 at 8 p.m.
At Hamilton Hall, 9 Chestnut Street, Salem, MA
March 11 at 3 p.m.
At St. Paul’s Church, 15 St. Paul Street, Brookline, MA

On the Boston Artists Ensemble’s program: Schumann’s Quartet in A minor, Opus 41, No. 1 and Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Opus 115.

The Dinner Party: Barbara Strozzi & Claudio Monteverdi
March 11 at 4 p.m.
At the Eliot Church, 474 Centre Street, Newton, MA

Once again Cappella Clausura invites the listeners to gather “after dinner” for an intimate feast of music. “Our small group of singers and players will transport you to a Venetian palazzo, in a relaxed atmosphere of friendly competition during an imagined meeting of two great musical minds. Hear Strozzi’s amazingly chromatic and romantic madrigals for 2-5 voices, Monteverdi’s similar, plus some amazing duets for both men and women (“Zefiro torno”!) and more.”

Les Bostonades
March 15 through 19 at various locations (check the website)

The Cambridge Society for Early Music presents a program called “Tragic Loves: Cantatas of Clerambault & Rameau.”

Beethoven Missa Solemnis
March 16 through 8 p.m.
At Jordan Hall/New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA

“Regarded as one of the greatest choral masterpieces of all time, Beethoven’s own inscription in the score, ‘From the heart—may it return to the heart!’ aptly describes the piece’s luminous majesty, and intimate power.”

Une Vague du Souvenir (Wave of Remembrance)
March 17 at 8 p.m and 18 at 3 p.m.
At All Saints Parish, 1773 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA

Metropolitan Chorale & Brookline Symphony present “a French choral and orchestral program with music by Fauré, Debussy, Boulanger, and Ravel.”

Schubert’s Vienna/ Our Boston
March 18 at 7:30 p.m.
At MIT/Killian Hall, 160 Memorial Drive, Cambridge,

Music for Food presents a program dedicated to Schubert’s Lieder (selections) and his String Quartet n°15 in G Major, Op. 161, D.887. Also, Peter Child’s Sonata for Viola and Piano.

Double-Takes: One Text, Two Perspectives
March 24 at 7 p.m.
At First Church Congregational, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA

“We contrast composers’ settings of selected texts to explore their differing approaches to interpreting the language and evoking its meaning in sound. You’ll hear revealing comparisons of Dixit Dominus by Handel and Monteverdi, both set for chorus, soloists, and strings, as well as works by composers old and new: Drop Down Ye Heavens by Judith Weir and Josef Rheinberger; Ubi Caritas by Maurice Duruflé and Ola Gjeilo; and Like as the Hart by Palestrina and Herbert Howells.”

A Pilgrimes Solace
March 24 at 7:30 p.m.
At Church of the Good Shepherd, 9 Russell Avenue, Watertown, MA

Long & Away presents a program dedicated to the music of John Dowland.

— Susan Miron

Rock, Pop, and Folk

​Kristen Hersh and Tanya Donelly​
​March 11 (doors at 6 p.m., show at 8 p.m.)​​
C​​​ity Winery, Boston, MA

Stepsisters and former Throwing Muses bandmates Kristen Hersh and Tanya Donelly will be at the City Winery for the whole of March’s second weekend. Saturday night is sold out, and the smart money says that Friday and Sunday will be so soon enough. Here is the Arts Fuse interview that I did with Kristen Hersh in December 2016.

P​alehound​ with Oompa​, Melissa Lozada-Olivia, and Dazey and the Scouts
​M​arch 16 (doors at 7:30, show at 8:15)
​The Sinclair​, Cambridge, MA​

Fronted by Ellen Kempner, Allston-based Palehound won the honor of New Artist of the Year at the 2015 Boston Music Awards. Two years later, they left the same ceremony with the trophy for Alternative/Indie Artist of the Year. The trio will draw on material from its 2013 EP and two subsequent LPs–including last year’s A Place I’ll Always Go–at The Sinclair on Thursday.

Popa Chubby
March 19 (doors at 7, show at 8)
9 Wallis, Beverly, MA

Veteran blues-rock guitarist Popa Chubby (born Theodore Horowitz) has been recording since 1994 in a style that he describes as “the Stooges meets Buddy Guy, Motörhead meets Muddy Waters, and Jimi Hendrix meets Robert Johnson.” Perhaps not surprisingly, therefore, one of his earliest jobs was backing ur-punk rocker Richard Hell. Among his many releases is Electric Chubbyland, a two-volume set of Jimi Hendrix covers. Popa Chubby played 9 Wallis last year in support of his then-new album, Two Dogs, and will return to the elegant North Shore listening room on March 19.

Barrence Whitfield & The Savages with Mr. Airplane Man
March 23 (doors at 8)
Middle East Upstairs​, Cambridge, MA

The 62-year-old Boston music legend Barrence Whitfield has been admirably productive in the current decade. His newest album, Soul Flowers of Titan, came out on March 2 and is his fourth full-length effort of the 2010s. Whitfield and The Savages–which comprises Peter Greenberg, Phil Lenker, Brian Olive, and Andy Jody–will rock the Middle East Upstairs on March 23. I highly recommend getting to the venue in time for the opening act, Mr. Airplane Man. (Here is the interview that I did with Whitfield in 2015.)

Stains of a Sunflower plays Atwood’s Tavern in Cambridge on March 25th.

S​tains ​of a Sunflower with Gentle Temper
March 25 (show at 9:30)
Atwood’s Tavern, Cambridge, MA

Stains of a Sunflower is a Boston-based folk-rock quartet whose members hail from California, Montana, and Michigan. Their just-released eponymous EP is highlighted by the expansive voice of Natalie Renée and a seamless blend of acoustic and electric instruments. The quartet was recently included among the 10 Local Bands You Should Be Listening To by Do617. Fortunately, their seven-date East Coast EP release tour includes at stop in Cambridge on March 25.

— Blake Maddux

Author Events

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac
March 11-12
Lowell, MA

Mill City’s native son was one of the most important members of the Beat Generation, which blew a hole through fifties-era conformity and earned a place on the shelves of bookish bohemians since time immemorial. His beloved hometown celebrates his legacy with public readings, including dramatizations of his work, lectures on Kerouac’s life and work, and music inspired by his poetry.

Christopher B Daly
Covering America: A Narrative History of a Nation’s Journalism
March 13 at 7 p.m.
Newtonville Books, Newton Centre MA

We are often informed, usually from giants such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, that the trade of journalism is suffering. This may or may not be the case, but BU journalism professor Christopher Daly has written an authoritative narrative history of American journalism, tracing it from its early manifestations in the new country to the digital age, with all the communications industry’s colorful anecdotes and historical reckonings intact.

Amani Willett
The Disappearance of Joseph Plummer
March 19 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA

Joseph Plummer was a legendary 18th Century New Hampshire hermit who built and lived in his own shack in the woods — his solitude was unbroken until another man settled on his property. Willett is a trained visual artist who tells this story about the complications of solitude through photographs that capture the stark atmosphere of the raw, unsettled New England landscape.

Uzodinma Iweala and Ian MacKenzie
Speak No Evil and Feast Days
March 22 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA

Two acclaimed novelists with a global perspective read together near their alma mater. Iweala is the author of the acclaimed Beasts of No Nation, which was made into a feature film. His novel tells the story of an ambitious Nigerian-American whose excellence at sports and academics is belied by his nascent homosexuality, which must be hidden from his parents. MacKenzie’s novel takes us deep into the complexities of Sao Paolo — the city’s corruption, political turbulence, and uneasy approach to modernity.

An Evening with Michael Wolff
April 7 at 8:45 p.m.
The Boch Center Shubert Theatre, 270 Tremont St, Boston MA
Tickets begin at $45.50

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about the fire and fury over Michael Wolff’s The Fire and the Fury, his scabrous account of the inner world of the Trump White House. Incredibly, Trump’s inner circle didn’t mind letting Wolff hang around and they spilled their guts to him about the Trump Administration’s operatic incompetence. Thrill to tales of relentless infighting, dysfunctional paranoia, and the near-universal disdain for the Commander in Chief, who comes off in Wolff’s pages as some kind of unholy combination of Homer Simpson and Tony Soprano. Wolff will discuss his massively bestselling book and take questions from the audience. The event will take place in April, but tickets went on sale last Friday.

— Matt Hanson

Recent Posts