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
Belmont World Film (BWF)
All screenings are on Mondays at 7:30 p.m.
Studio Cinema, 376 Trapelo Road, Belmont, MA, through May 14.
This 17th Annual International Film Series promotes cross-cultural performances as well as ethnic cuisine via Monday screenings of international feature films, documentaries, animation, and shorts. The line-up features 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.
The National Center for Jewish Film’s Annual Film Festival
Through May 13
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
The NCJF annual festival is a vibrant program of new independent films and restored classics from around the world, with visiting filmmakers and scholars.
The Prince And The Dybbuk (Poland/Germany, 2017)
May 6 at 2 p.m.
“He is remembered as a Polish aristocrat, Hollywood producer, a reprobate and liar, an open homosexual and husband to an Italian countess, and director of The Dybbuk, one of the most important Jewish films of all time. But who, really, was Michał Waszyński?”
The Dybbuk (Poland, 1937)
May 6 at 4 p.m.
Restored. A mystical tale of star-crossed lovers and supernatural possession
The Last Suit (El Último Traje) (Argentina/Spain, 2017, 86 min.).
May 6 at 7:30 p.m.
In this bittersweet road movie, an aging Jewish tailor leaves his life in Argentina to embark on a journey back through time and halfway around the world.,
The Invisibles (Die Unsichtbaren) (Germany, 2017)
May 10 at 5 p.m.
A suspenseful true drama tracing the machinations of four young Jews hiding in plain sight in Berlin during WWII.
Shelter (Israel/Germany/France, 2017)
May 10, 7:30 – 9:15 p.m.
A Mossad agent is sent on a mission to protect a Lebanese informer while she recovers from plastic surgery. What should be an easy assignment quickly turns into a labyrinth of espionage and intrigue inside a safe house. With Golshifteh Farahanis from Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson.
The Cakemaker (Germany/Israel, 2017)
May 11, 2 p.m.
Thomas, a young German baker, is having an affair with Oren, an Israeli married man who has frequent business visits in Berlin. When Oren dies in a car crash in Israel, Thomas travels to Jerusalem seeking for answers regarding his death.
An Act Of Defiance (Netherlands/South Africa, 2017)
May 11, 7 p.m.
Balancing a political thriller with courtroom intrigue the film pays tribute to the legendary figures who fought to end segregation and corruption during a dark period in South Africa’s recent history.
Heading Home (USA, 2018)
May 13, 2 p.m.
A stirring story of sports, patriotism ,and personal growth, the film charts the underdog struggles of Israel’s national baseball team when it competed, for the first time, in the World Baseball Classic. After years of defeat, Team Israel finally ranked among the world’s best in 2017.
Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?
May 7 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge MA
Alabama, 1946. S.E. Branch, the filmmaker’s great-grandfather, murdered Bill Spann, a black man. The murder became a secret family lore. Filmmaker Travis Wilkerson set out to unravel the mystery. He encounters obstacle upon obstacle, including destroyed records. Everyone refuses to talk. He’s accused of bringing shame on the family, raking up old trouble nobody wants. The ghosts are real in Alabama! This isn’t a White Savior story; t’s a White Nightmare story. Wilkerson will attend in person for the post-screening discussion.
May 9 through 13
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Local Filmmaker Jule Mallozzi presents a remarkable new film about Janet Connors, who, after the brutal slaying of her teenage son, reached out to her son’s killer to offer a him a chance for forgiveness. “She seeks out two of the men who killed her son. But instead of exacting vengeance, she looks for humanity. She fights the bureaucracy to become the first person in Massachusetts to hold a victim-offender dialogue through the corrections system.” The screening on May 12 will be followed by a panel discussion made up of local community activists and one of the film’s subjects.
Under The Tree
May 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Studio Cinema 376 Trapelo Road, Belmont, MA
Directed by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson, this movie was Iceland’s submission for 2017 Best Foreign Language Film. The film is a comedy (sort of) about neighbors battling over a tree that casts a shadow on one of the neighbor’s decks. The efforts of the two sociopathic families to compromise go from none to bizarre to murderous: a creepy and exceedingly dark vision of Iceland!
May 8 at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theater, Brookline, MA
This is an ‘open mic’ night for filmmakers: “Whether you sold your home to finance your 35mm feature, or you made it last night in your parent’s basement – if your movie (or part thereof) is under 10 minutes, we’ll screen it.”
Until the End of the World
May 12 at 2 p.m.
Harvard Film Archives, Cambridge, MA
For the hearty lover of film (and Wim Wenders fans) comes his rarely screened epic starring William Hurt. The five-hour film includes an intermission. Taken from Amazon.com’s synopsis: In 1999, Claire’s life is forever changed after she survives a car crash. She rescues Sam and starts traveling around the world with him. Writer Eugene follows them and chronicles their story as a way of recording the dreams they invent as they journey. Admission is free.
May 12 at 1 p.m.
Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA
A unique documentary directed by photographer Henry Horenstein, whose work can be found in the current MFA exhibition “(un)expected families.” “The film incorporates clips from 13 interviews with couples who discuss how they met and how their relationships work. Some of the relationships captured here are fairly conventional, while others are wildly unorthodox. But these couples share much in common with each other—their tastes, personal philosophies, dreams for the future, and, most importantly, their love. At its heart, Partners is about acceptance and a celebration of choice.” Followed by a discussion with the director.
Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc
Brattle Theatre in Cambridge
May 11 – 14
Bruno Dumont (L’Humanité, Hadewijch, Flanders, L’il Quinquin) pushes the eccentric envelope with each new film. Here he unspools a rock and roll musical based on the early life of Joan of Arc. “This is the kind of movie that gets stranger as you think about it. To get into this film, you have to find the emotional truth in the slightly awkward performances of non-professional child actors. You also have to get used to the idea of watching a film that follows, during its first half, an eight-year-old shepherdess (Lise Leplat Prudhomme) who head-bangs as she prays for an end to the Hundred Years’ War while heavy metal music plays.” (RogerEbert,.con)
May 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Studio Cinema 376 Trapelo Road, Belmont, MA
The subculture of “rebetiko” is at the heart of this spin on Southern Europe’s current financial woes and traumatic migrant worries. The emotionally charged genre combines storytelling and singing and it has spread from poor urban communities in Greece and Turkey to those living in the islands of the Aegean. The film’s eponymous heroine, a young and spirited Greek woman living on the island of Lesbos, is sent on an errand to Turkey, where she meets up with a 19 year old French girl whose plans to help migrants at the Syrian border backfire. Together, they journey back to Lesbos using the same overland route taken by many Syrians today.
In the Intense Now
May 16 through 31
Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA
This a one-of-a-kind experimental documentary by Brazillian director João Moreira Salles explores four sets of images: footage of the French students’ uprising in May of 1968; images captured by amateurs during the invasion of Czechoslovakia in August of the same year; shots of the funerals of students, workers, and police officers killed during the events of 1968 in the cities of Paris, Lyon, Prague, and Rio de Janeiro; and the scenes that a tourist—the director’s mother—filmed in China in 1966, the year of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. The footage not only dramatizes the emotions of those captured on film, but sets out to sheds light on the complex relationship between a document and its political context. Trailer.
— Tim Jackson
Encore Dance Ensemble 10th Anniversary Concert
May 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Chelmsford Center for the Arts
Encore Dance Ensemble celebrates its 10th anniversary season with a concert that showcases modern and jazz works that embrace the “ups and downs of life.” The program is supported in part by grants from the Acton-Boxborough and the Chelmsford Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Mass Cultural Council.
The Gallery: Boston
May 11 and 12
At the Dance Complex, Cambridge, MA
Pentacle presents The Gallery: Boston, its annual spring showcase featuring the works of Pentacle Gallery’s eclectic dance makers. This year’s performance includes works from Amirov Dance Theater, CoreDance Contemporary, Movement of the People Dance Company, Schoen Movement Company, and Thomas/Ortiz Dance—New York’s up-and-coming emerging artists.
May 11 through 19
At the Boston Opera House, Boston, MA
Boston Ballet presents classic fairytale The Sleeping Beauty by Marius Petipa, with additional choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton. Recognized as one of the company’s trademark works, the production features orchestral music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and impressive sets and costumes by Emmy Award-winning designer David Walker.
The Classical World in Modern Choreography
May 17 at 7 p.m.
At The Gardner Museum, Boston, MA
Head to the Gardner Museum for an evening of three dance works that aim to “re-imagine the Classical World.” Performed by the New York Theatre Ballet, the program includes: Afternoon of a Faun by Vaslav Nijinksy (1912); Antique Epigraphs by Jerome Robbins (1984); and the premiere of a new work by choreographer Tom Gold, commissioned by the Gardner Museum.
And further afield...
Hog River Brewing Company
May 6 at 6:30 p.m.
The Dance Collective returns to Hog River Brewing Company with another casual evening of dance. Viewers are invited to enjoy a drink while watching contemporary dance works unfold in this nontraditional setting. The performance highlights female choreographers and dancers from across the United States; the brewery serves as the stage for the exploration themes of empowerment and strength, as told through dance.
— Merli V. Guerra
Sculptors on Paper
through August 19
Childs Gallery, 169 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
Offering a taste of the unexpected, this gallery exhibition presents lesser known, two-dimensional works from several respected artists who are have been recognized for their brilliance in sculpture. The works range from Alexander Calder’s whimsical compositions of playful shapes and color to Louise Nevelson’s dark monochromatic prints: it is fascinating to see how their ideas transfer onto paper.
SKINS: Work by Marsha Nouritza Odabashian
through June 3
The Armenian Museum of America, 65 Main Street, Watertown, MA
As a child, artist Marsha Nouritza Odabashian listened closely to her grandmother’s stories of the Armenian Genocide. Driven by this spirit of replenishing memory, she creates works that dramatize the hidden marks and bruises that come when applying traditional onion skin dyes to textured paper. In this show she also includes pieces from her Reliquaries series – these are poetic, low relief sculptures inspired by “the stone carvings on the 10th century Armenian cathedral of Aght’amar and the magical drawings of Armenian illuminated manuscripts.” This is monumental,yet, fragile work, dedicated to the Armenia genocide’s victims and survivors.
May 9 through August 26
Fontene Demoulas Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
This enthralling exhibition from New York based artist Kevin Beasley highlights an up-and-coming voice in the art scene. Created over the last five years, these diverse sculptures and installation works combine sound and clothing. This is a haunting exploration of personal memories and lived experiences that intersect with larger discussions of power and race in America. Various found materials — clothes pins, studio debris, musical equipment, do-rags, and shredded t-shirts and jerseys — are ingeniously incorporated into his dense, residually spiritual creations.
Carrie Crane: Becoming Truth
through May 26
ArtsWorcester, 660 Main Street, Worcester, MA
This local talent has turned her perplexing analytical practice in upon itself. For several years she has created fictional, enigmatic, two-dimensional works suggestive of factual maps, graphs, and diagrams. For this exhibition, she has taken her practice of fanciful analyzation a step further, bringing new complexity to the questions she asks about making. Her “ambiguous instruments of measure” are assembled from assorted found and acquired materials. After making these curious speculative objects in her studio, Carrie invited other creative thinkers (ranging from poets, artists, and curators, to chemists and engineers) to conjure up their own narratives around their use and function.
Jennifer Packer: Tenderheaded
through July 8
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA
This must-see exhibition explores the space between figuration and abstraction, a popular area for examination in contemporary painting. The work, inspired by memory and improvisation, both reflects a rigorous study in art history as well as an investigation into how black bodies are represented in today’s political landscape. In her show, Packer juxtaposes paintings of funeral flowers with emotionally charged, gesturally rendered portraits of personal friends and acquaintances — several of which gaze directly at the viewer.
Maia Lynch: In Between
Through September 16
Eunice and Julian Cohen Galleria and the Lisbeth Tarlow and Stephen Kay Art Wall (Gallery 268), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Appropriately titled, this exhibition sits “In between past and present, fixed and unfixed.” It interrogates such fragile ideas as the center versus the periphery, the state of being unfixed, and the experience of belonging to multiple communities. Lynch’s formally complex and layered color field gouache paintings express a state of disembodiment that comes from “a sense of belonging to two different places that cannot be physically or psychologically reconciled.” She created the work after receiving a SMFA traveling fellowship from Tufts University and visiting her mother’s birthplace in the smallest of Japan’s islands, Shikoku.
Katherine B. Young: Places of Reflection
through June 3
Gold Gallery, 460C Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA
Rarely does one find compelling painted seascapes in today’s contemporary art scene. Katherine B. Young, after years of practicing medicine, is following he passions and returning to a love of painting coupled with a childhood obsession with water. In her crashing waves, Young creates breathtaking depictions of reflected light.
Harvard Ceramics Program Spring Show and Sale
May 10 through May 13
Welcoming in the spring season, over 50 talented ceramic artists present their diverse works – ranging from unique functional dinnerware to decorative sculptural masterpieces. Attracting several thousand visitors each year, this respected show and sale is a worthwhile stop for those eager to support the arts.
– Aimee Cotnoir
Pathways to Freedom Installation
Boston Common, through May 14.
Internationally-acclaimed social sculptor Julia Vogli is the force behind JArts’ ambitious public art project. The work will be inspired by the universal themes of the Passover Exodus story. The artist will engage with a broad multi-cultural audience from across the city in a community-wide dialogue focusing on issues of freedom and immigration.
“Julia’s artwork will reflect the hundreds of conversations she will have in the Greater Boston area, asking people from all backgrounds about their journeys to freedom. Drawing inspiration from these stories, and the symbolism within a Passover seder, Vogli will create a larger than life visual representation on the Boston Common.”
— Bill Marx
McMullen Museum of Art, Daley Family and Monan Galleries
through June 3
Boston College, 2101 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston MA
Jun is a Chinese painter from the Shandong Province (near the sacred Mount Tai), a place historically associated with such religious traditions as Taoism and Confucianism. Jun’s aesthetic approach is firmly rooted in traditional Chinese aesthetics, but it also takes considerable inspiration from the painters of the New York School, such as Jackson Pollock and Helen Frankenthaler. Jun’s painting isn’t just dedicated to depicting nature — it embodies it through the stroke of a brush or a swirl of color. As the Boston Globe put it in a rave review of the show: “his stance insists he be awake to nature twice: imbibing it, and expressing it.”
— Matt Hanson
Top Girls by Caryl Churchill. Directed by Liesl Tommy. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Huntington Avenue Theatre, Boston, MA, through May 20.
Yet another revival of Churchill’s venerable 1982 play. It will be interested to see if the script holds up today. “Career-driven Marlene has just landed the top job at a London employment agency” in a play about “the sacrifices required to be a ‘top girl’ in a man’s world.” Arts Fuse review
The Women Who Mapped the Stars by Joyce Van Dyke. Directed by Jessica Ernst. Staged by the Nora Theatre Company (the inaugural production in The Brit d’Arbeloff Women in Science Production Series. A Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production) at the Central Square Theatre, Cambridge, MA, through May 20.
The world premiere of a script (part of what seems to be a series of similar stage narratives) that tells “the untold story of brave women in science who paved the way for previously impossible advances in astronomy.” “Late 1800s, Harvard College Observatory. ‘Computers’ – women employed for half a man’s salary to analyze astronomic data — show us that the universe is larger than we ever dreamed. The thrilling story of five women who changed the way astronomers saw the universe – from scientist to scientist and generation to generation.”
The Tour by Alice Abracen. Directed by Lelaina Vogel, with voice and text Coaching by Daniel Thomas Blackwell. Staged by The Underlings Theatre Co at the Chelsea Theatre Works Black Box, 89 Winnisimmet St, Chelsea, MA, through May 12.
The script follows a Canadian tourist and a local tour guide as they explore desert ruins on the Iraq-Syria border, one week before ISIS is expected to lay siege to the area.
Love! Valour! Compassion! by Terrence McNally. Directed by David Miller. Staged by Zeitgeist Stage Company at the Plaza Theater at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, through May 19.
A revival of the 1995 Tony Award winner for Best Play: “at a beautiful Dutchess County farmhouse, eight gay male friends hash out their passions, resentments, and fears over the course of thee summer weekends.”
Allegiance Book by Mark Acito, Jay Kuo & Lorenzo Thione. Music and Lyrics by Jay Kuo. Directed by Paul Daigneault. Music Direction by Matthew Stern. Choreography by Ilyse Robbins. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, through June 2.
“Inspired by the true childhood experience of TV/film actor and social media icon George Takei (Mr. Sulu on Star Trek), this musical tells the story of the Kimura family, whose lives are upended when they and 120,000 other Japanese-Americans are forced to leave their homes following the events of Pearl Harbor.”
Berlin; or, The Part of You That Wants It: A Musical Comedy Love Story (Written by Accident) by Shaoul Rick Chason. Staged by O.W.I. (Bureau of Theatre) at Central Square Theatre, 450, Cambridge, MA, through May 12.
The world premiere of what sounds like an unusual evening of theater: “An irreverent vaudeville about an American rapist who goes to Berlin and inadvertently starts a genderfucked feminist revolution of anarchy and turmoil.” The piece is also described as “a timely look at sexual predation told in a Brechtian burlesque of epic theatre.” Brecht is used to parody himself? Ok … I think. Arts Fuse review
Two Jews Walk into a War… by Seth Rozin. Directed by Will LeBow. (Music consultation by Hankus Netsky, Klezmer Conservatory Band) Staged by the New Repertory Theatre in the Mainstage at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA, through May 20.
“What do you do if you’re the last two Jews in Afghanistan? You re-write the Torah, of course! Ishaq and Zeblyan are on a mission to save Judaism in Kabul by rebuilding their synagogue and keeping the faith alive, but only if they don’t kill each other first.” A two-man show starring Jeremiah Kissel and Joel Colodner.
Kiss by Guillermo Calderón. Directed by Evan Yionoulis. Staged by Yale Rep at 1120 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT, through May 19.
“A standing double date in Damascus quickly escalates into farce as four friends unburden their hearts and reveal their secret passions. But as civil war wages outside, nothing is really what it seems to be.”
Jagged Little Pill Music by Alanis Morissette & Glen Ballard. Lyrics by Alanis Morissette. Book by Diablo Cody. Music Supervision, Orchestrations, and Arrangements by Tom Kitt. Choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Directed by Diane Paulus. Staged by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA, through July 15.
This world premiere musical features “an original story inspired by the themes and emotions laid bare in Alanis Morissette’s Grammy Award-winning album that introduced beloved anthems, including “Ironic,” “You Oughta Know,” and “Hand In My Pocket.” The narrative follows a family grappling with uncomfortable truths about many of the urgent issues deeply affecting our communities and our world today.” Book by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno).
Wig Out! by Tarell Alvin McCraney. Directed by Summer L. Williams. An American Repertory Theater production presented in collaboration with Company One Theatre at Oberon 2 Arrow St. Cambridge, MA, through May 13.
From the Oscar-winning writer of Moonlight,” this show “is the catwalk showdown of the year! When the House of Light is challenged to a surprise ball by the rival House of Di’abolique, they’ve got to leave it all on the floor to defend their family’s Legendary status. Fueled by a sizzling R&B playlist,” the production is proffered as ” a divine exploration of drag ball culture, chosen family, and the desire to be desired.”
The Last Act by Joshua Sobol. Directed by Guy Ben-Aharon. Staged by Israeli Stage at Martin Hall at the Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont St, Boston, MA, May 18 through June 1.
“Theatre should be dangerous, or else it should not be!” snarls a character in this script by Israeli playwright Joshua Sobol. No argument here. “This fiery, sexy drama portrays the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with a play on Strindberg’s Miss Julie. Billed as an “intensely potent combination of Israeli culture, political firestorm, and human emotion.” The production features Marianna Bassham and Craig Mathers.
Madame Defarge by Wendy Kesselman. Directed by Ellie Heyman. Staged by the Gloucester Stage Company, 267 Main Street, Gloucester, MA, May 11 through June 2.
The world premiere of a musical that presents “a passionate re-imagining of Charles Dickens’ infamous Madame Defarge. Set against the turmoil of the French Revolution, two men similar in face but separate in fate weave a story of sacrifice and salvation all driven by Madame Thérèse Defarge battling oppression with longings for love, freedom, justice, and revenge.” Featuring Benjamin Evett and Jennifer Ellis.
The Plague, the novel by Albert Camus, adapted for the stage by Neil Bartlett. Directed by Daniel Boudreau. Staged by Praxis Stage at the Dorchester Art Project, 1486 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA, May 11 through 20 and at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre 949 Commonwealth ave, Boston, MA, May 23 through 27.
The Boston premiere of a British adaptation of Albert Camus’s novel. “Using just five actors, this frank stage version uses Camus’ original words to put chaos under a microscope and to find hope in the power of our common humanity.” This version had its world premiere at Arocla Theatre in London in 2017. Arts Fuse preview
The Wiz, Book by William F. Brown. Music and Lyrics by Charlie Smalls. From the story “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum. Directed by Dawn M. Simmons. Music Director, Allyssa Jones. Choreography by Jean Appolon. Staged by Lyric Stage Company of Boston at 40 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, May 18 through June 24.
“A soulful retelling of L. Frank Baum’s beloved The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” this musical (Winner of 7 Tony Awards, including Best Musical & Best Score) “combines fairy-tale glamour with street smarts to make a classic fantasy sparkle for today.”
Brokelahomo musical comedy by Ryan Landry. Staged by the Gold Dust Orphans, at MACHINE, 1254 Boylston Street, Boston, MA, through May 27.
Another wild and wacky parody from Landry and company:”Brokelahomo is a town in trouble. Overrun by dirty, outlaw gays, the few law abiding citizens left must spend their days dodging bullets, putting out church fires and fearing for their pets lives. That is until a heterosexual is sent for. Enter Dusty Rhodes, the unlikely hero of this far out fable set in the groovy 1880s!”
Sex and Other Disturbances by Marisa Smith. Directed by Nadia Tass. Staged by Portland Stage, 25A Forest Ave, Portland, ME, through May 20.
The world premiere of a script that promises to add a new twist to your standard comic sex romp: “Instead of a strong male gaze aimed at a female ingénue, we see Sarah, a woman in middle age, gazing at a younger man in her acting classes and dishing about it with her best friend Ruth. As Sarah contemplates an affair, she and Ruth must negotiate how this will affect their relationship. When your friendship has been through it all: school, boyfriends, husbands, children, the works— what happens when a little fling threatens to change everything?” Arts Fuse review
The Chronic Single’s Handbook, written and performed by Randy Ross. In a Somerville, MA location (check the website) through September 22.
Novelist and fringe festival veteran Randy Ross was among the Bostonians selected by Airbnb to offer “high quality experiences” to visitors and residents of the Boston area. He is performing this piece in his living room — which gives a whole new meaning to ‘intimate’ theater. “The show: A chronically-single guy takes a trip around the world hoping to change his luck with love. An unflinching look at how men feel about sex, love, marriage, and massage parlors. Adult situations, adult language, and more adult situations including a visit to a body spa named “The Curious Finger.””
Elephant by David Gow. Directed by Stephen McLaughlin and Elizabeth Freeman. Staged by Storm Warnings Repertory Theatre at Storm Warnings Theatre (Brick Store Museum Performing Arts Center), 117 Main Street, Kennebunk, Maine, May 11 through 27.
“When Norma and Jonathan arrive at Sandra and Art’s New York City apartment for dinner with a bottle of truth serum wine, the four begin an evening that will change their lives. While these intellectuals and longtime friends are accustomed to an evening of good-natured verbal sparring, tonight the cat will be let out of the bag… The question is, what will they do about the elephant in the room?”
Fall by Bernard Weintraub. Directed by Peter DuBois. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Huntington’s Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, May 18 through June 26.
World Premiere production of a script “that tells the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Arthur Miller’s secret son Daniel, his child with third wife, Inge Morath. Born with Down syndrome, Daniel was institutionalized, and his existence was never acknowledged by his parents.” The play “explores the fascinating dichotomy of Miller’s life with Morath (the couple also had a daughter, Rebecca) and the divide between their public personae and their private lives.”
still, now by Katie Bender. Directed by Amy Meyer. Staged by Heart & Dagger Productions at Martin Hall in the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA through May 13.
The script “confronts us with the accelerated motion of a woman learning and losing her body, accompanied by the doctors, teachers, friends and lovers that become her partners in movement and asks the question: what can our bodies teach us that our minds cannot fathom?”
Heritage Hill Naturals by Francisca Da Silveira. Directed by Directed by Phaedra Michelle Scott. Staged by Fresh Ink Theatre at Deane Hall, The Standford Calderwood Pavilion at Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, May 11 through 26.
A script about the dark side of doing the right thing. “In an effort to avoid confronting her declining mental health, recent college graduate Lucilia volunteers a month of free labor to an organic farm in rural Georgia. There, she encounters ignorance bordering on racism, religious fanaticism, and too healthy eating habits that force her to question whether escaping into a world of green living was really an escape at all.”
The Villains’ Supper Club by Lila Rose Kaplan. Directed by Sean Daniels. Staged by Merrimack Repertory Theatre at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, through May 20.
The comic book inspired plot stars “Galactic Girl, the world’s last living superhero—who is on her first day back from maternity leave.” “Kapow! Galactic Girl fights off multiple dastardly villains, including their tiny vicious leader, The Boss. Woosh! She’s home in time to feed her baby and maybe even feed herself. When the last superhero on earth is also a new mom, there’s no time to lose! Can she save the planet and call back the pediatrician? Or will she fall victim to her arch rival’s nefarious schemes? In a twist, the first half of the play is told from a traditional male comic book perspective with high heels and suggestive clothing; in the second act, Galactic Girl takes control of her own story, choosing her no-nonsense pediatrician as the narrator.” Arts Fuse review
— Bill Marx
May 6 at 7 p.m.
City Winery, Boston, MA.
Through a half-dozen albums or so, the singer and songwriter Kat Edmonson has shown a wily grasp of blues, swing, early jazz, and especially the Great American Songbook standards that are as likely to have come through movies of the ’40s and ’50s as through musical theater. Her latest album, Old Fashioned Gal, released April 27, shows her songwriting skill on a par with her taste. That’s a high bar. You can hear Cole Porter and Johnny Mercer and Jimmy Van Heusen in songs like “Sparkle and Shine,” “I’d Be Fool,” “Canoe,” and the title track. And, okay, there’s one song that nods to contemporary pop, too. The singing — in a small-bore, girlish voice — is jewel-faceted, startlingly controlled and expressive, especially when Edmonson is wrapping it around one of her tickling rhymes.
Jeff Robinson Trio, “Getting Fixed”
May 8 at 8 p.m.
Outpost 186, Cambridge, MA.
Saxophonist and actor Jeff Robinson along with his trio-mates (bassist Blake Newman and drummer Phil Neighbors) perform “Getting Fixed,” written with the poet Marc Goldfinger. “Based on a true story about heroin addiction and motorcycles, this music and spoken word mashup will make you laugh, cry and curl your toes all at the same time! There will be a Q&A with author Marc Goldfinger and the Jeff Robinson Trio after the performance.”
— Jon Garelick
Rebecca Cline Trio
May 10 at 7 p.m.
Thelonious Monkfish, Cambridge, MA
Pianist Rebecca Cline, a stalwart of the Boston Latin jazz scene, brings her trio (with bassist Greg Ryan and drummer Mark Walker) to Central Square’s premiere jazz venue.
Mehmet Ali Sanlikol
May 11 at 8:30 p.m.
Ryles, Cambridge, MA
As the venerable Inman Square jazz venue winds down towards its closing at the end of June, many artists are paying Ryles a final visit. Turkish multi-instrumentalist Mehmet Ali Sanlikol and friends will present an evening of microtonal magic as they mix jazz with the sounds of Istanbul.
Mario Pavone Dialect Trio
May 12 at 8 p.m.
Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA
Bassist Mario Pavone has a storied history with such innovative musicians as Paul Bley, Bill Dixon, Anthony Braxton, and Thomas Chapin. He brings two of them, pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, with him to Inman Square’s Lily Pad for a not-to-be-missed celebration of the release of Pavone’s new CD Chrome. (Have a listen to Pavone’s composition “Cobalt”.)
Chico Pinheiro Quartet
May 12 at 8 p.m.
Vermont Jazz Center, Brattleboro, VT
The amazing Brazilian guitarist, composer, and vocalist makes the trip from New York to Brattleboro with his stellar quartet (with pianist Helio Alves, bassist Eduardo Belo, and drummer Alex Kautz).
Ilona Kudina’s Baltic Transit
May 16 at 9 p.m.
Ryles, Cambridge, MA
Latvian-born flutist Ilona Kudina has assembled a venturesome ensemble, Baltic Transit (pianist Maxim Lubarsky, bassist Keala Kaumeheiwa, drummer Bertram Lehmann, with special guest trumpeter Mike Peipman), for this unique mix of Baltic folk music arrangements and original compositions.
May 17 at 8 p.m.
Scullers, Boston, MA
As musician and educator, Hartford-based saxophonist McLean carries on the great tradition of his father, Jackie. Catch him at Scullers with his current band.
May 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA
Named for an Ornette Coleman composition, saxophonist Tim Berne’s most recent project brings him together with fellow reedman Chris Speed and The Bad Plus’s bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King for a deep dive into the compositions of Ornette, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, and Berne’s mentor, Julius Hemphill. (Here’s their performance of “Lonely Woman” at the PDX Jazz Festival.)
May 18 at 8 & 10 p.m.
Scullers, Boston, MA
Although perhaps best known as the musical voice behind Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis in Miles Ahead, trumpeter (and protege of Charles Tolliver) Keyon Harrold has performed and recorded widely with leading artists from Gregory Porter to Jay-Z. Harrold steps out front with his own band for this visit to Scullers.
May 19 at 8 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA
Reedman Redman can be counted upon to explore unusual instrumental configurations, here pairing with the string quartet Brooklyn Rider, bassist Scott Colley, and percussionist Satoshi Takeishi.
Los Van Van
May 20 at 7 p.m.
Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA
Given the determination of the current occupant of the White House to reverse all the gains of the Obama administration, including its normalization of relations with Cuba, it is all the more remarkable that one of the island’s most influential musical ensembles will be making its first appearance in Boston since 2006. Founded in 1970 by the late bassist Juan Formell and now led by his drummer son Samuel, Los Van Van pioneered a fusion of traditional Cuban son with rock, r&b and funk that they called songo and that (with their contemporaries Irakere and a few others) led the way to the creative explosion that is timba. (Here they are performing in Santiago de Cuba earlier this year.) By all means, catch Los Van Van live while you can–who knows when they’ll be back this way again?
— J. R. Carroll
BROKEN (BUT SUBVERSIVE) SHADOWS
May 18 at 7:30 p.m.
At the Regattabar, Cambridge, MA
Broken Shadows is a fresh quartet featuring Tim Berne on alto saxophone, Chris Speed on tenor sax, Reid Anderson on double bass and Dave King on drums. Berne and Speed have more than 20 years’ experience tossing ideas and inventions to each other starting back with the group Bloodcount. And as rhythm section of the Bad Plus, Anderson and King excel at plain and potent open communication with all sorts of crowds. For Broken Shadows (named after a 1971 landmark by Ornette Coleman),these players have come up with a program that might be called mystical resistance with a wink of party time and protest. Material includes Julius Hemphill’s fierce dream “Dogon A.D.,” Coleman’s “Lonely Woman” and Ed Blackwell’s propulsive “Walls-Bridges.” All these numbers brew up blues, streetbeats and active hearts brains. What was once avant-jazz is of this moment.
— Milo Miles
The Great Clarinet Summit
May 11 at 8 p.m.
MIT Kresge Auditorium, W16
48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA
Acclaimed clarinetists Don Byron, Anat Cohen, Evan Ziporyn, Billy Novick, and Eran Egozy — along with the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble and MIT Wind Ensemble led by Music Director Frederick Harris, Jr. — present what will surely be a distinctive evening of jazz.
— Bill Marx
Roots and World Music
Ryan Lee Crosby/Danny Mekonnen Duo with guest Koushik Chakrabarty
Charles River Museum of Industry, Waltham, MA
Two of the Boston music scene’s most valuable and adventurous musicians — blues/trance guitarist Ryan Lee Crosby and Debo band leader and saxophonist Danny Mekonnen — mark their first ever collaborative performance. They’ll be joined by Chakrabarty, the excellent Indian percussionist who is in Crosby’s band.
Note: Unfortunately, due to a rainy and cold forecast for Saturday, we’re moving PorchFest to Sunday, May 13. Times will be the same – 12pm – 6pm. Sorry for any inconvenience. We understand that some bands won’t be able to play on Sunday. We will do our best to update the Porchfest site by tomorrow evening to reflect this. Bands – please be on the lookout for an email about what to do if your band can’t play. Check out our PorchFest Special newsletter for many more details on the event!
Somerville’s famous Porchfest has been adopted everywhere from Jamaica Plain to Ithaca and with good reason: The experience of walking from house to house and hearing local musicians play on their porches is a great example of how music can help build a community. I’m looking forward to the first show in a while by the exciting Brazilian string combo Forro Zabumbeca at 4 p.m. on Leland Street, but I know I’ll also enjoy plenty of surprises along the way.
Tavares and Russell Thompkins Jr. & the New Stylistics
Lynn Auditorium, Lynn, MA
The sweet soul of the ’70s lives on with two of the only stars of that era still touring with key original members. New Bedford’s Tavares hit it big on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Thompkins was the lead singer for the Stylistics on all of their massive Philly soul hits such as “You Make Me Feel Brand New” and “People Make the World Go Round.” Take note: his falsetto is still in tact.
City Winery, Boston, MA
No ’60s soul singer has had a longer or more consistent comeback career than Bettye LaVette. Her new LP, Things Have Changed, reunites her with producer Joe Henry for a dip into the Bob Dylan songbook. Refreshingly, most of the tracks are relatively obscure Dylan numbers — and are excellent matches for a song stylist like LaVette.
Oak Ridge Boys
Cabot Theater, Beverly, MA
Just as Ray Charles took black gospel into the secular pop charts, these Country Music Hall of Famer turned white country gospel into the solid gold of “Elvira.” Look for a full Arts Fuse interview with Oak Ridge bass singer Richard Sterban in coming days.
Most of Boston’s museums seem to look at music programming as more of a frill than as a vital part of their mission. Not this funky Waltham museum which, despite its small size, runs three concurrent concert series. The Boiler Room Jazz Series wraps up its spring season with this first-time pairing of Boston-based (but internationally renowned) trumpeter Jason Palmer and Moroccan musician Boujemaa Razgui.
Kayhan Kalhor and Erdal Erzincan
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA
Some of the finest concerts in World Music/CRASHArts’ long history have been ensembles that featured kamancheh (Persian spiked fiddle) master Kayhan Kalhor, a master of poetic improvisation. Tonight he’ll appear in a duo with the Turkish singer and bağlama (long-necked lute) virtuoso Erdal Erzincan.
Ross Daly and Kelly Thoma
Swedenborg Chapel, Cambridge, MA
Two masters of music from Cretem who were absolutely astounding when they appeared here last year, return for an encore with an ensemble rounded out by local treasures Tev Stevig and Michael K. Harrist of Çeni Trio. You may have noticed that May 20 is an impossibly busy night in town (and we haven’t even mentioned Cuba’s Los Van Van, which is listed in the jazz picks), so it’s worth noting that earlier in the week Daly and Thoma will also be in Western MA, Vermont, and New Hampshire.
— Noah Schaffer
Zuill Bailey plays Elgar
Presented by Boston Philharmonic
May 6, 3 p.m.
Sanders Theater, Cambridge, MA
The superb Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra finishes its year with a strong program anchored by Bailey playing the Elgar Cello Concerto. Benjamin Zander conducts further works by Ravel, Charles Ives, and Richard Strauss.
Trouble in Tahiti/Arias & Barcarolles
Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
May 11-20, 8 p.m. (3 p.m. on Sundays)
DCR Steriti Memorial Rink, Boston, MA
BLO joins in the worldwide Bernstein centenary celebration with an enticing double-bill of the one-act satirical opera Trouble in Tahiti and the 1988 song cycle Arias and Barcarolles presented in, of all places, a former ice skating rink in the North End. Marcus Deloach and Heather Johnson play the troubled couple, Sam and Dinah, in Tahiti; BLO music director David Angus conducts.
On the Move
Presented by Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra
May 12, 8 p.m.
First Baptist Church, Newton Centre, MA
Pro Arte’s 40th-anniversary season ends with a mix of pieces that span a good couple of centuries. Mozart’s Symphony no. 40 is its oldest installment, Boston Symphony clarinetist Thomas Martin is the soloist in Copland’s Concerto, principal conductor Kevin Rhodes conducts Michael Daugherty’s Sunset Strip, and there’s a new piece by Howard Frazin, as well.
Presented by Back Bay Chorale
May 13, 3 p.m.
Sanders Theater, Cambridge, MA
Scott Allen Jarrett leads the BBC in an all-Vaughan Williams Mother’s Day concert. The program consists of the Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus, the rarely-heard Toward the Unknown Region, and the Dona nobis pacem. Christina Pier and Sumner Thompson are the afternoon’s soloists.
Heroes and Villains
Presented by the Concord Orchestra
May 18 (at 8 p.m.) and 20 (at 2 p.m.)
Performing Arts Center at 51 Walden, Concord, MA
Richard Pittman leads the Concord Orchestra in a program of pieces by Liszt, Leonard Bernstein, Richard Rogers, Lowell Liebermann, and Bernard Hoffer. The latter – the premiere of the Johnny Mercer Songbook – promises an audience sing-along to boot.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
Celtic Universe: A Dialogue between Ancient, Historical, and Modern Traditions
May 11 at 8 p.m.
At Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
Boston Early Music Festival presents Hesperion XXI, Jordi Savall, director. “A fascinating journey through centuries of Celtic musical traditions featuring music from Ireland, Scotland, French Brittany, Galicia, and the Basque Country.”
May 11 at 8 p.m.
First Church, Cambridge, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
May 13 at 3 p.m.
Church of the Covenant, 67 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
“Two chances to hear Arvo Pärt’s stunning Berliner Messe, Tomás Luis de Victoria’s striking Officium defunctorum, and William Harris’ crystalline Faire is the Heaven.
May 12 at 8 p.m.
Sanders Theatre/Harvard University, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA
An All-Bach program: the glorious Magnificat, the secular cantata Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!, the music of which was later incorporated into the Christmas Oratorio, and two other motets.
May 19 at 8 p.m.
First Church Congregational, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
On the program: Antonìn Dvořák’s Mass in D major, op. 86 (original version); Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Choir a cappella. Heinrich Christensen, Organ
May 19 at 8 p.m.
At the Second Church in West Newton, 60 Highland Street, West Newton, MA
May 20 at 3 p.m.
At the First Lutheran Church of Boston, 299 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA
“This program features Zebrowski’s extraordinary setting of the Magnificat for chamber choir and orchestra plus music from Dresden and Warsaw, the centers of 18th-century Polish power.”
Chameleon Arts Ensemble
May 19 at 8 p.m.
May 20 at 4 p.m.
At the First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA
On the program for Chameleon Arts Ensemble’s “concert 6: opus twenty”: “The resonance of history fills our 20th anniversary season finale.” “Music of striking vitality and originality that looks both forward and back, and one of the most joyful and celebratory works in the repertoire, Mendelssohn’s own Opus 20.”
— Susan Miron
Rock, Pop, and Folk Events
With each of their new releases, which come every three or four years, Sloan manages to directly hit that sweet spot where rock and pop overlap. They have done so once again this year with 12, the follow-up to 2014’s ambitious Commonwealth (click for my Arts Fuse review). Although Chris Murphy and Jay Ferguson (click for my 2016 Arts Fuse interview) have contributed more songs than Patrick Pentland or Andrew Scott on most of the band’s records, the songwriting chores were divided equally among the four members of the never-changing line-up this time around. The result is another splendidly consistent collection in a 25-year career that is full of them. Arts Fuse review of 12. Hopefully they will give generously from the album at their May 7 Brighton Music Hall show.
In between opening gigs at ONCE (for Juliana Hatfield on April 6 and PowerSlut on June 21), 2015 BMA Best Songwriter winner Abbie Barrett will headline The Burren on Friday. Opening for Barrett will be Lily Black, which bills itself as “Boston’s premier punk/pop indie dance band.”
Delta Generators is a New England blues quartet that has released four studio albums and a live EP since forming in 2008. 9 Wallis’s Beverly Blues Series, hosted by WZLX’s Carter Alan, continues when the band takes the stage at the Beverly venue on May 12.
Wye Oak’s winning streak resumed last month with the release of The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs, the duo’s fifth LP and first issuance of new material since 2014’s Shriek. (Their 2011 album, Civilian, was named the #1 album of the year by The Onion’s A.V. Club.) Singer/guitarist Jenn Wasner, who released her first solo album in 2106, and drummer/keyboardist Andy Stack, who studied music composition at Berklee, will perform at The Sinclair on Sunday, May 13.
There is nothing wrong with a band sounding like its influences as long they aren’t just copycats and the songs are good. Beach Slang is from Philadelphia, but there is plenty of 1980s Twin Cities sound on the two LPs and several EPs that they have released since 2013. The Replacements are the most obvious and frequent comparison, but there is more of Hüsker Dü’s Bob Mould in singer James Alex’s voice than there is of Paul Westerberg. Alex records and performs as a solo artist under the name Quiet Slang, which–as the moniker suggests–tones down some of the noisier elements of the aforementioned artists. He will be at Great Scott on May 17, the day before the release of his forthcoming album, Everything Matters but No One Is Listening.
Celia Woodsmith is the singer for the Grammy-nominated bluegrass band Della Mae. Chris Hersch is the former guitarist of the BMA-winning Americana/alt-country group Girls Guns and Glory. Together (along with a bassist, drummer, and Hammond B-3 player), they are Say Darling. The band will play songs from its eponymous 2017 EP in the back room of The Burren on Friday, May 18.
— Blake Maddux
Jewish Radical Feminism: Voices from the Women’s Liberation Movement
May 8 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
“Fifty years after the start of the women’s liberation movement, a book that at last illuminates the profound impact Jewishness and second-wave feminism had on each other.”
Talking to My Daughter About the Economy: or, How Capitalism Works — and How It Fails
May 9 at 7 p.m.
First Parish Church, Cambridge MA
“Yanis Varoufakis has appeared before heads of nations, assemblies of experts, and countless students around the world. Now, he faces his most important―and difficult―audience yet. Using clear language and vivid examples, Varoufakis offers a series of letters to his young daughter about the economy: how it operates, where it came from, how it benefits some while impoverishing others. Taking bankers and politicians to task, he explains the historical origins of inequality among and within nations, questions the pervasive notion that everything has its price, and shows why economic instability is a chronic risk.”
Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics
May 9 at 6 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30)
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge MA
Tickets are $23.75 with book, $5 without
Aside from what skeptics of the Bard such as George Bernard Shaw had to say, Shakespeare is perpetually relevant. In his own time he closely observed the last years of the reign of Elizabeth I, an aging and seemingly indomitable monarch. He wrote quite a bit about the various ways and means of power — its uses and misuses, its attractions and repulsions, and its relationship to tyranny. Greenblatt is the renowned author of The Swerve and Will in the World and he trains his masterfully interpretive eye on figures such as Richard III, Macbeth, Lear, and Coriolanus in order to understand the complex attractions of political tyranny. (Editor’s eccentric note: If only Greenblatt would extend his eye to other eagle-eyed playwrights of the Elizabethan and Jacobean period who also made incisive observations about authoritarianism and politics. Ben Jonson’s Sejanus, where is your champion?)
May 10 at 6:30 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline MA
Tickets are $26.95 with book, $5 without
The Pulitzer Prize winning author of The English Patient will discuss his new novel with Teju Cole, author of Open City. “In a narrative as beguiling and mysterious as memory itself—shadowed and luminous at once—we read the story of fourteen-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel. In 1945, just after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth.”
How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence
May 16 at 7 p.m.
First Parish Church, Cambridge MA
Tickets are $28.75, including copy of the book
The author of the runaway bestseller The Omnivore’s Dilemma turns his counter-intuitive eye towards the emerging social acceptance of psychedelics. He cites recent research about the positive use of LSD and psilocybin for terminally ill patients as well the help given to ordinary adults trying to deal with the pressures of the work week. He will discuss this evolving attitude towards hallucinogens, blending science with memoir and travel writing, in conversation with esteemed journalist Ron Suskind.
The Guide to Walden Pond: An Exploration of the History, Nature, Landscape, and Literature of One of America’s Most Iconic Places
May 21 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
Spring is finally upon us, which means it’s time to finally get out of the house and maybe take some trips to see some of the places you’ve been reading about all winter. Thoreau’s cabin in Walden Pond is a perfect place to engage with — a location that was immortally described in 1854. Thorson has written the first comprehensive account of the place, complete with illustrations and maps to help make your visit efficient and enjoyable.
Earfull: Celeste Ng and Richard Russo
Little Fires Everywhere and The Destiny Thief
May 22 at 7 p.m.
Mosesian Center for the Arts, Watertown MA
Tickets are $27
Celebrate the coming of spring at the Mosesian Center for the Arts with a series of readings and musical performances. This evening is the first in a series that will last for several weeks; among those featured will be bestselling authors Ng and Russo reading from their latest work along with beloved rock band Vapors of Morphine and alt-chamber music vocalist/harpist/composer Audrey Harrer.
— Matt Hanson