By The Arts Fuse Staff
Arts Fuse critics select the best in film, dance, visual art, theater, music, and author events for the coming weeks.
The Somerville Theatre’s sprawling Jack Attack retrospective of the films of Jack Nicholson hits high gear this weekend. Yes, Five Easy Pieces is a classic, but pray check out Nicholson and Rafelson’s weirder, riskier 1972 The King of Marvin Gardens as well. Jack tamps down his sex appeal to play an introspective radio monologist roped into the crazy schemes of his con-man brother, a magnetically manic Bruce Dern (is that redundant?). Ellen Burstyn costars in this high-strung drama set amidst the gone-to-seed glamour of pre-casino Atlantic City. King plays on Sunday, April 21, at 1:30 and 5:15. But wait—there’s more! Jack has a piquant supporting role in the fantastical A Safe Place, the 1971 debut of indie cinema’s pixie auteur Henry Jaglom. Tuesday Weld stars, along with Phil Proctor (of the Firesign Theater), and, as “The Magician,” Orson Welles. Enigmatic, indeed. Safe screens on Sunday, at 3:30 and 7:15.
— Betsy Sherman
Belmont World Film
Mondays at 7:30 p.m.
Screenings at the Studio Cinema 376 Trapelo Road in Belmont and The West Newton Cinema
Hendi and Hormoz (Iran, Czech Republic) April 22 at 7 p.m. at the Studio Cinema
Following the local custom on the island of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, thirteen-year-old Hendi is married off to sixteen-year-old Hormoz. Although they barely know each other, the young couple eventually begins to enjoy their married life together. There will be a post-film discussion
Sir (India and France) April 29 at 7 p.m. at the West Newton Cinema
In order to escape an old-fashioned village that condemned her to live as a young widow, a woman moves to Mumbai to become a servant for a privileged businessman. She dreams of becoming a fashion designer. There will be a post-film discussion.
April 22 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre in Cambridge
The DocYard presents a documentary that connects the earthy to the cosmic, a ﬁlm about memory and disappearance – of people, places, and things. Filmmaker Gürcan Keltek will participate via Skype for Q&A.
April 24 – May 1
Screening at the Somerville Theatre, Brattle Theatre, and Coolidge Corner Theatre
Tickets are now on sale for the ever more diverse Independent Film Festival Boston. Each year, directors Brian Tamm and Nancy Campbell examine the films in the best festivals, as well as submissions, and bring the best in domestic and international independent films to our area – an event not to be missed. Some highlights:
Wednesday 4/24 (Opening Night Film):
Luce – A couple (Naomi Watts, Tim Roth) is forced to reckon with their idealized image of their son, adopted from war-torn Eritrea, after an alarming discovery by a devoted high school teacher (Octavia Spencer) threatens his status as an all-star student. Q&A with director Julius Onah. At the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square.
In Fabric – This haunting phantasmagoria from Peter Strickland (The Duke of Burgundy) follows the surge of misfortunes afflicting customers who come into contact with a bewitched dress at an eerie department store. 9:45 p.m. at the Brattle Theatre
Running With Beto – Goes behind the scenes following Beto O’Rourke’s rise from virtual unknown to national political sensation through his bold attempt to unseat Ted Cruz. At 7 p.m. at the Brattle Theatre.
The Death Of Dick Long – (dir: Daniel Scheinert – Swiss Army Man). Dick died last night, and Zeke and Earl don’t want anybody finding out how. That’s not going to be easy, because news travels fast in small-town Alabama. At 9:30 p.m. at the Brattle Theatre
Them That Follow — Set deep in the wilds of Appalachia, where believers handle death-dealing snakes to prove themselves before God, a pastor’s daughter has a secret that threatens to tear her community apart. At 7 p.m. at Somerville Theatre.
The Nightingale – Set in 1825, a young Irish convict woman chases a British officer through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. (dir: Jennifer Kent – The Babadook). 7 p.m.at the Brattle Theatre
WBCN and The American Revolution – (dir: Bill Lichtenstein) The previously untold story of radical underground radio station WBCN, set against the social, political, and cultural changes in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Q&A moderated by WBUR’s Robin Young. Dicussion to follow 7 p.m. at Somerville Theatre.
Knock Down the House – Four exceptional women (including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) mount grassroots campaigns against powerful incumbents in this inspiring look at the 2018 midterm elections that tipped the balance of power. 4:30 p.m. at Somerville Theatre.
Wild Rose – Jessie Buckley delivers an unforgettable, star-making performance as a a rebellious country singer who dreams of trading the working-class streets of Glasgow for the Grand Ole Opry of Nashville. At 6 p.m. at the Brattle Theatre
It Started as A Joke – Documents the decade-long run of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, celebrating Eugene’s unique brand of humor and reminding us of the healing properties of comedy – even in the most challenging of life’s circumstances. Director Smith Clem and subject Eugene Mirman will be in attendance. At 7:30 p.m. at Somerville Theatre
Official Secrets -The true story of a British whistleblower (Keira Knightley) who leaked information to the press about an illegal NSA spy operation designed to push the UN Security Council into sanctioning the 2003 invasion of Iraq. A Q&A moderated by The Globe’s Ty Burr and director Gavin Hood. At 7:30 p.m. at the Somerville Theatre.
The Art of Self-Defense – A man (Jesse Eisenberg) who is attacked at random on the street enlists in a local dojo, led by a charismatic and mysterious Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), in an effort to learn to defend himself. At the Coolidge Corner Theater at 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday 5/1 (Closing Night Film):
The Farewell – directed by Lulu Wang. A Chinese family is told that their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decides to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather around her before she dies. May 1 at the Coolidge Corner Theatre.
Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin
May 3, 4, 5, 8, and 19 (Screening times vary)
Screening at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston
The late Ursula Le Guin defiantly held her ground on the margin of “respectable” literature until the sheer excellence of her work, at long last, forced the mainstream to embrace fantastic literature. Produced with the writer’s participation over the course of a decade, the documentary takes viewers on an intimate journey of her self-discovery as an artist. Eventually, she comes into her own as a major feminist author who challenged viewers to imagine alternate worlds where women have the power, or where gender is fluid and changeable.
— Tim Jackson
Charlie Kohlhases’s Explorers Club + The Longy No Boundaries Big Band
April 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
This looks like a particularly sweet double-bill. Multi-reed man, composer (and Fusical Award-winner) Kohlhase fronts his venerable Explorers Club. For this edition, Kohlhase is joined by tenor saxophonist Seth Meicht, trombonist Jeb Bishop, bass trombonist Bill Lowe, tubist Josiah Reibstein, bassist Tony Lava, and drummer Curt Newton. The 13-member big band includes some overlap (Kohlhase, Bishop, Lowe) and an obvious link to Kohlhase’s teaching gig at the Longy School of Music at Bard College, but what’s particularly appealing is the specificity of the repertoire for this show: Tadd Dameron, Duke Ellington, Frank Foster, Benny Golson and Fletcher Henderson. The big band opens at 7:30, followed by the Explorers Club.
April 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.
When it comes to omnidirectional subdivisions of the beat (as in: how the hell is he doing that?), one is tempted to put drummers Marcus Gilmore (Vijay Iyer Trio) and Kendrick Scott (Terence Blanchard) in the same camp. For uncountable effervescent grooves (and, okay, the bassists help), these guys have the market cornered. Scott is celebrating a new Blue Note CD, A Wall Becomes a Bridge, with his band Oracle: saxophonist John Ellis, guitarist Mike Moreno, pianist Taylor Eigsti, and bassist Harish Raghavan.
Man on Land
April 26 at 8 p.m.
Third Life Studio, Somerville, MA.
The collaborative Man on Land trio brings together the last names of bassist Greg Loughman, drummer Austin McMahon, and pianist Brian Friedland, players who have been familiar to Boston audiences individually in different contexts. As a trio, they first got together in 2009. Now they’re doing a mini-tour in celebration of their first, homonymous CD, beginning at Somerville’s Third Life Studio (April 26) and continuing at EarthSong Herbals in Marblehead (April 28), and the venue where they first played, Taylor House, in Jamaica Plain (May 31). The CD displays not only individual virtuosity but a kind of group composure that comes from deference to form, narrative, and a warm ensemble sound. Everyone contributes compositions, with singular covers of Richard Rogers (“I Didn’t Know What Time It Was”), John Williams (“Hedwig’s Theme” — yes, Harry Potter), and Lennon and McCartney (“For No One”).
Bobby Broom/Peter Bernstein
April 27 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Clubs, Boston, MA
Two guitar heroes, Bobby Broom and Peter Bernstein, front a quartet, with bassist John Lockwood and drummer Ron Savage. Broom you’ll recall from his years with Sonny Rollins as well as numerous solo projects. Bernstein is a favorite with organ-trio set-ups (Larry Goldings/Bill Stewart, Dr. Lonnie Smith), but, sheesh, he’s played with everyone.
Bert Seager’s Tetraptych
May 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA.
Seager reconvenes his quartet Tetraptych for their monthly residency at the Lilypad before the pianist/composer heads out on tour for a couple of months. They’re worth catching: Cuban tenor saxophonist Hery Paz, Israeli drummer Dor Herskovits, and American bassist Max Ridley.
Joey Alexander Trio
May 3 and 4 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.
The Balinese boy wonder Joey Alexander (first release: age 11), now 15, comes to Scullers for four big shows. From early on, Alexander negotiated composers like Coltrane, Monk, and Chick Corea with aplomb. No word as yet on which high profile ringers will be joining the pianist in these shows.
— Jon Garelick
George Russell, Jr. (p), Winston McCow (b), Isaiah Weatherspoon (dm) – April 25 at The Mad Monkfish, 524 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA. Russell (no relation to the late great composer) has carved for himself an interesting niche – he is equally at home in jazz and gospel music, and often cross-fertilizes between the two. His occasional appearances at the Monkfish allow those in the know to hear him in an intimate setting.
Chris Potter (ts / elecs) Circuits Trio [including James Francies (kb), Eric Harland (dm)] – April 26 at 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. and April 27 at 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. at the Regattabar, Cambridge, MA. Potter, a powerhouse on saxophone, chose to work without a bass player in his Underground band of the mid-2000s, and he’s returning to that format for concerts with this trio. You’ll never miss the bottom voice, thanks to of the contributions of the other players. Keyboardist Francies has the multitasking job of providing harmonic foundation, bass support, and cogent solos, and he handles all three parts well. Harland is an experienced and adept drummer, filling in any potholes with extra emphasis on his bass drum. Expect groove and drive without harmonic compromises.
Kenny Werner (p), w. Itamar Efrat (ts), Itzel Reyna (ts), Keegan Marshallhouse (p), Roy Ben Barshat (g) Gonn Shani (b), Yuval Cohen (dm) on April 30 at 7:30 p.m. at The Lilypad, 1353 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA. Master pianist Werner is leading his “Berklee Spring Ensemble” at the Lilypad, and it appears he’ll occasionally give up the piano bench to Marshallhouse. But no matter. Any band with Werner’s stamp of approval will undoubtedly be worth hearing.
— Steve Elman
May 5 at 7 pm
City Winery, Boston
Presented by World Music/CRASHarts
This crack five-member unit based in Charleston, SC, updates the stories, songs, children’s rhymes, and folklore of the coastal region’s Gullah culture, serving up an exciting sound that mixes jazz and roots, folk and funk. Trumpeter Charles Singleton, guitarist Clay Ross, bassist Kevin Hamilton, and drummer Quentin Baxter, students of the Gullah tradition, had the good sense to invite fellow South Carolinian Quiana Parler to add her soulful, gospel-tinged vocals to the group. According to their bio, in the West African Gullah language “ranky tanky” means roughly “work it!” or “get funky!” And do they ever.
— Evelyn Rosenthal
The Arlington Jazz Festival
April 25 through 28
At venues around Arlington, MA
This feisty festival is headlined this year by the Cuban-born Terry Yosvany (alto and soprano saxophones and beaded gourd chekeré) and his Afro-Cuban Quintet, which includes his longtime collaborators Michael Rodriguez (trumpet), Osmany Paredes (piano), Yunior Terry (bass) and Obed Calvaire (drums). Now in its 8th year, the Festival continues to “champion the vibrant jazz scene that flourishes beyond Boston’s city limits. An abundance of local talent will be on full display including performances by Albino Mbie, Mimi Rabson, David Harris, Hilary Noble, Tino D’Agastino, and special guest award-winning saxophonist Carla Marciano from Salerno Italy, making a special stop in Arlington while on a US tour with her quartet.”
— Bill Marx
The Cocktail Party
April 26 at 8 p.m. and April 27 at 3:30 p.m. & 8 p.m.
United Parish in Brookline
Enjoy a theatrical take on modern life in this satirical work by choreographer Lynn Modell. From challenging the status quo to conquering the frustrations of dating, The Cocktail Party focuses on the levity of everyday life.
Emerson Paramount Center
Poet-performer Marc Bamuthi Joseph interweaves stories of heritage, soccer, and the American dream in this interdisciplinary new work. As a child of Haitian immigrants, Joseph explores soccer from its pickup games in Haiti to the World Cup stadiums of Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg. With poetry, futbol-inspired choreography, hip hop, and samba, /peh-LO-tah/ brings to light the game’s racial inequities while celebrating it as “the only game the entire world can agree to play together.”
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Boch Center Wang Theatre
Celebrity Series of Boston presents Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which is celebrating its 60th year. The company returns to Boston for its annual performance; this year it includes new works by Jessica Lang and Rennie Harris; a company premiere by Wayne McGregor; and a full program of works by Alvin Ailey. Viewers will be treated to several rarely seen pieces, as well as Ailey’s masterwork, Revelations.
against hard air
May 2-4 & May 8-10
Canadian choreographer and dance artist Heather Stewart presents the culmination of her 2018-19 Boston Dancemakers Residency — a partnership between Boston Center for the Arts and the Boston Dance Alliance. Using trance, sound, and movement, against hard air features performers Alyx Henigman, Mitzi Eppley, and Jenna Pollack, who examine the ways in which we fall short — and the lengths we will go for gratification.
— Merli V. Guerra
Huma Bhabha: They Live
At the ICA/Boston
Through December 3, 2019
Using styrofoam, bronze, bricks, wood, and various other found materials, Huma Bhabha transforms familiar materials into unsettling objects. Hybridity is a central theme in the artist’s work, exploring the many expressive capabilities of the figure via a plethora of intersex, multi-ethnic forms. Animal, alien, and hybrid bodies suggest a post-apocalyptic existence; the grotesque forms take up themes such as war, religion, and memory. This retrospective is Bhabha’s largest collection of work to date, occupying multiple rooms at the ICA and featuring nearly 50 works, including drawing, sculpture, and photography. Arts Fuse review
The Bauhaus and Harvard
Harvard Art Museums
32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA
Through July 28
Just in time for the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus school, this exhibit highlights significant connections between the school and Harvard University, which became the center for Bauhaus activity during the ’30s. The works are drawn primarily from the Busch-Reisinger Museum collection (the largest Bauhaus collection outside of Germany); the collection began as a collaborative effort between artist and museum to preserve the legacy of the school. Highlighting over 70 artists, such as Anni and Josef Albers and Paul Klee, the exhibit presents artworks across many different mediums. Viewers are encouraged to attend the many events organized by Harvard in celebration of the Bauhaus centennial. Arts Fuse review
Tom Kiefer: El Sueño Americano
Fuller Craft Museum, 455 Oak Street, Brockton, MA
Through July 28
This series of photographs features belongings that were confiscated from migrant families apprehended at the U.S. border. Hundreds of items that have been deemed not threatening or non-essential, such as combs, wallets, toys. and water bottles, have been discarded. Salvaged by Tom Kiefer during his time as a janitor at U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, these pieces have been organized and photographed as a testament to the struggle of refugees who come to the United States in search of a better life.
Fire and Light: Otto Piene in Groton, 1983–2014
Fitchburg Art Museum, 185 Elm Street Fitchburg, MA
Through June 2
As a founding member of Group ZERO in Germany in 1957, Otto Piene challenged the restrictions of painting and began to investigate visual perception through alternative media. He moved to Massachusetts in the 1980s and continued his exploration of perception and sensory experiences, eventually becoming the director at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies.
Throughout his career, Piene’s work centered on the perception-altering effects of light, fire, and sound on space and environment. The exhibit at the Fitchburg Art Museum presents Piene’s major works since the ’80s, including fire-painting, light and sound installations, Sky Events, and more. In honor of Piene’s keen interest in viewer participation, the museum is offering several interactive events and activities. Follow the link above for a schedule of these related events. Arts Fuse‘s 2014 remembrance of Otto Piene.
deCordova New England Biennial 2019
deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln, MA
April 5 through September 15
Artwork and new installations by 23 New England artists will be showcased in the deCordova New England Biennial 2019. Scouring dozens of artist’s studios, exhibitions, and galleries, the curatorial team has selected work — in many different mediums — from “some of the most dynamic, experimental and distinguished artists in our area.” This biennial strives to renew awareness of New England as a key region for the production of innovative contemporary art.
The biennial also includes tours, workshops, artist talks, and other family-inclusive activities. Follow the link for a peek at the work of the amazing artists present in the biennial.
World Memory: The Art of Data Visualization
Boston Cyberarts Gallery
141 Green Street, Jamaica Plain, MA
Through May 5
Curated by W. Benjamin Bray and George Fifield, this exhibit presents examinations of the earth’s natural and man-made structures through the use of data visualization. From Dietmar Offenhuber’s “dust.zone,” an elegant, citywide public work that illustrates the effect of airborne particulate pollution on the city, to Catherine D’Ignacio’s “12 Inches of Weather,” which maps “weather” fluctuations on the human body, the show combines visual art and Big Data to illustrate the complex relationship we have with our planet.
Society of Arts + Crafts (SA+C)
100 Pier 4 Blvd., Boston, MA
April 25 through June 30, 2019
On view through Pride Month 2019, over 30 artists across the country come together in this exhibition, examining their place in the world as well as within the LGBTQ community. Instead of highlighting the artists’ sexual identities, this selection of works seeks to challenge preconceived notions of “queer craft.” The exhibit looks critically at both viewers and craft aficionados who seek out this type of work, examining the sincerity of their intentions and acceptance of the LGBTQ artist.
HyperActive: Interactive Installation Art
Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery
25 Avery Street, Boston MA
April 25 through May 1,
This exhibit showcases interactive works from multimedia artists throughout New England, featuring installation, augmented reality, video games, dance, and more. Curated by George Fifield, director of Boston Cyberarts, these works alter the viewer’s experience by re-creating their reality in new (and sometimes uncanny) ways.
–- Rebekah Bonner
The Creative Director behind the award-winning Adam&Co., a multi-disciplinary creative consultancy, Larson recently started making art again for the first time in many years. Inspired by Dada, Punk and Camp, this body of work recontextualizes found artifacts pulled from pop consumer culture to explore notions of authorship, identity, and our inherent need for meaning. The show consists of 20 Archival Inkjet Prints in varying sizes.
— Bill Marx
Roots and World Music
Durand Jones and the Indications
Brighton Music Hall, Brighton, MA
Jones, drummer/falsetto singer Aaron Frazier and the rest of the Indications realize that there’s more to classic soul than just the funky side. Their lush ballads bring back the heyday of sweet soul on their new American Love Call LP, a sophomore effort that’s a major artistic step forward for the group.
Walid Zairi & Talween
Club Passim, Cambridge, MA
When Walid Zairi came from Tunisia to Boston in 2002 he had little more than his oud and his suitcase. Today he’s both a nurse anesthetist and a musician who, with his oud-accordion-percussion trio Talween, is creating some of the most original Middle Eastern music found in North America. The group will be celebrating its dazzling new album with a few guest dancers as well.
Another mesmerizing, pan-Middle Eastern/Mediterranean trio celebrates its new LP, The Fluid Score, at Passim. On this album, multi-instrumentalists Michael K. Harrist, Tev Stevig, and Fabio Pirozzolo present seven (mostly) original compositions that draw on the beauty and improvisational dazzle of Greek, Turkish, Ottoman, and Anatolian music. One standout track is “Pençeli Karşılama,” which finds Stevig adopting the clawhammer style found in American old-time music to a dance of the Indo-European Thracians. They’ll be joined by Dolunay, an exciting Brooklyn-based Ottoman music trio.
Fabio Pirozzolo & Oscar Stagnaro Duo
Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation
Italian percussionist Fabio Pirozzolo from Çeşni is part of another noteworthy show this week: an edition of the superb Boiler House Jazz Series, where he’ll be joined by a bass guitarist, Latin jazz titan Oscar Stagnaro.
Skippy White’s 58th Gospel Anniversary
Charles St AME Church, Boston, MA
The legendary Boston record store and label owner and broadcaster celebrates his anniversary by bringing back to Boston for the first time in a long time the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi. These days the iconic group is led by a sighted man from Ohio, Sandy Foster, but he’s one of the greatest gospel shouters around, and his brother and guitarist Curtis Foster Jr. writes songs that speak straight to the spirit. Many of Boston’s finest traditional gospel artists will also be on hand, including the Spiritual Encouragers, Bishop Harold Branch and a welcome return of Newton’s acappella Lovetones. One gospel tradition will not be continued: The selling of advance-priced tickets in the parking lot and on the church steps before the program starts.
— Noah Schaffer
Sarah Shook & the Disarmers
Atwoods Tavern, Cambridge, MA
You must have noticed that more and more echoes flow through new music these days, especially in current country-rock. There’s Merle! There’s Hank! There’s Patsy! Once you determine a track is not a cover tune, there are two outcomes after repeat listens: the number is a rehash mishmash and you head back to its sources or the song has assimilated the sources and speaks its own language with their accents. The pleasant second outcome happens again and again on the North Carolina band Sarah Shook & the Disarmers’ 2018 album, Years (Bloodshot). Seems unlikely at first, given that the band claims inspiration from the Sex Pistols and Elliott Smith, but Shook lays her hearty voice into a line like “I need this shit like I need another hole in my head” and makes it sound like something Tammy Wynette just forgot to sing. That takes punk in the blood. On record, the players are Shook, vocal and rhythm guitar; Eric Peterson, lead guitars; John Howie, Jr., drums; Aaron Oliva, bass and Phil Sullivan, pedal steel. They will make the old times new at Atwoods Tavern.
— Milo Miles
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. Directed by Paula Plum. A co-production of the Lyric Stage Company of Boston & Actors’ Shakespeare Project at The Lyric Stage, 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, through April 28.
One of the Bard’s most popular plays. This production will give us “a tale of unrequited love – hilarious and heartbreaking.”
Billed as “the funniest play you will ever see about bone-cancer.” The drama revolves around “Myra, a middle-aged mom with bone cancer who faces the final act of her life with the kind of organizational aplomb she never applied to running her household. . . . Her controlling obsession with planning her own funeral brings her family together on a roller-coaster ride of hilarity and emotion. Busted boilers, biodegradable coffins, and fierce family bonding” all play a part in the script’s journey through a loved one’s final chapter.
Trigger Warning by Jacques Lamarre. Directed by David J.Miller. Staged by the Zeitgeist Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts, through May 4.
Zeitgeist Stage Company’s final production is a commissioned script that “explores how a mass shooting impacts one family — that of the shooter. Were there warning signs that were ignored? Could they have done anything to stop this senseless act? Can the family face a community that once was home and now reviles them? Is there anything this devastated family can offer an angry nation other than thoughts and prayers.”
Dead House by Beirut Balutis. Directed by Adam Kassim. A BU New Play Initiative, produced by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, through April 28.
Centered on the emotional fallout following the death of a local high school football star in the fictitious town of Bone Flat, the script is set in the Appalachian region of Pennsylvania where dramatist Balutis grew up.
black odyssey boston by Marcus Gardley. Directed by Benny Sato Ambush. A co-production by The Front Porch Arts Collective & Underground Railway Theater at the Central Square Theatre, Cambridge, MA, through May 19.
“Ulysses Lincoln, a Gulf War veteran lost at sea and presumed dead, fights to find his way back home to his wife and son. The meddlesome Gods, Great Grand Daddy Deus and Great Grand Paw Sidin have other plans in mind as they battle for control of Ulysses’ fate.” The script “melds together Greek mythology, African-American oral history and music in this visionary new take on Homer’s classic tale.”
Cry It Out by Molly Smith Metzler. Directed by Amanda Charlton. Staged by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre at 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA, through May 19.
“This new comedy throws two very different women into an unlikely, but fierce, friendship. On maternity leave for the first time, Jessie and Lina tiptoe to their shared backyard for a precious coffee and a chat during naptime. This play takes an honest look at the absurdities of being home with a baby, the dilemma of returning to work, and how class impacts parenthood and friendship.”
Indecent by Paula Vogel. Directed by Rebecca Taichman. A co-production between the Center Theatre Group and the Huntington Theatre Company at the Huntington Avenue Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA, April 26 through May 25.
“Indecent is a deeply moving play inspired by the true events surround the controversial 1923 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance – a play seen by some as a seminal work of Jewish culture, and by others as an act of traitorous libel. Indecent charts the history of an incendiary drama and the path of the artists who risked their careers and lives to perform it.”
Pacific Overtures, Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by John Weidman. Directed by Spiro Veloudos
Music Director, Jonathan Goldberg. Choreography by Micheline Wu. Staged by Lyric Stage Company at 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, May 10 through June 16.
The Sondheim project continues: “An unlikely friendship is forged between a samurai, Kayama, and an Americanized fisherman, Manjiro, during Commodore Matthew Perry’s 1853 mission to open trade relations with isolationist Japan. The two friends are caught in the inevitable winds of change and tell the story of Japan’s painful and harrowing Westernization. A highly original, inventive, powerful, and surprisingly humorous theatrical experience.”
We Live in Cairo by Daniel Lazour and Patrick Lazour. Directed by Taibi Magar. Staged by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, May 14 through June 23.
“Inspired by the young Egyptians who took to the streets in 2011 to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak, this new musical follows six revolutionary students armed with laptops and cameras, guitars and spray cans as they come of age in contemporary Cairo. Winner of the Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater,” the piece “moves from the hope of Tahrir Square through the tumultuous years that followed. As escalating division and violence lead to a military crackdown, the young revolutionaries must confront the question of how—or even whether—to keep their dreams of change alive.” A world premiere.
The Earth Room by Marge Buckley. Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw. Staged by Fresh Ink Theatre at the Boston Playwrights’ Theater, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, May 3 through 18.
“On a Mars colony built to sustain the future of human life, homesick immigrants look to reconnect with the Earth in any way they can: virtual reality, factory-made-nostalgia-based cookies, and giant murals of automobiles. But a new generation of young Martians want to leave the past behind and carve out a culture for themselves, even if it means they have to fight for it.”
School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play by Jocelyn Bioh. Directed by Summer L. Williams. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End.
“The show takes place in 1986 in Ghana’s top boarding school where Paulina, the school’s reigning “queen bee,” has her sights set on representing her country in the Miss Global Universe Pageant. Things change quickly, however, with the arrival of Ericka, a new student from Ohio, who, with undeniable talent and beauty, captures the attention of both the pageant recruiter and Paulina’s hive-minded friends.” The script throws “unsparing light on questions of ambition, deceit, and the ultimate value of a fair-skinned complexion.”
The Ebonic Woman, A Comic Book Farce by Ryan Landry. Staged by the Gold Dust Orphans at the Ramrod Center for the Performing Arts (Machine Nightclub), 1254 Boylston Street, Boston, MA, May 2 through 26.
The latest farce from Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans “is a blistering hot take on race in America and the walls we build around ourselves to keep the status quo. Using the form of superhero blockbusters as a jumping off point … this original musical comedy is a scathing satire in which no group is safe.
George M. Cohan 2019 Revue, presented by American Classics at the First Parish Church, Bedford, MA on April 26 at 7:30 p.m. and April 28 at 3 p.m. at the Longy School of Music, Cambridge, MA.
“American Classics celebrates the master showman with a revue of his great songs including “Yankee Doodle Boy,” “Mary is a Grand Old Name,” “Give My Regards to Broadway,” and many more!” The cast is a group of American Classics veterans: vocalists Eric Bronner, Amelia Broome, Bradford Conner, Caryn May, and Benjamin Sears. Steve Sussman returns on piano.
— Bill Marx
Guillaume de Machaut’s Remede de Fortune
April 26 and 27 at 8 p.m.
At First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
The celebrated Blue Heron Choir presents its latest concert.
Violinist Joshua Bell, cellist Steven Isserlis, and pianist Jeremy Denk
April 28 at 5 p.m.
At Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston,MA
Celebrity Series presents a wonderful program (Felix Mendelssohn’s Trio No. 2 in C minor, Opus 66, Dmitri Shostakovich’s Trio No. 2 in E minor, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G minor, and Maurice Ravel’s Trio in A minor) which three musicians are taking on tour around the U.S. Arts Fuse interview
Glissando Concerts presents: Concert VIII: The Three Great Bs
May 5 at 4 p.m.
First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA
On the program: Bach’s Sonata No. 3 in G minor for viola da gamba and keyboard, BWV 1029; Beethoven’s Sonata No. 10 in G for violin and piano, Op. 96, and Brahms’s Piano Trio No. 2 in C, Op. 8.
Chamber Music Concert Series
May 5 at 3 p.m.
Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward Street, Newton, MA
The musicians featured: violinist Yevgeny Kutik and cellist Jan Müller-Szeraws.
— Susan Miron
Truth in Our Times:Inside the Fight for Press Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts
April 22 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
“From Chelsea Manning’s leaks to Trump’s tax returns, McCraw is at the center of the paper’s decisions about what news is fit to print. In Truth in Our Times, McCraw recounts the hard legal decisions behind the most impactful stories of the last decade with candor and style. The book is simultaneously a rare peek behind the curtain of the celebrated organization, a love letter to freedom of the press, and a decisive rebuttal of Trump’s fake news slur through a series of hard cases. It is an absolute must-have for any dedicated reader of the New York Times.”
Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age
April 26 at 7 p.m.
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge MA
“Donna Zuckerberg dives deep into the virtual communities of the far right, where men lament their loss of power and privilege and strategize about how to reclaim them. She finds, mixed in with weightlifting tips and misogynistic vitriol, the words of the Stoics deployed to support an ideal vision of masculine life. On other sites, pickup artists quote Ovid’s Ars Amatoria to justify ignoring women’s boundaries. By appropriating the Classics, these men lend a veneer of intellectual authority and ancient wisdom to their project of patriarchal white supremacy. In defense or retaliation, feminists have also taken up the Classics online, to counter the sanctioning of violence against women.”
Independent Book Store Day
April 27 all day
Independent Book Stores Near You
We are always hearing these laments about the loss of paper books to digital media. Why should we readers take this nonsense lying down? Get to your nearest available bookstore and get to shopping. There are fun, quirky, coordinated events happening all over the city- a place that is luckily for us, replete with places to buy great new and used books- it’s page against the machine, here, people! Get out there and commence to browsing! The ghosts of the Gutenbergs salute you!
Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11
May 2 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA
This is a 9⁄11 book like no other. Masterfully weaving together multiple strands of the events in New York, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Fall and Rise is a mesmerizing, minute-by-minute account of that terrible day.
D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II
May 7 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA
“In D-Day Girls, Sarah Rose draws on recently declassified files, diaries, and oral histories to tell the thrilling story of three of these remarkable women. There’s Andrée Borrel, a scrappy and streetwise Parisian who blew up power lines with the Gestapo hot on her heels; Odette Sansom, an unhappily married suburban mother who saw the SOE as her ticket out of domestic life and into a meaningful adventure; and Lise de Baissac, a fiercely independent member of French colonial high society and the SOE’s unflappable “queen.” Together, they destroyed train lines, ambushed Nazis, plotted prison breaks, and gathered crucial intelligence–laying the groundwork for the D-Day invasion that proved to be the turning point in the war.”
— Matt Hanson
Rock, Pop, and Folk
No introduction necessary, I presume. Poet, singer-songwriter, 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, 2010 National Book Award-winning author of Just Kids (I reviewed her 2015 memoir M Train for the A.V. Club), photographer, etc., Patti Smith has left little undone in her 72 years of life. Since she tours infrequently, I highly recommend paying $43.50 or $53.50 for one of the still-available seats for her Friday night performance at the Orpheum.
Boston’s Nervous Eaters found success in the late ’70s with the singles “Loretta” and “Just Head” and had a fine run as The Rat’s house band before its 1981 break-up. Their reunions have been few and very far between, but have yielded the 1986 EP Hot Steel and Acid (which was re-released with bonus tracks last year), 2003’s Eat This, and the brand new Record 10. Come celebrate with the local legends in their hometown of Beverly at 9 Wallis, where they will be joined by fellow local faves Mr. Airplane Man and Corolla Deville on Saturday night.
Welsh folk-rock singer-songwriter Martyn Joseph has released nearly two dozen albums of new material in his more than 35-year recording career. He has won numerous awards in his homeland and been recognized by Amnesty International for his work on behalf of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement. (“I guess it’s all part and parcel of the same thing for me,” Joseph said of his longtime commitment to music and activism.) Not bad for a guy who had the aspiration and the chops to become a professional golfer as a teenager. His North American tour in support of this year’s Here Come the Young — the title track of which brings to mind Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin'” — stops at Marblehead’s cozy Me & Thee Coffeehouse on April 28.
Self-described purveyors of “cinematic pop music,” Eddie Japan won the Rock & Roll Rumble and the Boston Music Award for Best Live Act in 2013. Since then, they have received BMA nominations for Album of the Year (2017) and Pop Act of the Year (2018). On Friday, May 3, they will headline a triple bill of Boston bands that includes Modern Day Idols and three-time BMA nominees The Rationales at Koto, where you can also chow down on some of the best Chinese food on the North Shore (and that is saying a lot).
If you’re up for supporting local artists on May 3 but can’t make it to Salem, then head into the heart of Davis Square to check out Jamaica Plain-based Love Love. Co-led by Chris Toppin and Jefferson Riordan, Love Love recently performed at this year’s Rock & Roll Rumble and are set to add a second EP to a quickly growing discography that also includes two full-length albums. The opener will be Russell Chudnofsky, who released his first EP in March after a compiling a résumé that includes working alongside Lori McKenna, Tanya Donelly, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, Frank Black, Gary Clark, Jr., John Fogerty, and numerous other local and national acts.
— Blake Maddux