Coming Attractions: September 22 through October 8 — What Will Light Your Fire

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


Beautiful coral are a common site around Palmyra Atoll. A scene from “Hidden Pacific.” Photo: Tandem/GSF/USFWS.

Hidden Pacific
Through October
New England Aquarium IMAX Theater at 1 Central Wharf in Boston, MA

The film contains never-before-seen footage of the marine national monuments in the Pacific Ocean — the same national monuments that are at risk of being downsized by the doings of Trump and his administration. The film provides audiences with a glimpse of healthy ecosystems that are relatively untouched by humans and then the impacts generated by climate change and environmental degradation. We see the Pacific Ocean’s most pristine islands and atolls and specks of land bursting with diversity, jungles crawling with exotic animals before plunging beneath the ocean’s surface to see the abundance of marine life in the coral reefs. Learn the storied history of the islands and discover their current role as environmental research centers. Schedule of showtimes

The Seer and The Unseen
September 23 at 7 p.m.
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA

This ‘magical realist’ documentary is set in Iceland deals with invisible elves, financial collapse, and the surprising power of belief. The film follows Ragnhildur “Ragga” Jónsdóttir, a grandmother and “seer” who has the ability to communicate directly with a parallel realm of elves, or huldufólk (hidden people) – invisible spirits of nature that over half of Iceland believes in. Government officials, businesses and individuals hire Ragga to consult the elves to learn where they can and cannot develop land. But when Ragga is called upon to be the elves’ ‘Lorax’ and speak on behalf of nature under threat, she enters a political battle to save an ecologically important lava field set to be razed by road construction  — just one of the many needless projects spurred by Iceland’s sensational financial meltdown in 2008. Director Sara Dosa will attend in person for a Q&A.

Ask Dr. Ruth
September 24
Emerson’s Bright Screening Room, 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA

Ask Dr. Ruth chronicles the incredible life of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a Holocaust survivor who became America’s most famous sex therapist. As her 90th birthday approaches, she revisits her painful past and chronicles her career at the forefront of the sexual revolution. Discussion led by Megara Bell, director for Partners in Sex Education, and sex educator JP Frost will follow.

The 18th Annual Boston Latino Film Festival
September 25 – 29
Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Public Library, Emerson’s Bright Screening Room, Tsai Auditorium at Harvard University, and Northeastern University

This year’s festival theme, “A Call to Action,” is inspired by current events. The selected films will illustrate action through protests and art. The will also address historical and present-day perspectives on the role activists, artists, and civilians play in shaping political and cultural events. Complete Program and Schedule

Boston Women’s Film Festival
September 26 – 29
The Brattle Theater in Cambridge and The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

The BWFF Festival presents the latest in media created by women from around the globe. The festival will host panel discussions by leading figures in the media industry, bringing together creators and audiences for a weekend that will celebrate the diversity and power of women’s cinema. Complete Schedule

A scene from Penny Lane’s “Hail Satan?”

Hail Satan?
October 1
Emerson’s Bright Screening Room 559 Washington Street, Boston

Penny (Nuts!, Our Nixon) Lane’s film chronicles the extraordinary rise of one of the most colorful and controversial religious movements in American history. When media-savvy members of the Satanic Temple organize a series of public actions designed to advocate for religious freedom and challenge corrupt authority, they prove that with little more than a clever idea, a mischievous sense of humor, and a few rebellious friends, you can speak truth to power in some truly profound ways. Discussion with Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves to follow. Arts Fuse review

Globe Docs
October 2 – 6
Various Locations

The 5th year of this Boston Globe festival features documentaries and post-film conversations with Boston Globe journalists. List of Films and Full Schedule

A scene from “Detour,” part of “The B-Film. Low-Budget Hollywood Cinema 1935 – 1959” series at the HFA.

The B-Film. Low-Budget Hollywood Cinema 1935 – 1959
through November 25
The Harvard Film Archive in Cambridge, MA

This retrospective reconsiders the history and legacy of a singular mode of low-budget filmmaking that was invented within (or around) the Hollywood studio system. These inexpensive efforts served as an ideal, even an inspiration, for diverse filmmakers in the future by show how much can be done with little. Link to series

— Tim Jackson

A scene from the 1927 silent film, “Underworld.”

September 23 at 7 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA

Highly recommended: The Alloy Orchestra returns to the Coolidge with their original score for director Josef von Sternberg’s gangster classic (its success launched his career in Hollywood), with a story by the maven of the hardboiled, Ben Hecht. “George Bancroft plays heavy Bull Weed, a criminal kingpin whose jealous devotion to his moll, Feathers (Evelyn Brent), gets him into hot water with a rival hood and, ultimately, the authorities. Further complicating matters is the attraction that blossoms between Feathers and an alcoholic former lawyer (Clive Brook).”

— Bill Marx


Aardvark Jazz Orchestra
September 22 at 7 p.m.
First Parish Church, Concord, MA.

The Aarvark Jazz Orchestra and musical director Mark Harvey draw inspirations from varied jazz traditions, all with a keen ear for strains that forever remain new, including Charles Mingus, Sun Ra, or in this case, Duke Ellington. The program will include hits like “Satin Doll” and “Solitude” as well as selections from Ellington’s Sacred Concerts, “David Danced Before the Lord” and “It’s Freedom” — the latter “a powerful expression of Civil-Rights-era fervor with resonance for today.” The band — including vocalists Grace Hughes and Jerry Edwards — is joined by the choir of the First Parish Church of Concord.

Saxophonist and composer Ingrid Laubrock and her quartet come to Cambridge on September 24.

Ingrid Laubrock Quartet
September 24 at 8 p.m.
Lilypad, Cambridge, MA

The fine saxophonist and composer Ingrid Laubrock — whose collaborators have included Mary Halvorson, Kris Davis, Anthony Braxton, and drummer Tom Rainey — fronts a formidable quartet including Rainey, guitarist Brandon Seabrook, and bassist Michael Formanek

Gilad Hekselman
September 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

The superb Israeli-born guitarist Gilad Hekselman fronts an equally formidable trio, with bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Kendrick Scott.

Steve Lehman Trio
September 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA.

The fiery progressive alto saxophonist and composer Steve Lehman (a regular with avant-garde star Vijay Iyer) brings a trio to the Regattabar, with drummer Damion Reid and bassist Matt Brewer.

Wallace Roney
September 28 at 8 p.m.
Scullers Jazz Club, Boston, MA.

The esteemed trumpeter Wallace Roney fronts a new young band for his latest release, Blue Dawn—Blue Nights: saxophonist Emilio Modeste, pianist Oscar Williams II, bassist Paul Cuffari, and Roney’s 15-year-old nephew, drummer Kojo Odu Roney.

Tyshawn Sorey — a sui generis composer and mulit-instrumentalist. He will be at Jordan Hall on October 3. Photo: Wiki Common.

Tyshawn Sorey
October 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall, Boston, MA.

The unclassifiable composer and multi-instrumentalist (a MacArthur fellow and another regular with Vijay Iyer’s bands) Tyshawn Sorey presents an extravaganza that promises to touch on many facets of his limitless interests as part of his New England Conservatory residency: an orchestral tribute to two avant-garde jazz heroes, “For Bill Dixon and A. Spencer Barefield,” the piano piece “Movement,” Sorey’s “noise project” LOUD, featuring NEC faculty member Joe Morris, and a duo performance with NEC faculty member Anthony Coleman and excerpts from a Yiddish Theatre project featuring Sorey’s arrangements and orchestrations. It’s free, but tickets are required. Arts Fuse review of Sorey’s Pillars album.

John Coltrane Memorial Concert
October 5 at 7:30 pm.
Blackman Auditorium, Northeastern University, Boston, MA

For its 42nd annual presentation, the John Coltrane Memorial Concert honors the legacy not only of Coltrane, but also of one of the event’s founders, saxophonist, composer, and teacher Leonard Brown, who died in March. The concert is titled “Transition(s)” and will feature a performance of Coltrane’s late piece “Transition.” The 14-piece ensemble includes saxophonists Bill Pierce, Stan Strickland, Billy Thompson, Bobby Tynes, and JCMC musical director Carl Atkins.

— Jon Garelick

Cesar Garabini & Olli Soikkeli
September 23 at 7 pm
Passim, Cambridge, MA

Two virtuoso guitarists from opposite ends of the world—the Brazilian Cesar Garabini and the Finnish Olli Soikkeli—come together to perform a mix of Brazilian choro, bossa nova, and samba, and “Gypsy Jazz,” á la Django Reinhardt. Garabini’s done musical time with the likes of Anat Cohen, Soikkeli with Bucky Pizzarelli and Cyrille Aimee, and both have played internationally as well as at the top New York jazz venues. The show is part of Passim’s series “Small World, Big Ears,” which presents music from around the world.

— Evelyn Rosenthal


through September 29
Boston Opera House
Boston, MA

Giselle is one of classical ballet’s most famed tales, following the story of a peasant girl who dies of a broken heart upon learning her lover is already engaged to another woman. Ballet Master Larissa Ponomarenko restages the tragic evening-length ballet, presented by Boston Ballet and featuring Adolphe Adam’s poignant score.

We Try to Live Together
September 26-28
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA

The Boston Foundation’s 2018-19 Next Steps for Boston Dance grantees present We Try to Live Together, an assortment of personal and political dance works. The show aims to unite audiences through the exploration of current issues that “drive us apart, from migration, to gender, to our identity as Americans.”

Boston University’s “Dance Showcase” features dance and aerial arts.

Dance Showcase
September 27 & 28 at 8 p.m.
Boston University Dance Theater
Boston, MA

Boston University (BU) faculty choreographers Wendy O’Byrne, Margot Parsons, Lynda Rieman, Colleen Roddy, Liz Roncka, Marin Orlosky Randow, and Paul Jackson, along with guest artists Ernesto Lea Place and Caitlin Quinn, present a performance that includes versatile dancers both on the ground and in the air. Trapeze, silks, and bungee come together with dance, highlighting students from the university’s summer teen apprenticeship program, Reach, and BU Dance Department students.

Continuum Dance Project combines food and dance at Harvest Pairing this weekend.

Harvest Pairing: An Interactive Dance and Food Event
September 28 at 4 p.m. (Rain Date: Sunday, September 29 at 4 p.m.)
Temple of Love, Larz Anderson Park
Brookline, MA

Continuum Dance Project (CDP) combines food and dance at Harvest Pairing this weekend. Funded in part by the Brookline Commission for the Arts, this is the fourth event in CDP’s site-specific, interactive food and dance series. Choreographers Adriane Brayton and Fernadina Chan, along with Chef David Kriz, will take their inspiration from the plethora of produce grown in the nearby community garden in this creative event.

Tempest Reconfigured
October 5 at 7 p.m.
Turtle Swamp Brewing
Roslindale, MA

The partners and Fort Point Theatre Channel present a collection of short works drawing inspiration from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Topics include colonialism, gender stereotypes, and immigration, as told through a mix of art forms. Heralding the art of dance, Luminarium Dance Company presents a new work combining light and movement highlighting themes of “magic and spectacle” found in the original play.

— Merli V. Guerra

Visual Arts

Lili Almog, Muslim Girl #14, from “The Other Half of the Sky,” 2009. Archival pigment print. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, © Lili Almog.

Crossing Lines, Constructing Home: Displacement and Belonging in Contemporary Art
Special Exhibitions Gallery, Harvard Art Museums
32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA
Through January 5

How do artists address the parallel concepts of borders and the spaces created by immigration? This exhibit features artists such as Do Ho Suh, Graciela Iturbide, Serena Chopra, and many more, whose work investigates the context of cultural and physical displacement through the lenses of history, identity, language, and belief. Curatorially framed to emphasize individual relationships along with geographic and historical specifics, the show explores spaces of displacement as traumatic and transformative experiences.

ArtsWorcester at the Davis
44 Portland Street, 3rd floor, Worcester MA
Through October 5

Sarah Williams draws parallels between the fragility of language and ceramics, as her work investigates how words lose clarity through repetition. Crafted through both traditional and experimental techniques, these clay works invite the viewer to ponder the use of language in politics, media, and the flexibility of meaning.

Holly Roddenbery, “A Few Drops of Compassion,” 2019. Wood, Silver, Stone, Acrylic. Photo by Melissa Lovingood.

Human Impact: Stories of the Opioid Epidemic
Fuller Craft Museum
455 Oak Street, Brockton, MA 02301
September 28 through May 3

This exhibit brings together eleven invited artists, who share perspectives on the opioid crisis from the viewpoint of those who are closest to the subject. Working in collaboration with families deeply affected by opiate use, these artists create works that communicate stories of pain, hope, and courage. Jodi Colella’s “Once Was (Remembrance)” is a towering, monolithic poppy field, a monument to the lives lost to this epidemic, while another piece, John Anderson’s “Sacrificial Lamb”, an altar of prescription pill bottles and cage-like wire, illustrates the chaos unleashed by the force of addiction. The Fuller Craft Museum presents this show in cooperation with the District Attorney’s office, Brockton Hospital, High Point Treatment Center, and Stonehill College, which advocate for the spread of awareness and information on this subject.

Yayoi Kusama, “Love Is Calling,” 2013. Photo: courtesy of the ICA.

Yayoi Kusama: Love Is Calling
September 24 through February 7, 2021
ICA Boston, 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston MA 02210

Premiering in Japan in 2013, and recently acquired as part of the ICA’s permanent collection, “Love Is Calling” is one of Kusama’s twenty infinity rooms. A darkened space, lined with mirrors and interspersed with repetitive, brightly colored sculptural forms, generates a kaleidoscopic effect that surrounds viewers as they traverse the visually crowded space. The experience is accompanied by a sound recording of the artist reciting her poem “Residing in a Castle of Shed Tears” in Japanese. This vibrant environment explores such themes as love, life, and death. It promises to be a remarkable experience.

American Mosaic
Griffin Museum at WinCam
32 Swanton Street, Winchester, MA
through January 19

Melissa Lynn’s photographs address the multicultural heritage of the United States in the face of increasing intolerance. Discarding the phrase “melting pot” in favor of the more heterogeneous term “mosaic,” this series of portraits visualizes the artist’s dream of a country which preserves the unique traditions of its many peoples without becoming homogenized. Lynn visits diverse cultural heritage festivals: she requests to photograph individuals wearing traditional clothing, seeing this as a means to promote dialogue and understanding across cultures.

Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect
Through January 5
The Rose at Brandeis, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA

Gordon Matta-Clark coined the hybrid term “anarchitect” for his site-specific works erected in 1970s South Bronx. They have been celebrated as activist interventions within derelict urban communities. Trained as an architect, Matta-Clark critiqued the treatment of areas and people that capitalism had tragically failed. This exhibit focuses on the political content of these interventions, particuarly his pioneering approach to social activism through art.

Radical Compositions: Henry Botkin, “Allusiln,” 1958. Photo: courtesy of the Childs Gallery.

Radical Compositions: AbEx Prints and Paintings
Childs Gallery
169 Newbury St. Boston, MA
Through November 3.

The Childs Gallery presents groundbreaking work by first and second generation Abstract Expressionists. The show follows a timeline, from the emergence of the movement to its international recognition, with the center of the Western art world shifting from Paris to New York. The exhibit includes a wide range of styles, from action painting to color field, and features works by Lee Krasner, Alexander Calder, Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Nevelson, and many more.

–- Rebekah Bonner

Roots and World Music

Alicia Svigals will perform with Klezwoods this week. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Klezwoods and Alicia Svigals
September 24
Regattabar, Cambridge, MA

Ever since she helped found the Klezmatics, violinist Svigals has been at the forefront of the klezmer revival. She’ll be performing a solo set of Yiddish songs before local heroes, the Klezwoods, take the stage — and it’s hard to imagine she won’t sit in with them as well.

Shake a Leg
September 28
The Porch, Medford, MA

Sadly, the beloved rockabilly gathering known as the New England Shake-Up is now in the history books. Organizer Beck Rustic of Swelltune Records is working on a new festival with a (hopeful) 2020 launch. But for those who want some twang this time of year, she’s put together a one-day blowout with such Swelltune family favorites as Maryland’s highly danceable Rock-a-Sonics, Shaun Young and Sean Mencher, Jittery Jack and Miss Amy and the Bopthrills.

October 1
Club Passim

Whatever the reason—heavy support from its regional BBC, the influence of the famed Celtic Connections fest in Glasgow, or simply having the right musicians at the right time—Scotland’s traditional Celtic music scene is on par with—or even stronger than—what can be found in Ireland. And right at the top is this blazing trio consisting of concertina player Moshen Amini, fiddler Haylen Keenan, and guitarist Graeme Armstrong. Their sophomore 2018 LP Beyond was appropriately titled  — it showed the group taking Scottish traditions into new realms.

Boston University Global Music Festival
October 4–5
Two locations; consult the webpage: Tsai Performance Center (685 Commonwealth Ave) and George Sherman Union (775 Commonwealth Ave).

This thoughtfully curated showcase of music and dance from nine countries returns — and once again, it is free! Friday night kicks off with the mesmerizing sounds of Bali courtesy of Gamelan Çudamani followed by Saraswathi Ranganathan, a master of the veena, an ancient Indian plucked string instrument. Saturday highlights include both concerts and workshops with female-fronted Tuareg Saharan guitar stars Les Filles de Illighadad and Mexico’s Frontera Bugalú, as well as the local debut of the Congotronic outfit KOKOKO!

Petroloukas Halkias & Vasilis Kostas
October 6 at 4 p.m.
Taxiarchae Greek Orthodox Church, 25 Bigelow Ave, Watertown, MA )

Octogenarian Greek clarinet legend Halkias may be a few generations removed from fast-fingered laouto (four-stringed lute) virtuoso Kostas, but they share a commitment to both tradition and innovation. Their new LP The Soul of Epirus celebrates the unique musical traditions of Northeast Greece. They’ll celebrate the recording by playing this very special concert as a quartet that includes Panagiotis Georgakopoulos (defi) and Beth Bahia Cohen (violin).

— Noah Schaffer


Mickey Solis and Lindsay Crouse in the Gloucester Stage Company production of “The Lifespan of a Fact.” Photo: Jason Grow.

The Lifespan of a Fact by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell, and Gordon Farrell, based on the book by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal. Directed by Sam Weisman. Staged by the Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, MA, through September 22.

A regional premiere of a Broadway hit. The plot — “the ultimate showdown between truth and fiction. A determined young fact checker is about to stir up trouble. His demanding editor has given him a big new assignment: a groundbreaking piece by an unorthodox author. Together, they take on the high-stakes world of publishing.” The cast features GSC veterans Mickey Solis as John, the author, Lindsay Crouse as Emily, his editor, and GSC newcomer Derek Speedy as Jim, the fact checker. Arts Fuse review

The Purists by Dan McCabe. Directed by Billy Porter. Staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, through October 6.

The world premiere of a new play: “A former rapper, a DJ, and a showtunes-loving telesales director have become an unlikely group who hang out and spar about music on a stoop in Queens. But, when an impromptu rap battle erupts between two younger female emcees, everything gets questioned.” Arts Fuse review

Black Light, Created by Daniel Alexander Jones. Original Songs by Jomama Jones. Presented by the American Repertory Theater at Oberon, 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA, through September 29.

“Daniel Alexander Jones performs as the iconic Jomama Jones in a spiritual revival for turbulent times. This intimate journey through the darkness of personal and political upheaval and the shards of shattered illusions … With all original music, drawing influence from Prince, Sade, Diana Ross, and Tina Turner, Black Light is marked significantly by the Black American Freedom movement, Afromysticism, goddess mythology, and divination.”

Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies. Directed by Nicole Ricciard. Staged by Shakespeare & Company in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, Lenox, MA, through October 13.

This script from an accomplished veteran playwright was nominated for 2010 Tony Award Best Play. “There are exact times when the pursuit of what is important clashes with the consequences of one’s choices. Sarah Goodwin, a photo journalist recovering from the blast of a road side bomb overseas, must decide between her life’s work of revealing unsettling truths about the world, and domestic comfort.” Arts Fuse review

The Prince of Providence by George Brant. Based on the book The Prince of Providence by Mike Stanton. Directed by Taibi Magar. Staged by Trinity Rep, 201 Washington Street, Providence, Rhode Island, through October 27.

A new play about a notorious figure in Providence’s history. “The nation knows him from Crimetown and Operation Plunder Dome, but Providence has a deeper and more complicated relationship with Buddy Cianci. A charismatic visionary who was also a corrupt philanderer, the long-time mayor defied the odds time after time – from his very first election to winning again after being arrested on assault charges.” Arts Fuse interview with playwright George Brant. Arts Fuse feature

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret, presented by The Dramatists Guild in partnership with the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund and PEN America st the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St, Boston, MA, on September 23, 7-8:30 p.m. Free and open to the public.

A multi-city celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages. The 4th Annual Banned Together will be performed during Banned Books Week, September 22-28, in cities including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Nashville, Philadelphia, and St. Petersburg. Banned Together was created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the theater. The performances will feature selections from Cabaret, Chicago, An Octoroon, Rent, and Angels in America, among other notable works, with a libretto by DLDF president John Weidman (Assassins) and J.T. Rogers (Oslo, Blood and Gifts). The Banned Together Boston area cast includes Amy Barker, Margaret Ann Brady, Christopher Chew, Taavon Gamble, Curly Glynn, and Carolyn Saxon.

A scene from Arlekin Players’s production of”The Stone.” Photo: Arlekin Players.

The Stone by Marius von Mayenburg. Directed by Igor Golyak. Staged by Arlekin Players Theatre at the Studio 368 at Hillside Avenue, Needham, MA, through September 29.

“This past May and June, Arlekin presented this play by contemporary German playwright Marius von Mayenburg entirely in Russian, with English audio translations for our English-speaking audiences.” Arts Fuse review. The company is now “preparing to remount the play (with some tweaks).” This time, the same actors will perform it in English. The upcoming production “will be of interest as it touches the themes of immigration, family histories, and cultural responsibilities.”

Choir Boy by Tarell Alvin McCraney. Directed by Maurice Emmanuel Parent. Music Direction by David Freeman Coleman. Choreography by Yewande Odetoyinbo and Ruka White. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage Company at the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, through October 19.

“Nominated for four 2019 Tony Awards including Best Play,” this script “is a powerful coming-of-age story punctuated by the soaring harmonies of live gospel, spiritual, and R&B performances. For fifty years, the elite Charles R. Drew Prep School has been dedicated to the education of strong, ethical black men; its legendary choir an emblem of all it holds true. But for Pharus Young, the opportunity to take his rightful place as the leader of these talented vocalists comes at a price. Can he still earn his place in the hallowed halls and sing in his own key?”

The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Directed by Eric Tucker. Produced by The Nora Theatre Company in association with Bedlam, at the Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, through October 13.

Coming from Bedlam, this will surely be a (welcome) shake up of the Arthur Miller warhorse. Of course, I am old enough to have seen the Wooster Group’s fabulous 1984 deconstruction of the script in Boston (a segment in the play L.S.D.), before the show went onto New York, where Miller had it closed. So this production has a very high bar to clear. Arts Fuse review

The America Plays by Patrick Gabridge. Directed by Courtney O’Connor. Staged at At Mount Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA, through September 22.

The world premiere of the second series of The America Plays: “These five plays present a journey through the American experience, highlighting the drama and philosophies of the men and women who struggled to find their place in this nation as the American identity was being formed. Hear the voices of sculptors Edmonia Lewis and Martin Milmore; strong women like Harriot Kezia Hunt and Charlotte Cushman who sought new opportunities beyond the social norms of their time; and an immigrant story highlighting some of Mount Auburn’s Armenian “residents” and the community concentrated in Watertown.” Arts Fuse review

Catherine Parr (Anna Uzele, at center) performs “I Don’t Need Your Love” in “Six.” Photo: Liz Lauren.

Six by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. Directed by Moss and Jamie Armitage Presented by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, MA, through September 29.

“Everyone is “losing their head” over this original pop concert musical; DIVORCED, BEHEADED, DIED, DIVORCED, BEHEADED, SURVIVED, for many years the six wives of Henry VIII have been reduced to a single rhyme. Now they have picked up the microphone to retell their stories, remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an 80-minute celebration of twenty-first century girl power.” The cast of Six comes to American Repertory Theater following a record-breaking run at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Arts Fuse review.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard. Directed by Peter DuBois. Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Avenue of the Arts / Huntington Avenue Theatre (264 Huntington Avenue), Boston, MA, September 20 through October 20.

A revival of one of Stoppard’s most popular mind-benders, now over 50 years old: “this modern-day classic tragicomedy imagines the lives of two minor characters from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. As the story unfolds, they voice their confusion about the play that’s being performed without them, untangling bigger questions about life and death, reality and art.”

King Lear by William Shakespeare. Directed by Doug Lockwood. Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project, at Chelsea Theatre Works, 189 Winnisimmet Street, Chelsea, MA, October 3 through 27.

“ASP last produced King Lear in its second season in 2005. This production is dedicated to the memory of Alvin Epstein, a true inspiration and driving force in the early development of ASP. Alvin played Lear in the 2005 production, which transferred to La Mama in New York in 2006.” Robert Walsh plays the aging patriarch gone mad.

The Book Club Play by Karen Zacarías. Directed by Shana Gozansky. Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre at 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, September 26 through October 13.

A Boston premiere: “Ana is a Type A personality who lives in a letter-perfect world with an adoring husband, the perfect job, and her greatest passion: Book Club. But when her cherished group becomes the focus of a documentary film, their intimate discussions about life and literature take a turn for the hilarious in front of the inescapable camera lens. Add a provocative new member along with some surprising new book titles, and these six friends are bound for pandemonium.”

Nixon’s Nixon by Russell Lees. Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue. Presented by New Repertory Theatre on its mainstage at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA, through October 6.

At this point, Lees’ script may not be crazy enough, Presidentially speaking.”The night before Richard Nixon announced his resignation from the Presidency, he summoned Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to meet with him in the White House. What happened behind those closed doors will never be known” … this play offers a cartoonish vision of power broker break down.

Ubu Roar, translated and adapted by Brenda Withers from Alfred Jarry’s King Ubu Directed by Wesley Savick, Music by Joey Del ’18. Produced by Juvenilia, The Suffolk Theatre Department’s professional production initiative for students and alumni, along with the National Theatre of Allston, at the Modern Theatre, 525 Washington Street, Boston, MA through September 28.

Yes, a student production, but Jarry’s absurdist vision of the infantilization of authority — a self-destructive bully surrounded by enablers — was never more relevant than now, so this staging may well be worth a look.

A scene from 7 Fingers’ “Passengers.” Photo: Cimon Parent.

Passengers, performed by The 7 Fingers. Presented by Arts Emerson at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston, MA, September 25 through October 13.

“The 7 Fingers’ electrifying and heart-stirring mix of circus, music, and dance” returns in a show (an American premiere) that “reminds us that we always have somewhere we’ve got to go, but often don’t know where we’re headed or who we’ll meet along the way.”

— Bill Marx

Classical Music

The Enlightenment & Beyond
September 20 at 8 p.m.
At Hamilton Hall, 9 Chestnut Street, Salem, MA
September 22 at 3 p.m.
At St. Paul Church Brookline, MA

The Boston Artists Ensemble performs the program: Mozart’s Oboe Quartet in F, K 370; Beethoven’s String Trio in D, Opus 9, No. 2, and Janáček’s Quartet No. 1, “The Kreutzer Sonata.”

Copland, Still and More
September 22 at 2 p.m.
At King’s Chapel Parish House, 64 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

The King’s Chapel Concert Series presents violinist Zina Schiff and pianist Heinrich Christensen. A free concert to benefit Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry.

Concord Chamber Music Society
September 29 at 3 p.m.
Concord Academy, 166 Main Street, Concord, MA

On the program: Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7 by Zoltán Kodály; Duo Concertante for Violin and Viola by Paul Chihara; Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 81 by Antonín Dvořák. Pre-concert lecture at 2 Steven Ledbetter.

The Skylark Ensemble will sing of “green and pleasant lands” this week. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Fairest Isles
September 26 through 29
Presented in locations in Newburyport, Falmouth, Chatham, and Weston, MA

Skylark Ensemble will “share virtuosic and varied vocal music from the United Kingdom’s “green and pleasant land.” Featuring playful partsongs, stunning polyphony, and celtic ballads.”

Les Miracles de Notre Dame
September 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Harvard Memorial Church, One Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA

The Consulate General of France in Boston presents a concert of arias composed and first performed at Paris Notre Dame in the late 12th century, interpreted by the Boston Camerata Ensemble, together with the Choral Fellows of Harvard Memorial Church.

Which Classical Music?
September 27 at 8 p.m.
At Boston Conservatory’s Seully Hall, 8 Fenway, Boston, MA

The inaugural Chamber Series concert of the 2019–2020 season examines what “classical music” means from traditions from around the world—India, Ireland, and China—situating the music of Dvořák and Western classical music within a vast framework of diverse cultural practices.

Mezzo Soprano Renée Rapier will perform with Winsor Music this week. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

September 30 at 7 p.m.
St. Paul’s Church Brookline
15 St. Paul Street, Brookline, MA

On the Winsor Music program: Gabriel Fauré’s Songs, Op. 23; Claude Debussy’s Première Rhapsodie and Chansons de Bilitis; Henri Duparc’s Melodies; Camille Saint-Saëns’s Oboe Sonata; Lili Boulanger’s D’un Soir Triste and D’un Matin du Printemps, for piano trio; Francis Poulenc’s Banalities.

— Susan Miron

Augustin Hadelich plays Beethoven
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
September 26-28 and October 1, 8 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on Friday)
Symphony Hall, Boston, MA

Hadelich joins the BSO for Beethoven’s epochal Violin Concerto and Andris Nelsons continues his survey of Richard Strauss’s symphonic works, leading the Symphonia domestica on the concert’s second half.

Radius Ensemble will perform in Cambridge on September 28.

Presented by Radius Ensemble
September 28, 8 p.m.
Pickman Hall, Cambridge, MA

Radius Ensemble returns to action with an evening-themed program featuring new or recent pieces by David Gompper, Rhonda Larson, and Beth Denisch alongside Mozart’s great C-minor Serenade (K. 388).

Entartente Musik
Presented by A Far Cry
September 29, 1:30 p.m.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA

The Criers kick off a series dedicated to music banned by the Nazis with a concert featuring pieces by Erwin Schulhoff and Gideon Klein framed by music by Haydn and Mendelssohn.

— Jonathan Blumhofer


Ryan O’Callaghan
In conversation with Steve Buckley
My Life on the Line: How the NFL Damn Near Killed Me and Ended Up Saving My Life
September 23 at 7 p.m.
Brookline Booksmith, Coolidge Corner MA

“Bubbling under the surface of Ryan’s entire NFL career was a collision course between his secret sexuality and his hidden drug use. When the league caught him smoking pot, he turned to NFL-sanctioned prescription painkillers that quickly sent his life into a tailspin. As injuries mounted and his daily intake of opioids reached a near-lethal level, he wrote his suicide note to his parents and plotted his death. Yet someone had been watching; a member of the Chiefs organization stepped in. Nearing the twilight of his career, Ryan faced the ultimate decision: end it all, or find out if his family and football friends could ever accept a gay man in their lives.”

Mark Peterson
The City-State of Boston
September 24 at 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA

“In the vaunted annals of America’s founding, Boston has long been held up as an exemplary “city upon a hill” and the “cradle of liberty” for an independent United States. Wresting this iconic urban center from these misleading, tired clich’s, The City-State of Boston highlights Boston’s overlooked past as an autonomous city-state, and in doing so, offers a pathbreaking and brilliant new history of early America. Following Boston’s development over three centuries, Mark Peterson discusses how this self-governing Atlantic trading center began as a refuge from Britain’s Stuart monarchs and how–through its bargain with slavery and ratification of the Constitution–it would tragically lose integrity and autonomy as it became incorporated into the greater United States.”

Benjamin Moser
Sontag: Her Life and Work
September 25 at 6 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline MA
Tickets are $39.99, including a copy of the book

“Mythologized and misunderstood, lauded and loathed, a girl from the suburbs who became a proud symbol of cosmopolitanism, Sontag left a legacy of writing on art and politics, feminism and homosexuality, celebrity and style, medicine and drugs, radicalism and Fascism and Freudianism and Communism and Americanism. Moser’s masterful new biography explores the insecurity behind the formidable public face: the broken relationships, the struggles with her sexuality, that animated—and undermined—her writing. It shows her attempts to respond to the cruelties and absurdities of a country that had lost its way, and her conviction that fidelity to high culture was an activism of its own.”

Lisa Fithian will read from “Shut It Down.”

Lisa Fithian
Shut It Down: Stories from a Fierce, Loving Resistance (Paperback)
September 29 at 3 p.m.
Porter Square Books, Cambridge MA

“In Shut It Down Fithian shares historic, behind-the-scenes stories from some of the most important people-powered movements of the past several decades. She shows how movements that embrace direct action have always been, and continue to be, the most radical and rapid means for transforming the ills of our society. Shut It Down is filled with instructions and inspiration for how movements can evolve as the struggle for social justice continues in the Trump era and beyond. While recognizing that electoral politics, legislation, and policy are all important pathways to change, Shut It Down argues that civil disobedience is not just one of the only actions that remains when all else fails, but a spiritual pursuit that protects our deepest selves and allows us to reclaim our humanity. Change can come, but only if we’re open to creatively, lovingly, and strategically standing up, sometimes at great risk to ourselves, to protect what we love.”

Billy Bragg
The Three Dimensions of Freedom
October 1 at 6:30 p.m.
Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge MA

“In this short and vital polemic, acclaimed singer/songwriter, progressive thinker, and activist Billy Bragg argues that accountability is the antidote to authoritarianism, and that without it, we can never truly be free. He shows us that Freedom requires three dimensions to function: Liberty, Equality, and Accountability— and the result is a three dimensional space in which freedom can be exercised by all.” He will discuss this with admired Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein.

— Matt Hanson

Pop, Rock, and Folk

Mike Adams at His Honest Weight — Sure to be one of those “I saw him when…” gigs.

Mike Adams At His Honest Weight
September 22 (doors at 8, show at 8:30)
O’Brien’s Pub, Allston, MA

Any doubts that one might have about to take a performer with this stage name will be quashed bu the first two songs — “Pressing Mesh” and “Do You One Better” — on his new album, There Is No Feeling Better. From there, one will most assuredly want to work through the Bloomington, Indiana, native’s handful of other singles, EPs, and LPs which date back to 2011. I’m not saying that MAAHHW will be playing stadiums or arenas soon, but his appearance at O’Brien’s is sure to be one of those “I saw him when…” gigs. Arts Fuse interview.

Kal Marks with Bethlehem Steel, Notches, and Seed
September 25 (doors at 8, show at 9)
O’Brien’s Pub, Allston, MA

Kal Marks was “the loudest band in Boston” before they opted to deemphasize volume on 2018’s Universal Care. In spite of or irrespective of this new direction, Universal Care was nominated for Album of the Year and the band was in the running for Rock Artist of the Year at the 2018 Boston Music Awards. A year and a half after that album, the trio is back with an EP titled Let That Shit House Burn Down, which includes the singles “Heads Been Ringing” and “Science Is Science.” As of last Friday, they are once again in contention for a Rock Artist of the Year BMA. The band will play a release show two days ahead of the official street date at O’Brien’s.

Magen Tracy & The Missed Connections with Andrea Gillis Band
September 28 (show at 10)
Atwood’s Tavern, Cambridge, MA

This 2017 Boston Music Awards-nominated quintet released its first full-length CD, Long Fuse Burning, on August 16. Guests on the album include Juliana Hatfield — with whom Tracy has played live — and Fenway Park organist Josh Kantor. On September 20, Tracy received a BMA nomination for Singer-Songwriter of the Year. This Saturday night, Atwood’s will host Long Fuse Burning‘s official release show. Fellow two-time BMA nominee Andrea Gillis and her band will open, making this a local artist double bill that will pack at least as much as $10 ever has.

The Psychedelic Porn Crumpets are coming to Great Scott.

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets with Meatbodies and Lucid Lynx
September 29 (doors at 8:30, show at 9:15)
Great Scott, Allston, MA

If that name is too hard to swallow, pretend that this Australian psych-pop quartet is called “The (Insert name of your favorite thing here).” Then head to YouTube, sample songs from their debut album, and let the foot-tapping and head-bopping commence. And Now for the Whatchamacallit is a strikingly confident 10-track, 33-minute collection that leaves no room for hesitant descriptions like “shows promise” or “with a little work….” In fact, it might just force the hands of more than a few critics to utilize the dreaded “fully formed” cliche. LA’s Meatbodies and Boston’s Lucid Lynx will open for what I am thinking is PPC’s first Boston gig on September 29 at Great Scott.

White Fence
October 5 (doors at 8:30, show at 9:15)
Great Scott, Allston, MA

Multi-talented musician Tim Presley has plied his knack for psychedelic rock and its various offshoots for nearly two full decades. In the aughts, it was as a co-founder of Darker My Love. Since 2010, it has been in collaborations with Ty Segall and with the de facto one-man band White Fence. The latter released I Have to Feed Larry’s Hawk in January and will presumably pluck generously from it at Great Scott on October 5.

— Blake Maddux

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