A Busy 2013 Christmas Season as Mahaiwe Celebrates the Holidays [Berkshire on Stage]

The film Polar Express is due to stop in town.

The film Polar Express is due to stop in town.

The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington will host a festive array of events this holiday season, including Darlene Love’s “Love for the Holidays” concert on Friday, November 29 at 8:00pm and jazz guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli and Broadway singer and actress Jessica Molaskey with guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli in a cabaret concert celebrating the Great American Songbook and other classics on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 8:00pm. In honor of Love’s live appearance, the Mahaiwe will screen the hit documentary “20 Feet From Stardom,” in which she plays a starring role, on Saturday, November 23 at 7:00pm. Food historian Francine Segan will give a talk about Gilded Age holiday entertaining on Saturday, December 14 at 6:30pm. In addition, the theater will screen two Met: Live in HD opera broadcasts and several family-friendly classic movies detailed below.

Darlene Love’s “Love for the Holidays” concert will feature songs from the holiday season performed with her full band and backup singers. Every year since 1986 (with the exception of the writers’ strike in 2007), Love has appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman” during the last episode of the calendar year to perform her classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” Rolling Stone proclaimed Love “one of the greatest singers of all time” and The New York Times declared that her “thunderbolt voice is as embedded in the history of rock and roll as Eric Clapton’s guitar or Bob Dylan’s lyrics.” In the 1960s, she sang lead on a string of Phil Spector-produced hits, including “He’s a Rebel,” “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” “(Today I Met) The Boy I’m Gonna Marry,” “Wait Til My Bobby Gets Home,” “Why Do Lovers Break Each Other’s Hearts?” and the seasonal classic “(Christmas) Baby Please Come Home.” In the 1970s and early ’80s, she joined Dionne Warwick, singing back-up for her on records, on tour and on the Warwick-hosted TV show “Solid Gold.” She also starred in Broadway musicals, including “Leader of the Pack” and “Hairspray,” as well as taking on dramatic roles in all three “Lethal Weapon” movies and a stage adaptation of Stephen King’s “Carrie.” In 2007, she released a holiday album, It’s Christmas of Course and in 2010, she released a live retrospective, The Concert of Love. In 2011, Love received the highest honor in rock music: she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She is featured in “Twenty Feet From Stardom,” the hit documentary film about the world of back-up singers, which opened the Berkshire International Film Festival at the Mahaiwe in June, where Love wowed the audience with her live rendition of “Stand by Me.” Tickets are $30 to $80.

Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. In his compelling new film “20 Feet From Stardom,” award-winning director Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the back-up singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others. These gifted artists span a range of styles, genres and eras of popular music, but each has a uniquely fascinating and personal story to share of life spent in the shadows of superstardom. Along with rare archival footage and a peerless soundtrack, the film boasts intimate interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Sting to name just a few. However, these world-famous figures take a backseat to the diverse array of back-up singers whose lives and stories take center stage in the film, including most of all: the incomparable Darlene Love. Tickets are free for Mahaiwe members who have purchased Darlene Love concert tickets or $7 (general admission).

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