Posts Tagged ‘Berkshire On Stage’

Indie Rockers Luna Return to Kick off MASS MoCA’s Summer [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, May 26th, 2016
Indie-rock quartet Luna.

Indie-rock quartet Luna

Storied indie-rock quartet Luna — led by Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips, seen most recently at MASS MoCA as a duo performing “13 Most Beautiful: Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests” in 2009 — returns after a 10-year hiatus. With its 1999-era full-band line-up (also featuring Sean Eden and Lee Wall), the band sounds as strong as ever and is back with a sweet vengeance to open the summer season on Saturday (May 28) at 8pm in MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center in North Adams.

Described as “one of indie rock’s most beloved live acts” by Rolling Stone, Luna pairs poignant songwriting with wistful, weaving electric guitar riffs and chugging bass lines — ’90s nostalgic pop-rock at its best. Following the break-up of Wareham’s band Galaxie 500, Luna was formed in New York in 1991 by Wareham with Stanley Demeski of the Feelies and Justin Harwood of the Chills. After releasing its debut album Lunapark in 1993, the band underwent a handful of line-up changes throughout the decade — Sean Eden joined in 1994, Lee Wall took Demeski’s place on drums in 1997, and Britta Phillips replaced Harwood on bass in 2000. The group still produced five studio albums amidst all the changes: Bewitched (1994), Penthouse (1995), Pup Tent (1997), The Days of Our Nights (1999), and Romantica (2002). In 2011, Rolling Stone named Penthouse #99 on its “100 Best Albums of the Nineties.”

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Berkshire Jazz Collective Plays Benefit Concert for the Richie duPont Award [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016
Berkshire Theatre Group Holds 11th Annual Richie duPont Award Event featuring The Berkshire Jazz Collective to Raise Funds for BTG PLAYS! Camp Scholarships

Berkshire Theatre Group Holds 11th Annual Richie duPont Award Event featuring The Berkshire Jazz Collective to Raise Funds for BTG PLAYS! Camp Scholarships

Berkshire Theatre Group is planning the 11th Annual Richie duPont Award Event featuring the Berkshire Jazz Collective on Friday (May 27) at 7pm at The Garage in Pittsfield. Anchored by Andy Wrba, Bill Chapman and Benny Kohn, the Berkshire Jazz Collective is the choice jazz band of the Berkshires. The BJC has featured special guests including Charles Neville (saxophone), Benito Gonzales (piano), Marisa Massery (vocals), Armen Donelian (piano) and more of the regions finest musicians.

Tickets to the 11th Annual Richie duPont Award Event are $15 for adults, and $10 for ages 18 and under in advance; and $20 for adults and $15 for ages 18 and under the day of show. Contact the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street, Pittsfield by calling 413-997-4444, or online at www.berkshiretheatregroup.org. The Ticket Office is open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm, Saturdays 10am-2pm or on any performance day from 10am until curtain.

All proceeds benefit BTG’s Richie duPont Award. The Richie duPont Award started in memory of the talented young actor and member of the BTG Community, Richie duPont. The fund was established in 2005 to enable children to pursue their dreams of being on stage and afford them the opportunity to attend one of BTG PLAYS! camp sessions.

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TV: Netflix Talk Show “Chelsea” Is a Game Changer [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016
Chelsea is the new talk show on Netflix that is creating quite a buzz.

“Chelsea,” the new talk show on Netflix, is creating quite a buzz.

Streaming Video Review by Larry Murray

There is no better example of how things are changing in the US than to watch the new talk show Chelsea, with comedian, actress, writer, television host and producer Chelsea Handler. She hosted a late-night talk show called Chelsea Lately on the E! network from 2007 to 2014 and is back. She has teamed up with video-streaming giant Netflix to launch an all new talk show, calling it simply “Chelsea.” (To view it, go to your Netflix account and click away.)

With only six episodes aired to date (there are new streaming shows every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) I am going to call it not only a hit, but the model of what talk shows will look like in the future. No long opening monologue with witty jokes, just a quick, concise opinion on trans bathroom issues. Which bathroom should they use? “Whichever one they want,” she says simply. She doesn’t worry about alienating people, she leaves that to the suits. Smart woman.

That’s because Netflix has been breaking the traditional mold ever since they took on video stores. They single handedly put the Blockbuster chain out of business. Now the now mammoth company is beginning to devour broadcast television with its noxious commercials and watery programming. The company is spending a billion dollars on new entertainment productions this year, and clearly not focused on the lowest common denominator that might be called WalMart America. Netflix made possible the phenomenon known as binge watching, and now the networks are rethinking their one show a week game plan and debating whether to make more than one or two episodes available on their digital websites. The world of entertainment has entered another shape shifting period.But there is one thing that they have that Netflic lacks.

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FEST: FreshGrass @ MASS MoCA Adds New Bands [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016
Lau

Lau

FreshGrass, MASS MoCA’s three-day bluegrass and roots music festival, announces additional bands for its annual September festival. UK experimental folk group Lau, mandolin virtuoso Sierra Hull, Texas blues and roots sensation Ruthie Foster, alt-folk, Northampton-based Parsonsfield and Mexican bluegrasser Rana Santacruz join the festival line-up, which already brims with Americana favorites including Old Crow Medicine Show, Glen Hansard, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Rosanne Cash, the Devil Makes Three, a Saturday night hoedown featuring the Infamous Stringdusters, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Aoife O’Donovan, Alison Brown, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Stephane Wrembel, John Reischman & the Jaybirds, Mr. Sun, Mile Twelve and last year’s FreshGrass Award winners Old Salt Union and Zoe & Cloyd. FreshGrass, at MASS MoCA on September 16-18, 2016, features bluegrass traditionalists and innovators on four stages and in every nook and cranny of the museum’s 28-building, 16-acre campus. This year’s festival marks an integrated partnership with No Depression, the quarterly journal for roots music and online roots music authority.

Lau is at the center of the British folk scene. Featuring guitar, fiddle, squeezebox and the hearty vocals of its three members (Kris Drever, Martin Green and Aidan O’Rourke), the band’s name comes from an old Orcadian word for “natural light,” and its music follows suit. “Steeped in folk heritage but with a love for experimentation” (The Guardian), Lau’s shimmering folk melodies and countless instrumental layers shed new light on traditional music. Beginning with its debut album released in 2007, Lau won Best Group for three consecutive years at the BBC Folk Awards, has made appearances at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Calgary Folk Music Festival and wowed a U.S. audience at last year’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival. With three masterful studio albums released, Folk Radio UK names Lau as “the mothership for an extraordinary artistic outpouring and some of the best music being made anywhere in any genre.”

Championed by Alison Krauss as having talent with no boundaries, mandolin extraordinaire and prodigy Sierra Hull hits the FreshGrass stage on her way to a tremendously bright future. Hull began playing mandolin at age eight, was signed to Rounder Records at age 13, and now at 24, after attending and graduating from Berklee College of Music on the prestigious Presidential Scholarship, has already recorded three studio albums, collaborating with mentor Alison Krauss. Her most recent, Weighted Mind, produced by banjo luminary Béla Fleck, is a “stunning coming-of-age album” with which Hull joins the likes of Nickel Creek alums Chris Thile, Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins as “pedigreed virtuosos whose youthful, searching musical minds have taken them into postmodern singer-songwriter territory and beyond” (NPR Music).

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Le Vent du Nord Blows into the Colonial Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

vent

Considered a driving force in progressive folk, Le Vent du Nord captures the energy and mirth of a Saturday night kitchen party, infusing old Québec with a breath of fresh, cosmopolitan air, as they blow into the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield on Thursday (May 26).

Since its founding in 2002, Le Vent du Nord have become compelling Francophone ambassadors, winning critical acclaim and audience adoration across Europe, Oceania and America. The quartet has performed well over 1,400 concerts, racking up several prestigious awards, including a Grand Prix du Disque Charles Cros, two Junos (Canada’s Grammys), a Canadian Folk Music Award and “Artist of the Year” at the North American Folk Alliance Annual Gala.

The band delivers catchy songs and tunes, some taken from the Québec traditional folk repertoire, while others are original compositions. The group has a rich and varied instrumentation, well-polished musical arrangements, and wonderful vocals.

Both the Quebec folk music quartet and its audience, will share the Colonial stage Thursday, May 26 at 8pm, as part of the theatre’s “On the Stage” Series.

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3rd Thursdays Kicks Off This Week in Pittsfield [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

thursday

Pittsfield’s award-winning street festival, 3rd Thursdays, returns for its 10th season on Thursday (May 19), and this month’s theme is Youth. The event celebrates young performers, dancers, musicians, artists and more. The largest free outdoor event series in the Berkshires, 3rd Thursdays are family friendly and open to all. North Street will be closed to vehicular traffic from West Street to Linden Street and will be filled with music, performance, food and community activities.

“We are looking forward to celebrating the 10th season with the return of some favorite 3rd Thursday features and the introduction of some new things including the unveiling of the Pittsfield Paintbox Project,” says Jen Glockner, director of cultural development for the city of Pittsfield.

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The Lucky 5 Jazz Up the Swing Dance Scene [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016
The Lucky Five

The Lucky Five

The Shire City Sanctuary – formerly the Notre Dame church – in Pittsfield’s Upstreet Cultural District is hosting the ongoing Shire City Rhythm Club with the Lucky 5 on Friday (May 20). A night of swing dancing from 8-11pm, with a free swing dance lesson from 7-8pm.

The Shire City Rhythm Club will offer a one-hour lesson (7-8pm) prior to the dance that will teach beginners and advanced students alike dance steps to incorporate into the evening’s partner-style dance. The lesson is included in the ticket price. All ages are welcome; beer, wine and pizza will be available at a separate cost. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door, and Shire City Sanctuary members will receive a 25% discount.

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It’s “Presto Change-O” as Barrington Stage Begins 2016 Season [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, May 16th, 2016
Presto Change-O stars (clockwise from bottom) Lenny Wolpe, Barbara Walsh, Michael Rupert, Bob Walton, Jenni Barber and Jarrod Spector.

“Presto Change-O” stars (clockwise from bottom) Lenny Wolpe, Barbara Walsh, Michael Rupert, Bob Walton, Jenni Barber and Jarrod Spector.

By Larry Murray

For 2016, things are going to be different at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield. They are ratcheting up their productions.

Usually their season opens with a simple show with one or two characters, followed by bigger and bigger productions as the summer tourist season takes over the Berkshires.

But Julianne Boyd (artistic director) and Tristan Wilson (managing director) have decided to begin instead with the Musical Theatre Lab world premiere new musical, Presto Change-O, which runs from Wednesday (May 18) through Saturday, June 11. The company’s press release describes this intriguing new musical as one that “tells the story of three generations of magicians who find themselves under one roof for the first time in years. When the grandfather causes real magic to happen, they must confront their past mistakes and re-examine what it means to be a family.”

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