Berkshire Weekend Cultural Highlights Dec 22-25, 2011


Everett Bradley

(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Everett Bradley’s Holidelic comes to Club Helsinki on Thursday, December 22, 2011, at 8 p.m., for a ‘Holiday Freak’ concert. Holidelic blends the musical influences of 1970s and ‘80s funk and soul bands in original songs that celebrate diversity, mild familial seasonal dysfunction, individuality and holiday booty shaking.

Since its inception in 2002, Everett Bradley’s sold-out performances have featured a range of artists from Living Colour’s Vernon Reid, hip-hop’s John Forte to pop chanteuse Lucy Woodward, dancing trombonist Jonathan Arons, and the legendary Celeste Holm; celebrating uniqueness and diversity with the power of the groove as his common denominator.

Everett Bradley is a Grammy Award-nominated singer/songwriter, producer, actor, and dancer who has been gracing New York with his multi-flavored art for the past 14 years. He has done just about everything from touring and performing in and out of the studio with musical giants like Bobby McFerrin, Jon Bon Jovi, and David Bowie to being the musical director for Carly Simon and for the last 4 years has been a permanent fixture in the Hall and Oates band as a vocalist and percussionist.

Abroad, he has topped the charts in Europe with his dance classic, “I Luv U Baby,” and was the first American to perform and direct the British percussive sensation STOMP. He was co-writer, co-arranger, Theatre World Award winner, and star of the hit musical, SWING, which won a Tony and Grammy-nomination for best Broadway Cast recording.

Bradley’s first full length CD, As Ever It Is, received rave reviews from both Billboard and People magazine, and the haunting ballad ”Whadify” was featured in the closing 2001 episode of Dawson’s Creek.

His 2002 all original holiday CD entitled, TOY is a joyous, funky, collection of new Christmas tunes. This self produced album features duets with Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora, siren Ann Hampton Callaway, and trumpet great Chris Botti.

On the flip side, Bradley is also the musical director of Our Time Theatre Company, an artistic home for young people that stutter, where he teaches singing, drumming, and songwriting techniques. Bradley currently has a co-written show running at the Caldwell Theater in Boca Raton, Fla., called Vices: A Love Story.

Club Helsinki
405 Columbia St.
Hudson, N.Y.



(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center will present special holiday screenings of It’s A Wonderful Life on Friday, December 23, 2011, at 7 pm (FREE general admission) and of The Polar Express on Wednesday, December 28 at 6 pm ($6 general admission).

In It’s A Wonderful Life (1946), George Bailey (James Stewart) spends his entire life giving up his big dreams for the good of his town, Bedford Falls, as we see in flashback. But in the present, on Christmas Eve, he is broken and despondent over the misplacing of an $8,000 loan and the machinations of the evil millionaire, Mr. Potter. His guardian angel, Clarence, falls to Earth, literally, and shows him how his town, family, and friends would turn out if he had never been born. George meant so much to so many people; should he really throw it all away?

Directed by Robert Zemeckis and based on children’s author Chris Van Allsburg’s modern holiday classic of the same name, The Polar Express (2004) revolves around Billy (Hayden McFarland), who longs to believe in Santa Claus but finds it quite difficult to do so, what with his family’s dogged insistence that all of it, from the North Pole, to the elves, to the man himself, is all just a myth. This all changes, however, on Christmas Eve, when a mysterious train visits Billy in the middle of the night, promising to take him and a group of other lucky children to the North Pole for a visit with Santa. The train’s conductor (Tom Hanks) along with the other passengers help turn Billy’s crisis in faith into a journey of self-discovery.

The Mahaiwe is located at 14 Castle Street in Great Barrington, Mass. Box Office Hours: Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 6 pm and three hours before show times. Movie tickets are available in person only. For more information, see Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center or call 413.528.0100.




James Taylor

James Taylor will play Bob Cratchit in 'A Christmas Carol' at the Colonial

(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – James Taylor makes his Berkshire stage debut as an actor this week, playing Bob Cratchit in Berkshire Theatre Group’s annual community production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, presented for the first time at the Colonial Theatre. A Christmas Carol runs through December 30 at the Colonial Theatre.

Eric Hill and E. Gray Simons III will co-direct again and return to the stage with fellow company members Kim Taylor, Michael Brahce, Ralph Petillo, Gail Ryan and Chris Vecchia. Joining the community cast this year will be award-winning musician and Berkshirite James Taylor, in the role of Bob Cratchit; as well as four graduate students from BTG’s partner academic institution, Brandeis University, Sarah Elizabeth Bedard, Sam Gillam, Brandon Green and Eddie Shields; three of Berkshire Theatre Group’s Artists-in-Residence, Rachael Balcanoff, Jacob Gold and Lauren Stanek; in addition to 20 children, representing nine different schools and seven different towns in the Berkshire area.




"Merrie Christmas: Couple Dancing Under Mistletoe," Norman Rockwell, 1928. Oil on canvas. Cover illustration for "The Saturday Evening Post," December 8, 1928.

(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – This holiday season Norman Rockwell Museum celebrates the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth with a new exhibition that explores the literary giant’s influence on the artist’s work. Norman Rockwell and the Ghost of Dickens is on view at the museum through March 4, 2012.

Norman Rockwell is well known for his enduring illustrations of the holidays, which brought good cheer to millions of Americans. In his autobiography, My Adventures as an Illustrator, the artist described important memories from his youth that were seminal to his later work. Of particular importance were Rockwell’s recollections focused on his father reading Charles Dickens stories aloud to his sons in the evening after they finished their homework. Throughout his life, Rockwell would cite the significance of those nightly readings and the influence of Dickens on his art.





A scene from the Met Opera's 'Hansel and Gretel'

(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center presents two Met Live in HD holiday encore broadcasts: Mozart’s The Magic Flute on Wednesday, December 21, 2011,  at 7pm, directed by Julie Taymor and conducted by James Levine, an abridged, 100-minute version, sung in English and featuring a youthful cast, making it perfect for opera fans of all ages. On Thursday, December 22 at 7 pm, Richard Jones’s innovative staging of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel will reveal the darker underpinnings of this charming and beloved Brothers Grimm tale. Tickets to the holiday encore broadcasts are $14 (general admission).

The Magic Flute was the groundbreaking broadcast that launched the Met’s heralded Live in HD series, seen by opera lovers in movie theaters around the world. Adults and children alike are enchanted by the whimsical humor and breathtaking puppetry of Julie Taymor’s hit production, presented in a shortened English-language version. Under the baton of Maestro James Levine, a winning ensemble cast – including Nathan Gunn, Ying Huang, Matthew Polenzani, Erika Miklosa, and René Pape – brings fresh life to Mozart’s timeless fairy tale.

In this English-language version of Humperdinck’s opera, Hansel and Gretel, the famous fairy tale siblings wander into the forest in search of strawberries and find themselves in the clutches of an evil witch, who is determined to turn them into gingerbread cookies. The score includes the familiar “Evening Prayer,” in which the children, alone in the forest, ask for fourteen angels to guard them as they sleep.

The Mahaiwe is located at 14 Castle Street in Great Barrington, Mass. Box Office Hours: Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 6 pm and three hours before show times. For tickets and information, see Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center or call 413.528.0100.



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