(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Humorist David Sedaris, Celtic fiddler Natalie MacMaster, jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Chinese acrobats and the Folksbiene Yiddish theater’s Ghetto Tango top the spring 2013 bill at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. The season also includes the Mahaiwe’s usual mix of movies, talks, Met Opera and London National Theatre simulcasts, and the Close Encounters with Music chamber series.
On Sunday, March 17, 2013, at 2pm, New York Times-bestselling author and illustrator Brian Selznick will talk about his Caldecott Award-winning book The Invention of Hugo Cabret and how it became Martin Scorsese’s 2011 Oscar-winning film Hugo. Following a blu-ray screening of the family film, he will participate in a Q & A with his Scholastic editor, Berkshire resident Tracy Mack, and then sign books.
On Saturday, April 13, 2013, at 8pm, two groundbreaking young American musicians, singer/mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile and jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, will give a rare performance as a duo. Both artists are inspired by a wide range of composers and songwriters, from Bach to Radiohead, and the duo will explore the beauty and intricacies of form and improvisation via a variety of their favorite tunes and original compositions.
The Mahaiwe presents Masters of the Fiddle with Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy on Sunday, March 24 at 7pm. Natalie MacMaster is one of the most versatile and exciting young musicians on both the folk and Celtic music scenes. Donnell Leahy is the lead fiddle and dancer with Canada’s famous music and dance company, the Leahy Family. Together, the couple who are also married, Natalie and Donnell meld their virtuosities into a whirlwind of fiddle-driven music, dance, and song, combining the best of French, Celtic, and American Bluegrass and even Cajun styles and making it their own.
With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris has become one of America’s pre-eminent humor writers. He will appear at the Mahaiwe on Saturday, April 6 at 8pm and sign books after the show.
Cirque Shanghai: Bai Xi, a visually spectacular production that combines astounding Chinese acrobatics with fast-paced action and contemporary staging, will perform at the Mahaiwe on Friday, April 26 at 10am (school field trip performance) and 7pm (public performance). Dating back to the Han Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago, Chinese acrobatic spectacles were first called “bai xi,” meaning “100 amazing acts,” in reference to the performers’ seemingly limitless skills. These daring and beautiful feats were featured in command performances for China’s emperors and have been passed down and enhanced through generations. Today, “Bai Xi” brings this on-stage wonder to 21st century audiences via aerial acrobatics, plate spinning, contortion, balancing acts, hoop diving, martial arts, and more. In addition to tricks, the production features state-of-the-art computerized lighting and a fusion of traditional eastern and modern orchestration. Tickets are $25 to $35.
On Thursday, May 9 at 7pm, NPR’s Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me! will make its cinematic debut with an HD broadcast of its popular news quiz show beamed into hundreds of theaters across the US and Canada. Host Peter Sagal and official judge and scorekeeper Carl Kasell will be joined on-stage by panelists like Paula Poundstone and Mo Rocca to play the quiz in front of a live audience. Audience members will enjoy the familiar segments “Who’s Carl This Time?,” “Bluff The Listener,” “Not My Job,” “Limericks,” “Lightning Fill in the Blank,” and other audience favorites-all written around the news of the week. Tickets are $20.
Paul Taylor Dance Company returns to the Mahaiwe for its sixth consecutive season Friday and Saturday May 24 and May 25 at 8pm and Sunday, May 26 at 3pm and 7pm. The renowned modern dance company will perform the New England premiere of Taylor’s Perpetual Dawn, which depicts young people experiencing the awakening of love, perhaps for the very first time. The new work is set to sprightly concertos by Baroque composer Johann David Heinichen. Other dances to be performed include Cascade, Kith and Kin, Lost Found Lost, and Offenbach Overtures.
The Metropolitan Opera’s “Live in HD” spring schedule includes Wagner’s Parsifal (Saturday, March 2 at 12:00pm and an encore presentation on Wednesday, March 13 at 12:00pm); Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini (Saturday, March 16 at 12:00pm and an encore presentation on Wednesday, March 27 at 12:00pm); and Handel’s Giulio Cesare (Saturday, April 27 at 12:00pm and an encore presentation on Sunday, May 5 at 12:00pm). Tickets are $18 to $25.
Opera expert Scott Eyerly gives an introductory talk about each Met opera at the Mahaiwe before its live broadcast. Mixing erudition and humor, Eyerly’s lectures enhance the opera-goer’s experience. All interested community members are welcome to attend these educational seminars whether attending the broadcast or not. The schedule Wagner’s Parsifal (Saturday, March 2 at 10:00am); Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini (Saturday, March 16 at 10:00am); and Handel’s Giulio Cesare (Saturday, April 27 at 10:00am). Tickets are $10 per lecture (general admission).
The Mahaiwe will present two London’s National Theatre: Live in HD broadcasts, including People, a new play by one of Britain’s most celebrated playwrights, Alan Bennett, directed by Nicholas Hytner, and starring Olivier Award-winning actress Frances de la Tour on Thursday, March 21 at 7:00pm, with an encore presentation on Saturday, March 30 at 7:00pm; and This House on Friday, May 17 at 7:00pm. James Graham’s biting, energetic, and critically-acclaimed new play strips politics down to the practical realities of those behind the scenes who roll up their sleeves, and on occasion bend the rules, to maneuver a diverse and conflicting chorus of MPs within the Mother of all Parliaments. Tickets are $18 to $25.
Upcoming cinema offerings include Mahaiwe Movie of the Month screenings of Ridley Scott’s Thelma and Louise (1991, R), starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon on Saturday, March 16 at 7:00pm and Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights (1931, NR), a classic silent movie, on Sunday, April 21 at 4:00pm. Tickets are $7 (general admission). Order movie tickets through the Mahaiwe box office in person or by phone to avoid additional online service fees. Mahaiwe Movies of the Month are sponsored by Don Buchwald & Associates.
The Mahaiwe will also host a wide variety of community events presented by Close Encounters With Music, Congregation Ahavath Sholom, Town of Great Barrington, Monument Mountain Regional High School, WAM Theatre and Sisters for Peace in conjunction with the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. The full schedule follows in the calendar summary below.
Tickets to Brian Selznick, Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau, and Paul Taylor Dance Company will go on sale to Mahaiwe Members at noon on Tuesday, February 12 and on sale to the general public at noon on Thursday, February 14. The Mahaiwe is located at 14 Castle Street in Great Barrington, Mass. Box office hours are Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 6:00pm and three hours before show times. A limited number of $15 tickets are available for patrons ages 30 and younger to all Mahaiwe-produced programs through the Mahaiwe ArtSmart Tix program. For tickets and information, visit Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center or call 413.528.0100.