A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshire region, including a Broadway star; an early music group; a guitar-rock double-bill; and a new musical.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Tony Award-winner Donna McKechnie kicks off the 2016 season at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret at Barrington Stage Company (BSC) with “Same Place: Another Time,” on Sunday, May 22, and Monday, May 23, at 8pm both nights. Donna McKechnie, the Tony Award-winning star of “A Chorus Line,” is regarded internationally as one of Broadway’s foremost dancing and singing leading ladies. She returns to BSC in her new show, a musical déjà vu celebrating the scintillating 1970s in New York City – the heyday of Studio 54. She takes a personal spin on the “ingénue” coming to the city, finding love and success while losing her innocence, perhaps, but never her spirit.
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass., and LAKEVILLE, Conn.) – Early music organization Crescendo presents “Elizabethan Music and The Sounds of Hamlet,” a concert featuring madrigals and motets plus a world premiere by composer Juan Mesa, based on three quotes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, at Great Barrington’s First Congregational Church on Saturday, May 21, at 6pm, and again in Lakeville at Trinity Lime Rock on Sunday, May 22, at 4pm. Performers are the Crescendo Chorus, soloists, the viola da gamba ensemble Arcadia Viols, and Laurence Wallach on continuo organ. Crescendo artistic director Christine Gevert will conduct.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – “Presto Change-O,” with book and lyrics by Eric Price and music by Joel Waggoner, receives its world premiere at Barrington Stage Company (BSC) from Wednesday, May 18, through Saturday, June 11. This exciting new musical, a production of BSC’s Musical Theatre Lab, 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.
“Presto Change-O” stars Tony Award-winner Michael Rupert (Broadway’s Falsettos, On The Town) as “Lance,” Tony Award-nominee Jarrod Spector (Broadway’s “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”) as “Michael,” Tony Award-nominee Barbara Walsh (Broadway’s “Company”) as “Mary,” Jenni Barber (Broadway’s “Wicked”) as “Tina,” Bob Walton (Broadway’s “42nd Street”) as “Arthur,” and Lenny Wolpe (Broadway’s “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Wicked”) as “Sheldon.”
“Presto Change-O” features book and lyrics by Eric Price, music by Joel Waggoner, choreography by Chris Bailey, and direction by Marc Bruni of Broadway’s “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” Vadim Feichtner is music director.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Long-running upstate power-pop trio The Figgs and satirical hard-rockers The Upper Crust bring their catchy guitar-rock to Club Helsinki Hudson on Friday, May 20, at 9pm. The Figgs’ albums are stuffed with Kinks-inspired power and melodies, vibrant harmonies and sonic experimentation recalling The Beatles, plus the grit and youthfulness akin to the best rock bands from the Who to the Ramones. The Upper Crust is a Boston-based satirical rock band, a fusion of tongue-in-cheek Spinal Tap rock antics as performed by alleged members of the European aristocracy, including Lord Bendover (guitar, vocals), the Duc d’Istortion (guitars, vocals), Count Bassie (bass, vocals), and Jackie Kickassis (drums).
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Acoustic engineer Edgar Choueiri will discuss his binaural audio set-up, which he claims can a fool listeners into believing they are experiencing a live performance when they are actually hearing a recording, in a presentation entitled “Making Waves — Sounds of the Future” at the Hudson Opera House on Sunday, May 22, at 2pm, as part of Close Encounters with Music’s “Conversations With…” lecture series.