A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshire region, including indie-rock legends; Quebecois folk; a new political comedy; two indie-pop vocalists; and a star of Broadway cabaret.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) — Newly reunited 1990s indie-rock legends Luna brings its whispery vocals, pop melodies, weaving electric guitar riffs, and chugging bass lines to MASS MoCA on Saturday, May 28, at 8pm, ushering in the summer season at the sprawling cultural laboratory. Described by Rolling Stone as “the best band you’ve never heard of,” Luna, along with bands like the Feelies and Yo La Tengo, was a key player in the early-1990s revival of the New York sound patented by the Velvet Underground in the 1960s – indeed, the band opened concert for that legendary outfit’s brief 1993 European reunion tour.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) — Quebec folk music quartet Le Vent du Nord perform at the Colonial Theatre on Thursday, May 26, at 8pm, as part of the On the Stage Series. 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. 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 compelling vocals.
(LENOX, Mass.) – “The Taming,” a politically charged comedy written by award-winning playwright Lauren Gunderson, gets its regional premiere at Shakespeare & Company beginning Friday, May 27, and running through July 30, 2016. Directed by Nicole Ricciardi, the 90-minute play, inspired by Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew,” exposes America’s overheated political rhetoric through the passions of three slightly insane women who just might be revolutionary geniuses. Inside the heightened, cheerfully absurd world of the red-state vs. blue-state comedy
“The Taming,” playwright Gunderson spanks America’s sound-bite politics, wrestles with a Shakespeare-inspired, playful and problematic battle of the sexes, and proves the point that true debate is hot.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Broadway veteran and award-winning actress Leslie Kritzer brings her cabaret act, “Leslie’s Back!,” to Mr. Finn’s Cabaret at Barrington Stage Company on Sunday, May 29, at 9pm, and Monday, May 30, at 8pm. Kritzer’s show includes stories of her life on and off Broadway and show tunes accompanied by her husband, BSC music director Vadim Feichtner, on piano.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Deradoorian and Emily Ritz bring a double-bill of female indie-pop to Club Helsinki Hudson on Saturday, May 28, at 9pm. Angel Deradoorian is best known as a former member of Dirty Projectors. Emily Ritz, a former fixture on the Bay Area music scene, now calls Hudson home.
(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) now 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.