A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshire region, including a modern, jazzy take on Bach; contemporary dance; early music; classic Tennessee Williams; and punk-fueled string-band music, plus a whole lot more.
(CHATHAM, N.Y.) – PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century kicks off its summer 2016 performance series with the eleventh annual Paul Grunberg Memorial Bach Concert, featuring award-winning American violinist, fiddler, and composer Jeremy Kittel and his band in The Tent at PS21 on Saturday, July 2, at 7:30pm. Fluent in multiple musical genres, Kittel – formerly of the Turtle Island Quartet – composes music drawn from traditional roots, jazz, Celtic, classical, electronic, and other streams.
(BECKET, Mass.) – Aspen Santa Fe Ballet kicks off Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 2016 with a program of works by choreographers including Alejandro Cerrudo, Fernando Melo, and Cayetano Soto in the Ted Shawn Theatre from Wednesday, June 22, through Sunday, June 26. Also this week, the 14 dancers and musicians of Juan Siddi Flamenco Santa Fe present a program of flamenco dance and powerful live music in the Doris Duke Theatre.
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Grammy Award-nominated jazz saxophonist and composer Joshua Redman will make his second appearance at the Mahaiwe on Sunday, June 26, at 7pm. The Joshua Redman Quartet, featuring Aaron Goldberg (piano), Reuben Rogers (bass), and Gregory Hutchinson (drums), performs new original music and jazz classics.
(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y. and GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Aston Magna artistic director Daniel Stepner, on baroque violin, leads “The Trio Sonata,” a collection of violin works by Handel, Corelli, Purcell and Leclair, and a newly commissioned work for period instruments by Alex Burtzos, at Bard College on Friday, June 24, and at Simon’s Rock College on Saturday, June 25. Stepner is joined by Brazilian violinist Edson Scheid, with Aston Magna ensemble members Laura Jeppesen, viola da gamba and Michael Sponseller, harpsichord.
(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – The Tennessee Williams classic “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” about a Southern family’s web of emotional deceit, opens the summer season at the Fitzpatrick Main Stage at Berkshire Theatre Group, running from Friday, June 22, through Saturday, July 16. The play will be directed by Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize award-winning playwright David Auburn.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) — The Pioneer Valley’s Matt Lorenz aka The Suitcase Junket brings his one-man roots-music band to MASS MoCA on Saturday, June 25, at 8pm. The concert is a sampler of the talent featured each year at MASS MoCA’s FreshGrass Festival, taking place this year September 16-18. Pulling his moniker from the luggage he sits on to perform, The Suitcase Junket’s music spans from soft folk-rock to punk-infused blues, while his knack for soaring throat-singing contrasts with his aggressive strumming and baby-shoe kick drum. Lorenz’s songs form a colorful sonic palette that serves as an exemplar of innovation in the folk genre. His songwriting is “crafted and honed, not strewn about” with “a tinge of Waits and a hint of Dylan, in both vocal styling and social consciousness” (No Depression).
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Americana outfit Laney Jones and the Spirits bring their rock-fueled string-band music to Club Helsinki Hudson on Thursday, June 23, at 8pm. Local heroes Chops and Sauerkraut, joined by steel guitar player Teddy Weber of the Wiyos, will warm up the crowd for Laney Jones. With their melodic hooks and bashing rhythms and lyrics about getting drunk and having a good time – as well as those lead guitar lines snaking through the whole song – the group can sound like the Replacements led by a banjo-playing female.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – The summer theater season at Barrington Stage Company is fully underway, with Debra Jo Rupp in Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Kimberly Akimbo” and Tamara Tunie of TV’s “Law and Order” in the lead role of the world premiere of “American Son,” written by Christopher Demos-Brown and already winner of the prestigious Laurents/Hatcher Award for Best New Play of 2016.
(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – For the first time ever, Norman Rockwell Museum will explore the contrast between the abstract and realist movements, placing works by Rockwell, Andrew Wyeth, and Andy Warhol side by side with Jackson Pollock, Alexander Calder, Jasper Johns, and over 40 other preeminent artists, including Walton Ford, Larry Rivers, Helen Frankenthaler, Jeff Koons, Anita Kunz, Jacqui Morgan, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Philip Pearlstein, Robert Rauschenberg, David Salle, Saul Steinberg, and Cy Twombly.
“Rockwell and Realism in an Abstract World,” on view through October 30, examines the forces that forged the mid-century dismissal of narrative painting and illustration, as well as the resurgence of realist painting during the latter half of the twentieth century, its presence and critical consideration today, and the ways in which our contemporary viewpoints have been shaped by post World War II constructs.
The exhibition’s official opening reception will take place on Thursday, July 14, at 6:30pm, and will include remarks from featured artists.
(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – “Fiorello!,” the 1959 musical about New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, who broke up the stranglehold so-called Tammany Hall had on New York City politics, is being revived by Berkshire Theatre Group at the Unicorn Theatre through Saturday, July 23. The winner of three Tony Awards, the musical, created by the legendary Broadway duo Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, is one of only nine to have also won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.