A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshire region, including an award-winning new music ensemble; the proper kickoff to Tanglewood’s classical music season; a hot young comedian; a new pop music series; plus a whole lot more.
(CHATHAM, N.Y.) – Brooklyn-based new music ensemble So Percussion brings its innovative interpretations of modern classics and collaborative new works to the Tent at PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century on Saturday, July 9, at 8pm. Champions of innovation and curiosity, So Percussion produces its own original music and frequently collaborates with other musicians and performers. They are well known for using original and exotic instruments in performance and on recordings.
So Percussion’s repertoire ranges from music of the 20th century by John Cage, Steve Reich, and Iannis Xenakis, to commissioning and advocating works by contemporary composers such as David Lang, Steve Mackey, and Paul Lansky, to distinctively modern collaborations with artists who work outside the classical concert hall.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – The rock-horror musical comedy “Little Shop of Horrors,” with book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken, opens at the Colonial Theatre on Wednesday, July 6, and runs through Saturday, July 23. The production features Broadway actress Bryonha Parham voicing the role of Audrey II – the infamous plant – from offstage, while onstage lip-syncing drag queen Taurean Everett will embody the plant, which is usually represented by a puppet.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) — Joe Pera bring his deadpan standup comedy style to the Dré Pavilion at MASS MoCA on Saturday, July 9, at 8pm. The Buffalo-born, Brooklyn-based comic has been called “… more Twilight Zone than Moth, more Andy Kaufman than Chris Gethard.”
(LENOX, Mass.) – Violinist Joshua Bell will appear with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as soloist in Saint-Saëns’s romantic Violin Concerto No. 3 at Opening Night at Tanglewood in a program featuring music by Ravel, Saint-Saëns, and Prokofiev, led by Canadian conductor Jacques Lacombe, on Friday, July 8, at 8pm.
(AMHERST, Mass.) – The world-renowned Klezmatics will headline the fifth annual Yidstock: The Festival of New Yiddish Music, at the Yiddish Book Center from Thursday, July 14, through Sunday, July 17. The lineup for the four-day festival also includes the original klezmer revival outfit Klezmer Conservatory Band, led by Hankus Netsky and featuring guest vocalists Eleanor Reissa and Lorin Sklamberg and founding trumpeter Frank London; Sklamberg & the Shepherds, with Lorin Sklamberg, singer/pianist/composer Polina Shepherd and master clarinetist Merlin Shepherd; Paul Shapiro’s Ribs and Brisket Revue, whose distinctive sound mixes klezmer with early jazz and R&B; and featured performances by Eleanor Reissa, Merlin Shepherd and Frank London.
(EGREMONT, Mass.) – Marshall Crenshaw and friends perform the official grand opening celebration concert of the already underway “Gems of Many Genres” music series in the newly restored Egremont Barn, a part of the historic Egremont Village Inn, on Friday, July 8, at 8pm and Saturday, July 9, at 8pm. Marshall Crenshaw is an American musician, singer and songwriter best known for his song “Someday, Someway.” “Although he was seen as a latter-day Buddy Holly at the outset, he soon proved too talented and original to be anyone but himself,” Trouser Press summed up Marshall Crenshaw’s early career. “He writes songs that are melodic, hooky and emotionally true, and he sings and plays them with an honesty and force that still finds room for humor without venom” — All Music Guide.
ASTON MAGNA FESTIVAL CONCLUDES WITH JS BACH at BARD and MAHAIWE
(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y. and GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Aston Magna, the nation’s longest-running festival of early music, concludes its 44th season with “J.S. Bach: Sacred and Secular,” featuring Friday and Saturday evening concerts at Bard College and at the Mahaiwe, respectively, on Friday-Saturday, July 8-9. The concert features virtuoso early music artists performing on authentic period instruments, and a bevy of vocal talent, with Dominique Labelle, soprano; Deborah Rentz-Moore, alto; William Hite and Frank Kelley, tenors; Ulysses Thomas and Jesse Blumberg, baritones, performing with a full Aston Magna baroque ensemble. The program features Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3, BWV 1068; Cantata No 12: Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen; and Cantata No. 201: The Contest of Phoebus and Pan.
For the Bard finale, tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door. Purchase tickets by phone at (888) 492-1283. For the Great Barrington finale at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, tickets are $25-50. Tickets can be purchased online at Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center or by calling 413-528-0100.
(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) – “Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed” (1917), four puppet plays by leading Italian Futurist Fortunato Depero, as newly rediscovered, translated, designed, and directed by Obie and Bessie Award-winning artist Dan Hurlin, begins its run at the Bard SummerScape Festival on Thursday, July 7, with the first performance almost a full century after its creation. Hurlin’s production combines traditional bunraku puppetry techniques with state-of-the-art technology – from 3-D printing to sound sampling – and a live score by Tony Award-nominated composer/sound designer Dan Moses Schreier (July 7–17). Presentations take place in the Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Iconic jam-band guitarist and producer Eric Krasno brings his band and soul-rock jams to Club Helsinki Hudson on Saturday, July 9, at 9pm. Krasno is best known as guitarist for jam-rock avatars Soulive and Lettuce, but releases his first solo album, “Blood from a Stone,” the day before his Helsinki show.
(OLD CHATHAM, N.Y.) – Works by Marguerite Bride and Karen S. Jacobs are featured in “Berkshire Visions: Two Artists, Two Mediums,” at the Old Chatham Country Store & Café through Wednesday, July 27. The exhibition features representational watercolors by Bride and abstract oil paintings by Jacobs.
NUDES from PRADO EXHIBITION OPENS at THE CLARK
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – “Splendor, Myth, and Vision: Nudes from the Prado,” the summer’s major exhibition at the Clark Art Institute, consisting of 28 Old Master paintings of the nude, twenty-four of which have never traveled to the United States, remains on view through Monday, October 10. The exhibition, co-organized by the Clark and the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, examines the collecting of 16th- and 17th-century paintings of the nude at the Spanish court, exploring the histories of these works and their display in the Spanish Royal Collections, and reconsidering the significant role of the nude in European art.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – The summer theater season at Barrington Stage Company gets fully underway this weekend when Debra Jo Rupp opens in Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Kimberly Akimbo” (through July 16) and Tamara Tunie of TV’s “Law and Order” creates the lead role in the world premiere of “American Son” (through July 9). written by Christopher Demos-Brown and already winner of the prestigious Laurents/Hatcher Award for Best New Play of 2016.
(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 from 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. Austin Lombardi stars in the title role. This production move to off-Broadway in Manhattan in September.
(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 from Friday, June 17, through October 30, will examine 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.
DUST BOWL FAERIES to PERFORM at TANG MUSEUM – ON THE ROOF
(SARATOGA, N.Y.) – Ryder Cooley & Dust Bowl Faeries will perform a concert of ethereal gothic folk music on the rooftop of the Tang Museum on Friday, July 8, at 7pm. This free concert is part of the Tang Museum’s UpBeat on the Roof summer music series.