Regional Cultural Preview, August 21-24, 2020


Bobby Sweet (photo Lee Everett)

Bobby Sweet Brings Folk-Rock to BTG

(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – Country-folk singer-songwriter Bobby Sweet brings his award-winning, Berkshire-bred brand of folk-rock to the Unicorn Theatre Patio on the Stockbridge campus of Berkshire Theatre Group on Saturday, August 22, at 7pm, as part of Bobbie’s Summer Series. Sweet will be joined by fellow musicians Pete Adams and Abe Guthrie for this program, called “The Grace of a Song.”



Storm Lever (photo Boneau Bryan-Brown)

BSC Presents Rodgers & Hammerstein Cabaret

(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – The Hills Are Alive with Rodgers & Hammerstein, featuring the most-beloved songs by songwriting duo Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, will be presented by Barrington Stage Company at the Tartell Family Outdoor Stage at the former Polish Community Club – opposite BSC’s Blatt Center (55 Linden St.) from Wednesday, August 19, through Saturday, August 29.

The concert, directed by BSC founder/artistic director Julianne Boyd, features songs from Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music. Performers include Alan H. Green (BSC’s American Underground, Broadway’s School of Rock), Storm Lever (Broadway’s Summer: The Donna Summer Musical), Nicholas Rodriguez (Broadway’s Tarzan), Alexandra Silber (Broadway’s Fiddler on the Roof) and Alysha Umphress (BSC and Broadway’s On the Town, Broadway’s American Idiot). Shea Sullivan (BSC’s Ragtime) will choreograph and Darren R. Cohen is the musical director.



Jon Ahmadjian and Erika Ludwig

Roots-Music Duo Performs at Dewey Hall

(SHEFFIELD, Mass.) – Roots musicians Erika Ludwig and Jon Ahmadjian will perform at Dewey Hall on Friday, August 21, at 7pm, as part of the Dewey Sessions Friday night outdoor concert series.

Erika Ludwig (fiddle) and Jon Ahmadjian (guitar) met at the OldTone Festival in 2019 and quickly discovered a shared joy of playing traditional music non-traditionally. Their diverse history, experience, and appreciation of a wide variety of musical styles were focused when they joined forces with Steve Margulis (banjo, mandolin) and Alexandra Ludwig (bass) to form an as-yet-unnamed old-time band to compete at the OldTone Band Contest 2020.

With all musical performances currently in flux, Ludwig and Ahmadjian have been playing as a duo, carrying the traditional torch into darker, off-beat corners. Their performance debut will include energetic fiddle tunes in minor keys, traditional favorites from the U.S. and the U.K,  and a few jazz standards.



Ariana DeBose

Operation Unite to Host Hudson’s First Virtual Sankofa Black Arts and Cultural Festival

(HUDSON, N.Y.) –  The first Virtual Sankofa Black Arts and Cultural Festival in Hudson takes place now through Monday, August 31, 2020. The festival will include Sankofa Forums, with topics including education, racism, people of color in the entertainment industry, fitness and health, history on the river, entertainment, and the Sankofa Sunday Message.

Presenters include Sasha Sierra Allen, an American singer and actress born and raised in Harlem, who has been a backing vocalist for the likes of Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Leona Lewis, and Usher; Yvette Taylor Jordan, educational consultant Dr. Leah Z. Owens, author, inter-cultural communicator and educator Kimberly Erwin, author-historian Janise Laboard, fitness and health specialist Ayanna Elohim, “Confidence Creator” fitness coach Emel Mosley, choreographer/dancer Kyle Marshall, singer-actress-dancer Ariana Debose (Hamilton, So You Think You Can Dance), choreographer/dancer Marcus McGregor, theater artist and filmmaker Tanisha Christie, performing artist/activist Taja Lindley, cosmic soul singer Lady Moon, African and African-American-oriented Harambee Dance Company, Wynton Marsalis sideman Zorkie Nelson’s West African Dancers and Drummers, and visual artists Chiarra Hughes, Ifetayo Cobbins, Pamela Badila, Nkoula Badila, and Lucy Welch. Continuing with tradition, Reverend Kim L. Singletary will bring the Sunset Service Sankofa message on Sunday, August 30, at 7pm, along with guest choirs.



Timo Andres (photo Michael Wilson)

Pianist Timo Andres Plays Copland, Rzewski at PS21

(CHATHAM, N.Y.) – Timo Andres, the multi-faceted composer-pianist described by the New Yorker’s Alex Ross as “quietly awesome,” will perform a daring program of three musical responses to violence and exploitation—Aaron Copland’s “Piano Sonata,” Frederic Rzewski’s “Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues,” and Andre’s own “Old Ground”—at PS21 on Friday, August 21, at 7pm, as part of the Modern Music Fest series.

Copland’s sonata, which masks its seriousness behind a rhythmic liveliness borrowed from jazz and Latin-American music, was composed under the cloud of World War II. In Rzewski’s solo piano piece, like the blues that inspired it, the music of “Winnsboro” cunningly progresses from the gentle melody of a worker’s blues song to a haunting condemnation of grinding factory labor. “Old Ground,” in Andres’s own words, “deals with another historical American tragedy.” He “didn’t plan it that way,” he says, “but when we’re thinking about people working in Amazon warehouses—that’s what it’s about.”

Andres was born in 1985 in California, grew up in rural Connecticut, and now lives in Brooklyn. Home Stretch (Nonesuch), his album of orchestral works, drew praise in The Guardian for its “playful intelligence and individuality.”



Adam Tendler (photo Steven Pisano)

Pianist Adam Tendler Plays Cage, Monk, Muhly, Glass at PS21

(CHATHAM, N.Y.) – Acclaimed pianist Adam Tendler will perform works by a handful of contemporary composers, including Philip Glass, Nico Muhly, Meredith Monk, and John Cage, at PS21 on Saturday, August 22, at 7pm, as part of the Modern Music Fest series.

Tendler will tackled John Cage’s Cheap Imitation, Part I; Christopher Cerrone’s Hoyt-Schermerhorn; Meredith Monk’s Ellis Island; Nico Muhly’s Off the Grid / A Hudson Cycle; John Glover’s the scent of their roses does not remain; Darian Donovan Thomas’s In Place; Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together; and Philip Glass’s Mad Rush.

Recipient of a 2019 Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists, Tendler is a ubiquitous presence in all new music genres, has performed all of Aaron Copland’s piano works, presents John Cage’s work internationally in collaboration with the John Cage Trust, and has won praise for his nuanced renditions of those composers, the work of Philip Glass, Frederic Rzewski, and others.

Early in his career, Tendler toured all fifty states with America 88×50, a series of solo piano recitals of music by Aaron Copland, Alberto Ginastera, Charles Tomlinson Griffes, and Charles Ives. The grassroots tour became the subject of 88×50 (2013), a memoir that was named a Kirkus Book of the month and nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. He published a second memoir, tidepools, in 2018.



Curtis Sittenfeld

Curtis Sittenfeld Discusses New Novel ‘Rodham’ Online at The Mount

(LENOX, Mass.) – Novelist Curtis Sittenfeld will discuss her most recent book, Rodham—a work of speculative fiction that imagines a universe in which Hillary Rodham turns down a marriage proposal from William Jefferson Clinton—with author/editor Heidi Pitlor as part of The Mount’s True Conversations series streamed online via Zoom on Monday, August 24, at 4pm.

“Brilliantly weaving a riveting fictional tale into historical events, Sittenfeld delivers an uncannily astute and witty exploration of the exhilaration, iron determination and painful compromises demanded of female ambition in this unforgettable novel.”

Curtis Sittenfeld is the bestselling author of five novels: Prep, The Man of My Dreams, American Wife, Sisterland, and Eligible. Her first story collection, You Think It, I’ll Say It, was published in 2018 and picked for Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club. Her books have been selected by The New York Times, Time, Entertainment Weekly, and People for their “Ten Best Books of the Year” lists, optioned for television and film, and translated into thirty languages. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Esquire, and her non-fiction has appeared in The New York Times, Time, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, Slate, and on “This American Life.” A graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Curtis has interviewed Michelle Obama for Time; appeared as a guest on NPR’s “Fresh Air,” CBS’s “Early Show,” and PBS’s Newshour; and twice been a strangely easy “Jeopardy!”




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.