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It's Showtime! 

2007-08 Performing Arts Preview

click to enlarge Bridgman/ Packer Dance
  • Bridgman/ Packer Dance

Autumn brings a rush of anticipation to most of us for one reason or another: a Pavlovian response to school starting even when you’re not a student anymore; eagerness for cooler weather and the splendor of foliage, or for sliding down slopes at breakneck speed . . . Wait! Well before the snow falls, theater curtains around Vermont will rise. And if you like to come in from the great, cold outdoors to the warmth and magic of live performance, our selection of season highlights should make you giddy with glee.

Sure, certain music lovers are probably bummed to discover that the Lane Series has cut its opera offerings in half this year, from two to one: Puccini’s Tosca by Teatro Lirico D’Europa, in March. Faced with the considerable expense of importing large casts and sets, the Lane just said no — once, anyway. But the good news is, that decision freed up the budget for even more . . . other stuff. “It’s a very different Lane Series,” says Manager Natalie Neuert. “There’s much less classical, and a lot more world music.” No word on whether those pesky visa problems are still plaguing artists from beyond our borders.

But not to worry: Fans of big, flamboyant productions can give their regards to Broadway — the Flynn is bringing four nationally touring musicals. Then there’s jaw-dropping dance, from the classical St. Petersburg Ballet to the sexy Argentinian Tango Society to the athletic choreography of Alvin Ailey. As for classical music, the Lane still has plenty on the program: an early-music ensemble, a hip young string quartet and a — gulp — virtuoso oboist, among others. Middlebury College offers even more, and with that acoustically perfect concert hall, who can blame them? Ditto Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center.

But the schools don’t have to carry the whole load of highbrow fare. The Vermont Symphony repeats its popular Made in Vermont concert series, Capital City Concerts are still, well, capital, and the Vermont Contempo-rary Music Ensemble — which turns 20 this year — appeases edgier tastes with an ambitious schedule.

Most Vermonters apparently haven’t seen a roots-music band they didn’t love, and that explains why regional Americana, traditional Irish/Celtic/ Arcadian, and folk or indigenous sounds from just about everywhere fill this season’s brochures. Talk about globalism . . . in a good way.

At its most fundamental level, live performance is about making person-to-person connections. Sometimes it’s about absorbing differences among languages, cultures, religions, political views and human histories and rising above them. And if that’s not a natural high, we don’t know what is.

So get your tickets now, people: It’s show time.

Pamela Polston

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LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO

Barre Opera House, October 7, 7 p.m. $10-$32.

The next time you find yourself singing “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” give credit where it’s due: Paul Simon may have written the song, but the authentic African harmonies are pure Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

This band of Zulu South Africans began singing a cappella more than 30 years ago, with a style born in the townships outside Johannesburg. The music’s proper name is Isicathamiya (is-cot-a-me-a), and it can be traced back to weary goldminers who sang during the long bus rides between their homes and the mines. To create the powerful, reedy sound, a clarion vocalist generally rises above and mixes with the background voices. The effect is otherworldly, mesmerizing and often spiritual.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo was largely a secret of apartheid-era South Africa until Simon made them the centerpiece of his 1986 Grammy-winning album Graceland. Ladysmith followed that up the following year with their own Grammy, for the Simon-produced Shaka Zulu. They earned yet another in 2005 for Raise Your Spirit Higher. In between, Ladysmith sang on the soundtracks of Coming to America, The Lion King Part II and Cry the Beloved Country, among others.

Their latest album, titled Long Walk to Freedom (2006), put the singers back in the studio with pop stars, including Emmylou Harris, Melissa Etheridge, Natalie Merchant and Taj Mahal.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo bring their unique music to Vermont for their last U.S. performance of the year.

-KIRK KARDASHIAN

OTHER WORLD MUSIC CONCERTS

» VIRGINIA RODRIGUES

» Global Drum Project (with Mickey Hart & Zakir Hussain): Flynn Mainstage, Oct. 13

» Zedashe Ensemble (Georgian pre-Christian): Hopkins Center, Oct. 24

» Eva Ayllón (Peruvian vocalist): Hopkins Center, Oct. 27

» Perú Negro (Afro-Peruvian music & dance): Chandler Center, Jan. 29

» Alpha Yaya Diallo and the Bafing Riders (West African): Lebanon Opera House, Oct. 27; Middlebury College, Nov. 1

» Mamadou Diabate Ensemble (Mali): Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, Nov. 2

» Yamato: The Drummers of Japan: Hopkins Center, Dec.3; Flynn Mainstage, Dec. 5

» Mehr & Sher Ali and Musicians, Qawwali Music of Pakistan: Hopkins Center, April 16; Flynn Mainstage, May 2

» Lila Downs (Mexican): Lebanon Opera House, April 26

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4-ISH

Flynn MainStage, February 20, 7:30 p.m. $27/$21.

It’ll be too cold to skate outside in February, but members of the extreme sports group ISH will be cruising quarter-pipe ramps on stage at the Flynn.

The Dutch troupe’s international cast of performers and athletes fuses inline skating, theater and hip-hop in their newest show, 4-ISH. It includes a live DJ and a guy who does a dead-on impersonation of a beat box.

It’s funny, too. A review in The New York Times describes a vaudevillian moment when a clownish character is upstaged by rollerblading break-dancers. “That contrast between sleek staging and technology and comically human ineptitude is at the heart of the hourlong show, which had audience members of all ages roaring with laughter and cheering,” raves writer Jennifer Dunning.

Flynn Center Artistic Director and Chief Programming Officer Arnie Malina describes 4-ISH as “very acrobatic” and “literally head-spinning.”

But do extreme sports belong on the same stage used by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra? Absolutely, says Malina. He likens 4-ISH to “contemporary circus arts” acts such as the Golden Dragon Acrobats of China.

“On the highest level, it’s intellectual and zany and inspired,” he says. “And on the more popular level, it’s spectacular daredevilry.”

-CATHY RESMER

OTHER KIDS/FAMILY EVENTS

» A Year with Frog & Toad: Flynn Mainstage, Oct. 28

» African’s Children’s Choir: Lebanon Opera House, Nov. 9

» The No Strings Marionette Company, “Jack and the Beanstalk”: Chandler Center, Nov. 24

» Golden Dragon Acrobats of China: Lebanon Opera House, Nov. 23; Flynn Mainstage, Jan. 11

» Dan Zanes and Friends: Lebanon Opera House, Dec. 2

» IntraMusic Theatricals, The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley: Lebanon Opera House, Dec. 4

» Guy Davis, Traveling Blues (stories and songs): Lebanon Opera House, Jan. 17

» Tom Chapin: Paramount Theater, Jan. 26; Lebanon Opera House, April 8

» Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences on Tour, Teddy Roosevelt and the Treasure of Ursa Major: Lebanon Opera House, Feb. 5

» Tap Kids: Paramount Theater, Feb. 22 & 23

» Theatreworks/USA, Junie B. Jones: Hopkins Center, March 6

» Big Wooden Horse Theatre Company, Don’t Let the Pegeon Drive the Bus: Lebanon Opera House, March 7

» Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favorites: Flynn Mainstage, March 9

» The Carpet Bag Brigade (theater/dance/acrobatics): Pentangle Arts, Woodstock Town Hall Theater, March 14 & 15

» Magician Mike Super, Intrigue: Paramount Theater, March 28 & 29

» Theatreworks/USA, Doctor Dolittle: Lebanon Opera House, March 30

» Theatreworks/USA, Anne of Green Gables: Hopkins Center, April 24

» Theatreworks/USA, Max and Ruby: Lebanon Opera House, May 9

» ArtsPower National Touring Theatre, Madeline and the Bad Hat: Lebanon Opera House, May 18

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BACK OF THE MOON

After Dark Music Series, United Methodist Church, Middlebury, November 10, 7 p.m. $18/$20.

What exactly is traditional Scottish folk music? For a crash course, it might be best to start with Back of the Moon, a young, hip band of Scots — three men and one woman — and work backward. Judging from their repertoire, “Scots trad folk” results when highly skilled musicians play any combination of fiddle, border pipes, whistle, guitar, piano, flutes and bodhran, or Irish war drum. Throw in some stomping and the spectacle of a Scottish stepdance, and voilà.

Carol Green, the do-it-all producer of Middlebury’s After Dark Music Series, first heard Back of the Moon at a music festival in Scotland in 2004. Like the Scottish broad sword wielded by medieval warriors in time with battlefield bagpipes, Back of the Moon’s music “just kind of goes through you,” she declares. That may be especially true when the quartet’s big sound — by turns serious, driving, somber and mirthful — is contained in a 200-person venue such as After Dark’s home in the United Methodist Church.

In their seven short years together, BOTM have racked up numerous awards, including Best Folk Band at the 2005 Scots Trad Music Awards. Their latest recording, Luminosity, was also nominated for best album. Gillian Frame (viola, fiddle, vocals), Ali Hutton (border pipes, whistles, bodhran), Findlay Napier (guitars, vocals) and Hamish Napier (piano, flutes, vocals) tour regularly through the U.K., Canada, the United States and much of Europe. Find out why traditional Scottish folk music is one of the country’s biggest and best exports when Back of the Moon come to Middlebury this November. Get to the church early for a light meal — don’t worry, they probably won’t be serving haggis.

-KIRK KARDASHIAN

OTHER TRADITIONAL MUSIC CONCERTS

» Music at the Crossroads (Irish/Celtic): Pentangle Arts, Woodstock Town Hall Theater, Sept. 22

» Cherish the Ladies, A Celtic Christmas: Lebanon Opera House, Dec. 14; Flynn Mainstage, Dec. 15

» La Bottine Souriante & Le Vent du Nord (Québecois): Flynn Mainstage, Jan. 5

» Natalie McMaster (Cape Breton fiddler): Chandler Center, Feb. 26 & 27

» Irish Rovers: Paramount Theater, March 15

» Boys of the Lough and Dervish (St. Patrick’s Day Ceili): Lebanon Opera House, March 15

» Leahy (Irish): Lane/Flynn at Flynn Mainstage, March 17

» Grand Dérangement (Nova Scotia Arcadian): Chandler Center, May 2

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KARRIN ALLYSON

Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, February 14, 7:30 p.m. $30.

Talk about a sweetheart deal: Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist-pianist Karrin Allyson gets the Lane’s most feel-good gig of the year. Says Manager Natalie Neuert, “We got into this idea of romantic chamber jazz on Valentine’s Day — it’s a good sell.” Indeed, nothing like a blonde with a sexy voice and magic fingers on the ivories to make the heart go pitter-pat.

Another artist who fits that description — Diana Krall — may have better name recognition, not to mention a high-profile marriage to pop star Elvis Costello. But Allyson, whom Neuert calls “a musician’s musician,” is not exactly hiding in the woodwork. Her latest recording, Footprints, which snagged a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album, won over critics and fans alike despite its risky conceit: setting original lyrics to instrumental jazz standards from the 1950s and ’60s by the likes of John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie. “People went nuts over it,” Neuert says. “She just did it so well that [the tunes] sounded like they’d always had words.” Footprints was, amazingly, Allyson’s 10th recording.

A Midwesterner who grew up in Omaha, Allyson cut her teeth on the Kansas City jazz scene, so it’s no surprise to find that she can swing and bop with the best of ’em. Now a New Yorker, she continues to charm audiences with a warm, down-to-earth stage presence, and to thrill with jaw-dropping musicality. Allyson comes to the Lane Series with a quartet, so expect, says Neuert, “a full, lush sound.”

-PAMELA POLSTON

OTHER JAZZ CONCERTS

» Fred Hersch (piano): Lane Series, Oct. 4

» John Scofield Trio with the Poorly Paid Horns: Hopkins Center, Oct. 6

» Pat Metheny Trio: Flynn Mainstage, Oct. 19

» Denman Maroney Quintet: FlynnSpace, Nov. 10

» Matt Wilson’s Arts and Crafts: Hopkins Center, Nov. 13

» Eric Mintel Quartet, “A Jazz Holiday”: Chandler Center, Dec. 6

» Jason Moran & the Bandwagon: Flynn Mainstage, Jan. 19; Hopkins Center, Jan. 24

» Chick Corea and Béla Fleck: Hopkins Center, March 1

» Sir James Galway (flute): Hopkins Center, March 4

» Bill Frisell & Company: Flynn Mainstage, March 5

» Dick Forman Jazz Group: Middlebury College, March 8

» Cab Calloway Orchestra: Chandler Center, March 28

» The Joel Harrison Band, Free Country: Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, April 4

» Omar Sosa Afreecanos Quartet: Hopkins Center, April 4

» Carla Bley Trio: Flynn Mainstage, April 19

» Brad Mehldau Trio: Hopkins Center, April 26

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TOSCA, TEATRO LIRICO D’EUROPA

Lane Series at the Flynn MainStage, March 7, 7:30 p.m. $37-$56.

The University of Vermont’s Lane Series features one opera instead of two this year, but Puccini’s Tosca teems with more theatrical and musical excitement than many pairs of lesser works. The larger-than-life characters face experiences and emotions on an epic scale — doomed love, jealousy, spying, torture, sexual blackmail — all while singing gloriously.

Puccini put a sinister twist on the classic love triangle storyline. As the Napoleonic wars rage up and down the Italian peninsula, political chaos reigns in Rome. The head of the secret police, Baron Scarpia, arrests the painter Cavaradossi for harboring a fugitive. With the artist’s execution looming, Scarpia makes the young man’s lover, the beautiful singer Tosca, an ugly offer: sex in exchange for Cavaradossi’s freedom. Scarpia thinks she can’t refuse. But good singers know how to improvise, and the glint of cutlery from Scarpia’s supper table inspires Tosca to, ahem, carve out a creative response to his proposition.

Lane Series Manager Natalie Neuert considers Tosca “an audience favorite” because of the irresistible combo of great music and great characters. Tosca is a “really sympathetic heroine” as well as a grand diva, and the cruelly manipulative Scarpia is “one of the great villains of opera,” she says. Teatro Lirico’s traditional Tosca puts the “focus on the singing,” Neuert vows. The tale’s true love ends with a memorable tragic flourish, but Puccini’s ethereal music brings smiles through the tears.

-ELISABETH CREAN

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LEYYA TAWIL

Middlebury College Center for the Arts Dance Theatre, Landmine/Map of the World, solo, October 6, 1:30 p.m. Free. Capital Life Triptych, with Dance Elixir, March 8-9, 8 p.m. $15.

You don’t have to go the Middle East to appreciate its long and elegant reach. Leyya Tawil, a choreographer of Syrian-Palestinian descent, grew up in southeast Michigan among the largest population of Arabs in the United States. A “multi-source” perspective informs her dances — and, one hopes, it will also inform all the white-bread undergrads she’s likely to teach over the course of a two-year artist residency at Middlebury College.

Tawil kicks off her tenure with a performance composed of two solos. Landmine explores the idea of “stance” as both a physical and psychological position. Using iconic postures of power and submission, “it communicates through pure symbolism,” Tawil explains. Map of the World is a little more postmodern. Tawil draws a map on stage using movement and gaffer’s tape and talks about what she’s doing as she performs. “I give images to different aspects of the world as I see it.” Oh, and she wears a short red raincoat while she works through kinetic cartography. Sound too avant-garde? “The thing about my work is, people say they don’t get it, but when they start talking about what they don’t get, it’s clear that they got it,” Tawil assures.

Meaning aside, Tawil moves beautifully. She uses her height — 5’9” — to full advantage, and her limbs seem to go on forever. Hers is a fitting image for the symposium to which this performance belongs, entitled on “Islam and Politics in a Globalizing World.” In a follow-up discussion, Tawil will explode myths about Middle Eastern women.

In December, she’ll debut a piece for 15 freshmen taking dance for the first time. And in March, Tawil’s San Francisco-based company, Dance Elixir, comes to Midd for a performance called Capital Life Triptych.

-PAULA ROUTLY

OTHER DANCE EVENTS

» Bridgman/Packer Dance

» Ballet Folklorico de Mexico: Oct. 2 at Lebanon Opera House (family show Oct. 3); Oct. 4 at Flynn Mainstage

» Merce Cunningham Dance Company: Hopkins Center, Oct. 5 & 6

» Argentine Tango Society: Flynn Mainstage, Oct. 12

» Nugent + Matteson Dance (contemporary): Middlebury College, Nov. 9 & 10

» Doug Varone and Dancers: Flynn Mainstage, Nov. 16

» Vermont Ballet Theater School, The Nutcracker: Johnson State College, Dec. 8

» Company Ea Sola, Drought and Rain, Vol. 2: Hopkins Center, Jan. 11

» Savion Glover: Hopkins Center, Jan. 18 & 19

» MOMIX: Lebanon Opera House, Jan. 18; Flynn Mainstage, Jan. 23

» Urban Bush Women & Compagnie Jant-Bi: Flynn Mainstage, Jan. 29

» Teo Castellanos/D-Projects (dance-theater): FlynnSpace, Feb. 7 & 8

» Yu Wei Cultural Dance Program: Pentangle Arts, Woodstock Town Hall Theater, Feb. 7

» St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre: Flynn Mainstage, March 26

» Ultima Vez: Flynn Mainstage, April 16

» Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Hopkins Center, April 22 & 23

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KEO WOOLFORD, I LAND

FlynnSpace, April 4 & 5, 8 p.m. $24.

On the dance scene, hip-hop is happening in the Champlain Valley, more than one might expect. But hula? Not so much. All the more reason to take in Keo Woolford’s I Land next April at the FlynnSpace. To Vermonters who certainly don’t know their kahiko (ancient) from their ‘auana (modern) hula, the native Hawaiian brings an autobiographical, one-man show blending storytelling and dance. The co-choreographers? Famous hula master Robert Cazimero and hip-hop artist Rokafella.

Woolford is an actor and singer as well as a dancer, with a diverse list of credits spanning Honolulu to London. In the late 1990s, his boy band, Brownskin, was the Hawaiian equivalent of ’N Sync. He later starred in a West End production of The King and I. But like many Hawaiians, he has struggled with issues of identity, especially when living away from the islands.

Mixed ethnic heritage is the norm in Hawaii. How does one adjust from an environment of cultural fusion to the conflict, stereotyping and racism so prevalent everywhere else? Woolford’s journey contained two additional twists: issues stemming from adoption, and questions of sexual orientation. On stage, he taps into the island tradition of “talk story” — spinning yarns among friends — to work through complex topics and emotions. Anger alternates with humor; spoken word with dance.

Flynn Center Artistic Director Arnie Malina saw an in-development version of I Land as part of the “Under the Radar” new-works conference last year in New York City. He found it “very moving,” but also “very funny and very spiritual. And it really deals with hula as the life language of Hawaii,” he says. “The hula is a major tourist ingredient to Hawaii, and it also has its very serious side. And men doing the hula is another provocative aspect of it.”

Is Malina afraid of the marketing challenge — that potential audience members will see promo photos of a man in a grass skirt and wonder snidely, à la “Gilligan’s Island,” “Where’s his coconut bra?” “That’s the very reason that it’s part of our season,” Malina asserts. “We’re interested in work that will provoke and bring further understanding.” To that end, Woolford will also teach hula classes as part of a Flynn residency. Way to shake off a long Vermont winter!

-ELISABETH CREAN

OTHER STORYTELLING/SPOKEN WORD EVENTS

» William Yang

» Rik Reppe, Staggering Toward America: Hopkins Center, Nov. 7

» Dean Obeidallah (comedy): Hopkins Center, Nov. 9

» Karen Morgan, Nancy Witter & Sherry Davey, Mama’s Night Out (comedy): Lebanon Opera House, Nov. 3

» Anne Galjour, Works-in-Progress: Hopkins Center, April 4 & 5

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WILLIAM YANG, SHADOWS

Hopkins Center, March 29, 8 p.m. $18.

Many Americans think of Australia as a land of vast, empty, arid spaces, the last true frontier. Photographer and performance artist William Yang has a different read on it. In his multimedia piece Shadows, coming to the Hopkins Center in March, the Chinese-Australian artist uses monologue and big-screen slide projections to paint a picture of a landscape marked by violent dispossession.

From the 1820s to the 1930s, Australia’s English colonists racked up an ignominious record of massacring the land’s indigenous inhabitants, often with scant or no provocation. During World War II, the nation’s government interned about 15,000 suspected enemy sympathizers, including many German-Australian residents and European refugees from Nazi persecution. Those two experiences, different as they may be, form the core of Yang’s presentation, which asks whether a nation that’s been reft this way can ever find reconciliation.

As a photographer, Yang chronicled Sydney’s underground arts scene in the 1970s. When he started accompanying his images with spoken narrative, he found a form that allowed him to explore questions about his own gay and Chinese immigrant identity, to considerable acclaim. Shadows is his first non-autobiographical piece. Commissioned by cultural festivals in Sydney and Adelaide, it led Yang from a group of Aborigines in New South Wales all the way to Berlin, where he examined the Holocaust memorials Germany has created in an effort to heal its own wounds.

Described in Hop materials as “part diary, part documentary,” the performance features original music by Colin Offord, who bridges East and West in his compositions. Offord will present his music and instruments of his own invention — such as the “Great Island Mouth Bow,” an African-inspired tree trunk equipped with strings — in a program called “Discovering Australasian Music,” on March 29th at 11 a.m.

MARGOT HARRISON

Find other storytelling/spoken word in the 2007-08 season.

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VIRGINIA RODRIGUES

Flynn Mainstage, October 25, 7:30 p.m. $37/$30.

“Celestial” is one way to describe the voice that emanates from Bahian singer Virginia Rodrigues. “Elegant,” “refined” and “lyrical” are other adjectives critics have used, but words fail to corral her vocal quality. Too poor for lessons, Rodrigues grew up singing in the Catholic Church, and later worked as a manicurist, domestic and cook. She intuitively learned the projection, intonation and phrasing that Brazilian music legend Caetono Veloso noticed in the late 1990s, when he heard Rodrigues at the rehearsal for a play about social iniquities. (The singer is an ardent critic of Brazilian racism.) Veloso took his “discovery” to Rio de Janeiro for an official debut and negotiated her first solo recording, Sol Negro, in 1998. Fans of Brazilian music sat up and took notice. In fact, two world-music heavyweights — Joe Boyd of Rykodisc and David Byrne of Luaka Bop — competed for the rights to release the CD in the U.S. Hannibal Records, a subsidiary of Rykodisc, won.

When the disc appeared in North America, The New York Times dubbed Rodrigues “the new voice of Brazil.” New listeners may be surprised to find not the synth-driven samba of the Rio music scene, but something more nuanced, delicate and rootsy. Proud of her Bahia culture and influenced by candomblé — an African religion practiced primarily in Brazil — Rodrigues sings with a spiritual intensity, often backed only by native percussion instruments or a harp. Sol Negro employs choir-like backup singers as well, which speaks to Rodrigues’ assertion that her music is “of the people.” As she told an interviewer in 1998, “My music is for everybody . . . most of all, it is music that reaches your heart.”

In 2000, Rodrigues released her second disc, Nós; her third, Mares Profondos, came out in 2004 on Deutsche Grammophon’s eDGe imprint. She sings entirely in Portuguese, but her voice translates to beauty in any language.

-PAMELA POLSTON

Find other world music in the 2007-08 season.

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DOUBT, BY JOHN PATRICK SHANLEY

Northern Stage at Briggs Opera House, November 1-18, 8 p.m. $17-$56. Vermont Stage Company at FlynnSpace, January 23 - February 3. $23-$31.50.

“Doubt has gotten a bad reputation,” said playwright John Patrick Shanley in a 2004 interview in The New York Times. “People who are utterly certain are vulnerable to a brand of foolishness that people who maintain a level of doubt are not.” Some will hear that as a caustic comment on the Bush administration. But Shanley’s play Doubt — produced this season by Burlington’s Vermont Stage Company and White River Junction’s Northern Stage — isn’t about politics, at least not overtly. Set in a parochial school in 1964, it’s about the battle of wills between charismatic Father Flynn and strict Sister Aloysius, who suspects him of becoming inappropriately involved with a male pupil, the school’s first African-American.

Though Shanley’s plays broach weighty issues, he’s also a crowd pleaser. He won a 1987 Oscar for his screenplay for the witty romance Moonstruck, then wrote and directed Joe Versus the Volcano, a Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan flop that’s since developed a cult following. Doubt established Shanley as a stage dramatist to be reckoned with, garnering the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play.

Vermont Stage Company Artistic Director Mark Nash, who plans to play Father Flynn himself, says he saw Doubt “in New York a couple years ago and was blown away by it.” Though the possibility of pedophilia in the Church is the story’s “jumping off point,” Nash adds, it’s not an exposé but a “mystery” that explores deeper questions: “What lengths do you go to to protect someone? Is it OK to lie because you suspect someone?” New York audiences reportedly wouldn’t stop debating the play’s moral quandaries after the curtain fell — so expect some lively post-theater discussions this season.

-MARGOT HARRISON

OTHER THEATER PERFORMANCES

» Henry V, Lost Nation Theater: Sept. 20 – Oct. 7

» My Dad’s Hitch in Hell (one-woman show): Middlebury Inn, Sept. 21

» American Machine: FlynnSpace, Sept. 25 - Oct. 7

» The Civilians, Gone Missing: Hopkins Center, Sept. 28 & 29

» Found a Peanut: UVM Dept. of Theatre, Sept. 26 - Oct. 7

» Swingtime Canteen (musical): Middlebury Community Players, Sept. 27 – Oct. 7

» The Spitfire Grill: Lamoille County Players, Sept. 27 - Oct. 7

» Gone Missing: The Civilians, Hopkins Center, Sept. 28 & 29

» Master Harold . . . and the Boys: Weston Playhouse Theatre Company at Johnson State College, Oct. 3; Chandler Center, Oct. 4; and Flynn Mainstage, Oct. 5

» How the Other Half Lives: Northern Stage, Oct. 4-21

» Peter Pan, Broadway Tour: Flynn Mainstage, Oct. 16

» Inspecting Carol: Vermont Stage Co. at FlynnSpace, Oct. 17 - Nov. 4

» The Miss Firecracker Contest: UVM Dept. of Theatre, Oct. 31 - Nov. 11

» Sara Felder, Out of Sight: A Blind Comedy That Juggles Faith, Israel, and My Mom: FlynnSpace, Nov. 8 & 9

» West Side Story: Lyric Theatre Co. at Flynn Mainstage, Nov. 8-11

» The Heidi Chronicles (one-woman show): Middlebury College, Nov. 15-17

» Winter Tales: Vermont Stage Co. at FlynnSpace, Dec. 5-9

» Disney’s Beauty & the Beast: Northern Stage, Dec. 6-31

» Miracle on 34th Street: Lamoille County Players, Dec. 7-16

» A Christmas Carol: Flynn Mainstage, Dec. 9

» Paul Zaloom, The Mother of All Enemies: FlynnSpace, Jan. 3-5

» The Price: Northern Stage, Jan. 31 - Feb. 17

» Chicago, Broadway Tour: Flynn Mainstage, Feb. 10

» Complete Female Stage Beauty: UVM Dept. of Theatre, Feb. 20 - March 2

» Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Broadway Tour: Flynn Mainstage, Feb. 25

» Driving Miss Daisy: Northern Stage, Feb. 28 - March 16

» Three Days of Rain: Vermont Stage Co. at FlynnSpace, March 5-16

» The Elephant Man: Northern Stage, March 27 - April 13

» The Producers, Broadway Tour: Flynn Mainstage, April 1 & 2

» Ilkhom Theatre, White White Black Stork (Uzbekistan): Hopkins Center, April 18 & 19

» The Acting Company, The Tempest: Lane/Flynn at Flynn Mainstage, April 18

» King Lear: Vermont Stage Co. at FlynnSpace, April 23 - May 11

» The Full Monty: Northern Stage, April 24 - May 11

» Back to Back Theatre, small metal objects (performance art): Flynn at University Mall, May 17 & 18

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THE ROSE ENSEMBLE, “SLAVIC WONDERS”

Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, November 30, 7:30 p.m. $25.

Classical Christmas-season concerts usually present a familiar lineup of Handel’s Messiah, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker and the like. But the Minneapolis-based choral group The Rose Ensemble will sing audiences into a holiday mood with a program of rarely heard Eastern European motets — i.e., religious songs not intended for the liturgy — and folk ballads dating back to medieval times. Accompanied selectively by a few instrumentalists, including a percussionist, the dozen-member group will sing mostly a cappella, as it offers up a feast of haunting Bohemian medieval chants, Russian Orthodox vocal music and songs from 17th-century Poland.

The 12-year-old Rose Ensemble specializes in early music that might otherwise languish in archives: Their other programs include 19th-century Hawaiian songs and music from “the secret society of Notre Dame de Paris.” Lane Series Director Jane Ambrose first heard The Rose Ensemble in an unforgettable performance in a Minneapolis cathedral in 2001 — and kept after them until they were able to fit in a stopover in Vermont. Their busy schedule includes a weeklong tour of Spain just prior to their one-night stand at UVM.

“I was so happy to get them because of the large Slavic population we have here [in Burlington],” Ambrose says, adding that native speakers should have no trouble understanding the songs: The Ensemble had language coaches in Ukrainian, Russian, Polish and Latvian. For non-Slavic audience members, she says, the concert will be one of “unfamiliar music for a very familiar season.”

-AMY LILLY

OTHER EARLY MUSIC/CLASSICAL CONCERTS

» Capital City Concerts (chamber): with Karen Kevra, Unitarian Church, Montpelier, Sept. 22; with Paris Piano Trio, Nov. 3; with Cooper-Drucker-Walsh Trio, Feb. 17; with musicians of the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, March 9; with musicians of the Cleveland Orchestra, April 26

» Vermont Youth Orchestra: Flynn Mainstage, Sept. 23 & Jan. 20 (with amelia Piano Trio); “Shostakovich Side-by-Side” with VSO at Flynn May 4

» Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Made in Vermont Music Festival: Vergennes Opera House, Sept. 27; Johnson State College, Sept. 28; Lyndon State College, Sept. 29; Haskell Opera House, Sept. 30; Southern Vermont Arts Center, Oct. 3; Castleton State College, Oct. 4; Middlebury College, Oct. 5; Chandler Center, Oct. 6; Lebanon Opera House, Oct. 7

» “From the Top Live” (taping of NPR program; classical kids): Chandler Center, Sept. 29

» Imani Winds (chamber plus): Hopkins Center, Oct. 11

» Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble (new classical): Viente at Unitarian Church, Montpelier, Oct. 12; St. Michael’s College, Oct. 13; and Middlebury College, Oct. 15. Among Friends at Unitarian Church, Montpelier, Nov. 9, and St. Michael’s College, Nov. 10. Americana at Unitarian Church, Montpelier, Feb. 15, and St. Michael’s College, Feb. 16. Different Directions at Unitarian Church, Montpelier, April 18, and St. Michael’s College, April 19

» Christian Gerhaher & Gerold Huber (baritone & piano; Schumann): Middlebury College, Oct. 13

» “Every Life Shall Be a Song,” Gala Choral Concert (Gwyneth Walker compositions): Chandler Center, Oct. 14

» Manchester Music Fest: Pentangle Arts, Woodstock Town Hall Theater, Oct. 14

» Joel Fan (classical piano): Lane Series at Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, Oct. 19

» Polina Leschenko (piano): Middlebury College, Oct. 26

» Counterpoint (choral): Vergennes Opera House, Oct. 26

» Murray Perahia (piano): Hopkins Center, Oct. 30

» Emerson String Quartet: Middlebury College, Nov. 2

» The Hilliard Ensemble (vocal chamber): Chandler Center, Nov. 3

» Baiba Skride & Lauma Skride (violin & piano): Middlebury College, Nov. 16

» Kim Kashkashian & Lydia Artymiw (viola & piano): Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, Nov. 16

» Killington Music Fest: Paramount Theater, Nov. 16

» Champlain Philharmonic Orchestra (holiday concert): Vergennes Opera House, Nov. 17 & 18

» Eleva Chamber Orchestra: Pentangle Arts, Woodstock Town Hall Theater, Nov. 18

» Sally Pinkas, Christopher Krueger, Michael Zaretsky (piano, flute & viola): Hopkins Center, Nov. 30

» Paul Jacobs (organ): Middlebury College, Dec. 2

» J.S. Bach Christmas Oratorio: Vermont Mozart Festival, Dec. 13

» Burlington Christmas Oratorio: Vermont Mozart Festival, Dec. 14

» Takács Quartet: Middlebury College, Jan. 11

» Sharon Ibsin (guitar): Hopkins Center, Jan. 12

» Sarasa Baroque Ensemble with Nancy Argenta (soprano): Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, Feb. 1

» Nordic Voices (a cappella, Medieval): Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, Feb. 8

» Hirsch-Pinkas Piano Duo: Hopkins Center, Feb. 12

» Xuefei Yang (guitar): Middlebury College, Feb. 14

» Thomas Gallant & Pedja Muzijevic (oboe & piano): Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, Feb. 22

» Tallis Scholars (sacred choral): Middlebury College, March 1

» Albers Trio with Pei Yao Wang (strings & piano): Middlebury College, March 7

» Florestan Trio (piano, violin, cello): Middlebury College, March 14

» Mistral, A Latin Serenade (flute, soprano, guitar): Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, March 14

» The Chiara String Quartet: Chandler Center, March 15

» The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio: Hopkins Center, March 27

» Daedalus Quartet with Awadagin Pratt (piano): Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, March 28

» Kate Royal & Roger Vignoles (soprano & piano): Middlebury College, April 1

» Harmonie Universelle (German Baroque): Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, April 11

» Europa Galante (early music): Hopkins Center, April 11

» Pavel Haas String Quartet: Middlebury College, April 19

» Zuill Bailey with Simone Dinnerstein (cello & piano, Beethoven): Chandler Center, April 25

» Ralph Neiweem & Claire Aebersold, Rite of Spring (piano duo): Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, April 25

» Paul Lewis (piano): Middlebury College, May 2

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

BRIDGMAN/PACKER DANCE

Flynn MainStage, March 28, 8 p.m. $36/$26.

Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer don’t expend a lot of energy recruiting fellow dancers. They create their own “company” using video projections of themselves. Using a technique called “video partnering,” the long-committed couple — they’ve been a duo on and off stage for nearly three decades — populates the stage with visual aliases and interacts with them in ways that are both visually arresting and thought-provoking.

At the Flynn, a trilogy of pieces will thoroughly explore the approach, with eye-popping results. In “Seductive Reasoning,” Bridgman and Packer dance “both with each other and with their dream partners in a dizzying foursome,” notes Village Voice dance critic Deborah Jowitt. In “Under the Skin,” the “two wear hoopskirts that act as screens. His image can appear to creep under her garment. She can acquire his legs, and vice-versa. As they embrace, so do their projected selves, but in different ways.” Time-delay software in “Memory Bank” allows the dancers to engage with versions of their own bodies as they were moving seconds before. Got the picture? In the swirl of lights, costumes and entwined parts, reality blurs with the imaginary. And, of course, that’s the intended effect.

Technology can be a huge distraction in dance, which, at its most elemental, is beautiful bodies moving through space. But Bridgman/Packer land — gracefully — on the proper side of the fine line between artful enhancement and cheap gimmick. “Video projections have seldom been used so adroitly or with such profligate imagination,” suggests Jowitt’s colleague at The New York Times. These couple-conscious creations take the art form to a new place.

-PAULA ROUTLY

Find other dance in the 2007-08 season.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

OLD SCHOOL FREIGHT TRAIN

Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, September 28, 7:30 p.m. $26/$21. Hopkins Center, with Carolina Chocolate Drops, January 10, 7 p.m. $24.

Old School Freight Train bring a little bit of Virginia to Vermont — and New Hampshire — in the form of four young men who really, really love old music. And play it with what the Chicago Tribune called “chops to dazzle.” In this case, “it” is a combination of bluegrass, jazz improv, Celtic, Latin and soul, with a sassy pop edge. Just the way we like our acoustic artists these days: versatile and suffering from attention-deficit disorder. Just kidding. Lane Series Manager Natalie Neuert puts it better when she says, “They’re so good it just seems they can do anything.”

It means something that genre-bending legend David Grisman loves this band; he called them “an emerging force to reckon with in today’s world of acoustic music.” He also produced their second album, Run, on his own indie label. OSFT carry on — oh, how they carry on! — old-time traditions with a burst of youthful ’tude. Oh, yeah, and add occasional thought-provoking lyrics to that mix.

For the Hopkins Center show, Old School join fellow Southerners Carolina Chocolate Drops, a trio of young African-Americans reviving the string-band tradition with wild abandon. (CCD come to the Flynn on their own on January 11.)

-PAMELA POLSTON

OTHER ROOTS MUSIC CONCERTS

» Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives (country/bluegrass): Barre Opera House, Sept. 21

» Richie Havens (folk): Vergennes Opera House, Sept. 21

» Sweet Honey in the Rock (gospel/soul/pop): Flynn Mainstage, Sept. 22

» Music of Roger McGuinn (folk from Byrds founder): Pentangle Arts, Woodstock Town Hall Theater, Sept. 29

» Bluegrass Gospel Project: Pentangle Arts, Woodstock Town Hall Theater, Oct. 13

» Triple Play (acoustic blues/jazz/folk): After Dark Music Series, Oct. 14

» Fred Eaglesmith with Harry Manx (singer-songwriter/blues): Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, Nov. 9

» Marcia Ball (New Orleans piano): Chandler Center, Nov. 9

» First Annual Upper Valley Bluegrass Festival with The Greencards & Sam Bush, Crooked Still, and The Del McCoury Band: Lebanon Opera House, Nov. 16 & 17

» Harlem Gospel Choir: Paramount Theater, Nov. 23

» Hot Tuna (blues): Lebanon Opera House, Dec. 12

» Petestock (Pete Sutherland, folk): Vergennes Opera House, Dec. 30

» An Evening with Brady Crain (country/blues/folk): Chandler Center, Jan. 18

» Elana James (hot jazz fiddler): After Dark Music Series, Jan. 18

» Arlo Guthrie (folk): Chandler Center, Feb. 1; Flynn Mainstage, Feb. 2

» BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet & The Subdudes (Cajun, New Orleans r&b): Lebanon Opera House, Feb. 1; Flynn Mainstage, Feb. 9 (Subdudes also at Paramount Theater, Nov. 17)

» Ronnie Milsap (country soul): Lebanon Opera House, Feb. 2

» John Gorka (folk): After Dark Music Series, Feb. 23

» Chris Smither (New Orleans blues/folk): After Dark Music Series, March 1

» Ruthie Foster and Eric Bibb (blues): Lebanon Opera House, March 29

» Banjo Dan & the Mid-Nite Plowboys (bluegrass): Chandler Center, May 3

» Kate Rusby (folk): Lebanon Opera House, May 10

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

More info & tickets

After Dark Music Series

United Methodist Church, Middlebury, http://www.afterdarkmusicseries.com, 388-0216

Barre Opera House

http://www.barreoperahouse.org, 476-8188

Cathedral Church of St. Paul

Burlington, 864-0471

Chandler Center for the Arts

Randolph, Chandler Music Hall,

http://www.chandler-arts.org, 728-6464

Flynn Center/FlynnSpace

Burlington, http://www.flynncenter.org, 863-5966

Higher Ground Presents

South Burlington, http://www.higherground music.com, 652-0777

Hopkins Center

various venues, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., http://www.hop.dartmouth.edu, 603-646-2422

Johnson State College, Dibden Center for the Arts, http://www.johnsonstatecollege.edu, 635-1476

Lane Series

various venues, Burlington, http://www.uvm.edu/laneseries, 656-4455

Lebanon Opera House

http://www.lebanonoperahouse.org, 603-448-0400

Lost Nation Theater

Montpelier, http://www.lostnationtheater.org,

229-0492

Lyric Theatre Company

Burlington, http://www.lyrictheatrevt.org

Middlebury College

various venues, http://www.middlebury.edu,

443-6433

Northern Stage

Briggs Opera House, White River Junction,

http://www.northernstage.org, 296-7000

Paramount Theatre

Rutland, http://www.paramountvt.org, 775-0570

Pentangle Arts

Woodstock, http://www.pentanglearts.org, 457-3981

UVM Theatre

Burlington, http://www.uvmtheatre.org, 656-2094

Vergennes Opera House

http://www.vergennesoperahouse.org, 877-6737

Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble

http://www.vcme.org, 859-9009

Vermont Mozart Festival

http://www.vtmozart.com, 862-7352

Vermont Stage Company

FlynnSpace, Burlington, http://www.vtstage.org, 862-1497

Vermont Symphony Orchestra

http://www.vso.org, 800-876-9293, x10

Vermont Youth Orchestra

http://www.vyo.org, 655-503

Weston Playhouse

http://www.westonplayhouse.org, 824-5288

Info:

Please note the 2007-08 Performing Arts Season comprises more categories than those highlighted here. For comprehensive listings, check the programs and websites of presenting organizations, as well as the Seven Days calendar in print and online throughout the year.

» World Music

» Family Events

» Traditional Music

» Jazz

» Opera

» Dance

» Storytelling/Spoken Word

» Theater

» Classical/Early Music

» Roots Music

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