Spotlighting the 2017-18 Performing Arts Season | Performing Arts | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
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Spotlighting the 2017-18 Performing Arts Season 

click to enlarge Grace Kelly, appearing Friday, February 16, 8 p.m., at Mahaney Center for the Arts, Middlebury College, $6-28. - COURTESY OF TASO  PAPADAKIS PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Courtesy Of Taso Papadakis Photography
  • Grace Kelly, appearing Friday, February 16, 8 p.m., at Mahaney Center for the Arts, Middlebury College, $6-28.

When performing arts presenters announce their new seasons, we get a frisson of anticipation: Who and what will be coming our way this year? Reliably, we find a diverse mix, from beloved Broadway shows, musicians and standup comedians to edgy, experimental acts that might push our buttons or blow our minds. Or both.

It's no secret that, in this small and largely rural state, Vermonters receive an almost overwhelming number of touring acts — never mind the many talented artists who actually live here. The bounty might lead some of us to take this performing arts thing for granted. We shouldn't — perhaps especially when (no exaggeration here) the world as we thought we knew it seems to be out of control.

This would be a good time to ruminate on why artists are compelled to do what they do and, conversely, why the rest of us ought to consider an evening at the theater over a night with Netflix. In other words, what's in it for us?

We posed these questions to a few local experts — those who book the shows and are just as passionate as the artists they bring. Natalie Neuert, director of the University of Vermont's Lane Series, says that, for performers, "it's the language they speak ... It's the way they want to share something with other people, emotionally or intellectually." As for the recipients of that communication — the audience — Neuert says, "I really believe that live performance is a fundamental way we have of being human together. It's a shared experience where we never know what the outcome will be."

Margaret Lawrence, programming director at the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College, acknowledges that she's "thinking about our country, where we are in the world, our environment." In addition to what artists express about themselves, she believes they "bring a sense of resilience, when we're all in the same room together, a moment of truth.

"We're having conversations about how to deal with our differences, where do we go from here, respectfully," Lawrence adds. "In this time of confusing communication, it's incredibly important."

At the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, artistic director Steve MacQueen underscores the notion of human connection in the theater. "To me, the entire experience is the same for audience and performer," he says. "The performer will present something to the best of their ability, and the audience will be open to it." Personally, he notes, "I like performance that takes you by surprise — it becomes more meta, almost spiritual."

Hope Sullivan has only just arrived in Vermont as the new executive director of the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center in Stowe, and so the current season represents the vision of retiring director Lance Olson. But Sullivan's background with performing arts institutions — both presenting and educational — has shaped her convictions. While she expresses similar thoughts about artists and communication, Sullivan suggests that people also perform to transform.

"Whether it's to transform themselves, the community or the world, it's about impact and engagement and making a difference," she writes in an email. "That's something we all strive for in our own unique ways, which is part of what makes witnessing performing arts such a compelling and powerful experience."

Of course, not every show has to be transcendent. Simply spending a couple of hours lost in music or laughing at funny people is more than all right. Hey, it's two hours of not freaking out.

But can live performance really help us all get along? "For me, music is an intangible cultural heritage that helps you understand other people — and yourself," says Neuert. "That's why I listen." When we attend an excellent performance, she suggests, "it shows us the extent of our humanity."

That seems like a good start.

And so are the following spotlights, meant to sample a variety of genres and venues — though by no means all. After each, where possible, we provide a list of acts in the same vein. On with the shows!

— Pamela Polston

Manual Cinema: Ada/Ava

Wednesday, February 21, 7:30 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $15-38.
click to enlarge Manual Cinema - COURTESY JERRY SHULMAN
  • Courtesy Jerry Shulman
  • Manual Cinema

Imagine a Hitchcock film presented live, complete with cinematic tricks such as rack focus. Impossible? Now imagine it presented with shadow puppets, some of which are actually human.

"Live cinema" is the phrase that Chicago-based troupe Manual Cinema uses to describe its unique productions. It creates them using overhead projectors, paper cutouts, transparencies and agile actor/puppeteers, who sometimes step in to replace their 2D counterparts on the screen.

In Ada/Ava, an eerie meditation on death and duality, live musicians accompany the otherwise wordless tale of a septuagenarian mourning the twin with whom she spent her life. A search for wholeness drives her from her lighthouse home into a carnival's hall of mirrors, putting the performers' skills on impressive display.

And not just their skills: In the theatrical equivalent of an open kitchen, the performers manipulate their materials in full view of the audience. In the words of the Los Angeles Times, Manual Cinema gives the audience "not one but two sights to gawk at: the process and the product." The show transforms its audience, suggests the New York Times, into children mesmerized by a parent's shadow play; the awareness of illusion "only strengthens the reality of the alternative world that these clever, powerful grown-ups have created for our delight."

— Margot Harrison

If you like this, try...
  • Sandglass Theater: Babylon, Friday and Saturday, January 12 and 13, 8 p.m., FlynnSpace, $35.

Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Medalists

Daniel Hsu (bronze), Friday, September 22; Kenneth Broberg (silver), Friday, November 17; and Yekwon Sunwoo (gold), Friday, February 23, 7:30 p.m., Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, $5-40.

Every four years, 30 pianists ages 18 to 30 vie for a medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. There are other ways for young pianists to launch a career, notes University of Vermont Lane Series director Natalie Neuert, but the Cliburn's cachet and three-year tour-management package for winners can't be beat.

For example, this year's gold medalist, 28-year-old Yekwon Sunwoo of South Korea, will perform in 55 venues around the globe in the first year alone. One of his stops is the UVM Recital Hall, where the Lane Series has been hosting the medal winners since 1993.

Sunwoo arrives in February. Neuert has scheduled the pianists in ascending order, "building up to the gold. Not that audiences will like the gold winner best," she adds. "The bronze medalist is going to be really endearing." She's referring to Californian Daniel Hsu, who was just 19 during the competition.

Kenneth Broberg, a Minnesotan, won the silver at age 23. That's the age Harvey Lavan "Van" Cliburn Jr. (1934-2013) was when he won the inaugural Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958, inspiring supporters to found a stateside competition in his honor in 1962. Cliburn did little touring himself; instead, he left a way for audiences to hear some of the world's finest young pianists.

— Amy Lilly

If you like this, try...
  • Jolente de Maeyer (violin) and Nikolaas Kende (piano), Friday, September 29, 7:30 p.m., Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, $5-30.
  • Soovin Kim (violin) and Gloria Chien (piano), Sunday, October 1, 2:30 p.m., Barre Opera House, $20-27; and Saturday and Sunday, November 4 and 5 and May 19 and 20, various times, FlynnSpace, $35
  • Edward Arron (cello) and Jeewon Park (piano), Saturday, October 7, 7:30 p.m., Chandler Center for the Arts, $10-40.
  • Shai Wosner (piano), Friday, January 12, 8 p.m., Mahaney Center for the Arts, Middlebury College, $6-28.
  • Heidi Breyer (piano), Saturday, February 10, 7:30 p.m., Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, $20/25.
  • Inon Barnatan (piano), Wednesday, April 25, 7 p.m., Spaulding Auditorium, Hopkins Center for the Arts, $10-40.

Compagnie Hervé Koubi: Ce Que le Jour Doit à la Nuit

Sunday, October 8, 7 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $15-48.
click to enlarge Compagnie Hervé Koubi - COURTESY OF SYLVAIN MARCHOU
  • Courtesy Of Sylvain Marchou
  • Compagnie Hervé Koubi

Mingling performance and story, Compagnie Hervé Koubi explores the choreographer's Algerian roots through the lens of Yasmina Khadra's 2010 novel, Ce Que le Jour Doit à la Nuit (What the Day Owes to the Night).

Khadra is the pen name of Algerian army officer and author Mohammed Moulessehoul, who took the moniker to avoid military censorship. The story examines the life of Younes, a Muslim Algerian boy whose life is upended at the onset of the Algerian War (1954-1962) for independence from France.

Koubi explains the motivation behind his work on the dance company's website: "I would like to give life to my dreams as a child born in France ... who discovered belatedly his true origins and those of his parents, Algerians from birth."

The score of the show is as complex as Algeria's history. Traditional Sufi music intertwines with Western compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach and San Francisco's Kronos Quartet, among others. The 17 male dancers, from Algeria and Burkina Faso, whirl through a global vocabulary of movement derived from capoeira, martial arts, hip-hop and contemporary dance. Though the piece is based on a narrative, the spectacle is physical. As the Washington Post described it in a 2013 review of the company's American debut, the performance is "a stunning fusion of acrobatics, gymnastics, b-boying, modern dance and ballet."

— Sadie Williams

If you like this, try...
  • Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion: Dearest Home, Thursday, September 21, 7 p.m., and Friday, September 22, 8 p.m., Moore Theater, Hopkins Center for the Arts, $10-40.
  • Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project: Declassified Memory Fragment, Friday and Saturday, September 29 and 30, 8 p.m., Mahaney Center for the Arts, Middlebury College, $6-22.
  • Sean Dorsey Dance: The Missing Generation: Voices From the Early AIDS Epidemic, Friday, October 20, 8 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $15-38.
  • Malpaso Dance Company: Thursday, January 11, 7 p.m., and Friday, January 12, 8 p.m., Moore Theater, Hopkins Center for the Arts, $10-35.
  • Dada Masilo: Giselle, Friday and Saturday, March 30 and 31, 8 p.m., Moore Theater, Hopkins Center for the Arts, $10-50.

Opera Company of Middlebury: L'Elisir d'amore

Thursday and Friday, October 12 and 13, 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, October 14, 2 p.m., Town Hall Theater, $45-60.
click to enlarge L'Elisir d'amore - COURTESY OF OPERA COMPANY OF MIDDLEBURY
  • Courtesy Of Opera Company Of Middlebury
  • L'Elisir d'amore

Donizetti's popular comedy L'Elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love), first performed in 1832, tells the story of the poor peasant Nemorino, who falls in love with the beautiful landowner Adina. But the countryside doesn't inspire Opera Company of Middlebury's Doug Anderson as a setting, and he's "never a fan of happy peasants," he says.

So the adventurous director is setting OCM's staged concert version in a 1920s speakeasy. The quack "doctor" Dulcamara, from whom Nemorino buys the love potion that gives this opera its title, will be a bartender. "And who knows? The potion might be a martini," Anderson declares.

L'Elisir, one of the most famous comedies in opera, hasn't lacked for exposure in 185 years. It was the 14th most-performed opera in the world between 2011 and 2015, according to Operabase. No surprise, then, that it's also on the Metropolitan Opera's roster for the coming season. Audiences will be able to see that fully staged period production in February at Live in HD screenings at six area venues.

They'll hear the same ageless music at both, though — including the beautifully legato tenor aria "Una furtiva lagrima" ("A furtive tear"). A great performance of that one can draw audience tears for what the human voice can do.

— Amy Lilly

If you like this, try...
  • Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD broadcast of L'Elisir d'amore, Saturday, February 10 (with encore performances at select venues; check dates in advance), 12:55 p.m., Catamount Arts, Hopkins Center for the Arts, Latchis Theatre, Palace 9, Paramount Theatre and Town Hall Theater, various prices.
  • The entire Metropolitan Opera Live in HD season, screened at the venues above.

Adrienne Truscott: "Asking for It: A One-Lady Rape About Comedy Starring Her Pussy and Little Else!"

Thursday and Friday, November 2 and 3, 8 p.m., FlynnSpace, $25.

In comedy, no subject is so sacred, no topic too taboo, as to spare a comedian from targeting it with a well-crafted bit, story or one-liner. Indeed, many of the world's greatest comics, from Joan Rivers to Bill Hicks to Dave Chappelle, have made careers out of poking and prodding the most delicate sensibilities of their audiences. Nothing is off-limits — at least, that's the ideal.

In reality, some topics are too sensitive, emotional or dark for the majority of comics to handle effectively. Chief among these subjects might be rape.

With good reason, sexual assault is just about the most inflammatory, and perilous, subject in comedy. (Just ask Daniel Tosh how his last rape joke went.) But New York comedian, dancer and choreographer Adrienne Truscott didn't just write a rape joke — she wrote an entire show about it. And it's unlike anything else in comedy.

"Asking for It: A One-Lady Rape About Comedy Starring Her Pussy and Little Else!" has been hailed by critics worldwide for its unflinching, daring, creative — and, yes, funny — commentary on rape and rape culture. Following Truscott's award-winning run at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the UK's Guardian said she performs with "firecracker wit, sophistication and luminous humanity." Added Edinburgh website the List, "Pantless and breathless, Truscott bares her body and soul in an event that straddles the gap between performance art and comedy show."

Given the subject matter and nudity, Truscott's multimedia performance is not for the faint of heart. But it might also be the most important comedy show you'll ever see. Or, as the Scotsman put it, "Brutal, brilliant and brave ... this is without a doubt the most powerful hour of comedy."

— Dan Bolles

If you like this, try...
  • John Cleese Presents Monty Python & the Holy Grail, Thursday, September 21, 7:30 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $25-90.
  • Juston McKinney, Friday, October 13, 7:30 p.m., Lebanon Opera House, $25.
  • Corrine Fisher, Thursday, November 2, 7 p.m., Vermont Comedy Club, $15.
  • Jay Pharoah, Friday and Saturday, December 1 and 2, 7 and 9:30 p.m.; and Sunday, December 3, 7 p.m., Vermont Comedy Club, $25-35.
  • The Capitol Steps, Friday, February 2, 8 p.m., Paramount Theatre, $40.
  • Second City, Saturday, February 24, 8 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $15-40.
  • Sara Juli: Tense Vagina: An Actual Diagnosis, Saturday, May 12, 8 p.m., and Sunday, May 13, 2 p.m., FlynnSpace. $30.
  • Backstage in Biscuit Land, Wednesday through Friday, May 16 through 18, 8 p.m., FlynnSpace, $25.
    • Hinterlands: The Radicalization Process

      Friday and Saturday, November 10 and 11, 8 p.m., FlynnSpace, $30.
      click to enlarge Hinterlands - COURTESY OF KAT SCHLEICHER
      • Courtesy Of Kat Schleicher
      • Hinterlands

      These days, many of us feel as though we've slipped into an alternate timeline. Detroit-based company Hinterlands offers hints of a possibly more palatable America: It's 1984, and, among other imaginary appointments, Angela Davis is the secretary of education and Sun Ra has been named chief futurist.

      These historical fantasies are a mere fragment of the narratives written and performed by Hinterlands' three-person cast: troupe codirectors Liza Bielby and Richard Newman, with Dave Sanders. The Radicalization Process is loosely structured as a distinctly experimental 1960s and '70s countercultural interpretation of Antigone, the Greek tragedy penned by Sophocles in the 5th century BC.

      As the actors rotate through characters and time frames, audience members are privy to scenes and snippets of American radicalism and bomb building, enactments of method-acting processes, and performances from Bertolt Brecht's adaptation of Antigone. The accompanying score is played on analog synthesizers and everyday objects.

      In the arts blog Hyperallergic, Sarah Rose Sharp calls The Radicalization Process "an absolutely original and radical performance." More significantly, she pinpoints Hinterlands' stake in envisioning the future, distilled in the production's oft-repeated line: "The only war that matters is the war against the imagination; all other wars are subsumed in it."

      — Rachel Elizabeth Jones

      If you like this, try...
      • Theater of War Productions: Antigone in Ferguson, Friday and Saturday, September 15 and 16, 8 p.m., Moore Theater, Hopkins Center for the Arts, $17-40.
      • White Rabbit, Red Rabbit with MacArthur Stine, Thursday, October 5, 7 p.m., Town Hall Theater, $10-15.
      • Teatro Sur: Inútiles (Useless), Friday and Saturday, January 5 and 6, 8 p.m., Moore Theater, Hopkins Center for the Arts, $10-35.
      • Gob Squad Collective: War and Peace, Friday and Saturday, April 6 and 7, 8 p.m., Moore Theater, Hopkins Center for the Arts, $10-35.

      Semer Ensemble: Rescued Treasure

      Monday, November 13, 7:30 p.m., with preshow artists' talk, 6:30 p.m., Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, $5-30.
      click to enlarge Semer Ensemble - COURTESY OF ADAM BERRY
      • Courtesy Of Adam Berry
      • Semer Ensemble

      In 1932, a Lithuanian bookstore owner in Berlin named Hirsch Lewin founded a record label for Jewish musicians, whom the Nazis had banned from performing in non-Jewish venues. He made hundreds of recordings under the label Semer. But during 1938's Kristallnacht, Lewin was arrested, his store raided and his records destroyed. Semer was forgotten for 60 years.

      Then, in 1992, musicologist Rainer Lotz began traveling the world to track down those old records; miraculously, he recovered nearly the entire catalog. In 2012, the Berlin Jewish Museum commissioned musician Alan Bern to re-create the archival recordings, and the Semer Ensemble was born.

      The all-star international octet performs Rescued Treasure — what Bern describes as a "last portrait of what Jewish artists were doing in the 1930s," including klezmer, cabaret, cantorial music and folk. Some songs drip with Jewish humor; others are haunting.

      Hearing these Yiddish, Hebrew and German tunes, accompanied by violin, piano and accordion, feels like opening a musical time capsule — an experience made more poignant by learning that most of the original artists perished in Nazi death camps. In an age of ascendant fascism, Semer Ensemble's music and stories couldn't be timelier.

      — Ken Picard

      If you like this, try...
      • Nothing else is quite like this!

      Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

      Sunday, November 19, 7 p.m., Paramount Theatre, $22.50.
      click to enlarge Lukas Nelson - COURTESY OF MYRIAM SANTOS
      • Courtesy Of Myriam Santos
      • Lukas Nelson

      Lukas Nelson could have chosen any number of career paths. Yet he decided to follow dear ol' dad into the family business: world-traveling music star. Being the offspring of the legendary Willie Nelson doesn't necessarily preordain one for a similar life, but the vocation seems to suit both father and son.

      With his backing band, Promise of the Real, Lukas Nelson has carved out an ascendant career in his own right. The group's new self-titled album features a dozen originals that suggest he's doing more than simply walking in the outsize footsteps of the Red Headed Stranger. Writes the Washington Post, "He is the real deal and deserves to be treated seriously, independent of his father's legacy."

      That's true even if vocal similarities make such comparisons hard to avoid. But the younger Nelson owes nearly as much to Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Glen Campbell. And that's to say nothing of the imprint left by his friend and mentor Neil Young.

      While Nelson's new album bears whispers of the past, it's also distinctly modern. Members of the indie-pop band Lucius drop in on backing vocals, as does pop superstar Lady Gaga. But Nelson isn't abandoning family ties: On "Just Outside of Austin," dad shows up for a guitar solo, backed by 86-year-old aunt Bobbi on piano.

      — Dan Bolles

      If you like this, try...
      • An Evening With Graham Nash, Wednesday, September 27, 7:30 p.m., Paramount Theatre, $50.50-80.50.
      • Rosanne Cash, Saturday, November 11, 7:30 p.m., Barre Opera House, $25-56; and Sunday, November 12, 7 p.m., Paramount Theatre, $40-45.
      • David Crosby & Friends, Saturday, November 18, 8 p.m., Paramount Theatre, $55-75.
      • Robbie Fulks Band, Friday, March 2, 7:30 p.m., Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, $10-30.

      Northern Stage: Only Yesterday

      Wednesday, January 31, through Sunday, February 18, various times, Barrette Center for the Arts, $20-59.
      click to enlarge COURTESY OF BARRETTE CENTER FOR THE ARTS
      • courtesy of barrette Center for the arts

      Now is probably not the time to point out the silver lining of a hurricane. But if it weren't for hurricanes, we wouldn't have the Beatles.

      Well, maybe not exactly, but Paul McCartney and John Lennon did share a memorable night during such a storm, and that's the premise of the world premiere of Only Yesterday by Bob Stevens at Northern Stage.

      Early in their careers, McCartney and Lennon found themselves stranded in a Key West, Fla., hotel room, having been rerouted due to said hurricane. They did what many twentysomethings would do in that situation: They got drunk and rode out the storm, staying up late and bonding over shared experiences — including the deaths of their mothers.

      McCartney included the impactful night in a poem written for Lennon after his death, according to a 2001 "Fresh Air" interview with Terry Gross: "What about the night we cried / because there wasn't any reason / left to keep it all inside?"

      Hearing that National Public Radio interview inspired Stevens' play, which is a fictional imagining of that night. According to Northern Stage artistic director Carol Dunne, who directs Only Yesterday, Stevens is "obsessed with the Beatles."

      The playwright is best known for his work on TV series "Yes, Dear" and "The Wonder Years." It seems he's made a career out of nostalgia, and Only Yesterday is no exception. The play serves as a reminder that plans disrupted, and close quarters, can often lead to cherished memories. Who knows? Perhaps that fateful night even pushed McCartney and Lennon to alter the trajectory of pop music for years to come.

      — Jacqueline Lawler

      If you like this, try...

      Roomful of Teeth with pianist Tigran Hamasyan

      Tuesday, January 9, 7 p.m., Spaulding Auditorium, Hopkins Center for the Arts, $10-35.
      click to enlarge Roomful of Teeth - COURTESY OF BONICA AYALA
      • Courtesy Of Bonica Ayala
      • Roomful of Teeth

      Chew on this: Roomful of Teeth reveal the remarkable range of the human voice, through Broadway belting and death metal, Tuvan throat singing and yodeling. There will be reason to smile when this Grammy-winning vocal octet arrives to warm up Dartmouth College's Hopkins Center on a January evening.

      "Our music is aimed at connecting with audiences," writes Roomful of Teeth artistic director Brad Wells, who founded the project in 2009, in an email. "It's vocal music that sometimes has lyrics, sometimes not. It's new music that sometimes sounds old or otherworldly, sometimes bracingly energetic, sometimes serene or dreamy."

      When Roomful of Teeth brings its repertoire to Dartmouth, Armenian jazz pianist Tigran Hamasyan joins the octet for not only a New Hampshire debut but a world premiere of a new piece co-commissioned by the Hop. Roomful member Caroline Shaw's "Partita for 8 Voices," which won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013, is also on the program. Next stop on the tour after this show: New York City's Carnegie Hall.

      Brushing up on the power of song with Roomful of Teeth? Four out of five concertgoers recommend it.

      — Sarah Tuff Dunn

      If you like this, try...
      • The Persuasions: Autumn A Cappella, Saturday, September 30, 7 p.m., Chandler Center for the Arts, $32-34.
      • Nobuntu, Friday, October 27, 7:30 p.m., Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, $5-30.
      • The King's Singers, Friday, November 3, 8 p.m., Mead Memorial Chapel, Middlebury College, $6-30.
      • Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, Wednesday, December 13, 7 p.m., KCP Presents at United Community Church, St. Johnsbury, $15-35.
      • Gobsmacked, Saturday, February 17, 7 p.m., Paramount Theatre, $32.

      Moody Amiri

      Saturday, March 10, 8 p.m., Mahaney Center for the Arts, Middlebury College, $6-22.

      Drawing on both ancient and modern musical traditions, Canadian-Iranian duo Moody Amiri create affecting and evocative string-based compositions. Violist Richard Moody and santur player Amir Amiri generate a trans-hemispheric aesthetic that's rooted in ruminative neoclassical craftsmanship.

      The santur is a member of the hammered dulcimer family and is a foundational part of classical Persian music. Amiri is a lifelong student of the instrument and, since moving to Canada in the mid-1990s, has sought ways to broaden his understanding of the language of global rhythms. In addition to Moody Amiri, he plays with Ensemble Kamaan, a trio that fuses the historical and cultural sounds of its home region, and Sohbat, a duo with sitar player Anwar Khurshid.

      When not performing alongside Amiri, Moody lends his bow skills to a host of pan-genre projects, including acoustic folk band the Bills and the symphonic Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. He's also lent his talents to his sister Ruth Moody's Americana band the Wailin' Jennys.

      Moody Amiri's debut album is aptly named. Safar, which roughly translates to "a trip," takes the listener on a culturally complex journey. Along with original compositions, it includes a rendition of French composer Maurice Ravel's best-known work, Boléro.

      — Jordan Adams

      If you like this, try...

      Roundabout Theatre: Cabaret

      Monday, May 14, 8 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $25-75.
      click to enlarge Cabaret - COURTESY OF JOAN MARCUS
      • Courtesy Of Joan Marcus
      • Cabaret

      Broadway stalwart Cabaret is one of the last shows in the Flynn's 2017-18 season. But it's a safe bet this musical set in 1931 Germany, during the rise of Nazism, will still feel quite timely given current retrograde trends in the U.S. Besides, the show — based on a novel by Christopher Isherwood — hasn't waned in popularity, through good times and bad, since its first performance in 1966. "Leaving your troubles outside" for an evening while the world burns always has appeal. So does some of the best music and dance in show biz.

      New York's Roundabout Theatre chose to produce Cabaret as part of its own 50th anniversary celebrations. Under the direction of stage and screen legends Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall) and Rob Marshall (film versions of Into the Woods, Chicago), the production earned a Tony for Best Musical Revival. The seasoned touring company will take Vermont theatergoers into the delightfully seedy Kit Kat Klub, where the gender-bending emcee will mock everything with a leer and singer Sally Bowles will remind us that "life is a cabaret, old chum."

      — Pamela Polston

      If you like this, try...
      • Jersey Boys, Tuesday and Wednesday, October 3 and 4, 7:30 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $25-90.
      • Vermont Stage: Fun Home, Wednesday, October 4, through Sunday, October 29, various times, FlynnSpace, $35-44.50.
      • Lyric Theatre: A Christmas Story, Thursday through Sunday, November 9 through 12, various times, Flynn MainStage, $24-42.
      • Kinky Boots, Tuesday and Wednesday, December 5 and 6, 7:30 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $25-90.
      • Cinderella, Wednesday, February 7, 7:30 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $25-80.
      • Lyric Theatre: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Thursday through Sunday, April 5 through 8, various times, Flynn MainStage, $24-42.

      Qyrq Qyz (Forty Girls)

      Thursday, March 1, 7 p.m., Moore Theater, Hopkins Center for the Arts, $10-25; and Saturday, March 10, 7 p.m., Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, $20-45.
      click to enlarge Qyrq Qyz (Forty Girls) - COURTESY OF HOPKINS CENTER
      • courtesy of Hopkins Center
      • Qyrq Qyz (Forty Girls)

      Long before the suffragette movement in the UK and the women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y., there was Gulayim, a young female warrior from the steppes of Central Asia. She epitomized female courage and empowerment when she led a group of 40 other women to defend their land from Kalmyk and Persian invaders. The women went on to establish a rule of law based on justice and compassion. 

      The ancient Central Asian "girl power" tale has been reimagined by two of Uzbekistan's most celebrated contemporary artists: filmmaker Saodat Ismailova and composer Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky. Against projected images of the Karakalpak steppes, a group of women tells the story of Qyrq Qyz (pronounced "kerr-keys") via a multimedia performance of recitation, songs and traditional music. 

      Like other oral epic poetry from the region, Qyrq Qyz interweaves elements of myth, legend, history and geography. But it has one distinctive feature, said Margaret Lawrence, director of programming at the Hopkins Center: Its main heroes are female. Describing Ismailova as "the star of Central Asia," Lawrence said it was the Tashkent-born filmmaker's vision to tell the story of Qyrq Qyz through live music.

      — Kymelya Sari

      If you like this, try...
      • Nothing else is quite like this!

The original print version of this article was headlined "Stage Struck"

Related Events

  • Compagnie Herve Koubi @ Flynn MainStage

    • Athleticism meets hip-hop sensibility in an all-male spectacular of capoeira, martial arts and contemporary dance....
    • Sun., Oct. 8, 7 p.m. $15-48.
  • 'L’Elisir d’Amore' @ Town Hall Theater

    • Opera Company of Middlebury captivates theatergoers with a romantic comedy about a smitten waiter who employs a magic love potion....
    • Thu., Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m., Fri., Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m. and Sat., Oct. 14, 2 p.m. $45-60.
  • Adrienne Truscott @ FlynnSpace

    • In Asking for It, the funnywoman unravels stereotypes about rape and comedy....
    • Thu., Nov. 2, 8 p.m. and Fri., Nov. 3, 8 p.m. $25; for ages 18 and up.
  • Hinterlands @ FlynnSpace

    • Historical accounts of the radical left of the 1960s and ’70s inform the boundary-pushing theater company's production of The Radicalization Process....
    • Fri., Nov. 10, 8 p.m. and Sat., Nov. 11, 8 p.m. $30.
  • Semer Ensemble @ University of Vermont Recital Hall

    • From klezmer selections to cabaret numbers to prayer music, an all-star cast of musicians makes rare Jewish songs heard. Preshow talk, 6:30 p.m.; show, 7:30...
    • Mon., Nov. 13, 7:30 p.m. $5-30.
  • Kenneth Broberg @ University of Vermont Recital Hall

    • The 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition silver medalist makes the ivory keys dance in a program of works by Bach, Barber and others....
    • Fri., Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m. $5-35.
  • Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real @ Paramount Theatre

    • The son of Willie wins audience members over with rollicking numbers from the group's self-titled 2017 album. Nikki Lane opens....
    • Sun., Nov. 19, 7 p.m. $22.50
  • Roomful of Teeth @ Spaulding Auditorium, Hopkins Center for the Arts, Dartmouth College

    • The Grammy Award-winning a cappella ensemble pushes the limits of the human voice....
    • Tue., Jan. 9, 7 p.m. $10-35.
  • 'Only Yesterday' @ Barrette Center for the Arts

    • Beatles fans get a behind-the-scenes look at Paul McCartney and John Lennon courtesy of an intimate play by Hollywood writer Bob Stevens....
    • Jan. 31-Feb. 3, 7:30 p.m., Sun., Feb. 4, 5 p.m., Feb. 6-10, 7:30 p.m., Thu., Feb. 8, 2 p.m., Sat., Feb. 10, 2 p.m., Sun., Feb. 11, 5 p.m., Wed., Feb. 14, 11 a.m., Feb. 14-17, 7:30 p.m., Thu., Feb. 15, 2 p.m., Sat., Feb. 17, 2 p.m. and Sun., Feb. 18, 5 p.m. $15-59.
  • The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD: 'L’Elisir d’Amore' @ Paramount Theatre

    • A romantic comedy about a smitten waiter who employs a magic love potion is broadcast to the big screen....
    • Sun., Feb. 11, 12:55 p.m. $10-23.
  • The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD: 'L’Elisir d’Amore' @ Town Hall Theater

    • A romantic comedy about a smitten waiter who employs a magic love potion is broadcast to the big screen. Preshow talk, 12:15 p.m.; show, 1...
    • Sat., Feb. 17, 1 p.m. $10-24.
  • Manual Cinema @ Flynn MainStage

    • Intricate shadow puppetry and a live score tell the tale of twin sisters in Ada/Ava....
    • Wed., Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m. $15-38.
  • Yekwon Sunwoo @ University of Vermont Recital Hall

    • The 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition gold medalist makes the ivory keys dance in a program of works by Brahms, Liszt and others. Preshow...
    • Fri., Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m. $5-35.
  • 'Qyrq Qyz (Forty Girls)' @ Moore Theater, Hopkins Center for the Arts, Dartmouth College

    • Projected images are the back drop for seven Central Asian bards who sing, recite and play traditional instruments to share an ancient tale of female...
    • Thu., March 1, 7 p.m. $10-25.
  • 'Qyrq Qyz (Forty Girls)' @ Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, Stowe Mountain Resort

    • Projected images are the back drop for seven Central Asian bards who sing, recite and play traditional instruments to share an ancient tale of female...
    • Sat., March 10, 7 p.m. $20-45.
  • Moody Amiri @ Robison Hall, Mahaney Center for the Arts, Middlebury College

    • Borders between East and West are blurred in the international duo's eclectic program....
    • Sat., March 10, 8 p.m. $6-22.
  • 'Cabaret' @ Flynn MainStage

    • Roundabout Theatre Company actors travel to Weimar-era Germany in this time-tested musical centered on a Berlin nightclub during Hitler's rise to power....
    • Mon., May 14, 8 p.m. $25-75.

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