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Highlights: Ed Asner Brings One-Man Show to Woodstock

  • Ed Asner performs in "A Man and His Prostate," Ed. Weinberger's play about a health scare he suffered, at Woodstock's Town Hall Theatre on Thursday night, March 8, 2018. (Courtesy photograph)

  • "Qyrq Qyz (Forty Girls)," pairs film with live music to present a story fashioned by a pair of Uzbekistan's leading artists in the Moore Theater at Dartmouth College's Hopkins Center for the Arts tonight at 7. For more information see 'Best Bets.' (Courtesy photograph)



Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, March 01, 2018

Since he broke into show business in the 1950s, Ed Asner has played countless roles, but he estimated that fewer than a dozen of them were real-life characters.

One of these is screenwriter Ed. Weinberger, who described his near-death experience in the one-man show A Man and His Prostate. Asner brings his tour of the play to Woodstock’s Town Hall Theatre next Thursday night.

“The character doesn’t have a name, but it is basically Ed.,” Asner said during a telephone interview from California this week. “I know him well enough to embody him.”

Asner and Weinberger, who ends his first name with a period, collaborated on 20 episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show during its eight-season run in the 1970s, a period that saw Asner win a string of Emmy Awards for his portrayal of the middle-aged newsman Lou Grant.

In the four busy decades since, Asner has played historical figures ranging from Pope John XXIII and Franklin Delano Roosevelt to mega-investor Warren Buffett (in the 2011 TV movie Too Big to Fail) and journalist and health advocate Norman Cousins (in 1984’s Anatomy of an Illness).

“Buffett seemed to be quite pleased,” Asner recalled. “Cousins had reservations about me playing him. He thought of himself more as a greyhound than a bulldog.”

Weinberger, creator of the sitcom Taxi, knew as soon as he saw Asner in a one-man play as Roosevelt several years ago, that he’d found the actor to portray him in Prostate. In the dramatization, which started touring in 2016, Asner zigzags across the spectrum of emotions that Weinberger, now 72, endured while awaiting and undergoing emergency surgery on that enlarged vital organ during a vacation in Italy.

“I never thought I looked like FDR or sounded like him, but I tried my best to become him,” Asner recalled. “Ed. came along with this show, which fit me like a glove. And as we went along he kept his mouth shut for the most part about how I was doing it, so I guess I was doing something right.”

Asner, who was born to an Orthodox Jewish family in Kansas City in 1929, has done enough right, during a career that started in 1957, to earn seven primetime Emmys and a Golden Globe award. And with his trademark growl, he remains in constant demand for big-screen and TV roles as well as voiceovers — he played the cranky widower in 2009’s Up, the Academy Award-winning animated feature — in movies and videos.

More than a dozen movies in which he appears are in the pipeline for release this year, and Anser recently finished touring the East Coast with Kate Burton in staged readings of The Soap Myth, in which he plays a survivor of the Holocaust confronting a denier.

While a touring schedule is more demanding on an 88-year-old body than TV and movie work — “It’s not the show that’s hard; it’s been what modern day transportation has been reduced to,” he said. “It’s a cattle call out there” — Weinberger’s story makes this trip worth the travel.

“You keep finding out what a good writer he is with each performance,” Asner said. “He knows so much about the intricacies of life. When we first started working on it I’d just nod my head as he described how it should go and say, ‘Yes, yes, yes.’ … I immediately felt the humor. I haven’t had that particular medical crisis, but I identify with the recognition of what a man’s penis represents to him and what he thinks of the world as a consequence.”

Ed Asner performs A Man and his Prostate at Woodstock’s Town Hall Theatre next Thursday night at 7:30. For tickets ($45 to $50) and more information, visit pentanglearts.org or call 802-457-3981.

Best Bets

The Hopkins Center screens the central Asian epic film Qyrq Qyz (Forty Girls) at Spaulding Auditorium in Hanover tonight at 7. Seven young woman musicians on stage will play instruments, sing and recite poetry from the ancient narrative about woman warriors defending what is now Uzbekistan against invaders from Persia. For tickets ($17 to $25) and more information, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

Before the screening, starting at 6 at the Top of the Hop, director Saodat Ismailova will talk about the evolution of her project with Dartmouth music professor Ted Levin; admission is free.

Boston Comedy Festival winner Drew Dunn headlines a show of standup at the Engine Room in White River Junction tonight at 8. The session is the first in a series that Bridgewater resident Collen Doyle and fellow comic Brian Muenzer are producing at the venue. Admission is $5 to $10.

North Country Community Theatre performs the stage adaptation of Footloose at Lebanon Opera House this weekend, starting Friday night at 7:30. The musical is based on the 1984 hit movie that starred Kevin Bacon as a young maverick who loosens up the inhibitions of an insular community through a school dance. For tickets ($13 to $17) and more information, visit lebanonoperahouse.org or call 603-448-0400.

On tour from its members’ native Niger, Tal National plays a rocking blend of west African music at the Woodstock Recreation Center’s Little Theater on Friday night at 8. For tickets ($15 to $40), visit eventbrite.com.

Session Americana returns to Alumni Hall in Haverhill on Saturday night at 7:30. For tickets ($20 to $22) and more information, visit courtstreetarts.org or call 603-989-5500.

Looking Ahead

Harold Ford will invoke “The Spirit of Johnny Cash” during a concert with his tribute band at Claremont Opera House on March 10. For tickets ($22) to the concert, which starts at 7:30 p.m., call 603-542-4433, or visit the box office at City Hall or claremontoperahouse.org.

A week ahead of the actual holiday, Jim McCue will headline the second annual St. Patrick’s Day Comedy Gala at Lebanon Opera House on March 10 at 8 p.m. The lineup of comedians includes Boston-area stand-up artists Joey Carroll and Kendra Cunningham, Between comedy sets, the Brinytide duo of Lebanon-resident piper Anthony Santoro and fiddler Roger Burridge will play for the Connolly Celtic Dancers. Proceeds will benefit the New Hampshire Dairy Scholarship Fund. To reserve tickets ($32 to $37) and learn more, visit lebanonoperahouse.org or call 603-448-0400.

Theater/Performance Art

Northern Stage previews its production of Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Disgraced at the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction at 7:30 tonight and Friday night, before the official opening on Saturday night. To reserve seats and learn more about the show, which runs through March 18, visit northernstage.org or call 802-296-7000.

Shaker Bridge Theatre opens the second weekend of its production of Simon Stephens’ drama Heisenberg tonight at 7:30 at Whitney Hall in Enfield. The play runs through March 11. For tickets ($16 to $35), visit shakerbridgetheatre.org or call 603-448-3750.

South Pomfret’s Abbott Memorial Library hosts a night of storytelling, on the theme of “The lengths I go …” and in the spirit of public radio’s The Moth Radio Hour, on Friday at 7. To learn more, call 802-763-8393 or visit abbottmemoriallibrary.org.

Storytellers from Dartmouth College’s “community of self-identified women” share their experiences during a staging of Voices on Tuesday night at 7, at Spaulding Auditorium in Hanover. Admission is free to the production, which is part of the college’s annual campaign aimed at ending violence against women and girls.

Music

Folk singer-songwriter Peter Mulvey performs at the Flying Goose Brewpub & Grille in New London tonight at 8. To reserve tickets ($25) and learn more, visit flyinggoose.com or call 603-526-6899.

The Upper Valley middle-school musicians who trained with the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble for the last several months show what they learned with a concert at Spaulding Auditorium in Hanover on Saturday afternoon at 1:30. Admission is free.

Saxophonist Michael Parker, singer Alison “AliT” Turner and guitarist Norm Wolfe play jazz at the Woodstock Terrace assisted-living complex on Saturday afternoon at 3. Admission is free.

Upper Valley Music Center teachers Meghan Davis, Ben Kulp and Vicky Nooe perform trios for clarinet, cello and piano by Rick Sowash, Robert Muczynski and Johannes Brahms at the First Congregational Church of Lebanon on Sunday afternoon at 3. Admission is $15 for ages 18 and older.

Dance

LED hoop dancer Nikki Royce and DJ LSJ lead the dance party that the Main Street Museum in White River Junction is hosting on Friday night starting at 9. Admission is $5. For ages 18 and older.

Soulfix sets the rhythm for the monthly Shindigs dance at Tunbridge Town Hall on Saturday night at 7:30. Admission is $10.

With deejays ShaR4 and Camilo providing the musical soundtrack for dancing, The Engine Room in White River Junction inaugurates its monthly series of First Saturday Club Nights at 9. Admission is $5. For every 10 paying revelers (ages 21 and older), Big Fatty’s BBQ will donate a meal for a client of the Upper Valley Haven.

The Dartmouth Dance Ensemble stages two performances of works-in-progress by director John Heginbotham and choreographer in residence Rebecca Stenn at noon and 1 on Sunday afternoon, at the Hop Garage in the Hopkins Center. Admission is free.

Film

Norwich Public Library hosts a screening of the documentary Freya: Love In The Time Of Resistance tonight at 7. The film features the recollections of the late Norwich resident Freya von Moltke, who with her husband, Helmuth, served in a resistance group in Nazi Germany. The movie includes excerpts of letters the von Moltkes exchanged, through a chaplain, during Helmuth’s imprisonment. The von Moltkes’ son, Helmuth, and his wife, Keri, will answer questions after the screening. Admission is free.

Bar and Club Circuit

Guitarist Charlie Chronopoulos plays the blues at Taverne on the Square in Claremont tonight from 7 to 9.

Randy Miller leads the weekly live session of traditional Irish music at the Salt hill Pub in Hanover tonight at 6.

The Jordan Tirrell Wysocki Duo rocks Salt hill Pub in Newport on Friday night at 9. Roger Kahle joins Randy Miller on Wednesday night at 6 for their weekly live session of traditional Irish music.

About Gladys frontman Rich Thomas plays the tavern at Jesse’s in Hanover on Friday night at 5.

The roots quartet Out on a Limb performs at Big Fatty’s BBQ in White River Junction on Friday night from 6 to 8.

The Equalites pulls into Windsor Station to play reggae, rock and soul on Friday night at 9:30. The Burlington-based funk band Dr. No plays Saturday night at 9:30, and troubadour Jacob Green appears on Tuesday night at 6.

Folk musicians Chris LaVancher and Tom Smith perform at the Sunapee Community Coffeehouse on Friday night at 7, in the basement of the Methodist Church in Sunapee Harbor. Admission is by donation.

Saxophonist Mike Parker and singer-guitarist Nikki Adams perform at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2571 in White River Junction on Friday night from 7 to 10.

Folk singer-songwriter Eric George plays The Skinny Pancake in Hanover on Friday night at 8.

Bassist Peter Concilio leads his jazz ensemble into Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners on Friday night at 9.

Sensible Shoes opens a busy weekend at Crossroads Bar and Grille in South Royalton on Friday night at 9. The rock quartet plays SILO Distillery in Windsor on Sunday afternoon from 1 to 3.

SIRSY performs its mix of rock and soul at The Engine Room in White River Junction on Friday night at 9.

Pianist Sonny Saul plays jazz at the On the River Inn in Woodstock on Saturday and Wednesday nights from 6 to 9.

Saxophonist Katie Runde, accordionist Steve Pixley and guitarist Ted Mortimer join forces at Salt hill Pub Shanty in Newbury, N.H., on Saturday night, 8 to 11.

Saxophonist Mike Parker performs jazz with singer Alison “AliT” Turner and guitarist Norman Wolfe at Carpenter and Main in Norwich on Tuesday night at 7. Parker and Wolfe play at Quechee Inn at Marshland Farm on Wednesday, 6 to 9.

Open Mics

Jim Yeager hosts open mics on the following nights over the coming week: tonight at 7 at the ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret; at Bentley’s Restaurant in Woodstock on Monday night at 7:30; at the Public House in Quechee on Tuesday night at 6; and on Wednesday from 8 to midnight at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners.

String players of all ages and abilities are welcome at the weekly acoustic jam session at South Royalton’s BALE Commons on Friday night from 6:30 to 10.

Joe Stallsmith leads his weekly hootenanny of Americana, folk and bluegrass on Monday night at 6 at Salt hill Pub in Hanover.

Fiddler Jakob Breitbach leads a weekly acoustic jam session of bluegrass, Americana and old-timey music on Tuesday nights at 7 at The Filling Station Bar and Grill in White River Junction.

Tom Masterson hosts the weekly open mic at Bradford’s Colatina Exit on Tuesday nights at 8.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304.

Entertainment news can be sent to highlights@vnews.com.