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Entertainment Highlights: The Temptations Roll Into Lebanon

  • The Temptations will appear at the Lebanon Opera House tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. (Courtesy photograph)

    The Temptations will appear at the Lebanon Opera House tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. (Courtesy photograph)

  • A publicity photograph of an earlier incarnation of the Temptations. The Motown hit makers have been performing for half a century. (Courtesy photograph)

    A publicity photograph of an earlier incarnation of the Temptations. The Motown hit makers have been performing for half a century. (Courtesy photograph)

  • A publicity photograph of an earlier incarnation of the Temptations. The Motown hit makers have been performing for half a century. (Courtesy photograph)

    A publicity photograph of an earlier incarnation of the Temptations. The Motown hit makers have been performing for half a century. (Courtesy photograph)

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  • The Temptations will appear at the Lebanon Opera House tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. (Courtesy photograph)
  • A publicity photograph of an earlier incarnation of the Temptations. The Motown hit makers have been performing for half a century. (Courtesy photograph)
  • A publicity photograph of an earlier incarnation of the Temptations. The Motown hit makers have been performing for half a century. (Courtesy photograph)
  • <br/><br/>

Even after five decades of performing a familiar repertoire of songs — My Girl, Ain’t Too Proud to Beg and Papa Was a Rolling Stone among them — Otis Williams of The Temptations hasn’t tired of singing the hits that made him and his bandmates famous. And he has little sympathy for the musicians of his era who resent having to revisit the material they’ve performed for ages.

“Some artists say, Oh, I got tired of it, singing the same song over and over again. When I hear artists say that, I say, then you should quit. Leave it alone, if you’ve got that kind of attitude, because people don’t have to spend their hard(-earned) money to see an act come out that’s just grown tired of singing songs that people still love today,” said Williams, the founder and last surviving member of the original Temptations. He was reached by phone this week from Los Angeles, ahead of his show with a new lineup of the Temptations tomorrow night at the Lebanon Opera House.

After 50 years on the road, Williams and “The Temps” have little left to prove. Formed by the members of two Detroit doo-wop groups, the Temptations long ago solidified their status as one of the most beloved acts not only of the ‘60s Motown era, but in all of American popular music. Generations born after the group hit the height of their popularity know the lyrics to the string of soul-infused pop hits they delivered in quick succession.

Even with frequent turnover in the Temptations lineup, the band has never strayed from its standard repertoire. The current incarnation of The Temptations, which includes Williams, Ron Tyson, Terry Weeks, Joe Herndon and Bruce Williamson, doesn’t resort to pyrotechnics or highly choreographed dance routines. They aim to deliver to their audience the songs they know, and that they often have deep emotional attachments to.

“It’s like the blueprint of their lives,” Williams said. “When the songs are performed, a lot of times, they know where they were or what they were doing or what was happening when they listened to My Girl, I Wish It Would Rain, or Papa Was a Rolling Stone, Just My Imagination, any of them … Like my manager says, these songs have taken on such an iconic lifestyle of their own. It’s just one of those things that cushions us to do what we do.”

In that vein, tomorrow night’s show will see the group do “what The Temps are known for,” Williams said, which will include My Girl and other hits. In the spirit of the season, the group will put a Temptations spin on some holiday carols.

Over the course of the Temps’ career, Williams has often been astounded by the extent of their influence in the lives of listeners. He recalled the story of one woman he called whose last wish was to speak with him before she died.

“After we hung up, I sat there and I could not believe that the music that we have made and what we’re known for has been that kind of impactful, that people make those kinds of request before they leave this earth,” he said.

Williams’ loyalty to the group he’s performed with for nearly all of his professional career is legendary, though he’s grown accustomed to questions about whether he plans to step back, given his age (he turned 70 in October). But as Williams sees it, the Temptations have much work ahead of them, and he wants to be part of it.

“I’m gonna ride the hair off the horse. When I get off the horse, the horse will be bald. That’s a lot of riding to ride the horse bald.”

The Temptations perform at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Lebanon Opera House ($39.50-$59.50).

Best Bets

Born in Saskatchewan and raised in North Dakota and New Mexico, singer-songwriter Ana Egge has shared stages with the likes of Lucinda Williams, John Prine and Shawn Colvin. Tomorrow night she brings her talent to Salt hill Pub in Lebanon at 9 p.m. Egge’s performance in the Upper Valley comes just after the release of her seventh album, Bad Blood, which was produced by Steve Earle and finds Egge reflecting on the experience of seeing loved ones suffer with mental illness.

n A.R. Gurney’s play Sylvia, about a stray dog that causes marital strain for an empty nest couple, was a hit the last time it was performed at Shaker Bridge Theatre, and it will return for a second run this weekend at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Whitney Hall Auditorium in Enfield. Sylvia will also be performed from Dec. 7-9 and 14-16 ($25, adults; $20, students).

n 8, the Dustin Lance Black play about the legal efforts to overturn California Proposition 8 that outlawed same-sex marriage, will be presented in a staged reading at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Chandler Music Hall in Randolph. This performance of 8 features several Upper Valley actors, including Suzanne Schon and Peter Saccio of Hanover and Alan Gelfant and Caitlin Glasgo of Norwich. Representatives from Vermont Freedom to Marry will present an introduction to the play at 7 p.m. in Chandler Gallery, and a discussion will follow the performance ($20, adults; $10, students).

n This time of year usually sees one or more performances of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This year, the 200th anniversary of Dickens’ birth, the Parish Players of Thetford will expand on the author’s body of work in What the Dickens, which includes scenes from A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol. Performances are at 7 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday at the First Congregational Church of Thetford in Thetford Hill, and will benefit Thetford’s Latham Library ($10, adults; $7, children).

n Grateful Dead tribute bands abound, but the Dark Star Orchestra’s approach includes revisiting old Dead setlists and putting their own spin on the music of Garcia and Co. The DSO has made several Upper Valley appearances in recent years, and they return for a 7 p.m. show Monday at the Lebanon Opera House ($29.50-$35).

Choral Group Performances

The holiday season brings with it several concerts by area choral groups, with sacred and secular music of the season. For the Bel Canto Chamber Singers, their shows this weekend will include a performance of the Haydn mass Missa in Angustiis ( “Mass for Troubled Times”), along with works by, among others, Thomas Morley, Edward Elgar and Josquin Desprez. Bel Canto performs at the First Congregational Church of Lebanon at 3 p.m. Saturday and the North Universalist Chapel in Woodstock at 3 p.m. Sunday ($12, adults; $6, students; free for children 12 and younger).

n “Ikons and Angels” is the theme of the Thetford Chamber Singers’ annual Christmas Vespers concert, which includes music from Charpentier, Rachmanioff, Biebl and others, and readings from members of the group. Conducted by Lindsey Warren, the chamber singers perform Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the United Church of Strafford and Sunday at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Thetford in Thetford Hill ($15 at the door; $12 in advance, tickets available at the Norwich Bookstore or through members of the group).

n Rounding out this weekend’s set of choral concerts is a show by the Freelance Family Singers of Woodstock and the University Chorus of the Upper Valley at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the First Congregational Church of Woodstock. These free, family-friendly concerts are directed by Ellen Satterthwaite, the longtime director of Freelance; a reception with refreshments will follow the performance. Audience members are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to donate.

Looking Ahead

Peter Pan, the classic tale of a flying boy who refuses to grow up, is the latest production from Northern Stage. The family-friendly musical, directed and choreographed by Connor Gallagher, opens for a holiday run next week, with preview performances at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and an opening night show on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.

n North Country Community Theatre will present the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar at Hartford High School at 7:30 p.m. from Dec. 6 through 8 and at 3 p.m. on Dec. 8. Jesus Christ Superstar features Sam Coxon in the title role, with Eric Mead as Judas and Kaitlyn Sheehan as Mary Magdalene ($10-$30).

n The Jazz On a Sunday Afternoon series at the Center at Eastman in Grantham kicks off the 2012-2013 season of winter jazz concerts on Dec. 9 with a 4 p.m. show by international jazz vocalist Shawnn Monteiro.

A Capella

A host of area a capella groups, including The Superlatives and Zazzle, will show off their chops at the Boho Cafe in White River Junction tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. Want to participate? Email dave@yellowhousemedia.com to reserve a slot.

Dance Music

The monthly Tunbridge Shindigs concert series is back in swing for the season. The Upper Valley dance band Sensible Shoes takes the stage at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Tunbridge Town Hall. Don’t forget your dancing shoes ($8).

Children’s and Family Performances

Martha Speaks, a Theatreworks USA production based on Susan Meddaugh’s children’s book about a dog who can talk when she’s fed alphabet soup, comes to The Moore Theater at Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center for the Arts at 3 p.m. Saturday. A cookies-and-milk reception will follow ($18-$23, adults; $13-$18, children).

Irish Music

In anticipation of this year’s Irish-themed Revels North performance, vocalist Jennifer Culley Curtin will perform traditional Irish music at 8 tonight at Salt hill Pub in Hanover. She’ll be joined by fiddler Ruarri Serpa, flautist and whistler Jim Curtin and Anthony Santoro on Irish pipes.

Student Shows

Thetford Academy students will perform Twelfth Night, Shakespeare’s romantic comedy about gender confusion and mistaken identity, at 7 p.m. tonight through Saturday ($5 at the door; proceeds from Saturday’s performance will benefit Hurricane Sandy relief efforts).

Bar and Club Circuit

Jason Cann is at Harpoon Brewery in Windsor tonight at 6.

n You can find singer-songwriter Rick Redington at Bentley’s Restaurant in Woodstock tonight, starting at 9.

n Jesse’s Restaurant in Hanover has the Incognito Duo performing at 6 p.m. tomorrow.

n Jester Jigs brings their upbeat mix of classic and modern rock, pop and punk to Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon at 9 p.m. tomorrow.

n Dixie D and the Diamonds, featuring Dixie and Ed Eastridge, will provide danceable music at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland at 9 p.m. tomorrow.

n In addition to Ana Egge’s performance at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon tomorrow night, the pub also has a show from the Upper Valley dance band Dr. Burma, starting at 9 p.m. Saturday, and live traditional Irish music sessions at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

n Upper Valley supergroup The Elmores, featuring Ted Mortimer of Dr. Burma and Brian Kinnel of the Squids, plays a show at Salt hill Pub in Newport at 9 p.m. tomorrow. On Saturday at 9 p.m., the pub hosts Tod Moses for an evening of rock, folk and country.

n Lisa Reeves plays a Sunday morning set at Stone Arch Bakery in Lebanon at 11:30 a.m.

n Joey Leone plays a set at The Common Man Restaurant in Claremont at 5 p.m. Sunday.

n The Canoe Club in Hanover has pianist Robert Craig Baum tonight, Gillian Joy tomorrow, guitarist Tom Pirozzoli on Saturday, the Sensible Shoes Trio on Sunday, pianist Dave Sicilia on Tuesday and Frydaddy lead singer Carlos Ocasio on Wednesday.

n Carlos Ocasio also plays a show at Salt hill Pub in Hanover at 9 p.m. tomorrow. The pub has the rock group Acoustic Truffle, traveling from the New Hampshire Seacoast to Hanover for a show at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Open Mics, Jams

An acoustic jam led by Jim Abbott will be held at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Building A Local Economy office in South Royalton.

n Anthony Furnari of The Wheelers hosts an open mic at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon.

n The Colatina Exit in Bradford puts on an open mic on Tuesday from 8 to 11 p.m.

n The Dusty Bottle in Bradford has an open mic and karaoke on Wednesdays, starting at 8 p.m.

n Bear Hollow Vintage Guitars hosts an open jam every Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the studio, located on the Miracle Mile in Lebanon.

n Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland offers an open mic every Wednesday at 8:30.

n Bentley’s Restaurant in Woodstock hosts an open mic each Monday night at 9.

n Lil Red Baron in Newport has an open mic night on Wednesdays at 7:30.

Entertainment Highlights runs every Thursday. Email upcoming events to kbryan@vnews.com.