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Fall Performances: Catch Them When You Can

  • Cellist Matt Haimovitz performs at Chandler Music Hall in Randolph on Oct. 7. (Courtesy photograph)

  • The Americana trio Lula Wiles plays at the Flying Goose Brewpub & Grille on Dec. 6. (Courtesy photograph)

  • Actor, comedian and jazz musician Lea DeLaria, best known as Big Boo on "Orange Is the New Black," comes to the Hopkins Center's Spaulding Auditorium on Oct. 12. (Courtesy photograph)

  • Senegalese singer and composer Youssou N'Dour brings his band to the Hopkins Center on Oct. 23. (Courtesy photograph)

  • Lucinda Williams brings her brand of raw-boned folk to Lebanon Opera House on Nov. 11.



Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, September 27, 2018

The pockets of our appointment calendar runneth over with tickets to live performances around the Upper Valley this fall.

This week alone, my wife, Goodie, and I are spending so much time at Lebanon Opera House — we caught guitar guru Pat Metheny there on Wednesday night, and are returning Friday for the Cape Breton quartet Coig and again on Sunday for comedian Paula Poundstone’s sold-out show — that we might need to switch wards and start voting at City Hall. We’ll also be there for Americana philosopher-diva Lucinda Williams’ Nov. 11 appearance with her band Buick 6.

And wait; there’s more: Tonight we’re taking in the first of two performances of actor-writer Roger Guenveur Smith’s one-man show Frederick Douglass Now at Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center, and on Saturday it’s off to the Grange Theatre in South Pomfret for the ArtisTree Music Theatre Festival’s matinee of The Fantasticks.

Whew! Before the sleep deprivation kicks in from all those nights out, here’s one reporter’s overview of tempting shows for which tickets remained at last look.

Classical and Opera

The parade of classical concerts and opera at the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph includes cellist Matt Haimovitz on Oct. 7 with his interpretation of Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, and the Borromeo String Quartet on Dec. 9.

■ No need to caffeine-up for the classical concerts at Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center, particularly the Oct. 9 performance at which the Sphinx Virtuosi ensemble of African-American and Latino players from Detroit tackles works of Shostakovich, Gaspar Cassado, Kareem Roustom and Terence Blanchard.

■ ArtisTree Community Arts Center continues its Concert for a Cause series at its Hayloft in South Pomfret, starting Oct. 7 with pianist Malek Jandali playing for the benefit of the nonprofit Pianos for Peace. And on Oct. 21, organists Lisa Willems and Lubbert Gnodde perform on behalf of MoonRise Therapeutics, which provide horseback rides for disabled people in Taftsville.

■Opera North presents Derek Wang’s comic opera Scalia/Ginsberg, inspired by the unlikely friendship between the ideological opposite justices of the Supreme Court, on Oct. 12 at Briggs Opera House in White River Junction. For tickets ($55) and more information, visit operanorth.org or call 603-448-4141.

■Classicopia pianist Daniel Weiser leads two mini-tours of the Upper Valley this fall, the first on the theme of “Jewish Jazz 3 — Return of the Jewdi,” featuring music of Bernstein, Gershwin and Benny Goodman over the weekend of Oct. 19 to 21. And on Dec. 1 and 2, Lebanon pianist Elizabeth Borowsky joins Weiser for two recitals of Spanish-flavored works of Bizet, Ravel and Chabrier.

Roots, Rock, Jazz and Pop

Among the flock of folkies migrating through the Flying Goose Brew Pub & Grille in New London this fall are Maine-based veteran David Mallett on Nov. 29 and the up-and-coming, all-woman trio Lula Wiles on Dec. 6. To learn more about the series, visit flyinggoose.com or call 603-526-6899.

■ As of Wednesday morning, fewer than 20 tickets, none of them together, remained at the Lebanon Opera House for multi-platinum country-music star Sara Evans’ concert on Oct. 11. She’s bringing an acoustic trio to accompany her on a repertoire likely to include her country-chart No. 1 singles Born to Fly, A Little Bit Stronger, Suds in the Bucket and Slow Me Down.

Meanwhile, for Grammy winner Lucinda Williams’ Nov. 11 concert at the opera house, tickets remained, as of Wednesday morning, for most of the balcony and the rear fifth of the orchestra level.

And as the kickoff to its On Location series of concerts, the opera house will host singer-songwriter Yossra El Hawary on Oct. 12 at the nearby First Congregational Church of Lebanon. The Egyptian-born singer-songwriter is bringing a five-piece band that blends Edith Piaf-style French ballads with indie rock and jazz.

■Chandler Music Hall in Randolph is making it worth the drive from other corners of the Upper Valley by hosting a stampede of roots musicians that includes the Hot Tuna duo of Jefferson Airplane alumni Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Cassidy on Oct. 11, central Vermont native Myra Flynn and her blues/R&B ensemble on Oct. 13 and the fiddle-centered Donna the Buffalo quintet on Dec. 15.

■ The highlight of an already-jazzy autumn at Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center comes on Oct. 23, when Senegalese singer-songwriter-activist Youssou N’Dour leads his band into Spaulding Auditorium to share a mix of West African traditional music with a Cuban flavor. And on Nov. 7. with Burkina Faso xylophonist Mamadou Diabate playing Spaulding with his Percussion Mania ensemble.

■ If you miss the Celtic-music quartet Coig at Lebanon Opera House this Friday night, or come out of that concert yearning to hear more of their Cape Breton rhythms, fiddlers Rachel Davis and Chrissy Crowley, string- and wind-instrumentalist Darren McMullen and pianist Jason Roach play at Woodstock’s Town Hall Theatre on Dec. 8, as part of the village’s Wassail weekend celebration.

■ The Rough & Tumble duo performs Americana songs and tunes at Court Street Arts’ Alumni Hall in Haverhill on Nov. 3.

■Among the performers for whom we’re tempted to travel beyond the confines of the Upper Valley to Plymouth, N.H.’s Flying Monkey Performance Center are the touring tandem of bluesman David Bromberg and folk-singer Loudon Wainwright III on Oct. 27, and Americana legend John Hiatt on Nov. 3.

In Tribute

Baby-boomer nostalgia dominates Claremont Opera House this fall. The procession of tribute bands begins on Oct. 20 with Tusk, which revisits the music of Fleetwood Mac. EagleMania plays tribute to The Eagles on Dec. 8, and Ted Vigil channels the late John Denver on Dec. 9.

Theater

Northern Stage is performing the Tony Award-winning historical drama Oslo through Oct. 21 at the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction. The company opens Dear Elizabeth, Sarah Ruhl’s examination of the friendship between poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, on Oct. 4. It will run in repertory with Oslo, and will close on Oct. 28. From Nov. 14 and Jan. 1, the company stages Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical.

■ The fall centerpiece of theater at the Hopkins Center is director Robert Lepage’s modern adaptation of the Shakespeare tragedy Coriolanus, with the Ex Machina acting company that wowed audiences over the summer at Ontario’s Stratford Festival. It’s been described as “a mesmerizing critique of leadership and our media-obsessed present.” Performances at the Moore are scheduled for Nov. 30, Dec. 1 (2 and 8 p.m.) and Dec. 2.

■The Parish Players will heat up the Eclipse Grange on Thetford Hill with the premiere, on Oct. 11, of Thetford playwright Duncan Nichols’ play Silvia and Mary at Sea. Norwich’s Nora Jacobson is taking a break from her filmmaking to direct eight performances of this flashback to the late 1960s and 1860s, which incorporates live music and time travel.

■Shaker Bridge Theatre opens its 12th season at Enfield’s Whitney Hall on Oct. 11, with a production of John Patrick Shanley’s Tony Award-nominated drama Outside Mullingar that runs through Oct. 28. And from Dec. 6 to 23, the company will stage Tom Dudzick’s Over the Tavern, a poignant comedy set in the 1950s.

■The BarnArts Center for the Arts stages the Mel Brooks musical farce The Producers at Woodstock’s Town Hall Theatre from Oct. 12 to 21. And on Oct. 24, storyteller Jonathan Kruk performs The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

■From a steady stream of theatrical offerings at Randolph’s Chandler Music Hall, the most anticipated might be the Nov. 10 staging of The Telling Project, with veterans and relatives of veterans sharing their stories from the Vietnam era through the current conflicts in the Middle East and South Asia.

Comedy

Lea DeLaria, whom fans of Orange is the New Black know as the prisoner Big Boo, mixes jokes about life as a pioneer of gay performance art with interludes of jazz at Dartmouth College’s Spaulding Auditorium on Oct. 12.

■ As works-in-progress go, one worth revisiting in these parts is “The Logger and the Fiddler,” which Vermont natives Rusty Dewees and Patrick Ross are bringing to Lebanon Opera House on Nov. 10. The duo started collaborating several years ago, with Dewees mostly doing his comedy routine while Ross, who lives in South Newbury, played tunes between sets. Lately, Dewees has been providing more music while Ross demonstrates his straight-man chops.

■Maine-based joke-slinger Bob Marley’s road show veers back to the Upper Valley on Nov. 9, for an 8 p.m. show at Claremont Opera House.

Dance

The Dartmouth Dance Ensemble cavorts around the Moore Theater on Nov. 13, in a showcase featuring the music of modern composer Tyondai Braxton. And on Dec. 6, 7 and 8, Cirque Mechanics will stage its 42FT — A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels, built around a circus ring.

■For its 14th annual showcase on Nov. 17, the Raqs Salaam Dance Theater troupe will share the stage of the Lebanon Opera House with the Upper Valley Chinese Dance Group, with shows at 2 in the afternoon and 7:30 at night.

■Devotees of ballet can look at Tchaikovsy’s The Nutcracker from two different angles this coming yuletide season. At the Claremont Opera House on Dec. 1 and 2, students from the Stardancer Studios will stage the fifth annual Clara’s Cracked Christmas, an equal-parts fond and sardonic twist on the Clara’s Dream passage. The following weekend, Dec. 8 and 9, students from City Center Ballet perform the traditional version at Lebanon Opera House.

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