Highlights: Pride Plays Show More Than Tell

  • From left, Vincent Broderick, of Montpelier, Andra Kisler, of Northfield, Vt., Jennifer Lord, of Danville, Vt., and William Wuttke, of South Royalton, make up the cast of "Raggedy And," one of the plays in this year's Vermont Pride Theater summer festival, which runs this weekend and next at Randolph's Chandler Music Hall.

  • The Villalobos Brothers bring Mexican folk music filtered through jazz and classical forms to Barnard's Feast and Field Market on Friday. See 'Best Bets' for information about tickets.

Valley News Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 20, 2016

After several years of performing staged readings for Vermont Pride Theater, William Wuttke needed every minute of rehearsal over many weeks to prepare for this Friday night’s performance of the play Raggedy And at Randolph’s Chandler Music Hall.

“This is the first Pride show I’ve done where we’re all off-book,” Wuttke, a newly-minted graduate of South Royalton School, said this week. “That adds a couple months to the learning curve.”

What’s helped his adjustment is that, as in the staged reading of Quechee resident Mike Backman’s Sunset on Tuesday at the Chandler last winter, none of the characters is declaiming from a soapbox.

“A lot of the shows we do can be preachy about gay rights, transgender rights,” said Wuttke, who portrayed the straight character among two Mormon missionaries in the earlier play. “Both Sunset and Raggedy And feel like ‘normal’ plays where LGBT (a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sensibility) is a factor, but not the factor. I find that much more effective. Somebody really conservative would enjoy this play.”

The play by David Valdes Greenwood, which premiered in Chicago last winter, follows the high-wire act of a family preparing for the public exposure that will ensue when one of the two mothers, a transgender poet, is chosen to recite at the inauguration of America’s first woman president,

“It’s very well-written, feels like something I would perform on stage or in a play at school,” said Wuttke, who plays the poet’s son with gender-identity issues of his own. “It’s very, very character driven. All four characters are very relatable to everyone. He’s a young guy, struggling a bit with his own sexuality. There’s really a lot there to work with.”

Organizers of Vermont Pride Theater’s summer festival, which is marking its sixth year at the Chandler this weekend and next, lately have been choosing material that shows more than tells its LGBT themes. In addition to productions of Raggedy And on Friday and again on July 30, the festival this Saturday night will host performance artist David Leeper’s one-man show, At the Flash, weaving the life stories of five regulars at a fictional gay bar.

The finale for this weekend is Sunday night’s performance of Marilynn Barner Anselmi’s Mama’s Girls, in which 11-year-old twin girls struggle with the consequences of one sister’s decision to change genders.

Next weekend, after reprises of Mama’s Girls on July 29 and of Raggedy And on the 30th, performance artist Nelson Rodriguez on July 31 will present Guillermo Reyes’ Men on the Verge of a His-Panic Breakdown, a set of monologues of gay Latino immigrants absorbing the shock of ethnic and gender identity in an American culture built on assimilation.

For Wuttke, such themes are a long way from his debut as a second-grader in the chorus of a South Royalton School production of The Music Man. At the same time, his subsequent experience with Pride shows have enhanced his devotion to theater.

“Even if I never do a play again, it’s been so worth it,” said Wuttke, who will try out for productions at the University of Vermont while majoring in computer science starting this fall. “It teaches you a lot.”

Vermont Pride Theater begins the first weekend of its sixth annual Summer Pride Festival of plays at Randolph’s Chandler Music Hall on Friday night at 7:30, with the East Coast premiere of David Valdes Greenwood’s comedy Raggedy And. Passes covering the two weekends cost $60 each. Admission to individual shows cost $12 to $17 in advance and $15 to $20 at the door. To order advance tickets and learn more about the plays in the festival, visit chandler-arts.org or call 802-728-6464.

Best Bets

Daby Toure serenades the weekly Feast and Field Farmers’ Market in Barnard tonight from 5:30 to 7:30, with West African rhythms. The performance coincides with the market’s “Art on the Farm” opening of an exhibit of sculpture.

On Friday night, the Villalobos Brothers will make their third appearance at Feast and Field. Doors open at 5:30 for a taco dinner and self-guided tours of “Art on the Farm. Prior to the 7:30 show, Migrant Justice, which advocates for farmworkers’ rights in Vermont, will give a presentation. The Villalobos Brothers mix Mexican folk music with jazz and classical music and have performed at such venues as the Apollo Theater and Carnegie Hall. Unlike the weekly Thursday markets, this is a ticketed show, and tickets ($40 to $20 on a sliding scale, $10 for students) are available at feastandfield.com or barnarts.tixato.com.

The Hopkins Center screens the animated Disney fish-feature Finding Nemo at Spaulding Auditorium in Hanover tonight at 6:30. While admission is free, it’s a good idea to reserve tickets ahead by visiting the box office or hop.dartmouth.edu or by calling 603-646-2422.

Bow Thayer and Rick Redington & the Luv are among the Vermont-based Americana and rock acts scheduled to perform during the inaugural NoTown Music & Arts Festival at Tweed River Tubing in Stockbridge, Vt., on Friday and Saturday. Gates open both days at 10, and the music each day begins at 3:30. Admission each day is $30. To learn more, visit notownfestival.com or facebook.com/NoTownFunstival.

The Washington Saxophone Quartet plays works of Bach, Gabrieli, Copland, Bernstein, Ellington, Andrew Waignein, Thomas Albert, Astor Piazzolla and Javier Montiel tonight at 7:30 at the first Baptist Church in New London. Admission costs $5 to $25. To learn more, visit summermusicassociates.com or call 603-525-8234.

FLOCK dance troupe performs Carol Langstaff’s Woman at the Star Mountain Amphitheater in Sharon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at 6:30. The company acts out a series of vignettes following the life path of an activist. In the event of rain, the show will go on in the FLOCK barn. Admission at the gate costs $10 to $12. For more information, visit flockdance.org or call 802-765-4454.

Looking Ahead

Next Thursday night at 8, Grammy-laden jazz pianist Chick Corea leads bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade onto the stage of Dartmouth College’s Spaulding Auditorium in Hanover. For tickets ($25 to $52) and more information, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.


Singer-songwriter and Oxbow High School graduate Hunter Paye returns to the Upper Valley on July 31 for a concert at Alumni Hall in Haverhill, where he will unveil his new album that includes a group of Oxbow students joining him on the song The Sound of Amplified Youth. South Newbury, Vt., fiddler Patrick Ross also will perform. Doors open at 11 a.m., and the music starts at 12:30 p.m. For tickets ($10 to $20) and more information, call 603-989-5500.

Theater/Performance Art

Adam Wilber performs magic, feats of mentalism and comedy at Lebanon’s Colburn Park tonight at 7.

The New London Barn Playhouse continues its run of Shrek the Musical with performances tonight, Friday night and Saturday night at 7:30, Sunday afternoon at 5, Tuesday night at 7:30, Wednesday afternoon at 2 and Wednesday night at 7:30. For tickets ($20 to $35) and more information about the production, which ends on July 31, visit the box office in New London or nlbarn.org or call 603-526-6710.

On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, Old Church Theater in Bradford holds open auditions for the company’s September production of the Michael McKeever comedy 37 Postcards. The cast contains two men and four women between the ages of 20 and 50, and one woman of about 90. Rehearsals begin Aug. 15 for a production that will hit the stage on Sept. 16. To learn more, visit oldchurchtheater.org or call 802-439-6199.


The Sensible Shoes duo of Barbara Blaisdell and Tim Utt performs at Colburn Park from 4 to 7 this afternoon, during the Lebanon Farmer’s Market.

The Summer Street Music Series in Bradford continues tonight at 6 with Ashley Miles and Ken Odell playing country and rock at Denny Park. Admission is by donation.

∎ Musical performers during the Norwich Fair this weekend include The Brews Brothers tonight from 7 to 9:30, Socially Awkward from 7 to 9:30 Friday night, Dave Richardson from 1:30 to 3:30 Saturday afternoon, Tuck’s Rock Dojo throughout Saturday evening and The Residuals throughout Sunday afternoon. For more information, visit the Norwich Fair Facebook page.

∎ In Opera North’s last Summerfest tune-up before it opens its season at the end of July, saxophonist Fred Haas plays jazz at the Enfield Shaker Museum tonight at 6. Admission is $75, which includes cocktails, music and dinner. To learn more, visit operanorth.org/special-events.html.

The Moonlighters big band performs on the Mary Haddad Memorial Bandstand in New London on Friday night, July 29, at 6:30.

On the theme of “Viva Divas! Songs of National Parks and Arias of Nature,” Julie Wyma, Alexandra Lang and Rachel Selan join voices at the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish on Sunday afternoon at 2. Admission is included in the $7 fee to enter the historic site.

The Upper Valley Community Band performs on the Newport Town Common Sunday night at 6.

Amy Gallatin plays country, folk, bluegrass and western songs at Colburn Park in Lebanon on Monday night at 7.

The Squids perform their mix of R&B, blues, jazz, Latin, rock and country on the Ben Mere Bandstand overlooking Sunapee Harbor on Wednesday night at 6:30.

Chad Hollister plays a set of acoustic rock at the Quechee Green on Wednesday night at 6:30.


Court Street Arts continues its series of free movies on Friday night with a screening of Robert Zemeckis’ 1985 sci-fi classic Back to the Future at Alumni Hall in Haverhill. Each week’s movie begins at 6:30, with the Bailiff’s Cafe serving dinner, craft beverages and desserts starting at 5:30. To reserve a table for dinner, and to learn more about the series, visit alumnihall.org or call 603-989-5500.

Bar and Club Circuit

Singer Lydia Gray and guitarist Ed Eastridge perform at the Canoe Club in Hanover tonight at 6:30. Following them to the microphone with 6:30 to 9:30 shows over the coming week are the French-Canadian quartet La Madeleine on Friday, acoustic genre-hopper Joseph Stallsmith on Saturday, jazz pianist Bob Lucier on Sunday, guitarist Bruce Gregori on Tuesday and pianist Gillian Joy on Wednesday.

Wild Roots performs at the Boho Cafe in downtown White River Junction tonight between 7 and 10.

The Few Remaining pulls into Windsor Station tonight at 7 to play an acoustic set. Next to the microphone over the weekend will be the “psychedlic prog-hop” ensemble Binger on Friday night at 10, Please Don’t Tell with a session of Americana on Saturday night at 9:30 and singer-songwriter Billy Sharff on Tuesday night at 6.

Royalton singer-songwriter Alison “AliT” Turner appears at Bentley’s restaurant in Woodstock tonight at 8.

Singer-songwriter Chris Powers plays in the tavern at Jesse’s in Hanover on Friday night at 5.

Sensible Shoes rocks the Public House in Quechee on Friday night from 7 to 10.

Dave Clark leads the Americana ensemble Most Wanted into Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners on Friday night at 8.

∎The Friday night lineups at the Upper Valley’s Salt hill Pubs feature the B3 Brotherhood with a set of funk in Lebanon, Enfield-raised singer-songwriter Brooks Hubbard in Hanover and bluesman John Lackard in Newport. Saturday-night performers are the pop-rockers of Flew-Z in Newport, Better Days with a set of blues, funk and classic rock in Hanover and Blabpipe with 1980s-inspired alt-rock in Lebanon. Shows start both nights at 9.

Open Mics

Ramunto’s Brick & Brew Pizza in Bridgewater hosts an open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Participants get a free large cheese pizza.

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.

Jim Yeager presides over an open-mic at the Boho Cafe in downtown White River Junction Friday night from 7 to 10.

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

Bradford’s Colatina Exit holds an open mic on Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

The Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon runs an open mic on Tuesday nights, beginning at 8.

Jim Yeager hosts an open mic at Hartland’s Skunk Hollow Tavern, at 8:30 on Wednesday nights.

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


The Moonlighters will play big-band music on the Mary Haddad Memorial Bandstand in New London next Friday night, July 29, at 6:30. An earlier version of this story listed an incorrect date for the concert.