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UCOH Is Open for Interpretation

Festival Ballet Providence closes its 37th season with their popular Up Close On Hope dance series and the best way to describe this program, which leans a bit more toward contemporary dance than past programs, is “open for interpretation.”

With classical ballet, even when presented in excerpts, which is generally the case for UCOH, audiences know the story, whereas with many contemporary pieces the story is not always clear, and in many cases, it is very personal for the choreographer.

Yet the lack of an identifiable theme does not detract from the program’s aesthetic appeal, which also features many of the company’s younger dancers sharing the stage with some of the more familiar faces; Jaime DeRocker and Eugenia Zinoviewa continue to impress.

The performance opens with Joseph Morrissey’s “Mein Weg.” Five dancers, three females and two males dressed in black depict a somewhat frantic scene. Dancers walk quickly across the stage while others perform vogue-like movements framing their faces or bodies with their arms. The male dancers share partnering duties as the music builds and the pace quickens. Ilya Burov continues to show he is one of the company’s most versatile and reliable dancers.

Next is Sydney Skybetter’s “Near Abroad.” Originally created for a man and a woman, FBP chose to present it with two male dancers, adding to its intrigue. The piece seems an exploration of relationships where at times we can feel so near, but so distant. Alex Lantz and Ty Parmenter are gentle and tender, keeping constant contact with one another. Other times, there is a sense of desperation with clutching and clinging, the dancers tumbling to the floor. Yet they have an inherent trust in one another until the final moment when Parmenter leans backward, but Lantz is not there to catch him.

The mood lightens with Parmenter’s “Slip Flap.” Four female dancers wander about wearing long-sleeve thermal tops and men’s underwear. The choreography starts out very lively with the dancers copying each other. Then the music softens and the dancers’ movements are slower and more deliberate with each seeming to complete another’s phrase, a continuous chain of movements.

FBP artistic director Mihailo Djuric’s light and lyrical “For Susan” follows, a charming Romeo and Juliet type pas de deux. Ruth Whitney and Alan Alberto give the piece great depth and emotion. At one point, he gently lifts her and she reaches back to caress his neck. Whitney is light and airy; Alberto the perfect counterpoint with long, muscular lines. “Susan” flows nicely and finishes in a sweeping promenade with Whitney opening her arms and leaning back, giving herself completely to Alberto.

Just before intermission, company dancer Vilia Putrius premieres the deeply personal “All the Birds Become Silent to the Moon’s Complaints,” a tribute to a friend who took her own life. It begins with an endearing pas de deux with Putrius and Mindaugus Bauzys playfully interacting with a child. Later the child grows up and is surrounded by dancers dressed in black robes carrying heavy sacks, representing the weighty burdens we all carry. Yet sometimes these burdens can be overwhelming as the once happy child leaps into darkness.

Jaime Diaz’s “Embers” opens the second half. And, as the title suggests, this is a “hot” pas de deux featuring Brenna DiFrancesco and Parmenter. With him shirtless, it is a fluid and passionate piece. On several occasions, Parmenter’s legs buckle when DiFrancesco lightly touches his chest yet he sparks back to life. But alas his passion burns itself out and he collapses to the floor.

Next, 19-year-old company member Jorge Rullan presents “3:23.” Set to a clanging piano, the piece seems to suggest a sense of losing control. Dancers leap and crash to the floor, the music swells and the desperation grows. Yet, DeRocker and Alberto meet and their movements become softer and more controlled with each seeming to have fulfilled the other’s needs. They dance and find peace, but their encounter abruptly ends with a simple handshake.

Putrius and Bauzys return for “Romantic Pas de Deux,” a breathless exercise in stamina and technique that both dancers make look near perfect and effortless. From the opening, with his completing multiple double tours en l’air and dropping to one knee just in time to support her, the audience is treated to a series of demi-solos. Putrius amazes hopping en pointe in a diagonal across the stage while executing a series of pirouettes. The audience claps loudly when Bauzys spins on one leg, calmly finishing in a triple pirouette. The piece ends with her balanced precariously on his shoulder.

Resident choreographer Vikotr Plotnikov’s “Urban Shadows” completes the program. With four dancers, two men and two women wearing all grey, this number features Plotnikov’s trademark choreography where even the dancer’s bodies become props as one leans, sits or climbs over another. One movement sets off another when one dancer gently touches another with a foot or a hand to initiate a response.

FBP’s Up Close On Hope runs through April 25 in the company’s Black Box Theatre. For tickets or more information, visit festivalballet.com.




Up Close on Hope’s First Installment Delights Audiences

danceFestival Ballet Providence opens its 37th season with the first installment of Up Close On Hope, a dance series presented in the company’s Hope Street studio. While not as demanding as past programs — the classical numbers do not deliver the usual knock-out punch — the near sell-out crowd of FBP diehards is not disappointed.

The evening begins with Ilya Kozadayev’s “Molto Espressivo,” a company premiere. Emily Loscocco and Alan Alberto, with their long, lean lines, are perfectly paired for a remarkably fluid pas de deux. Next, Elizabeth Mochizuki and Ilya Burov perform a quicker, more uptempo duet. Though not as clean as Loscocco and Alberto, the latter pair do provide a certain spark. “Espressivo” concludes with both couples nicely mirroring the others’ movements.

Next comes the program’s first of two classical offerings, the “Peasant Pas de Deux” from Giselle. This festive number pairs Brenna DiFrancesco with Ty Parmenter. Initially, DiFrancesco appears a bit nervous, yet Paramenter proves to be a calming and steadying presence. DiFrancesco does loosen up nicely for her solos with a series of crisp chaine turns and pirouettes. Paramentor also impresses with countless cabrioles and double tour en l’airs.

FBP Artistic Director Mihailo Djuric’s “Tender Delusions” brings Mochizuki and Burov together again. This piece is both gentle and passionate, lots of pushing, pulling and grasping, detailing the many ebbs and flows of a relationship. Mochizuki and Burov work well together instilling “Delusions” with its pervading sense of tenderness.

Company member Louisa Chapman’s “Elements,” a FBP premiere, closes out the first half. With the four elements as her muse, Chapman creates some interesting visuals, with some working better than others, but her musical selections, including Vivaldi and Philip Glass, do work very nicely with her choreography.

“Earth,” with dancers stomping and clapping to represent earth sounds (no music accompanies this segment) does not work nearly as well as the other elements. “Water,” with Vilia Putrius and Alberto wearing aqua tights, beautifully projects the weightlessness one feels when moving in water. “Fire,” Parmenter and Harunaga Yamakawa, is all about taking up space, with big jumps and quick turns; the dancers dominate the stage much like a spreading fire would, and this piece emerges as an audience favorite. Finally, “Air” presents some very majestic images, with five female dancers soaring like birds of prey before transforming into trees being tossed about by gusts of wind.

The program’s second half proves to be a bit more provocative, exploring some of human nature’s darker elements.

“Moonlight,” a world premiere by Kozadayev, pairs Kirsten Evans with Alex Lantz. Accompanied by Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” Evans and Lantz are mesmerizing. These two just get better and better each time they are paired together, projecting a chemistry that transcends their dancing, which isn’t too bad either. In a trance-like state, Evans captivates, floating through space with Lantz gently assisting — a very touching piece despite its seemingly troubling implications.

Next, Parmenter takes a turn at choreography with “Glauben Sir Mir,” another world premiere. The German title suggests that one needs to trust one’s self. The trio of dancers, Alberto, Vincent Brewer and Tegan Rich, explore the issue of trust. Here, Rich’s facial expressions and angst tell a story wonderfully.

Frequent UCOH contributor Gianni DiMarco presents the evening’s best received piece, the world premiere “Voices in Your Head.” Mindaugas Bauzys trembles with psychophrenia, haunted by Putrius and Evans, who circle and stalk him mouthing unspoken words. At times, they weigh heavily upon him, pressing their bodies against his. Yet, he fights them off, a double tour en l’air and he breaks free, the two sirens recede, begging the question: Was it all just in his head? This is a very haunting yet beautifully danced piece.

Taking a break from the darkness, the dreamy “Chopiniana” follows; this romantic reverie features a poet, surrounded by white-clad sylphs, searching for his ideal. Mochizuki and Alberto, in classical ballet wardrobe, present a simple, yet delightful, pas de deux with Mochizuki moving with an ethereal lightness and grace.

Lastly is critically acclaimed and resident FBP choreographer Viktor Plotnikov’s world premiere “Surrogate.” Accompanied by Sonya Belousova’s techno sounding original score, this thought-provoking piece questions whether we have all become “surrogates,” unable to think and act for ourselves. Wearing tutus, three female dancers are accompanied by their male partners who move them about by grabbing hold of their ponytails.

Throughout the piece, one’s struggle for control and individuality intensifies. Bodies stiffen before falling limp, control always fleeting. And, as has become the norm with Plotnikov’s choreography, there is a disturbing, yet marvelous, aesthetic appeal. One dancer simulates breaking another’s neck, then they warmly embrace. Such conflicting emotions suggest an inert darkness in human nature, a darkness that seems to inspire Plotnikov.

Festival Ballet Providence’s first installment of Up Close On Hope runs through Nov 21. For tickets or more information visit www.festivalballet.com




Festival Ballet Dances into Fall

After a bit of a delay, Festival Ballet Providence announced its schedule for their upcoming 37th season. Of note, they will present one less performance at The Vets but will add a third installment of the popular Up Close On Hope dance series.

 

Chatterboxtheatre, dance geared toward children, returns with an encore production of Peter and the Wolf. In December, FBP moves into PPAC for their annual holiday presentation of The Nutcracker. They then take the stage at The Vets in March with JuxtaPOSE, featuring resident choreographer Viktor Plotnikov’s groundbreaking and critically acclaimed “Coma”; the program also includes “Etudes,” allowing audience members to, as the title suggests, compare Plotnikov’s contemporary masterpiece alongside a classical masterpiece.

 

FBP’s season officially opens with the first installment of UCOH. And, as has become the norm, it is an ambitious program totaling nine works including four world premieres, two company premieres, one musical premiere and two new choreographers. With an exciting blend of contemporary dance and classical ballet, these performances allow company members and world renowned choreographers to present their work in an intimate setting with “dance so close you can touch it.”

 

On a recent Wednesday evening, I attended an UCOH rehearsal just as FBP company member Louisa Chapman was setting her piece “The Elements,” a company premiere. With the earth, air, water and fire as her muse, Chapman creates some stunning visuals. I spoke with her briefly before rehearsal began.

 

When asked about what inspired her, Chapman recalls how she would go on walks and “observe nature. Watch how the wind catches the leaves, how the water ripples when something is thrown into it. Or watch the fire in a fire pit and how the coals burn and how the fire spreads.”

 

When asked about the biggest challenges thus far, she admits that the choreography for “Earth” is still in the works complicated by her decision to forgo music in this segment. Rather, she wants “earth sounds, sounds that are human and tangible so the audience can connect with the piece,” coming up with such “sounds” has proven to be difficult. She also details some of the difficulties with “Air.” It features five women and, as Chapman notes, “female dancers want everything to look so beautiful. But I am trying to get them to give-up their weight, to let go and be natural.”

 

The most striking thing about this young dancer/choreographer is her confidence and the specificity of what she is trying to convey. Though she asks a lot of the dancers, she has a very easy way of explaining herself; one marvels at the remarkable give and take between Chapman and the dancers. And, after several run-throughs, her vision begins taking shape.

 

“Air” opens with the dancers squatting, arms out by their sides like wings. As the music builds, they soar like birds of prey on the hunt, strong and majestic. Then they become trees with arms lifting and bodies swaying as if being tossed about by gusts of wind. Chapman reminds them “let the wind catch you. This is too much like ballet. I need more movement.” And while she encourages the dancers to be more “natural” and abandon some of their classical training, the choreography still projects a certain grace and beauty.

 

Then she moves onto “Fire” with two male dancers also starting in a squatting position. As the music builds, their arms and torsos flicker and flutter until they are standing. This piece utilizes big jumps allowing the dancers to “eat up space” much like “the way fire spreads,” explains Chapman. But, much like fire, it burns itself out as the dancing slows and the dancers return to flickering and fluttering until they are motionless.

 

As the rehearsal draws to a close, Chapman and the dancers begin working on “Water.” In addition to Chapman’s premiere, this UCOH program will also feature world premieres by Plotnikov, frequent FBP contributor Gianni DiMarco and Ty Parmenter, a former FBP dancer who recently rejoined the company. And for those looking to have their classical ballet itch scratched, the “Peasant pas de Deux” from “Giselle” and “Chopiniana” should do the trick.

 

Finally, FBP Artistic Director Mihailo Djuric is thrilled to announce that Ilya Kozadayev will be making his FBP choreographic debut contributing a company premiere and a world premiere, Djuric has been a big fan of his work for quite some time. From a family of dancers, Kozadayev received his early ballet training in St. Petersburg Russia. He has toured nationally and internationally as a member of many prestigious ballet companies in the US, most recently as a soloist with Houston Ballet. Currently, he serves as Assistant Professor of Ballet at the University of Oklahoma.

 

For more information about FBP’s complete season, visit: festivalballet.com.




EDM: Essentials

edmOn the stage is your favorite artist. Behind them their light show bedazzles. Their bass blasts through some of the heaviest speakers in the industry, sending wave after wave through an audience of thousands who know every word and melody.

EDM artists are today’s rock stars. Forget the guitars and drums — everything is a feeling and massive amounts of people bring unity like no religion can. Some of the best fresh unreleased tracks are played during EDM festivals in July and August for promotional reasons. Fans have plenty of opportunities to see the biggest techno, electro, house and dub step acts, and DJs from local to global.

As a fan, the essentials needed for events are pretty simple. Stay hydrated, keep the carbs and protein at a constant flow, and let the baseline melodies take you away. DJs creatively evolve during events, from setting up stages to proper sound check. As a party goer it’s very important to be aware of your favorite DJ’s time slot. It’s the best feeling when you’re up close to experience your favorite track dropping into melody.

One of my favorite moments in a show is when the song releases from full drum penetration into complete silence. That’s when all the whistling goes across the crowd. All of the sudden, the heavy climbing pluck synths start filtering through the speakers. That’s when all hell breaks loose — hands in the air and smiling faces all jump up and down dancing as the beat kicks back into its maximum peak potential.

OSHEEN’s Top 10 House EDM Picks for August 2014

1. Ruffneck – “Everybody Be Somebody” 2014 remix

2. Mark Night – “In and Out”

3 Don Diablo – “Night Time”

4 Block and Crown – “Inside My Head”

5 Osheen – “Citrus Acid”

6 Federico Scavo – “Colegiala”

7 Rober Gaez – “Dancintz”

8 Haxton Whores – “Move it Now”

9 Mazi, Fomin, Doctor – “Blue”

10 Tradelove – “Around the World”




FringePVD Brings Work on the Fringe Into the Fold

fringeThe Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society was founded in 1958 to accommodate the influx of artists and performers who tended to appear around the edges of the traditional Edinburgh Festival, unannounced and unplanned. Instead of discouraging these performers from dropping in, they were incorporated into the event in the slightly anarchic spirit of the performers themselves. The Fringe was purposefully formalized, but unorganized with “no artistic director and … shaped by the very initiative and vision of performers willing to showcase their work here.” Many American cities have embraced the Fringe ethos and now curate annual Fringe Festivals of their own, encouraging artists to present their work, unvetted, but loosely organized to maximize exposure and impact. Providence now joins the fray and announces its very own Fringe Festival as The Wilbury Theatre Group announces the 1st annual FringePVD, to be held July 24 through July 26, 2014. The only such festival in the New England area, FringePVD will bring together more than 50 individual theater, music, dance, multimedia and performing artists for four nights of over 30 performances in participating venues throughout the capital city.

Festival organizer, Josh Short, who is quick to distance himself from any sort of leadership role in FringePVD, nonetheless is the one who got the ball rolling after initial conversations with Trinity Rep’s Mike Gennaro. Short states that the concept started slowly, with no fanfare, just the idea to seek out the type of performance being done outside of the traditional “company” structure that is so prominent in the state. “There is so much talent around,” says Short, “and with no infrastructure (i.e., ‘working for other people’) some of them get lost and have to move to Chicago or other larger cities to get noticed. We started speaking at first to independent artists who fall between the cracks and perform in city warehouses and apartments, instead of rented theaters.” Over beers, Short slowly began to build interest in the idea of a weekend of gloriously unconnected performances in various locations throughout Providence. Eventually “for fear of not getting enough participants,” an open call went out and over 30 submissions came through. Asked if there were any rejected submissions, Short claims that there were none, only that any already established or published work would simply not fit the ethos of the event. “Otherwise,” says Short, “the only way we would reject any requests for performance would have been if the dates were already too full.”

Similar to Wilbury’s New Works program, the idea of FringePVD is not just to put on a show, but to allow artists to showcase and workshop new pieces to solicit feedback and improve their creations. With the encouragement and backing of several Providence theater stalwarts such as Trinity’s Gennaro and Curt Columbus as well as Steven Pennell of the Urban Arts and Cultural Program at the URI Feinstein Campus downtown, Short was able to secure some of the resources necessary to produce such an ambitious undertaking. Also instrumental were Lynne McCormack, Director of Art, Culture and Tourism for Providence, and a Pell Grant from the Tourism Council. This money, stresses Short, is to cover the overhead of securing the venues and associated publicity costs, not to make any sort of profit. The small fees charged at each performance will go directly to the artists involved and not to the venues or organizers.

A reluctant curator, Short hopes that he can now step back and watch the event grow organically, in the same way that other such festivals have mushroomed across the country. He does not want people to see this as a Wilbury event, but as an artist-sponsored happening that grows in scope to become an official non-profit agency outside of any one particular company or group. Theater companies may want to try out a new piece or an individual may have a new work that they cannot produce in any other way. Local artists have a chance to be recognized, Providence’s diverse audience can be engaged in a much more direct way than traditional venues allow and both sides may “engage fully in the global dialogue and global community surrounding this kind of work.”

Performances will be spread across AS220’s 95 Empire Black Box Theater, Aurora Providence, The Movement Exchange, URI Providence Campus and The Wilbury Theatre Group’s performance space at the Southside Cultural Center, along with other non-traditional performance spaces and parade routes throughout the city. Performers range from Lenny Schwartz’s Daydream Theatre to local music by Srsy and beyond. “FringePVD brings arts organizations throughout the city together to provide artists the opportunity to present their work in a way that supports each of them, as well as the continued growth of Providence as a recognized leader in the arts,” says Short. “In addition, it supports our mission to provide our audiences access to the cutting-edge works at the forefront of American theater.”

FringePVD, Providence’S Fringe Festival, opens July 23 and runs across various locations throughout Providence until July 27. Visit fringepvd.org for schedules and to learn more about the artists involved.




Roots Report: Find Great Music and Then Look for More

ROOTS

Music Events for the Entire Summer

Okee dokee folks … I leave it to you to decide where to get your entertainment information, but realize that other papers may overlook a lot of great events. I’m going to try to be as inclusive as possible. My friend Melanie Moore, who can often be seen dancing in her gypsy garb to the music of local bands, wrote, “There’s some great music out there waiting to be found. And when you find it, keep looking because there will be more. Find it. Let it find you. Dance to it, sing with it, feel it, soak your weary bones in it. Let it be your drug. Go out and see a live band you’ve never seen before. Fall into their groove. Feed your soul with their art. One of the best feelings in my world is that first hit of new music moving through my body finding its way to my soul.”

I couldn’t have said this better. I will include as much as I can, but there will always be something else out there to find. In the meantime you can start here. Ready? Begin!

Just June
If you wanna kick up yer heels, git yer butt to the College Hill Contra Dance at the Community Church of Providence located 372 Wayland Ave. Elwood Donnelly does the callin’ on Friday, June 6 (ProvidenceContra.com). At The Coffee Depot open mic in Warren on Friday, June 6, the feature is Deanna Merchant and Tom Farley. They close out their season with The Rebel Kellys on June 13.
One of my biggest musical influences, Aztec Two-Step, will be at The Met on Saturday, June 7. The show will include Aztec fan favorites, selections from their Simon & Garfunkel Songbook show and their tribute to The Everly Brothers. At The Local Brew Coffeehouse on the 7th, Len Cabral joins Bay Spring Folk for a night of expressive storytelling woven with traditional music. Local Brew Coffeehouse happens at the Bay Spring Community Center on 170 Narragansett Ave. in Barrington (facebook.com/LocalBrew). The 7th brings Bluegrass sensations Cold Chocolate to the Wamsutta Club, 427 County St. in New Bedford (wepecket.com). Also on June 7, at 8:30pm, The RI Songwriters Association (RISA) hosts the final Saturday Songwriter Session before the summer break. This session features Lisa Martin, Junko Ogawa and Annalise Emerick. RISA and The Church Street Coffeehouse in Warren present the annual Women of RISA show on June 14 at 8pm. On the bill are host Jan Luby, Kala Farnham, Kayla Ringelheim, and Amy Herrera (RISongwriters.com). At Pearl Restaurant and Lounge on Charles St. in Providence on June 7, Ursula George celebrates the early 20th century jazz and blues of the women of the black vaudeville era.

The Red Bandana Fund is proud to name Henry Shelton and the Providence Student Union as the recipients of the Red Bandana Award for 2014. The Award honors individuals and groups whose work embodies the spirit and work of Richard Walton, a longtime activist in Rhode Island who died in 2012. The awards will be presented on June 8 at Nick-a-Nees, 75 South St. in Providence, from 4 to 7pm. The event is open to the public and is family-friendly. As a longtime director of the George Wiley Center, Henry Shelton is known throughout the region for his steadfast commitment to bettering the lives of all Rhode Islanders, especially the poor and disadvantaged. The committee also recognized the groundbreaking work done by the Providence Student Union in addressing important issues of education in creative and powerful ways. Music will be provided by Mary Ann Rossoni, Bill Harley, Dylan Harley, Phil Edmonds and Chris Thompson (facebook.com/RedBandanaFund).

Melissa Etheridge does her thing, solo, at the Zeiterion in New Bedford on June 9 (zeiterion.org). If you miss Melissa, Sherri Lynne sings the Melissa Etheridge songbook at Deville’s on June 27 (facebook.com/devillescafe). Conquer your trixadexaphobia and get to the Skyline Lounge of Lang’s Bowlarama for Tammy Laforest and The Dust Ruffles, and Justin Davis and Just Express. If you haven’t figured it out, that is Friday the 13th (of June). Tammy is celebrating the release of her brand new CD, Copper. An open mic will follow the show (TammyLaforest.com). Also on the 13th, Voices Under Cover features the songs of Lucinda Williams as sung by the award-winning singer-songwriters Allysen Callery, Heather Rose, Becky Chace, and Tracie Potochnik. This is an encore of last year’s show and will be held at the Courthouse Center for the Arts in West Kingston (HearInRhodeIsland.com). On June 14, Music at Lily Pads presents a special concert featuring the 14-member ensemble Mother Falcon from Austin, The Family Crest from San Francisco, and Brooklyn’s Christopher Paul Stelling. This will be evening of original songs with rich instrumentation and vocals, and bands that bring symphonic orchestration into contemporary music (musicatlilypads.org). Dean Petrella of the Complaints steps out for a rare solo acoustic performance on June 14 at 8pm. The free show will be held at Alibi Café located at 18 Bassett St. in Providence (TheComplaints.com).

If you are looking for a great outdoor music festival without having to travel hours to find it, The Blackstone River Theatre Summer Solstice Festival returns to Diamond Hill Park in Cumberland on Saturday, June 21. Five stages focus on Celtic and world music, dance and culture. Featured performers include Burning Bridget Cleary, Cantrip (from Scotland), Aoife Clancy, Eastern Medicine Singers (Algonquin drum, song and dance), The Gnomes, Matt & Shannon Heaton, Laurel Martin, Mark Roberts & Kieran Jordan, Robbie O’Connell, the Panache Quartet, Pendragon, Harvey Reid & Joyce Andersen, and Torrin Ryan & Mark Oien. There will also be nonstop Irish step dance featuring Tir Na Nog Irish Dance as well as participatory set dancing with Devine’s Diner. Also returning will be the after-festival music session back at the Blackstone River Theatre at 8:30pm (RiverFolk.org).

The 39th Annual RI PrideFest and Illuminated Night Parade takes place Saturday June 21. Starting at noon on South Water St. in Providence, catch performances that include Poppy Champlin, Heather Rose In Clover, Aiden James, drag queens and more (PrideRI.com). Other Pride-related events will take place at Deville’s in Providence on June 20 with Karyn Oliver, and on the 21st there will be a block party with Sister Funk.

If you want some fun for once in your life, you are in luck. The Schemers will play a reunion show on June 27 at The Met (TheMetRI.com). The 100 Watt Suns and Longshot Voodoo are at the Courthouse Center for the Arts, Saturday, June 28 at 8pm (CourthouseArts.org).

Just July
On July 3, check out East Providence’s fireworks and the music of Kicking Hole and Crushed Velvet at Pierce Memorial Field. The 1st annual Bluegrass on the Pawtuxet Festival happens July 4 – 6 at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston. Some of the scheduled performers are Blues Highway, Steeldrivers, Tony Trischka & Great Big World, Pete and Joan Wernick, the Carter Brothers, Suzahn Fiering, The Kropp Dusters, and George Harper. Master class workshops, indoor and outdoor jams, and a farmer’s market are all part of it (AngryLobsterEvents.com). One of your best “bang for the buck” folk festivals around is the The New Bedford Folk Festival. The 2014 festival will feature top contemporary, traditional and Celtic folk music on seven stages from Saturday July 5 through Sunday July 6. Featured among the nearly 50 musical acts are Barbo, Beaucoup Blue, Craig Bickhardt, Benoit Bourque, Kate Campbell, Ronny Cox, Joe Crookston, Chrissy Crowley, Cliff Eberhardt, Jonathan Edwards, Marina Evans, Gail Finnie, Bob Franke, Vance Gilbert, John Gorka, Grace and the RSO, Bill Harley, Matt and Shannon Heaton, Anne Hills, Pete and Maura Kennedy, Mike Laureanno, Christine Lavin, Zoë Lewis, The Murphy Beds, New Bedford Harbor Sea Chantey Chorus, Chris Pahud, Poor Old Shine, Hayley Reardon, RUNA, Chris Smither, Devon Sproule, Spuyten Duyvil, Art Tebbetts, Steve Tilston, Jeff Warner, and Don White. The festival is located in the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center and the Whaling National Historical Park in New Bedford (NewBedfordFolkFestival.com). Swamp Stomp 7 takes place on Saturday, July 12 in the swampy, back woods of West Kingston with performances by Ha Ha Tonka, JP Harris & the Tough Choices; Girls, Guns & Glory; and Smith & Weeden (brownpapertickets.com/event/666795). Set aside your beach blankets and coolers this summer at the North Kingstown Town Beach and enjoy the Family Summer Concert Series. All shows start at 6:30pm. July 10 is Ben Rudnick and Friends, July 17 is Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys, July 24 is Stacey Peasley, July 31 is Toe Jam Puppet Band (NKArtsCouncil.org). Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche pop into Music At Lily Pads on July 20 (musicatlilypads.org). If you’re into a road trip (3 hours), some camping, and a who’s who of Bluegrass in the Catskill Mountains, then get away to the Grey Fox Bluegrass festival on July 17 – 20 at the Walsh Farm in Oak Hill, NY for Nickel Creek, Del McCoury Band,Carolina Chocolate Drops, Gibson Brothers, Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott, Keller Williams w/Travelin’ McCourys and more (greyfoxbluegrass.com). From July 25 – 27 it’s the Newport Folk Festival with acts such as Band of Horses, Jimmy Cliff, Nickel Creek, Mavis Staples, and Jeff Tweedy (newportfolk.org). The sixth Annual Newport BridgeFest happens July 28 – 31. BridgeFest is a four-night celebration of local music and musical events at various local venues throughout Newport County “bridging” the world famous Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals (NewportBridgeFest.com).

Just August
August 1 – 3 brings back the Newport Jazz Festival with Wynton Marsalis, Trombone Shorty, Bobby McFerrin, Dr. John, David Sanborn and more (newportjazzfest.org). A Blues Barbecue Bash at the Salon Concert Series takes place at the Wamsutta Club in New Bedford on August 2. Featured is Mississippi Bluesman Sherman Lee Dillon (wepecket.com). The AS220 FOO FEST takes place in Providence on August 9 (AS220.org). The best festival (party) of the year is the Rhythm and Roots Festival at Ninigret Park in Charlestown, August 29 – 31. This year’s festival includes Steve Riley and the Mamu Playboys, The Duhks, Sarah and the Tallboys, The Travelin’ McCourys, CJ Chenier, Donna the Buffalo and more (RhythmandRoots.com). There are also some sporadic free outdoor concerts at Ninigret Park. On July 13 at 5:30 it’s David Gerald and on August 24 it’s Forever Young (charlestownri.org).

Just September
The first annual Providence Folk Festival will take place at Roger Williams Memorial in PVD on September 7. Catch two stages of music by some of the best local and regional performers (HearInRhodeIsland.com). The 6th annual Sidy Maiga’s West African drum and dance festival, Afrika Nyaga, is bringing musicians and artists from across New England and West Africa to perform. On September 20, Sidy Maiga’s West African drum and dance festival includes a daytime drum circle and African dance that is great for both children and adults. AfriManding and Oumou Sangare will also be performing (afrikanyaga.com).

Summer Series
The Downtown Sundown Series is now in its fourth year and gains steam with every show. Performances are free, start at 7pm and run until 9:30pm at Roger Williams National Memorial on North Main St. in Providence. Experience an outdoor coffeehouse! This year’s schedule: In the event of rain, the concerts will be held in the visitor center. On Saturday, June 21 will be Steve Allain, Emma Joy Galvin, Tracie Potochnik, Lisa Couto and Ray Cooke. On Saturday, July 12 will be Kala Farnham, Heather Rose, Kristen and J, and Rank Strangers. On Saturday, July 26 will be Jesse and Jack Gauthier, Dan Lilley and Scatman, Lisa Markovich, and Bethel Steele. On Saturday, August 9 will be Michelle Cruz, Lily Faith Milne, Dylan Sevey, and Vudu Sister. On Saturday, August 23 will be Marc Douglas Berardo, Allysen Callery, Bob Kendall and Ed McGuirl (HearInRhodeIsland.com).

The Newport Concert Series (formerly the Newport Sunset Festival) keeps upping the ante and bringing in more great shows! Every year local performers play the Point Stage (PS) as the opening, opening act. Get there early to check them out. On June 19 will be Dierks Bentley with Lisa Martin at PS, on June 20 will be Ziggy Marley with Louis Leeman at PS, on July 6 will be KC and the Sunshine Band with Heather Rose at PS, on July 12 will be John Hiatt and Robert Cray with Ed McGuirl at PS, on July 13 will be Yes with Steve Allain on PS, on July 18 will be Barenaked Ladies with Bob Kendall on PS, on July 25 will be The Machine (Pink Floyd tribute w/ laser show) with Joe Auger at PS, on August 1 will be Three Doors Down with Emma Joy Galvin at PS, on August 6 will be Boz Scaggs with Lisa Couto & Ray Cooke at PS, on August 10 will be Gregg Allman with Dean DePalma at PS, on August 14 will be Josh Turner with Tracie Potochnik at PS, on August 16 will be the Beach Boys with Joe Silva at PS, on September 20 will be Chris Young with Michelle Lewis at PS. More shows will be added (newportwaterfrontevents.com).

Newport Rocks the Fort at Sundown. On Thursdays there are free concerts on the north lawn at Fort Adams in Newport. Starting at 6pm and ending shortly after sunset, talented musicians and other performers from Newport and beyond will share their talent. On June 19 is Red Eye Flight and Peter Warburton; on June 26 is The Steamahs; on July 3 is The Conversation and Sundown Big Cat Blues; on July 10 is James Ragland, Anne Marie and Rich Davis; on July 17 is We Own Land and friends; on August 7 is Andy & Judy, Matt Bruneau & Leslie Grimes; on August 14 is Acoustik Nyte and Black Jade; on August 21 is Lisa Couto & Ray Cooke, Ed McGuirl and company; on August 28 is Triple Threat Blues Crusade; and on September 4 is The Merge & Friends. Each evening will be hosted by local comedians and other talents. The concerts will include casual food from local vendors as well as alcohol service (newportcitylimits@gmail.com.)

Summer Mash
On the first Tuesday of every month, from 7 to 10pm, an open mic is held at Sandywoods Center for the Arts in Tiverton. Other highlights at Sandywoods this summer include on June 7 – The Tarbox Ramblers; on June 21 – Allysen Callery, Ryan Lee, and Lys Guillorn; on June 27 – Debra Mann Quintet; on July 4 – Laurel Casey; on July 5 – Little Compton Band and Four Bridges; on July 23 – Village Harmony; on July 26 – Session Americana; on August 2 – Aine Minogue; and on August 22 – Jen Chapin (sandywoodsmusic.com).

The Mediator Stage keeps going all summer with host Don Tassone. Features are as follows: June 5 – Jim Tata; June 12 – Joel Greene and Deep Waters; June 19 – Bill Nottage; June 26 — Bob Fitzgerald; July 10 – Charlie Cover; July 17 – Fred FJ Round Two Meltzer; July 24 – Kari Tieger; July 31 – Tammy Laforest; August 7 –TBA; August 14 – Athan Phynix; August 21 – RISING Student Songwriters; and August 28 – Rick & Hannah Mariotti (facebook.com/mediatorstage). The Greenwich Odeum presents Kind of Blue – A Tribute to Miles Davis on July 12 and  Jim Carpenter with the Hoolios on July 19. The Odeum is located at 59 Main St. in East Greenwich (TheOdeum.org).

The Towers in Narragansett keeps a summer tradition of dancing near the ocean alive every Thursday night until September. It starts June 12 with Eight to the Bar, on June 19 is The Revelers, on June 26 is The Superchief Trio, on July 10 is Reminisce, on July 17 is James Montgomery, on July 24 is Li’l Anne and the Hot Cayenne, on August 7 is Roger Ceresi, and on August 21 is Firecracker Jazz Band. Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys will do their annual show at the Towers. Check website for the date (TheTowersRI.com).

Every Sunday till someone tells them to stop it’s the Return Of The Son of the Classic Open Mic with Host Joe Auger. It happens Sundays at 7:30pm in the Fatt Squirrel (formerly The Century Lounge and The Roi) at 150 Chestnut St., Providence. The Northwest Farmers Market at the Peterson Farm (just past Stick’s Tavern) on Route 44 in Chepachet will host music performances during the market hours of 11am – 2pm. Artists such as Dan Lilley, Malyssa Bellarosa, Jacob Haller and more can be heard among the fruits and veggies. The Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) has some great shows to lure you inside on a hot summer night. The legendary Ringo Starr brings his all-star band to PVD on June 15, Crosby, Stills and Nash are back on July 15, Beck odelays in on July 26, and Jackson Browne plays a solo, acoustic show on  August 20 (ppacri.org). On the lawn at the Meeting House of Tiverton Four Corners Arts, it’s their Concert and Food Truck Summer Shows. On June 29 is Smith and Weeden with The Little Compton Band, on July 27 is Kate Grana & Friends and on August 3 is WindSync (FourCornersArts.org). Also, the 27th annual Tiverton Four Corners Arts & Artisan Festival takes place at The Mill Pond location on Saturday, July 19 with music by Gary Fish, the Little Compton Band and other local favorites (ArtsandArtisanFestival.com).

At Manchester 65 in W. Warwick on June 13 is Melissa Ferrick and Mary Ann Rossoni; on June 14 is The Toasters, w/ Oshun Roots, Bad Larry, Sweet Babylon; on June 15 is Simone Felice w/ Able Thought, Brian Recupero; on June 21 is The English Beat, w/ The Copacetics, Rad, The Stone Unturned; on June 22 is Mary Day Band, Jury; on June 26 is Jamestown Revival, The Wind & The Wave, Kris Orlowski; on July 13 is Maggie Rose, Michelle Cruz; on July 27 is Everlast; on August 1 is Tyler Ward w/ Gary Palumbo, Christina Holmes, Como Brothers; on August 9 is Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad; and on August 15 is Bobby Carlson & Stones River (Manchester65.com).

At Chan’s in Woonsocket: June 7 is Popa Chubby, June 13 is New Orleans Trombonist Glen David Andrews, June 14 is  Jon Butcher Axis Celebrating the Music of Jimi Hendrix, June 19 is Curtis Salgado, June 20 is Chris Thomas King, June 21 is Dennis Gruenling & Doug Deming Band, June 27 is Brian Maes Band, June 28 is Joe Moss, July 11 is Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers, July 12 is Sue Foley & Peter Karp, July 18 is Commander Cody, July 19 is Fat City, July 26 is Duke Robillard, August 1 is Chris Cain & Debbie Davies, August 7 is Tinsley Ellis, August 8 is Roomful of Blues, August 15 is Matt Schofield, August 29 is Reverend Raven & The Chain Smoking Altar Boys, and August 30 is Coco Montoya (ChansEggRollsandJazz.com). Every Sunday afternoon at Small Axe Café, located on the grounds among the emus, chickens and goats at the Fantastic Umbrella Factory, you can catch live music performed by local artists such as Ed McGuirl, Dan Lilley and others (facebook.com/smallaxeproductions). The Empire Revue at AS220 keeps you laughing all summer long with great music and comedy skits every first Sunday of the month. On July 6 they celebrate their 8th anniversary (AS220.org).

If I missed anything, it was not intentional. I will keep you updated over the summer. If you would like me to consider something for my column, please send an e-mail to RISongwriters@yahoo.com. That’s it for now. Thanks for reading!

John Fuzek

www.johnfuzek.com




Art Seen: Michelle Spina — Dancer, Teacher, Spiritualist

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“Selecting a dance instructor is a little bit like finding your own magic fairy”

Being a dad is a real adventure with a learning curve that surpasses much else that I’ve done in life. I’m suspicious of anyone who says otherwise. When my little boy told me he wanted to dance, I mobilized my energy and started asking around and visiting and interviewing different studios; there are lots of dance studio-school-classes around, and I’m sure many are really good and serious about what they do.  I’m a tough sell and my son is even more so for a then 6-year-old.

After visits to 12 different places, I chose several studios and tried them out for a period of time; I listened and watched and watched and listened until the selection narrowed, some of the reasons were scheduling, offerings, style of teaching, the environment and finally — the most important — the individual teacher.

When I was young, anyone who was cool or thought they were, was good on a dance floor. I was no stranger to dancing; I danced in dance competitions and did well. Later I entered the world of art and found myself often using and collaborating with dancers as preferred subject matter in painting and photography. I loved dancers and all that they did. As a professor in art, I had classes in photography meet with dance classes and have creative photo shoots resulting in magic. I was hoping for something that inspiring for my son, and I found it in Michelle Spina, owner-teacher-dancer and near angel, and my choice to lift my son into the wonderful world of dance at Extensions School of Dance in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Selecting a dance instructor is a little bit like finding your own magic fairy. They must be enchanting and always look better than you feel and give off plenty of positive energy like a star. Their philosophy on life should be the makings of the best of civilization, and a pure sense of dedication and love for what they do should be present in every word and smile. Okay, I’ll admit that from the very first conversations with Madam Spina, I was delighted.  She was open, lively, humorous and warm with that delightful magic that dancers always seem to posses when they speak, smile and move. She was the person I was looking for to take my little boy and expose him to his earliest dance experience.

Michelle Spina, artistic director, owns, operates and teaches at Extensions School of Dance on 490 Metacom Ave in Bristol, RI. She has been dancing for 43 years, and studied with Helen O’Neill, Lorna Deane Rozon and Herci Marsden, and took master classes with Steven Boyd, Frank Hatchett, Linda Giancaspro, and a host of others. Her Aunt Lorna owned Position 1 in Portsmouth and her sister owns All Star in Middletown. At 45 years old she has been married 23 years to Jay Spina has four children. She says of dance:

“There is a feeling … a feeling of freedom … of leaving the earth’s grasp for just a bit … The feeling in your gut, the excitement as your legs stretch long and slice through the air. Limbs escape their confines and the teacher is driven to share this feeling.” 

My son greatly enjoys his teacher, her attitude and her positivity.

“One thing that I have learned about people from teaching is that if you can find that one little thing to genuinely compliment about a person, that person will go out of their way to prove you right.”

Michelle Spina loves sharing her ideas, and of choreography Michelle believes, 

“Everyone can put steps together and make a dance, but to truly be a dancer is a much more complicated mixture. Technique, discipline, athleticism and a willingness to express emotion deeply are a few things that take dancers years to etch into themselves.”

As a hands-on dad, I press my eager face against the one-way studio glass to monitor all that my little boy experiences and learns, from his work-outs to his routines. I’m delighted by the results and all that I see there.

For more information contact call or visit: Michelle Spina, Extensions School of Dance on 490 Metacom Ave in Bristol, RI  02809, 401.253.5902Extensions-RI.com




Groove to the Music

Did you know the Earth emits frequencies? It has a vibrational beat. Even though we can’t feel it, there is a confirmed relationship between the Earth’s resonance and the human brain. The human mind, in its relaxed Theta state, moves to the same beat that the Earth pulses to without effort. Everything around us is made up of frequencies and vibrations. Every planet has a harmonic signature. Quite simply, we live in a musical universe. But the real question is, are you in tune with your own planet? If you aren’t, how do you get there?

Music might just be the answer. There’s nothing like live music. No matter the genre, every performance evokes an emotional response. Music is something we all can appreciate.  Even infants move to a well-played beat. We are part of the earth, part of this universe, and harmony is the storyline to our tale. Several nights a week, I expose my soul to a live performance.  Some people might find this excessive, but how many hours do most spend with their HD cable stream? A number of people have forgotten that live music holds something incredible that will connect you to others without effort. The amazing thing is that it’s available almost every night, no matter where you live.

I recently listened to Fungus Amungus’ drummer, Joe Jannarelli, go on a seemly endless and epic solo at the Max Creek Family Picnic in West Warwick. The crowd moved, smiled and enjoyed his symbiotic relationship to the tool of his talent. This band has been around and evolving over the past decade, with different members transitioning over time. There’s an evolving funk scene in Rhode Island and Fungus has assisted in its development.  Seeking other feel-good jam music? Local bands like Daddie Long Legs and Viral Sound only continue to gain fans and expand their popularity, and catching them live is the best way to appreciate what they do. Only once you see them can you acknowledge the happiness music brings. When the music hits you, you feel no pain. The earth softly plays her harmonic melody and these great bands amplify her song by exposing their inner creativity. In New England, there’s a ton of musical talent. How do we draw in other bands to foster, support and inspire our local musicians? Bands like Dopapod make songs that touch the edge of curiosity.  But how do we keep them coming back to this fine little state? That’s easy – we pay attention to them. Anything you pay attention to grows. That’s the secret of life.

So, when did you see your last show? When did you dance so hard it hurt the next day? Live music will feed your soul and support your own creativity. So come out sometime.  Funk is my therapy. Find the music you like and it will change your existence. After all, we live in a musical universe.




An Evening of Magical Support for Ballet

As fundraising becomes more and more vital for many arts organizations, it was truly inspirational to attend The State Ballet of Rhode Island’s 10th annual Summer Soiree: “Earth, Wind and Firefly.” While many, understandably so, have less to give, it never ceases to amaze what can be accomplished by some when motivated by a common cause.
On this particular balmy Thursday evening, nearly a dozen food vendors, a wine company, artists and patrons of the arts combined their efforts and talents to highlight the significance of a community coming together to support the arts. It was also amazing to see how some youngsters in attendance represent a family’s third or fourth generation of dancers to share the barre at The Brae Crest School of Classical Ballet, the official dance school of SBRI.
Tucked away in the woods of Lincoln, this intimate ranch-style building could actually serve as a nice peaceful retreat if not for the sweaty bodies hard at work on a daily basis within the studio walls. For the fundraiser, a small stage was constructed just a short walk even farther into the woods. Set in a natural amphitheater-like clearing, it appears vaguely reminiscent of Jacob’s Pillow, which resides in the thickly settled woods and rolling hills of the Berkshires. Throughout the evening, SBRI Executive Director, Ana Marsden Fox, expertly moves things along. After thanking all the sponsors, she gets things underway by announcing the four recipients of the 2013 Partner with the Arts Award, an award that recognizes the volunteers who are essential to the success of any arts organization.
Then those in attendance are treated to the first of two performances by company dancers. Ms. Fox explains that, “This is a piece from a ballet that Herci Marsden first created in 1981.” Now in her amazing 53rd season, Ms. Marsden, SBRI Artistic Director and co-founder, is in attendance and still teaches at the school. Ms. Fox also warns, “There will be no tutus in this piece, which is a tribute to Ms. Marsden’s modern vision. But, this is not modern dance.”
In familiar SBRI fashion, this ballet features dozens of dancers on stage simultaneously, with a couple standouts – the ever emotive and graceful Emily O’Heir, and SBRI newcomer who is just several months into his dance career, Matthew Annunziata; his poise and extension are especially impressive.
Set to a variety of music styles ranging from futuristic to classical to tribal, this piece offers the more astute observer an opportunity to see how some ballets often influence later pieces and vice versa. During one segment, with the stage filled with dancers, memories of SBRI’s 1990s world premiere “Americana” emerge. When the music turns more tribal and masculine, the dancing becomes reminiscent of “Prince Igor.” Throughout the ballet, there are also elements of a more folksy style that prevails in much of Ms. Marsden’s choreography.
After a brief performance by Opera Providence, the dancers return for the world premiere of Shana Fox Marceau’s “Dance of the Firefly.” This piece includes live music, two violins and a bass, conducted by composer Noreen Inglesi, who was commissioned to create the score for this ballet. And while Marceau represents the third generation of Marsden choreographers, “Firefly” depicts a freshness and crispness indicative of Ms. Marceau’s individual style and influences.
Wrapped in strands of lights, four dancers take flight as violins lightly fill the evening air. Though not nearly as uptempo as Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee,” the music is bright and playful and the dancers are clean and precise. As the music ends, the “fireflies” disappear into the woods, the glow of their lights marking their exit.
After the performance, guests are invited to bid on silent auction items, eat more and dance. Under a tent closer to the studio, singer Kelley Lennon, accompanied by the band Malloi, turn up the heat well into the evening hours.




Threepenny Opera

I feel like I’m in the right place when I see a Wilbury Group production. I cheered “U-S-A!” at The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity and I cried honest and unashamed at Lungs. Even with an unforeseen venue swap from the Butcher Block Mill to Trinity Church midseason, Wilbury didn’t break stride. As such, The Threepenny Opera is all at once a completely appropriate and deeply perplexing choice of a show to close the Wilbury Group’s 2012-2013 season.
So, the Wilbury mission, as I’ve come to understand, is to present atypical works of theater to compel, if not to challenge, audiences. That was abundantly evident in the minimalist soul-crusher called Lungs and in the unexpectedly insightful testosterone-fest that was Chad Deity. I had never read nor seen a production of Threepenny before. For two acts, I struggled to understand why Artistic Director Josh Short chose this show.
Because The Threepenny Opera has absolutely no pay-off. The plot was wholly irrelevant, and the catharsis of closure so vital to theater does not come. Considering this musical predates the Great Depression, that’s kind of a big deal. It’s a leap forward for theater with two middle fingers in the air and Slayer playing in the background.
The story follows Macheath, aka “Mac the Knife,” murderer, robber and all-around scumbag infamous enough to have his own hideout and henchmen. Mac attempts to wed Polly Peachum (doesn’t love her), but is forced into hiding as her insidious parents hunt him down. Along the way, we meet some prostitutes and policemen, but there is nothing of consequence about the plot. Right before Mac is executed, Brecht pulls the old Deus ex Machina and has a messenger appear from nowhere with a royal pardon for Macheath. Mac doesn’t die, nothing changes and nobody learns anything.
The Threepenny Opera, as the name might suggest, is a musical. Though frankly, I didn’t much care for the music. I’m pretty sure most of it was in the same minor key. Not to say the performance itself wasn’t up to par for Wilbury.
Josh Short was clearly on a mission to use the Wilbury Group’s new space at Trinity Church to its potential. Short used the entire theater to stage the show. Now, when I say the entire theater, I mean every possible point of entry and every level built into the space. There was little, if any, set, and the twin scaffolding and orchestra risers were purely functional and lent no real aesthetic beyond the actors moving upon them.
Being a musical, this show had a big ol’ cast. As Mac, David Tessier was a jerk of an antihero. Mac treats everyone like shit, and Tessier performed with all the gusto of a high school bully from a movie made in the 1980s. Remember Biff, from Back to the Future? Christine Dickinson had brilliant moments as Polly Peachum, forgoing the typically sweet disposition of her character to sing about the vicious tortures she would enjoy if she were a pirate. Tom Gleadow was consistently enjoyable as Mr. Peachum and Mac’s ex-flame Lucy Brown, Katie Travers, was gut-bustlingly hilarious.
The Threepenny Opera is a show meant to elicit an audience response. Brecht didn’t intend this odd musical to simply entertain, he meant it to make people think. Now, when the show was written in the 1920s, the critique of the capitalist system and the abrupt pardon of a confessed murderer may have held more clout. I didn’t walk away a political dissident, but I did become a Brecht believer. I did not see the climax (or lack thereof) coming, and completely appreciated it as a loogie spit right between the eyes of the theater world. I don’t know what you’re doing in terms of theater these days, but if you haven’t checked out the Wilbury Group yet, you’re missing out.
The Threepenny Opera runs from May 23 through June 8 at The Wilbury Theatre Group, 393 Broad St., Providence, RI.