Arts Preview: April 5-11, 2018

MANCHESTER
Murder for dinner
Join in at the Wilburton Inn’s spring murder mystery dinner party Saturday, April 14.
This is an encore performance of “A Vodka Shot in the Dark, “ which had a sold-out premiere in November. This musical mystery was inspired by the unsolved suspicious death of Equinox Hotel owner George Orvis in Equinox Pond in 1917 — at the same time as the Russian Revolution.
George’s wife Louis won’t let the death of her husband — or the arrival of Uncle Charles Orvis, inventor of the fly-reel — slow her ambitious plans for the Equinox Hotel. But the manager and the hotel guests underfoot have their own plans. There’s an important local election in a few days. Will the suffragettes be able to vote? Will the Russians influence the outcome? Join in to find out. Prizes will be awarded for best sleuthing and most creative costume.
Tickets are $70 (including dinner); call 802-362-2500. A percentage of ticket proceeds will be donated to the Manchester Historical Society.

TINMOUTH / CASTLETON
Local ‘Our Town’
Theater in the Woods Vermont Co. kicks off its third season of activity with a workshop presentation of Thornton Wilder’s masterpiece of small town life, “Our Town” at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 15, at the Old Tinmouth Firehouse; and at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 21, and 3 p.m. Sunday April 22, at the Federated Church of Castleton.
Theater in the Woods staff member Megan Bouchard, who is directing the workshop, commented, “We are approaching ‘Our Town’ with a modern specificity that emphasizes its timelessness. In this workshop we’re stepping outside of some of the play’s traditions, which allows us all to make deeper connections to the universality of this masterpiece.”
The cast is composed entirely of Rutland county Vermonters, including Bruce and Kate Bouchard, Melissa and Robin Chesnut-Tangerman, Benjamin Green, Rainbow Squier, Wheaton Squier, Marshall Squire, Glenn Tarbell and Emma Luikart.
Tickets are $20, $10 for children, at the door.

BRANDON
Sarah Blacker
Sarah Blacker brings her full-band sound to Brandon Music at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 14, with New England Groove Association. With roots in the folk, rock, jam-band and funk scenes, the group fuses their vibrant musical worlds together to create an original, soulful sound. The collaboration, which often features special guests, is comprised of award-winning internationally touring singer-songwriters and multi-instrumentalists Sarah Blacker, Aaron Z. Katz, and Phil Selesnick on keyboards.
Blacker was named “Female Performer of the Year” in the 2013 New England Music Awards, and has built a following both nationally and internationally via touring. Her motto, #SongsSaveLives, speaks to her work as a music therapist, and her rise on the jam-band concerts and festival scene. Her band recently reunited after an eight-year hiatus for sold-out shows at Port City Music Hall in Portland, Maine and The Paradise, Boston.
Tickets are $20 (pre-concert dinner is available for $25; reservations are required); call 802-247-4295, or email info@brandon-music.net. Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Road.

BELLOWS FALLS / BRATTLEBORO
Blanche Moyse Chorale
The Blanche Moyse Chorale will perform an eclectic program of a cappella and accompanied choral works, “Reflections on the Passage of Time”: at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 13, at the Stone Church Center in Bellows Falls; and at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 15, at Centre Congregational Church in Brattleboro.
The concert opens with three motets by the 17th-century German composer Johann Hermann Schein. The concert moves from the 17th to the 20th and 21st centuries with a variety of “modern” styles in the works of American composers Charles Ives, Aaron Copland and Samuel Barber, the German composer Ernst Pepping, and the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. All five composers draw their texts from Judaic and Christian scriptures.
The Blanche Moyse Chorale, a program of the Brattleboro Music Center, is an auditioned chamber chorus of some 30 voices, drawn from the Brattleboro area and beyond. Since 2007, director Mary Westbrook-Geha has brought to the Chorale not only her expertise in vocal technique, but also her strong background in the music of Bach, having sung mezzo-soprano and contralto roles for many years at Boston’s Emmanuel Church, Marlboro Music Festival, and the New England Bach Festival.
Tickets are $20, $18 in advance, $5 for students; call 802-257-4523, or go online to www.bmcvt.org.

MIDDLEBURY
Josh Pinkham Trio
Playing a repertoire from bluegrass to jazz, the Josh Pinkham Trio — replacing the previously announced Jeremy Kittel Trio — makes its Middlebury debut, featuring mandolinist Josh Pinkham, Ethan Jodziewicz on bass, and guitarist Jason Borisoff, at 8 p.m. Friday, April 13, at the Mahaney Center’s Robison Hall.
Josh Pinkham has been named “the future of the mandolin” by Mandolin magazine and dubbed “one of the most important young improvisers on the acoustic scene today,” by mandolin legend David Grisman. Concertgoers will be treated to a special opening act by Middlebury College’s own Aidan O’Brien, ‘20.
Tickets are $22, $10 for 18 and younger (tickets purchased for Jeremy Kittel will be honored); call 802-443-MIDD (6433), or go online to www.middlebury.edu/arts/tickets. The Mahaney Center is located at 72 Porter Field Road, just off Route 30 south.

BELLOWS FALLS
Cumberbatch in ‘Hamlet’
RAMParts Presents brings Benedict Cumberbatch in his National Theatre Live performance of “Hamlet” at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, April 8, at the Bellows Falls Opera House.
Academy Award nominee Cumberbatch (BBC’s “Sherlock,” “The Imitation Game,” “Dr. Strange”) takes on the title role of this great Shakespearean tragedy. Epic, lavish staging and costumes are on view for the three-hour production. The classic title begins as a country arms itself for war, and a family tears itself apart.
Tickets are $20 at the door.

CASTLETON
Artist Wendy Copp
The Christine Price Gallery at Castleton University will feature the works of artist Wendy Copp, April 9-May 12, with an artist reception at 6 p.m. Friday, April 20.
Titled “They Went Whistling,” the exhibit will feature elegant, humorous and sometimes provocative figures and structures made of natural materials gathered from the land. Copp is often influenced by opera, literature, mythology and science, and she is interested in the hidden stories behind the absent protagonist, the contemplation of morality and the transformation, as well as the uneven relationship with nature in the modern age.
Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; for information, email galleries@castleton.edu.

BELLOWS FALLS
Two silent films
Stone Church Arts will host a showing of two short silent films, with original music performed live at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 8 in the Chapel at Immanuel Episcopal Church, 12 Church St.
Charlie Chaplin’s comedy “The Immigrant” (1917) will open the program, followed by “Assunta Spina,” a haunting 1915 silent film featuring Italian silent film star Francesca Bertini. Both films feature new music by award-winning composer John T. La Barbera, performed live by the composer on guitar, and August Watters on mandolin.
Chaplin’s film “The Immigrant” contains elements of satire, irony and romance, as well as cinematic poetry. Based on Salvatore Di Giacomo’s play, “Assunta Spina” was filmed on location in Naples in 1914, and features the queen of Italian silent screen Francesca Bertini, who is credited with directing the film together with her co-star, Gustavo Serena.
Tickets are $15, $10 for seniors; call 802-460-0110, or go online to www.stonechurcharts.org.

SPRINGFIELD
Make flowers
Sue Carey, needle felting teacher extraordinaire, is offering a flower-making workshop, suitable for beginning and intermediate students, at Gallery at the VAULT, 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 14.
Grow out of the winter doldrums by making bright, showy flowers from wool felt. You will use a variety of techniques to cut, shape and join pre-felted pieces of wool to make imaginative flowers. Bring sharp scissors and a vase.
The fee is $30, plus $15 for materials; call 802-885-7111, or email galleryvault@vermontel.net.

PUTNEY
Creative meeting
The Rockingham Arts and Museum Project (RAMP) and Vermont Performance Lab (VPL) are convening innovators and leaders who will share ideas illustrating how the arts significantly contribute to the health, economy and vibrancy of Bennington and Windham County communities, 10 a.m. to noon Monday, April 9, with coffee and snacks starting at 9:30 a.m., at Next Stage Arts, 15 Kimball Hill Road.
RAMP and VPL are hosting the event in partnership with Next Stage Arts, the Vermont Creative Network, the Vermont Arts Council, New England Foundation for the Arts and the Southern Vermont Economy Project. “This convening offers an opportunity for community leaders, town managers, planners, creatives, legislators, as well as economic development and arts organizations, to reflect on the cultural and economic significance of the creative economy,” says Robert McBride, founding director of RAMP.
Featured topics include creative economy data from Vermont and the New England region, and a panel discussion illustrating how creative projects from around the state are addressing housing, accessibility, civic engagement, education and attracting young professionals and families to the state. A facilitated conversation will center on the question of job creation and the local economy, and how can we work together to leverage and promote the creative economy in our Vermont communities and foster more cross-sector collaboration.
The event is free: register online at www.eventbrite.com.