Middlebury Actors Workshop presents “The Tarnation of Russell Colvin” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18, at the Vermont Coffee Company Playhouse, Exchange Street.
Based on Manchester’s very own unsolved murder case of 1812, local history comes alive in this one-man tour-de-force. Oliver Wadsworth portrays a motley medley of characters, as they grapple with the slippery truth of the real-life murder of Russell Colvin, an eccentric Vermonter whose ghost haunted the town of Manchester till the malefactors were brought to justice and sentenced to hang. The performance is suitable for ages 12 and older.
“The Tarnation of Russell Colvin is both fun and poignant. Oliver Wadsworth can make you laugh and break your heart … ‘Tarnation’ is storytelling at its best,” Dina Janis, artistic director of Dorset Theatre Festival, said in the Berkshire Eagle.
Tickets are $12; call the Town Hall Theater box office, 802-382-9222, or go online to www.townhalltheater.org.
Buster Keaton: ‘Go West’
He never smiled on camera, earning him the nickname of “the Great Stone Face.” But Buster Keaton’s comedies rocked Hollywood’s silent era with laughter throughout the 1920s.
See for yourself with a screening of “Go West” (1925), one of Keaton’s landmark feature films, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, at Brandon Town Hall and Community Center, Route 7.
The films will be shown with live musical accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis, a New Hampshire-based performer regarded as one of the nation’s leading silent-film musicians.
In “Go West,” Buster heads out to ranch country, where the stone-faced comedian encounters romance with — a cow! Can he save his love from a trip to the livestock yards? Rustle up some belly laughs as Buster must once again prove himself worthy to all those who doubt him.
Co-starring is a mourn-faced cow named Brown Eyes, with whom Keaton worked extensively prior to the filming. Brown Eyes received a credit in the movie, and even got a salary for her acting — $13 a week.
Admission is free (donations are welcome). For more information on the music, visit www.jeffrapsis.com.
Fleisher closes Marlboro
Marlboro Music, Vermont’s cherished chamber music retreat, closes its 67th season with programs at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 11 and 12, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13, on the campus of Marlboro College, with most of the resident artists joining conductor Leon Fleisher in performances of Stravinsky’s “Pulcinella Suite” on Friday and Mozart’s “Linz” Symphony on Sunday.
Friday’s program also includes resident composer Brett Dean’s Quartet No. 2; George Benjamin’s virtuosic “Viola, Viola” and Mahler’s “Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen” for baritone woodwinds, strings and piano. Benjamin was Marlboro’s resident composer in 2005.
Fauré’s great C minor Piano Quartet will open Saturday’s program, with pianist Shai Wosner and violist Nobuko Imai, joined by younger colleagues, violinist Anna Lee and cellist Sujin Lee. Dean’s Quartet # 2 for soprano and string quartet and the Brahms Piano Trio in B major, No. 1, Op. 8, complete the program.
In addition to the “Linz” Symphony, Sunday afternoon’s program will offer Brahms Piano Trio No. 2 in C major, Op. 87, and will feature Marlboro’s brilliant woodwind players in the Dvorak Serenade in D minor, Op. 44. The Dvorak ensemble includes principals of Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony and some exceptional young professional winds.
Remaining tickets and further information may be obtained by calling 802-254-2394, or online at www.marlboromusic.org.
Alex Smith and friend
Folksinger Alex Smith builds songs from stories that are neither contrived nor romanticized — simply keenly observed and honestly told. Smith sings with a rich baritone often compared to Stan Rogers and Gordon Lightfoot, and his characters live and breathe a balance between beauty and imperfection.
Chris Wienk of 97.7 WEXT (Albany, N.Y.) says: “Alex Smith brings a fresh look and sound to an old art form, presenting the folk song to the 21st century listener with captivating original songs that feel both old and new at the same time.” Jacob Brillhart, a Cape Breton and Scottish style fiddler, joins Smith for a concert at Brandon Music at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12.
Smith grew up in Long Lake, in the heart of New York’s Adirondack Park, and his music strives first and foremost to echo the people of that area. He builds songs from a blend of traditional folk harmony and strikingly modern lyrics, confronting today’s most pressing issues with grace while paying homage to the masters who came before him.
Tickets are $20 (pre-concert dinner is available for $25; reservations are required); call 802-247-4295, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Road.
J.P. Murphy Band
The last concert in the Fair Haven Concert 2017 summer series is once again the J.P. Murphy Band. It will be taking center stage in the gazebo at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17. This is a free ice cream night, so you will want to get there early.
J.P. Murphy was formed in early 1991 by Patrick Gray Sr., who sings lead and plays rhythm guitar or banjo, as well as an occasional harmonica. The group performs the traditional Irish music that reflects the struggles as well as the triumphs of an enduring, fun-loving people. The band engages the audience and encourages them to sing along. Children even get a chance to participate and do the “Unicorn dance” for the song first made famous by the Irish Rovers.
So, bring your lawn chairs and blankets early to enjoy the ice cream and the toe-tapping, hand-clapping tunes. It promises to be a truly entertaining evening in one of Vermont’s loveliest parks.
The rain location is the Congregational Church at the north end of the park. In case of inclement weather, call 802-265-3010, ext. 301, to find out if the concert is moved indoors.
Using stone carving as a starting point, Elena Saracino strives to inextricably link aesthetics and the environment in her site-specific work. The Italian sculptor will be artist in residence at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center for the month of August.
Saracino has exhibited extensively and participated in symposia throughout Europe, and plans to create site-specific, environmental art while in West Rutland. She will present her work, techniques and vision in a public Artist’s Talk at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16.
For more information, call 802-438-2097, or go online to www.elenasaracino.com.
A German ‘Figaro’
Middlebury College’s German Language School and its special program German for Singers will once again present a fully staged German opera project to the public. At 8:30 p.m. tonight and Friday, Aug. 11, students from the program will perform an abbreviated version of Mozart’s stunning “Marriage of Figaro,” in German, of course, at Town Hall Theater.
The original recits have been replaced with short dialogues in German, and audiences will be able to fully enjoy the best of Mozart’s mastery of the operatic ensemble and the lyricism of his amazing art of the aria in this production. A short pre-performance lecture in English at 7:45 p.m. will help non-German-speaking audiences get the most out of this German version of an Italian opera based on a French play, performed in Vermont and presented by students from multiple countries. Approximate running time is 90 minutes.
Remaining tickets are $15; call 802-382-9222, or go online to www.townhalltheater.org.
David Sanger speaks
New York Times National Security Correspondent David E. Sanger returns to the Weston Playhouse for a special one-night-only lecture at 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13: “Decoding the Trump Administration.” Sanger’s take on current events, and a moderated audience question-and-answer session will be followed by a dessert reception with an opportunity to meet, mingle and discuss.
Sanger, one of the newspaper’s senior writers, is author of two bestsellers on foreign policy and national security: “The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power” (2009) and “Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power” (2012). Sanger’s recent roster of articles and interviews explore Trump’s first 100 days, issues involving North Korea, and Russia’s potential tie to the 2016 presidential campaign.
Tickets are $45 (all proceeds benefit Weston Playhouse Theatre Company); call 802-824-5288, or go online to www.westonplayhouse.org.
Silent movie special
Due to the popularity of the Buster Keaton silent movie shorts and the availability of Ludlow summer resident and pianist, Glenn Brown, FOLA (Friends of Ludlow Auditorium) will offer a special treat at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, in the Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium, a special silent movie comedy festival.
The event will feature a series of Buster Keaton silent movie shorts with Glenn Brown at the upright grand piano providing the background music to support the comic actions on the screen.
The Keaton comedy shorts are about 20 minutes in length and feature the comedic (and often acrobatic) talents of the foremost comedian in the silent movie era.
Admission is free (donations are appreciated); call 802-228-7239, or go online to www.fola.us.
‘Where is Sam?’
“Where is Sam? Where is Sandy? Where is Silas? Where is …?” are common refrains in the timeless game of hide and seek. Two baby boomer grandmothers collaborated on creating a brand-new children’s book, “Where is Sam?” that follows a boy to his “Gamma’s” house, where the two play their favorite game all day. Sam finds new discoveries around every bend, and experiences excitement and fun as he makes new friends. Readers enjoy his escapades and delight in the surprise at the end. The endearing story and 3-D art mesmerize readers of all ages.
From 9:30 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16, the book’s creators, Sandra Stillman Gartner and Marguerite Jill Dye, will host a paper cut bookmaking workshop for children, families, and the young at heart at the Henry Sheldon Museum.
The workshop, personalized book signings, and readings of the book, will be held in conjunction with the exhibit “Draw Me a Story – Tell Me a Tale.” The event is appropriate for ages 6 and up.
Admission is free (reservations required); call 802-388-2117. The Henry Sheldon Museum is located at 1 Park St. For more information, go online to www.henrysheldonmuseum.org.
ARTS PREVIEW August 10-16, 2017