Arts Preview: February 8-14, 2017

MIDDLEBURY
Grace Kelly jazz
Grace Kelly wrote her first song at 7 years old, recorded her first CD at 12, orchestrated and performed her original composition with the Boston Pops Orchestra at 14, and performed at President Obama’s inauguration at 16. At only 25 years old, this jazz phenomenon and vocalist has released 10 albums and headlined more than 700 shows in 30 countries. This musical star comes to Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16.
Saxophonist, singer, and composer Kelly has performed or recorded with Dave Brubeck, Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., Steve Martin, Tina Fey, Emma Stone, Lin Manuel Miranda, Esperanza Spalding, Lee Konitz, David Sanborn, and Gloria Estefan to name a few. In recent years, she has been featured on Amazon’s Emmy-nominated TV show “Bosch,” CNN.com, Glamour Magazine, Forbes, Billboard, Vanity Fair, Huffington Post, and in many appearances on NPR.
“Grace Kelly has an electric charisma on-stage that instantly ignites the room. She is one of the most kind-hearted, easy-going people I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” said Jon Batiste, the bandleader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Tickets are $28, $10 for 8 and younger; 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.

CASTLETON
Join an orchestra
Come share the music! A new ensemble at Castleton University is seeking community string players for its premier season.
Directed by Peter Miller, the group rehearses 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays in the Casella Fine Arts Center, with a performance planned for 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 18. There are openings in all string sections: violin, viola, cello and bass.
The enthusiastic and supportive group is exploring works of Bach, Handel, Classical-era composer John Christopher Moller, Dimitri Shostakovich, contemporary composer Soon Hee Newbold and selections from “American Idiot-The Musical” with music by Green Day.
There is no audition but musicians should contact the director to discuss interest and experience; call 802-824-3810, or email peter.miller@castleton.edu.

DORSET
‘A Thurber Carnival’
A special theater event featuring short stories by 20th-century humorist James Thurber will be presented on the Dorset Playhouse stage at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16. Titled “A Thurber Carnival,” the program will include three of Thurber’s highly imaginative and popular yarns. The presentation combines staged storytelling by seasoned members of the Dorset Players with narrative material created solely for this performance.
Thurber was a newspaper writer who joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine in 1927 both as a writer and artist. His inventive cartoons and short stories portrayed the frustrations and eccentricities of ordinary people and changed the character of American humor. Thurber’s essays, stories, fables and comic drawings have been collected in over 30 books. Selected works of his also continue to be reprinted in textbooks and anthologies.
Admission is free (donations to the Dorset Playhouse building maintenance and preservation fund are appreciated); go online to dorsetplayers.org.

BRATTLEBORO
Windham Orchestra
We may think of Russia as the cold, frozen wasteland of “Dr. Zhivago,” but the Windham Orchestra’s upcoming “Russia” is exotic, warm and fantastical. Its next concert, which spotlights richly textured works of two renowned Russian composers, is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, at the Latchis Theatre, on Main Street.
Music Director Hugh Keelan says choosing Russia as the theme for this concert comes not from the country’s current politics, but from its legendary composers’ ability to transport us to faraway lands and undiscovered emotion. The program begins with Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade,” inspired by the storyteller from “One Thousand and One Nights,” the work that also includes Ali Baba and Aladdin. The music recounts how the beautiful Scheherazade is forced by a cruel Sultan to save her own life by telling wondrous tales each night.
Also on the program is Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet,” its themes portraying the tragedy of Shakespeare’s star-crossed, doomed lovers. “This is not merely teenage drama, but a mighty suffering,” says Keelan, and although it was composed to accompany a ballet, it is a powerful work sans the dance and another example of the romance and richness of the Russian composer’s genius.
The concert will conclude with two brief pieces by Bach, a tribute to a longtime Windham Orchestra violinist, the late Sarah Kemble, who Keelan describes as “extraordinarily good-humored and a highly valued member of this orchestra.”
Admission is a donation of any amount; for information, go online to www.bmcvt.org.

MIDDLEBURY
Elinor Steele Friml tapestry
Vermont designer/weaver Elinor Steele Friml will exhibit examples representing 40 years of dedication to the art of contemporary hand-woven tapestry Feb. 10-March 31, in the Jackson Gallery at Town Hall Theater. An opening reception will be held Friday, Feb. 16.
The exhibit includes works from several of her series, including abstract and impressionistic images, landscapes, and geometric compositions. She studied Fine Art at the University of New Hampshire and Tapestry at the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland. With creative interests in music and theater as well as art, she currently manages the Jackson Gallery and THT Box Office, and is scenic artist for the Opera Company of Middlebury.
Gallery hours are: noon to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and an hour before public events; call 802-382-9222, or go online to www.townhalltheater.org.

BENNINGTON
Gypsy Layne Cabaret
The Vermont Arts Exchange (VAE) will present Gypsy Layne Cabaret & Company in its return to Oldcastle Theatre at 331 Main St. Make your February red-hot and come to one (or both) of the two shows, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9 and 10. This show is for mature audiences only.
Straight from the voluptuous Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts comes Gypsy Layne Cabaret & Company, an outrageous coed troupe that has been wooing and wowing audiences for more than half a decade with their combustible mix of bawdy humor, live singing, dynamic dance routines, and cheeky sex appeal. The Gypsies have stolen stages from rural Vermont to Times Square, and most recently performed at Comix Comedy Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort.
Gypsy Layne Cabaret & Company has been hailed as “a sexy highpoint of classic burlesque entertainment in the Berkshires” by Berkshire Magazine.
Tickets are $26, $22 in advance (adults only); call 802-442-5549, or go online to www.vtartxchange.org.

MIDDLEBURY
Artist David Hockney
Town Hall Theater continues its Great Art Wednesdays series with a documentary on living legend David Hockney at 11 a.m. Feb. 14. Running time is 85 minutes.
Widely considered Britain’s most popular artist, Hockney is a global sensation, with exhibitions in London, New York, Paris and beyond, attracting millions of visitors worldwide. Now entering his ninth decade, Hockney shows absolutely no evidence of slowing down or losing his trademark boldness. Featuring intimate and in-depth interviews with Hockney, this revealing film focuses on two blockbuster exhibitions, held in 2012 and 2016, at the Royal Academy of Art in London.
Tickets are $13, $8 for students; call 802-382-9222, or go online to www.townhalltheater.org.

BRATTLEBORO
Piano 4-hands weekend
The art of playing piano “four-hands” is the focus of a weekend workshop at the Brattleboro Music Center. Registrations are now being accepted for the workshop, Saturday and Sunday, March 17 and 18. Sessions will be held 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, and from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, with open practice available in the morning. No previous four-hands experience is required.
Those interested should register soon, but no later than Feb. 14, since music will be sent to registrants prior to the weekend, and enrollment is limited to 10 individuals. Instructors Bruce Griffin and Susan Dedell will lead dynamic and fun sessions exploring the piano four-hand technique. Participants will dig into musical interpretation and technical challenges associated with playing piano four hands. Activities will include coached sessions, practice time, and master class demonstrations.
The $175 fee includes Saturday lunch; call 802-257-4523, or email info@bmcvt.org.

DORSET
Theater auditions
The Dorset Players will be holding auditions for its 15th annual One Act Festival at 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 12 and 13, at the Dorset Playhouse. The evening will feature several plays, both comedy and drama. There are roles for 16 women and five men, with ages ranging from teens and older. The festival will be presented April 6-8.
For further information or to review a script, call Kathy Stephens at 802-867-5570.