Arts Preview: November 30 – December 6, 2017

Middlebury College Department of Theatre will present Will Eno’s 2010 play, “Middletown,” directed by Alex Draper, Nov. 30-Dec. 2. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. tonight-Saturday in Wright Memorial Theatre.
Inspired by “Our Town,” the play, according to The New York Times, is a “delicate, moving and wry amble along the collective road to nowhere,” and one “that glimmers from start to finish with tart, funny, gorgeous little comments on big things: the need for love and forgiveness, the search for meaning in life, and the long, lonely ache of disappointment.”
Eno, who has been described as the Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation, is the author of “Thom Pain: Based on Nothing” and “The Realistic Joneses” (2014 Drama Desk award winner), among others. “Middletown” was awarded the inaugural Horton Foote Award for Most Promising New Play.
Tickets are $15; call 802-443-MIDD (6433), or go online to

Singer-songwriter Rupert Wates
Folk singer-songwriter Rupert Wates prefers performing in smaller listening rooms where the audience is up close and the emphasis is on the music. This makes Brandon Music one of his favorite stops on tour. Wates will return to Brandon Music at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, the place he calls “the best little venue in Vermont.”
Wates will be introducing material from his brand-new CD, “The Lights of Paris,” an album that showcases his brand of original, acoustic, melodic art/folk with flavors of jazz and vaudeville. Wates has been a professional songwriter since the late 1990s, when he signed a publishing contract with Eaton Music Limited. Since then, he’s won more than 30 songwriting awards and much praise: “A prime figure in American music” (Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange); “These songs will go straight to your heart” (Empty Nest House Concerts, N.J.).
Tickets are $20; (pre-concert dinner is available for $25; reservations are required ); call 802-247-4295, or e-mail Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Road.

On Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens scholar Barry Dietz will discuss the life and career of the writer and his story “A Christmas Carol” in a talk at Trinity Episcopal Church, 85 West St., at 7 p.m. Dec. 6. His talk, “Charles Dickens and the Writing of A Christmas Carol,” is part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays lecture series and is free and open to the public.
Dietz will consider Dickens’s career up to the publication of “A Christmas Carol” in 1843, what the novella’s success meant to Dickens’s life and work, and how the story has resonated since, including in films. Dietz was born in North Carolina and now lives in New England. He has presented over a hundred programs around New England on disparate topics, including Sherlock Holmes, World War I, American writers, Dracula and Dickens.
For more information, call Rutland Free Library, 802-773-1860, or contact the Vermont Humanities Council,

VJC Big Band
At 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, the Vermont Jazz Center will present its 15th annual Gala Scholarship Fundraiser Performance featuring internationally acclaimed vocalist Kevin Mahogany and guitarist Dave Stryker with the VJC Big Band.
The band, under the leadership of Rob Freeberg, is a community orchestra made up of professional musicians who come together to rehearse and prepare for this annual event. Mahogany and Stryker will delve into a repertoire of blues and classic jazz standards. All money raised will go directly to the VJC’s Scholarship Fund.
Tickets are $25-$50 (including dessert buffet); call 802-254-9088, ext. 1, or go online to The Vermont Jazz Center is located at 72 Cotton Mill Hill.

Canaletto & Venice
Town Hall Theater presents “Canaletto & the Art of Venice” as part of their Great Art Wednesdays series at 11 a.m. Dec. 6. The film is an immersive journey into the life and art of Venice’s famous view-painter Giovanni Antonio Canal.
No artist better captures the essence and allure of Venice than Giovanni Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto. Despite Canaletto’s close relationship with the city in which he lived and died, the world’s largest collection of his works resides not in his native Italy, but in Britain as part of the Royal Collection. In 1762, George III purchased almost the entire collection amassed by Joseph Smith, British Consul in Venice and Canaletto’s principal agent. From London, the film travels to the great Italian city to explore the origins of Canaletto’s art.
Tickets are $13, $8 for students; call 802-382-9222, or go online to

Theater auditions
Auditions for the Dorset Players spring show, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” will be held at the Dorset Playhouse at 6:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 4 and 5. This production will run May 18-20 and 25-27.
Directed by Todd Hjelt with music direction by Gary Schmidt, this musical centers on a spelling bee held in a middle school gym where six quirky adolescents compete in the bee run by three equally quirky grownups. The cast will consist of five adult males and five adult females.
Prepare an audition song (complete with music), wear comfortable clothes and be prepared to do some basic movement. For information, call Todd at 307-690-6407.

Artists’ town meeting
The Rockingham Arts and Museum Project (RAMP) and artists Chris Sherwin, Jeanette Staley and Clare Adams are hosting an Artists’ Town Meeting at 33 Bridge St. from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7. The location is home to WOOL FM and Chris Sherwin’s Glass Studio. The meeting is informal and includes a potluck.
The focus of these meetings is to bring together artists, artisans and local growers in order to share ideas, challenges and opportunities. According to Robert McBride, director of RAMP, the purpose of artist town meetings is to strengthen artist constituency. “The more we know each other and can identify ourselves as a viable constituency, the more strength and credibility we gain. There is an ever-growing community of working artists and local growers in our midst, all of whom are contributing greatly to the cultural and economic vitality of our community.”
RSVPs are encouraged and appreciated: email with “Artists’ Town Meeting” in the subject line or by calling 802-463-3252.

Festival of Trees
The Paramount Theatre is putting final touches on its 15th annual Festival of Trees Auction Benefit, set to go off Saturday, Dec. 2. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for patrons to participate in an extensive silent auction, preview the live items and enjoy food and drink by Roots the Restaurant/A Dozen Eggs. The live auction starts at 7 p.m. As in prior years, the auction will be conducted by veteran area auctioneer Bob Prozzo.
Bruce Bouchard, executive director, commented, “This year we have a very special ‘showcase item’ which allows us to realize a Festival of Trees bucket list, namely, a car on stage.” The car to be auctioned is a $40,000 Alderman’s Chevy Bolt EV. All proceeds benefit the Paramount.
Admission is $10; go online to

Compass holiday
The Compass Center’s Holiday Event, 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6, planned to coincide with Moonlight Madness, is another convenient and fun opportunity to do some holiday shopping locally. Browse the many gift shops with books, classical music, collectibles and artwork by regional artists, taking advantage of special discounts, and visit the farmers’ market and consignment shop. Doubling as a reception for the holiday show, visitors can chat with Stephanie Stouffer about her whimsical and charming illustrations in the Center’s main exhibit “Holiday Legacy.” Food will be available too.
For information, go online to The Compass Music and Arts Center is located in Park Village at 333 Jones Drive (formerly the Brandon Training School) 1.5 miles north of downtown Brandon off of Arnold District Road.