This last weekend of the year leading into New Year’s Eve suggests that 2013 still has plenty of life in it yet and will not go gently into that good night, with jazz, pop, classical, folk, and funk music, plus several holiday-themed theatrical events, on area stages.
It’ll be a family affair at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington on Saturday night, when husband-and-wife team John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey are joined by John’s dad, the venerable jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli –– and his brother, bassist Martin Pizzarelli, for a cabaret concert celebrating the so-called Great American Songbook and other classic tunes. Jazz guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli and Broadway singer and actress Jessica Molaskey are hosts of the public radio jazz program “Radio Deluxe,” and popular favorites who appear frequently throughout our region, which they call home.
A radio play version of the classic Christmas film, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” is being staged at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox through this Sunday. Inspired by Frank Capra’s 1946 film starring Donna Reed and James Stewart, the funny and unique play-within-a-play features five actors playing not only the show’s radio actors but all 50 roles from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The show includes radio jingles, live sound effects, and favorite Christmas songs, and is appropriate for all ages.
It’s the final weekend to catch the staging of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol by Berkshire Theatre Group at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield. The timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge has fast become a Berkshire holiday tradition, mixing theater professionals with community members, including 28 Berkshire County children. The show runs through Sunday.
The Berkshire Bach Society celebrates its twentieth year of "Bach at New Year’s" - featuring the celebrated Berkshire Bach Ensemble, directed by harpsichordist Kenneth Cooper – on Tuesday, at 6pm, at the Mahaiwe. This year's program casts a retrospective and somewhat nostalgic glance back at this annual tradition by performing all of Bach's six Brandenburg Concertos in reverse order – 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds will ring out the old and ring in the new with their old-school, horn-inflected soul and R&B at Club Helsinki Hudson for a New Year's Eve soul-funk dance party on Tuesday night starting at 9pm. The Brooklyn-based, eight-piece outfit plays a gritty, Southern style of soul that's been garnering raves for its live appearances at festivals including Bonnaroo, Mountain Jam, Gathering of the Vibes, moe.down, and the Voodoo Experience, as well as shared appearances with the Neville Brothers, Dr. John, Counting Crows, Govt' Mule, Rebirth Brass Band and Donald Fagen. The group is fronted by the Catskills region native Arleigh Kincheloe, and features her brother Jackson on harmonica and cousin Bram on drums.
Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available online at rogovoyreport.com