Before I preview the coming weekend of culture in the greater Berkshire region, a quick look back on what is sure to be on everyone’s lists of the highlights of the year.
I’m speaking of course of the concert by alt-rock superstar Beck at MASS MoCA on Tuesday night. It was a picture-perfect evening, comfortably cool with stars in the sky, and a dynamic, energetic Beck offering a generous helping of hits from throughout his career, from his early folk-hip-hop days through his faux-funk era as well as his mellow-singer-songwriter music from his career-topping latest album, “Morning Phase.” I’ve been a rock critic for about 30 years, and this was simply one of the greatest shows of all time, period.
Two dance companies are making career-ending appearances in the region this weekend. The Trisha Brown Dance Company kicks off the annual Bard SummerScape Festival with three performances of “Proscenium Works: 1979–2011.” Tonight at 7:30 pm and Saturday at 2 pm and 7:30 pm, in the Fisher Center. The program features the final creation of MacArthur Fellow Trisha Brown, alongside revivals of two of her most beloved large-scale stage works, made in collaboration with Laurie Anderson and Robert Rauschenberg.
Trey McIntyre Project will make its final appearance as a full-time dance ensemble tonight through Sunday, June 29, in the Ted Shawn Theatre at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. The program features “The Vinegar Works: Four Dances of Moral Instruction,” a new work inspired by the surreal art and writings of Edward Gorey, and the East Coast premiere of “Mercury Half-Life,” set entirely to the music of legendary rock band Queen. They are the champions, my friend, and they’ll keep on fighting, til the end. And they will, they will rock you.
Tanglewood begins its pre-season events with jazz and a variety show. The Kenny Barron Trio, led by the legendary jazz pianist Kenny Barron, who has been active for nearly 50 years and has been featured on hundreds of recordings, opens the season at Ozawa Hall tonight at 8pm. Then tomorrow evening, the annual live broadcast of American Public Media’s “A Prairie Home Companion” radio variety show featuring Garrison Keillor, which listeners to this station may have heard once or twice over the years, takes place at 5:45 pm on Saturday.
Stephen Sondheim’s award-winning 1973 musical, “A Little Night Music” - inspired by the Ingmar Bergman film “Smiles of a Summer Night” and taking its name from Mozart's Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major, “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” – opens the Berkshire Theatre Group season at the Colonial Theatre, running from Monday, June 30, through Saturday, July 19. The musical’s best-known song is “Send in the Clowns”. “A Little Night Music” joins “Kiss Me, Kate,” the Cole Porter musical playing a few blocks away at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield.
Amidst the big hoopla of large summer theater productions, like Kiss Me Kate at Barrington Stage, and A Little Night Music at the Colonial Theatre, both in Pittsfield, are some small scale theater events. The Walking the Dog Theater will perform its trademark long-form improvisational shows tonight and tomorrow night at 8 pm at PS 21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century, in Chatham, N.Y. And J.T. Rogers’ haunting mystery, “Madagascar,” opens the 25th anniversary season at Chester Theatre Company, running through Sunday, July 6, at the Chester Town Hall. The production stars Debra Jo Rupp of “That ‘70s Show.”
I’m Seth Rogovoy, and that’s the Rogovoy Report for this weekend.