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Arts Beat for Oct. 16: Snake Mountain brings the best of old-timey and modern bluegrass

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Arts Beat for Oct. 16: Snake Mountain brings the best of old-timey and modern bluegrass

SNAKE MOUNTAIN BLUEGRASS will perform old material as well as new songs from its upcoming album at Brandon Music on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m.

By Greg Pahl

Middlebury Actors Workshop, Central Vermont’s premiere professional theater company, is delighted to present a new comedy by David Ives, “The Metromaniacs,” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 19. Additional performances will take place on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 20 and 21, at 7:30 p.m. as well as a Sunday matinee on Oct. 22 at 2 p.m.

“The Metromaniacs” (a person addicted to poetry, or to writing verses) is based on an obscure French Farce by Alexis Piron, but playwright David Ives has updated the script with modern references, zippy language and rhyming couplets, making it incredibly enjoyable for today’s audience.  One might call it “Dr. Seuss for adults.”

Ives, famous for modern masterworks such as “Venus In Fur” and “All In The Timing,” has been described as a modern cut-up artist, a master magician and a brilliant comic wordsmith.

The original “Metromaniacs” is based on a true-life incident involving celebrated satirist Voltaire, who fell in love with the poems of a mysterious poetess from distant Brittany (read: Appalachia), and publicly declared his love for the lady, only to have it revealed that the poetess was actually a guy living in Paris who took his revenge on the poetry establishment for not appreciating his genius. The play takes place in a time where poets are the hot celebrities and everyone is in love with love.

Director Melissa Lourie explains, “I picked the play for our Fall Classic series because, in trying times, sometimes what we really need is an escape, to a world of champagne, love and gorgeousness. A world elsewhere. A purer world, where characters are drunk on language and high-comic passion. And that is what ‘The Metromaniacs’ delivers in spades.”

The cast features Burlington actor Andy Butterfield as the famous poet Damis; Larry Connolly as his wealthy host Francalou; Chris Caswell as the saucy maid Lisette; Jennifer Catalano as Francalou’s disaffected, poetry-loving daughter Lucille; Jory Raphael as her handsome but inarticulate suitor Dorante; Jack Bradt as Damis’s grumpy uncle from Toulouse; and Will Larsen as Damis’s scampish valet.

Tickets are $22 adults/$12 students, and may be purchased at towhalltheater.org, by calling or visiting the THT box office, 382-9222 (Monday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.), or at the door, if available.

SNAKE MOUNTAIN BLUEGRASS AT BRANDON MUSIC

Snake Mountain Bluegrass will perform at Brandon Music on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m.

Snake Mountain’s “toe-tapping tunes combine the best of modern and traditional bluegrass” (Seven Days) with harmonies and songs that vary in tempo from hard driving “breakdowns” to softer, folk-type arrangements. The group is known for their vocal, instrumental, and original songwriting talents, plus a great sense of humor and onstage banter.

Founding members Gregg Humphrey (guitar and vocals) and Mike Connor (banjo and vocals) are joined by Earle Provin (mandolin and resophonic guitar), Mike Boise (bass) and Milo Stanley (fiddle).

Fans will be thrilled to hear the band is putting together a new album with several originals. Come to the concert to preview a few of the tunes, like “For Keeps,” a song written by Provin. You’ll also hear some covers such as Alison Kraus’s “Dream of Me,” an old country tune originally sung by Vern Gosdin, and songs like “Up and Down the Mountain,” “Mr. Spaceman,” “Fox on the Run” and “Head Over Heels in Love with You.”

Retired Middlebury College Professor Humphrey and Middlebury construction company owner Connor formed Snake Mountain Bluegrass about 30 years ago. At the time, they were both living near Snake Mountain and someone asked them what style of bluegrass they played. “Snake Mountain Bluegrass,” was their immediate response and the name has been theirs ever since.

Concert tickets are $20. A pre-concert dinner is available for $25. Reservations are required for dinner and recommended for the show. Venue is BYOB. Call 247-4295 or e-mail [email protected] for reservations or for more information. Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Road in Brandon.

CPO FALL CONCERT

The Champlain Philharmonic will return to Ackley Hall at Green Mountain College in Poultney on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, Oct. 22, at 4 p.m. at the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society Sanctuary in Middlebury, located at 2 Duane Court, to present their Fall Concert series, “Eutierria” (meaning to belong to the good earth), featuring works that portray the connection between music, the great outdoors and Bohemian life. 

The orchestra will be led by Artistic Director, Matthew LaRocca. He teaches theory and composition at UVM, directs the South Burlington Choir and is director of Music-COMP, an organization that teaches composition to hundreds of students throughout Vermont. LaRocca also is the Artistic Curator of the Vermont Symphony’s Jukebox concert series.

Featured on the program will be: “An Outdoor Overture” by American composer Aaron Copland; “Pastorale d’ete” by Arthur Honegger; “The Moldau,” from “Má vlast” by Bedrich Smetana; and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 6,” also known as the “Pastoral Symphony.”

The Champlain Philharmonic is a community orchestra that performs regularly in the Addison and Rutland regions of Vermont. This is their 14th performance season.

Tickets are available at the door for both performances for $15 general admission, $10 seniors, and $5 students. For more information visit champlainphilharmonic.org or at facebook.com/ChamplainPhil.

TWO BROTHERS TAVERN

There will be two live performances this week at Two Brothers Tavern located at 86 Main St. in Middlebury. Join Two Brothers every Wednesday at 9 p.m. for The Open Mic, an evening of music, comedy or anything else. Two Brothers Lounge is a laid back atmosphere where collaborations and libations fuel creativity. Alternately hosted by Mark Sikora and Kai Stanley, come cheer on your friends or let loose on the stage. It’s free to enter and there is no cover charge.

Then, on Friday, Oct. 20, the tavern presents Zephrus at 9 p.m. The always hypnotizing Zephrus return to the Lounge with their tight arrangements of both classic and modern rock. Their adventurous and talented musical excursions are captivating and well-worth getting off the internet and out to the bar.  There is a $3 cover charge. For more information, call Two Brothers at 388-0002.

VERMONT COFFEE COMPANY PLAYHOUSE

There will be two plays presented by the Vermont Coffee Company Playhouse and Gare St. Lazare Ireland this week. The first, “Molloy,” will take place on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m., in the Vermont Coffee Company Playhouse, 1197 Exchange St., Suite 3, in Middlebury.  The second play, “Malone Dies,” will take place on Sunday, Oct. 22, in the same location at 7:30 p.m. Both plays will be performed by Conor Lovett and directed by Judy Hagarty Lovett. If you love Beckett, the Irish or just great story-telling, check it out.

Tickets are $12 each, and can be purchased at eventbrite.com. For more information, email: [email protected], or phone at 802-398-2776, ext. 819.

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