Arts Beats for July 20: Two actors to play 20 roles in romp through Tuna, Texas

Middlebury Actors Workshop, a small professional ensemble in residence at Town Hall Theater, announces its 15th anniversary summer production of “Greater Tuna,” starring founding members Steve Small and Harry McEnerny. The production opens on Thursday, at 8 p.m. in A.R.T.’s Black Box Theater at the Patricia Hannaford Career Center, 51 Charles Ave. in Middlebury. Performances will repeat on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m. There will be additional performances next week.
A two-man, 20-character, quick change tour de force, “Greater Tuna” is a hilarious send-up of small town morals and mores in Tuna, the third smallest town in Texas, where the Lion’s Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies.
Vermont’s finest comedic duo, Steve Small and Harry McEnerny, return to the stage as the eclectic citizens of Tuna, Texas — men, women, children and animals — in “Greater Tuna,” by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard.
Artistic Director Melissa Lourie directs this long-running off-Broadway hit.
Tickets are $22, available from the Town Hall Theater box office, 382-9222 or townhalltheater.org, and also at the door of the A.R.T. black box theater on performance days.
On Friday, at 7:30 p.m. the Salisbury Church will host a special musical event. Vermont composer Sam Guarnaccia has created musical settings for a poetic text entitled “A Celtic Mass for Peace, Songs for the Earth,” written by J. Philip Newell.
Guarnaccia has trained and performed as a classical guitarist in Europe and the United States and taught on the music faculties at the University of Denver, Middlebury College, and UVM. The Scottish-based Newell, an internationally celebrated poet, theologian, peacemaker and former warden of Iona Abbey, wrote the text on the shores of Lake Champlain, and invited Guarnaccia to compose the music.
Recorded by musicians from Scotland and the United States, the Mass has been performed in Iona and Edinburgh, Scotland, in many cities throughout the United States. The Salisbury performance will include accomplished instrumental and vocal musicians from the Champlain Valley.
This will be the fourth event in Salisbury’s 36th annual Summer Performance Series, which will continue on Friday evenings through Aug. 7 at the historic but handicap-accessible church in Salisbury Village. Although the church tower will be scaffolded for repairs during this season, the sanctuary will still be readily entered through the front doors and the on-grade rear entrance.
Admission is free. A free-will donation in support of the series will be appreciated.
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” the delightful Andrew Lloyd Webber musical based on a story from the book of Genesis, will be presented by Town Hall Theater’s Young Company on Friday and Saturday, at 7 p.m. The show is directed by THT artistic director Douglas Anderson, and it’s the first time he’s worked with THT’s Young Company.
The talented young cast includes Noah Bessette, Gabe Cason, Chloe Clark, Louisa Funk, Liz Gamble, Kay Hoffman, Katie Isham, Lily Isham, Oliver Lewis, Emma Pope McCright, Sophie Pope McCright, Cassie Melchior and Natalie Strand, with Takumi Melchior and Peter Ozrech as tech crew.
Middlebury College student Jack DesBois, this summer’s THT intern, turns up in a variety of roles. Helen and Jack Weston are at the keyboards. Alicia Evancho created the lively choreography.
“I could say that this is a really good show with young actors, but honestly it doesn’t need the qualification. It’s just a really good show, period,” says Anderson.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for 12 and under, and may be purchased at 382-9222, townhalltheater.org, at the THT box office (Monday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.) and at the door.
One-of-a-kind Japanese composer, guitarist and singer-songwriter Hiroya Tsukamoto creates evocative images through his music, taking listeners with him on scenic journeys of melody and rhythm. Hear his unique sound, a hypnotic blending of folk, jazz and world music at Brandon Music on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
While at college in Japan, Tsukamoto was introduced to a musical and social movement in South America called Nueva Cancion — headed by musical legends such as Victor Jara and Violeta Parra — which helped shape his musical career.
After attending Berklee College of Music, he completed a debut album entitled “The Other Side of the World” with his band Interoceanico, released in 2004. Tsukamoto has since released five albums including his most recent, “Places,” which has been enthusiastically received by the music press.
Tickets are $20. A pre-concert dinner is also available for $20. Reservations are recommended for the show and required for dinner. 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.
The Rochester Chamber Music Society presents soprano Mary Bonhag with the Heliand Trio in Rochester on Sunday, at 4 p.m. in the Rochester Federated Church. The program features lyrical songs by Schubert, including his iconic “Shepherd on the Rock” trio, a piano trio by Mendelssohn, a jazzy bassoon sonata by Hyekyung Lee, and the world premiere of “Smiling Moon” for soprano, clarinet, bassoon and piano by internationally renowned Australian composer Padma Newsome.
The Heliand Trio is compossed of clarinetist Elisabeth LeBlanc, bassoonist Rachael Elliott and pianist Cynthia Huard. Formed in 2006, their instrumentation creates a warm-sounding acoustic, with the lower woodwinds complemented by the piano. Together, the three musicians bring spirited interpretations of classical and modern music to audiences in Vermont and beyond. Heliand Trio has performed live on VPR Classical, given interviews on WCVT, and been selected as a “Pick of the Week” by Seven Days.
Although admission is free, a donation in support of the series is always appreciated. For more information call 767-9234 or visit www.rcmsvt.org.
Red Hot Juba will play a hip shakin’, high steppin’, guaranteed good time at Lincoln Peak Vineyard on Friday, from 6 to 8 p.m. Quick, agile and energetic, Red Hot Juba takes the soul of the Blues, the infectious twang of juke-joint country and a touch of irreverence, and makes it all swing with abandon.
These guys weave guitars, vocal harmonies, horns, bass and drums through eclectic, impulsive, unpredictable sets that cover — and savor — a broad expanse of musical ground. The quartet features D. Davis, Eric Krull, Bryan Aubin and Steve Goldman.
Admission is free. As with all Wine Down Friday shows, the “doors” open at 5:30 p.m. for picnicking. Food will be for sale by Almost Home, and wine by the glass. Bring lawn chairs or a picnic blanket. The Wine Down Friday series happens rain or shine — there’s room on the winery porch in the case of rain. No alcohol may be brought onto the grounds, and please leave your pets at home. Lincoln Peak Vineyard is located at 142 River Road in New Haven. More information is at lincolnpeakvineyard.com.
The annual free concert by the talented staff of Point CounterPoint, the classical music school on Lake Dunmore, will be performed next Monday, July 27, at 7:30 p.m. in Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater.
This year’s concert features the Aeolus Quartet, Grand Prize winners of the 2011 Plowman Chamber Music Competition and 2011 Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition. Aeolus is the Graduate Resident String Quartet at the Juilliard School.
The Aeolus Quartet and other Point CounterPoint faculty will perform Quartet No. 55 in D major, Op. 71, No. 2, by Joseph Haydn, Piano Trio No. 2 in B minor, Opus 76 by Joaquin Turina, and String Quartet No. 2 by Bela Bartok.
An exhibit of paintings by Constance “Tancy” Holden is being held in conjunction with this concert named in her honor. There will be a gallery reception in the Jackson Gallery from 5 to 7 p.m. The concert begins at 7:30. Both are free and open to the public. Although the concert is free, donations are encouraged.
The Middlebury College Summer Carillon Series continues its 30th year of concerts with a 5 p.m. performance on Friday in Mead Chapel by Sergei Gratchev, instructor and carillonneur in Hulst, Netherlands, and the Middlebury Russian School.
Enjoy the sounds of the carillon bells from the chapel steps or, weather permitting, on the surrounding lawns. The free series continues every Friday through August with a different performer. This year’s 30th anniversary season is included in the Vermont Arts Council’s 2015 Year of the Arts “Anniversary Club.”
Mead Memorial Chapel is located on the campus of Middlebury College at 75 Hepburn Road. Free parking is available on Route 125 and on Old Chapel Road. For further information, call 443-3168 or visit middlebury.edu/arts.
Last but not least, there will be one live musical performance this week at Two Brothers Tavern in Middlebury. Join Two Brothers every Wednesday at 9 p.m. for The Open Mic, an evening of music, comedy, or anything else, 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. For additional information, call 388-0002.

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