May 20, 2022

Charlie Doodle

Unique Art & Entertainment

BITS & BYTES: Pittsfield CityJazz Festival; ‘Fun Home’ at Ghent Playhouse; Immigration Stories; New Marlborough town caucus; Mahaiwe movies

5 min read

As the first stop on its CD release tour, the DIVA Jazz Orchestra will perform at the 2022 Pittsfield CityJazz Festival, which runs Saturday, April 23–Sunday, May 1 at venues throughout the Upstreet Cultural District. Photo courtesy the artists

Pittsfield CityJazz Festival to be held April 23–May 1

PITTSFIELDBerkshires Jazz, Inc. has announced the lineup for the 2022 Pittsfield CityJazz Festival, to be held Saturday, April 23–Sunday, May 1. Featured performances include a CD release concert by the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, the annual jazz crawl, a new entry in the Jazz Prodigy series, and vocalist Lydia Harrell with the George Russell Jr. Trio. The festival will kick off on April 23 with a new Berkshire Jam Session featuring local artists.

In moving from mid-October to April, the Berkshires’ longest-standing jazz festival joins nationwide activities celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month, an initiative of the Smithsonian Institution.

The day-by-day schedule:

  • Saturday, April 23: Berkshire Jazz Jam, Mission Restaurant, 7-10 p.m., free
  • Wednesday, April 27: Jazz Prodigy Concert, with 16-year-old bassist Ruby Farmer, Berkshire Athenaeum, 7:30 p.m., free. The concert takes place during the centennial birth year of Charles Mingus, perhaps the most influential bass player in the history of jazz. Farmer will be backed by local musicians Benny Kohn on piano and Conor Meehan on drums.
  • Friday, April 29: The George Russell Jr. Trio with vocalist Lydia Harrell, Berkshire Museum, 7:30 p.m. The concert represents the Berkshires debut for Harrell and Russell, who are on the faculty at Berklee College of Music. Tickets go on sale April 1.
  • Saturday, April 30: The annual Jazz Crawl, various venues throughout Pittsfield’s Upstreet Cultural District, all evening long, free
  • Sunday, May 1: Jazz brunch at Dottie’s Coffee Lounge
  • Sunday, May 1: DIVA Jazz Orchestra makes its first stop on the CD release tour for “DIVA Swings Broadway.” A new iteration of the Berkshires Jazz All-Star Youth Band will open. Colonial Theatre, 2 p.m.

Besides the public events, Andy Kelly’s Sister City Jazz Ambassadors will be visiting several schools in Berkshire County, with a unique program of education and entertainment. This annual element of the festival is provided at no cost to the students or schools, thanks to sponsorship from Berkshire Bank.

—A.K.

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Ghent Playhouse to present Tony Award-winning musical “Fun Home”

GHENT, N.Y.The Ghent Playhouse will present the Capital District Community Theatre premiere of “Fun Home.” Winner of five 2015 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, it is based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir. “Fun Home” will run March 25–April 10 and tickets are on sale now.

This groundbreaking production introduces us to Alison at three different ages, revealing memories of her uniquely dysfunctional family who connect with her in surprising new ways. Moving between past and present, she relives her childhood playing at the family’s funeral home, her growing understanding of her own sexuality, and the looming, unanswerable questions about her father’s hidden desires. “Fun Home” is a refreshingly honest, wholly original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes.

Real-life mother and daughter Helen Annely and Rosalyn Annely play Adult Allison and Young Allison; Noah Fey Hamm is college-age Allison; Amy Fiebke plays Allison’s mother; Jeffrey Jene is Allison’s father. The cast also includes Ely Loskowitz, Brayden Huneau, Quinn Miller and Connor Eastman. The show’s musical director is Joanne Mensching, Kelly Seinkiewicz is its choreographer, and the production’s co-directors are Michael McDermott and Michael C. Menching.

Coming soon: “Last Train to Nibroc,” May 20–22 and 27–29, and June 3–5

For more information about this show or any other, or to learn about upcoming auditions, visit the website, email [email protected], or call 518-392-6264.

—A.K.

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U.S. Immigration Stories discussion to be held online March 28

Susan J. Cohen. Photo courtesy Jewish Federation

PITTSFIELD — The Jewish Federation of the Berkshires and Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts (JFS) will co-sponsor a Zoom event on Monday, March 28, at 6:45 p.m. The discussion, “U.S. Immigration Stories Up-close and Personal,” will feature Susan J. Cohen, an immigration attorney with Boston’s Mintz law firm and author of “Journeys From There to Here: Stories of Immigrant Trials, Triumphs, and Contributions,” and Maxine J. Stein, president/CEO of JFS, the organization currently overseeing the resettlement of Afghan families in the Berkshires. The two will cover some of the critical issues surrounding immigration, both locally and nationally, with moderator Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch of Temple Anshe Amunim. Click here to register. jewishberkshires.org

—A.K.

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New Marlborough to hold caucus March 29

NEW MARLBOROUGH — The town of New Marlborough will hold its annual town caucus on Tuesday, March 29 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall in the Mill River section of New Marlborough.

The following offices will be on the ballot:

  • Moderator, 1 year
  • Selectman, 3 years
  • Assessor, 3 years
  • Tree warden, 1 year
  • Cemetery commissioner, 3 years
  • Planning Board member, 5 years
  • Board of Health member, 3 years
  • Library trustee, 3 years
  • Finance Committee member, 3 years
  • Finance Committee member, 3 years
  • Finance Committee member, 3 years

For more information, contact: Town of New Marlborough, Office of the Town Clerk, 807 Mill River Southfield Rd., Mill River, MA 01244-0099; call 413-229-8278; or email [email protected]

—A.K.

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Mahaiwe announces April/May film screenings

Reese Witherspoon stars as Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde.” Image courtesy The Mahaiwe

GREAT BARRINGTON — The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center has added four movie events to its spring schedule: “Good Will Hunting” (1997) on Friday, April 8 at 7 p.m., “His Girl Friday” (1940) on Friday, April 22 at 7 p.m., “Legally Blonde” (2001) on Friday, May 6 at 7 p.m., and “Raising Arizona” (1987) on Saturday, May 14 at 7 p.m.

The series begins with Good Will Hunting (R) on Friday, April 8 at 7 p.m. Matt Damon is Will Hunting – a 20-year-old genius from South Boston who works as a janitor at M.I.T. After a brush-up with the law, Dr. Sean Maguire (Robin Williams) becomes Will’s court-ordered therapist and the two connect on matters intellectual and emotional. Gus Van Sant directs this drama with additional performances from Ben Affleck, Stellan Skarsgård, and Minnie Driver. The film won two Oscars — Williams for Best Supporting Actor and Affleck and Damon for Best Original Screenplay.

His Girl Friday will screen on Friday, April 22 at 7 p.m. Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell star in this classic comedy. Newspaper editor Walter Burns (Grant) persuades reporter and ex-wife Hildy Johnson (Russell) — newly engaged to another man — to cover one last story with him. The film is celebrated for its surprises and swift dialogue.

Legally Blonde (PG-13) will screen Friday, May 6 at 7 p.m. Reese Witherspoon portrays Elle Woods in this iconic Harvard Law comedy.

This round of films concludes with Raising Arizona (PG-13) on Saturday, May 14 at 7 p.m. Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter play an ex-convict and an ex-cop, respectively. The oddball couple resort to a desperate measure when faced with some obstacles to having children. Joel and Ethan Coen direct this offbeat comedy.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for ages 12 and under when applicable. For tickets and more information, visit mahaiwe.org or call the box office at 413-528-0100 during open hours, Wednesdays–Saturdays from 12–4 p.m. The Mahaiwe accepts ConnectorCare/WIC/EBT cards — four free tickets to movies per individual.

—A.K.

BITS & BYTES: Pittsfield CityJazz Festival; ‘Fun Home’ at Ghent Playhouse; Immigration Stories; New Marlborough town caucus; Mahaiwe movies

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