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Josh Groban, the bearded, bespectacled balladeer, is appearing at Tanglewood in support of his new "Bridges" album.

Red, White, Blue Plus Grease Week for Pop Fans

By Grace LichtensteinGuest Column
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From Stockbridge to Boston, pop fans know what to expect as the mid-week Fourth of July celebration approaches: Sweet Baby James at Tanglewood — but first, there's a great Josh Groban show tonight.

Meanwhile at the Guthrie Center in Great Barrington: more great folk music, while Jacob’s Pillow features live music accompaniment to a Merce Cunningham tribute. That, a new production of "Grease" and more.



Hope you have your tickets to James Taylor on Wednesday and Thursday as the Shed and the lawn are both sold out for the annual visit of James Taylor, beloved bard of the Berkshires. However, you can still hear great pop music tonight (Tuesday, July 2) at the Shed. Josh Groban, the bearded, bespectacled balladeer, is appearing in support of his new "Bridges" album.

John Williams' music will be featured Sunday afternoon July 7 at the first of three programs devoted to him. With the Boston Pops conducted by David Newman, the fabulous violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter makes a rare pop guest appearance, playing special arrangements of Williams’s classics.

For more information, visit the website.


Barrington Stage

Jim Caruso's cast party should be a laugh-a-minute, with Bill Stritch at the piano, on Sunday, July 7, at Mr. Finn's Cabaret at 8 p.m. If you're not familiar with the cabaret, make tracks to the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden St., in Pittsfield.

The next evening, Monday July 8, at the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage in Pittsfield,Tony Award- winning composer and lyricist Jason Robert Brown brings an unusual mix of material from his career, including shows like "Parade" and "The Bridges of Madison County," plus music from his new album "How We React and How We Recover." Showtime is 8 p.m.
For more information, go online.


The Stationery Factory

This new venue in Dalton is the site of a very special event Sunday, July 7: An evening with the David Bromberg Quintet. Those who remember Bromberg as a guitar and fiddle frontman and sideman in the 1960s and '70s may also fondly recall him as a protégé of the Rev. Gary Davis. He made his own recordings but also was a frequent sideman on albums from the likes of Jerry Jeff Walker, Bob Dylan and Carly Simon. His show at the Stationery Factory focuses on “The Blues, the Whole Blues and Nothing But the Blues,” his latest album. What's more, he sings!

More info can be found online.



Who isn't hopelessly devoted to "Grease?" The beloved high school musical gets under way on Thursday, July 4, and runs through July 21, with both matinee and evening performances. This version includes all of the hits from the film as well as from the original stage show.

Starring at the The Chatham, N.Y., summer theater is Anthony DaSilva as Danny, and Emma Flynn as Sandy. The direction and choreography is handled by Sebastiani Romagnolo.

Find more info on the website.


Guthrie Center

Pop music is a multigenerational world these days. The Guthrie Center in Great Barrington was founded by Arlo Guthrie, son of Woody Guthrie, in the Old Trinity Church in 1991. The group Roan Yellowthorn takes the stage Friday, July 5, and its front woman is Jackie McLean, the daughter of Don "American Pie" McLean.

The next evening, Saturday, July 6, brings two first-generation talents, Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur front and center. They deliver Roots with a capital R in a show rated T for timeless. Doors open at 6 p.m. and shows begin at 8 p.m for both concerts.

More information can be found online.



Let's not forget dance. The wonderful company Momix presents Moses Pendleton's evening length work "Opus Cactus" on Friday and Saturday, July 5 (8 p.m.) and July 6 (7 p.m.) at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington. It's a desert world created by the Connecticut-based troupe. More info can be found online.


Jacob's Pillow

Finally, Compagnie CNDC-Angers/Robert Swinston is making its debut at the Pillow with works by Merce Cunningham, part of the worldwide centennial celebrating Cunningham's work. Each performance begins with an archival film of Merce Cunningham at Jacob’s Pillow followed by "Suite for Five," "Inlets 2" and "How to Pass, Kick, Fall and Run," with live music.

The shows run from Wednesday, July 3, through Sunday, July 7, at the Ted Shawn Theatre. At the Pillow's Doris Duke Theatre, the multimedia show "Halfway to Dawn" by David Roussève/Reality also runs July 3 through July 7. It's an abstract tribute to Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington’s brilliant collaborator, and thus to a gay African-American jazz composer.

Find all the info on the website.

That's it for this week. I'll return in my usual slot on Wednesday, July 10.

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Berkshires Beat: Tanglewood to Offer Year-Round Programming

Tanglewood news

For the first time since it was established as the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood will be holding programming during the fall, winter and spring. This change is enabled by the the development of Tanglewood's new Linde Center for Music and Learning, which was launched in the summer of 2019.

The Linde Center will host a variety of programming, offering participants a wide spectrum of performances and multidisciplinary activities designed to attract both newcomers and longtime patrons seeling to becoming more involved with music and the arts. The Linde Center will also serve as an event and concern rental space for use by the Berkshire community in beyond, including weddings, conferences, receptions, workshops and meetings as well as performances and concerts through the fall, winter and spring.

Kickoff weekend is set for the weekend of Oct. 24-27 and includes a screeing of "Falling Down Stairs," the Yo-Yo Ma/Mark Morris collaboration involving Bach's Cello Suite No. 3; a multidisciplinary presentation on "Mastery in the DIY Era," a chamber music concert featuring BSO musicians, and a special edition of the TLI's Focal Point, offering lessons in amateur photography and painting. After this weekend, there will be a "Fiddle Weekend," special presentations, open forums, TLI talks and more. Tickets go on sale on Friday, Oct. 11; for tickets and info call 888-266-1492 or visit the website.


Renewable energy at BCC

As national campus sustainability month kicks off, MASSPIRG Berkshire Community College students will launch a campaign to encourage BCC to generate 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources. This campaign is part of an initiative that aims to get 150 schools to commit to switch exclusively to renewable energy by 2021.

The nationwide effort includes targeted weeks of action, petition drives and direct engagement with administration officials to press for this goal. Thousands of students and faculty from every region of the country are expected to mobilize for this cause. BCC is committed to being zero waste by the end of 2020; so far 84 percent of waste is diverted from landfills through re-use, recycling and composting bins throughout campus.

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