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Studs Turkel Makes Music, Caroline Rose Switches Genres and More
By Grace Lichtenstein, Guest Column
11:03AM / Wednesday, July 17, 2019
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Caroline Rose brings her multi-genre sensibility to Mass MoCA on Saturday night, July 20.

A wonderful pops and dance week in the Berkshires is upon us. There is an original musical based on Studs Terkel's amazing oral history "Working," folk and pop acts at the highest level, Mark Morris at the Pillow, and twilight jazz on Edith Wharton's terrace. The pluses outweigh the minuses — the main minus being Patti Lupone's cancellation at the Mahaiwe. (She's still recuperating from hip replacement surgery, according to an announcement.) Lupone promises to reschedule.

Berkshire Theatre Group

"Working: A Musical" is based on Studs Terkel's brilliant collection of interviews chronicling the lives of ordinary Americans. It was first produced in 1977 but has been extensively revised. The updated version from 2012, opening this week at the Berkshire Theatre Group's Unicorn Stage in Stockbridge, features songs by Tony Award-winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda ("Hamilton," "In the Heights"), as well as by Stephen Schwartz ("Wicked," "Pippin," "Godspell"), Craig Carnelia and the Berkshires' own James Taylor.

The show was adapted by Schwartz and Nina Faso with additional contributions by Gordon Greenberg. The director is James Barry. It begins Thursday, July 18, and runs through Aug. 24. I hate to be alarmist, but smart theatergoers should order tickets ASAP since the first two weekends are almost sold out. Get those tickets and  more info online.

Mass MoCA

Beginning Thursday, July 18, and running through Wednesday, July 24, fellows and faculty of the celebrated New York contemporary music collective Bang on a Can present informal recitals in various Mass MoCA galleries. The music ranges wildly — from solo cello to Latin big band.

In a different vein, singer-songwriter Caroline Rose brings her multi-genre sensibility to Mass MoCA on Saturday night, July 20. She was originally hailed for her folk/country rockabilly sound, but more recently it has been her darker indie pop, synthesizer-laden work that has gained attention. Opening for her is Zenizenn.

Find all the details on the website.

Guthrie Center

Tom Paxton visits Great Barrington on Friday, July 19, and Saturday, July 20, to reprise a career going back to the 1960s, protest sounds and the folky revival. I hope he sings "Ramblin' Boy." I would also love to hear "Talking Vietnam Potluck Blues," for the good old days, just to hear the line "I swear to God that I smell pot." He will have with him the Don Juans, made up of songwriters Don Henry and Jon Vezner.

Get to the Guthrie Center's Old Trinity Church early; shows begin 8 p.m. Info and tickets can be found online.

Jacob's Pillow

The Ted Shawn Theatre at the Pillow in Becket hosts the Mark Morris Dance Group straight from its Mostly Mozart engagement in New York City from Wednesday, July 17, through Sunday, July 21. The popular group presents a new version of "Prelude and Prelude," set to live music by Henry Cowell, as well as "Grand Duo" and excerpts from "Words." Finally the group preforms a new work set to music by Erik Satie.

At the smaller Doris Duke Theatre, Didy Veldman's Umanoove makes its U.S. debut. On offer: "The Happiness Project," described as "an investigation into the seemingly endless search for fulfillment." It features violinist/performer Alexander Balanescu. Find info and tickets on the website.

The Mount

Have you heard "Music After Hours" at Edith Wharton's Terrace at the Mount yet? It's in Lenox on weekends from 5 to 8 p.m. This Friday, the Joe Belmont Experience is the headliner, providing Belmont's guitar stylings with bass and drums. On Saturday, it's Jon Suters and Charlie Tokarz, the latter a horn man who plays two saxophones at the same time. It’s all free. Details on the website.

Downtown Pittsfield Third Thursday

It's the Thursday of the month when the center of Pittsfield is a music and dance arena. At Persip Park, the lineup is as follows: 5:15-5:45 p.m., Music in Common; 6 p.m., Berkshire Theatre Group's "Shrek"; and 6:15-7:45 p.m., Berkshire Bateria.

At St. Joseph's Church from 6 to 8 p.m. Jacob’s Pillow brings to its Dance Zone the Teelin Irish Dance Company for Irish step dance blended with contemporary dance.

Lion's Den at the Red Lion

There is live music seven nights a week at this lively pub beneath the venerable inn in Stockbridge. The hours for music are 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Find the schedule of acts on the website.

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