When Vanessa Dunleavy takes the stage in “My Post-Traumatic Cruise Ship Cabaret” with Clint Bierman and Peter Day at Town Hall Theater on Thursday at 8 p.m., they’ll be premiering a new musical they wrote together with Middlebury playwright Dana Yeaton. And everyone will be playing at least one new role. Repeat performances will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
For Dunleavy, who’s been living and acting in New York since she graduated from Middlebury Union High School in 2003, “My Post-Traumatic Cruise Ship Cabaret” is the first show she’s co-written. The story was inspired by her year sailing in the Caribbean as a singer on a cruise ship.
For musicians Bierman and Day, the show is not only their first foray into composing for musical theater; it will be their professional acting debut. Together with bandmate Jeff Vallone, they will portray The Fleeing Boroshenko Brothers — a rock ’n soul trio of political refugees from the former Soviet Republic of Belarus.
For Yeaton, this new show is the first in which he’s also written music. And it’s the first time he and Dunleavy, his daughter, have written together.
“My Post-Traumatic Cruise Ship Cabaret” takes place at 2 a.m. in a cruise ship lounge, where Vivi Donovan is premiering an original cabaret she hopes will re-launch her career. If only it were finished, or if The Boroshenko Brothers knew the songs. Or spoke English. But Vivi’s dedication to her audience knows no bounds, and neither, it seems, does she.
Tickets are $22/$10 students, and may be purchased at townhalltheater.org, 382-9222, at the THT box office (Monday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.) and at the door.
MATT HARLAN IN RIPTON
The Ripton Community Coffee House, a nonprofit community concert series, welcomes singer-songwriter Matt Harlan on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Ripton Community House in Ripton.
Houston favorite Harlan is a troubadour of the first degree, bringing his hand-crafted songs to stages across his home state of Texas, the U.S. and Europe. Harlan is a winner of multiple songwriting accolades, from outfits like American Songwriter, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and Billboard. He was named Singer-Songwriter of the Year in the 2013 Texas Music Awards and was featured alongside a stellar cast of characters (Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark) in the documentary “For the Sake of the Song.”
Harlan’s first two studio albums were well received by national and international Americana radio, both earning the No. 1 spot on the Euro Americana Chart. “Raven Hotel,” his third — and possibly best — record, also hit the top spot on the Euro charts after its release in 2014.
As always, the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. with an open-mike set, followed by the featured performers. Open-mike performers are encouraged to call in advance and reserve one of the four open-mike slots.
Admission to the coffeehouse is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and teens and $3 for children. The economically challenged may pay what they can afford. Refreshments will be available. The coffeehouse is held on the first Saturday of each month, except August. For more information, contact Richard Ruane or Andrea Chesman at 388-9782.
PLAY AT COLLEGE
The Middlebury College Department of Theatre and Dance will present Meg Miroshnik’s dark comedy, “The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls,” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday in the Seeler Studio Theatre at the Mahaney Center for the Arts. Additional performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
This subversive story haunts the audience, and carries a powerful message for young women living in a world where not everything ends up happily ever after. Associate Professor of Theatre Alex Draper will direct a cast of seven Middlebury students.
The play follows 20-year-old Annie, who returns to her native Russia to brush up on the language and lose her American accent. Underneath a glamorous post-Soviet Moscow studded with dangerously high heels, designer bags, and luxe fur coats, she discovers an enchanted motherland teeming with evil stepmothers, wicked witches and ravenous bears. Annie must learn how to become the heroine of a story more mysterious and treacherous than any childhood fairy tale: her own.
Tickets are $12 for the general public. Free parking is available. For tickets or information, call 443-6433 or go to go.middlebury.edu/arts.
NILE PROJECT CONCERT
A high-energy Nile Project concert will take place at 8 p.m. on Thursday in Middlebury College’s McCullough Social Space in Wilson Hall. Audience members are encouraged to come ready to dance, though seating will also be available.
Egyptian ethnomusicologist Mina Girgis and Ethiopian American singer Meklit Hadero are joined by musicians who live along the world’s longest river for a boundary-crossing evening of new music. The Nile Project, inspired by Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, hopes to spread the musical traditions of the 11 countries touching the Nile, using music to raise awareness for the area’s environmental and cultural challenges.
Tickets are $25 for the general public. For more information, call 443-6433 or go to go.middlebury.edu/nileproject. Free parking is available.
There will be a dance performance, “Seeing the Unspeakable,” at 7 p.m. on Thursday in the dance theater at Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts.
Trebien Pollard will present a new solo performance that chronicles issues of race, gender and sexual identity. At the core of this work is the growing pace of‘ “identity politics” and the lingering presence of “political correctness.” The work weaves music, visual images and spoken word with contemporary dance styles to emphasizes the individual and his relationship to the world around him, while also functioning as a reckoning for old stereotypes, beliefs and practices.
Tickets: $12 for the general public. For tickets or information, call 443-6433 or go to go.middlebury.edu/arts.
TWO BROTHERS TAVERN
There will be three live musical performances this week at the 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.
Then, at 9 p.m. on Friday, Two Brothers presents The Aerolites, who create a live sound that is unmatched in creativity, depth and soul. There is a $3 cover.
Finally, at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Funkwagon take to the Tavern’s stage for the first time. They are very vocal and lyric-oriented, with five- (and sometimes six-) part harmonies stacked on top. There is a $3 cover. For more information, call 388-0002.
INT’L FILM SERIES
The exciting 2014-2015 Hirschfield International Film Series continues on Saturday at Middlebury College with the 2013 Chile/Spain film, “Gloria,” directed by Sebastián Lelio.
Gloria is a “woman of a certain age” who makes the best of her loneliness by seeking love at social dance clubs for singles. When she meets Rodolfo, their intense passion leaves her vacillating between hope and despair.
The film, in Spanish with English subtitles, will be shown at 3 and again at 8 p.m. in Dana Auditorium on College Street (Route 125). It’s free. Some of the films in this series may be inappropriate for children.
An exhibit of student color photography opens on Monday in the mezzanine of the Johnson Memorial Building. Students in John Huddleston’s ART 328 Color Photography class present their images of portraits, landscapes and everything in between. The photographs show a wide range of conception and form. The exhibition, which runs through April 14, is free and the public is welcome.
JAZZ AT COLLEGE
There will be a performance by the Miles Donahue Quintet at 8 p.m. on Saturday in the concert hall at Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts. Affiliate Artist Miles Donahue, playing saxophone and trumpet, will lead an all-star lineup in celebration of jazz. The performance is free and the public is welcome.
MIDD WIND ENSEMBLE
Finally, there will be a performance by the Middlebury Wind Ensemble at 7 p.m. next Monday, April 6, in the concert hall of the Mahaney Center for the Arts.
The Middlebury Community Wind Ensemble, also known as “Midd Winds,” is a community band made up of area students and community members including Middlebury College alumni and staff. The performance is free and the public is welcome.