Town Hall Theater’s 5th Birthday Benefit Gala will be held on Saturday. Performances are at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., with a street party between the two shows.
“It seems like we opened just yesterday,” says Town Hall Theater Executive Director Douglas Anderson. “It’s come as a shock to all of us that we’ve been at this for five years. I guess time passes when you’re having fun.”
Once it opened in the summer of 2008, Town Hall Theater quickly changed Middlebury’s cultural and social landscape. Not only has it provided a state-of-the-art home for the performing arts, but it has also become a center for a variety of community events, such as fundraisers for area nonprofits, weddings, conferences, meetings, book readings, classes and even the Middlebury Union High School junior prom.
Big-name performers like Ed Asner and Judy Collins have played THT — as well as school children and local performers big and small.
To celebrate the five-year landmark, THT is bringing back performers who brought down the house in productions since the building opened. On the bill are Kim Anderson (“Funny Girl”); the cast of “Annie”; Judith Dry (“Gypsy”); dancer/choreographer Patty Smith; bluegrass wonders The Connor Sisters; pianist Diana Fanning; the Hadippa Dancers; Nikki Juvan (“The Music Man”); Leigh Guptill (“Smokey Joe’s Café,” “Middlebury Does Soul”); the Maiden Vermont chorus; Chuck Miller and the house band; and many more.
Between the performances, part of Merchants Row will be roped off to create space for a street party, complete with food, music and a birthday cake. Those attending the 5 p.m. performance will exit the show directly into the street party. Those attending the 8 p.m. performance will come early (around 6:30 p.m.) to the street party and then move into the theater for the performance.
Seven Days recently wrote that “Addison County’s shire town is becoming one of Vermont’s premiere cultural destinations.” Town Hall Theater is a real grassroots success story, and the model for many other communities who are trying to restore and revive their historic theaters.
Tickets are $35, and include the show and food at the street dance. The gala will give THT a great start as it heads into the next five years. Tickets are available at townhalltheater.org, 382-9222, at the THT Box Office (noon to 5 p.m., Monday-Saturday) or at the door, if available.
MUSIC AT LINCOLN PEAK
There will be two musical performances this week at Lincoln Peak Vineyard in New Haven. Grammy-nominated Delta blues legend guitarist Bill Sims and Vermont harmonica master Mark LaVoie will play at 6 p.m. on Friday as part of the regular Friday Night Series.
Sims and Lavoie are down home, back porch and hellhound all at once. Sims returns to Vermont from tours around the world and a trip to the 2013 Grammys with his Heritage Blues Orchestra, and LaVoie is our hometown harmonica hound from Bristol. Elwood’s House of Blues called their music “as rich as maple syrup” and it’s true — rich, sweet, mellow, and strong, the American blues roots duo plays standards and originals from the golden age of blues.
Swing by after work to “wine down” with friends and neighbors. Wine is available by the glass, and local cheese, too. Free admission.
Then, in a special performance at 6 p.m. on Saturday, the Eleva Chamber Players will perform Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525, and Vivaldi’s “Summer” from “Four Seasons.” The central Vermont orchestra is composed of professional musicians from throughout the Northeastern U.S., united by a mission to elevate the human spirit through music.
Donations are requested (sliding scale $25 to $250 per person) and reservations are recommended. Performance proceeds will benefit Eleva’s educational and outreach programs. Reserve online at elevachamberplayers.org or call (802) 244-8354.
Lincoln Peak Vineyard is located at 142 River Road in New Haven. For additional information, call 388-7368.
‘FROM GYPSY TO JAZZ’
On Sunday at 4 p.m., the Rochester Chamber Music Society opens their 19th season at the Federated Church in Rochester.
The 2013 summer series offers a tantalizing variety of programming and begins with violinist Lara St. John, and pianist and composer Martin Kennedy. The afternoon program “From Gypsy to Jazz” will include works by Ravel, Gershwin, Martin Kennedy, Milica Paranosic and John Psathas.
Canadian-born violinist Lara St. John has been described as “something of a phenomenon” by The Strad and a “high-powered soloist” by The New York Times. She began playing the violin when she was 2 years old. She made her first appearance as soloist with orchestra at age 4, and her European debut with the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon when she was 10. She toured Spain, France, Portugal and Hungary at ages 12 and 13, entered the Curtis Institute at 13, and spent her first summer at Marlboro three years later. She has performed with major orchestras around the world.
Composer and pianist Martin Kennedy began his formal training at Indiana University, where he received bachelor of music. He went on to earn a master of music in composition at Indiana University and a doctor of musical arts at the Juilliard School. Kennedy’s music has been performed internationally by numerous artists and ensembles, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Teatro Comunale di Bologna, and many others.
Concert admission is by donation. For information visit rcmsvt.org or call 767-9234.
LIVE MUSIC AT 51 MAIN
There will be three musical events this week at Middlebury’s 51 Main. At 8 p.m. on Wednesday, the 51 Main Blues Jam continues. Dennis Willmott from Left Eye Jump will provide lead guitar, bass and drums and these guys will back you up or take a break and let you play. All musicians and blues fans are welcome. Everyone will get a chance to play.
On Friday, Sunyata will perform, beginning at 8 p.m. Sunyata is a percussively charged group playing deep Afro-Caribbean and Brazilian grooves. Their energetic sound gets the feet moving.
Finally, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Kasata Sound will take to the stage. Kasata Sound creates a unique blend of electronic dance music, down-tempo, dancehall, ambient and house beats. Drawing on influences across musical genres, Kasata Sound is one of the artists contributing to the breakdown of genre in the field of electronic music. Great for dancing, great for listening, every show is unique.
All ages, no cover. For additional information visit www.go51main.com or phone 388-8209.
NEW EXHIBIT AT COLLEGE
A new art exhibit, “Hidden Away: 20th and 21st Century Works from the Permanent Collection,” opens on Tuesday at the Middlebury College Museum of Art.
Come see some of the museum’s treasures that are rarely on view. These include a mobile by Alexander Calder; sculptures by William Zorach, William King and Harry Bertoia; glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany and Dale Chihuly; watercolors by George Grosz and Luigi Lucioni; and oil paintings by Arthur Davies, Edwin Dickinson, Ivan Albright, John Sloan, Grant Wood, Alice Neel and Rackstraw Downes.
The exhibit, which runs through Aug. 11, is free. The Middlebury College Museum of Art is located off South Main Street (Route 30). Museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays.
TWO BROTHERS TAVERN
There will be two live musical performances this week at Two Brothers Tavern in Middlebury. On Friday, the tavern will feature Geoffrey DeMarsh beginning at 6 p.m. DeMarsh is a Vermonter with a powerful voice and a keen ear for pop. Two Brothers is happy to debut DeMarsh in the Lounge for an acoustic dinner show. Both reservations and walk-ins are welcome.
Then, on Saturday, the tavern presents Mind the Gap at 10 p.m. A blues-based trio playing a variety of covers and originals, The Mind Gap incorporates a wide-spectrum of styles. They’ve played everywhere in Burlington, and soon Middlebury will also be singing their praises. For more information, call Two Brothers at 388-0002.
TWO PLAYS AT COLLEGE
On Sunday, the Middlebury College affiliated professional theater company PTP/NYC (formerly known as Potomac Theatre Project) hosts two public showings of works in progress before departing for New York for the summer season at Atlantic Stage 2. See “The Castle” by Howard Barker, directed by Richard Romagnoli, at noon; and “Serious Money” by Caryl Churchill, directed by Cheryl Faraone, at 4:30 p.m. The cast will include professional Equity actors working alongside Middlebury College theater students. For mature audiences.
The performances are free. For more information, visit middlebury.edu/arts or call 443-3168.