Could music say something you can’t put into words? Might be worth a try. Through this month, 10 company members at Cape Rep Theatre in Brewster are offering to perform singing telegrams for its donors.
Whether for Valentine’s Day or any other reason or occasion this month, the cost (really a donation) is $150 per song or $365 for three as a fundraiser for the theater’s 365 Barn Campaign to finish renovations to the historic Crosby Barn. Personalized performances can be recorded or live, virtual or in person — in a distanced, safe way.
Performers offer a few specific choices. For example: One of Trish LaRose’s songs is Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love”; Kate Pazakis might sing Carole King’s “Natural Woman”; one of Wendy Watson’s offerings is Rodgers and Hart’s “My Funny Valentine”; Jared Hagan has a choice of Rodger and Hammerstein’s “If I Loved You”; and Meghan McGrath could perform Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am.”
The 365 Barn Campaign aims to raise money this year toward the company’s $190,000 matching grant from the Mass Cultural Facilities Fund and its ultimate goal of $1.4 million to complete the interior of the barn project.
‘Do it at Cotuit?’ So many choices for what that means
Cotuit Center for the Arts has announced a 2022 season that is “jam-packed with programming,” including art exhibits, classes, fundraisers, concerts, theater shows and special events. The year will continue programs on the new Outdoor Stage, on live-stream and in the new mobile classroom on the Marjorie-Lynne Art Bus, which officials say will serve as the foundation for a new initiative to bring the arts to underserved communities on Cape Cod.
Among the planned offerings will be seven mainstage theater productions, starting with the current “Death and the Maiden” plus the musical offerings of “The Who’s TOMMY” (which had to be canceled in 2020); “Silver Threads,” a Linda Ronstadt revue; “Victor/Victoria”; the sequel revue “Piano Men 2,” featuring Billy Joel and Elton John music; “Jekyll and Hyde”; and “The Sound of Music.”
Six shows in the Black Box Theater are scheduled to be “Shirley Valentine,” which opens Feb. 24; “St. Francis,” an original play by Miranda Jonté; “Wait Until Dark”; “Moonlight and Magnolias”; “Cry it Out”; and “Stupid F**king Bird” (our asterisks, not theirs). The outdoor stage is due to feature the family musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” in summer; and the dramatic comedy “Circle Mirror Transformation” will play in the Art Studio.
The center will offer more than 400 classes and workshops for all types of visual and performing arts, plus expanded youth and family programs. Gallery exhibits will include work by local and regional artists, including Printmakers of Cape Cod and the artists of CapeCodCAN.
Concerts and events will include the “Entertainment Tonight!” fundraiser, the Black Lives Matter conversation series with Robin and Jim Miller, “Twisted Broadway,” Bruce Marshall (Feb. 19), The Provincetown Jazz Festival, The Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, Marilyn Maye, Brazen Belles Burlesque, Suede, George Gritzbach, Tom Rush, the 21st Annual Art & Souls Masquerade Ball, the Kentucky Derby Gala and the Bob Dylan Birthday Bash.
Current COVID-19 protocols include proof of vaccination and masks. More information on all events: www.artsonthecape.org or 508-428-0669, ext. 0.
Provincetown filmmaker’s documentary wins festival honors
Congratulations to Provincetown resident Patrick Riviere, whose short documentary “Just a Broadway Baby: Mary Ellen Ashley” has recently won several festival honors.
At its world premiere last month at the Oregon Documentary Film Festival, the short won Best Picture honors. For the monthly Vesuvius International Film Festival in Italy, Riviere was chosen as Best Director of a Documentary Short and the film was a finalist for Best Short Documentary Film. “Broadway Baby” was also selected as a nominee for Best Short Documentary Film at Green Mountain International Film Festival.
In announcing the honors, Riviere wrote that he’s “over the moon” and had just been “hoping to get in some festivals and share this incredible story about a woman (now about to turn 86 and still working) who represents so many women who forged a successful career and she is a wonderful storyteller to boot.”
The film, narrated by John Dennis Anderson of Wellfleet, follows the career and life of Mary Ellen Ashley (formerly Mary Ellen Glass) who made her Broadway debut at the age of 5 in “An Innocent Voyage” in 1943. A role was created for her, Riviere says, in the original Broadway production of “Annie Get Your Gun” with Ethel Merman and she stayed with the show for its three-year run in the 1940s. Ashley also worked on radio and in early television, in films, in Las Vegas shows and club acts, and in regional theaters. Information and the trailer: https://www.justabroadwaybabymea.com/.
29 Mid-Cape groups win local cultural council funding
The Mid-Cape Cultural Council has awarded 29 grants totaling $17,785 for cultural programs this year in Barnstable and Yarmouth. The council is one of 329 cultural councils around the state as part of what officials say is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation.
Recipients this year include: $1,000 each to Cape Cod Maritime Museum, Historical Society of Santuit and Cotuit, the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, Harwich Junior Theatre and the Cordial Eye Gallery; $900 to Hyannis Public Library; $784 to Friends of Ancient Cemetery; $750 each to Alzheimer’s Family Caregivers Support Center, Cape Cod Collaborative Arts Network, Natalie Ziemba, Songkeepers Ltd. and Sturgis Library.
More recipients: $601 to Rachel Youngling; $600 to Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival; $500 to Cahoon Museum of Art, One College, One Book, Davis R. Bates, The Awareness Project, Beyond the Bounds, Eventide Arts and West Barnstable Village Festival Committee; $450 to Julia A. Stepanek; $400 to Denya Levine; $350 to Steven Hurlbert; $300 to Cape Cod Museum Trail, Old Colony Historical Society, Mary Wilson and Cape Cod Ballroom Dancers; and $250 to Lower Cape Community Access Television.
The Mid-Cape Cultural Council will seek applications again in the fall. Applications and more information: https://massculturalcouncil.org/.
Can’t get to Boston? No problem
Virtual performances and festivals have been necessitated by COVID-19 concerns, but they can also be a convenient way to experience the arts from a distance. Two options in Boston have popped up recently for online ways to participate in live events:
► The Boch Center, which operates the Wang and Shubert Theatres in Boston, recently announced an exclusive partnership with Flymachine, a new virtual venue for live entertainment that officials said delivers “a first-of-its-kind immersive social experience.” The agreement will allow the Boch Center to livestream shows to audiences all over the world, an announcement said.
“We understand that not everyone feels comfortable returning to in-person events and we’re giving them a front row virtual seat in our iconic venues. How cool is that?” said center president/CEO Joe Spaulding in the announcement, noting “it is central to the Boch Center mission to be inclusive and accessible to the most diverse audiences possible.”
No specific shows have yet been announced for the live-streaming, but the announcement noted that the Boch Center offers more than 200 performances per year. Brian Gale, center vice president of booking and marketing, said the option will be open not just for touring acts but for local groups that use the theater for non-profit events, education and community outreach.
After the pandemic began, the Boch Center started a Ghost Light Series live music program that featured artists performing in an empty Wang Theatre and was viewed virtually by over 400,000 people during the 20-month pandemic shutdown. That success, officials said, was the catalyst for searching for a long-term livestream partnership.
Information on the Boch Center: https://www.bochcenter.org/.
► The 47th Annual Boston SciFi Film Festival & Marathon (Boston SciFi) — which bills itself as the longest-running genre festival in the U.S. — is returning live Feb. 16-21 to the Somerville Theatre but is also streaming. Some films will only be shown live, some only virtual. In all, according to press material, the festival will, over six days, show 70 shorts and 30 curated features from 30 countries, with 10 workshops and panels and some in-person events. Information on films, passes and more: https://www.bostonscifi.com/.
Contact Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll at [email protected]. Follow on Twitter: @KathiSDCCT.