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Pretenders, Paul Taylor Dancers, Ragtime Among Top Events This Week
By Grace Lichtenstein, Guest Column
12:48PM / Wednesday, July 24, 2019
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The Paul Taylor Dance Company brings its artistry to The Ted Shawn Theatre at Jacob's Pillow this week.


The Pretenders are coming to Mass MoCA on July 26.

If you love classic rock, Christie Hyde and the Pretenders are making a stop at Mass MoCA. If you're into dance, the Paul Taylor troupe visits the Pillow. And musical comedy aficionados can flock to the Mac-Haydn across the state line for "Ragtime."

Mass MoCA

This Friday, July 26, The Pretenders make what's being billed as the band's only North American appearance of the summer at Mass MoCA. It's a benefit, with proceeds from the concert supporting the Hans and Kate Morris Fund for New Music, which underwrites new work by emerging and established musicians. Brooklyn-based C. Gibbs is the opening act with guests from Bang on a Can.

As of this writing, standing room only tickets are still available. In association with the concert, Chrissie Hynde will hold a discussion on Saturday, July 27, at 2 p.m. about her latest book and an exhibition of original paintings. Tickets are available online.

A fresh indie voice, Maggie Rogers, appears at Mass MoCA on Tuesday, July 30. You might have caught her viral hit "Alaska," which she performed on the Jimmy Fallon show. The singer-songwriter wrote the song for a master class a few years ago with Pharrell Williams. Opening for her is Natalie Prass.

Mac-Haydn Theatre

E.L. Doctorow's novel "Ragtime" is one of the greatest books in the master's oeuvre. The musical based on it opens Friday, July 25, at the Mac-Haydn in Chatham, N.Y., and runs through Aug. 4; many theatergoers say it is as great a work as the source material. The Tony award-winning show, which features real and fictional people from the early 20th century, has a book by Terrence McNally, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty. You might remember the tunes "Back to Before," "The Wheels of a Dream" and "Your Daddy's Son."

More info and tickets can be found online.

Theater Barn

Another musical to check out in nearby New York at New Lebanon is "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," opening Thursday, July 25, and running through Aug/ 4. This is a revised, 2018 version of the classic off-Broadway review, with book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music by Jerry Roberts. The new version includes new songs, revised lyrics and dialogue to "reflect dating in modern time," according to the announcement.
More info and tickets online.

Guthrie Center

The Old Trinity Church in Great Barrington hosts Cole Quest and The City Pickers on Friday night, July 26. The bluegrass-loving pickers do traditional works as well as the original compositions of  Quest, who is the grandson of Woody Guthrie.

The next night, Saturday July 27, the same Troubadour Series features Matt Nakoa, a classically trained pianist who studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He's a young veteran of Brandy's Piano Bar in Manhattan. More info is on the website.

Jacob's Pillow

From Wednesday, July 24, through Sunday, July 28, the Paul Taylor Dance Company brings its artistry to The Ted Shawn Theatre. This is being billed as a "legacy" tour, marking Taylor's death a year ago. The program is all-Taylor, including one of his earliest masterpieces, "Aureole," set to George Frideric Handel, as an ode to their 1964 Pillow debut; "Concertiana," Taylor's last work choreographed in 2018; and his masterpiece, "Promethean Fire."

Like tap? Like brilliant young pianists? Caleb Teicher & Company appears at the Pillow's Doris Duke Theatre July 24-July 28 along with composer and pianist Conrad Tao in "More Forever," a new work performed on a stage filled with a thin layer of sand. (Hopefully the piano is free of sand — just kidding!)

The Stationery Factory

The latest at this new venue is Sierra Ferrell and Johns Brothers Piano Company, brought to you by Honor Roll Studios and Berkshire Music Project. Ferrell is described as "honky tonk country blues" and a "star on the rise." More info online.

Want more?

There is live music at various indoor and outdoor venues around the region:

Wednesday, July 24:
Live on the Lake, free music outdoor evenings at Burbank Park, Lake Nota in Pittsfield. 6-8 p.m. Free.

Wednesday, July 24: Concerts at the Lake, Windsor Lake outside North Adams, 6:30-8 p.m.

Friday, July 26, and Saturday, July 27: Music After Hours at Edith Wharton's The Mount, Lenox, 5-8 p.m. Free.

For ongoing music, check out the patio of Mazzeo's Ristorante in Pittsfield, Race Brook Lodge in Sheffield, Gateways Inn and Restaurant in Lenox, and the Lion's Den at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge.

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