Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Westfield News Group ArtsBeat 9/20/17

My Westfield News Group ArtsBeat for 9/20 /17. Rags revisal at Goodspeed, Midtown Men in Springfield, Moonfish Theatre in Amherst, and Mike Thornton and Gruppo Mondo jazz in Egremont.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Media Release: Kevin Rhodes 17-18 Season


Massachusetts-based American conductor Kevin Rhodes will be performing extensively on both sides of the Atlantic during the 2017-2018 season. He begins his 17th seasons as Music Director of the Traverse Symphony in Michigan and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in Massachusetts, and his 8th season as Principal Conductor of Boston’s Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra. He also returns to the opera houses of Stuttgart, Germany, and Vienna, Austria to conduct their highly acclaimed ballet companies.

Maestro Rhodes will conduct two concerts at The Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, which celebrates its 40th anniversary season. He opens their season with a performance of Schwantner’s New Morning For The World, and closes their season with performances of Daughtery’s Sunset Strip and Copland’s Clarinet Concerto. 
The Traverse Symphony in Michigan, celebrating its 65th season, has Maestro Rhodes conducting a half-dozen classical concerts, which include a program with violinist Yevgeny Kutik and a choral program showcasing Vivaldi’s Gloria.

In Springfield, MA, Maestro Rhodes conducts 8 programs for the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, which begins its 74th season. The season includes an all-Rachmaninoff program, a performance of the Verdi Requiem with orchestra and choruses; a Viva America concert celebrating Gershwin and Bernstein, and The Star Wars and Star Trek Sci-Fi Spectacular.

For The Vienna State Opera Ballet, Maestro Rhodes makes his annual appearance conducting the Rudolf Nureyev Gala, celebrating the dancer and choreographer, who would have turned 80 this year. He also conducts Nureyev’s production of Raymonda, to the music of Glazunov. a mixed repertory program of works choreographed by George Balanchine, John Neumeier, and Jerome Robbins; and a mixed bill featuring Frederick Ashton’s ballet Marguerite and Armand, originally created for Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn.

Maestro Rhodes also returns to The Stuttgart Ballet to conduct a revival of the John Cranko production of Swan Lake.

For The Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra in Boston schedule:
For The Traverse Symphony in Michigan schedule:
For The Springfield Symphony Orchestra in Massachusetts schedule:
For The Stuttgart Ballet schedule:
For The Vienna State Opera Ballet schedule:
For Kevin Rhodes’ website:


Monday, September 18, 2017

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Westfield News Group Review: A Midsummer Night's Dream at Hartford Stage

My Westfield News Group review of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Hartford Stage. An incredibly beautiful production that is hysterically funny.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Media Release: Mike Thornton and Gruppo Mondo at Egremont Barn on September 28


Mike Thornton, the actor/singer who plays Presidents from Bush to Trump with The Capitol Steps, and the Berkshires-based jazz quartet Gruppo Mondo, will record an album of jazz standards before a live audience on Thursday, September 28 at 7PM at the Egremont Barn, 17 Main Street, South Egremont, MA. 

Thornton, a member of the political satire group The Capitol Steps for over twenty years, met the musicians of Gruppo Mondo two summers ago, when The Capitol Steps was doing a summer residency at Cranwell in Lenox. “I discovered Gruppo Mondo at a Pittsfield jazz club, and we began to do occasional sets together, after I’d finished playing singing and dancing politicians” 

Thornton decided that he wanted to record material for his upcoming jazz standards album Top Standards on the MTA label with Gruppo Mondo from a venue located in The Berkshires. “I grew up north of Hartford, and spent time in The Berkshires. I’ve performed annually in Lenox with The Capitol Steps, and I’ve gotten to know the artists in the Berkshires.”
Thornton, now based in Washington, DC, attended Hartt School, University of Hartford, where he studied voice and theater and had the opportunity to study with the great Jackie McLean.  At the age of 19, he sang with Uptown Sound– a “Manhattan Transfer” style group featuring intricate harmonies and sophisticated arrangements by the former Glenn Miller Band arranger, Ed Cerveney. Before joining The Capitol Steps in 1995, Mike appeared in several  Off-Broadway productions, the American premiere of Blood Brothers., and the Kennedy Center production of Shear Madness in Washington, DC. His Jazz Quartet performed in many of New York City’s major venues and his Jazz Collective performs regularly in Washington, DC. His most recent CD of standards isStep Back. on the MTA label. For information on Mike Thornton:
Gruppo Mondo is a Premiere Live Jazz/Funk Group based in The Berkshires & Hudson Valley, NY. Gruppo Mondo featuring Peter Primamore on keyboards, Aaron Dean on tenor sax,, Tom Major on drums, and Fran Tokarz on bass is a powerhouse Jazz & Rock band with a unique take on a wide variety of music. From straight ahead Swing and Latin Music to one of a kind re-imaginings of classic rock and unique originals, Gruppo Mondo delivers intense performances with unpredictable improvisations. For information on Gruppo Mondo: 


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Westfield NewsGroup ArtsBeat 9/13/17

My Westfield News Group ArtsBeat for 9/13/17. "Lost Lake" next at Berkshire Theatre Group, "Fab Faux" opens UMass Fine Arts Center season an more.

ArtsBeat Radio 89.5fm/WSKB 9/13/17

My ArtsBeat Radio 89.5gm/WSKB on 9/13/17 with Alexander Dodge, scenic designer; Eric Ort, TheaterWorks director, and Capitol Steps actor Mike Thornton.