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Arts Top 10

There ARE plenty of possibilities

ARTS TOP 10: This summer’s best take you from the stage to the pulpit

The sun is shining, and across the Monadnock region local arts, theater, music and lecture series groups are gearing up for their summer seasons. Whether you’re interested in music and theater, or find yourself in an academic frame of mind, the region has a little something for everyone this summer.

Peterborough Players

The Peterborough Players have been around for 80 years, offering some of the best theater New England has to offer. The tradition continues this year with their annual summer lineup.

Beginning June 26, the Players will present “Say Goodnight Gracie: The Life, Laughter and Love of George Burns,” a one-man play by Rupert Holmes. The play follows the life of George Burns, an American comedian, vaudeville radio and movie star, as he finds himself in limbo and unable to join his beloved wife, Gracie Allen. Joel Rooks, who starred in the show’s national tour and off-Broadway revival, will play George.

Next up is “Two Pianos Four Hands,” opening July 10. This play with music follows the journey of Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt, two Canadian pianists, as they journey to become classical pianists. Two actors will share the stage, alternating between playing younger versions of Ted and Richard and various pushy parents and eccentric teachers as the main characters seek musical greatness.

In celebration of its 80th birthday, the Players will present an affectionate, farcical look at the backstage in “Laughing Stock” by Charles Morey, opening Aug. 7.

For a full listing of the Peterborough Players 2013 lineup, visit www.peterboroughplayers.org.

The Thing in the Spring

For the past five years, the Thing in the Spring, a weekend-long music festival held in downtown Peterborough, has been slowly becoming a major destination for music lovers all over. And this year is no exception, with bigger bands scheduled to perform and a bigger festival planned — it’s growing from three days to four.

From June 6 to June 9, more than 100 musical and visual artists will be in Peterborough for multiple shows throughout downtown, with bands performing at the Waterhouse Restaurant, Toadstool Bookshop, the Town House, Harlow’s Pub and the Mariposa Museum. Artists will be exhibiting at the Sharon Arts Center.

For those that are in it for the music, among the artists confirmed to play are is Mark Kozelek, who has performed solo as well as with the bands Sun Kil Moon and the Red House Painters. And jazz musicians German Peter Brotzmann and American Joe McPhee will be making a stop in Peterborough as part of their duo tour — the only performance they’ll be holding in New England.

For those looking for the visual arts, June 8 will continue the tradition of making art affordable, with the festival’s annual *broke: The Affordable Arts Fair on Grove Street . All of the vendors featured at the fair will have work priced under $50. New this year, the Sharon Arts will be featuring an exhibit of handmade posters advertising shows from around the greater New England area.

Shakespeare in the Park / Project Shakespeare

Every year, the Peterborough-based Actors’ Circle Theatre braves the elements to put on one of the Bard’s famous plays outdoors at the close of summer. This year, the group will tackle the multiple confusing love triangles of Proteus and Valentine, in Shakespeare’s “Two Gentlemen of Verona.”

ACT is a nonprofit seasonal community theater group that draws from the local talent pool. Last year, their performance of “The Tempest” earned them three nominations and finalist spots in the 2012 N.H. Theatre Awards for best actor, best supporting actor and best costumes.

ACT will be performing “Two Gentlemen of Verona” on Aug. 3, Aug. 4, Aug. 10 and Aug. 11 in the Depot Square amphitheater in Peterborough. If it’s raining, the show will go on in the The Monadnock Center for History & Culture’s Bass Hall. All performances are free.

Also this summer, Deborah Thurber will be continuing to raise up the next generation of Shakespearian actors with Project Shakespeare, a summer theater arts program for area students. Casts of middle and high school students will be performing one each of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies and tragedies: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Hamlet.”

In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” four mismatched lovers and a buffoonish acting troupe mix with a mischievous fairy court, leading to increasingly farcical matchups between characters. “Hamlet,” the famous tragedy , tells the story of Prince Hamlet, who is torn by indecision after his uncle kills his father and claims both the throne and Hamlet’s mother in the aftermath.

For more information, visit projectshakespeare.org.

Andy’s Summer Playhouse

It’s children’s theater, but Andy’s Summer Playhouse treats its young actors and the audience as adults — meaning their shows work for everyone. Traditionally, the playhouse puts on three original plays a year, closing the season with a musical, and this year is no different.

First up is “The Awdrey-Gore Legacy,” a murder-mystery inspired by the works of Edward Gorey — an American author and illustrator noted for his humorously dark illustrations. While Gorey is often considered a children’s illustrator, his work is often macabre, and that is the style of the play based on his works, according to the play’s author, Shannon Sexton Potter of Providence, R.I. .

Andy’s second play of the year is also based on a book written for children, but enjoyed equally by many adults: “The Little Prince,” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, adapted and expanded by Jared Mezzocchi, formerly of Hollis, for Andy’s. The play will track the titular Little Prince as he leaves his home planet, meeting many other strange beings on his journey to Earth, where he meets a young aviator who has crashed in the desert.

Finally, to end the season, the playhouse will present a musical adaptation of the disastrous “Apollo 13” mission, in which three astronauts have to abort a lunar landing when an oxygen tank explodes. It’s a tense tale, but the astronauts ultimately make it safely back to Earth.

Classical Music

Electric Earth Concerts will be bringing some big classical names to small local venues throughout the region this summer. Their summer season starts with soprano Ilana Davidson performing June 1 at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Peterborough. Davidson specializes in post-Shakespearean English song, putting to music texts by some of the greatest poets of the era .

On June 15, the First Church in Jaffrey will host Electric Earth’s ensemble musicians who will feature a string arrangement of Johan Bach’s keyboard masterpiece, along with composer Stephen Hartke’s 1988 work “The King of the Sun.”

As June closes the Temple Town Hall will ring with a summer serenade, as guitarist Oren Fader, cellist Elizabeth Anderson, flutist Laura Gilbert and Jonathan Bagg on viola present an evening of light classical music.

Monadnock Music will give a total of 19 concerts throughout the region this summer, including 11 free village concerts. The season’s featured ticketed concerts at the Peterborough Town House begin on July 14, when vocalist Michael Maniaci joins the Monadnock Muck Festival Orchestra for their season opening all-Mozart program. The concert will highlight operatic roles written for the male soprano.

Among the other highlights of the Monadnock Music season, on Aug. 11 Artistic Director Gil Rose will conduct and direct the opera “Our Town” at the Peterborough Town House. The opera, based on the Thornton Wilder play of the same title, depicts life in the early 20th century in the fictional Grover’s Corners, which is based on the town of Peterborough.

Tickets for Monadnock Music are currently on sale. Tickets range from $22 to $32. For a full listing of Monadnock Music performances, see www.monadnockmusic.org.

Music on Norway Pond

Express yourself! The Norway Pond Festival Singers based in Hancock certainly will with their upcoming concert on June 9 at 4 p.m. at the Hancock Meeting House on Main Street. The concert, titled “Freedom of Expression,” and the songs it features fit neatly with the program’s title.

There are two centerpieces to the concert, said Director Jodi Hill Simpson, including “Paul Revere’s Ride,” written by Australian Paul Jarmon. Paul Revere has special place in the hearts of Hancock residents, since one of the local church bells was made by him, Simpson said.

They’ll also be tackling “Twelve Opposites,” a song which sets American poet Richard Wilbur’s work to music. The arrangements were done by Caroline Mallonee. They’ll even be featuring “Book Report,” a song about the difficulty of expressing yourself from the musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

The concert, like all the performances by the Norway Pond Festival Singers, is an hour long with no intermission, and is free to the public, with donations accepted at the door.

Monadnock Center for History & Culture/Music in Bass Hall

After exploring Peterborough’s past with its most recent exhibit, “Peterborough in Pictures,” the Monadnock Center for History & Culture is branching out to take a peak at the history of the surrounding area, with their upcoming exhibit “Monadnock Treasures,” opening June 1. The center will be featuring bits of history donated from towns throughout the Monadnock region.

On June 16, the museum will be featuring a talk and tour of its collection of early American furniture, ranging from pianos made in Peterborough factories, to furniture hand-carved by local furniture makers in the 1800s.

Music in Bass Hall continues this summer. Next up for the music series is Skip Gorman of Grafton , who brings to life the spirit of the music of the American cowboy, as it was sung around the campfires by western settlers in the 1800s. Gorman, who himself has experience as a Wyoming rancher, likes to strip away the modern additions to western music, and bring it back to it’s earliest roots in Celtic, Afro-American and Spanish roots.

Gorman will perform on June 14 at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $15 general admission, or $12 for students, seniors or Monadnock Center members.

For a full list of events and exhibits, visit monadnockcenter.org.

Jaffrey Civic Center/Sharon Arts

The Auditorium Gallery at the Jaffrey Civic Center is celebrating a particular theme during the month of June, with photographs and paintings by Alicia Drakiotes, Brad Willard and Louise Parmenter Hammerman that feature vintage images of the “Iron Horse” — the American automobile. And not just any car, but representations of old-time Americana vehicles, both as they once were and now as they have been abandoned and taken over by time. The show will include works in photography, acrylics, oil and pastel, and will run through June.

At the same time, through June 22, the Civic Center will be featuring watercolor artist Howard Hill of Jaffrey . Hill specializes in landscapes, and the Civic Center will be presenting Hill’s representations of scenes from throughout New England.

This summer, the Sharon Arts Gallery will be celebrating some functional art. From June 7 to June 28, they will be featuring craftmanship by some of the best furniture makers in the state, with the “N.H. Furniture Masters” exhibition. Then, during the months of July and August, the Sharon Arts Center in Peterborough will be partnering with the N.H. Potters Guild for their biennial exhibition of functional clay sculpture.

For more information, see www.jaffreyciviccenter.com or www.sharonarts.org.

Monadnock Summer Lyceum/Amos Fortune Forum

Whether it’s a discussion of the ways to address health care challenges, 19th-century American poet Emily Dickinson’s love affair, or the breakdown of the modern depiction of the vampire in fiction, the 2013 Monadnock Summer Lyceum is sure to have you walk away thinking.

Eight speakers are scheduled for the free summer lecture series, held every Sunday at 11 a.m. at the Universalist Church in Peterborough from June 30 to Aug. 25. Some of the topics have to do with social issues, such as the June 30 lecture on the future of health care or the July 21 discussion of the defects in the current U.S. approach to waging war. Others speakers, take on subjects with a more artistic slant, such as author Susan Snively, who takes a look at Emily Dickinson’s Romance with Otis Phillips Lord, or Peterborough musician August Watters’ celebration of American bluegrass music as an art form.

“We’re really excited about this season, we think every one of them is a strong speaker,” said Linda Fields, vice-chair of the committee that organizes the lyceum.

The Jaffrey Meetinghouse will also be featuring a lecture series this summer: The Amos Fortune Forum. Their season starts July 12, with Max Ferro of Brandon, Vt., a practicing architect, historical architect and architectural historian, presenting on the importance of historic preservation.

The Indiana Jones films aren’t accurate portrayals of archeology — but may retain a grain of truth, as Susan Heuck Allen will explain in her July 19 lecture on an archaelogist-led American intelligence service during World War II.

For the more athletically inclined, on July 26, Sam Kennedy, the Chief Operating Officer of the Red Sox will be giving an inside look into the business of baseball. Kennedy will be speaking on both running the team itself, as well as a behind the scenes look at the revitalization of Fenway Park and the creation of Fenway Sports Management. For a full list of the Amos Fortune Forum lectures, visit www.amosfortune.com.

All lectures from both series are free and open to the public.

Mariposa Museum

Since March, the Mariposa Museum has been exploring the world through faith, investigating sacred sites and pilgrimage routes, as well as the origin of faith and conflict throughout the world.

Through June 10, the museum will feature the first in a four-part series of their “Sacred Geography: Many Cultures, One Earth” exhibit. The first part of the exhibit, which focuses on the roots of faith in the Middle East, uses photography and folk art to depict the landscape of the Middle East, which hosts sites sacred to people of many differing faiths.

On June 1 at 7 p.m., residents Kathy Manfre and Scott Gardner, both of Peterborough, will be sharing some of the stories of the miracles that solidify faith across the world’s three major religions: Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

Throughout the rest of the Summer, the Mariposa will also be hosting celebrations of several popular childhood myths and fables. On July 20 throughout downtown Peterborough, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the organization will reprise their Fairy House Day, in conjunction with the Monadnock Center for History & Culture at the Peterborough Historical Society. Families can create their own fairy house in advance of the event. And on Aug. 24, Phoenix Marionette Theater, a Peterborough-based puppet theater, will be putting on a production of “Aladdin and the Lamp of Dreams,” with performances at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the museum.

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