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Rogovoy Report 10/22/21

The cultural highlights for our region this weekend include musical theater, jazz, reggae, klezmer and orchestral music … plus a whole lot more.

A new musical in development starring none other than comedian and actor Billy Crystal kicks off tonight at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Mass., and runs through October 30. “Mr. Saturday Night” is cowritten by Billy Crystal, Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, with songs by Jason Robert Brown and Amanda Green. The musical is based on the 1992 Billy Crystal film of the same name, for which co-star David Paymer, who is in the cast at Barrington Stage, won an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. As in the film, the story focuses on the rise and fall of stand-up comedian Buddy Young Jr.

A miniature jazz festival is taking place this weekend in Lenox, Mass., continuing tonight from 6 to 9pm with pianist Armen Donelian at the Gateways Inn, which has become a sort of jazz central in the Berkshires. On Saturday night, also from 6 to 9, vocalist Samirah Evans, who was a staple of the New Orleans jazz scene before gaining renown and performing with the likes of James Brown, BB King, Trombone Shorty and Levon Helm, will bring her funky, jazzy sound to the Gateways. Then on Sunday at 4pm, pianist Ted Rosenthal will perform his unique interpretations of George Gershwin compositions in his “Rhapsody in Gershwin” program. The concerts are presented by Berkshires Jazz, and all but the Rosenthal performance are free.

Saxophonist Steven Banks performs at St. James Place in Great Barrington Saturday at 7pm in a program presented by Clarion Concerts. Banks, who captured First Prize at the 2019 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, will perform a mostly classical program featuring works by Brahms, Paul Creston, Fernande Decruck, and his own four-movement piece for tenor saxophone and piano called “Come As You Are.”

It’s the final weekend of performances of Kamloopa, an indigenous matriarch story described as a “high-energy comedy”, presented by WAM Theatre at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox. Performances are tonight and Saturday night at 7pm, and the curtain comes down after the Sunday matinee, which begins at 3pm.

Avant-garde percussionist, composer, and artist Eli Keszler brings his unique approach to electronics and drums to MASS MoCA in North Adams on Saturday at 8pm. After you see and hear how Keszler brings out the orchestral possibilities inherent in his instrument, you will never think of drums and percussion the same way again.

Fans of George Winston will want to check out pianist and composer Ben Cosgrove, who brings his dreamy music exploring themes of landscape, place, and the environment, to Dewey Hall in Sheffield, Mass., tonight at 7pm. Leading upstate New York reggae group The Big Takeover takes over the stage at HiLo in North Adams, Mass., on Saturday at 8pm.

The Bard Conservatory Orchestra with members of The Orchestra Now will perform Gustav Mahler’s Second Symphony, “Resurrection,” conducted by music director Leon Botstein, on Saturday at 8 pm and again on Sunday at 3 pm in the Fisher Center at Bard College. Mahler regarded his second symphony as his greatest work.

And klezmer fans will rejoice at the news that the Grammy Award-winning Klezmatics – the world’s leading contemporary klezmer outfit – will perform on Sunday night at 7pm at the Falcon in Marlboro, N.Y.

Seth Rogovoy is editor of the Rogovoy Report, available at rogovoyreport.com