The highlights of the cultural weekend in our region include the story of a 19th century heiress, 19th century piano music, Venezuelan jazz, and a whole lot more.
In 1875, the American heiress Jennie Jerome seemed to have it all. She had married an English lord, she was young, rich and beautiful, and she had just given birth to Winston Churchill, who, like all newborn babies, looked just like Winston Churchill. Lady Randy – written by and starring Anne Undeland -- takes the audience on a dizzying ride through the treacherous, kaleidoscopic sexual and political landscape of her marriage. Lady Randy, a WAM Theatre production, begins its three-weekend run at Shakespeare & Company’s Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre in Lenox tonight.
Chinese pianist Fei-Fei has been praised for her “bountiful gifts and passionate immersion into the music she touches.” She is a winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition and a top finalist at the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Fei Fei will perform works by Mozart, Brahms, and Chopin among others in the Daniel Arts Center at Simon’s Rock College in Great Barrington on Sunday at 3 p.m.
Theaters all over the country have been screening Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” this week on the occasion of its 40th anniversary. The scathing, anarchic satire of both religion and Hollywood’s depiction of all things biblical has grown in stature over time to become one of the most highly regarded comic films ever, spawning the hit song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” as well as paving the way for Monty Python’s Broadway musical, “Spamalot.” The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington puts the film on its big screen on Saturday at 7 p.m. A bit of “Life of Brian” trivia: after the movie’s original backers got cold feet and withdrew funding for the edgy film, former Beatle George Harrison stepped in and bankrolled it, which began his decade-plus reign as England’s top film producer in the 1980s with his company, HandMade Films, which was responsible for the likes of “The Long Good Friday,” “Time Bandits,” “The Missionary,” “Mona Lisa” and “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.”
Trumpeter Etienne Charles leads a program called “The Vibes of Venezuela” into the Fisher Center at Bard College tonight at 7:30. The program features a journey through the rhythms of the 19th-century popular waltz, 1920s merengue, and the lively canter of traditional joropo in a celebration of Venezuelan jazz. Vocalist and trumpeter Linda Briceño and cuatro virtuoso Jorge Glem join Charles to examine African, Native South American, and European influences on the modern music of Venezuela.
Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available at rogovoyreport.com