Arts and Entertainment

Operatic double header bridges the centuries with laughter

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Comedy is timeless. The BGSU  Opera Theater’s double-bill of “How to Reform a Drunk” by Christoph Willibald Von Gluck from 1760 and “The Four Note Opera” by Tom Johnson from 1972  are as different in their approaches as you’d expect from works written 200 years apart. The reactions they provoke are the same – knowing chuckles and hearty guffaws. The operas will be performed tonight (Nov. 3) at 8 p.m. and Sunday (Nov. 5) at 3 p.m. in Kobacker Hall on the Bowling Green State University campus. Tickets are $20 at the door, and cheaper if purchased in advance by calling 419-372-8171 or online. https://www.bgsu.edu/the-arts.htmlfrom The Gluck is a classic comic send-up. A vintner Lukas (Tyler Strayer) conspires to get the drunken father Zipperlein (Aaron Meece) to let him marry his daughter Marie (Hannah Stroh). She, however, is in love with the actor Anton (Aaron Hill). Her mother (Eunice Ayodele), the victim of her husband’s drunken behavior, is caught betwixt. As much as Katharine despises Lukas, “actors,” as she tells her daughter, “are the worst.” Still Anton gets into her good graces by concocting a plan to reform Zipperlein. That leads to a wonderfully fantastic scene with the husband believing he and Lucas have died and gone to hell where they will face punishment for their drunkenness. Before then they get to sing robustly of the joys of wine. The English translation and adaptation from the French by Ellen Scholl, of the BGSU faculty,…


Mustard’s Retreat brings “defiantly hopeful” folk music to Pemberville Opera House

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Mustard’s Retreat steps on the Pemberville Opera House stage Saturday night, they’ll arrive as old friends who haven’t stopped by in a spell. The duo of David Tamulevich and Michael Hough were regulars in Bowling Green a few years ago. Anne Tracy brought them to BG first for her concert series back in the late 1990s, and since they’ve played the Black Swamp Art Festival. Most recently they visited as part of the Yellow Room Gang, a songwriting collective from Ann Arbor, playing at the festival and Grounds for Thought. It’s been a few years, though. When the Ann Arbor- based singer-songwriters return, they’ll bring an old friend, Libby Glover, an original member of the group when it formed in 1974. The show is part of the Live in the House series and starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12. Mustard’s Retreat is all about friendship. The members met back in Ann Arbor when they were working in the college town’s bars and restaurants, not as entertainers but cooking food and serving drinks. Tamulevich and Hough worked as short order cooks. They shared a love of music so they pulled together three songs, and brought their act to the stage of The Arc, the legendary folk venue. Glover was tending bar at another place where Tamulevich was performing, and she started joining him on stage to sing harmony. “The blend of the voices was captivating,” Tamulevich said in a recent telephone interview. The…


Treehouse Troupe takes “New Kid” on the road to share lessons about tolerance

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bullying is an international language. That’s a lesson Nic learns on her first day in an American school. She had moved with her family to the United States from Homeland, not speaking English, and now she must adjust to life among strangers. That’s the plot of “New Kid,” a play by Dennis Foon being staged in schools around the region by Bowling Green State University’s Treehouse Troupe. Recently the troupe staged “New Kid” in the atrium of the Wood County Public Library for home-schooled students and students from St. Aloysius. We meet Nic played by Shannan Bingham and her mother played by Kristyn Curnow as they discuss leaving their country Homeland. The backdrop is colorful and their costumes are an iridescent green. Though they say they don’t know English, their lines come out as English, and the audience knows what they are saying. Soon Nic is in her new school, shyly joining two other students, Mencha (Autumn Chisholm) and Mug (Harmon Andrews) at recess. Before she comes out the audience gets to listen in on Mencha and Mug’s conversation. Not that it will do them any good. They’re animated as they chat but the words frustrate comprehension. Clearly it’s a language, just not one we understand. Nor as it turns out any other language. The actors’ body gestures, make it clear that they are negotiating some sort of exchange. The language was made up by the playwright to give youngsters a sense of what it’s…


Arts beat: NRBQ right at home at Howard’s Club H

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Anyone who doubts that Howard’s Club H is having a revival as a music venue wasn’t at Saturday night’s NRBQ show. The venerable rock quartet was right at home in the stylish grit of the venerable club. And the sound system did justice to the band’s mix. NRBQ responded with 100 minutes of effervescent groove-based music delivered with a sly smile. The band opened with founder Terry Adams’ ”Rhythm Spell” and wrapped things up with Johnny Cash’s “Get Rhythm” as an encore. That was fitting because there was plenty of rhythm on display between the two. Whether they were sunny rock, the blues, or mambo, the beat was the thing throughout the night. The set bounced with little time between numbers from one highlight to another – the NRBG standard “Me and the Boys” or a rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” among them. The show had its odd turns, as when the Adams summoned drummer John Perrin from behind his set to sing a number, supposedly for a woman in the audience. He ambled to the front of the stage and consulted with bassist Casey McDonough and guitarist Scott Ligon about what to sing. Then they eased into Roger Miller’s hit “King of the Road.” Adams took his place behind the drum set, He treated those drums far gentler than he did his two keyboards, which he treated like percussion throughout the night, slapping, punching, and then executing…


Choirs plan mighty celebration of 500th anniversary of Luther’s theses

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Saturday morning, the trumpet called and about 100 vocalists and instrumentalists gathered in St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Bowling Green to put the final touches on the J.S. Bach Cantata “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott.” The familiar strains of “A Mighty Fortress” rang out, with voices entwined in harmony, bolstered by trumpet flourishes. The jubilant sound was fitting for a celebration. The University Choral Society will join the St, Mark’s Adult Choir and university soloists and instrumentalists for a presentation on the cantata Sunday at 4 p.m., at the church to mark the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s declaration of his 95 theses, the central event in the Protestant Reformation. The anniversary is Tuesday, Oct. 31. Luther was also a prolific composer of hymns, the most famous being “A Mighty Fortress.” “You just can’t let a big anniversary like that go by without observing it,” said Mark Munson, of Bowling Green State University and director of the University Choral Society. “Bach was one of the great church musicians of the Lutheran church. We have a big active Lutheran church in town, so here we are.  It’s a perfect marriage of a great piece of music on a special day.” The concert will open with a contemporary setting of “A Mighty Fortress” set by Nancy Raabe. She employs the original rhythm, Munson said. “The way we sing ‘A Mighty Fortress’ in our churches now does not swing quite the way it did back then….


At BGSU, Clarence Page reflects on Middletown & “Hillbilly Elegy”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Clarence Page is a story teller. That’s what all good journalists are, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner said. On Thursday at Bowling Green State University, though, he reflected on someone else’s story, J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.” Vance’s book has been selected as the university’s Common Read. Page was invited to BGSU to discuss Vance’s book. Meant to bring everyone together to read the same book and spark discussion, this year’s selection has done the trick. Social media is full of commentary on the book, and even its appropriateness as the Common Read. “Hillbilly Elegy” arrived at the same time as Donald Trump was elected to office, and many reviewers touted it as the book to read if you wanted to understand Trump voters. Vance takes a hard look at his people, who feel displaced in America and are plagued by dysfunctional families and unemployment. This demographic is the most pessimistic of any in the country.  Poor whites are more pessimistic than poor blacks. “Maybe because we’re used to it.” Page, who like Vance comes from Middletown, Ohio, said the book gave him a look at what was happening on the white side of town. Page noted he started out as “colored,” and has been a Negro, black, African-American, before now being a person of color. His family, he said, was “po’” because, according to his father, they were too poor to afford the “or.” But,…


The music plays on at the Clazel

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The new operators of the 91-year-old Clazel in downtown in Bowling Green are not looking to teach the old venue new tricks. This summer Darrin and Cierra Karcher, of Findlay, purchased the Clazel business from Ammar Mufleh, who retains ownership of the building and property. The vision for the venue spelled out by John Carroll, the general manager, follows along the lines of what Mufleh did from the time he purchased the old theater in mid-2008. He ran the club nights on Fridays and Saturdays until last December when he stopped them out of concern for the wear-and-tear on the theater and his staff. Now the late night lights and DJs are back. Carroll worked security and on other projects for the Clazel since 2011. “I have a lot of respect for the building and definitely want to make sure it’s taken care of.” The Karchers, Carroll said, who own several bars in Findlay and Upper Sandusky, were interested in branching out. This will be the first night club the couple will operate. The Clazel continues to be available for weddings, corporate meetings and parties, and fundraisers.  “The big one being Fire and Ice,” a February benefit for the American Red Cross, Carroll said. Working with A.L. Entertainment, the owners are also bringing back regular live music to the Clazel. Carroll said that the Columbus-based jam band ekoostik hookah was interested in hosting a holiday show at the venue. That show will be Friday,…


BGHS actors hope new play brings issue of sex trafficking out of the shadows

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green social issues theater troupe is taking its fight against juvenile sex trafficking to a new stage. The troupe has been presenting a scene about the issue for five years, including at conferences aimed at combating sex trafficking. That production was a devised play that was worked up by cast members. The devised scene was open ended. At the conclusion the audience didn’t get a resolution but a chance to talk. When the drama club earned $1,000 for creating a public service announcement on sex trafficking, drama teacher Jo Beth Gonzalez and the Drama Club decided to use the money to take the scene to another level, and “Lily’s Shadow” was born. Gonzalez brought in a friend who is a playwright Roxanne Schroeder-Arce to collaborate with the students on writing a script for a one-act play based on the devised theater piece. “Lily’s Shadow” will premiere at the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center Sunday, Oct. 29, at 3 p.m. The half-hour long play will be followed by a talk-back session about the dangers of human sex trafficking among minors. The playwright will be in attendance. “We hope people will give us a perspective on what they see because we hope the piece will have further life as a published piece,” Gonzalez said. Gonzalez said the play is fitting for children as young as 10. “We want young people to come to the play because it’s for them.” Children that young, she said,…


Composer Jake Heggie’s life is the stuff of opera

By DAVID DUPONT BG INDEPENDENT NEWS   Before the opera, before music, or the words, comes the story, said composer Jake Heggie. “I call this ‘the well,’” he said. “If the well is deep and rich and filled with big emotions and transformation, it just might inspire wonderful words, a strong architecture and potentially beautiful, powerful music.” Heggie have the Edwin H. Simmons Creative Minds series keynote talk, Sunday. He is on campus through Tuesday working with students. For Heggie the most attractive stories are those about the search for belonging and identity, the longing for family. Maybe someone should write an opera about Heggie’s own life. The theme would be the redemptive power of music. When Heggie was 10 his father committed suicide. “He suffered from crushing depression,” the opera composer said. But all Heggie and his three siblings knew is he had abandoned them. “A bomb went off in the family. There was emotional shrapnel and wreckage everywhere.” A week later Heggie turned 11, and he started composing his first songs. He lost himself in the arts. Spending days at the movie theater, watching films, especially musicals. His first goddess was Julie Andrews. “I felt safe and secure with music,” he said. “I spent all my paper route money on music, records, and movies. … I never felt alone though I often felt lonely.” When his family moved from Bexley, Ohio, to southern California, Heggie, who started playing piano at 7, took his first composition lesson. When he…


Expect the unexpected when NRBQ plays Howard’s Club H, founder Terry Adams promises

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Back in 1966, a teenage Terry Adams used to push his piano into the bedroom and jam with brother, Donn, and a few other musical friends. A half century later Adams is still pushing his keyboards across the country playing concert halls, clubs, and bars with that band born in the outskirts of Louisville. NRBQ – originally for New Rhythm and Blues Quintet, and then Quartet – purveyors of off-kilter, off-beat pop rock is heading to Howard’s Club H, Saturday, Oct. 28, starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. Click to purchase. A few home recordings mark the launch of a band that has persisted over the years, reaching music lovers ears in concerts, recordings, and the soundtrack of “The Simpsons,” where their loving irreverence was a perfect fit. In a recent telephone interview, Adams said “you don’t want to lose the reason you got into it.” “Music affected me when I was a young guy. Listening to it gave me something I couldn’t get anywhere else. It showed me the world, gave me insight into living. You can have times when you need a true friend and the music really reaches you. It’s there for you.” He started “messing around” on piano around sixth grade. “I didn’t know I was going to be a musician. I just loved listening to it, and slowly I realized I was making it myself, and I never turned back.” At the beginning during those bedroom sessions, “we just…


Toledo Symphony to premiere Liebermann’s Cello Concerto

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The Toledo Symphony announced on Monday that it will perform the world premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s Cello Concerto on its Classics series at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theater on October 27 and 28. This is the first of two world premieres by the Toledo Symphony during the 2017-2018 concert season. “The world premiere of Liebermann’s Cello Concerto allows the Symphony to advance the orchestral repertoire and present the finest contemporary music to our audiences,” said Zak Vassar, President and CEO of the Toledo Symphony. “We just received the parts hot off the press, and we’re excited to rehearse and perform this gorgeous piece of music for all of you.” Cellist Julian Schwarz is the featured soloist on the program. He was born in Seattle into a musical family—father Gerard Schwarz is a famous American conductor—and is already being recognized as a cellist destined to rank among the finest of the 21st century. He made his orchestral debut at the age of 11 with the Seattle Symphony with his father on the podium. Since then, he has performed around the world. Julian performs on a cello made in Naples by Gennaro Gagliano in 1743. Composer Lowell Liebermann is one of America’s most frequently performed and recorded living composers. He has written more than 130 works in all genres, some of which have become standard repertoire for their instruments. He is the recipient of many awards and honors, including the inaugural American Composers Invitational Award by…


BGSU Arts Events through Oct. 31

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Through Nov. 9 – “Milestones: A Celebration of BGSU School of Art Alumni Featuring Studio Arts, Design and the 25th Anniversary of the Digital Arts Program” continues in the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery at the Fine Arts Center. The exhibit is part of the 38th annual Bowling Green State University New Music and Art Festival. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays and 1-4 p.m.Sundays. Admission is free. Oct. 20– The 38th annual New Music and Art Festival presents Concert 6, featuring the mixed-chamber group Latitude 49 (L49), whose focus on commissioning and supporting living composers has resulted in more than 30 works written for them. Their performance will begin at 8 p.m. at Kobacker Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Oct. 21– The 38th annual New Music and Art Festival presents a panel discussion at 10:30 a.m. at the Marjorie E. Conrad, M.D. Choral Room, located in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Free Oct. 21– The 38th annual New Music and Art Festival presents Concert 7, featuring electroacoustic works by Kong Mee Choi, Asha Srinivasan, Mike McFerron, Scott Miller, Jay C. Batzner and Konstantinos Karathanasis. The performance will begin at 2:30 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall, in the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Oct. 21– The 38th annual New Music and Art Festival presents the final concert, Concert 8, featuring the Bowling Green Philharmonia and Percussion Ensemble in a performance of a series of orchestral and percussion works. Tickets are $7 in advance and can be purchased…


New Music Festival guest composers embrace the weird & beautiful in their work

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Steve Mackey and Sarah Kirkland Snider came into contemporary music through back doors. A rock musician in the mid-1970s Mackey was majoring in physics as his fall back plan if his rock star dream didn’t come true. Growing up Snider studied cello, piano and attended choir camp in the summer “Music was my favorite thing to do,” she said. That included writing music which she never showed anyone.  When she went to college she studied psychology and sociology and after graduating ended up working for the Center of Reproductive Justice. To fulfill a requirement in college Mackey took a music history class. Thus exposed him to the world of classical music including Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” which he called “his gateway drug” to new music. At the time, music industry types who heard his band were impressed but said the music was “spacey, weird and undanceable.” Well, Stravinsky’s ballet music was also spacey, weird and famously difficult to dance to. Mackey was impressed that in the “Rite” and other classical pieces “all of human experience was distilled into a listening experience. “ With the rock band he was accompanying beer drinking, flirtation, and fending off requests for Doobie Brothers’ covers. Living in New York, Snider was called on by friends to write music for theatrical productions. She was so involved she was being called on the carpet for missing work to compose. She decided to make the transition into music. Since she had not…


Audra McDonald to perform with Toledo Symphony, talk at UT

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and an Emmy Award, Broadway icon Audra McDonald will be here in Toledo for a one-night-only Spotlight performance with the Toledo Symphony on Nov. 4, 8 p.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle Theater. Named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2015 and recipient of the 2015 National Medal of the Arts—America’s highest honor for achievement in the arts—from President Barack Obama, Audra McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as a singer and actress. In addition to her Tony-winning performances, including “Carousel,”A” Raisin in the Sun,” and”The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” she has also appeared on Broadway in “The Secret Garden,” “Marie Christine” (Tony nomination), and “110 in the Shade” (Tony nomination). On television, Audra McDonald was seen by millions as Mother Abbess in NBC’s “The Sound of Music Live!” and played Dr. Naomi Bennett on ABC’s “Private Practice.” She won an Emmy Award for her role as host of PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center. On film, she has appeared in “Seven Servants,” “The Object of My Affection,” “Cradle Will Rock,” “It Runs in the Family,” “The Best Thief in the World,” “She Got Problems,” “Rampart,” “Ricki and the Flash,” and most recently, Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast.” Audra McDonald is as much at home on Broadway and opera stages as she is in roles on film and television. In addition to her theatrical work,…


BGSU’s “Amazons” shows making art under the Nazis as darkly comic tragedy

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Frau in “Amazons and Their Men” is explicitly said not to be Leni Riefenstahl, the great German filmmaker who put her prodigious talents to the service of the Nazis. She is Riefenstahl’s moral doppelganger who allows us to view the filmmaker’s crisis of conscience between art and reality from another angle, one that puts her in even harsher light that reveals her self-deception. Art can never isolate itself from its context; reality has a way of infecting artifice. Jordan Harrison’s “Amazons and Their Men” opens tonight (Thursday, Oct. 19) at 8 p.m. in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre at Bowling Green State University, and continues with shows Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Next weekend shows are Oct. 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 28 at 2 and 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students and children; all tickets the day of the performance are $20. Tickets can be purchased at bgsu.edu/arts or the Wolfe Center box office. As the play opens, we find The Frau (Sarah Drummer ) filming what she perceives as her masterpiece “Penthesilea” a version of Greek myth in which and  the Greek hero and her enemy Achilles fall in love. It is clear what draws her to this story, Penthesilea, queen is a strong, dominant woman, not unlike how she sees The Frau sees herself. Yet the passions within the story are at…