The Art Roundup 24/05/23

The latest from NH’s theater, arts and literary communities

Art of the cupcake: Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center (928 White Oaks Road, Laconia, prescottfarm.org) will host a cupcake decorating class on Saturday, May 25, at 10 a.m. Participants will learn the basics of buttercream flower piping, how to use a petal tip, and tips and tricks to make your flowers the prettiest bouquet, according to the event website. Students will receive eight cupcakes to decorate and a box to take their creations home. Participants will be standing, baking and working for most of the class and so should wear comfortable closed-toe shoes and have long hair tied back, the website said. The cost is $40 for non-members and $25 for members.

Clay creation: At Manchester Craft Market (Mall of New Hampshire, 1500 S. Willow St.) ages 13 and older can take a workshop on polymer clay creation on Friday, May 24, from 6 to 8 p.m., according to the website. Participants will learn basic techniques to make figurines, jewelry and more and will walk away from the workshop with a polymer clay creation. Materials are provided. The workshop is $50 per person.

Day of tap: The Aaron Tolson Institute of Dance will hold its inaugural National Tap Dance Day celebration at the Dana Center for the Humanities (100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester) on Saturday, May 25, at 7 p.m. featuring Aaron Tolson, Speaking in Taps, Fourth Dimension tap company and more, with dancers from all over New England. Tickets are $25. Visit tickets.anselm.edu.

Two Exhibits
The New Hampshire Antique Co-op (323 Elm St., Milford) is hosting two exhibits through Sunday, June 30. “Along the Shore: Paintings from Cape Ann to Provincetown” features iconic Rockport coastal scenes, rugged Gloucester harbor boats, quaint Cape Cod cottages and picturesque Nantucket lanes adorned with classic wisteria arbors, celebrating the iconic scenes immortalized by influential artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Emile Albert Gruppe, Harry Aiken Vincent, Anthony Thieme, Pauline Lennards Palmer and others, according to their website. “Selections 24: Notable Works” showcases a curated collection of 24 paintings and sculptures spanning the 19th to 21st centuries; the artists included are Theodore Earl Butler, Bruce Crane, Frederick Mulhaupt, Augustus B. Koopman, Charles Herbert Woodbury, Humbert Howard, Felice Waldo Howell and others, according to the website. The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit nhantiquecoop.com.

Zachary Lewis

Scene of the crime

Clue comes to life in Concord

Who killed Mr. Boddy, with what weapon, and where? Was it Miss Peacock wielding a lead pipe in the library, or maybe Colonel Mustard with a dagger in the dining room? To anyone who’s ever played an iconic board game, this is a familiar question. It’s also the basis for a unique experience hosted by the Capitol Center for the Arts.

CLUE: A Walking Mystery invites participants, grouped into six five-person teams, to solve the now-cold case of Boddy’s demise. The quest begins at the historic Kimball House in downtown Concord, as two “butlers” who were there long ago when the crime was committed provide instructions to the sleuths-for-a-day.

The house was sold after the murder, they’re told, with all the furniture auctioned off. The butlers believe that in some hutch, dresser or desk is the key to identifying the criminal. Each item is now in a local business, like Teatotaller Café, Gibson’s Bookstore or the Barley House. Everyone is then handed an auction catalog.

The detectives go forth on a walk through the city, questing for answers, solving puzzles as they go.

“It’s like an escape room, but it’s broken up into nine different pieces around the city,” Kevin Hammonds, one of the game’s creators, said by phone recently. Hammonds added that it’s ideal for folks who find escape rooms claustrophobic.

“This is the opposite of being locked in a room,” he said. “You’re walking around, you’re getting a lot of great exercise and experiencing the best of Concord. It’s a great thing to do as a family, a group outing or for team-building. The puzzles are really original and creative and tricky.”

The immersive experience began during the pandemic as a way for L.A.-based touring company Right Angle Entertainment to keep employees busy. Initially it involved engaging suspects along the way, but that proved unwieldy. SoCal puzzle designers The Wild Optimists came up with a new vision. The retooled CLUE debuted in Chicago and ran for six months.

Hammonds scouted Concord as a potential location and loved what he found.

“The thing about Chicago is that it visits all these iconic places but it’s spread out,” he said. “We tried to keep it under a mile, but it still takes some time and walking. Concord is a compact digestible version. It’s not quite as sprawled out, but it’s still incredibly satisfying.”

Choosing where to put furniture “was literally me walking up and down the streets of Concord,” he said. “You have to find a place that has the same hours as the game, will fit a piece of furniture, and also accommodate 30 people every 20 minutes to come in and play the game. … It also has to kind of fit the Clue vibe and aesthetic.”

The cast members “all love improv,” he continued. “Most of them are drama college students, but we have a college professor who loves murder mysteries and Clue, and he also acts part-time. I have another butler that’s a great improv actor that does a lot of work on Saturday Night Live.”

Similarly, participants are encouraged to follow a penchant for cosplay at the event.

“When the butlers greet them, they inform them that they are descendants of the OG suspects, like Miss Scarlet, or Colonel Mustard,” Hammonds said. “In Chicago we had a lot of people come dressed up as those characters or in those colors.”

Unlike the board game, there are no winners.

“It’s not a contest,” Hammonds said. “You’re not hunting for where you go next. It tells you go to Gibson’s Bookstore; this is the address; this is a picture of the bookcase. We also say, while you’re at Teatotaller Café looking for the kitchen hutch, enjoy 10 percent off, or have lunch at the Barley House…. We encourage people to stop and enjoy whatever each business has to offer.”

CLUE: A Walking Mystery
When: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through June 16, multiple time slots
Where: Kimball House, 16 S. Main St., Concord
Tickets: $34 at ccanh.com

Toasting the arts

Celebrating creativity in Sunapee

Wine and chocolate will flow amidst paintings, photography and piano music at an upcoming event in New London to showcase the Lake Sunapee Region Center for the Arts. The Raise a Glass to the Arts! reception will serve as a reminder of the Center’s many efforts to support expression throughout the area, which include micro-galleries in local businesses, festivals, seminars, concerts and youth programs.

“We wanted to create a wonderful evening to celebrate with our donors and members, our artists and our community, what the arts are all about when it comes to the Center,” CFA Executive Director Dina Stahlheber said by phone recently. “It’s a moment to step back and think about the wonderful talent here, and all the different things that are able to come together.”

The Center’s mission encompasses visual, performing and literary arts, Stahlheber said.

“They’re very closely intertwined, yet each one of themselves are quite vast,” she said. “Many of our painters are poets and many of our poets are performers or musicians. We have singer-songwriters that dip their toes into both writing and music. We have quite a variety here.”

She envisions the event, happening at Colby-Sawyer College’s Wheeler Hall, as a way to “celebrate these three different key aspects of what the organization does, as well as its love and focus on youth. We also offer some great scholarships, school grant programs, and activities for our youth and families.” To underscore this cross-pollination, ticket holders will be entered to win a pair of seats to the New London Barn Playhouse’s June production of Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Stahlheber added that a past scholarship winner will perform at the gathering, along with veteran pianist and composer Will Ogmundson. This and other CFA endeavors serve to highlight the importance of human expression, something that’s particularly critical in an age that sees it threatened by machine learning.

The latter is a topic that Stahlheber spoke eloquently about in a press release last March.

“In a landscape increasingly shaped by artificial intelligence and algorithms, the essence of human experience embedded within artistic expression becomes ever more poignant,” she said. “While technology can assemble stories and generate visually stunning images, it cannot convey the personal journey behind the creation of art.”

During the interview, Stahlheber was quick to point out that she’s no Luddite.

“I appreciate technology,” she said. “I just want to be sure that we don’t forget or lose sight of the fact that artificial intelligence still cannot communicate the human essence of the arts as humans can.”

She continued, “AI can replicate stories and even make them very moving, but at the end of the day, there’s something about someone having lived … when they share their story, the pain and glory of overcoming a situation, that is what’s authentic, powerful and meaningful.”

Stahlheber took over the reins at CFA just over a year ago and has focused many of her efforts on messaging. “I wanted to be more intentional about what we’re doing, why are we doing it, and how it fits into our mission,” she explained. “Not everyone in the community realizes how much we’ve done and the large role it plays, the many places and connections the Center for the Arts has in this region.”

To that end, an event later this summer will shine a light not only on the CFA’s work but also on the region it serves.

“I am so excited for our July Arts Week in Sunapee Harbor,” Stahlheber said. “It has been a year-long planning session with a group of wonderful organizations, [and] we have been trying to put together a really special weekend. But also, to promote Sunapee Harbor. It is super-beloved, but not everyone, even in the surrounding area, remembers it’s here.”

Raise a Glass to the Arts!
When: Saturday, May 18, 7 p.m.
Where: Wheeler Hall, 541 Main St., New London
Tickets: $55 members, $65 non-members at centerfortheartsnh.org

The Art Roundup 24/05/16

The latest from NH’s theater, arts and literary communities

Murder! The Hillsborough Community Center is raising funds to build a brick-and-mortar center. As part of the fundraising efforts, they will present Murder at the Banquet, a play by Robert LaVaughn, at venues around the Hillsborough area. The play, described as a lighthearted and humorous send-up of famous detectives, will be showing at the Ice Cream Bar at the Emporium in Hillsboro on Friday, May 17, and Sunday, May 26, both at 6 p.m.; at the Deering Town Hall on Saturday, May 18, at 6 p.m.; at the American Legion (Young and Richardson Post 59) in Hillsboro on Sunday, May 19, at 1 p.m.; at the Washington Town Hall on Saturday, May 25, at 1 p.m.; at the Antrim Town Hall on Saturday, June 1, at 6 p.m., and at the Hillsboro-Deering Middle School on Sunday, June 2, at 1 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for those 60 or older and children 15 or younger. Visit hccnh.org/play.

More murder! Help solve the murder of Mr. Boddy, which has now become a cold case with items from his iconic mansion — with the Library, Billiard Room, etc. — sold and now in spots around Concord for Clue: A Walking Mystery, which will run Thursdays through Sundays, starting Thursday, May 16, through Sunday, June 16, according to ccanh.com where you can purchase tickets for $34 at the various start times. The interactive family friendly (for ages 8 and up) game features about a one mile walking distance and takes about 90 minutes to complete the website said. Five players in six teams per start time will be greeted by a butler and sent to gather clues around the downtown, the website said. Dressing up as Clue characters in encouraged.

IMAGINE ART
Twiggs Gallery (254 King St. in Boscawen) invites New Hampshire artists to enter artwork inspired by the impossible, the surreal and the fantastical for its summer juried exhibition “When Pigs Fly,which is inspired by the idiom suggesting that something is utterly improbable. Twiggs encourages participants to explore the limits of imagination and break free from the constraints of reality whether the result is silly, serious, mystical or magical, truth, fiction, political, personal, or even pigs since Twiggs Gallery invites broad interpretations based on the theme, according to a press release. The deadline to enter is Sunday, May 19, and local artist Donna Catanzaro will serve as the exhibit’s juror, according to the same release. Catanzaro, who has exhibited her work nationally, is an interdisciplinary artist with an MFA from Goddard College who through mixed media sculpts from household items and delves into memory and body image, infusing each creation with her distinctive wit, according to the same release. Learn more about Donna at donnacat.com or visit twiggsgallery.org.

Play preview: The New Hampshire Dance Collaborative will host “Excerpts and Investigations: Paradise Now!on Wednesday, May 22, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Kimball Jenkins School of Art (266 N. Main St. in Concord). The event will be free to the public and will offer an inside look at Theatre Kapow’s upcoming June production, Paradise Now!, with select excerpts and the opportunity to engage with the actors, designers and director, according to the press release. The play follows a group of women in a multi-level marketing company promoting essential oils. It will premiere in June at the Bank of NH Stage at Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord. Visit nhdancecollaborative.org.

New works: Sullivan Framing and Art Gallery (15 N. Amherst Road in Bedford) will hold an opening reception for new works by Rosemary Conroy on Thursday, May 23, from 5 to 7 p.m. with the exhibit running until the end of June, according to a press release. In a statement, Sullivan Framing said, “Rosemary’s latest collection of paintings is a breathtaking tribute to the wild and untamed world around us. Each piece is a vibrant, soulful portrait of some of nature’s most awe-inspiring creatures, from majestic moose to fierce and formidable bears, and even the mysterious and elusive whale. And who knows, there may even be a shark lurking among the collection!” Visit sullivanframing.com.

On canvas: The Lakes Region Artist Association (120 Laconia Road, Tanger Outlets, Suite 300, Tilton) will host a Watercolor on Canvas class on Tuesday, May 21, from 6 to 8 p.m. Participants will be able to explore the unique combination of watercolors and canvas as a medium. Registration is $50 in advance. Visit https://form.jotform.com/240044827770153 to register. For details email Stephanie McQuade at Stephanie@scmcquade.com

ADDAMS FAMILY
St. Paul’s School Theater Company will present The Addams Family: A New Musical Comedy on Friday, May 17, and Saturday. May 18, at 7 p,m. both nights in Memorial Hall at St. Paul’s School (325 Pleasant St., Concord). Admission is free. The school’s theater department website states, “Through our student-centered curriculum, our experienced faculty will guide students to become artists who think independently, empathize, and explore the world around them while developing a deeper understanding of self and others.” Visit www.sps.edu/arts/theater.

Zachary Lewis

New art for the Gate City

Work begins at the Nashua International Sculpture Symposium

By Zachary Lewis
zlewis@hippopress.com

The Nashua International Sculpture Symposium was started in 2008 and is now on its 17th consecutive year of inviting world-class artists to come to the city to make unique public art to be placed on public property for everyone to enjoy. It is funded by private donations.

It’s a common practice across cities and towns around the globe but Nashua is the only city in the U.S. that does this kind of symposium for sculptors.

“When they come here, we’re the only ones. It’s pretty cool,” said Gail Moriarty, President of the Nashua International Sculpture Symposium.

The sculptors live in the city for the length of the symposium. Donations pay for their food and lodging, and each sculpture costs around $10,000 to $15,000. There are varying levels of donations and residents can even donate their own lodging or in lieu of monetary support can bring in a meal. T-shirts are available to raise funds and a sponsorship is $4,000 and can be split between multiple people. More information can be found on their website.

The Symposium runs from Monday, May 13, to Saturday, June 1, at 3 Pine St. in Nashua. Residents are invited to come see the sculptors work their artistic magic on three huge hunks of white marble this year and transform them into any number of creations. The material can change year to year and is based on the sculptors’ preference.

“These forms emerge and these designs emerge and people get really excited and the kids get really excited and they come to the closing and they can’t believe what we’ve created in the city,” she said. Spectators can come every day if they are so inclined. “We’re so proud of that.”

The sculptors are selected by the Symposium’s Artistic Director, Jim Larson, who has held the role since 2018, along with the approval of their board of directors. The International Sculpture Symposium was created 17 years ago with the help of John Weidman, Director of the Andres Institute of Art in Brookline and was originally inspired by the late Meri Goyette, an art lover and key supporter of those arts and who happened to live in Nashua.

“It’s very much a public engagement event,” Moriarty said. “It’s sponsored by the general public. The general public is the reason why we can do this. … It is a community-driven event, and that’s the best part about it. It brings communities together.”

A closing ceremony will be held on June 1. It will start with a brief talk and then everyone will drive to the spots that have been selected for the new white marble sculptures.

2024’s sculptors

Anna Korver

Anna Korver is a New Zealand / Benenise artist working nationally and internationally and has been a full-time professional sculptor since completing a BFA in sculpture from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, in 2003, according to the symposium website and her art has been selected for the Wallace awards, Brick Bay sculpture trail, and Tai Tapu sculpture garden and received first prize at the second Tuwaiq International symposium in Saudi Arabia.

Evan Morse

Evan Morse was born in Boston and received an M.F.A. from Boston University and a B.A. from Wheaton College in Massachusetts; he studied traditional sculpture techniques, including stone-carving in Florence and Carrara, Italy, according to the website. He worked on marble monuments at The Carving Studio in West Rutland, Vermont, as part of Rutland’s Sculpture Trail, according to the same website.

KōV, aka Kevin Percevault

KōV, aka Kevin Percevault, was born in France and learned a lot from his grandfather, a stonemason; at 14 he began his apprenticeship with stonecutter masters via Les Compagnons du Devoir, a French organization of craftsmen and artisans dating back to the Middle Ages, according to the symposium website. He traveled throughout France and Switzerland to hone his craft and six years ago left Switzerland for the U.K., where he has been working on elite projects (such as “floating” stone staircases) developing new techniques in stone masonry, according to the website.

Nashua International Sculpture Symposium
Where: The Picker Artists, 3 Pine St., Nashua
When: Monday, May 13, through Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closing ceremony: See the works on Saturday, June 1, at 1 p.m. starting at the Picker Artists Studios and traveling to the new sites of the sculptures, the website said.
More info: nashuasculpturesymposium.org

The Art Roundup 24/05/09

The latest from NH’s theater, arts and literary communities

In French: The New Hampshire Philharmonic Orchestra performs French Fantasies, including Berlioz’s “Roman Carnival Overture” and Saint Saëns’ Organ Symphony, at Ste. Marie Roman Catholic Church (378 Notre Dame Ave. in Manchester, 622-4615, enterthenarrowgate.org) Saturday, May 11, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 12, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $35, $30 for seniors and $10 for students, and can be purchased through the Phil’s website, nhphil.org.

Going outdoors: The Londonderry Arts Council, in collaboration with the New Hampshire Art Association, has announced a plein air painting event to take place in Londonderry on Wednesday, May 15, from 8 a.m. to noon, according to a press release. Plein air painting is a practice of painting landscapes outdoors to capture the natural world’s beauty directly. Artists of all skill levels, from established to aspiring, are invited to participate, according to the release. The painting session will be followed by a communal potluck picnic on the town common. To register for this free event, visit the New Hampshire Art Association Special Interest Groups website at nhartassociation.org/special-interest-groups-copy, scroll down to the Plein Air section and select “Click Here” to access the sign-up form, according to the release. Visit londonderryartscouncil.org.

CATCH THIS
Catch Me If You Can: The Musical will be presented by the Actorsingers on Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 12, at 2 p.m. at the Keefe Center for the Arts (117 Elm St. in Nashua). Based on the hit film and the incredible true story, Catch Me If You Can is the high-flying musical comedy about chasing your dreams and not getting caught. Tickets cost $20, $18 for seniors and students. See actorsingers.org.

Art & flowers: Mosaic Art Collective (66 Hanover St., Suite 201, Manchester) holds an opening night on May 11, from 4 to 8 p.m. for their upcoming exhibition “Resurgence: Art of the Botanical,” which is on display now and will run through Friday, May 31. At the opening night guests can meet the artists, explore their creative processes, and enjoy the company of fellow art enthusiasts, according to a press release. Additionally, Mosaic’s high school open studio program has prepared a special installation; three local florists will be creating unique arrangements for auction to benefit Planned Parenthood of New Hampshire, and the exhibition offers a perfect setting to engage with the community and experience the connection between art and nature, according to the same release.

Call for art: Twiggs Gallery (254 King St. in Boscawen) invites New Hampshire artists to enter artwork inspired by the impossible, the surreal and the fantastical for its summer juried exhibition “When Pigs Fly,which is inspired by the idiom suggesting that something is utterly improbable. Twiggs encourages participants to explore the limits of imagination and break free from the constraints of reality whether the result is silly, serious, mystical or magical, truth, fiction, political, personal, or even pigs since Twiggs Gallery invites broad interpretations based on the theme, according to a press release. The deadline to enter is Sunday, May 19, and local artist Donna Catanzaro will serve as the exhibit’s juror, according to the same release. Catanzaro, who has exhibited her work nationally, is an interdisciplinary artist with an MFA from Goddard College who through mixed media sculpts from household items and delves into memory and body image, infusing each creation with her distinctive wit, according to the same release. Learn more about Donna at donnacat.com or visit twiggsgallery.org.

New exhibit: The Currier Museum of Art (150 Ash St. in Manchester), as part of a series of exhibitions and commissions looking at the relationship between fine art and crafts conceived for the museum’s Welcome Gallery, has announced a new collaboration with New York-based artist Elisabeth Kley titled “Cymodocea” starting on Thursday, May 16, which will run until Sunday, Aug. 25, according to the press release. Cymodocea is the scientific name of a sea grass that lives in warm water. Kley’s new installation will combine her signature ceramic sculptures with wall paintings, effectively creating an environment rich with references that span from classical times to the history of modernism. The exhibit is supported by Outer Space Arts in Concord. Visit currier.org.

CELEBRATE POETRY
All are invited to the State Poet Laureate Celebration at the State Library (20 Park St. in Concord) on Saturday, May 11, from 2 to 4 p.m. The event will show gratitude to outgoing New Hampshire Poet Laureate Alexandria Peary and welcome Jennifer Militello of Goffstown as the next New Hampshire Poet Laureate, according to a press release. Militello will serve a five-year term that began in April. The state’s Poet Laureate serves as an ambassador for all poets in New Hampshire and works to heighten the visibility and value of poetry in the state, according to the same release.

Learn watercolors: The Currier is also offering a five-week in-person watercolors class that will run Thursday, May 16, through June 20 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. In Watercolors for Beginners and Beyond students can explore the possibilities of watercolor with instructor Peter Clive, according to a press release. Participants will use landscape and still life as subject matter and have fun experimenting with various painting techniques, creating washes and using color layering to create dynamic works each week, according to the same release. All materials are provided for use during class time. There will be no class on Thursday, May 30. Enrollment costs $247.50 for members and $275 for non-members with tuition discounts available while registering. Visit currier.org.

On Frost: The Stockbridge Theatre (44 N. Main St. in Derry) will host a performance of Robert Frost: This Verse Business on Sunday, May 12, at 2 p.m. The poet and former Pinkerton Academy teacher charmed audiences with his celebrated verse and rascally sense of humor, according to a press release. Frost will be played by Emmy-winning actor Gordon Clapp, known for his role on NYPD Blue as Det. Medavoy, among other roles. In Clapp’s performance the poet shares his verse from memory along with his “wild surmises” on art, religion, science, “radicals” and “conservatives,” as the material is gathered from recordings and writings of Robert Frost, according to the same release. A.M. Dolan’s Robert Frost: This Verse Business won Best New Play (the Kaplan Award) at the Eventide Arts Festival in 2010, and Best Production at the United Solo Play Festival in New York City in 2013. Tickets cost $25 to $30 and are available at stockbridgetheatre.showare.com or by calling the box office at 437-5210. Read an interview with Gordon Clapp on page 16 of the April 4 issue of the Hippo; find the e-edition at hippopress.com.

Zachary Lewis

Forever young

Tuck Everlasting latest musical from Powerhouse

An upcoming show at Laconia’s Colonial Theatre explores the idea of eternal life, how desire to live forever can be all-consuming, and what the consequences of achieving immortality might be.

Tuck Everlasting began as a children’s novel by New Hampshire writer Natalie Babbitt that later became a movie in 2002. A Broadway adaptation was nominated for a Tony but only lasted for 39 performances. Fortunately, Bryan Halperin, who runs the Powerhouse Theatre Collaborative with his wife, Johanna, caught one and was enamored.

It was part of “a string of shows we saw for a couple of years where we really enjoyed them and they all flopped,” he said by phone recently. Halperin has learned firsthand how a show can come up short in New York but make it elsewhere. Last year he directed Captains Courageous and won for Best Musical at the New Hampshire Theatre Awards, even though an off-Broadway production of it opened and closed quickly.

“How something does on Broadway is not necessarily reflective of it as a musical property that actually moves people, and people love,” he said.

Tuck Everlasting, he continued, is an uplifting musical, and wonderful songs are just one reason. Particularly moving is a 10-minute dance sequence that traces the arc of the main character’s life. “It’s the climax of the musical, without singing, just music and dance,” he said. “We wanted to do it someday, and this was the day.”

Choreographer Meg King will oversee dancing for Powerhouse’s three-day run.

“That’s the most exciting thing for me in this production,” Halperin said. “Meg is doing some legitimate lyrical ballet dance that we don’t usually get in musicals [and] the last sequence is astounding to watch; people in the cast get tears in their eyes every time they see the dancing.”

In 2004, the Halperin family relocated from Massachusetts to the Lakes Region and opened the Winnipesaukee Playhouse, which they ran for 10 years. After, Halperin said, “we were nomads for a while, doing stuff with Hatbox and Community Players of Concord. Then we got kind of recruited out of our full-time retirement to start up again.”

Powerhouse Theatre Collaborative was formed in 2020 as a way to continue a program of performances at Belknap Mill and got its name from the historic facility. It became an independent nonprofit last year. It has also been the Colonial’s resident theater company since it opened.

“We constantly pinch ourselves that we get to do theater and rehearse in this beautiful space.” Halperin said. “For a 750-seat theater, it has an intimacy to it…. We feel very lucky that it’s our home.”

Powerhouse always looks to spur involvement in its work, for actors and people who love theater.

“To really emphasize the community building nature of community theater,” Halperin said. “It’s about collecting people into the family, finding ways for them to shine on stage no matter what role they’re in, and surrounding them with high-quality production values.”

One example is the annual performance of A Christmas Carol. Over the years, they’ve added a choir that performs prior to the show and later adds vocal color from the boxes. “That allowed more people to get involved than we could fit on the stage in character roles,” Halperin said. “We try to find ways to engage as many people as possible for each production.”

Looking back, Bryan and Johanna are still happy with their decision to move north.

“We do think about how our life changed by making that choice to leave our careers and start a theater company,” he said. “But the rewards of community and artistic expression, being in a job that our children could be involved with and grow to love as well, far exceeded our expectations. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has definitely been emotionally rewarding.”

Halperin encouraged people to come out for Tuck Everlasting.

“Everyone involved gets such joy out of singing the music and telling the story,” he said. “It’s a great Mother’s Day weekend, take the family show, kids of all ages are appropriate. I’m pretty sure you will love it if you come to see it.”

Tuck Everlasting
When: Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11, at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, May 12, at 2 p.m.
Where: Colonial Theatre, 609 Main St., Laconia
Tickets: $18 to $22 at etix.com

Featured Photo: Nikolai Fernandez and Maci Johnson as Jesse Tuck and Winnie Foster in Tuck Everlasting. Courtesy photo.

The Art Roundup 24/05/02

The latest from NH’s theater, arts and literary communities

Spring fair: The Craftworkers’ Guild in Bedford will open their spring fair on Thursday, May 2, at the Oliver Kendall House (3 Meetinghouse Road in Bedford, at the bottom of the library parking lot). The guild’s fair is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Saturday, May 11. See thecraftworkersguild.org.

Tribute, with laughs, to Broadway: Forbidden Broadway, a musical spoof of Broadway shows and stars, will come to Stockbridge Theatre (5 Pinkerton St., Derry; stockbridgetheatre.showare.com) on Thursday, May 2, at 7 p.m. A theatrical institution since 1982 when Gerard Alessandrini created the first edition, lampooning the Broadway shows and stars of the day, Forbidden Broadway in its newest edition includes good-natured shots at Moulin Rouge, the all-Yiddish Fiddler on the Roof, Hadestown, and this season’s dark Oklahoma! revival, along with Dear Evan Hansen, Tootsie, Beetlejuice, Frozen and a whole new generation of Broadway stars, plus some classic laughs from The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miz and others, according to a press release. Tickets cost between $35 and $45. Call 437-5210 for tickets.

Tale as old as time: Windham Actors Guild brings Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to the stage for audiences at Windham High School Auditorium (64 London Bridge Road in Windham) on Friday, May 3, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, May 4, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, May 5, at 2 p.m. This classic musical is brought to life by a talented cast of adults and youth, a live orchestra, beautiful settings, and costumes, according to a press release. Ticket prices are $22 for those 18 and older, $18 for students and seniors, and $15 for children under 12, according to the same release. Visit windhamactorsguild.com or call 247-8634.

Fiddles! The New Hampshire Fiddle Ensemble begins a series of performances this Friday, May 3, in Rochester. This community orchestra made up of approximately 100 musicians of all ages and abilities plays a variety of acoustic instruments, according to their website. Performance dates include Friday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m. at the Rochester Opera House (31 Wakefield St. in Rochester); Saturday, May 11, at 6:30 p.m. at Interlakes High School Auditorium (1 Laker Lane in Meredith); Saturday, May 18, at 6:30 p.m. at Exeter Town Hall (9 Front St.) and Sunday, May 19, at 2 p.m. at the Derryfield School (2108 River Road in Manchester). The ensemble features fiddles, guitars, banjos, mandolins, basses, harps, cellos and more, according to a press release. See nhfiddleensemble.org for tickets.

Classical meets folk: The Rex Theatre (23 Amherst St in Manchester; palacetheatre.or) will feature The Kruger Brothers on Saturday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m. Their remarkable discipline, creativity and their ability to infuse classical music into folk music has resulted in a unique sound that has made them a fixture within the world of acoustic music, according to the event’s website. Tickets range from $35 to $49. Gold Circle tickets include a meet-and-greet with the band after the show. Visit palacetheatre.org.

Art Stroll
This year’s May Gallery Stroll in New London includes two new locations, Whipple Hall and Grounds Coffee, making six locations during this First Friday Gallery Stroll’s artist’s reception scheduled for Friday, May 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. at each gallery location, according to a press release. This event is free and allows guests to meet local artists, enjoy art, and connect with the community, according to the release. Starting at Whipple Hall there will be an exhibit of Ruth Wynn’s work as a ‘memoriam’ of her talent; Grounds Coffee will host emerging artists such as Emily Philbrick of Artsy Em Designs, who strives to provoke emotion and transform spaces with her abstract work, landscape scenes and linework; teen artist Grace Scarlet will be featured at the Bar Harbor Bank; Blue Moon Bakery will showcase artists Debbie Campbell and Sherie Dowsett; The Tatewell Gallery will feature works by New York City native Tom Barber; the New London Inn will host artwork from Alison Vernon, who has been painting for over 40 years, and The Fleming Center Connolly Gallery at the New London Barn will host art by Timothy Sievers. Visit centerfortheartsnh.org/microgalleries.

On stage, part 1: The Players’ Ring (105 Marcy St., Portsmouth) presents The Legend of Georgia McBride by Matthew López, directed by Joe Juknievich, from Friday, May 3, to Sunday, May 19, with shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 p.m., according to their website. The show follows Casey, an Elvis impersonator who has everything until in a flash he loses his gig, his rent is overdue and his wife announces a baby on the way. So when Elvis leaves the building and a drag show moves in, “The King” transforms into an all-out queen with the help of some new friends who become the second family Casey never saw coming. Tickets are $31, $28 for students and seniors. Visit playersring.org or call 436-8123.

On stage, part 2: Spring Awakening opens at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre (125 Bow St. in Portsmouth; seacoastrep.org, 433-4472) on Thursday, May 2, and runs through Sunday, May 26. Shows this weekend are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, 8 p.m. on Friday, May 3, and 2 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 4. Tickets cost $37 to 68, according to the website. The Rep is also continuing its run of Willy Wonka, which is on stage through Sunday, May 19. This weekend catch it on Sunday, May 5, at 2 and 7:30 p.m.

A truth Universally Acknowledged
The Community Players of Concord will presents Pride and Prejudice at Concord City Auditorium (2 Prince St. in Concord, 228-2793, theaudi.org) Friday, May 3, and Saturday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, May 5, at 2 p.m. Adapted by Kate Hamill from the novel by Jane Austen, the Players describe the adaption as “fresh and funny, hip and hilarious” on their Facebook page, where you can see photos of the cast in costume. “This is not your usual Pride and Prejudice. There are a couple of balls, lovely costumes, but there’s also disco, modern music and Mr. Darcy’s shirt stays absolutely dry, ” according to the director’s notes as quoted in a Players’ Facebook post. Tickets cost $20 for adults, $18 for age 17 and under and seniors 65+. See communityplayersofconcord.org. At left, Travis Laughlin is Mr. Darcy, Julia Kehr is Elizabeth Bennet. Photo by Michael von Redlich.

Makers market: Shop the Squam Lake Vintage & Makers Market at Cottage Place at Squam Lake (1132 Route 3 in Holderness; cottageplaceonsquam.com) on Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Admission is $5. The market will feature vendors, live music, food and a mobile bar, according to an email.

ARTalk: Registration is open for an ARTalk with London-based artist Hew Locke on Sunday, May 19, at 2 p.m. at the Currier Museum of Art (150 Ash St. in Manchester; currier.org, 669-6144). The cost is $30 for adults, $25 for 65+ or students with ID, $15 for ages 13 to 17, $10 for museum members and free for children (the cost includes museum admission). Locke’s sculptural installation “Gravesend” is on display at the Currier and he has an exhibition, “The Procession” at the Institute of Contemporary Art Watershed in Boston on May 23, the website said.

Whose Town?
Take in a classic when the Nashua Theatre Guild presents Thornton Wilder’s Our Town on Friday, May 3, and Saturday, May 4, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 5, at 2 p.m. at the Court Street Theater (14 Court St. in Nashua). Our Town shares the idea that we live life without really appreciating what it has to offer, according to a press release. The Nashua Theatre Guild asks that if you dine in at the Margaritas in Nashua on Saturday, May 4, between noon and 11 p.m., you mention the Nashua Theatre Guild — if you do, 20 percent of your bill will be donated to NTG, according to the release. Tickets to the show are $20 for adults (18 and older), $18 for students and seniors. Visit nashuatheatreguild.org.

Not your mother’s family portrait

Manchester artist creates dream-like synthesis of photos

By Zachary Lewis
zlewis@hippopress.com

Self-taught photographer Karen Jerzyk invites families of all shapes and sizes to head over to her studio space at Morgan Self Storage (400 Bedford St. in Manchester) to partake in an alternative to the generic family portrait. Jerzyk is a true artist and her work has appeared on the Tonight show with Jimmy Fallon, but this is just icing on the surreal and fantastical cake that is her style.

“People come, they have fun, they get their pictures,” Jerzyk said.

She mentioned that one family in particular told her, “We’ve been looking for something like this to do … family photos are strange, we feel uncomfortable having a picture of us on the wall not portraying our personalities. We feel better putting this kind of stuff on the wall.”

One family consisting of a mother, father, son and daughter are taking part. “The son, he did green, the girl did pink” and the parents are going to do different colors, Jerzyk said.

People can dress up and even bring their pets.

“I have a lot of accordions over there … people can use props…. I have like 10 tons of wardrobe,” she said.

Jerzyk had “wanted to do another monochromatic color series,” so she thought, “I’ll do it again and invite the public to come and get their portrait taken. Which is a kind of win-win because it also helps me pay for the materials to actually do this stuff for my portfolio.”

Jerzyk just did the color green, is now focusing on pink and will move into blue later in May. Those who sign up can expect to spend a half hour of their time and $40 plus a small eventbrite fee to receive a movie-quality portrait that captures their essence.

“I get a lot of inspiration from movies,” Jerzyk said. “I grew up in the ’80s. … I like the sci-fi, like, that vaporwave, neon-y, just the vibe of the ’80s I’ve always loved.” One aspect of that time period was the practical and analog effects needed to create a realistic version of unreality.

“It’s always important to me that when I do this … that it’s real, that I don’t Photoshop anything.” With the growth of artificial intelligence in image creation and the charlatans who wield it for profit, Jerzyk wants to assure clients of her authenticity. “They’re getting what I say is going to happen.”

She does use Lightroom software for some color-correcting and shoots with a Canon R5C, usually with some type of wide-angle lens. “I’ve always loved using Canon.”

Jerzyk buys tons of paint for her monochromatic color series too, as the saturation of color is crucial to the design. “It’s very strange when things are painted all the same color. It’s very surreal,” she said.

“For pink, I kind of wanted to not go the typical what people would think pink would be, so I had two skeletons in here — and it killed me to paint those ’cause they’re kinda expensive, they’re poseable skeletons. I just like building stuff that is just surreal, that people wouldn’t necessarily get a chance to insert themselves into or experience or get their photo taken in.”

Apart from the color series, her studio has a collection of permanent sets that range from a prototypical grandparents’ home from the early ’80s to a retro-futuristic diner complete with a bar and barstools, a jukebox, and a neon breakfast sign.

Before getting into portraiture, Jerzyk did around 10 years of music photography. She enjoyed album covers and art, and started by sneaking disposable cameras into concerts, so when she graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2003 her parents gifted her a digital camera. But the music scene was not where Jerzyk was destined to stay.

“I started getting bored with it because I think deep down I was just missing a creative outlet … it was definitely awesome getting a photo pass, especially for bands I really like,” Jerzyk said, but she was looking for something more. “If I can’t say or show people what’s in my head, it’s not something I can keep doing.”

“I expressed [this] to a friend around 2008 and he was like, ‘How come you never shoot portraits of people?’ I was like, I don’t know, I’m kind of awkward and introverted … meeting up with a stranger and directing them, back then it seemed like a nightmare to me.”

It was a long but necessary road to take to get where she is today. “I think it’s important for people to know that when I started doing this stuff it was not good. I think that self-realization is good, though, because then you know you can be better…. It took a while to get, I guess I’d call it an aesthetic voice or just an aesthetic in general,” Jerzyk said.

Jerzyk’s vision is solid and at the same time fluid, abstract yet concrete, and a pleasure to experience. “Now when people see my work they know it’s mine,” she said, “but it took a couple years to get that.”

Karen Jerzyk photography
karenjerzykphoto.zenfolio.com
$40 for a 30-minute portrait session.
Tickets are available at Eventbrite:
eventbrite.com/e/karen-jerzyk-presents-tickets-870680748557.

Featured Photo: Photo by Karen Jerzyk

Making the show

New twist to NH Gay Men’s Chorus concerts

Every year since 1998 the New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus has performed a series of concerts. This year they invite the audience to go behind the scenes and see how the program is chosen, in an evening of music laced with theater called Putting It All Together. Luc Andre Roberge, NHGMC’s Artistic Director, said in a recent Zoom interview that the chorus will portray the path from brainstorming songs to turning them into a show.

“Let’s get the audience to experience what it’s like to put this whole thing together,” he said. This year they will again perform four shows, one each in Concord, Manchester, Nashua and Stratham, along with several outreach shows across the state at assisted living facilities and other places.

Selections in the upcoming concerts include Ike & Tina Turner’s version of “Proud Mary,” with the slow-groove first part performed in the program’s early set and the rocked-up “nice and rough” section in the second half. The program also has “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman, a medley from Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen, and a song most will recognize from The Big Bang Theory, Barenaked Ladies’ “The History of Everything.”

The show closes with “Why We Sing,” a song that NHGMC President John McGeehan called “very meaningful” during the same interview. “Even when you don’t understand someone’s language, you can still get the emotion and the feeling and the expression through their music,” he said. “There are few things out there that are like that. I think that’s a really powerful statement to leave our audience with.”

Though it’s a musical entity, NHGMC has higher aims.

“Part of our mission statement is to share the joy of music with the residents of New Hampshire, but also to be representatives of the LGBT community, give it a positive image,” McGeehan said. “I think that’s really important, especially now.”

Roberge noted that at the chorus’s first performance, some members asked that their names not be listed in the program, while others wore dark glasses or hats to obscure their identities.

“It was a very different world in 1998 than the one we live in now,” he said. “People didn’t go about telling people that they were gay. One didn’t really even come out, certainly not in the state of New Hampshire.”

Thankfully, that’s changed. The Granite State legalized same-sex marriage in 2010. In 2018 Gov. Sununu and Rep. Chris Pappas joined to celebrate NHGMC’s 20th anniversary. Last year Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig signed a proclamation declaring New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus Day in the city. And one recent fact in particular stands out for Roberge. “Less than half of all our concert attendees identify as gay,” he said. “That says there’s a lot of acceptance in the state.”

Roberge was a charter member of NHGMC and became Artistic Director in 2000. He co-leads the chorus with Principal Accompanist Gary Finger. Among Roberge’s memories of his tenure, the one that stands out as his favorite isn’t musical. While in his 30s, he came out to his parents, urged by fellow chorus members who thought they should see him sing a solo rendition of “Old Man River” at an upcoming concert.

Though he had a good relationship with them that included strong support for his music, Roberge worried that telling them his truth would damage it. His mother cried upon hearing the news, but not for reasons he’d feared.

“‘How many concerts did I miss?’ was her question to me,” he said. “She was so upset that she’d missed all that time — five years with the chorus at that point.”

Immediately, she and her father left the house for a series of face-to-face visits, ultimately inviting 30 friends to the concert. “And all of them came,” Roberge said. “It truly meant it was a non-issue. It was a very moving and touching experience. Not just for myself, but for the chorus, and anyone that attended that concert.”

The wonderful affirmation still makes him smile.

“I ended up, living in the state of New Hampshire, having an excellent coming out story, with an organization that believes we need to show that we are just average people,” he said. “That’s a very positive experience that I had with the chorus.”

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
When: Fridays, 7:30 p.m., Saturdays, 2 & 7:30 p.m., Sundays, 2 p.m. through May 12
Where: Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester
Tickets: $28 and up at palacetheatre.org

Featured Photo: Austin Mirsoltani and Rachel Gubow in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.

Stay in the loop!

Get FREE weekly briefs on local food, music,

arts, and more across southern New Hampshire!