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Les Miserables on Stage at Plymouth State University

October 18th, 2013 by Lynn

    PLYMOUTH — Students in the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Plymouth State University will present a musical theatre version of Victor Hugo’s famous story Les Miserables, October 24–27 in the Hanaway Theatre at the Silver Center for the Arts.

    The Tony Award-winning musical is the ultimate romantic story of oppression, justice, freedom, duty and longing. The Broadway production of Les Miserables premiered in 1987 and remains the fourth longest-running Broadway show of all time.

    After spending years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread, Jean Valjean is released and discovers that despite his best attempts to live a good life, it is impossible to leave his past behind. No one will hire the former convict. Against a backdrop of the revolution brewing in France, Valjean finds himself pursued by his former jailor, Inspector Javert. Honor, love and humanity are celebrated in the heart-wrenching finale of this mega-musical with a popular score of beautiful melodies and stirring anthems that includes I Dreamed a Dream, Master of the House and On My Own.

    PSU faculty member Sharon Paquette is directing the production, which she says poses a range of challenges, from meeting patrons’ preconceived expectations for this familiar show, to getting all 37 cast members on stage for ensemble numbers, to guiding students as they learn the intricacies of blending the music and stage movement. The show is sung all the way through—there is no spoken dialog.

    Paquette says that along with music director Professor Kathleen Arecchi and choreographer Lisa Travis, she is pushing the actors to find the grittiness of the story. “We are not sugar coating it at all. Each day we realize how many of the themes in the play and novel are still plaguing our country, and we work with the students to think about that and include those thoughts process in their creation process.” She says the students are working diligently, have wonderful ideas and are courageous. “It’s their passion,” Paquette says.

    Principal players in the cast include:

    Mike Dodge, a senior music major from Northwood as Jean Valjean; Brad Fernald, a senior communication studies major from Hudson as Inspector Javert; Eben Brown, a senior music education major from Dorchester as Thenardier; and Sam St. Jean, a junior theatre arts major from Goffstown as Enjolras. Also Alyssa Dumas, a senior theatre arts major from Manchester as Fantine; Georgia Noonan, a sophomore music education major from Raymond as Cosette; Olivia Opal, a sophomore theatre arts major from Hampden, Mass., as Eponine and Danielle Aucoin, a junior theatre arts major from Hudson, Mass., as Mme. Thenardier. Nineteen other students depict multiple ensemble roles.

    Area children in the cast are Ainsley Towers of Thornton as Gavroche, Mackenzie Jolli of Bridgewater as Young Cosette and Kayla Sassan of Meredith as Young Eponine.

    Performances are October 24 and 26 at 8 p.m., October 25 at 7 p.m. and October 26 and 27 at 2 p.m.

    Tickets for Lis Miserables are $21 for adults, $17 for seniors and $15 for youth at the Silver Center Box Office, (603) 535-2787 or (800) 779-3869. Tickets are also available online at silver.plymouth.edu.

    Trumpet and Jazz performances at PSU Oct. 6 and 8

    October 3rd, 2013 by Lynn

      PLYMOUTH — The De­partment of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Plymouth State University will pres­ent two musical events in early October.

      “A Faculty Recital: New Voices, New Colors” will be presented in the Smith Re­cital Hall, Silver Center for the Arts, at 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6. There is no charge for admission.

      PSU trumpet faculty Fred Sienkiewicz and New York-based pianist, composer, and conductor Thomas Weaver will perform a pro­gram mixing fresh Ameri­can works with a creative rethinking of works by Old World masters. The straightforward and un­abashedly beautiful sounds of Chicago’s James Stephen­son and lush urban harmo­nies of Manhattan composer Eric Ewazen are juxtaposed with Jean Francaix’s witty light-heartedness, Alexan­der Glazunov’s Russian Ro­mantic passion, and Johann Sebastian Bach’s majestic optimism.

      Sienkiewicz teaches trumpet and brass chamber music at Plymouth State University, Gordon College and Keene State College. He enjoys a varied career performing classical solo, chamber, and orchestral music with a wide range of collaborators. Mr. Sien­kiewicz can often be heard performing with profes­sional orchestras through­out eastern Massachusetts including the Cape Cod Symphony, Neponset Val­ley Philharmonic, Nashua Symphony, Symphony by the Sea, Haffner Sinfonietta, and Plymouth (Mass.) Phil­harmonic. Mr. Sienkiewicz also performs as a chamber musician in concert and for ceremonies and services with ensembles such as Bala Brass, Epic Brass, and Majestic Brass.

      Thomas Weaver has per­formed as a soloist and as a chamber musician both in the United States and Ger­many. He has been featured in recitals in the greater Philadelphia area, the Chi­cago area, Boston, Lenox (MA), Virginia, and Germa­ny.

      Weaver was recently employed by the Boston University Tanglewood Institute as a staff pianist, working to accompany young musicians in master classes during the summer.

      The Plymouth State Uni­versity jazz faculty will per­form at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8 in the Studio Theatre at the Silver Center. The PSU Jazz faculty — Jim Alba (guitar), Tim Gilmore (drums), Rik Pfenninger (woodwinds), Tom Robinson (piano) and Don Williams (bass) will perform jazz standards with guest trumpeter Dave Um­stead.

      The program includes “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” by Duke Elling­ton, “Green Dolphin Street” by Bronislaw Kaper, “Angel Eyes” by Matt Dennis, “St. Thomas” by Sonny Rollins, “Take the A Train” by Billy Strayhorn, and “Well You Needn’t” by Thelonious Monk.

      Umstead is jazz director at Southern New Hampshire University and Visual and Performing Arts Depart­ment chair at Hollis-Brook­line High School. He has previously directed jazz bands at Plymouth State University and the Univer­sity of Louisville, been on staff at Jamey Aebersold’s summer Jazz Workshops, and taught in the Man­chester public schools. As a trumpeter, Umstead has performed professionally with brass quintets, orches­tras, pit orchestras, wind bands, jazz bands, jazz com­bos and fusion/rock groups.

      Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and youth at the Silver Center Box Office, 535-2787 or (800) 779-3869. Tickets are also avail­able online at silver.plym­outh.edu.

      Information about the De­partment of Music, Theatre, and Dance is online at Plym­outh.edu/mtd.

      General information about events at PSU is on­line at ThisWeek@PSU, http://thisweek.blogs.plym­outh.edu.

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      The New Gary Burton Quartet opens Silver Series at PSU Sept. 15

      September 5th, 2013 by Lynn

        The New Gary Burton Quartet, led by iconic vibraphonist and seven-time Grammy winner Gary Burton, will open the 2013-14 Silver Series for the Performing Arts Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at Plymouth State University. COURTESY

        PLYMOUTH — The New Gary Burton Quartet, led by iconic vibraphonist and seven-time Grammy winner Gary Burton, will open the 2013-14 Silver Series for the Performing Arts Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at Plymouth State University. This undisputed king of the four-mallet technique has created a winning vibe alongside an array of musicians from Chet Atkins to k.d. lang and Chick Corea.

        His new quartet features guitar virtuoso Julian Lage, rising superstar bassist Scott Colley and veteran drummer Antonio Sanchez. Dave Gelly wrote in The Observer, “It’s one thing to be a virtuoso player, which he is, but quite another to create a whole sonic world with just four musicians. That’s what Burton has been doing consistently for more than 45 years.”

        At 70 years of age, Burton is rewriting the book on retirement with a new CD release. “Guided Tour” came out Aug. 20 on Mack Avenue Records. He sought out original material from all the band’s members, illuminating their wide range of cross-cultural music styles.

        “They outdid themselves this time,” he says.

        Burton’s autobiography, “Learning to Listen: The Jazz Journey of Gary Burton” from Berklee Press hits the stands Sept. 3.

        Burton’s stature as the former executive vice president of Berklee College of Music in Boston caps three decades of life in jazz education, which coincided with his already busy career as a performer and recording artist. His reintroduction and expansion of the technique of four-mallet playing helped to create one of= the jazz world’s signature sounds.

        Tickets for the New Gary Burton Quartet in the Hanaway Theatre are $35-$30 for adults, $33-28 for seniors and $20-15 for youth at the Silver Center Box Office, 535-2787 or (800) 779-3869. Tickets are also available online at silver.plymouth.edu.

        Burton will be signing CD’s and books in the Silver Lobby after the performance.

        Silver Center Hosts Professional Children’s Theatre Papermill Theatre Actors at PSU Each Thursday Throughout Summer

        June 17th, 2013 by Lynn

          Published Date Monday, 17 June 2013 07:46

          PLYMOUTH — The Silver Center for the Arts at Plymouth State University hosts professional actors from the Papermill Theatre in Lincoln throughout the summer, presenting their repertoire of children’s stories adapted for the stage.
          Performances are 2 p.m. each Thursday. All seats (including babes in arms) are $6 and the shows usually sell out early.
          The production for June 27 is Jack and the Bean Stalk. Jack has fallen upon hard times, but between the help of a giant’s wife, a sassy beanstalk and an unwitting giant, Jack is able to reclaim fortune and make new friends along the way.
          Performances remaining this summer are:
          July 4 The Little Princess
          July 11 The Jungle Book
          July 18 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
          July 25 The Hunchback of Notre Dame
          August 1 Rapunzel
          August 8 Just So Stories
          August 15 Hansel and Gretel
          The North Country Center for the Arts Children’s Theatre has been delighting audiences for more than 20 years, with original adaptations of fairytales and folktales produced and created for children of all ages. Shows are approximately 40 minutes long and appeal to adults, and children three years and older. Characters greet the audience in the Silver Center lobby after each show.

          Seacoast Artist Russell Aharonian exhibits at PSU Silver Center April 4-22

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