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Show and Tell: The 2019-20 Performing Arts Preview


Published September 11, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.

Richard Marx: An Acoustic Evening of Love Songs - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Richard Marx: An Acoustic Evening of Love Songs

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. We can imagine that the fine folks behind the Middlebury Performing Arts Series might have a frayed poster with that Vermonty maxim hanging somewhere in their offices. After all, the venerable Middlebury College program has presented world-renowned classical and chamber music — with a sprinkling of jazz, theater and dance — for the past 100 years in the idyllic college town.

A century is a long time. For context, when the Middlebury series started, it likely celebrated the 150th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven's birth. Don't think there won't be a fuss over his 250th.

But more than an achievement in longevity, Middlebury's centenary speaks to the enduring power and value of the performing arts. Simply put, participating in the arts, whether as players or witnesses, helps make us who we are. They celebrate our differences while bringing into focus our universal humanity.

Just as importantly, the arts dare us to think outside of our daily existence and dream big. That's not opinion; it's a fact. As Albert Einstein put it, "Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." Thanks, Al.

The 2019-20 performing arts season in Vermont promises to whisk audiences to new heights of imagination and whimsy. At venues around the state, programs are loaded with performances that will entertain and inspire: from community theater productions to full-on Broadway blitzes; from noble re-creations of Shakespeare to improv comedy riffs on the Bard; from intimate acoustic sets by such legends as Arlo Guthrie and Graham Nash to tribute acts honoring the Beatles, David Bowie and Eric Clapton; from chamber concerts to orchestral galas; from gravity-defying cirque to elegant dance; from exotic jazz to down-home Americana. The only question is: Where to begin?

The answer: on these pages. We've pored over season programs and highlighted a sampling from every genre and presenting organization. But of course this is only a snapshot.

To fully experience the variety of shows on offer around the Green Mountains, you'll have to do a little legwork of your own. To help, we've made some suggestions, Pandora-style, following each spotlight. But don't be afraid to take a chance on something new. After all, the Middlebury Performing Arts Series didn't make it to 100 by simply putting Symphony No. 5 on repeat.

Happy performing arts season — and happy 250th, Ludwig!

— Dan Bolles

Richard Marx: An Acoustic Evening of Love Songs

Friday, February 21, 7:30 p.m., Paramount Theatre, $29-59.

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Richard Marx? It could be the singer's raspy tenor, his earnest love songs — like 1989's "Right Here Waiting" — or maybe even the time he made headlines in 2016 for subduing an unruly passenger on a Korean Air flight. (Google "Richard Marx to the rescue" for one hell of a story.)

In-flight heroism aside, Marx is a prolific songwriter, and his name is attached to hits spanning pop, rock, R&B and country — think Keith Urban's "Long Hot Summer" and Luther Vandross' "Dance With My Father," for starters.

The Grammy Award winner's own hits, which pepper his 11 studio albums, include the enigmatic "Hazard," the bluesy "The Way She Loves Me" and the perennially catchy "Should've Known Better." More recently, Marx has rewarded loyal fans with a live and acoustic collection marking the 30th anniversary of his 1989 Billboard 200 No. 1 album Repeat Offender. He also released a new single, "Another One Down," this summer.

Though he no longer rocks the mullet from the "Hold On to the Nights" video, Marx can still transport fans to those endless summer nights of big hair and even bigger ballads.

— Kristen Ravin

If you like this, try...
  • An Intimate Evening of Songs & Stories with Graham Nash, Saturday, October 5, 7:30 p.m., Lebanon Opera House, $59.50-69.50.
  • Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Sunday, October 27, 7 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $45-110.
  • Martin Sexton, Saturday, January 11, 7 p.m., Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, $38-68.
  • Croce Plays Croce, Saturday, April 4, 7:30 p.m., Barre Opera House, $24-36.

Michael Ian Black: "Shut Up & Comedy"

Thursday, November 14, 7 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, November 15 and 16, 7 and 9:30 p.m., Vermont Comedy Club, $25-$32.
Michael Ian Black: "Shut Up & Comedy" - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Michael Ian Black: "Shut Up & Comedy"

In a recent standup bit, comedian Michael Ian Black relates that he and his wife went to Amsterdam on their honeymoon "for the whores ... and the Anne Frank House." He then riffs about their difficulty in getting pregnant and his fear of ending up "like one of these sad, childless couples ... who go through life sleeping late and traveling the world. That would be terrible!"

If Black's name and self-deprecating humor aren't instantly recognizable to readers, his boyish face and extensive body of work should be. In the mid-1990s he was a founding member of MTV's cult-hit comedy series "The State." Black starred in the film Wet Hot American Summer (2001) and was a regular on VH-1's "I Love the..." miniseries, in which he served up pithy snark about each decade's pop-cultural flotsam.

The 48-year-old comic, who's worked with such talents as Jim Gaffigan and Amy Schumer, has also penned 11 books, including the 2016 best seller, A Child's First Book of Trump. It's a rhyming, field-guide parody about what kids should do when spotting a Donald Trump in the wild.

— Ken Picard

If you like this, try...
  • Nick Kroll, "Middle-Aged Boy Tour," Thursday, September 26, 8 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $37.75.
  • Paula Poundstone, Saturday, October 12, 8 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $25-52; Friday, February 7, 7 p.m., Dibden Center for the Arts, $25-45.
  • Nikki Glaser, Thursday through Saturday, October 17 through 19, 7 & 9:30 p.m., Vermont Comedy Club, $25-32.
  • Ron Funches, "Merriment Marauder Tour," Friday and Saturday, November 8 and 9, 7 & 9:30 p.m., Vermont Comedy Club, $25-32.

Rhiannon Giddens

Sunday, September 29, 7 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $25-55.
Rhiannon Giddens - COURTESY OF KAREN COX
  • Courtesy Of Karen Cox
  • Rhiannon Giddens

A 2010 cover of R&B singer Blu Cantrell's smash single "Hit 'Em Up Style" launched the Carolina Chocolate Drops to viral fame. Found on the group's Grammy Award-winning record, Genuine Negro Jig, the twangy interpretation fit well with the North Carolina string band's eclectic assemblage of original material and traditional Appalachian folk tunes. Throughout that album, the musicians sought to explore and reclaim the black roots of a genre largely dominated by white artists.

In recent years, CCD front person Rhiannon Giddens has released a string of solo albums charged with similar explorations. Most recently, the multi-instrumentalist teamed up with Italian jazz player Francesco Turrisi. Together, the duo crafted a borderline experimental collection of songs that combines Giddens' folk background with modern jazz, opera and traditional Italian music.

"It's not so much that this one is a personal record, but I could express myself using all of what I do in a way I haven't really been able to do before," she told Rolling Stone in May.

Atop the engrossing effort with Turrisi, Giddens also created the score for the Nashville Ballet's production of Lucy Negro Redux and contributed to the collaborative anthology Songs of Our Native Daughters.

— Jordan Adams

If you like this, try...
  • Black Violin, "Impossible Tour," Sunday, October 13, 7 p.m., Dibden Center for the Arts, $28.50-48.50.
  • Angélique Kidjo, "Remain in Light," Tuesday, April 7, 7:30 p.m., Hopkins Center for the Arts, $12-55.
  • Mipso, Friday, April 17, 7:30 p.m., Lane Series at the UVM Recital Hall, $5-30.


Thursday, April 30, 7:30 p.m., Hopkins Center for the Arts, $18-30.
  • Courtesy Of Elman Studio
  • Cartography

"It's such a gift to understand the world as one of migration as opposed to these hot points of tension and trauma," says author and illustrator Christopher Myers. Along with director Kaneza Schaal, he's the cocreator of Cartography, a theatrical "live documentary" that stitches together the stories of Eritrean and Syrian refugees fleeing to Europe in one of the largest mass migrations in history.

Myers and Schaal conceived the project while working with refugee youth in Munich and discovering how many had shared experiences, regardless of where they came from. "There was one moment where a young woman from Syria, who was living in the same residence as someone from Nigeria, realized they had both been on inflatable rafts on the Mediterranean," says Schaal. "There was this moment of understanding between them: 'You know what I am talking about.'"

The hope with Cartography is that through a cunning blend of dance, film, sound-sensor technology and, yes, map-making, such understanding passes from stage to crowd. As DC Metro Theater Arts critic David Siegel observed, the ripped-from-headlines work "explores a world alive with transitions and movement by characters speaking their minds; representing those often made purposely invisible by others."

— D.B.

If you like this, try...
  • The Telling Project, Saturday, November 23, 7 p.m., Northern Vermont University-Lyndon, $25, students free; and Sunday, November 24, 3 p.m., Highland Center for the Arts, $25, students free.
  • Ashley Fure, "The Force of Things," Wednesday through Friday, April 1 through 3, 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, April 4 and 5, 2 & 7:30 p.m., Hopkins Center for the Arts, $18-30.
  • Miwa Matrayek, Infinitely Yours and Myth and Infrastructure, Sunday, April 5, 2 p.m.; and Monday, April 6, 7:30 p.m., Hopkins Center for the Arts, $21-35.

Kinetic Light: Descent

Wednesday, October 30, 7:30 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $15-45.
Kinetic Light: Descent  - COURTESY OF JAY NEWMAN
  • Courtesy Of Jay Newman
  • Kinetic Light: Descent

More than 100 years ago, French sculptor Auguste Rodin challenged Western ideals of female beauty. In his "Toilette de Vénus et Andromède," two mythical women from Europe and Ethiopia immerse in the sensuality of bathing, inviting viewers to rediscover magnificence through a multicultural lens.

Inspired by Rodin's sculpture, contemporary choreographer Alice Sheppard's dance work Descent shows Venus and Andromeda reveling in the sensuality of connection, trust, risk and effort. They invite viewers into the gorgeousness of intimacy, the beauty of racial and ethnic diversity, and the kinetic thrill of dance — in and out of wheelchairs.

Sheppard, a former member of AXIS Dance and winner of a 2019 Creative Capital Award, intertwines art, architecture, movement and social justice to expand the genre of wheelchair dance. Set on a visually stunning ramp engineered with slopes, peaks and flat surfaces, Descent is an adventure in movement that confounds expectations.

Illuminated by projections of Rodin's sculptures, Sheppard and dancer Laurel Lawson careen down the slope, the wheels of their chairs within inches of the edge. They use gravity and centrifugal force to lift each other. They lie prone to caress the air or perch animal-like on the ramp's peak. Throughout Descent, the duo harnesses physics for a joyous romp through the unlimited possibilities of the dancing body.

— Elizabeth M. Seyler

If you like this, try...
  • Kimberly Bartosik: I hunger for you, Friday, October 18, 8 p.m., FlynnSpace, $35.
  • Martha Graham Dance Company, Friday, January 17, 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, January 18, 2 & 7:30 p.m., Hopkins Center for the Arts, $18-60.
  • MOMIX: Viva MOMIX, Sunday, February 9, 7 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $25-60.
  • Pilobolus, Friday, February 21, 7 p.m., Lyndon Institute Auditorium, $15-54.

Okaidja Afroso

Friday, March 27, 7:30 p.m., Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, $5-30.
  • Courtesy Of Elijah Hassan
  • Okaidja Afroso

West Africa is rich in accomplished musicians, many of whom reach international renown. Born into a family of musicians and griots in Kokrobite, Ghana, Okaidja Afroso just might have the performing life embedded in his genetic code. Initially, he was a dancer in the prestigious Ghana Dance Ensemble; he later became an instrumentalist — on guitar and percussion — as well as a singer-songwriter and composer.

Over time, Okaidja's career shifted as he began to investigate the music of the African diaspora. Today, his music intertwines with that of North and Latin America, and he cites influences as diverse as Johnny Cash and Bobby McFerrin (though listeners may not readily hear those artists reflected in his Afrocentric rhythms). Okaidja's aim is to create the music of the human experience. "It is the fluidity of the innumerably complex sounds that makes his music timeless and soothing," wrote a reviewer for Impose magazine in 2017.

As Okaidja himself says in one of his videos, "We are very fortunate to have a solid foundation in the music of West Africa, but at the same time, we want to push the envelope." An Okaidja Afroso concert of music and dance, he suggests, is "where you can recharge your spirit." His Vermont audience will no doubt welcome that experience come March.

— Pamela Polston

If you like this, try...
  • Tinariwen, Wednesday, September 25, 7:30 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $15-45.
  • Mashrou' Leila, Saturday, September 28, 7:30 p.m., Hopkins Center for the Arts, $12-45.
  • The Garifuna Collective, Thursday, October 10, 7:30 p.m., FlynnSpace, $25.

Sesame Street Live!: C Is for Celebration

Friday, September 20, 2 & 6 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $15-35; Saturday, September 21, 1 & 4 p.m., Paramount Theatre, $20-40.
Sesame Street Live!: C Is for Celebration - COURTESY
  • courtesy
  • Sesame Street Live!: C Is for Celebration

Generations of youngsters have learned the ABCs with help from "Sesame Street." The entertaining and educational children's TV show reaches 150 million kids around the world and celebrates five decades on the air this year.

In a February feature for the Hollywood Reporter, Marisa Guthrie wrote, "There are a few TV shows that have been on the air longer — 'Meet the Press,' 'Doctor Who,' 'The Tonight Show' — but none has made a bigger impact, or at least taught as many people the alphabet."

The program's furry friends Elmo, Abby, Rosita, Cookie Monster and Super Grover take the leap from screen to stage for Sesame Street Live!: C Is for Celebration, a live-action show that follows everybody's favorite monsters as they throw a party for their pals.

This high-energy production plays out in intimate theater settings at a kid-friendly runtime of 45 minutes. Costumed characters sing, dance and play alongside human castmates on a set that mirrors the TV show's urban row-house neighborhood.

Be they young or young at heart, audience members are sure to be humming the TV theme songs for days: "Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Streeeet?"

— K.R.

If you like this, try...
  • The Addams Family, Thursday and Friday, November 7 and 8, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, November 9, 1 & 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, November 10, 1 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $24-42.
  • Nick Jr. Live! Move to the Music, Tuesday and Wednesday, February 4 and 5, 6 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $22.50-107.25.
  • Matilda: The Musical, Thursday and Friday, April 2 and 3, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 4, 1 and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, April 5, 1 and 6 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $24-42.

The Just and the Blind

Thursday, January 16, 7:30 p.m., Hopkins Center for the Arts, $24-40.
The Just and the Blind - COURTESY OF FADI KHEIR
  • Courtesy Of Fadi Kheir
  • The Just and the Blind

"At the DMV, my boy is in line to officially enter his prime suspect years," Marc Bamuthi Joseph told the crowd at a TEDx event in Palo Alto, Calif., in October 2018. In his reverberating baritone voice, his cadence dancing between lecture and poetry, he spoke of raising a black son, and of his then-upcoming performance piece The Just and the Blind. It premiered at Carnegie Hall in March to a sold-out crowd.

Joseph, the vice president and artistic director of social impact at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, is a performer who blends dance and spoken word poetry. He developed The Just and the Blind with acclaimed violinist and composer Daniel Bernard Roumain. [See spotlight on page 36.] The performance also features dancer Drew Dollaz and vocalist Somi.

Through music, lyrics and movement, the artists explore race and the judicial and penal systems.

"It's a duet for voice and violin," Joseph told the crowd in Palo Alto, "really about my son, who's moving from boy to man, and moving from being observed to being profiled."

— Margaret Grayson

If you like this, try...
  • Vermont Reads: March: Book One, A Visit With Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, Monday, October 7, 7 p.m., Flynn MainStage, free.
  • L.A. Theatre Works: Seven, Tuesday and Wednesday, March 3 and 4, 7:30 p.m., Middlebury College, $6-22.
  • Sara Juli, Burnt-Out Wife, Friday and Saturday, April 17 and 18, 8 p.m., FlynnSpace, $30.

RUBBERBAND Dance: Vic's Mix

Saturday, November 16, 7 p.m., Dibden Center for the Arts, $25-45.
  • Courtesy Of Bill Hebert
  • RUBBERBAND Dance: Vic's Mix

In the video teaser for Vic's Mix, members of RUBBERBAND Dance spar for dominance with high-energy hip-hop moves, but to classical music, not rap — specifically, Sergei Prokofiev's "Dance of the Knights" from Romeo and Juliet. The juxtaposition of these dance and music genres is reminiscent of Jerome Robbins' 1957 Broadway hit West Side Story, but RUBBERBAND choreographer Victor Quijada propels his blend of ballet, jazz, modern and raw street dance into daring territory.

Viewers of Vic's Mix may find themselves needing to catch their breath. In a duet, dancers play out the psychological torture of love, loss and betrayal with volatile, arresting embraces. Four dancers in the corners of an imaginary boxing ring duel with low-to-the-ground, full-body kicks and reaches. Individuals burst out of a pack to affirm their individuality with fist-pumping, head-snapping, athletic bravado.

Vic's Mix charts the past 15 years of Quijada's choreographic repertoire. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he began dancing hip-hop in clubs as a teen and, within years, was dancing with superstar Twyla Tharp and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. In 2002, he founded RUBBERBAND and created a new movement style that combines classical ballet's precision, contemporary dance's freedom and hip-hop's explosive energy. In seven acts, Vic's Mix takes dance to new heights.

— E.M.S.

If you like this, try...
  • Swan Lake, Thursday, November 14, 7:30 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $30-70.
  • Dance Theatre of Harlem, Wednesday, November 20, 7:30 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $25-58.
  • Stomp, Friday, January 3, 7 p.m.; and Saturday, January 4, 2 & 7 p.m., Paramount Theatre, $29-49.
  • Malpaso Dance Company, Saturday, February 29, 8 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $15-45.

Randy Rainbow Live

Saturday, October 5, 8 p.m., Flynn Mainstage, $50-91.50.
Randy Rainbow Live - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Randy Rainbow Live

There's viral and then there's really freaking viral. Randy Rainbow's internet videos easily rank in the latter category. His political musical parodies have racked up more than a hundred million views. Rainbow's videos involve clever appropriation of actual news footage — he inserts himself as an "interviewer" — and compositions that set his hilarious lyrics to well-known pop or musical theater tunes.

Way back in time, during the 2016 presidential debates, Rainbow's video "Braggadocious!" (to the tune: "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious") got 28 million views in just two days. A recent parody is titled "Cheeto Christ Stupid-Czar" (you got this one). With an angelic face and emotive tenor, Rainbow could be a cast member from Book of Mormon, albeit with pink-framed cat-eye glasses. It's hard to say which of his talents is most brilliant: songwriting, video editing or keeping a straight face while chiding an agitated president, "Calm down, bitch."

Rainbow's video "Barr!" was nominated for an Emmy Award this year in the Outstanding Short Form Variety Series — winners will be announced September 22. Soon after that, he'll appear at the Flynn. If you're wondering how a YouTube sensation presents an in-person show, not to worry: Rainbow has performed on Broadway and in cabarets and nightclubs, too — and, guurrl, his shows are selling out across the land.

— P.P.

If you like this, try...
  • Jo Firestone Presents: "Zingers!," Thursday, September 26, 7 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, September 27 and 28, 7 & 9:30 p.m., Vermont Comedy Club, $20-27.
  • The Office! A Musical Parody, Friday, October 11, 7:30 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $39-70.50.
  • Nick Offerman, "All Rise Tour," Saturday, October 26, 7 & 10 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $42-66.
  • Ms. Pat, Friday and Saturday, November 29 and 30, 7 & 9:30 p.m., Vermont Comedy Club, $20-27.

Daniel Bernard Roumain

Friday, December 13, 8 p.m., FlynnSpace, $25; Saturday, February 8, 10 a.m., Flynn MainStage Lobby, free, preregister; with TURNmusic on Saturday, February 8, 8 p.m., FlynnSpace, $20; with Vermont Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, May 2, 7:30 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $15-60.
Daniel Bernard Roumain - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Daniel Bernard Roumain

Get to know the name Daniel Bernard Roumain, because the classically trained violinist and composer plans to be in Burlington a lot throughout the coming season. Known to many as DBR, the artist will visit for five weeklong residencies between December and May.

A first-generation Haitian American, Roumain creates stimulating, musically complex and thematically diverse work. Calling on movement, opera, spoken word or a combination of artistic disciplines, his inventive performances are rooted in activism.

In the past, his compositions and performances have examined topics such as the 1985 bombing of West Philadelphia black liberation group MOVE's headquarters; the duality of Haitian identity; the 1963 Stand in the Schoolhouse Door protest in Tuscaloosa, Ala.; and the ongoing incarceration of black youth.

During his Vermont residencies, Roumain will premiere two new pieces. In October — exact date TBD — he'll stage a 24-hour piece in front of Burlington City Hall, tentatively titled "Protest Song." Guest musicians will join him via Skype. In May, he presents "Riots and Prayers" with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. The new works, and his residencies, will celebrate the positive aspects of immigration.

— J.A.

If you like this, try...
  • Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Friday, October 4, 7:30 p.m., Hopkins Center for the Arts, $18-65.
  • Chick Corea Trilogy, Tuesday, October 15, 7:30 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $25-65.
  • Turtle Island Quartet and Cyrus Chestnut, Friday, November 22, 7:30 p.m., Mahaney Arts Center, $6-20.
  • Imani Winds and Harlem Quartet: "Passion for Bach and Coltrane," Tuesday, March 31, 7:30 p.m., Hopkins Center for the Arts, $12-45.

Ranky Tanky

Friday, November 1, 7:30 p.m., Barre Opera House, $22-36.
  • Courtesy Of Peter Frank Edwards
  • Ranky Tanky

According to Gullah folk medicine, one tried and true way to cure a headache is to tie an eel skin around your head. We might take a pass on that particular remedy from the Low Country region of South Carolina and Georgia. Instead, we'd offer an alternative treatment: the music of Ranky Tanky.

OK, so the Charleston, S.C., band's music isn't exactly soothing, per se — a loose West African translation for the phrase ranky tanky is "get funky" or "work it." But their steamy blend of gutbucket blues and spiritual music sure is good for what ails you. Composed of ace jazz players and fronted by vocal dynamo Quiana Parler, Ranky Tanky deliver a nourishing sound rooted in Gullah tradition that NPR termed "soulful honey to the ears."

On its latest album, Good Time, released in July, the quintet updates its sound with its first batch of original tunes inspired by Gullah music rather than drawn directly from that culture. But all you really need to know about them derives from the title track's lyrics: "Good time, a good time / We're gonna have a good time."

— D.B.

If you like this, try...
  • Brian McCarthy Nonet, Thursday and Friday, November 7 and 8, 7 p.m., FlynnSpace, $25.
  • Damien Sneed's "We Shall Overcome: A Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.," Wednesday, January 22, 7:30 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $15-50.
  • Charles Lloyd & the Marvels with Lucinda Williams, Friday, April 17, 8 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $25-62.

FLIP Fabrique: Blizzard

Thursday and Friday, December 5 and 6, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, December 7, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, December 8, 2 p.m., Hopkins Center for the Arts, $12-40; Sunday, March 15, 3 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $25-55.
  • Courtesy Of Sebastien Durocher
  • FLIP Fabrique: Blizzard

One can only imagine what a brainstorming session for show themes at a circus would look like. But whoever came up with Blizzard, the title of FLIP Fabrique's winter show, deserves a raise. What better inspiration for acrobatic movement than the twisting, twirling, silent cacophony of snowfall? And what better inspiration for theater than the cabin-feverish antics of human beings — cooped up, bundled up and maybe driven a little crazy by the cold?

A Québec-based cirque troupe founded by friends, FLIP Fabrique has performed in 150 cities in nearly 20 countries. Its shows feature acrobatics, juggling, dramatic storytelling through movement, live music and, in the case of Blizzard, a fair amount of the white stuff. Remember how it felt to play in the snow? You will.

— M.G.

If you like this, try...
  • The Cashore Marionettes, Saturday, November 16, 2 & 8 p.m., FlynnSpace, $25.
  • Vitaly: "An Evening of Wonders," Friday, November 29, 3 & 7 p.m., Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, $22-35.
  • Peking Acrobats, Tuesday, March 17, 7 p.m., Flynn MainStage, $15-45; and Wednesday, March 25, 7 p.m., Dibden Center for the Arts, $25-45.

Roomful of Teeth and Dublin Guitar Quartet

Thursday, January 20, 7:30 p.m., Mahaney Arts Center, $30.
Roomful of Teeth and Dublin Guitar Quartet - COURTESY OF BONICA AYALA
  • Courtesy Of Bonica Ayala
  • Roomful of Teeth and Dublin Guitar Quartet

Roomful of Teeth are "a lab experiment for the human voice," wrote Burkhard Bilger in a feature about the new-music singing group for the New Yorker last February.

Make that a mind-blowingly innovative experiment. Roomful's eight singers perform only commissioned works that explore and blend voice techniques ranging from Tuvan throat singing to Korean P'ansori to heavy metal singing. The sounds they make are like those of no other group singing today — "both primal and sophisticated, ancient and startlingly modern," as Bilger noted.

In January, the octet comes to Middlebury for its third appearance in Vermont since 2013. (That's the year the group won a Grammy Award for its first album and member Caroline Shaw — a mezzo-soprano and composer — won the Pulitzer Prize for Partita for 8 Voices, a work she composed for the group.) This time, Roomful are joined by the Dublin Guitar Quartet, a classical group that plays only new music. On the program is a new arrangement of a 2015 work by Vermont-born composer Nico Muhly.

If audiences missed Roomful's appearance at the University of Vermont's Lane Series in 2014 or New Music on the Point in Leicester in June, this is the time to catch them. Your ears will be amazed.

— Amy Lilly

If you like this, try...
  • Matt Haimovitz & Simone Dinnerstein, Friday, October 11, 7:30 p.m., Lane Series at UVM Recital Hall, $5-35.
  • Nico Muhly Project, Saturday, October 26, 7 p.m., Chandler Center for the Arts, $10-20.
  • Neave Trio, Saturday, November 16, 7:30 p.m., Chandler Center for the Arts, $27-30.
  • Takács Quartet, Saturday, April 18, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 19, 3 p.m., Mahaney Arts Center, $6-30.

Dom La Nena

Friday, October 18, 7:30 p.m., UVM Recital Hall, $5-25.
  • Courtesy Of Jeremiah
  • Dom La Nena

The University of Vermont's Lane Series is renowned for meticulously curated programming that stands at the vanguard of chamber, folk and world music. It is less known as a bastion of hipster-approved indie fare. That might change when Brazilian singer Dom La Nena comes to town in October.

Based in Paris, the quadrilingual chanteuse has drawn comparisons to an ear-popping array of indie icons. The Wall Street Journal likened her progressive flair for arrangement to that of "a young Brian Wilson." Time Out New York praised her breezy, multicultural musical influences as akin to "a bossa Joanna Newsom." Meanwhile, the website Popdose called her "Cat Power's lost sister."

In concert, La Nena accompanies herself on cello, guitar, ukulele and percussion, employing an assortment of synths and loops in an ethereal blend that approaches the divine. Or, as the New Yorker put it: "Dom is like a magician, and every song sounds sacred."

— D.B.

If you like this, try...
  • Darlingside, Friday, September 20, 7:30 p.m., Chandler Center for the Arts, $10-45.
  • Alicia Olatuja, Friday, February 14, 6 & 8:30 p.m., Lane Series at FlynnSpace, $35.
  • Patrick Watson, Saturday, April 11, 8:30 p.m., Higher Ground Ballroom, $20.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Show and tell | the 2019-20 performing arts preview"

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