May Staff Picks

April showers bring May flowers, and Boston’s May events calendar is flourishing. The selections for this month represent the myriad ways in which we can tell, or re-imagine, stories, plus music like you’ve never heard before.

Gabriel: Stoneham Theatre
Now – May 14| BosTix Deal Available
A complex play, equal parts witty and chilling, that challenges our assumptions of right and wrong, and what we are willing to give up during times of crisis. During WWII, the Germans occupied Guernsey Island (Little known fact: Winston Churchill approved of this so that Germany would not go further west), attempting to make it a fortress. When a mysterious man washes up on shore with no memory of who he is – he speaks both English and German flawlessly – 10-year-old Estelle and her family must decide whether to shelter this lost stranger or turn him over to the Nazis.

The National Center for Jewish Film’s 20th Anniversary Film Festival: Museum of Fine Arts
Now – May 21
The National Center for Jewish Film’s annual festival is a vibrant program of new independent films and restored classics from around the world, documenting the diversity of Jewish life and experience. This year’s festival headliner is Avi Nesher’s film Past Life, “which tracks the daring late 1970s odyssey of two sisters – an introverted classical musician and a rambunctious scandal sheet journalist – as they unravel a shocking wartime mystery that has cast a dark shadow on their lives.” Many of the screenings will be accompanied by conversations with the directors.

Latinas, Music by Latin American Women Composers & Arrangers: La Donna Musicale – RUMBARROCO
May 6
La Donna Musicale – RUMBARROCO ‘s mission is “to unite diverse communities by highlighting the fusion and confluence of the cultures of Europe, Africa, and the Americas through musical performances and educational outreach.” Their new concert, Latinas, features music composed or arranged by Latin American women from the 16th century to the present. Meaning, you probably didn’t learn about them in music class. The music – Early and contemporary, classical, folk, popular, and fusion – will be performed on historical and folkloric instruments.

Desire: Zeitgeist Stage Company
Now – May 20| BosTix Deal Available
Adapted from Tennessee Williams’ short stories, these six short plays were written by some of the most important contemporary playwrights: Elizabeth Egloff, Marcus Gardley, Rebecca Gilman, David Grimm, John Guare, and Beth Henley. As the name suggests, these plays explore love and innocence, isolation and loss, and are a vital reminder that great stories can have the power to change our lives.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Actors’ Shakespeare Project
May 10 – June 4| BosTix Deal Available
There’s a reason that Shakespeare’s hilarious and hallucinatory A Midsummer Night’s Dream is also his most popular play. Since “the course of true love never did run smooth,” we follow Hermia and Lysander, Helena and Demetrius, into the forest, where they meet with the meddling of fairies.  Set in a hideaway location that simultaneously evokes Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the “White Box” of Peter Brook’s 1970 production, this is a rave that celebrates the sublime and the ridiculous. Boasting the sweetest and most vicious love scenes, and music that both stimulates and soothes the savage beast, this is the party to crash!

Arrabal: American Repertory Theater
May 12 – June 18| BosTix Deal Available
Heat things up and head into the summer with Arrabal, a new tango-infused dance-theatre piece. This piece by Sergio Trujillo (choreography: Invisible Thread, Memphis, Jersey Boys, On Your Feet!, Next To Normal) with music by Academy Award winner Gustavo Santaolalla (Brokeback Mountain, Babel, The Motorcycle Diaries) and book by Tony Award nominee John Weidman (Contact, Assassins), follows a woman as she attempts to understand the violence that erupted in Argentina, and took her father away.

The 11th Annual Boston Handbell Festival: South Church in Boston
May 16 | Free
The Boston Handbell Festival brings together local community handbell ensembles–the Back Bay Ringers, Merrimack Valley Ringers, New England Ringers, and Old South Ringers–and an invited guest choir, for an evening of massed and solo ringing in Old South’s beautiful sanctuary. The concert is free and open to the public. Many audience members at the BHF are seeing handbells for the first time!

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