August Staff Picks

Events Bringing the Heat

The last full month of summer is known for vacation getaways, but there’s plenty to do right here in and around the city this August. The ArtsBoston staff weighed in on just a few of their favorite arts and culture picks…

What We’re Recommending:


Black Heritage Trail | Presented by the Museum of African-American History

Now – August 31

“Growing up in Boston, I learned about historic figures like Phillis Wheatley and Frederick Douglass, but I never knew of the vibrant black community that lived on Beacon Hill and were instrumental in the movement to end slavery. The Black Heritage Trail is a truly fascinating tour that brings to life the stories of that powerful community.”


DIRTY POP: A Boy-Band Burlesque | Presented by American Repertory Theater

August 2 – 5

“This event is jam-packed with things I love: burlesque, 90’s pop, boy bands, and a big birthday party. Any night at A.R.T.’s OBERON is sure to be a good time, but I’m ready to dance to the ‘Music of My Heart’ this summer for DIRTY POP. When me and my friends roll up, ‘We’ve Got It Goin’ On’ — join us!”


SoWa First Friday | Presented by SoWa Artists Guild

August 3

“Having just moved to this area, one of my new favorite summer activities is simply walking around and taking in how beautiful the city is. Often that involves grabbing an iced coffee and wandering through the SoWa Galleries. Their work covers a wide variety of contemporary art, from jewelry to sculptures to paintings, and it’s ever changing! First Friday is even more exciting because it allows me to talk to a number of the eighty plus artists that showcase their work at the galleries, and potentially hear about what they have brewing for upcoming projects. There’s seriously no better way to spend a beautiful Friday night than enjoying art and being surrounded by a community of people passionate about their work!”


Mamma Mia! | Presented by North Shore Music Theatre

August 7 – September 2

“I have been a fan of Broadway veteran David Elder for years.  He’s a true triple-threat.  He has played all the ‘song-and-dance’ man roles on Broadway and we don’t really have anyone like him coming up in the ranks. David will be performing in Mamma Mia! at North Shore Music Theatre along with other Broadway actors Tari Kelly, Erica Mansfield, and Christopher Carl.  To see so many Broadway performers up-close and personal in the round will be cool — summer pun intended.”


Neighborhood Nights Block Party: Cosmic Cycle | Presented by Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum

August 9

“The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum puts on a block party like nothing you’ve ever seen. With interactive activities and performances happening both inside and outside, the old mansion bustles with life beyond what Isabella could have ever imagined. From performers in wearable sculptures to dance workshops to martial arts demonstrations, there’s truly something for everyone, regardless of your age. Learn to carve stone, listen to Afro-Caribbean percussion music, or pick up a snack from a food truck — it’s a museum experience done your way, with the neighborhood’s comfort and enjoyment at the center of planning. I can’t wait to see what other surprises the night has in store!”


Della Mae | Presented by Rockport Music

August 15

“With Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again in movie theaters everywhere, it seems like girl groups are more ‘in’ than ever. Della Mae’s bluegrass stylings are quite different from ABBA’s work, but the spirit and joy is the same. Della Mae is back on tour after a considerable hiatus, so we are lucky to have this GRAMMY-nominated band back in the area, just a stone’s throw from Boston, the city where they first performed. These women strive to create ‘peace and understanding through music’; I think we could all use more of that right now.”


The Book of Mormon | Presented by Lexus Broadway in Boston

August 14 – 26

“Before double-EGOT winner Robert Lopez penned the tune that launched a million child off-key sing-alongs (Frozen’s ubiquitous “Let It Go”), he worked on decidedly more adult material. The Book of Mormon, the outrageous musical comedy that Lopez wrote with South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Word. While certain aspects of the plot have some issues, for me it’s the quintessential musical theatre score that pays homage to its predecessors while still sounding contemporary that makes it a must-see. The show been playing to sold-out houses since it premiered on Broadway in 2011 (and picked up nine Tony Awards), and has launched sitting productions in Chicago, London, Australia, as well as two U.S. national tours. This will actually be the tour’s fourth time in Boston – the most recent of which was in 2015 when it had the distinction of being the last production to play the Colonial Theatre before the venue closed… until just last month when it reopened – and I personally can’t wait to welcome it back to town!”


French Pastels: Treasures from the Vault | Presented by Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Now – January 6

“I have always loved Impressionist Art, but often prefer paintings and sculptures to the style’s drawn or sketched pieces. I’m looking forward to having the MFA’s ‘French Pastels: Treasures from the Vault’ challenge my point-of-view. Degas is one of my favorite artists, so I’m eager to see his iconic piece Dancers Resting at the center of this curated exhibit. I’m excited to see what else the MFA’s massive collection has in store for visitors by way of pastels — like any trip to the MFA, I’m sure my August visit will be full of pleasant surprises.”

Check out all these picks and more on the ArtsBoston Calendar.

What arts or cultural event are you most excited for this month? Let us know on Twitter by tweeting us, @artsboston!

Want weekly recommendations on what to see and do in Boston?

Pictured above: The Broadway cast of Mamma Mia! performs.

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