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Susan Saccoccia

Stories by Susan

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Art of Jazz

The exhibit is on display through May 8 at the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African-American Art in Harvard Square

In the sensational, jam-packed show, “Art of Jazz: Form/Performance/Notes,” the captivating forms of the instruments themselves are celebrated in an installation by pianist Jason Moran. Many of the visual works stir the same feelings as the music: The excitement of brass, the consolation of the blues, the joy of swing, the gravity and warmth of lyrical improvisation.

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Poetry in motion

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performs at Citi Shubert Theatre

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago came to town last weekend, back for the first time since 2009, to perform three shows at Citi Shubert Theatre.

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Poet’s Theatre production honors Nobel Prize-winning performer

Italian man of theater Dario Fo celebrated his 90th birthday on March 24, and in Boston as well as in major cities throughout the world, fans held theater festivals and academic symposia in his honor. Boston’s celebration of Fo’s birthday featured a Poet’s Theatre production of five stories from his mime masterpiece, “Mistero Buffo (Comic Mystery),” at Suffolk University’s Modern Theatre.

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Lisa Dwan performs trilogy of plays by Beckett

At the Emerson/Paramount Mainstage in Boston last week, ArtsEmerson presented “Not I/Footfalls/Rockaby,” a trilogy of three short plays by Samuel Beckett. This celebrated production envelops the audience into the same darkness that engulfs each play’s character, a lone woman performed by consummate actress and Beckett interpreter Lisa Dwan.

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Alvin Ailey performs at Wang Theatre

Dance troupe offers new and traditional works

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater came to Boston last week, performing an array of traditional and new works in five shows at Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre.

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‘We must live…’

Maly Drama Theatre presents Chekhov’s ‘Three Sisters’

The grave and beautiful production of Anton Chekhov’s play “The Three Sisters,” by the Maly Drama Theatre of St. Petersburg, Russia, suited the Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston, where ArtsEmerson hosted the company’s five performances last week.

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Berklee College of Music honors Fisk Jubilee Singers with tribute at Symphony Hall

Celebrating Fisk University’s 150th anniversary and the Fisk Jubilee Singers legacy in African-American music, Berklee College of Music presented a program of music and readings Sunday evening entitled “The Fisk Jubilee Singers at Symphony Hall: A Tribute by Berklee College of Music.”

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Pulitzer-winning ‘Disgraced’ has had strong run

Drama on stage through Feb. 7 at BU Theatre

Ayad Akhtar’s play “Disgraced” has had a strong run since its 2012 debut at American Theater Company in Chicago. A drama about a Wall Street lawyer who has rejected his Muslim heritage but then finds he cannot break free of his past, “Disgraced” won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for drama and in 2014 premiered on Broadway. Among the 10 major theater companies staging the play this season are the Huntington Theatre Company and Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven. Their joint production is on stage through February 7 at the BU Theatre.

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‘Violet’ on stage at Boston Center for the Arts

A gem of a show is on stage at the Boston Center for the Arts through February 6: The SpeakEasy Stage Company production of the musical “Violet.”Composed by Jeanine Tesori with lyrics and book by Brian Crawley, “Violet” is inspired by the short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim,” by North Carolina author Doris Betts (1932-2012).

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Poet, artist speaks at Museum of Fine Arts

Terrance Hayes turns life experiences into artwork

Page through any of the five poetry books by Terrance Hayes and it seems that when he puts a poem together, anything is possible.

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Overflowing Joy

The Millennium Gospel Choir performs its annual Christmas concert

Now in its ninth year, the annual Christmas concert of the New England Conservatory Millennium Gospel Choir at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston has become a cherished holiday tradition for both the audience and the choir. Friday night, at the first of two sold-out performances, the joy of the choir was apparent as they processed on stage. As they began to sing, their joy overflowed and enveloped the audience.

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‘Praise His Name’

Kuumba Singers of Harvard College give annual Christmas Concert

The Kuumba Singers of Harvard College held its 45th Annual Allen S. Counter Christmas Concert, entitled “Praise His Name” at Harvard University’s Memorial Church.

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Nick Offerman brings Ignatius J. Reilly to life in ‘ A Confederacy of Dunces’

Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher, whose script incorporates plenty of dialogue from the novel, and directed by David Esbjornson, the production focuses on the characters and atmosphere conjured by Toole’s novel, set in the author’s hometown, New Orleans. The production evokes the carnival-like world of the novel, which holds up a funhouse mirror to life, starting with the hugely magnified figure of Ignatius.

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A Love Supreme

Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra play John Coltrane

The power, variety and virtuosity of big-band jazz were on show Sunday evening at Symphony Hall. In a presentation of the Celebrity Series of Boston, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis performed a two-hour concert of music composed or reinvented by saxophonist John Coltrane.

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‘Dunces’ on stage widely anticipated

Nick Offerman to star in Huntington Theatre Company production

Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by John Kennedy Toole and directed by David Esbjornson, the production features Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson in NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”) in the lead role of Ignatius J. Reilly, a scholarly, overweight slacker who lives with his mother in 1960s New Orleans.

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Vietnam memorial artist to construct new project

Maya Lin’s work will focus on climate change

Maya Lin, an award-winning architect and artist, is developing what she describes as her “last memorial.” Its goal: to reveal and reverse losses of species and habitats due to climate change.

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Pop artist’s works stir the spirit

“Corita Kent and the Language of Pop” comes to Cambridge

The power of Corita Kent’s art to stir the spirit as well as her stature as a leading figure in Pop Art are evident in the exhilarating exhibition, “Corita Kent and the Language of Pop,” on view through January 3, 2016, at the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge. Harvard’s show is the first to present Kent and her work in the context of fellow pop artists.

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‘Van Gogh and Nature’ showcases artist’s evolution

Forty-five of the artist’s works on display at the Clark Art Institute

“Van Gogh and Nature,” an enthralling exhibition at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA, through September 13, explores the evolution of Van Gogh’s unique style as the distilled essence of his life-long relationship with nature.

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Audra McDonald radiates in Eugene O’Neill’s ‘Moon for the Misbegotten’

Audra McDonald radiates vitality, whether she is holding an audience rapt at an evening-length Symphony Hall concert or performing in musicals, plays, operas, film and television. These roles include Bess in American Repertory Theater’s “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” which debuted here and then moved to Broadway in 2012, earning McDonald one of her record-breaking six Tony Awards.

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Shakespeare on the Common

‘King Lear’ will be performed through August 9

The Commonwealth Shakespeare Company opens its magnificent production of “King Lear,” on stage at the Boston Common through August 9.

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ICA exhibit piques viewers’ imaginations

Artist Arlene Shechet orchestrated the entire ICA exhibition piece by piece and room by room, a form of installation art that invites visitors to share her discoveries as she turns her materials—plaster, glass, porcelain, paper pulp and clay—into solid objects.

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Cirque du Soleil brings ‘Varekai’ to Boston

Circus troupe performed six shows at Agganis Arena

The Cirque du Soleil troupe restaged a 15-year-old production entitled “Varekai, Tales of the Forest” that is engineered to suit such a space, where seating for 7,200 accommodates a crowd almost threefold larger than an audience for big top shows. But bigger, as they say, is not always better.

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Salem museum displays paintings of Thomas Hart Benton

An artist of his time, painter Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) chronicled what it meant to be an American in the 20th century, when the nation was a democracy on the rise. Artists of all kinds were exploring the American character, not only in visual arts, but in novels, music, plays, photography and the century’s new medium — movies.

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Charles Floyd conducts Gospel Night at the Boston Pops

Bringing together the dual powers of the African-American gospel music tradition and a full symphony orchestra, the annual Gospel Night at the Boston Pops injected Symphony Hall with jubilation and devotion.

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‘Crossing’ opera based on Walt Whitman on stage through this Saturday

Matthew Aucoin’s opera Crossing, about poet Walt Whitman, had its world premiere this weekend at Boston’s Citi Shubert Theatre, where it is on stage through June 6.

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Art exhibit inspired by the American South

When the Stars Begin to Fall on view through May 10 at Institute of Contemporary Art Boston

When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South,” on view through May 10 at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, presents a sampling of works by 35 African-American artists inspired by a real or imagined American South.

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Dancer to give farewell hometown engagement

Kirven Douthit-Boyd leaving Alvin Ailey

When the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs from March 26-29 at Citi Wang Theatre, its 45th visit with the Celebrity Series of Boston, Kirven Douthit-Boyd’s performances will mark his farewell hometown engagement with the company. He will perform in all five shows from Thursday through Sunday.

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The Colored Museum at The Huntington Theatre Company is satire served up with wit, insight

Delirious and at moments, devastating, the Huntington Theatre Company’s revival of “The Colored Museum,” by two-time Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe, would be worth seeing for the verve and finesse of the cast alone. But the production, on stage through April 5 at the Avenue of the Arts/BU Theatre, renders the wit, style and satire of this 1986 show with an up-to-the-minute edge.

Suzan-Lori Parks chronicles odyssey of ex-slave in ‘Father’ play

‘Father Comes Home’ is first in three-play series

With her latest play, “Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3),” playwright Suzan-Lori Parks presents the first segment of a three-part epic based on the Civil War and the fortunes of a slave who comes to claim his freedom.

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Mark Morris Dance Group performs at Institute of Contemporary Art

Last week, the Mark Morris Dance Group performed five nights in the intimate setting of the Institute of Contemporary Art’s 325-seat theater.

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MFA book highlights African American artists

Common Wealth features 100 works

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston introduced its spectacular new book, “Common Wealth: Art by African Americans in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.”

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Back to Fort Scott

MFA Displays Gordon Parks photos for the first time

Aren Haas, curator of Photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has collaborated with the Gordon Parks Foundation to create an exhibition and catalog that juxtaposes the photographs Parks took during his trip to the Kansas town where he grew up with excerpts from the 1927 Plaza School Yearbook and passages from the seven pages of typed notes that Parks compiled during his road trip.

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Rich offerings at expanded Harvard Art Museums

A new building now houses Harvard University’s Fogg, Busch-Reisinger and Arthur M. Sackler Museums under one roof in a complex that opened Nov. 16 after eight years of construction and renovation.

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Cicely Tyson’s ‘Bountiful’ performance a delight

As delicate and strong as the actor in its lead role, Cicely Tyson, the wondrous Broadway production of Horton Foote’s classic American play, “Trip to Bountiful” is on stage through December 7 at the Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston.

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Conceptual artist Jonas riveting in Reanimation

Reanimation, a performance and film by renowned conceptual artist Joan Jonas, is an hour-long work of music, movement and video that conjures an actual phenomenon: an endangered Arctic, where loss of snow and ice from global warming threatens ancient habitats.

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Latin jazz giant Eddie Palmieri heading to Rockport

Latin jazz pianist Eddie Palmieri discusses his career as a Latin jazz pioneer in a Banner interview.

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Goya exhibit portrays best, worst of human nature

The magnificent exhibition of works by Francesco Goya (1746-1828) at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston through January 19 draws the viewer into the artist’s world — which is not so different from ours.

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ArtsEmerson’s ‘King Lear’ an engaging production

ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage presented ‘King Lear’ at the Emerson/Paramount Mainstage in Boston through October 23. Joseph Marcell played the lead role with a touring troupe of another revered company, Shakespeare’s Globe, of London.

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Singer Meshell Ndegeocello draws from eclectic influences

In Cambridge for a gig, singer/basist Meshell Ndegeocello discusses the varied influences on her soul-infused music

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‘Eugene Onegin’ brings Pushkin’s work to life at Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre

Dance production, “Eugene Onegin” brings Pushkin’s work to life at Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre

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‘Acis & Galatea’ invokes ancient myth with powerful East Coast premiere

The spirit of spring animates the latest production of world-renowned choreographer Mark Morris, "Acis & Galatea." Mingling the arts of opera and dance, the new work had its East Coast premiere last week at Citi Performing Arts Center’s Schubert Theater, presented by the Celebrity Series of Boston, which co-commissioned the work.

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Alvin Ailey dance company a soulful elegance on stage

No dance company is better at combining lyrical precision, soul, elegance and verve than the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, here last week for its annual four-day visit thanks to the Celebrity Series of Boston, which has brought the company to Boston yearly since 1970.

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Museum of Fine Arts Boston turns focus on Latin America with contemporary art exhibit

Real-world experiences that provoke humor, anger and grief mingle with such art world preoccupations as form, material and aesthetic trends in a bracing exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, "Permission to be Global/Prácticas Globales: Latin American Art from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection.”

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Composer Maria Schneider swings into Hub with band

Hang gliding over Rio; listening to birds singing; and gazing across wind-swept prairies are all experiences that jazz composer and big band leader Maria Schneider turns into music with her 18-member band, the Maria Schneider Orchestra. Its signature sound — sensuous and swinging orchestral works that combine oceanic swells of harmony with lyrical solos — often conjure the landscapes and memories of her small, rural hometown, Windom, Minn.

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Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel raises funds for youth orchestra

At its fundraiser for programs to advance social change through music, the Cambridge-based Longy School of Music at Bard College chose to present an open rehearsal rather than a polished production. Conducting the rehearsal was Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and an alumnus of Venezuela’s national youth orchestra movement, El Sistema — the program that inspires Longy’s initiatives to educate musicians as agents of change.

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Luminous cast fuels "Witness Uganda" American Repertory Theater run

From the moment that Griffin Matthews steps on stage at the start of "Witness Uganda," in its world premier at the American Repertory Theater’s Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge through March 16, it becomes apparent that the show is about him.

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Artists infuse work with comments on social injustice

Two contemporary artists — William Kentridge and Nick Cave — whose works are on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston through May 4 have more in common than might readily meet the eye.

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ArtsEmerson play a compelling story of colonialism

A troupe of six young actors decides to stage a theatrical presentation — not quite a play — about a little known historical event: the extermination of a tribe in Namibia by the country’s German occupiers.

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American Repertory Theater’s ‘The Heart of Robin Hood’ adds romance to classic tale

A state of wonder sets in even before the actors appear in the deliriously enjoyable American Repertory Theater production of “The Heart of Robin Hood” at the Loeb Drama Center in Harvard Square through January 19th.

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Millenium Choir lauds Christmas with harmonic gospel style

Glorifying God as well as the power of the African American gospel music tradition, the New England Conservatory Millennium Choir captivated its audience on Friday night at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston with a high-spirited celebration of the Christmas season.