Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

August 5, 2013

Music & More at Mahaiwe

Mahaiwe, Great Barrington, MA
by Shera Cohen

Adding to the recent concert reviews at Mahaiwe – in which both The Fab Faux and Mary Chapin Carpenter were highly praised – is Manhattan Transfer.

The four-part harmony of this group, with a resume boasting awards over four decades, brought in a full house of avid fans. Sometimes a capella and sometimes with piano accompaniment, the quartet echoed smooth and often jazzy sounds in a relaxed and intimate concert. Highlights included a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, several of their own compositions, and audience favorites “I Love Coffee” and “Route 66.”

More than a review, however, In the Spotlight gives kudos to Mahaiwe on its programming, not just in the summer. This, indeed, is a 12-month venue. Art and entertainment genres include music (of course), theatre, dance, lectures, comedy, film, and family shows.

Running from October through May is the Met Opera Live in HD – live Saturday afternoon operas broadcast simultaneously at Mahaiwe. Important to note is that only a few sites in the Berkshires offer this unique series. Coupling the visual elegance of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City with the grand picturesque Mahaiwe in Great Barrington makes for double the pleasure in seeing the finest opera in this country.

Other series on the stage have been (and will continue to be) the Berkshire International Film Festival, the Berkshire Playwrights Lab, and London’s National Theatre in HD plays. Mahaiwe is also the lovely home of the Close Encounter with Music orchestra and singers.

Music tends to be folksy, 50’s, and New World with lots more packed in. For instance, on any given month there can be 10 performances of numerous arts. Examples of the array of upcoming programs include: Bela Fleck NY Banjo Summit, Pilobolus Dance Company, Bill Cosby, Chef Francine Segan’s Shakespeare’s Kitchen, and (Springfield’s own) Taj Mahal.

For those interested in the theatre’s name, the Mahican Indians’ translation was "the place downstream." I never excelled at geography, so I can’t say if Great Barrington is or isn’t downstream on any lake or other waterway in Massachusetts. I do know, however, that Mahaiwe should be a destination point for some of the best in the arts.