Langston Hughes, Kurt Weill and Elmer Rice—the creative team that collaborated on the Tony-award-winning opera Street Scene—enjoyed wide and varied careers in their respective fields. Three performances, each highlighting the work of one of these artists, will lead up to the Five College Opera/UMass Department of Theater production of Street Scene.
Cabaret! Songs of Kurt Weill
Sunday, February 2, 4 p.m.
Sweeney Concert Hall, Smith College
Kurt Weill, composer of “Mack the Knife” and so many other standards from the 1940s, has had a huge impact on popular music. His songs have been recorded by performers as diverse as Nina Simone, PJ Harvey, The Doors and Sting. Renowned local pianist Clifton Noble and Five College student singers perform some of Weill’s best known songs alongside of many of his lesser-known pieces.
Hold Fast to Dreams: The Poetry of Langston Hughes
Sunday, February 9, 4 p.m.
Bezanson Recital Hall, Fine Arts Center, UMass
Langston Hughes, jazz poet, social activist, novelist and playwright, portrayed the lives of working class blacks in America. UMass professor Steven Tracy hosts an evening of recitations and musical performances of Hughes’ greatest works.
Stirring The Melting Pot: Elmer Rice's We, The People
Sunday, February 16, 2 p.m.
University Museum of Contemporary Art, Fine Arts Center, UMass
Elmer Rice was an American playwright noted for his often experimental and politically charged plays. This will be a reading of his great polemical work We, The People by a mix of Five College students and Pioneer Valley residents.
Each show is free and open to the public.
Street Scene will be performed at the Rand Theater on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus on February 21, 26, 28, March 1 at 8 p.m. and February 23 at 2 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Five College Opera page.