The Colonial Theatre Nears Closure, The Bosstones Open for Dropkick Murphys, and more
The past few days have brought about a number of interesting developments in the arts:
DARKENED DOORS: There’s an interesting piece in the Globe about the Colonial Theatre and how it looks like it’ll go dark indefinitely, with nary a show in sight. Turns out it’s not audiences staying away, but a contractual contretemps between owner Emerson College (which runs ArtsEmerson) and national promoter Broadway Across America. It’s like the current debate over raising the debt ceiling: While the two sides dicker around and don’t make a deal, we all pay the price. Or you could compare it to the NFL or NBA lockout. Whatever. The main thing is that it’s a shame considering the ridiculously venerable history of the theater itself, and ironic that this happens one month away from the opening of the reconfigured, revived Porgy & Bess at the American Repertory Theater. After all, that Gershwin masterpiece premiered here in Boston in 1935 at the Colonial to rave reviews and a standing O from the presidents of MIT, Wellesley, and Harvard. Let’s hope a new production company can will fill the space or that ArtsEmerson reconsiders its decision not to fill it itself. After all, with the Paramount Center and Cutler jumping with activity, why not add another space to make new Boston theater history?
MIGHTY OPENERS: Are you poised and ready to get your Dropkick Murphys tix for their Fenway show yet? After all, they go on sale today at noon. It’s funny: I know it’s a big deal, and I love me some DKM, but it doesn’t quite have the same surprise level as, say, the Fenway shows by the Police or Neil Diamond or even NKOTBSB. But you can sign me up because the Mighty Mighty Bosstones are the openers. Sometimes it feels like this erstwhile titanic force in Boston’s music scene has fallen down the rabbit hole, along with a lot of other music from the 1990s. As someone who was in college in the first part of that decade and muddled through my twenties through the rest of it, I find it rather odd that most of this so-called formative music in my life has been mostly forgotten. Perhaps that’s because people don’t like to admit anymore they liked ska–much as they deny grunge and rap-rock. While one wishes rap-rock never existed (it always sucked, and sucked hard) and grunge was essentially just angst-ridden classic rock (hardly a bad thing, but tiresome over the long haul), ska was always unjustly maligned. As a genre, ska is great music — it’s just that bad ska is bad music. But the Mighty Mighty Bosstones were a killer ska band and a killer punk band, with a thrashing live show to boot. There’s my two cents: It’s great to have them back making Boston proud and in a venue they deserve — even though it’s still hard to accept that lead singer Dicky Barrett makes his bones in L.A.
MASTERPIECE BUSHES: The best thing that’s come along my transom over the past few days is this event by the Mount, Edith Wharton’s old estate out in Lenox: They’re hosting South Carolina’s Pearl Fryar, one of the world’s top topiary artists, as part of the Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival, on Sunday, July 17. Fryer will talk about and demonstrate his mind-boggling horticultural artistry, and the documentary A Man Named Pearl will be running all day. It’s a good enough reason to plan ahead and hie thee hence to the Berkshires to get your shrub on.
POOR LIONEL: Lastly, I must’ve jinxed Mr. Richie when I posted how I was glad he was singing with the Pops on July 4th. As you and the national viewing audience now know, he had strained vocal cords, backed out at the last minute and was replaced by Martina McBride. Yes, another country star for Boston’s televised step on the national TV stage. But actually I have little problem with Ms. McBride, unlike the other faddish hacks from previous years (Big & Rich, your goofy grinning mugs are what I’m thinking of). Nope, Martina McBride is the Lionel Richie of country music — and I mean that as a compliment. A great standby in the industry, and a great standby who we were lucky to have fill in. Otherwise, we would’ve had Rene Rancourt for an hour. Actually, I’d love to see Rene Rancourt with the Pops for an hour, who am I kidding?