Devoted exclusively to performing and recording new orchestral music, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project aims to rebuild the aural bridge between audiences and composers with passionate concert experiences. On January 27, BMOP showcases the works of five different composers, amassing a talented quintet of revered, modern-day soloists to mesmerize ears with incongruous sounds. The world premier of Eric Chasalow's horn concerto bares the brassy measures of French hornist Bruno Schneider, and Air: Concerto for Theremin uncannily mimics human voices with an electronic instrument that refuses to pause for breaths or answer text messages in between verses.
On Friday nights at Extreme Dancesport, the floorboards heat up under the swinging steps of students, regulars, and teachers cutting a rug at Boston Swing?s Central?s weekly social dances. Sometimes it?s pre-recorded tunes and sometimes it?s a live band inspiring the boogiers, but either way, it?s a rollicking good time for all ages and skill levels and no partner is required.
The weekly party, which starts with a group class from 8-9 p.m. and then transforms into a free-for-all from 9 p.m. ? 12 a.m., is the focal point of the non-profit dance organization. Boston Swing Central also offers classes and boot camps where dance instructors teach you how to do the east coast, lindy hop, and Charleston.
Unlike the premium-cable version of Curious George, ComedySportz shows eschew racy material, going so far as to place a brown paper bag over the head of any performer who crosses the boundaries of good taste. The game-based comedy format pits two refereed teams of improvisers against each other, drawing from a repertoire of more than 100 improv scenes for their battleground. Over the course of 7 to 12 games, the red- and blue-clad teams may perform in Shakespearean verse or rapidly fast-forward and reverse a scene at the referee's whim. The audience, meanwhile, is tasked with generating suggestions, choosing the winners at evening's end, and gently consoling the losing team with made-up aspirational quotes.
This formula has proved successful since 1984, when the first ComedySportz flung open its curtains. Now, the franchise has expanded to major comedy hubs including Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. The latest addition to the fold, ComedySportz Boston, lassos the same spirit and off-the-cuff hilarity as its predecessors, dazzling onlookers with its teamwork, clean but uproarious humor, and ability to turn an audience suggestion into a fully fleshed out scene.
Known for his appearances on Comedy Central and NBC's Last Comic Standing, Jim McCue draws the audience into a rib-tickling, year-ending performance at convivial Italian restaurant Bucca di Beppo. With an impish grin, McCue picks out and good-naturedly picks on guests in a freewheeling set. The chief joke-slinger and supporting comics wrap up the fun before midnight, granting partiers the option to visit a different bar or return home before their cars revert to pumpkins.
THEARC Theater was created out of necessity. The first theater in Ward 8 in Washington, DC, it was founded to provide residents living east of the Anacostia River with expanded cultural opportunities and hide-and-seek spots. Constructed by local nonprofit Building Bridges Across the River, the theater aims to improve the lives of children and adults in southeast Washington through educational, health, and social-service programs such as free theater workshops and youth internships in technical theater management. Noting the tower of glass windows that crowns the entrance, the Washington Post called it "a veritable lighthouse of learning—a $27 million, 110,000-square-foot campus set on 16 beautiful green acres."
Til Death Do Us Part, the third installment of the interactive comedy series Late Night Catechism, brings back the charismatic and hysterical Catholic nun known only as "Sister" to school audiences—whom she refers to as her students—in the dos and don'ts of holy matrimony and the Sacrament of Last Rites. In this participatory theater piece, Sister switches between delivering cynical, tongue-in-cheek lectures on everything from current events to Martian baptism and interrogating couples in the audience about the health of their relationships. Gracing the Regent Theatre's formerly vaudevillian stage, Boston native Denise Fennell calls upon her own memories of a strict Catholic upbringing to lovingly embody the role of Sister, which she snagged after being handpicked by Maripat Donovan, one of the show's creators.