As the nights turn cold in the Upper Valley, the heat turns up on live theater and music. In the month of October, music and theater lovers have an opportunity to enjoy some of biggest names in national and international entertainment.
It’s one of the unique benefits of life in the Upper Valley—a rare, almost magical interplay between rural isolation and a vastly broader cultural scene.
Take time to experience some of it. There are at least five live performances worthy of your consideration.
- Of Poets and Letters. The dead art of letter writing comes roaring back to life in Northern Stage’s production of Dear Elizabeth, a dramatic representation of the decades-long correspondence between American poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. Playwright Sarah Ruhl developed Dear Elizabeth based on more than 400 letters that the two exchanged as they navigated the highs and lows of their professional and personal lives. Manic depression, alcoholism, loneliness, failed marriages, and great poetry provided a wealth of dramatic material. The show runs at the Barrette Center for the Arts in downtown White River Junction, Vermont, October 4–28. Times and ticket prices vary. Check the box office for details.
- Nashville on the Mascoma. Think you need to fly to Nashville, Tennessee, to see the best country and western acts? Think again! You can skip the Grand Ole Opry, because Lebanon Opera House is bringing country western superstar Sara Evans right to your front door. Evans has had a string of number one hits, including A Little Bit Stronger, Suds in the Bucket, and Slow Me Down, has been named Top Female Vocalist by the Academy of Country Music, and she’s coming to Lebanon, New Hampshire, for an intimate acoustic show on October 11. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., with tickets ranging in cost from $55 to $95. For $215, diehard fans can purchase a VIP package, which includes a seat in the first 10 rows, a meet and greet with the artist, and an autographed print.
- Irish Rom-Com. Love is a funny thing, and never more so than in the hands of playwright John Patrick Shanley. The man who made us laugh and fall in love with Moonstruck turns his attention from the romantic antics of Italian Americans to explore the hapless escapades of two souls in rural Ireland. Outside Mullingar, nominated for a Tony for Best Play, follows the travails of neighbors Anthony and Rosemary as they seek love among land feuds, family rivalries, and their own fears. The show runs Thursday through Sunday, October 11–28, at the Shaker Bridge Theatre in Enfield, New Hampshire. Tickets range in cost from $16 (for students) to $35.
- Locavore Theatre. With their production of Silvia and Mary at Sea, The Parish Players in Thetford, Vermont, continue their tradition of harvesting local talent. Written by local playwright Duncan Nichols, Silvia and Mary, described as a modern fairytale, follows the fates of a Cuban singer and her entourage as they become involved with an American journalist and a sidekick looking for a good story. The show runs Thursday through Sunday, October 11–21, at the Grange Theatre in Thetford. Tickets range in cost from $12 (for students) to $18.
- The Senegal Sensation. Famous in his native Senegal and the African continent, singer, songwriter, composer, actor, businessman, and activist Youssou N’dour was introduced to international audiences by Peter Gabriel, who first collaborated with him in the 1980s. National Public Radio has rated N’dour’s voice as among the 50 greatest voices in the world, and his band’s unique blend of compulsive rhythms, Cuban-infused jazz and funk, and the musical traditions of Senegal, promises to make his performance at Hopkins Center for the Arts a memorable one. It marks his first trip to the Hop. Who knows when he’ll be back again? The show starts at 7 p.m.in Hanover, New Hampshire. Tickets range in cost from $17 to $50.