This weekend, Smuin Ballet seals its season with a "French Kiss"; Sonny and the Rhinestone Sunsets revisit their unique country album; Foothill Theatre Arts looks into the "Infinite Black Suitcase."
Smuin Ballet Dance Series 2
Smuin Contemporary Ballet bids adieu to the 2022-23 season with a season finale featuring the world premiere of "French Kiss" by choreographer Amy Seiwert. The chic, modern ballet is set to an array of songs by swanky jazz-pop ensemble Pink Martini — music so French-inspired that it has a metaphorical half-smoked Gauloise dangling from its lips, but that in many turns, also boasts an undeniable joie de vivre. Seiwert's selections for the piece highlight some of Pink Martini's unique collaborations, including post-modern cabaret artist Meow Meow and an album recorded with the descendants of the Von Trapp (as in "The Sound of Music") family singers. Seiwert, a former company dancer mentored by company founder Michael Smuin, was recently named the company's associate artistic director for 2023-24. This spring program also features the company premiere of Katarzyna (Kate) Skarpetowska’s whimsical "Sextette," set to J.S. Bach's “Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor" and revisits two works: Val Caniparoli's highly technical ensemble piece "Swipe" set to a remix of “String Quartet No. 2” by Gabriel Prokofiev and Michael Smuin's passionate pas de deux "Dream" set to “Romanza” from Chopin’s “Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11.”
May 25-28 at Mountain View Center for Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. Tickets are $25-$79. mvcpa.com.
Sonny and the Rhinestone Sunsets
With a little extra sparkle and a lot of extra twang, Sonny and the Rhinestone Sunsets are a countrified offshoot of rock band Sonny and the Sunsets, a revolving lineup of musicians led by singer-songwriter Sonny Smith. For this show presented by Earthwise Productions, the Rhinestone incarnation of the group revisits their 2012 album, "Longtime Companion" which goes just about full-on country, embracing the doleful expressiveness of steel guitar while also weaving in unexpected instruments like flute to create a unique country sound with a little something extra. But even at their most boot-stompin' and honky-tonkiest, the songs on "Longtime Companion" are grounded in a rock sensibility, particularly in Smith's vocals that call back to folk-rock. The album shows another side to the Sunsets' bright, almost beachy sound that draws together '60s grooves with an '80s vibe. The outing also fits well with a quirky though solidly rock'n'roll catalog that makes room for forays into other genres. One-person band The Suitcase Junket opens the show.
May 26, 8 p.m. at Mitchell Park Community Center, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. Tickets are $20. eventbrite.com.
Infinite Black Suitcase
Foothill Theatre Arts' new show, "Infinite Black Suitcase," offers a slice of life — and death — in over a dozen vignettes that play out on one day in a small Oregon town. In the stories of three families grappling with myriad issues as they face recent or impending losses, playwright E.M. Lewis delves into the sometimes complicated practical questions, such as should a step-parent raise the children or their remaining biological parent? How does a second spouse feel when their ailing partner wishes to be buried with their first spouse? And what roles does religion play in all of this … or not? The show tackles these grave questions with thoughtfulness and touches of humor — the latter particularly in the form of a perky funeral director — as characters from various vignettes overlap.
May 26- June 11 at Foothill College, I 280 and El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills. Tickets are $15-$25. foothill.edu.
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