SOULFUL FOURTH: Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds performs on the outdoor stage at Prescott Park in Portsmouth, N.H., on Wednesday.
The nine-piece band puts a modern spin on classic soul. It is led by Arleigh Kincheloe on vocals, backed by eight musicians. The band comes to Portsmouth from recent appearances at the New Orleans Jazz Fest and Bonnaroo.
It cites such influences as Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, The Band, Otis Redding, Bonnie Raitt, Wilson Pickett, Bill Withers, and Etta James.
“We’re gearing up for the Fourth of July by lacing up our dancing shoes, and getting ready to ride that soul train the whole night through,” said Ben Anderson, executive director of the Prescott Park Arts Festival.
“We pride ourselves on bringing in not only well-known acts but also acts such as Sister Sparrow, whom we place on our schedule so that people can say, ‘Remember when we saw them play at Prescott Park?’ This is one such band, and will undoubtedly live on as one such moment.”
The concert series is part of the Prescott Park Arts Festival’s 38th season, which also features the musical “Willy Wonka” running at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays until Aug. 26.
All events at the festival are free, but there is a suggested donation of $5 to $10. Call 603-436-2848 or visit prescottpark.org.
A DOG TALE: Summer Theatre at Salem presents “Sylvia” by A. R. Gurney at Salem State University, Friday through next Sunday and July 13 through 15.
In the comedy, Greg adopts a stray dog, Sylvia, as a way of dealing with his midlife crisis. He and Sylvia are happy. But Greg’s wife, Kate, is unhappy as her new empty-nester life is turned upside down. The Manhattan couple learn much about life, love, and each other from their newest family member.
The show features Kate Amory, Linda Burtt, James Fallon, and David Allen George, and is directed by William Cunningham.
Performances are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays in the Callan Studio Theatre. Ticket are $25, $20 for senior citizens and students. A preshow dinner is $10, and requires an advance phone reservation.
Call 978-542-6290 or visit salemstatetickets.com.
CALLING PLAYWRIGHTS: The Firehouse Center for the Arts in Newburyport is seeking new works by New England playwrights.
The submission deadline for the 11th annual New Works Festival, which is held over two weekends in January, is July 13.
The festival accepts full-length, one-act, and 10-minute plays.
All works are read anonymously and judged by a panel of theater professionals. Selected plays are performed during the festival and cash prizes are awarded.
All submissions must be paper-printed scripts, not electronic files. They must be postmarked by July 13 or hand-delivered to the Firehouse Center box office in Market Square.
For more information, visit firehouse.org.
AUTHOR’S CORNER: The recently renovated and reopened Book Rack Bookstore at 52 State St. in Newburyport hosts “A Beach Reads Extravaganza” at 7 p.m. July 12. The evening features a panel of four authors from Sisters in Crime New England: Clea Simon, Susan Oleksiw, Judith Copek, and J.R. Reardon. Author Edith Maxwell will moderate. One person in attendance will win a beach bag full of summer books.
IN LOCAL GALLERIES: “Body of Light,” an exhibit featuring the work of photography students from Northern Essex Community College, is at the Haverhill Public Library through Aug. 11. An opening reception will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday. One of the 75 pieces in the exhibit is a portrait (left) titled “Home Away from Home,” taken by Katie Moran of Salisbury. It features her husband, Sergeant Michael Moran, a former Marine, holding a folded US flag given to him by soldiers he served with in Iraq in 2006. The students studied under Jodi Sammons Feil, a professional photographer and artist. . . . Acrylic paintings by New Hampshire artist Deborah Lloyd Kaufman are on display as part of the Summer Artist Series at the Rocky Neck Gallery in Gloucester. A reception with the artist will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Her work, which is in private collections in New England, New York, and California, has included linocuts, ceramic tiles, canvas floor cloths, and acrylic paintings.