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Arts

Quilt art on display in Lowell

Jim Smoot’s “Blue” quilt is among those on exhibit in Lowell.

Jim Smoot

Jim Smoot’s “Blue” quilt is among those on exhibit in Lowell.

STONEHAM STEPS IT UP: For 13 seasons, Stoneham Theatre has presented a concert series featuring tributes to performers of the past and present.

Now, according to producing art director Weylin Symes, the theater has decided to “up the ante” and present original acts for Season 14.

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“It’s exciting and a little scary at the same time,” Symes said. “As a nonprofit, it’s always somewhat daunting to take a risk, but we couldn’t be happier or more excited with this season’s concert lineup.”

The first show features the Movin’ Out Band, the original band from the Tony Award-winning, Grammy-nominated Broadway musical, “Movin’ Out,” which features music by Billy Joel.

The band includes several members of Joel’s own band and is fronted by pianist and vocalist Wade Preston, the original “Piano Man” in the musical, who was hand-selected by Joel.

The Movin’ Out Band performs Joel’s hit songs and some by Elton John.

Other upcoming concerts feature Teatro, an Il Divo type, Broadway hit-singing group making its US debut; the Jay Geils Jazz and Blues Revue; Florence La Rue and the 5th Dimension; and comedienne Loretta Laroche.

“There is something for every musical taste from pop to jazz to musical theater,” said Symes.

The Movin’ Out Band performs at 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $45 to $60. Call 781-279-2200 or visit stonehamtheatre.org.

ARMCHAIR ACTORS: If you’re an aspiring actor age 55 or older, or just interested in having a theatrical experience, the Firehouse Center for the Arts in Newburyport is the place for you.

Senior Readers’ Theater is back for a second season.

Readers’ Theater is performed seated and there is no memorization required. Led by veteran actor and instructor Charles Van Eman, participants explore a script in detail, develop a character, focus on the use of voice and gestures, and finally, perform for the community.

This program welcomes people ages 55 and older, regardless of experience, and is a welcoming, non-threatening way to experience theater.

For more than 30 years, Van Eman worked as an actor in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, and Boston. His television and film credits include “Unstoppable,” “Vampire Diaries,” “One Tree Hill,” “Prison Break,” “Ghost Whisperer,” “CSI Miami,” “All My Children,” and “The Colbys.”

His most recent stage work has been at the Firehouse. He also is a writer.

Senior Readers’ Theater sessions are 9 to 11 a.m. each Tuesday from Sept. 10 to Oct. 29 at the Firehouse. A public community performance is scheduled for 2 p.m. Nov. 2.

The cost is $60 per student for the eight-week session. Enrollment is limited and registration is now open. Visit firehouse.org. Or contact Beth Falconer at 978-499-9931 or beth@firehouse.org.

AUTHOR’S CORNER: A new, illustrated book by Rye, N.H., author Thomas Mickey, “America’s Romance with the English Garden,” explores how the American lawn originated in the 19th century. Mickey shows how seed and nursery businesses sold Americans on landscaping featuring trim, green lawns. Mickey, professor emeritus of communications studies at Bridgewater State University and a gardener, researched the book at the Smithsonian Institution.

IN LOCAL GALLERIES: “Summer’s in Bloom,” watercolors by Liz Filipancic of Newburyport, are at the Provident Bank’s Lobby for the Arts in Seabrook, N.H., through Sept. 15. A reception with the artist is 5:30-7 p.m. Aug. 29. When her daughter took watercolor classes, Filipancic decided she would like to learn to paint. Her husband gave her art classes as a Christmas gift, and her career took off. Filipancic is inspired by flowers, landscapes, fruits, and vegetables. She has evolved from a realistic to an expressionistic painter and enjoys experimenting with color and size. . . . “Tangled Up in Blue,” featuring quilts created by artists from across the United States and Canada, is at the Brush Gallery in Lowell through Sept. 7. The exhibit is part of Art Quilts Lowell 2013, a series that aims to recognize contemporary quilt artists and advance the art form in which quilts are not meant to lie on the bed, but to hang on the wall like an oil or watercolor painting.

Items can be sent to wdkilleen@gmail.com.
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