Being responsible for drawing people into a historic home poses challenges. After all, if the whole point of the attraction is that it remains unchanged, what reason do people have to visit more than once?
It’s a question that Thom Roach has had plenty of time to consider during his 17 years as director of programs at Gore Place, at 52 Gore St. in Waltham. He’s come up with various ways to answer it, such as special events geared to a particular theme, such as Christmas decor, Halloween stories, or the Bronte era.
But sometimes making the estate’s mansion, the summer home of early 19th-century Massachusetts governor Christopher Gore that serves as the property’s centerpiece, seem fresh and newly interesting doesn’t even have to require a special theme — it can just involve a different time of day. That’s why Roach occasionally plans after-dark tours of the property, with the next session taking place Friday.
“Many museums are open during the day, but there are not a lot of times you can go to museums at night,” Roach said. “Our nighttime tours are very popular because the property feels very different after dark. Also, having the event at night makes it something to do. People take the tour and then go out to eat and it’s a whole evening’s activity.”
Built in 1806 for Gore, the state’s seventh governor, and his wife, Rebecca, the Federal-era mansion is often referred to as the “Monticello of the North.”
“We’ve attempted to replicate not just the architecture and décor, but the lifestyle of the residents during that time period,” said Roach. “One way we do this, which is different from some other historical estates I’ve visited, is that we don’t keep guests behind stanchions, standing back to look into a space. We allow people to move through the rooms and experience it on their own.
“And we try to evoke a strong sense of the way people lived. We don’t throw a lot of dates at people or point out this or that style of furniture. It’s about their lifestyle: who the occupants were, who their servants were, how they entertained, what was going on socially and politically at the time. It’s a conversation, not a lecture.”
The 7:30 p.m. tour Friday will feature the Great Stairs, Great Hall, Withdrawing Room, Office, Library, Parlor, Breakfast Room, second-floor Chambers and Billiard Room, and Servants’ Quarters.
Admission is $15, or $10 for Gore Place members and children 5-12.
For reservations or more information, call 781-894-2798 or go to www.goreplace.org.
SONDHEIM TIMES TWO: Acton-based ensemble Theatre with a Twist Inc. presents “Into The Woods,” Stephen Sondheim’s fractured fairy tale featuring familiar characters such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Prince Charming in unfamiliar situations, with performances Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Florence Sawyer School, 100 Mechanic St. in Bolton. Tickets are $10.50 and $12.50, and can be purchased at the door or at www.theatrewithatwist.org.
Also paying homage to Sondheim is the New Repertory Theatre, which is presenting the musical revue “Marry Me a Little” through Jan. 27 in the Charles Mosesian Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal St. in Watertown. Tickets range from $28 to $58. For a complete schedule of performances or to purchase tickets, call 617-923-8487 or go to www.newrep.org.
REMEMBERING MORRIE: Calliope Productions presents “Tuesdays with Morrie,” a moving comedy by Mitch Albom, opening Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and continuing with weekend shows through Jan. 20 at 150 Main St. in Boylston.
Tickets are $18, or $15 for students and seniors. To order tickets or for more information, call 508-869-6887 or go to www.calliopeproductions.org.
SPECIAL SOUND: The Sergio Mendes Project, a tribute to the pianist and band leader who popularized Brazilian music in the United States through a combination of bossa nova, samba, jazz, and pop, performs Saturday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Acton Jazz Café, at 103 Nagog Park in Acton.
Admission is $12.50 at the door, or $10 online. For reservations or more information, call 978-263-6161 or go to www.actonjazzcafe.com.
BEATLE MANIA: The Franklin Performing Arts Company continues its series of free family concerts with Mark Poniatowski’s “Meet the Beatles” at 1 p.m. Sunday at 38 Main St. in Franklin.
The monthly event will feature Jamie Barrett’s “Family Favorites” on Feb. 3, and “Little Red Riding Hood — An Opera for Children” on March 17.
The interactive performances are designed to introduce audiences of all ages to music of many genres, including classical, jazz, folk, blues, pop, and rock. For more information, visit www.fpaconline.com or call 508-528-8668.
JUROR’S VERDICTS: The Concord Art Association opens its annual juried show featuring member artists, “Painting and Sculpture,” on Sunday, with a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. in its gallery at 37 Lexington Road.
The pieces chosen by this year’s juror, George Nick, a Concord-based artist and professor emeritus at Massachusetts College of Art, will be on display through Feb. 10. For gallery hours and more information, go to www.concordart.org.
CARNIVAL THEME: The New Art Center is opening a group show, “Upsodown,” on Monday in its gallery at 61 Washington St. in Newtonville.
Curated by AJ Liberto and Kate True, the show focuses on the transformative power of the carnival in contemporary art, with works by Seth Alverson, Nick Cave, Robert Colescott, Marcus Kenney, Eli Kessler, Liberto, Clifford Owens, Joyce Pensato, Tara Sellios, and Summer Wheat.
A reception will be held on Jan. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m., and events related to the show, including a curator’s talk (followed by a community meal), an evening of performances, and a mask-making workshop, will take place throughout the course of the exhibition, running through Feb. 22.
For gallery hours and more information, call 617-964-3424.
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