This ensemble of Japanese taiko drummers doesn’t just sit there and bang the drums—even though that would be good enough. But they fly around the stage at the same time, providing a visual spectacle to match the sonic, with over 20 drummers, as well as cymbals and flutes. The effect is energizing, the enthusiasm contagious.
The Spectrum Singers: Off the Beaten Path
Saturday, 8 p.m., First Church in Cambridge, 11 Garden St., Cambridge, $30, www.spectrumsingers.org
As the title of this concert implies, the Spectrum Singers will stray from the standard Western-centric canon of classical composers to present a program of Eastern European choral works by Hungarian Zoltan Kodaly, Czech Leos Janacek, and Latvians Eriks Esenvald and Peteris Vasks. The whole idea was inspired by the recent installment of Andris Nelsons, as head conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
The Cunning Little Vixen
Through Sunday, The Boston Conversatory Theater, 31 Hemenway St., $15-$30, 617-536-6340, www.bostonconversatory.edu
Leoš Janáček’s delightful opera follows the adventures of Vixen Sharp Ears. The opera is sung in Czech with English supertitles. Andrew Altenbach is the conductor and Johnathon Pape is the stage director.
The After-Dinner Joke
Through Sunday, Charlestown Working Theater, 442 Bunker Hill St., Charlestown, Pay what you want, 866-811-4111, www.whistlerinthedark.com
Whistler in the Dark presents this British satire by Cheryl Churchill, which tells the story of a secretary for a big corporation who, with all good intentions, gets herself transferred to the company’s philanthropic division, only to discover a tangled mess of politics and charity. Whistler’s five actors will take on 60 characters in total, which should add to the amusement.
Friday through November 30, Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal St., Watertown, $21-$26, 617-945-0773, www.fudgetheatre.com
The FUDGE Theater Company presents a rendition of Shakespeare’s classic tale of power madness and murderous mayhem in an intimate black box setting where, just like Macbeth, you won’t be able to avoid the ugly truth, however you may choose to interpret it. Our angle: the only thing scarier than a vengeful ghost is a guilty conscience.
Footloose: The Musical
Thursday and Friday, Berklee Performance Center, 136 Mass. Ave., Boston, $12-$18, 617 747-2261, www.berklee.edu/bpd
The Berklee College of Music’s Musical Theater Club presents this 1998 Broadway adaptation of the 1984 Kevin Bacon vehicle, which tells the story of a guy who just wants to dance in a small town that frowns upon it. So he gives up and enrolls in business school—just kidding. He fights for his right to party, of course!
This music and dance performance is the fruit of a collaborative effort between Swiss/Italian modern choreographer Angelo Dello Iacono and local jazz composer Ben Schwendener, featuring dancers from both Switzerland and Boston. Also on the bill are choreographer/dancer Shari Repasz and her troupe, premiering her new work, “A Peaceful Storm”.
Casa Patas Flamenco Foundation
Tuesday, 8 p.m., Modern Theater, 525 Washington St., Boston, $10-$25, 800-440-7654, www.moderntheatre.com
This Spanish flamenco ensemble takes a “fusion” approach to the genre, integrating traditional flamenco music and dance with elements drawn from jazz, klezmer, rock, and blues. The result is a testament to flamenco’s durability and sympathy with other folk forms. This show is called “Templanza”, Spanish for “temperance”, and stars Jose Jurado and Isabel Rodriguez.
Comedian Chris Kattan was the resident spaz on “Saturday Night Live” in the late 90’s and early 00’s. His absurd characters, ranging from the chimp-man Mr. Peepers to the androgynous fashionista Mango, mixed pure surface silliness with a disconcerting, subversive undercurrent. His stand-up act, which includes inviting random audience members up to dance, continues his quest to spread the awkward love.
This is a truly strange Italian/American sci-fi curiosity from 1979, starring John Huston and a bunch of other random people. Its hallucinatory plot, involving a creepy girl with psychic powers and a pet hawk, a similarly creepy but apparently benevolent cult from outer space, and a lot of other incongruous cinematic tropes, must be seen to be believed.
Through Wednesday, Haley and Steele Gallery, 162 Newbury St., Boston, Free, 617-536-6339, www.haleyandsteele.com
This local artist, a graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, is also a classical piano player, and for this series of paintings he combined both his passions, having an assistant dance with paint-covered feet on top of the canvases as he played Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition”—a piece already inspired by art. Clever, right?
Joe Kitsch: Weird Science
Through November 30, Galatea Fine Art, 460B Harrison Ave., Boston, Free, 617-542-1500, www.galateafineart.com
Joe Kitsch is a pop artist who uses the familiar, with a wink and a nod, to ground us in the strange. Take, for instance, his painting of a piece of pie in front of a set of seemingly random pixels—turns out those pixels are not random, but a precise visual representation of the number pi.
Friday through February 7, Oberon, 2 Arrow St., Cambridge, $25-$45, 617-547-8300, www.americanrepertorytheater.org
As its name suggests, this evening of immersive theater combines the atmosphere and music of a 1920’s speakeasy—complete with a password at the door—with circus performance, including one group that mixes acrobatics with swing dancing. You’re encouraged to dress in your Gatsby best, and after the performance portion, the late show becomes a dance party.
This Brooklyn-based band, featuring two former members of John Brown’s Body, has a dank, horn-laden, reggae-like sound, but with as quirky, precocious pop vibe rivaling the compositional ambitions of Sufjan Stevens or the Polyphonic Spree. In this sense, you might say they’re equal parts hipster and hippie. Really, the only category we’re sure they fit into is that of “good music.”
Saturday, 8 p.m., The Sinclair, 52 Church St., Cambridge, $22-$25, 18+, 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com
This new supergroup—well, super-duo to be precise—consists of Boston alt-rock queen Juliana Hatfield and Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws. Their music highlights their close male-female harmonies and projects a pretty mellow vibe, albeit somewhat uneasy beneath the surface—a classic 90’s mood, but one that never really goes out of style.
While their sound is rooted in classic Long Island emo, New York’s Iron Chic do have one crucial non-emo trait: a sense of humor, reflected both in their punny name and their deadpan self-descriptions as “a decent band” who play “songs that are acceptable.” For them, emo’s not an exercise in self-pity but a life-affirming blast of feeling. Why aren’t more bands like this?