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Arts & Culture

Music@Menlo: Incredible Decades - Witch Hunt - Bay Area Playwrights Festival - Movie Reviews

Alex Irvin

This week on Open Air, KALW’s weekly radio magazine for the Bay Area performing arts, guest host Leah Garchik talks with cellist David Finckel,  founding artistic director of the Music@Menlo Chamber Music Festival and Institute (pictured, with pianist and M@M co-founder Wu Han). Now in its 17th season, the festival presents more than fifty concerts, master classes and other events, on three stages in Atherton and Menlo Park, through August 3. 

The 2019 edition of Music@Menlo is titled: Incredible Decades, and the program presents a musical and historical journey through seven crucial decades in the development of Western Classical music over the past three centuries. 

From Those Women Productions, we talk with playwright Carol Lashof and director Elizabeth Vega, about the world premiere production of Witch Hunt, which tells the uniquely American story of Tituba, an enslaved indigenous woman who was, in 1692, the first person in the Salem community of colonial Massachusetts to be accused of witchcraft. 

Witch Hunt explores the origins of the Salem witch panic and compels us to consider the ties between that infamous era and our present moment in history. The play runs through August 4 at La Val's Subterranean Theater (1834 Euclid Ave) in Berkeley.

Also stopping by, from the Playwrights Foundation, is artistic director Amy Mueller. She will be leaving the organization after nearly 20 years on the job, but not before the upcoming 2019 edition of the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. She is joined by Candrice Jones and Christopher Oscar Peña, two of the six playwrights featured at this year’s festival, which runs from July 19-28 at Potrero Stage (1695 18th Street) in San Francisco, at the base of Potrero Hill. 

Plus, Open Air’s regular contributor and critic at large, Peter Robinson, reviews a smattering of movies: the (says the NY Times) ‘smart and breezy comedy’ Late Night, starring Emma Thompson; filmmaker Ron Howard’s intimate portrait of opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti; and The Spy Behind Home Plate, the real story of Morris Moe Berg, an enigmatic and brilliant Jewish baseball player turned spy, during baseball's Golden Age in the 1920s and 1930s. 

Open Air with guest host Leah Garchik; heard live on Thursday, July 18 at 1pm. Listen now or anytime.