What T.S. Eliot called “the cruelest month,” April, is behind us, and it was a doozy, with wind, rain and electrical outages. What a mess.
But it’s all blue skies and sunshine ahead, right? May and June are full of fun and frolicsome events — from a musical about barbecue to rock ‘n’ roll in Bailey Park to Woodstock redux.
Look for me. I’ll be the one in the bell-bottoms and love beads, dancing like it’s 1969.
Ring the bells
May 10-19: Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance will present “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” at 1047 Northwest Blvd. A mash-up of the Victor Hugo novel and the Disney animated feature, the musical includes the Academy Award-nominated score and new songs by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. As the bells of Notre Dame ring through the cathedral, Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer, observes all of Paris reveling in the Feast of Fools. Though held captive by his devious caretaker, the archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo, Quasimodo escapes for the day and joins the boisterous crowd. He is treated cruelly by all but the beautiful gypsy, Esmeralda. WSTA artistic director Jamie Lawson directs. The cast includes Steve Robinson, Neil Shepherd, Gray Smith and Amber Engel. Tickets are $16-$18 at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3570004.
Feed your head
May 11: The Winston-Salem Symphony and the Jeans ‘n Classics Band will present a concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock (“three days of peace and music”) at 7:30 p.m. in Reynolds Auditorium, 301 N. Hawthorne Road. Jessica Morel, assistant conductor, will direct. The evening features hits from Woodstock including “All Along the Watchtower,” by Jimi Hendrix; “With a Little Help from My Friends,” by Joe Cocker; “Somebody to Love,” by Jefferson Airplane; “Black Magic Woman,” by Santana; “Piece of My Heart,” by Janis Joplin; “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; and “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” by Sly and the Family Stone. Tickets are $20-$76 at 336-464-0145 or www.WSsymphony.org.
Arts, crafts legacy
May 18: Sawtooth School for Visual Art and Piedmont Craftsmen will co-host “A Collector’s Legacy” — a celebration and auction of work from the collection of the late JoAnne Vernon — 5-8 p.m. at the Sawtooth, 251 N. Spruce St. All proceeds will benefit Sawtooth and Piedmont Craftsmen. Vernon was the gallery director of Piedmont Craftsmen in the 1980s and board chair 2010-2011. She was executive director of Sawtooth 2012-2016. The auction will include 44 pieces from Vernon’s diverse collection of ceramics and two-dimensional works. Tickets, $50, are at http://piedmontcraftsmen.org/events/a-collectors-legacy/.
Take me to the pilot
May 23-27: The annual Gears and Guitars Music Festival will light up Bailey Park Memorial Day weekend with Stone Temple Pilots, Drive-By Truckers, Trampled by Turtles, The Infamous Stringdusters and more. The fest will include free (with game ticket) music by Watchtower, a Dave Matthews tribute band, at the Dash baseball game at BB&T Ballpark on May 23. Other tickets are $35-$100 at www.gearsandguitarsfest.com/. All concerts are general admission; gates open at 5 p.m. daily.
My fair ladies
May 28: I’m With Her, a trio of celebrated songwriters and the latest offering in the American Music Series by UNCSA Presents, will perform at 7:30 p.m. at the Stevens Center, 405 W. Fourth St. The band is rooted in a rare alchemy: three celebrated songwriters coming together to create music that reveals entirely new possibilities. Since forming in 2014, Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan have imbued their songs with lyricism, musicianship and harmonies that reflect their extraordinary chemistry. Tickets begin at $30 at uncsa.edu/ performances/events or 336-721-1945.
May 30: Boyz II Men will perform with the Piedmont Wind Symphony at 7:30 p.m. at the Stevens Center, 405 W. Fourth St. Matthew Troy is music director and conductor. Four-time Grammy Award-winners Boyz II Men redefined popular R&B and continue to create hits that appeal to fans across generations. This concert will feature their greatest hits including “I’ll Make Love to You,” “End of the Road” and “One Sweet Day” Tickets are $100 and $125 at www.piedmontwindsymphony.com or 336-721-1945.
The deep end
June 8: “Warm Water: New Works by Charles Williams” is a collection of re-narrated visual works based on the event that sparked the Chicago Race Riot in 1919 and set off a string of violent events nationwide. The works unfold the story involving five black teens, and what reportedly caused the death of Eugene Williams, a black youth who wandered onto a segregated beach. There will be an opening reception 6-9 p.m. at Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, 750 Marguerite Drive. Cash bar (no charge for SECCA members). Visit www.secca.org.
Bookmark your calendar
June 27: Bookmarks will present bestselling author Louise Penny at 6:30 p.m. at Reynolds Auditorium, 301 Hawthorne Road, Winston-Salem. Penny is on tour for the paperback release of “Kingdom of the Blind,” and her next novel, “A Better Man,” which will release in August. Penny is known for her internationally acclaimed Armand Gamache series, which includes 14 books; “A Better Man” will be the 15th novel in the series. These murder mysteries follow Chief Inspector Gamache, the head of homicide for the Sûreté du Québec, as he navigates the secretive and complex landscape of small-town Three Pines. Tickets are $25–$85 at brownpaper tickets.com/event/4212129 or 800-838-3006.
Q is king
June 21-30: The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem will present “Das Barbecu” at Hanesbrands Theatre, 209 N. Spruce St. Two feuding families in Texas search for a mythical ring of gold and love in all the wrong places. With five actors playing more than 30 characters, this wild comedy features a double shotgun wedding, a song-and-dance tribute to the joys of guacamole, and a sweet little two-step. Tickets are $24, $22 for students at 336-725-4001 or www.ltofws.org/das-barbecu. Group discounts available.
June 29-Aug. 3: Appalachian State University’s annual summer arts attraction, An Appalachian Summer Festival, will celebrate its 35th anniversary season with performances by Winston-Salem native Ben Folds, Patti LaBelle, Lily Tomlin, Pilobolus dance company, Chris Botti and more. Tickets and the complete schedule are at www.appsummer.org; tickets at 800-841-2787 or 828-262-4046.