Celebrity Series at Home

May 26: Staff Pick - Making the Music

Dear Friends,

In this week’s Celebrity Series at Home newsletter, we explore one of next season’s concerts in-depth: “Making The Music,” featuring Anaïs Mitchell, Duncan Sheik, and Shaina Taub. This trio of singer-songwriters performs a unique collaborative concert next February as part of our 2020-2021 season.

And in our digital concert series, we continue to highlight the inspiring local Neighborhood Artists who have been broadcasting performances live online. The series continues through June - browse all of the free Celebrity Series at Home online concerts here.

Michael Avitabile, flute

Michael Avitabile

Michael Avitabile is a flutist, entrepreneur, and educator dedicated to the music of our time. He is the Founder and Executive Director of Hub New Music, a Boston-based mixed quartet and Neighborhood Arts ensemble that has quickly become a prominent force among contemporary music organizations. Tune in to Facebook and YouTube this Thursday, May 28 at 8 pm for the virtual premiere of this concert!


David Lang, Thorn
Gala Flagello, Fake Smile
Nina Shekhar, Adrift
George Darrah, Gilgamesh
David Biedenbender, Detroit Steel
Pascal Le Boeuf, Vicodin

Staff Pick: Making the Music

Making the Music

By Elizabeth Kracunas, Celebrity Series Manager of Performance Operations

Anaïs Mitchell, Duncan Sheik, and Shaina Taub are some of the most talented composers and lyricists for Broadway right now. Mitchell and Sheik have both received the Tony Award for Best Original Score for Hadestown and Spring Awakening, respectively, and Taub, an Artist-in-Residence at The Public Theater, is a rising talent being sought after by a number of big Broadway players. The three will be joining forces as Making the Music this February for what is sure to be a unique and unforgettable collaborative concert! 

Why We Build the Wall - Anaïs Mitchell - 10/22/2016

(Above: Watch a video of Anaïs Mitchell performing Hadestown’s “Why We Build the Wall” on Chris Thile’s show Live From Here.)

Anaïs Mitchell's idea for Hadestown was conceived in 2006 and first developed as a DIY community theater project in her home state of Vermont with local musician friends. Four years later, Hadestown was released as a concept album in 2010 and included contributions from Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Ani DiFranco. After a few years touring the show as a concert, she realized she wanted to put it back in the theater and develop it further with help from Director Rachel Chavkin. After runs Off-Broadway, and in Edmonton and London, Hadestown premiered on Broadway in March 2019. The show was an instant success, receiving fourteen Tony nominations and winning eight of them including Best Musical and Best Original Score. She also won the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and has been called “a national treasure; one of our great modern singer-songwriters” by Time Out Magazine.

Making the Music: How Duncan Sheik Wrote "Don't Do Sadness" From ''Spring Awakening''

(Above: Duncan Sheik explains his writing process for “Don’t Do Sadness” from Spring Awakening.) 

Another American singer-songwriter and composer who has had great success on Broadway is Duncan Sheik. A lot of people know Sheik by his 1996 hit debut single “Barely Breathing” but he has also received a lot of attention and praise for his compositions for plays such as the New York Shakespeare Festival’s 2002 production of Twelfth Night and musicals like the 2006 Broadway hit, Spring Awakening. Sheik wrote the music for Spring Awakening in collaboration with writer and poet Steven Sater over the course of eight years. He initially shied away from the idea of writing a musical when approached by Sater in 1999. However, seven years and seven workshops later, the two created the original and groundbreaking musical as we know it today. Spring Awakening was nominated for eleven Tony Awards and won eight of them including Best Musical and Best Original Score.


(Above: Watch Shaina Taub perform her song “Huddled Masses” at BUILD NYC.)

Shaina Taub, an Emmy-nominated singer-songwriter and performer, is a rising star in musical theater. Taub offers a fierce and fresh perspective in her musical compositions and lyrics whether it’s commenting on our current political landscape or exploring gender identity. Taub is in high demand on Broadway and her songs have been performed by Broadway stars such as Sutton Foster, Audra McDonald and Phillipa Soo. An Artist-in-Residence at The Public Theater, Taub was commissioned to compose and star in original musical adaptations of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and As You Like It for their groundbreaking Public Works Initiative. In addition to her work with The Public Theater, she is writing her own show about the women’s suffrage movement and writing lyrics for the upcoming Broadway musical, The Devil Wears Prada, with music by Sir Elton John. Taub was a member of the original Off-Broadway cast of Anaïs Mitchell’s Hadestown! As Broadway director Rachel Chavkin points out, “her talents are manifold — or maybe it’s womanfold.” 

This collaborative concert of prolific, creative, and award-winning composers and lyricists will be a truly special night — don't miss it!

Watch Aristides Rivas and Meena Malik’s Facebook Live

Blending the genres of world folk and classical music, Aristides Rivas and Meena Malik from Neighborhood Arts ensemble Voci Angelica create an ambitious blend of cultures, reinvigorating traditional songs for contemporary audiences. In their Facebook Live last week, Aristides performed excerpts from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 2 in D minor. And together they performed “Lamento Borincano” from his suite Boricua which was commissioned by the Celebrity Series for the Boston Tribute to Pablo Casals, and a Venezuelan folk song.

Thank you

Your investment in the Celebrity Series is more important than ever! Your tax-deductible donation will help the Celebrity Series team continue to bring high-quality artistic programming to households in Boston and beyond. Whether that programming takes place onstage, in the community, or online, your gift will ensure that Celebrity Series remains strong, innovative, and resilient now and in the future. If you are able, please consider making a contribution to Celebrity Series, in any amount. 

Making the Music is generously sponsored by Kathleen & Chris Gaffney.


Celebrity Series of Boston is grateful to our 2019-20 season sponsors Amy & Joshua Boger, and to the many individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies whose support helps fulfill our mission to present performing artists who inspire and enrich our community and our vision of a community of Greater Boston where the performing arts are a valued, lifelong, shared experience - on stages, on streets, in neighborhoods - everywhere.