The fireworks have settled and the grills have been scraped clean. This is the time of year — nine weeks before Labor Day — that my mom used to say the summer was pretty much over. But you and I know that there’s still plenty of summer fun left, and this list proves it. Here are five things to do this weekend that will even help Mom stay in the summertime mood.
Friday, July 7-Sunday, July 16
You know the music of Gershwin and Bernstein. “Rhapsody in Blue.” “West Side Story.” Those titles should ring bells. Their influence has permeated the American songbook from jazz to musical theater and beyond for much of the last century, and their pieces continue to be among the most popular and crowd-pleasing in concert halls. Presented by the Lyric Stage Company, this program brings together pieces from the two composers, and is performed by its two creators — Kirsten Salpini and Jared Troilo, who audiences may recognize from the production “Murder for Two.” The show will run for 90 minutes with a brief intermission, and tickets are available on a pay-what-you-can basis this Friday.
Friday, July 7-Sunday, July 9
In 2013, the Levitate surf shop in Marshfield celebrated 10 years of business by putting on an arts and music festival at the Marshfield Fairgrounds. Now in 2023, the festival is marking its own 10th anniversary. Headlining acts this year include Trey Anastasio Band, Ziggy Marley, Stick Figure, Lucius and Brandi Carlile, who in my opinion has secured her American musician sainthood after facilitating last year’s performance at the Newport Folk Festival with Joni Mitchell. That is to say, Levitate has people on stage who know how to bring a party.
Saturday, July 8
You may have heard of Beats by Girlz, the global organization with over 30 chapters in 15 countries that works to teach women and gender minorities the skills of music making. This Saturday from noon until 8 p.m. at Boston City Hall Plaza, BBG will present a varied lineup of musicians from violin-infused electronic to indie and dance music. This free festival should be a good time for anyone who enjoys outdoor live music, but it should be particularly worthwhile for people interested in making their own music. BBG regularly hosts camps and workshops, and this will be a good time to meet people in the know.
Saturday, July 8
I like it when a concert has a suggested dress code, and I like it even more when that dress code recommends that you “arrive bejeweled in a nice dress, put your little red party dress on, or tone it down in a vintage tee, cardigan, and blue jeans — whatever style makes you feel young and beautiful!” This Taylor Swift/ Lana Del Rey double feature concert in the legendary Somerville Theatre will be co-headlined by the consummate singer Cara Brindisi, who sang Swift’s “All Too Well” on The Voice last fall, and Niki Luparelli, whose experience in burlesque tributes makes her an ideal vessel for Lana Del Rey’s music. Brindisi and Luparelli will be sharing the stage with “an absolute party of drag and burlesque performers” and a twelve-piece Summer Sadness Orchestra for an evening that is sure to take sadness out of Saturday night.
Through Saturday, July 22
The Cape Cod Playhouse has been staging summer theater productions since 1927, so it has nearly a century-long history of Broadway and Hollywood stars. A young Jane Fonda had her stage debut here in 1956 when her father Henry Fonda starred in a production of “The Male Animal.” The venue’s history dates back much further than that. In the 1800s, the building served as a meetinghouse, and with the dim house lighting and the smell of old Cape Cod wood, it evokes nostalgia for New England summer stock theater. For many locals like myself who worked at the Playhouse or grew up attending shows, the nostalgia is personal. When I walk through those doors, I’m reminded of day trips to the beach, working intermission rush at the concession stand during a hot evening, and staying up til early morning with cast and crew around a bonfire.
This year’s July show is “Jersey Boys,” the jukebox musical that tells the behind-the-scenes story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. It includes songs such as “December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” and the TikTok viral hit, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”