Courant arts picks for Jan. 2-8: Tribute bands at Infinity, ‘Frozen’ on Ice and Baby Grand Jazz kickoff

·5 min read

The first full week of the new year brings all the variety and creativity we’ve come to expect from the arts in Connecticut. From “Second Saturdays” at two different art galleries to a marathon of “Twilight Zone” episodes to diverse concerts and comedy shows, the new year’s getting off to a good start. At the same time, a lot of events are being modified, postponed or canceled due to increased COVID concerns, so check with venues — and don a mask — before heading out.

A grand start

The Baby Grand Jazz series at Hartford Public Library kicks with S.O.A.R. The band name stands for “Sounds of A&R,” which in turn stands for singer April May Webb and trumpeter April May Webb and trumpeter Randall Haywood, plus Addison Frei on piano, Jacob Webb on bass and Nathan Webb on drums. Jan. 2 at 3 p.m. The show can be seen either in-person (at the downtown library, 500 Main St., Hartford; registration required) or livestreamed (on the Hartford Public Library Facebook page or YouTube channel). hplct.org.

‘The middle ground between light and shadow’

The Sacred Heart University Community Theatre, 1420 Post Road, Fairfield, is appreciating the beginning of 2022 for the weird, disorienting, what-can-possibly-happen-next experience it already is, with a marathon of classic Rod Serling “Twilight Zone” episodes. The first half of the 16-hour frenzy was on New Year’s Day and it concludes Jan. 2, starting at 11 a.m. $7.50, $5 children and seniors. shucommunitytheatre.org.

Light entertainment

Jan. 2 is the final day of the “Magic of Lights” display — or, to be exact, “The Magic of Lights Holiday Drive-Through Experience” — at the Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field, 615 Silver Lane, East Hartford. $22 per car, $60 per limo or party bus. magicoflights.com/events/easthartford.

Tributepalooza

The two Infinity Hall venues have always attracted the best tribute bands. This week they welcome three: Satisfaction (doing the Rolling Stones) Jan. 6 at 8 p.m. for $32-$44 at the Norfolk Infinity, 20 Greenwoods Road, Norfolk; Dirty Deeds (doing AC/DC) Jan. 8 at 8 p.m. for $28-$38 at the Hartford Infinity, 32 Front St., Hartford; and, also on Jan. 8 at 8 p.m., Soulshine (doing the Allman Brothers) for $35-$45 in Norfolk. Not only that, but at Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. in Hartford, there’s Boat House Row, which covers a wide swath of the genre affectionately known as Yacht Rock (i.e. Steely Dan, Toto, Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins). infinityhall.com.

‘Frozen’ on ice

There hasn’t been a Disney on Ice show at the XL Center in quite some time, so it’s appropriate that this one is called “Mickey’s Search Party”: the delightful mouse has been looking for us too! Among the cartoon icons donning figure skates for this lavish revue: characters from “Moana,” “Aladdin,” “Coco,” “Toy Story,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid” and, naturally, “Frozen,” plus Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald and Goofy. Jan. 6-9 at the XL Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza, Hartford. There are seven performances: Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 11 a.m. and 3 and 7 p.m. and Sunday at noon and 4 p.m. $19-$119. xlcenter.com.

The first Second Saturday

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, which has been open throughout the winter school break, has its regular free “Second Saturdays” family event on Jan. 8 at 2 p.m.: “Emphasize It” is a fun lesson in “how artists use the elements of art to catch your attention,” with Bonnie Rose Sullivan, who will teach you how to “design a superhero cape with an eye-catching focal point.” The museum is also giving away free copies of “The Big Squeeze: Hugs & Inspirations for Every Grown-Up Who Loves Teddy Bears” by Susan Mangiero. Admission is always free for Hartford residents but on “Second Saturdays” it’s free for everybody. thewadsworth.org.

Home is where the art is

“Perspectives of Home: An Exhibit about Home, Belonging and a Sense of Place” is both an art show and a social statement. Over 40 artists collectively contributed over 100 home-themed artworks that drive home the idea that “where we live impacts who we are.” The art is bolstered by history and statistics regarding immigration and housing in the city where the exhibit is happening, Manchester. On Jan. 8 there’s a special event: At 10 a.m. Dr. Fiona Vernal of the UConn program EPOCH (Engaged, Public, Oral and Community Histories) will lead tours and share her own knowledge of housing in Manchester. WORK_SPACE, 903 Main St., Manchester. workspacemanchester.com.

Underdog victorious

Singer/songwriter Jill Sobule, last heard hereabouts when she sang a song at the Mark Twain House’s online gala in November, has been visiting Connecticut since the mid-1990s, when her songs “I Kissed the Girl” and “Supermodel” were playing on all the college radio stations. Sobule’s at The Space Ballroom, 295 Treadwell St., Hamden. Jan. 8 at 8 p.m. The folk pop duo Goodnight Moonshine opens. $20-$50. spaceballroom.com.

Twice as funny

The comedy night on Jan. 8 at 8 p.m. at Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford, has two co-headliners, Brian Scott McFadden and Bob DiBuono. playhouseonpark.org.

A Paddington holiday

Streaming theater was beginning to seem soooo 2021, but the omicron COVID strain might bring a new surge to stay-at-home theater-style programming. The Shubert in New Haven has a “special virtual offering” that’s been up since early December and ends its run Jan. 4: “Paddington Saves Christmas,” a professionally filmed version of a puppet show about the popular overcoated bear, created by children’s puppet theater specialist Jonathan Rockefeller. It’s a holiday scenario about preparing a house for Santa’s visit. $16 for a stream on-demand through Jan. 4. shubert.com.

Christopher Arnott can be reached at carnott@courant.com.

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