GREAT BARRINGTON -- Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center is rolling out a spring schedule offering a mix of music, dance, the spoken word, classic movies and "live in HD" broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera in New York, London's National Theatre and the popular NPR show "Wait, Wait Š Don't Tell Me."

Among the highlights:

  • humorist David Sedaris (April 6);
  • singer/mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile and jazz pianist Brad Mehldau (April 13)
  • a New England premiere by the Paul Taylor Dance Company (May 24 - 26);
  • a talk and slide show presentation by Caldecott Award-winning author and illustrator Brian Selznick followed by a screening of Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" (March 17);
  • Masters of the Fiddle with Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy (March 24);
  • acrobatic troupe Cirque Shanghai: Bai Xi (April 26)

Tickets to Brian Selznick, Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau, and Paul Taylor Dance Company will go on sale to the general public at noon on Thursday

"The combination of events we're announcing for the spring reflects a range of rare opportunities," Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center executive director Beryl Jolly said in a news release. "Each one is a special event and overall they offer a series of fun and intriguing experiences in very different styles."

Sedaris, who will sign books after his show, is the author of "Barrel Fever" and "Holidays on Ice," as well as several collections of personal essays. Sedaris' pieces appear regularly in The New Yorker and have twice been included in "The Best American Essays." His next book, "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls," will be published in April.


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Thile and Mehldau will be giving a rare performance as a duo. Mehldau has drawn attention for his work as a bandleader, solo artist and collaborations with Pat Metheny, Anne Sofie von Otter, Renee Fleming, and Joshua Redman. Thile, of Punch Brothers and, for 15 years, Nickel Creek, is credited with having elevated the mandolin from its origins as a relatively simple folk and bluegrass instrument to the sophistication of jazz improvisation and classical performance.

In its return to the Mahaiwe for its sixth consecutive summer season, the Paul Taylor Dance Company will perform, in addition to other works, the New England premiere of Taylor's "Perpetual Dawn." The new work is set to concertos by Baroque composer Johann David Heinichen.

New York Times-bestselling author and illustrator Brian Selznick will talk about his Caldecott Award-winning book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" and how it became Martin Scorsese's 2011 Oscar-winning film "Hugo." Following a blu-ray screening of the family film, he will participate in a Q & A with his Scholastic editor, Berkshire resident Tracy Mack, and then sign books.

Drawing on a more-than-2,000-year-old tradition, Cirque Shanghai: Bai Xi features aerial acrobatics, plate spinning, contortion, balancing acts, hoop diving, and martial arts.

NPR's "Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me!" will make its cinematic debut May 9 with an HD broadcast. Host Peter Sagal and official judge and scorekeeper Carl Kasell will be joined onstage by panelists.

The Metropolitan Opera's "Live in HD" spring schedule includes

  • Wagner's "Parsifal" (March 2, noon; encore -- March 13, noon);
  • Zandonai's "Francesca da Rimini" (March 16, noon; encore -- March 27, noon);
  • Handel's "Giulio Cesare" (April 27, noon; encore -- May 5, noon).

Opera expert Scott Eyerly gives an introductory talk about each Met opera at the Mahaiwe before its live broadcast.

The Mahaiwe also will present two London National Theatre: Live in HD broadcasts -- "People," a new play by Alan Bennett, directed by Nicholas Hytner and starring Olivier Award-winning actress Frances de la Tour, March 21 at 7 p.m., with an encore presentation on March 30 at 7 p.m.; and James Graham's "This House" on May 17 at 7 p.m.

The Mahaiwe also will host a wide variety of community events.

Complete schedule and ticket information is available online at www.mahaiwe.org or by telephone at (413) 528-0100.

Season at a glance ...

  • Metropolitan Opera "Live in HD" -- Wagner's "Parsifal." Noon. March 2 (encore broadcast --  noon, March 13)
  • Monument Mountain Regional High School Pops Concert with Maureen O'Flynn. 8 p.m. March 8 
  • Screening: "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide." WAM Theatre, Sisters for Peace, Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. 7 p.m. March 15  
  • Metropolitan Opera "Live in HD" -- Zandonai's "Francesca da Rimini." Noon, March 16 at (encore broadcast -- noon, March 27)
  • Movie of the Month: "Thelma and Louise." 7 p.m. March 16 
  • Brian Selznick / Martin Scorsese's "Hugo." 2 p.m. March 17 
  • London's National Theatre in HD: "People" by Alan Bennett. 7 p.m. March 21 (encore broadcast  -- 7 p.m. March 30)
  • Close Encounters With Music -- An Evening with Eliot Fisk: Old, New, Borrowed and Blues. 6 p.m. March 23 
  • Masters of the Fiddle with Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy. 7 p.m. March 24 
  • David Sedaris. 8 p.m. April 6 
  • Crocus Fund: Talent Show (fundraiser for Youth Summer Camp). 7 p.m. April 11
  • Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau. 8 p.m. April 13 
  • Close Encounters With Music -- Grand Piano Trios I -- Schubert and Schoenfield. 6 p.m. April 20 
  • Movie of the Month: Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights." 4 p.m. April 21 
  • Cirque Shanghai: Bai Xi. April 26 -- 10 a.m. (school field trip performance); 7 p.m. (public performance)
  • Metropolitan Opera "Live in HD": Handel's "Giulio Cesare." Noon, April 27 (encore broadcast -- noon, May 5) 
  • Great Barrington Annual Town Meeting. 6 p.m. May 6
  • NPR's "Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me!" (in HD). 7 p.m. May 9
  • London's National Theatre in HD: "This House" by James Graham. 7 p.m. May 17 
  • Close Encounters With Music: Grand Piano Trios II -- Mozart, Beethoven, and Ravel. 6 p.m. May 18
  • Congregation Ahavath Sholom: Ghetto Tango. (National Yiddish Theatre - Folksbiene production). 3 p.m. May 19 
  • Paul Taylor Dance Company. 8 p.m. May 24 and 25; May 26 -- 2 and 7 p.m.

Tickets …

  • Complete ticket and schedule information available through the box office in person at 14 Castle St.; by telephone at (413) 528-0100; online at <a href='http://www.mahaiwe.org' target='_blank'>www.mahaiwe.org</a>   
  • Box office hours: Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. and three hours before showtimes.