December 30, 2017

Worcester Weekly: New Years on the Common, Railers + more, Dec. 30-Jan. 6

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Jaime Flores Photography / For Worcester Sun

Railers captain Ashton Rome is happy to be back in Worcester.

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Sunday, Dec. 31 — “Cabaret,” 1 and 6 p.m., Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, 2 Southbridge St.  An ominous and uncertain political landscape. A hateful bigot rising to prominence. Power brokers making unwanted advances. … If we didn’t know any better, the luminary playwrights and other creative folks behind this timeless theater favorite were recently inspired. Alas, “Cabaret” has been entertaining audiences since 1966.

So break yourself off a piece of the Kit Kat Klub, join Sally Bowles and company in escaping the daily cacophony of dissonance and indecency, and goosestep yourself out of the fray for a few hours.

The 1 p.m. show features “enhanced descriptive services” and sign language interpretation. Tickets are $39 to $74, with discounts available. Not appropriate for younger audiences (contains adult content).

For more information

Sunday, Dec. 31 — Worcester’s New Year’s Eve Celebration, 5-8 p.m., Worcester Common Oval, 455 Main St.  The city’s once revered and lately ridiculed First Night extravaganza had its last night as 2016 turned to 2017. The dedicated and dogged group that propped up the sagging enterprise announced in May that its 35th edition would be its swan song. That unsurprising, but still disappointing, development led many to wonder where the party’d be at in downtown Worcester on 2017’s ultimate evening.

City Hall, of course! Because if we know one thing about Worcester, it’s that City Manager Ed Augustus and his raucous crew know how to throw down. This all-in-one, three-hour festival centered on the outdoor skating rink is expected to feature street performers, live music, fireworks — and a heated tent.

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Wednesday, Jan. 3 — Worcester Railers vs. Reading Royals, 7:05 p.m., DCU Center, 50 Foster St.  Credit Mike Myers, team president, and Jamie Russell, general manager/coach, for assembling a competitive, cohesive roster for the Railers’ inaugural season in Worcester. If only the dynamic duo could have picked the division the team would end up in. At 12-10-2-2 as of press time — but also competing in the powerful and deep North division — the Railers were the only last-place team in the ECHL with an above-.500 record.

The top four teams from each of the league’s four divisions advance to the Kelly Cup playoffs. As it happens, the Royals are a Northern foe and thus would make good fodder for a midseason statement win for the Railers. A few more goals might be nice, too, for the Railers, who are 26th out of 27 ECHL teams in scoring. Tickets start at $15.

For more information

Friday, Jan. 5 — “Bringing Light to the Darkness” opening reception, 4:30-7:30 p.m., The Heritage Gallery, Whitin Mill, 50 Douglas Road, Whitinsville  Well, we could all use a little bit of that these days, couldn’t we? On the bright side — see what we did there?! — winter’s shortest and darkest days are behind us. On the other hand, January’s just getting started, Spring Training is weeks away, and the Republican Party is still a thing. So some artistic help in illuminating your winter wonderland might just be the salve you need to make it to spring in one piece.

“Photographers Mike and Joanne Zeis showcase images that capture forgotten places and hint at the lives of those who lived and worked within institutions. Related artifacts from the New York State Museum and Buffalo’s Museum of DisABILITY accompany their work.”

The exhibit runs through Feb. 23 — the day after the Red Sox’ first exhibition games.

For more information

Saturday, Jan. 6 — WPI men’s basketball vs. Babson, 2 p.m., Harrington Auditorium, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 151 Salisbury St. (parking garage)  WPI is for the nerds — we get it. But it’s the school’s men’s and women’s basketball teams that have really been engineering top marks lately. Following in the guys’ formidable footsteps (10 straight 20-win seasons) the ladies compiled a 63-20 record the past three years. The men? 58-22 in that span. Lots of athletic success for a bunch of future scientists.

With standout guard Jamani Spencer (a Division I talent, who walked on at Pepperdine) only available for three games so far and a slew of freshmen, the Engineers have relied on senior guard Chris Rodgers, sophomore swingman Jake Wisniewski and the frosh trio of Garrett Stephenson, of Townsend, Reid Walker and Jake Needleman.

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