The once-simple act of attending an arts-and-entertainment event became impossible in the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic. When going to concerts, plays and movies became a thing again, there remained a host of challenges. Does the venue require proof of vaccine? Am I required to wear a mask? If I’m not required to wear a mask should I wear one anyway? Is it even worth the risk to go out in public while the pandemic is still here?
Those questions won’t disappear as 2022 begins and we move toward the two-year anniversary of the pandemic’s arrival in March. But a new year always brings hope, right? And a big part of hope is having something to look forward to.
Here, specifically, are 22 arts-and-entertainment events to look forward to in 2022. This, of course, is just for events that have already been announced. Another thing to look forward to is what hopefully will be dozens and dozens more shows being announced as the months unfold. In the meantime, dream on about these offerings:
Jan. 6, ‘Martin Eden’
The latest movie by Northeast Kingdom filmmaker Jay Craven is set in 1909 and based on author Jack London’s autobiographical novel. “Martin Eden” was made with 28 professionals who mentored and worked with 35 students in Craven’s “Semester Cinema” program, including students at Northern Vermont University and Middlebury College.
7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6, “Martin Eden” premiere, Main Street Landing Film House, Burlington, presented in conjunction with the Vermont International Film Festival and including a question-and-answer session with director Jay Craven. $6-$12. www.vtiff.org
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Jan. 22, FlynnSpace returns
The Flynn, Vermont’s premiere performing-arts center, began welcoming arts-lovers to its 1,411-seat main-stage theater in Burlington in October. The Flynn’s more-intimate basement venue, FlynnSpace, has been closed for nearly two years. That changes when Vermont comic Josie Leavitt presents a show titled “Eating While Fat.”
8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, Josie Leavitt’s “Eating While Fat,” FlynnSpace, Burlington. $30. www.flynnvt.org
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Feb. 2, Vermont Stage
Burlington’s professional-theater company presented a couple of outdoor shows in 2021 but otherwise hasn’t put on a play indoors (its holiday-season storytelling venture “Winter Tales” notwithstanding) since the COVID-19 interruption in March 2020. That changes with the opening of “The Lifespan of a Fact,” a comedic look at a factchecker’s woes as he tries to verify an essay by a legendary author.
Feb. 2-20, “The Lifespan of a Fact,” Vermont Stage, Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center, Burlington. $31.05-$38.50. www.vermontstage.org
Feb. 4, Stealing from Work
The sketch-comedy troupe celebrates 10 years of laughter with a show titled “Something Old, Something New, Nothing Borrowed, Often Blue.” This will be Stealing from Work’s first new show since February 2020.
7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4-Sunday, Feb. 6, Stealing from Work, “Something Old, Something New, Nothing Borrowed, Often Blue,” Vermont Comedy Club, Burlington. $20. www.vermontcomedyclub.com
Feb. 10, Courtney Barnett
The Australian indie-rocker and sharp-eyed songwriter normally plays theaters and other venues much larger than the 770-capacity Higher Ground Ballroom. Yet that’s where she’ll be for her sold-out show in support of her new album, “Things Take Time, Take Time.”
8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10, Courtney Barnett with Shamir, Higher Ground, South Burlington. Sold out. www.highergroundmusic.com
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Feb. 12, Vermont Symphony Orchestra
The VSO is trying something new in 2022. It’s joining with Dallas-based Lightware Labs for the “Visualizer Orchestra,” which uses light and images to create animated works of art as a 40-piece orchestra performs works by Rimsky-Korsakov, Mendelssohn and more.
5:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s “Visualizer Orchestra,” Double E Performance Center, Essex. $10-$30. www.vso.org
Feb. 12, Winter Is a Drag Ball
This annual event — well, annual in the pre-COVID days, anyway — is so big it needs both rooms at Higher Ground. Drag troupe The House of LeMay is back in action after presenting the ball virtually in 2021.
8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, Winter Is a Drag Ball, Higher Ground Ballroom and Showcase Lounge. $32-$37. www.highergroundmusic.com
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Feb. 18, Burlington City Arts
One of Vermont’s more-prominent visual artists, Eric Aho, debuts a new series of paintings at The BCA Center in Burlington. “’Headwater,’” according to Burlington City Arts, “features monumental and intimately scaled paintings that capture the artist’s sensory experience of the natural world — reconstructed by the artist through memory and invention.”
Feb. 18-June 5, “Headwater” by Eric Aho, The BCA Center, Burlington. Free. www.burlingtoncityarts.org
Feb. 19, Anais Mitchell
The Addison County native whose made-in-Vermont musical “Hadestown” went onto Broadway and eight Tony Awards headlines a show at the Flynn. She’ll open for herself, too — Mitchell follows her folk trio, Bonny Light Horseman, to the stage.
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, Anais Mitchell with Bonny Light Horseman, the Flynn, Burlington. $15-$52. www.flynnvt.org
March 19, John Cameron Mitchell
There’s a theme here of Tony-winning Mitchells performing at the Flynn. John Cameron Mitchell, a Tony Awardee and co-creator of the fantastical musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” revisits that production while also offering stories from his career.
7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19, John Cameron Mitchell’s “The Origin of Love,” the Flynn, Burlington. $25-$55. www.flynnvt.org
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March 19, Itzhak Perlman
A big month for the Flynn continues with one of the top names in classical music today. The violinist — who for years with his wife, Toby, brought their Perlman Music Program to Stowe to teach young string players — performs a recital with his longtime pianist, Rohan De Silva.
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, Itzhak Perlman, the Flynn, Burlington. $75-$125. www.flynnvt.org
April 7, Lyric Theatre
Vermont’s largest community-theater organization kept busy in the past year, putting on a series of smaller virtual and in-person events. The company returns to his home at the Flynn with the musical “Matilda.”
April 7-10, “Matilda: The Musical” by Lyric Theatre, the Flynn, Burlington. $19-$44. www.lyrictheatrevt.org
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April 12, Diana Krall
The renowned jazz pianist is back at the Flynn. Krall has performed on the Burlington stage a few times, including during the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival.
7 pm. Tuesday, April 12, Diana Krall, the Flynn, Burlington. $70-$110. www.flynnvt.org
April 18, Bonnie Raitt
Less than a week after Diana Krall plays there, another big name in music graces the stage at the Flynn. Blues guitarist-vocalist Bonnie Raitt — like Krall, a past Burlington Discover Jazz Festival performer — performs following openers NRBQ.
7:30 p.m. Monday, April 18, Bonnie Raitt with NRBQ, the Flynn, Burlington. $94.50-$129.50. www.flynnvt.org
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May 8, “Weird Al” Yankovic
He’s not kidding about that weird part — the iconoclastic musical oddball displays his wit at the Flynn in a show presented by Higher Ground. He’ll follow stand-up comic and fellow creative oddball Emo Philips, who like Yankovic appeared in the 1989 movie “UHF.”
7 p.m. Sunday, May 8, “Weird Al” Yankovic with Emo Philips, the Flynn, Burlington. $66.25-$329. www.highergroundmusic.com
May 13, Waking Windows
The beloved indie-rock festival in Winooski has waited through cancelations in 2020 and 2021 to celebrate its 10th year. Waking Windows is (*fingers crossed*) primed to mark a decade in 2022 with a three-day lineup that so far includes national touring acts Japanese Breakfast and Dinosaur Jr. as well as local stars Rough Francis and Father Figuer.
Friday, May 13-Sunday, May 15, Waking Windows festival, locations throughout Winooski. $60-$75 for weekend pass. www.wakingwindows.com
May 14, Kevin James
With luck, 2022 will be the year that shows postponed from the year before will actually happen. Such is the case with this stand-up performance at the Flynn by “The King of Queens” star.
8 p.m. Saturday, May 14, Kevin James, the Flynn, Burlington. $50.75-$82.25. www.flynnvt.org
May 29, The Avett Brothers
Outdoor shows were a salvation for Vermont music fans in 2021, with Higher Ground and other venues staging al fresco shows that made concert-going more palatable during the pandemic. The 2022 outdoor season is already starting to take shape, starting with folk-rock stars The Avett Brothers.
7 p.m. Sunday, May 29, The Avett Brothers, midway lawn, Champlain Valley Exposition, Essex Junction. $65. www.highergroundmusic.com
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June 3, Burlington Discover Jazz Festival
This yearly 10-day celebration happened in a pared-down form in 2021, but at least it happened. In fact, the mostly-outdoor 2021 version was the first big public celebration in Burlington to emerge from the pandemic. The lineup for the 2022 version hasn’t been announced yet, but the dates have, so that’s something to celebrate right there.
June 3-12, Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, locations throughout Burlington. Lineup and ticket information to be announced. www.flynnvt.org/Community/Burlington-Discover-Jazz-Festival
June 8, Bon Iver
The eclectic band led by Justin Vernon headlines an outdoor show at the Champlain Valley Exposition. The opening act is the folk trio Bonny Light Horseman (see above, Feb. 19); one of the trio’s members, Anais Mitchell (also see above, Feb. 19) asked Vernon to sing the lead part of Orpheus on her 2010 album version of “Hadestown.”
7 p.m. Wednesday, June 8, Bon Iver with Bonny Light Horseman, midway lawn, Champlain Valley Exposition, Essex Junction. $65. www.highergroundmusic.com
June 9, Clint Black
One of the best-known names in country music — all he’s done is crank out 22 number-one country hits — makes a Vermont visit this spring when he takes the stage at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland.
8 p.m. Thursday, June 9, Clint Black, Paramount Theatre, Rutland. $79-$99. www.paramountvt.org
Sept. 4, Jeff Dunham
He lets other people do the talking — well, puppets, actually — but Jeff Dunham is still a big star in the world of ventriloquism. He’s the first act announced for the 2022 Champlain Valley Fair, which is scheduled for Aug. 26-Sept. 4.
8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4, Jeff Dunham, Champlain Valley Fair, Essex Junction. $29-$59. www.champlainvalleyfair.org
Contact Brent Hallenbeck at [email protected]. Follow Brent on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BrentHallenbeck.