by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray
Larry Murray: I have long described Barrington Stage Company (BSC), as a tenacious little theatre company that started life twenty years ago in Sheffield. But over two decades, both their budget and reputation has grown to make them arguably the leading theatre company in the Berkshires. They’ve sent shows to New York, the latest being 2013′s On the Town which is being prepared for a fall Broadway opening. The company has come a long way, don’t you think, Gail?
Gail M. Burns: My first visit to BSC was in August of 1998, their fourth year. After that I never missed a season, lured in by both the chance to see top-notch productions of seldom-seen musicals – Mack and Mabel, On the 20th Century, Falsettos, The Human Comedy – and the very reasonable ticket prices. I have followed them from the Consolati auditorium at Mt. Everett Regional High School, through a variety of guest stints and make-shift spaces, to their current facilities in downtown Pittsfield. There have been many more hits than misses, but there has always been a sense of adventure, excitement, and professionalism. The common denominator has been the vision and energy of Artistic Director Julianne Boyd.
Larry: Sitting on the Boyd-Quinson stage for the season announcement was a revelation. I had never set foot on the actual stage, and was shocked at how little wing and crossover space there was to work with. It made me doubly appreciative of the miracles BSC’s production teams accomplish every time they mount a big brassy musical like On the Town or West Side Story.
Gail: Most of our regional stages are remarkably tiny. It felt crowded with all of us lunching. Keeping frantically dancing bodies from colliding in that confined space seems unthinkable.