Archive for the ‘Theater’ Category

“Stonewall” DIldine and the Mess at Shakespeare & Company [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, October 20th, 2014
Stonewall Dildine’s answer to all questions: “”We don’t discuss personnel matters.”

Stonewall Dildine’s answer to all questions: “We don’t discuss personnel matters.”

By Larry Murray

For more than a week, the board and management of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox have evaded every question about the sudden departure of artistic director Tony Simotes. It has also refused to give any indication of whether this signals a major reorganization of the theatre company, and just who is going to be next on the chopping block. The order to be silent has reverberated throughout the company and many of the founders and long-term members fear that if they open their mouth, they will lose their jobs. It seems that heads are going to roll soon, and that worries me as a veteran theater watcher who has a great love for this venerable company of actors.

Secrecy and stonewalling are a familiar form of corporate politics. Whether white collar workers or actors, using these sorts of wily tactics always backfires, and has already began to erode the company’s years of reputation and audience building.

Oddly, Shakespeare & Company chose to release the news of Simotes departure with hints of more changes to come in an after-hours news release (original story) late on a Friday night. They probably expected that few would print the news, or – most importantly – that few would notice that the popular Simotes was being unceremoniously ushered out months before his contract ends despite promises to the contrary. There were few details, just the usual meaningless niceties that accompany such corporate beheadings. My own attempts to glean more information were rebuffed even when such attempts were done using personal email rather than official ShakesCo email address which were undoubtedly being monitored for leaks.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Advertisement

THEATER: “An Enemy of the People” at Barrington Stage, a Collision of Fire and Ice Onstage [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
An Enemy of the People with Joey LaBrasca, Dee Nelson, Steve Hendrickson, Katya Stepanov and Noah Bailey (photo:Kevin Sprague)

“An Enemy of the People” with Joey LaBrasca, Dee Nelson, Steve Hendrickson, Katya Stepanov and Noah Bailey (photo: Kevin Sprague)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Gail M. Burns: Tragically, An Enemy of the People, a tale of the battle between the truth and those who would manipulate or stifle it for their own gain, is as relevant today as when Henrik Ibsen penned En folkefiende in 1882 in response to the public attacks on his play Ghosts, and in 1950 when Arthur Miller adapted it as a response to the actions of the House Un-American Activities Committee headed by Senator Joseph McCarthy. It is all too easy to draw parallels to the key concerns of today.

Larry Murray: I agree, Gail, and rarely do we see theater productions that so perfectly capture the temper of our times from a distance of 65 or 130 years. I think a large part of the reason that An Enemy of the People works so well is the excellence of every aspect of the Barrington Stage Company production in Pittsfield. Director Julianne Boyd has been doing these issue plays for many years now, and has yet to have one that has misfired. Her sense of historical importance combines with some pretty innovative direction to bring a big, long, grey play like this into sharp focus. The fourteen actors – drawn as much from this region as from New York – are uniformly superb.

Gail: The plot is painfully simple. In a town struggling to revive its economy after the Second World War, much money and many hopes have been pinned on the healing spa waters of Kirsten Springs and a new resort has been developed to capture the tourist market. The local doctor, Thomas Stockmann (Steve Hendrickson), concerned over a rash of illness among the Springs early patrons, has had the water analyzed and discovered that it is, in fact, contaminated by the run-off from the tannery upstream – a business that has been in his wife’s family for generations and is currently owned by his ecentric father-in-law, Morten Kiil (Glenn Barrett). Dr. Stockmann’s brother, Peter (Patrick Husted), is the Mayor, and they both sit on the board of directors of the resort. Dr. Stockmann has a happy family life with his wife Catherine (Dee Nelson), 20-something daughter Petra (Katya Stepanov), and two school-age sons Morten (Noah Bailey) and Ejlif (Joey Labrasca). They are well liked in the community and in the first scene the family is entertaining Aslaksen (Jack Wetherall), the publisher of the local paper, its young editor Hovstad (Scott Drummond) and his assistant, Billing (Christopher Hirsh), along with an elderly neighbor, Captain Horster (Don Paul Shannon), at dinner when the water analysis report arrives from the lab.

At first everyone hails Dr. Stockmann as a hero for catching this important information on time. But as the economic impact of this discovery becomes clear – the Mayor goes about making that impact starkly real to all concerned – the worm turns and by the opening of the second act Dr. Stockmann is not even allowed to speak at a public meeting he has called, held in the Captain’s home because no one in town will rent him a hall. Stockmann is officially declared An Enemy of the People, and the play concludes with he and his family sheltering behind their living room couch, as a mob roars outside their home and hurls rocks through their windows, determined to stick together and fight for the truth.

Larry: The tension that built during the opening of the second act where the point of the play all melds together, builds the excitement of the citizens into a frenzy, and you can feel it build all around you as the ensemble brings the action of the mob into the midst of the audience. It is a passionately breathtaking example of full-tilt theatrical magic at work. And it has to be the most memorable 15 minutes of theater I have seen this year. It’s an all-out assault on the truth by the classic powers-that-be which is at the heart of this great human story.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER: “Newsies” @ Proctors, 10/12/14

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
(photo: Deen Van Meer)

(photo: Deen Van Meer)

Review by Greg Haymes

Exuberant, full of spunky singing and dancing and utterly predictable, “Newsies” – the Disney musical which is launching its national tour with a week-long run at Proctors in Schenectady through Friday – is an excellent production of a weak show.

Based on the flop 1992 Disney film musical of the same name, the book for the stage musical “Newsies” was tweaked by Broadway vet Harvey Fierstein, but he couldn’t do enough to save the formula, paint-by-numbers plotline in which the audience is always at least two or three steps ahead of the characters onstage.

(more…)

An Evening of Political Theater Flips the “Pro-Life” Movement on Its Head with “Mom Baby God” [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, October 10th, 2014
Madeline Burrows in “Mom Baby God”  (photo: Jessica Neria)

Madeline Burrows in “Mom Baby God” (photo: Jessica Neria)

At 7:30pm on Saturday (October 11) Madeline Burrows’ virtuoso show, MOM BABY GOD, arrives at the Charles Wood Theater in Glens Falls for one night only. Taking on the right-wing anti-abortion movement through the eyes of a teenage girl, she portrays several characters in a passionate, solo 90-minute performance that was derived from the two years Burrows spent undercover at anti-choice conferences, interviewing priests, teenage video bloggers and abstinence-only sex (mis)educators. Over the course of one evening she throws you into the world of those whose answer to unwanted pregnancy is prayer and celibacy while asking others to achieve the impossible; the “be sexy/don’t have sex” ideal foisted on young women in America today.

While tackling a controversial and serious subject, MOM BABY GOD has flashes of irony and humor. The show has left audiences around the country inspired and galvanized to action in its exploration of how girls develop a sense of self and sexuality during a time of political backlash against feminism and reproductive rights.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Noël Coward’s “Fallen Angels” Opens 40th Ghent Playhouse Season Friday [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, October 9th, 2014
Mark Fingar as Willy Banbury tries to discern what Cathy Lee-Vosscher as Julia Sterroll and Christina Reeves as his wife, Jane are talking to in the Ghent Playhouse production of “Fallen Angels”.  (photo: Daniel Region)

Mark Fingar as Willy Banbury tries to discern what Cathy Lee-Vosscher as Julia Sterroll and Christina Reeves as his wife, Jane are talking to in the Ghent Playhouse production of “Fallen Angels.” (photo: Daniel Region)

For the first production of their 40th season, the Ghent Playhouse presents the very funny Noël Coward comedy Fallen Angels. Directed by Kate Gulliver, this is the 1955 version of Coward’s comedy.

This is the third Noël Coward comedy that Kate Gulliver has directed for the Playhouse. Previously she directed Private Lives and Hay Fever. Gulliver describes the play as “Set in the heady freedom of the 1920s, Fallen Angels is a frothy tale of two London ladies whose pre-marital indiscretions with a French lover come back to complicate their now happily-married lives. The cast of characters is led by a hilariously superior maid who knows everything about everything, and betters her betters at everything from playing the piano to speaking French.” Add a few martinis and several bottles of fine champagne, and this dryly witty 1920s romp comes very close to slapstick.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Barrington Stage Announces “Man of La Mancha,” “Lost in Yonkers” for 2015 [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
Jeff McCarthy as Don Quixote.

Jeff McCarthy as Don Quixote

Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield is hard at work planning their 2015 season, and in a surprise announcement – the first Berkshire Company to announce its 2015 choices – has announced two of its mainstage musical and drama offerings. BSC’s Associate Artist and Broadway veteran Jeff McCarthy will return to star in Man of La Mancha. Julianne Boyd made the announcement in concert with managing director Tristan Wilson, and she will also direct the musical with music direction by BSC Associate Artist Darren R. Cohen.

Also announced as a Boyd-Quinson Mainstage production is Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers. Both works have a long and deep history of awards and honors.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Made in the Berkshires Festival: Full Schedule of Events for 2014 [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
Made in the Berkshires takes place over Columbus Day Weekend.

Made in the Berkshires takes place over Columbus Day Weekend.

Columbus Day weekend is when the Berkshire Theatre Group kicks off the Made in the Berkshires Festival this year, running Friday-Sunday (October 10-12) at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield and the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge. This is the fourth year of the Berkshire’s homegrown festival that spotlights local art and artists of exceptional quality.

And it is as social as it is artistic.

The opening night celebration kicks off on Friday (October 10) at 6pm in the Colonial Theatre lobby with a cocktail hour and visual art show curated by Suky Werman. The opening night program begins at 7:30pm on stage at the Colonial Theatre. Highlights include a film rave by Joe Wheaton; a scene from Diary of a Fashionista: Styled by Destiny featuring Destiny Saunders and dancers from Youth Alive combining hip-hop and fashion; a solo performance by 13-year-old jazz guitarist Nico Wohl; Pas de deux from “Carmina Burana” by Ruslan Sprague & Anna Acker; solo classical piano performance by Paul Celebi; blues-rocker Albert Cummings’ new music video directed by Dave Simonds; and scenes from Emmy Award-winning writer Lee Kalcheim’s new play Speed Dating. The opening night celebration will be followed by a “Taste of the Berkshires” reception in the Colonial lobby featuring Berkshire farm-to-table produce and locally crafted foods with music from DJ RothFitz.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER: “Other Desert Cities” @ theREP, 9/30/14

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014
Daughter Brooke (Brenny Rabine) tries to explain to father Lyman (Kevin McGuire) that her upcoming book, a memoir, is loving. However, Lyman has serious concerns about the repercussions for the family.

Daughter Brooke (Brenny Rabine) tries to explain to father Lyman (Kevin McGuire) that her upcoming book, a memoir, is loving. However, Lyman has serious concerns about the repercussions for the family.

Review by Greg Haymes

As directed by Michael Bush, the word “tension” doesn’t quite begin to describe the mood of Jon Robin Baitz’s “Other Desert Cities,” currently on stage kicking off the 2014-2015 season at the Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany.

If you’re a fan of the “Well-to-Do White Family Torn Asunder by a Deep, Dark, Never-to-Be-Spoken-About Secret” genre of drama, this one’s for you.

But let’s get right to the heart of the matter…

(more…)

Holly & EvanCartoonist John CaldwellCaffe LenaAdvertise on Nippertown!Leave Regular Radio BehindArtist Charles HaymesKeep Albany BoringHudson SoundsBerkshire On StageAlbany PoetsThe LindaThe Sanctuary For Independent Media