Archive for the ‘Theater’ Category

THEATER REVIEW: “Fiorello!” @ Berkshire Theatre Group [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, June 27th, 2016
Chelsea Groen and Dan Cassin in Fiorello (photo: Emma Rothenberg-Ware)

Chelsea Groen and Dan Cassin in “Fiorello!” (photo: Emma Rothenberg-Ware)

Theater review by Larry Murray

Back in 1959, Fiorello! was the hit show that scooped up a Pulitzer Prize for best drama, and tied with the The Sound of Music for the Tony as best musical, leaving Gypsy in the dust. Tom Bosley, as Fiorello LaGuardia, won best actor.

As delivered by a youthful cast, Fiorello! moves right along with a breezy score by Jerry Bock, clever lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and this is a good thing because the weak link is a thin, choppy book which has undergone various revisions over the years. The program credits Jerome Weidman and George Abbott for the version currently on stage at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge. It seems close (if not identical) to the original, which I saw some 56 years ago. Memories fade, though I remember how much I enjoyed songs like “Politics and Poker,” “Little Tin Box” and “Till Tomorrow.”

The cast of Fiorello! is uniformly excellent, a parade of characters and caricatures that easily delight today’s audiences just as they did those a half century ago. Who doesn’t love to watch love blossom on stage between a policeman – a sturdy Dan Cassin – and the radical striker, Dora (Chelsea Groen).

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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“The unCivil War”: A Bluegrass Musical Comedy, Cabaret Style [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, June 24th, 2016
The cabaret show features J. Robert Spencer as Lincoln and Brian Charles Rooney as Mary Todd

The cabaret show features J. Robert Spencer as Lincoln and Brian Charles Rooney as Mary Todd

At the Wood Theater in Glens Falls, the Adirondack Theatre Festival’s 22nd summer season continues this weekend with its cabaret series featuring the return of The unCivil War in a special concert performance. This special event will feature an updated script and score, with changes made based on reactions of ATF audiences from last summer’s performance, complete with multiple new songs and scenes. The concert performances will be held at 7:30pm on Sunday and Monday (June 26 & 27).

150 years after the final gunshot, the Civil War’s six lone survivors grab their banjos, washboards and what’s left of their sanity to retell the story of the infamous conflict…as it really happened. Complete with singing, dancing, outrageous humor and biting historical satire, The unCivil War is a wild, bluegrass-fueled ride that re-examines one of the country’s darkest moments and sheds a hilarious new light on the leaders we’ve long considered heroes.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER REVIEW: “American Son” @ Barrington Stage Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
Luke Smith, Michael Hayden, Andre Ware and Tamara Tunie (photo: Scott Barrow)

Luke Smith, Michael Hayden, Andre Ware and Tamara Tunie (photo: Scott Barrow)

Review by Larry Murray

As artistic director of Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Julianne Boyd is constantly on the lookout for topical, dramatic plays that explore the often thorny and seemingly intractable problems that exist in America. Foremost among these is the racial divide which continues to plague our relationships with one another, as well as the gender gap which often sets husband and wife against one another. Both of these are themes upon which American Son revolves in this world premiere play commissioned by her company.

Race and gender are themes upon which to construct a solid play, but playwright Christopher Demos-Brown ratchets up the conflicts by adding to this volatile mix the current concern about police and policing. While not its main theme, frictions between law enforcement and minorities is touched on, side by side with the fact that most Americans don’t have a solid grasp of how policing works. American Son is a tough, gritty play that – on opening night – held its audience spellbound as this complex gordian knot was unraveled.

Before the play begins, you know things are going to be a bit harsh when the house lights start to fade a bit before crashing into total darkness. Eerie seconds tick by. Then, when the lights come up on stage we are almost blinded by the industrial lighting of the police station where Kendra Ellis-Connor (Tamara Tunie) is sitting, fidgeting with her smart phone and worried sick about the whereabouts of her son, Jamal. Tunie finds a dozen ways to indicate that she is a bundle of nerves, while impatiently awaiting word from the reticent police rookie assigned to her case. As Officer Paul Larkin, Luke Smith is sufficiently bumbling, overly solicitous one moment, and officious the next, as he tries every strategy he has been taught to keep the worried mom in check.

Click here to read the rest at Berkshire On Stage

LIVE: Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company @ The Egg, 4/29/16

Monday, June 20th, 2016

sinopoli3

Photographs by Timothy Reidy

Congratulations go out to the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company, who celebrated their 25th anniversary with a recent retrospective performance at The Egg in Albany…

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THEATER REVIEW: “Kimberly Akimbo” @ Barrington Stage Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, June 20th, 2016
Chris Thorn (Buddy) and Debra Jo Rupp (Kimberly) in a scene from “Kimberly Akimbo”. Photo by Scott Barrow.

Chris Thorn (Buddy) and Debra Jo Rupp (Kimberly) in a scene from “Kimberly Akimbo”. Photo by Scott Barrow.

Review by Macey Levin

David Lindsay-Abaire won a Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for his play Rabbit Hole — a story of a family that has lost a child who was struck by a car and killed eight months earlier. He has also given us plays filled with off-beat humor such as Fuddy Meers, Wonder of the World and Kimberly Akimbo which is currently receiving a dynamic production at Barrington Stage Company’s St. Germain Stage in Pittsfield.

Kimberly (Debra Jo Rupp) has the aging disease progeria; though she is only sixteen, physically and internally she is past middle age on the verge of dying. She knows how to deal with the condition, but she is also a member of a highly dysfunctional family that has recently moved from Secaucus, New Jersey to Bogota, New Jersey under mysterious circumstances. Her father Buddy (Chris Thorn) is an alcoholic who works in a gas station and often forgets his responsibilities to his daughter. Pattie (Jessiee Datino), her mother, is pregnant, has been operated on for carpal tunnel syndrome and is self-involved. Aunt Debra (Jessica Savage) has been in and out of jail several times and is currently homeless. The only relatively sane one in her life, and that’s relative, is Jeff (Adam Langdon), a classmate who creates anagrams and is a Dungeons and Dragons aficionado.

Kimberly, despite her youth, is the only rational character and she also displays a moral center. She knows but does not fear what lies ahead. She attempts, sometimes vainly, to teach her family members the difference between right and wrong and how to act as a grown-up.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Hedda Lettuce Heads to Hudson [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, June 16th, 2016
Hedda Lettuce

Hedda Lettuce

Hedda Lettuce, the self-described “world’s first and premiere eco-friendly drag queen,” brings her gay cabaret featuring her patented blend of poised characters, startling satire and original music, to Club Helsinki in Hudson at 8pm on Saturday (June 18) as part of the weekend’s Hudson Pride celebration.

Hedda Lettuce (aka Steven Polito) is a six-time Drag Queen of the Year award-winner from HX Magazine. She has appeared with the likes of Tyra Banks, Madonna and Sarah Jessica Parker on such TV shows as “Project Runway,” “Sex and the City,” “The Tyra Banks Show” and “Ugly Betty” and has appeared at such top city venues as Caroline’s on Broadway and the Metropolitan Room. She is one of the few drag queens who actually sings live using her voice instead of lip syncing.

Click to read more at Berkshire On Stage

THEATER: Lindsey Ferrentino’s “Ugly Lies the Bone” Comes to Shakespeare & Company [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016
Ugly Lies the Bone, written by Lindsey Ferrentino (above), is being directed by Daniela Varon.

“Ugly Lies the Bone,” written by Lindsey Ferrentino (above), is being directed by Daniela Varon.

Shakespeare & Company in Lenox continues to roll out its 39th performance season with the regional premiere of the Woodward and Newman Award-winning play, Ugly Lies the Bone, written by Lindsey Ferrentino and directed by Daniela Varon. This insightful, emotional and timely drama joins the Bernstein Theatre repertory on Thursday (June 16) and runs through Sunday, August 28.

Combat veteran Jess comes home to Florida after three tours in Afghanistan bearing deep physical and emotional scars. An innovative, experimental video game therapy offers an escape from her excruciating pain, but can virtual reality help Jess come to terms with the altered reality of her hometown, relationships and dreams?

“I fell in love with this play the first time I read it,” says director Daniela Varon. “The playwright’s thematic landscape encompasses so many timely subjects – such as the changing role of women in the military, how we see or don’t see our veterans, and how we care for our elderly. Among things that are especially difficult to comprehend if one hasn’t experienced them firsthand are combat on the battlefield, and constant, intractable physical pain. This play asks its audiences to imagine both. Jess, our protagonist, is referred to as a war hero, but her hero’s journey only begins at war. The longer journey is in coming home — to her community, her family, and her body.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER: “Fiorello!” Celebrates NYC Mayor LaGuardia [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, June 13th, 2016

fiorello

Kate Maguire, Artistic Director of Berkshire Theatre Group, is excited about the young cast of the classic musical Fiorello!, opening this week at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge. Directed by Playwrights Horizons founder Bob Moss, Fiorello! will run from Wednesday (June 15) through Saturday, July 23. “I’m thrilled that we’re starting the season with this delightful, Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning musical, created by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, who currently have two hit shows on Broadway, She Loves Me and Fiddler on the Roof.”

Moss adds, “Mayor LaGuardia was long gone by the time I moved to New York, so I never lived under his tenure in City Hall. But the ‘Little Flower,’ as he was called, lives on in memory. The music is toe-tapping, the characters are richly drawn and a story about good guys is desperately needed in today’s jaded and vitriolic politics. It’s great to be reminded, as the music lifts us aloft, that good can triumph over selfishness.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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