“A Christmas Carol” Opens at Home Made Theater [Berkshire on Stage]

December 7th, 2017, 2:00 pm by Greg

Home Made Theater begins their holiday season with Charles Dickens’ classic tale, A Christmas Carol. The show runs weekends from Friday (December 8) through Sunday, December 17 at SPAC’s Spa Little Theater in Saratoga Springs.

This holiday favorite is the story of the penny-pinching Ebenezer Scrooge and the loving family of his hapless employee Bob Cratchit. One cold Christmas Eve three ghosts take Scrooge on a journey to show him the error of his ways by visiting his past, present and future. Scrooge comes to
know the meaning of kindness, charity and goodwill.

The director of A Chistmas Carol is Dianne O’Neill Filer, who most recently directed Calendar Girls at HMT. The cast includes HMT veterans Marilyn Detmer as the Narrator, Charles Fitz-Gerald as Marley, Mark Todaro as Bob Cratchit, Rick Wissler as Mr. Fezziwig, Susan Dantz as Mrs. Fezziwig and Byron Turner as Fred. Newcomers to HMT include Warren Schultz as Scrooge, Samantha Levy as Mrs. Crachit and Emma Jordan as Tiny Tim.

Click here to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage


THEATER REVIEW: The PantoLoons’ “The Little Mermaid: Beyond the Sea” [Berkshire on Stage]

December 5th, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara

Review by Gail M. Burns

Ah, where are the Pantos of yesteryear? In this, their 18th season, there are only two active original members of the PantoLoons, and while the young performers who have come on board in recent years are fabulous, they have lost track of exactly what they are about.

A British Panto is a very specific form of theater, and the PantoLoons were founded by a Brit – Judy Staber – who until very recently got playwright’s billing on the shows, even though they were, and still remain, a collaborative effort amongst the Loons. Staber’s oversight ensured that the joie de vivre and lunacy that is a British Panto remained intact in this Americanized version.

That is not to say that this year’s Panto – The Little Mermaid: Beyond the Sea, running through Sunday (December 10) at the Ghent Playhouse – isn’t great good fun, but it hews too close to the plot of the Disney film and doesn’t take some very obvious liberties that would have moved it from spoof to true Panto. In these days of “Fake News” and burgeoning accusations of sexual assault by powerful men there is much political satire to be mined from the story of a woman who loses her voice.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Schenectady Civic Players Present “As Bees in Honey Drown” [Berkshire on Stage]

December 1st, 2017, 2:00 pm by Sara

The second play of Schenectady Civic Players‘ 90th anniversary season, As Bees in Honey Drown by Douglas Carter Beane and directed by Mark Stephens, opens on tonight (Friday, December 1) and runs through Sunday, December 10 at its 12 South Church Street Playhouse in Schenectady’s historic Stockade district.

In Beane’s satirical comedy, called “a delicious souffle of satire” by The New York Times, Evan Wyler (Knathan MacKenzie-Roy) has just finished a photo shoot. No, he’s not a super model, just a twenty-something New York writer savoring the success of his debut novel. Evan captures the attention of Alexa Vere de Vere (Cristine M. Loffredo), a glamorous woman of mystery who’s made the world of celebrity her home. In fact, it’s her religion. She wants Evan to write the screenplay of her life story. But, Alexa vanishes, leaving him to foot the bill for all the dinners and Armani suits they’ve gone through. Trying to find Alexa, Evan discovers a chain of people who have fallen under her spell and acted as her meal ticket.

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THEATER REVIEW: “She Loves Me” @ Capital Repertory Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

November 30th, 2017, 2:30 pm by Greg
From left: Michael McCorry Rose (Georg Nowack), Julia Burrows (Amalia Balash), David Girard (Steven Kodaly), and Tracy Jai Edwards (Ilona Ritter).

From left: Michael McCorry Rose (Georg Nowack), Julia Burrows
(Amalia Balash), David Girard (Steven Kodaly), and Tracy Jai Edwards
(Ilona Ritter).

Review by Roseann Cane

When was the last time you left a theater feeling exuberant, even beguiled? For me, it was about 24 hours ago, right after Capital Repertory Theatre’s opening night of She Loves Me. I’m still smiling.

She Loves Me originally opened on Broadway in 1963 with a star-studded cast that included Barbara Cook, Daniel Massey and Jack Cassidy. Inspired by a 1936 Hungarian play (which in turn inspired the 1940 film classic “The Shop Around the Corner,” 1949’s “In the Good Ole Summertime” and 1998’s “You’ve Got Mail”), it was only moderately successful, a romantic jewel box of a musical without any big song-and-dance numbers, outshone by the bold, brassy hit, Hello, Dolly! But She Loves Me continues to attract an ever-growing fan base, and it has enjoyed many revivals in both the U.S. and the U.K.

One reason for its lasting appeal is that the story is about “real” people. The workers in a perfume shop in 1930s Hungary steer the tale of two bickering co-workers, Georg Nowack (Michael McCorry Rose) and Amalia Balash (Julia Burrows), who have a secret: Each is exchanging letters to a potential mate found through a lonely hearts club. Meanwhile, a womanizing clerk, Steven Kodaly (David Girard), manipulates love-struck Ilona Ritter (Tracy Jai Edwards) even as he claws his way into the boudoir of a woman of means. Rounding out the shop associates are the bicycle-riding delivery boy, Arpad (an endearing Jimmy Bain), kindly clerk Ladislav Sipos (an affable, very amusing Marc de la Concha) and shop owner Mr. Maraczek (a commanding, poignant Kevin McGuire).

Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill has assembled a startlingly good cast. Their singing voices, all of them, are glorious. I have heard the original cast recording many times, yet I found the show’s signature numbers, Amalia’s “Vanilla Ice Cream” and Georg’s “She Loves Me,” heart-stoppingly good. Rose and Burrows have a palpable chemistry, and their performances are so fresh and sweet that despite my familiarity with the plot, I found myself right in the moment with them, hoping against hope that they would reveal their feelings to each other.

Click here to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage

Paul Lamar’s review at The Daily Gazette
Amy Durant’s review at The Alt

Soul Rebel Performance Troupe Presents “Voice from Inside” in Albany and Saratoga This Weekend [Berkshire on Stage]

November 29th, 2017, 2:00 pm by Sara

Soul Rebel Performance Troupe, in collaboration with Prisoners’ Legal Services, is honored to present Voices from Inside – performed monologues, poetry and vignettes written by people who are currently incarcerated, with musical accompaniment and songs. The cast includes members of the Meta Theatre Company, a theater group that writes, produces and performs theatrical work on site with incarcerated women at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility, New Jersey.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Bridge Street Theatre Hosts “The Fridge Plays” [Berkshire on Stage]

November 28th, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara
Erica Pappas and Will Pullen in “Nick and Zoe”

Erica Pappas and Will Pullen in “Nick and Zoe”

Two cutting-edge one-acts, two playwrights, two directors, five actors, one refrigerator. Straight from a sold-out run in NYC, The Fridge PlaysDaniel Talbott’s Nick and Zoe, directed by Shira-Lee Shalit and Steve McMahon’s sad indie love song, directed by Benjamin Viertel – hit Catskill’s intimate Bridge Street Theatre stage like a punch to the gut for two performances at 7:30pm on Friday & Saturday (December 1 & 2).

Originally presented on a double-bill as part of Arctic Group’s recent Fridge Fest in Manhattan (which featured 10 new plays with nothing in common but a refrigerator), this harrowing, intense, sexy, raw, fierce evening of grab-you-by-the-throat theater comes to Catskill with its original cast of brilliant young New York actors intact. Nick and Zoe stars Will Pullen (from the Broadway company of last year’s Pulitzer Prize winning play Sweat) and Erica Pappas, while sad indie love song features the talents of Declan Maloney Drummond, Natalie Donahue and Shawna Winey. Tristan Raines provides the costumes, while David Anzuelo is responsible for handling the choreography of the sex and violence in the production.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Rupert Holmes Brings All-New “…Drood” to Hubbard Hall [Berkshire on Stage]

November 27th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara

In 1983 successful pop singer-songwriter Rupert Holmes – “Escape (The Pina Colada Song),” “Him,” “Timothy” – concocted a plan to make a musical out of Charles Dickens’ unfinished final work The Mystery of Edwin Drood. He had the extraordinary opportunity to present this concept to Joseph Papp at the New York Shakespeare Festival (now the Public Theatre), which led to a 1985 summer-time run in Central Park and a transfer to Broadway shortly thereafter. The show went on to win several Tony Awards, including Best Musical as well as Best Book and Best Original Score for Holmes. (For a full and fascinating history of Holmes’ journey with this show, click HERE.)

Holmes’ original version ran over three hours, and ever since he has been in the process of pruning it. Everything was tightened up between the Central Park run and Broadway – even the title was shortened to simply Drood. He did rewrites again for the 1987 London production and the 1988 American touring production.

Fast forward 30-odd years and Holmes decided to take another crack at the show, this time reducing it to 90 minutes and paring down the orchestrations (uniquely, Holmes orchestrated his own show) to create a chamber version which was presented at a theater in North Carolina. Hubbard Hall Artistic Director David Snider had had …Drood on his short list for some time, but when he sought information on the chamber version from Raleigh there was no answer. Then he heard from Rupert Holmes himself!

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Annual Panto “The Little Mermaid: Beyond the Sea” at Ghent Playhouse [Berkshire on Stage]

November 20th, 2017, 1:00 pm by Sara
The Little Mermaid stars Sam Reilly and Ariel, and director Cathy Lee-Visscher as Aunt Ethel (photo: Kelly Mackerer)

The Little Mermaid stars Sam Reilly as Ariel and director Cathy Lee-Visscher as Aunt Ethel (photo: Kelly Mackerer)

Go beneath the sea and beyond at the Ghent Playhouse where the Panto-loons fracture yet another tale! It’s time again for the annual Holiday Panto, and this year the Loons will be serving surf and turf with their zany twist on the popular fairytale, “The Little Mermaid.”

Yes, it’s The Little Mermaid: Beyond the Sea.

Come see King Triton’s youngest daughter, Ariel, Sebastian, Flounder and all the gang for a rollicking good time! You may want to practice your hissing and booing for Ursula, the evil sea witch – a villain who will not disappoint!

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Holly & EvanJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysCartoonist John CaldwellThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantCaffe LenaAdvertise on Nippertown!Hudson SoundsAlbany PoetsBerkshire On StageArtist and Musician Michael Eck