Archive for the ‘Theater’ Category

Aglet Theatre Offers “Collected Stories” by Donald Margulies in Sheffield [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
A story about a two writers…

A story about a two writers…

On Saturday (September 20) at 7pm, the Aglet Theatre Company will present its first staged reading of this season – Collected Stories by Donald Margulies. It will do so in its new home at Dewey Hall, 91 Main St. (Route 7) in Sheffield, Massachusetts. Erected in 1887, the Hall is an intimate and charming venue, conducive to the genial atmosphere created by Aglet as well as the company’s thought-provoking and insightful productions.

Directed by Thomas Gruenewald, Aglet’s staff director, Collected Stories features two highly accomplished actresses – Deborah Coconis and Deann Halper. All three artists have extensive experience in other parts of the country as well as the tri-state area.

The play follows Ruth Steiner who exploded into the literary world with a collection of short stories that brought her instant fame in her early ’20s. The fame dwindled away, and Ruth has since become an esteemed but little-celebrated member of academia, teaching writing to ambitious college students in New York City.

One evening Lisa Morrison arrives for a consultation about a story she’s written for Ruth’s class. Lisa’s talent captures Ruth interest and as their relationship develops Ruth comes to see in her protégée a version of herself, a nobody from Detroit testing incredible odds to succeed.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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Love! Passion! Deception! Get All Twisted Together in “Private Eyes” at S&Co [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, September 15th, 2014
The cast of “Private Eyes” at Shakespeare & Company. (photo: Kevin Sprague)

The cast of “Private Eyes” at Shakespeare & Company (photo: Kevin Sprague)

It may be true that Caroline Calkins and Marcus Kearns played opposite each other in the appealing roles of Romeo and Juliet earlier this season at The Mount, but this hilarious thriller directed by Jonathon Croy is nothing like that. In fact, Private Eyes, written by Steven Dietz, has been described as a romantic comedy in which what’s real inevitably turns out to be an illusion. It’s a play within a play, within a play, within a play within a psychiatrist’s office — a Chinese box full of tricks and surprises.

Who can doubt that Croy is the perfect kind of director for this sort of mind-bending take on romance?

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

One-Woman Tour de Force “Mom Baby God” Addresses Reproductive Rights [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, September 11th, 2014
Madeline Burrows in Mom Baby God, a one woman show.

Madeline Burrows in “Mom Baby God,” a one-woman show.

By Larry Murray

Over the millenia, theater has often been on the cusp of debate and change in society. In the past it was the ancient Greeks who used theater to bring its far flung civilization together, and in the process invented the tragedy. Of course sometimes they went a bit too far. Phrynichus wrote a play titled The Fall of Miletus and when performed on stage the whole theater fell to weeping; this so upset the politicians that they fined Phrynichus a thousand drachmas for bringing to mind a calamity that affected them so personally, and forbade the performance of that play forever.

That’s sort of odd since any play that is able to bring the cool audiences of today to the verge of tears is more likely to get a standing ovation than the hook. Les Misérables is a good example, and perhaps that is why people either love it or hate it.

In recent times, reparative therapy for gays has been acknowledged as being cruel and ineffective, and those who support it seen as forcing their beliefs an others. A few months ago The Great Wilderness was on stage at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the misguided Samuel Hunter play looking at the human side of those sweet old men who conduct gay conversion therapy. It received markedly mixed reviews.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Mac-Haydn Theatre Continues with the “All Night Strut,” Sept. 5-14 [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
Strutting onto The Mac-Haydn Theatre stage in nearby Chatham, NY September 5 through 14. are Phil Sloves, Sarah Talbot, La’Nette Wallace and Don Seldon.

Strutting onto the Mac-Haydn Theatre stage in nearby Chatham, September 5-14 are Phil Sloves, Sarah Talbot, La’Nette Wallace and Don Seldon.

Labor Day doesn’t mean the end of the fun at the Mac-Haydn Theatre. No sir. In fact, this energetic theater invites you to strut back in time to the music of the 1930’s and 1940’s in The All Night Strut, playing a special schedule September 5-14. The All Night Strut is a classy and sassy musical bonanza that has all the special sounds from the depression and lowdown Harlem jive to WWII and stage door canteens to the sophistication of both uptown and downtown night club elegance. You’ll tap your toes and go home humming as jazz, blues, bop and classics bring back the romance, dance and delight of this inimitable musical era.

Starting with the full-throttle welcome of “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and ending with the excitement of “Lullaby of Broadway,” the over two dozen songs in between range from the plaintive depression anthem “Brother Can You Spare A Dime” to happier times of getting “In the Mood” and the syncopations of “Fascinating Rhythm.” There are reflections on the emotions of war with “G.I. Jive,” “White Cliffs of Dover” and “I’ll Be Seeing You.” You’ll also hear “Ain’t Misbehaving,” “Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar,” “A Fine Romance,” “Tuxedo Junction,” “Jukebox Saturday Night,” “As Time Goes By” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing” plus many more as the show goes swinging and strutting along.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Charles Busch Returns to Club Helsinki, Aug. 31 for “Pretty in Pink” [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, August 29th, 2014

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After two sold out engagements at Club Helsinki in Hudson, Charles Busch, Tony Award nominee for his hit Broadway play, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife and legendary drag star of such films as Die, Mommie, Die! and Psycho Beach Party, returns for a third engagement to Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday (August 31) at 8PM as part of the Helsinki on Broadway cabaret series presented in association with Showstoppers New York.

Back with brand new stories, brand new songs and brand new gowns, the fabulous, flamboyant and forever fascinating Charles Busch is not to be missed in a rare appearance in these parts. His all new show Pretty in Pink features Tom Judson on the piano and promises to be an evening of glamour, music, gossip, comedy and general mayhem! As an author his plays include The Lady in Question, Red Scare at Sunset and the long running Vampire Lesbians of Sodom.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

REVIEW: “The Addams Family” Haunts the Theater Barn with Music, Mischief [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
Tony Pallone, Steph Bacon and Kimberly Suskind.

Tony Pallone, Steph Bacon and Kimberly Suskind

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: The moment you hear the “Addams Family Theme Song,” you know you are in for fun evening at the Theater Barn in New Lebanon. The main reason is that the director Bert Bernardi is back in town and up to no good, taking this critically drubbed musical and giving it a fresh new life in its regional premiere. The Addams Family musical is being performed for the first time in the Berkshires.

Gail M. Burns: I had read some of those dismal reviews the New York production received, and I have to say that I am disappointed if this book and score are what passes for a successful Broadwy musical these days. But as I watched the show I realized that The Addams Family is not about great music and dramatic literature, but instead it’s about nostalgia and the love Americans, especially Baby Boomers like me, have for these characters. A while back someone did a poll asking who TV’s most happily married couple were, and Gomez and Morticia Addams beat Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, Ward and June Cleaver, even George Burns and Gracie Allen! We love these fictional folks and rush for any chance to see them again.

Larry Murray: People in this area look forward to the annual return of Bernardi to the Theater Barn since he has developed a reputation for finding hidden gems and making them into breathtaking productions while staying inside a pauper’s Broadway show budget. Last summer we all enjoyed his hit Young Frankenstein, and he has followed that spooky but hardly scary musical with yet another. The cast sang, danced and cracked jokes with the best of them, and while much of the material is silly, vaudevillian and sometimes a bit coarse, it was clear the audience was enjoying every morsel these performers dished out. It is among the best work I have ever seen from Bernardi and Theater Barn.

There’s another connection too…The Addams Family composer and lyricist Andrew Lippa is a Theater Barn alum, having toiled in New Lebanon during the summers of 1990 and 1991.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

REVIEW: “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” @ Shakespeare & Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, August 25th, 2014
(from left): Angel Moore, Mat Leonard and Ellizabeth Aspenlieder. (photo: Kevin Sprague)

(from left): Angel Moore, Mat Leonard and Ellizabeth Aspenlieder. (photo: Kevin Sprague)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Gail M. Burns: I am deeply saddened, in the most appropriately Russian manner, to realize that Christopher Durang writes Chekhovian drama almost better than Anton Chekhov. Allow me a moment of deep reflection on the meaning of this revelation and its impact on my understanding of the cosmos and my pointless existence as an infinitesimal speck of useless matter within its vastness.

(Pause…)

Larry Murray: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike – currently on view at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox through September 14 – could have easily been a parody of Chekhov’s classic plays but instead it is a valentine, a love letter of a play by Durang. The result is a comedy with deep life lessons, as its characters relearn what it means to be a family.

Gail: While you don’t have to know Chekhov’s plays to thoroughly enjoy this one, the more you know about dramatic literature, the more fun you’ll have. And while Chekhov is definitely an acquired taste, this will tickle the fancies of Chekhov lovers and haters in equal measure because Durang understands both what is wonderful and what is thoroughly annoying about the works of the Master.

Here Durang uses character names from Chekhov’s plays – Vanya and Sonia from Uncle Vanya, Masha from Three Sisters and The Seagull, Nina from The Seagull – and throws in endless allusions to his works throughout. Here Vanya (Jim Frangione), Sonia (Tod Randolph) and Masha (Elizabeth Aspenlieder) are siblings – after a fashion, Sonia is adopted – whose professorial parents named them after Chekhov’s characters. Masha, a five-times-divorced B-list film actress, owns the family home in Buck’s County, Pennsylvania, (just down the road from the home Dorothy Parker owned in the mid-20th century), where Vanya and Sonia, both unmarried, continue to live after caring for their parents through the ends of their lives. Nina (Olivia Saccomanno) just happens to be the name of a young woman visiting next door, and Spike (Mat Leonard) is Masha’s studly young lover. Like Madame Arkadina in The Seagull, Masha is an actress sliding precipitously over the hill, who is simultaneously jealous of and inspired by Nina’s luminous youthful beauty and incipient passion for acting.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

WAM Chooses “In Darfur” for Season Five with a Change Makers Benefit Panel Aug. 24 [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, August 22nd, 2014
Playwright Winter Miller took these photos at a Darfuri refugee camp in Chad.

Playwright Winter Miller took these photos at a Darfuri refugee camp in Chad.

As WAM (Women’s Action Movement) Theatre prepares to celebrate its fifth season at the August 24 Change Makers benefit, artistic director Kristen van Ginhoven has announced that this year’s fall production will be the New England premiere of In Darfur.

In Darfur is the provocative account of three intertwined lives at a camp for internally displaced persons. The story follows an aid worker’s mission to save and protect lives, a journalist’s pursuit to deliver a front page story, and a Darfuri woman’s quest for safety. It is a searing story of urgency and international significance.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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