Archive for the ‘Theater’ Category

THEATER REVIEW: “Camelot” @ theREP, 11/29/16

Friday, December 2nd, 2016
Leenya Rideout as Guineviere, Oliver Thornton as Lancelot, and Kevin McGuire as King Arthur (photo: Douglas C. Liebig)

Leenya Rideout as Guenevere, Oliver Thornton as Lancelot, and Kevin McGuire as King Arthur

Review by Greg Haymes
Photograph by Douglas C. Liebig

“Don’t let it be forgot
That once there was a spot
For one brief shining moment
That was known as Camelot…”

For baby boomers, it’s nearly impossibly to separate the beloved Lerner & Lowe musical from the ground-breaking ’60s era of President John F. Kennedy, politically speaking the most hopeful time of the late 20th century.

But in the shadow of the most recent presidential election, it would seem that “Camelot” and its musical tale of King Arthur’s revolutionary concept of justice is not much more than a painful reminder of what could have been. A magical, almost mystical land like “Brigadoon,” speaking in Broadway terms…

Currently on the boards at theREP in downtown Albany, director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill’s hand guides “Camelot” through its paces with some intriguing twists and turns – most notably casting the actors as musicians. Or was it the musicians as actors? Either way, it was brilliant, and the precise choreography required to pull it off was nearly seamless. Kudos also must go to musical director Josh D. Smith.

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THEATER REVIEW: “The Turn of the Scrooge” @ the Ghent Playhouse [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, December 2nd, 2016
Mark “Monk” Schane-Lydon turns in delightful performances in three roles.

Mark “Monk” Schane-Lydon turns in delightful performances in three roles.

Theater review by Gail M. Burns

I am happy to report that the PantoLoons have once again taken the stage at the Ghent Playhouse for the annual Panto – this year a take-off on the much beloved and done-to-death Dickens tale A Christmas Carol in an opus they call The Turn of the Scrooge.

What is a Panto? Well, it is a British theatrical tradition for the holiday season. Basically, you take a familiar fairy tale or folk tale, have all the men play the women and the women play the men, add lots of new and (hopefully) witty lyrics to well-known tunes, and ignore the plot completely. There is lots of audience interaction – you get to boo the villians and sing along a bit and shout “He’s right behind you!” and such. Only the most conservative and humorless of folks can fail to be amused by the good old-fashioned schtick.

In Columbia County this tradition was started in 2000 by British-born Judy Staber. Staber has now stepped aside, but a continuing corps of like-minded Loons gather to pen and perform a new and original Panto every year. This year Cathy Lee-Visscher takes the reins as the director.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage>

THEATER: Examining Juárez/El Paso @ MASS MoCA [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, December 1st, 2016
Image from JUÁREZ: A Documentary Mythology by Theater Mitu at Mass MoCA December 3, 2016.

Image from “JUÁREZ: A Documentary Mythology” by Theater Mitu at MASS MoCA on Saturday.

A riveting work of theater explores the border community of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas — one a hot zone of the drug cartel wars, the other, directly across the border, the self-proclaimed “Safest Large City in America.” Led by Juárez-born and -raised founding artistic director Rubén Polendo, Theater Mitu’s company members condensed hundreds of hours of interviews and field recordings from both cities. Drawing on their research, JUÁREZ: A Documentary Mythology illuminates the region’s memories, hopes and fears, and takes the stage at MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center in North Adams at 8pm on Saturday (December 3).

Based on the disparate lifestyles of “murder capital of the world” Juárez, Mexico, and its neighboring town on the U.S. and Mexico border, El Paso, Texas, Theater Mitu has developed a piece that draws upon the communities’ “memories from the past, both recent and distant, and hopes for the future, near and far.” Incorporating real citizens’ interviews on audio and video, JUÁREZ creates a multimedia environment engrossed in the authentic issues and emotions of these border towns. As its story unfolds, JUÁREZ confronts hardship and struggle directly, ultimately turning the tides and leaving the viewer with cautious optimism.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” @ Proctors

Monday, November 28th, 2016
Adam Langdon as Christopher Boone and the touring production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night

Adam Langdon as Christopher Boone and the touring production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”

Review by Greg Haymes

Maybe my expectations were too high…

November’s been a brutally sad month emotionally, and I was looking for something uplifting. Something hopeful. Something to reaffirm my faith in mankind.

But the National Theatre’s touring production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” just didn’t do it for me. Perhaps the start of the play – a dead dog with a pitchfork stuck through him lying centerstage at Proctors – should have been a tip-off.

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LIVE: Berkshire Theatre Awards Show @ Barrington Stage Co.’s Mr. Finn’s Cabaret, 11/13/16 [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016
At the Berkshire Thaetre Awards: (l to r) William Finn, Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Larry Murray and Debra Jo Rupp.

At the Berkshire Theatre Awards: (l to r) William Finn, Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Larry Murray and Debra Jo Rupp

By Larry Murray

This past Sunday night at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret in Pittsfield, something wonderful happened. With just about every theater company from miles around in attendance, the Berkshire theater community honored its own at the Berkshire Theatre Awards. The event ran for some two hours, with plenty of socializing before and after the awards themselves. With just two brief moments on stage to welcome everyone and to present the Larry Murray Award to Julianne Boyd of Barrington Stage Company, I was able to watch what a committee of theater critics, with a little help from their theater friends, was able to throw together. It was pretty impressive.

Those in attendance laughed heartily as emcees Peter Bergman and Macey Levin made jokes and engaged in funny bits of stage business as they doled out their precious plaques to some 25-plus recipients in record time. But it was the non-stop applause for all the nominees, each of whom was mentioned, that brought joy to my heart. So it is this brilliant collection of theater people that get my first thanks, for giving us such a wonderful choice of great plays and musicals to choose from.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

“Facing Our Truth” – Six 10-Minute Plays About Trayvon Martin [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, November 14th, 2016

trayvon

As time has passed, the Trayvon Martin murder has grown from one of outrage to one of deep thought and contemplation, especially among playwrights. Multicultural BRIDGE, Kickwheel Ensemble Theatre, and Bard College and Bard Academy at Simon’s Rock are joining together to present a reading of Facing Our Truth, a collection of six 10-minute plays by Winter Miller, Marcus Gardley, Dominique Morrisseau, Mona Mansour & Tala Manassah, Dan O’Brien with Quetzal Flores and A. Rey Pamatmat. Reflecting on race relations in the United States, this collection of one-acts was inspired by events surrounding the Trayvon Martin case. Simon’s Rock hosts the event at the McConnell Theatre in Great Barrington at 7pm on Tuesday (November 15) with a moderated panel and community discussion to follow.

In 2013, the New Black Fest in New York City commissioned six very diverse playwrights to write 10-minute plays on the topic of Trayvon Martin, race and/or privilege. This commission resulted in a collection of one-acts titled Facing Our Truth which continue to be presented around the country. Facing Our Truth’s purpose is to spark serious discussion in our collective communities around these urgent issues.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Celebrating the Winners of the Berkshire Theatre Awards [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, November 11th, 2016
(left) J. Peter Bergman and (right) Elizabeth Aspenlieder

(left) J. Peter Bergman and (right) Elizabeth Aspenlieder

The winners of the inaugural Berkshire Theatre Awards will gather at 5pm on Sunday (November 13) at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret at Barrington Stage Co. in Pittsfield. Along with members of the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association, they will raise a glass of bubbly in celebration of the exciting 2016 theater season nearing its conclusion, and the genesis of these awards in recognition of its importance to the community and economy of the region.

Headlining the evening’s entertainment are Elizabeth Aspenlieder and Debra Jo Rupp, award-winning actors who also make their homes here in the Berkshires. Hosts for the ceremony are J. Peter Bergman from The Berkshire Edge and Macey Levin from Berkshire on Stage, members of the Founders’ Committee.

The event has drawn the Berkshires’ theatrical community together in a show of support that is rare for the off-season. Making an appearance are the four major Berkshire theater companies, and the half-dozen smaller troupes who contribute so much to our year-round cultural life. Among the winners who will claim their awards are Julianne Boyd, Nehassaiu deGannes, Chris Demos-Brown, Jess Goldstein, Dana Harrison, Debra Jo Rupp, Tamara Tunie and Andre Ware.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Concrete Temple Theatre’s “Geppetto: Extraordinary Extremities” Comes to Catskill [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, November 7th, 2016
“Geppetto: Extraordinary Extremities” comes to Catskill’s Bridge Street Theatre November 11-13, 2016.

“Geppetto: Extraordinary Extremities” comes to Catskill’s Bridge Street Theatre, November 11-13

Concrete Temple Theatre brings their one-man puppet theater spectacle, “Geppetto: Extraordinary Extremities,” to Catskill’s Bridge Street Theatre for three performances Friday-Sunday (November 11-13). A tale of resilience and adaptation for audiences of all ages, it tells the story of a puppet-maker and recent widower, Geppetto, as he attempts to perform the mythical love story of Perseus and Andromeda without his wife for the first time. During the performance things begin to go haywire, and Geppetto finds himself desperately improvising to overcome the challenges of performing alone while at the same time scrambling to devise new storylines, new characters and even new limbs for his puppet hero.

Inspired by an NPR story on Hugh Herr, whose legs were amputated after a climbing accident and who now designs technologically advanced artificial limbs, “Extraordinary Extremities” began life as “Peculiar Extremities” in June, 2012, when a 20-minute-excerpt was presented as part of St. Ann’s Warehouse’s Puppet Lab’s “Labapalooza!” In March 2013, an in-process version of “Geppetto” was performed at Hudson Opera House in Hudson, and in June 2013, “Geppetto” premiered as part of HERE’s Sublet Series, generously supported by the Jim Henson Foundation.

In November 2013, the play enjoyed a seven-city tour in Northern Italy where it was performed in Italian, and in January 2014, it was performed at Teatro Jaco in Jaco, Costa Rica in Spanish. “Geppetto: Extraordinary Extremities” has also been presented Off-Broadway at SoHo Playhouse, April-May 2014; November 2014 at Pontine Theatre, New Hampshire; January 2015 at the Mint Theater, NYC and Rowan University, NJ; March 2015 at Creative Aging Conference, NYC; June 2015 at Diana Jones Innovative Senior Center, Brooklyn, NY; September 2015 at the Dairy Center for the Arts, CO.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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