Archive for the ‘Theater’ Category

“Aunt Nona” Takes Over the Bridge Street Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, April 28th, 2016
Anna Carol is Aunt Nona.

Anna Carol is Aunt Nona.

Playwright/performer Anna Carol brings her hilarious North Dakotan alter ego to the Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill in An Evening with Aunt Nona, which opens on Friday (April 29) for a three-performance run. Directed by Joshua Chase Gold, Aunt Nona first appeared in 2014 at the University of Central Florida, then toured the Midwest before her New York City debut at the United Solo Festival in September, 2015.

Audiences spend an hour in Nona’s dressing room just prior to her solo performance debut on the Great White Way … in Fargo, North Dakota. Through stand-up, improv, and storytelling, Anna Carol explores the idiosyncrasies of Nona’s eccentric life. Attempting to find her way in the world, she joyfully shares her jaunts through a world of jingle writing, cookies and bars, gay nephews, boyfriends, drag queens, mothers, meat raffles and lady locker rooms. And while she optimistically muddles through every misstep, she’s definitely not without true fears she just can’t seem to conquer. For every misfit, college graduate or millionaire who has desired a life beyond set expectations, Aunt Nona is the family member who will be always be there to commiserate, communicate and cachinnate with.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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Williamstown Theatre Festival Announces Casting for Summer 2016 [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

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Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield has announced additional casting for the upcoming Williamstown Theatre Festival 2016 summer season, which runs from June 28-August 21.

ON THE MAIN STAGE:
* Christopher Abbott (“Girls”), Katie Lee Hill (The Wildness), Darren Pettie (“Mad Men”), Will Pullen (Goat), Lindsay Mendez (Wicked) and Constance Shulman (“Orange is the New Black”) join the previously announced Marisa Tomei in The Rose Tattoo (June 28–July 17)
* Justin Long (last season’s An Intervention and Legacy), Connie Ray (Stuart Little, “ER”) and Andrew Weems (Born Yesterday) will be seen in the world premiere comedy Romance Novels For Dummies (July 20–31)
* Saidah Arrika Ekulona (Ruined), Grace Gummer (Arcadia), Roe Hartrampf (Nobody Loves You), Stephen Kunken (“Billions”), Tony Award nominee Deborah Rush (“Orange is the New Black”) and SAG Award winner Kate Walsh (“Grey’s Anatomy”), along with Pettie and Pullen, will all appear in An American Daughter (August 3 – August 21)

ON THE NIKOS STAGE:
* Gregg Mozgala (Downsizing Camus), Rebecca Naomi Jones (American Idiot) and Wendell Pierce (“The Wire,” WTF’s 2008 Broke-ology) can be seen in the world premiere of Cost of Living (June 29–July 10)
* Carson Elrod (Peter and the Starcatcher), Sue Jean Kim (Bachelorette), Brían F. O’Byrne (Doubt) – who replaces the previously announced Michael Stuhlbarg – and Laila Robins (“Homeland”) make up the cast of the world premiere sci-fi comedy thriller The Chinese Room (July 13–23)
* Jerry Dixon (If/Then), Jose Llana (The King and I), Katie Lee Hill, Stephen Wallem (“Nurse Jackie”) and Noah Zachary (Dear Edwina) will appear in the world premiere musical Poster Boy(July 27–August 7)
* Closing out the summer are the previously announced Tony and Emmy Award nominee Alfred Molina and Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee Jane Kaczmarek in the American premiere of And No More Shall We Part (August 10–21).

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Queer & Campy Whodunit: “Nasty Drew & That Harder Boy: The Mystery of the Family Jewels” [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, April 15th, 2016
Nasty Drew and That Harder Boy. Photo by John Goddard via The Broadway

“Nasty Drew and That Harder Boy.” Photo by John Goddard via The Broadway

By Larry Murray

Not to be missed on Sunday (April 17) at Club Helsinki in Hudson is Nasty Drew & That Harder Boy: The Mystery of the Family Jewels which is a “queer and campy whodunit” written and produced by Chris Harder parodying the classic Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries beloved by baby-boomers. This co-production of GayHudson.com and BigGayHudsonValley.com features some of New York City’s hottest names in burlesque, drag and circus performers. The show will also play ar Canvas in Poughkeepsie at 9:30pm tonight (Friday, April 15) and 9:30pm on Saturday (April 16) at the Rosendale Theater in Rosendale with a final Greater Nippertown performance at 7pm on Sunday (April 17) at Club Helsinki in Hudson.

It does seem a shame that a Berkshire venue like Mr. Finn’s Cabaret run by Barrington Stage, or the Garage Club at the Colonial run by the Berkshire Theatre Group couldn’t join this consortium of venues for affordable entertainment directed at the LGBT community.

Sporadically on view at New York City’s Laurie Beechman Theater off and on through Sunday, May 15, this live theatrical parody of teen detective novels of a bygone era co-stars two of burlesque’s hottest performers, Chris Harder and Nasty Canasta, in an evening that blends comedy, mystery, drag and stripping. The cast and crew makes their way to neighboring Hudson, delighting the region’s lovers of unconventional theater, not to mention the LGBT community.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage

THEATER: Wu Tsang moves beyond the transgender experience to experimental art @ EMPAC [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, April 14th, 2016
Patrick Belaga, Wu Tsang and Boychild.

Patrick Belaga, Wu Tsang and boychild

By Larry Murray

When most people think of transgender art (if they think about it at all) they conjure up tacky nightclubs, drag queens and a hidden, clandestine world. That’s not only wrong: it’s insulting.

Dig a little more deeply and you will find there is some exceptional artisty to be had, and given the chance, you and I can discover what a truly creative mind can bring to the stage. It is in that spirit that we choose this performance as a top pick, one you should not miss.

As it is, artist Wu Tsang will cap a week-long production residency at EMPAC at RPI in Troy with the stage performance Moved by the Motion, a collaboration with performer boychild and experimental cellist Patrick Belaga. Part of an ongoing, iterative series of such performances, the show at 8pm on Friday (April 15) will feature a new lighting design, crafted in the EMPAC Theater.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Taylor Mac’s Magical, Musical Throwback to the 1800’s [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, April 7th, 2016
Taylor Mac

Taylor Mac

“Fabulousness can come in many forms, and Taylor Mac seems intent on assuming each and every one of them,” The New York Times recently noted. From 4-10pm on Saturday (April 9) at MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center, the inimitable artist presents a six-hour work-in-progress performance of six decades of A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. His performance will cover the period from 1836-1896, each decade receiving about an hour of exposition from Mac’s wildly ambitious, multi-year effort to chart the history of popular music in America from the nation’s founding in 1776 to the present day. The performance caps off a two-week residency in North Adams by Mac and collaborators. MASS MoCA gallery hours will be extended until 7pm on Saturday, as viewers are encouraged to come and go during the six-hour performance.

Taylor Mac (who prefers the gender pronoun “judy”) is a New York-based theater artist, playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, cabaret performer, performance artist, director and producer whose many talents combine in the spectacular A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. The project is a unique mash-up of music, history, performance and art. In it, judy performs songs spanning the history of America, with approximately one hour of performance (and a riotous corresponding costume by longtime Mac collaborator Machine Dazzle) dedicated to each decade.

Since the undertaking began in 2012, Mac – who was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in Theater/Performance Art on Wednesday (April 6) – has been creating shows covering single decades or a few decades at a time; judy will stitch these together in the 24-hour extravaganza planned for New York City this fall, in which judy will be joined by a 24-piece orchestra, dancing beauties and an array of special guests.

A 24-Decade History of Popular Music is a vibrant whirlwind of musical theater, drag performance and historical storytelling that delights audiences with razor-sharp wit and musical brilliance. Artforum has called the project a “face-wrenchingly funny…chronicle of sex, repression, expression and community” and said, “Mac is a master performer, riveting storyteller and charismatic, otherworldly creature, dressed to the tens in artist/designer Machine Dazzle’s magnificent metamorphic glitz.” The Los Angeles Times has described it as simply “glorious.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Mr. Finn Introduces Ridiculously Talented Songwriters [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

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The Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield has announced the return of Tony Award-winner William Finn’s popular Songs by Ridiculously Talented Composers and Lyricists You Probably Don’t Know, But Should… on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage at 8pm on Friday & Saturday, June 10 & 11. As usual Mr. Finn will at as emcee.

The slate of cabaret performers was also announced by Artistic Director Julianne Boyd and Managing Director Tristan Wilson.

Kicking off BSC’s Mainstage season will be two-time Tony Award-winning composer/lyricist William Finn and the next generation of talented musical theater writers in Songs by Ridiculously Talented Composers and Lyricists You Probably Don’t Know But Should. This brilliant group of young writers will share some of their newest songs with the help of four extraordinary singers, ridiculous talented in their own right. Mr. Finn walks us through what makes these songs and songwriters stand out! A funny, charming and insightful evening! Directed by Stephanie Yankwitt. Tickets to Songs by the Ridiculously Talented Composers and Lyricists you Probably Don’t Know, But Should… are $30-$40.

Barrington Stage Company also announced the 2016 season of performances at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret, located on the lower level of the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center in Pittsfield.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Be Here Now: “Xerxes” @ Skidmore’s Zankel Music Center This Weekend

Friday, April 1st, 2016

opera1

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

What better way to celebrate spring than with an opera about a tree-hugger?

The first full opera production in Skidmore College’s Arthur Zankel Music Center will be Handel’s “Xerxes” at 8pm on today & Saturday (April 1 & 2). Directed by Artist-in-Residence Sylvia Stoner-Hawkins, the production features students in her “Opera Workshop” course, guest countertenor Chad Payton and Skidmore faculty baritone Dennis Blackwell, with the Skidmore String Orchestra, led by guest conductor Scott Schoonover and prepared by Senior Artist-in-Residence Michael Emery.

Handel’s seriocomic opera, which debuted in 1738, was based loosely on the ancient Persian King Xerxes. He opens the production by singing to his beloved plane tree the famous aria “Ombra mai fu” (“Never was a shade”). For her shortened adaptation, Stoner-Hawkins has the king launching a sustainability campaign: “We have turned the plot around to work with modern times,” she notes. And notwithstanding the distractions in the convoluted plot — the king falls for his brother’s lover, power struggles ensue, emotions escalate — “in our version the sustainability campaign is really successful.”

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50 Theater Artists + 24 Hours = Five New Plays @ UAlbany PAC [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, March 31st, 2016
Theatre Project in 2012: Alexia Trainor, Tony Pallone, and Erin Ouellette. Photo by Enrico Spada

Theatre Project in 2012: Alexia Trainor, Tony Pallone and Erin Ouellette. Photo by Enrico Spada

The UAlbany Performing Arts Center is hosting the 24 Hour Theatre Project at 7:30pm on Saturday (April 2). Presented in collaboration with WAM Theatre and in conjunction with the NYS Writers Institute, the event boasts the best in theater talent from across Greater Nippertown. Given just 24 hours to write, rehearse and perform five new plays, the project combines the spontaneous creativity of improvisational theatre with the rigorous professionalism and production value of scripted theater.

After a two-year hiatus, this fast-paced, adrenaline-packed event is back. Sponsored for three years by WAM Theatre and MopCo, the event has taken place previously at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy (2011), Shakespeare and Company’s Bernstein Theatre in Lenox (2012) and the John Sayles School of Fine Arts in Schenectady (2013). The UAlbany Performing Arts Center is this year’s host and will welcome all 50 participants on Friday (April 1) to kick off the event. Playwrights will spend the overnight hours creating new work which will be delivered to directors, actors and designers at 8am on Saturday morning leaving them less than 12 hours to rehearse before the 7:30pm curtain.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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