Archive for the ‘Theater’ Category

FIVE FIRSTS: Darryl Archibald of “Motown” at Proctors

Monday, November 16th, 2015
Darryl Archibald

Darryl Archibald

NAME: Darryl Archibald
MUSIC AFFILIATION: Musical Director and Conductor of “Motown the Musical”

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS100 Classical Favorites. When I was five years old I saw the records advertised on TV and asked my mother to buy them for me.



PBS-TV’s “Act One” Is Stunning! [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
Act One on PBS, Live from Lincoln Center.

“Act One” on PBS’ Live from Lincoln Center on Friday

Review by Larry Murray

Coming up soon on the PBS “Live from Lincoln Center” series is the play Act One, and it proves to be simply brilliant in its concept, execution and transition to the home theater. I can not remember another play that has survived the perilous journey from the stage to the living room with such class and élan.

It is featured as part of the 2015 PBS Arts Fall Festival and premieres on Friday (November 13) at 9pm on most PBS stations, including WMHT-TV. It runs close to two and a half hours, though they pass far too quickly.

I have seen a lot of live theatre, and theatrical productions filmed for television, but Act One is the first theatrical piece that works as well on screen as it does on stage. The actors are flawless, the script masterful, and never has a stage set worked so well on television. It is clear that enormous amounts of time and creativity were invested in making sure this play worked as well on a flat screen as it did in person in a theater, not an easy transition to pull off.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

New Work-in-Progress Musicals on Tap at MASS MoCA [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, November 9th, 2015
Working on a new musical at Mass MoCA: Adam Guettel, grandson of Richard Rodgers of Rodgers and Hammerstein fame, and son of writer/composer Mary Rodgers.

Working on a new musical at MASS MoCA: Adam Guettel, grandson of Richard Rodgers of Rodgers & Hammerstein fame and son of writer/composer Mary Rodgers

Sundance Institute continues to develop new theater pieces with its two-week residency at MASS MoCA in North Adams. The Sundance Theatre Lab for 2015 has a sharp focus on musical theater.

The Sundance Theatre Lab at MASS MoCA supports three musical theater and ensemble-generated projects. Obie Award-winning writer Kirsten Childs’ Buffalo Bella is a musical tall tale exploring the African-American experience in the Old West. Cory Hinkle, Victoria Stewart, Jeremy Wilhelm and David Wilhelm’s Clandestino investigates immigration reform, small-town politics and religious fundamentalism within the context of the 2008 ICE raid of Agriprocessors, Inc., a Kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa. And Tony Award-winning composer-lyricist Adam Guettel and Obie Award-winning playwright Craig Lucas are working on as-yet-untitled work that tells the story of a love affair between two average Americans, torpedoed by alcoholism. These projects are cast individually and rehearse daily – with the creative support of Sundance dramaturgs.

Artistic Director Philip Himberg said, “The Theatre Lab at Mass MoCA provides unique opportunities for artists to develop their projects, uninhibited, in inspiring environments. The Theatre Lab at MASS MoCA gives musical and ensemble theater-makers the first opportunity to see their work brought to life on its feet.”

The residencies will culminate in a public performance of selections from these work-in-progress musical theater projects with these exceptional artists in MASS MoCA’s Club B10 on Saturday (November 14) at 8pm. Tickets are $10 in advance; $5 for students and members; $15 day of; and $22 preferred.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Theater Preview: Logan Black Brings “BOND: the story of a soldier and his dog” to Bridge St. Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015


Logan Black will tell you that 2006 was one of the bloodiest years in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He knows because he was there. And he will recreate the experience on stage at the Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill with his one-man, one-dog show, “BOND: the story of a soldier and his dog,” opening on Friday (November 6) and running through Sunday, November 15.

You’ve read about that war: Iraqi society fractured and eventually devolved into sectarian violence, Saddam Hussein was executed, and this young man with a yellow Lab at his side found himself right in the middle of it. Now you can experience it as well.

In his award-winning one-man show writer/performer Logan Black tells the story of his experiences as a Specialized Search Dog Handler, training and later working alongside his bomb-sniffing K-9 partner Diego in Al Anbar province. It’s a true narrative of monotony, boredom and daily searches of cars, streets and buildings, interspersed with harrowing episodes when actual weapons caches were discovered, when approaching cars wouldn’t obey commands to stop, and when their convoy was hit by an IED (improvised explosive device).

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Theater Review: “Little Shop of Horrors”@ the Ghent Playhouse [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, October 16th, 2015
Audrey II and Kelly Sienkiewicz. Photo by Daniel Region.

Audrey II and Kelly Sienkiewicz. Photo by Daniel Region.

Theater review by Gail M. Burns

When staging a musical at a community theatre you often have to choose between casting an actor or a singer. In this production of Little Shop of Horrors at the Ghent Playhouse, Michael C. Mensching has cast singers and then leaned heavily on boosting the comedy and emphasizing the ensemble in order to compensate. Trouble is that Little Shop is a tragedy and not an ensemble show. The “jokes” spring directly from character and situation, both of which are tragic rather than comic in nature. This is a show where you have to laugh or else you’ll run screaming from the theater. By playing tragic figures like Seymour Krelborn and Audrey as funny happy people, the show is bled of both its pathos and its humor.

But this is community theater, and it is wonderful to see a dedicated theatrical community come together and craft a solid production of this beloved and technically difficult show. Mensching gives each of his talented singers a moment to shine, and they are often breathtaking. The story suffers, but the production entertains.

For a small cast show, Little Shop places big demands on the design crews. The set calls the interior and exterior of Mushnik’s Skid Row Florists to be visible and for movement between the two to be fluid. The interior set for the shop needs to be rearranged during musical numbers, and there is another complex interior of a dental office that needs to appear and disappear quickly for just one scene. And then there are the puppets…

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Theater Review: “Grinder’s Stand” @ Bridge Street Theatre, 10/9/15

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015
The cast of Grinder’s Stand (left to right, seated) Nancy Rothman, Steven Patterson, Stephen Jones; (standing) Jon Lee, William Dobbins, Phillip X. Levine, Brett Owen. (photo: V. James dePerna)

The cast of “Grinder’s Stand” (left to right, seated) Nancy Rothman, Steven Patterson, Stephen Jones; (standing) Jon Lee, William Dobbins, Phillip X. Levine, Brett Owen. (photo: V. James dePerna)

Review by Greg Haymes

It’s been 36 years since Oakley Hall III’s play “Grinder’s Stand” had its premiere at Lexington Conservatory Theatre, an upstart summer company in the Catskills, which later morphed into Albany’s Capital Repertory Theatre.

And quite a lot of what happened in 1979 now seems dated, totally obsolete or just downright silly. The debut of “The Dukes of Hazzard,” Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park, President Jimmy Carter attacked by a swamp rabbit… “Grinder’s Stand” is not one of those things.

The eloquent verse play takes place in 1809, chronicling the final days of Meriwether Lewis (deftly portrayed by William Dobbins), who famously co-led the Lewis & Clark expedition six years previous. “Any man who would walk to Oregon and back would have to have his brain – and his testicles – strapped on pretty tight,” as the play points out.

But a desperate Lewis – now Governor of Upper Louisiana on the verge of bankruptcy having payment of his bills denied by President James Madison – must deal with a number of obstacles from within is own inner circle, as well as the federal government and his own laudanum addiction as he makes his way to Washington, DC to plead his case for more funds. And for Lewis, it proves to be a life-or-death trek even more hazardous than his previous expedition to the west coast.

Ambition, poison, politics and betrayal all play a part, but ultimately it’s a play about dreams that evaporate like morning fog and the loss of nameless things.


LIVE: Loudon Wainwright III’s “Surviving Twin” @ The Egg, 10/2/15

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Loudon Wainwright

Review by Steven Stock
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Loudon Wainwright III’s moving performance at The Egg’s Swyer Theatre last Friday was a one-man show and yet also a collaboration, alternating songs with dramatic readings of columns originally written for Life Magazine by Loudon Wainwright Jr., along with a brief film and some family snapshots. “Surviving Twin: A Posthumous Collaboration” delved into heavy themes – family ties and tensions, the birth of a son, the loss of a beloved pet, facing mortality – with a light touch, not so much tugging heartstrings as plucking them gently.

The staging was minimal: a sturdy wooden chair with a ukulele case behind it on an old rug, to the left a well-tailored suit hanging on a rack, to the right an acoustic guitar and a grand piano at the back. Just enough to suggest a man at ease in his parlor, an impression reinforced as a genial Wainwright III waved in a few late-arriving guests.

Opening song “Surviving Twin” found Wainwright III reflecting on affinities shared with his
father, serving to state the evening’s theme before he moved onto the first of seven readings from Wainwright Jr.’s work. To call them readings is an injustice really: Wainwright III doesn’t just recite these columns, he inhabits them, every studied pause and emphatic inflection virtually reanimating his deceased father. Wainwright III has an impressive acting resume (credits include “Ally McBeal,” “The Aviator,” “Big Fish,” “Knocked Up,” “Pump Boys and Dinettes” and “Undeclared”), and these performances rank with his finest dramatic work.


Theater Review: “The Homecoming” @ the Unicorn Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015
 L to R: Rocco Sisto, John Rothman, Rylan Morsbach,David Barlow, Tara Franklin and Joey Collins. Photo by Michelle McGrady.

L to R: Rocco Sisto, John Rothman, Rylan Morsbach,David Barlow, Tara Franklin and Joey Collins. Photo by Michelle McGrady.

Theater review by Roseann Cane

Harold Pinter’s plays make great demands on actors. Ideally, the hallmark “Pinter pause” or “Pinter silence” should be at least as communicative and rich as the spoken dialogue, if not more so. I’ve seen productions where I can feel an actor ticking off the seconds until he or she speaks, and this can render the entire play tedious and slow and one-dimensional.

In a speech presented in 1962 to a student drama festival, Pinter said, “There are two silences. One when no word is spoken. The other when perhaps a torrent of language is being employed. This speech is speaking of a language locked beneath it. That is its continual reference. The speech we hear is an indication of that which we don’t hear. It is a necessary avoidance, a violent, sly, anguished or mocking smoke screen which keeps the other in its place. When true silence falls we are still left with echo but are nearer nakedness. One way of looking at speech is to say that it is a constant stratagem to cover nakedness.”

It gives me great joy to report that this production of The Homecoming, beautifully directed by Eric Hill, boasts sterling actors who are not only up to the task, but inspired, fierce, funny, and fully realized.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Holly & EvanCaffe LenaCartoonist John CaldwellAdvertise on Nippertown!The LindaArtist Charles HaymesBerkshire On StageAlbany PoetsKeep Albany BoringLeave Regular Radio BehindHudson SoundsAustralian Cattle Dog Rescue Association