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.

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Shakespeare & Company Announces 2018 Shakespeare Plays [Berkshire on Stage]

November 17th, 2017, 2:00 pm by Sara

Shakespeare & Company in Lenox is very pleased to announce its Shakespeare line-up for the 2018 summer season. Under the direction of Artistic Director Allyn Burrows and Managing Director Adam Davis, the season will include three Shakespeare plays: Macbeth directed by Melia Bensussen; As You Like It directed by Allyn Burrows and Love’s Labor’s Lost directed by Kelly Galvin. Season FLEXPasses are on sale now.

“I am ramped up to work on As You Like It this coming summer in the Roman Garden Theatre,” said Burrows. “My first involvement with this wonderful play was on the Mainstage at the Mount nearly 30 years ago! A specific historical and environmental setting can lend an expanded resonance to Shakespeare’s sublime language, and so it seemed fitting to set this piece in the Roaring ’20s, a time that, much like the events in this story, represented self-discovery, growth, and the throwing off of restraints.”

The Roman Garden Theatre, created last season for The Tempest, will be re-configured for 2018’s As You Like It. Located adjacent to the Tina Packer Playhouse, the theatre is an intimate outdoor performance space with comfortable bench and chair seating. As You Like It will be performed at twilight from August 9-September 2.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER REVIEW: “Redwood Curtain” @ Bridge Street Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

November 9th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Greg
Hulie Pham and Joseph Tisa in Lanford Wilson’s “Redwood Curtain” (photo: John Sowle)

Hulie Pham and Joseph Tisa in Lanford Wilson’s “Redwood Curtain”

Review by Macey Levin
Photograph by John Sowle

Lanford Wilson was one of America’s foremost playwrights during the latter half of the twentieth century. Though he garnered his initial fame with the 1973 off-Broadway production of Hot l Baltimore, some of his later, more controversial plays dealt with returning Viet Nam war veterans, in particular The Fifth of July, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1980, and Redwood Curtain, a vastly underrated play in 1993. The latter is receiving an intelligent and affecting production at the Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill through Sunday (November 12).

Geri (Julie Pham) is a 17-year-old Amerasian adoptee from Viet Nam visiting her aunt Geneva, (Molly Parker Myers) her late father’s sister, in Northern California at the outskirts of a redwood forest. This haunting and mysterious locale attracts Viet Nam vets who want to disassociate themselves from the greater society. Geri, a pianist who has toured the country and Europe and has a Sony recording contract, has put her immediate life aside to search the forest for her American father.

She follows one of these bedraggled men, whom we get to know as Lyman (Joseph Tisa), out of town into the redwoods until they confront each other. She questions him as to whether he knows, or perhaps is, her father. He rejects her attempts to explore his past and instead bullies her to give him her purse and wallet.

A mystical element enters the play as she insists she has the power to affect the atmosphere and does so to impress and frighten Lyman. After a physical tussle, she faints, and he retreats back into the woods. Geneva finds her in the glade, brings her home and attempts to dissuade her from the search and to return to where her genius lies… the piano.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage

2017 Berkshire Theatre Award Winners Announced [Berkshire on Stage]

November 7th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Greg
Lynnette R. Freeman and Quentin Mare. Photo: Emma K. Rothenberg-Ware.

Lynnette R. Freeman and Quentin Mare in “Lost Lake,” the winner of the Berkie for Best Play

Photograph by Emma K. Rothenberg-Ware

At an SRO ceremony held on the stage of the St. Germain Theatre at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association presented the Berkshire Theatre Awards on Monday evening (November 6). This was the second year the awards have been presented to honor and celebrate the excellence and diversity of theater in the greater Berkshire region.

Critics J. Peter Bergman and Macey Levin once again hosted the ceremony, which saw top honors for Best Play go to the Berkshire Theatre Group’s production of David Auburn’s Lost Lake, and a tie between Barrington Stage Company’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company and the Mac-Haydn Theatre’s production of Hello, Dolly! for Best Musical.

The Berkshire Theatre Group captured both of the Outstanding Direction awards, with Eric Hill winning for his production of Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo, and James Barry for his direction of the musical Million Dollar Quartet.

Click here to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage

The Palace Theatre Announces New Show

November 6th, 2017, 11:03 am by Greg

It’s music…
It’s dance…
It’s theater…

It’s Stomp, and it’s coming back to Albany’s Palace Theatre at 7:30pm on Tuesday, March 20.

From its beginnings as a street performance in the UK 20 years ago, Stomp has grown into an international sensation, performed in more than 50 countries and in front of more than 24 million people. A unique combination of percussion, movement and visual comedy, Stomp has created its own inimitable, contemporary form of rhythmic expression: both household and industrial objects find new life as musical instruments in the hands of an idiosyncratic band of body percussionists.

It is a journey through sound, a celebration of the everyday and a comic interplay of characters wordlessly communicating through dance and drum.

Tickets for Stomp at The Palace go on sale to the general public at 10am Monday, November 13, priced at $39, $49 & $65.

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THEATER REVIEW: “Fun Home” @ Proctors, 10/31/17

November 2nd, 2017, 2:30 pm by Greg

The National Touring Company of “Fun Home” (photo: Joan Marcus)

Review by Greg Haymes

“I want to know what’s true
Dig deep into who
And what and why and when
Until now gives way to then…”

It’s not your typical Broadway musical blockbuster, brimming over with big, flashy production numbers and happily-ever-after love songs.

Instead, Fun Home – in a superb, sublime production running at Proctors in Schenectady through Sunday – is an achingly intimate, emotionally charged show about memory and loss and a complex father-daughter relationship.

If it weren’t so personal, if it didn’t cut so close to the bone, Fun Home might be mistaken for just another one of those small-town-life-is-never-as-perfect-as-it-seems tales.

And, no question about it, the Bechdel family has its share of secrets lurking below the placid surface. When they sing the cheery “Welcome to Our House on Maple Avenue” early in the show, you just know that the song will return later in a darker, minor-key reprise. And if you didn’t catch the drift by the first chorus, you were certainly clued in by the end of the song, when Alison sings, “My dad and I both grew up in the same small Pennsylvania town, and he was gay, and I was gay, and he killed himself, and I became a lesbian cartoonist.”

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Bridge Street Theatre Raises Lanford Wilson’s “Redwood Curtain” [Berkshire on Stage]

November 1st, 2017, 2:00 pm by Sara
Hulie Pham and Joseph Tisa in Lanford Wilson’s “Redwood Curtain” (photo: John Sowle)

Hulie Pham and Joseph Tisa in Lanford Wilson’s “Redwood Curtain” (photo: John Sowle)

America has always been haunted by the legacy of its involvement in Vietnam. Returning to the States, veterans often found themselves facing a populace either actively hostile or somehow ashamed, eager to erase the memory of a war that the U.S. had not ‘won.’ Feeling misunderstood, unappreciated and unable to re-assimilate into ‘normal’ society, an untold number escaped into a ghostly, feral existence in the Redwood Forests of Northern California, an area that reminded them of the jungles they’d left.

Playwright Lanford Wilson was also haunted by a war whose after-effects he’d dealt with so brilliantly in his 1978 play 5th of July. At the dawn of the 1990s, while teaching a five-week workshop at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, he encountered these homeless vets almost daily when they’d emerge from the woods to panhandle, scrounge through dumpsters for food and perform odd jobs.

From this seed, Wilson conceived a play called Redwood Curtain about a 17-year-old Vietnamese-American piano prodigy, adopted in infancy by a wealthy California family, but obsessed with discovering the identity of her biological father, an American GI who abandoned her and her birth mother in Saigon. She tracks one of the homeless vets into to the forest where he has retreated, convinced that he can provide a crucial link to her past. And in true fairy-tale tradition, the woods in Wilson’s Redwood Curtain turn out to be full of magic and, ultimately, healing.

“America’s long Vietnam Era hangover is just one of the themes Wilson deals with in this powerful and touching piece,” says John Sowle, director of the upcoming production of Redwood Curtain at Catskill’s Bridge Street Theatre. “All the characters in the play feel lost and helpless in some way. Lyman Fellers just wants to be left alone, to forget the war and everything else but his own immediate needs. Geri, the adoptee, feels a desperate need to know for certain where, and who, she comes from. And Geri’s Aunt Geneva, a timber heiress whose family has responsibly and sustainably logged the trees in the forest for generations, is suddenly faced with losing them in a hostile takeover by corporate interests.

“Surrounded by these massive, ancient redwoods, deeply and immovably rooted in the earth for centuries and now threatened themselves, all three of these characters feel rootless and adrift. And none of them will be able to find their way ‘out of the woods’ until they can come to grips with, and face, the legacy of the past. This is a deeply warm and human play, and we’re particularly honored to be presenting it in the two weeks surrounding Veteran’s Day.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Tavis Smiley & Marcus Roberts Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Proctors

November 1st, 2017, 11:00 am by Greg

PBS-TV talk show host and best-selling author Tavis Smiley and jazz pianist-composer Marcus Roberts have teamed up to bring the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final year to the stage with “Death of a King: A Live Theatrical Experience” at Proctors in Schenectady at 7:30pm on Thursday, January 18.

Based on Smiley’s book, “Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year,” the multi-media stage production brings together elements of visual imagery and live music with eloquent prose, declaring the truth of the impact that one man’s integrity and strong faith in humanity had on the American people.

Priced at $25.75–$55.75; VIP $125, tickets go on sale to the general public at 10am Friday (November 3).

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