Posts Tagged ‘Larry Murray’

Relentlessly Inventive Bang on a Can Offers Festival of New Music During MASS MoCA Stay [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, July 25th, 2014
Pop-up orograms in the galleries are a regular feature of the Bang on a Can Festival.

Pop-up programs in the galleries are a regular feature of the Bang on a Can Festival.

From Saturday (July 26) through August 2, the “relentlessly inventive” (New York Magazine) new music collective Bang on a Can collaborates with MASS MoCA to present Bang on a Can Plays Art, a jam-packed, week-long new music extravaganza featuring 14 concerts in eight days, as the culmination of the 13th annual Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA which began on July 14. Bang on a Can Plays Art draws inspiration from the visual art on exhibit in the galleries at MASS MoCA. Each concert will showcase music that interacts with the art on various levels – stylistically, thematically and whimsically – performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Festival artists and fellows, and special guests Steve Reich and Glenn Kotche (of Wilco).

Bang on a Can Plays Art kicks off in the afternoon on Saturday (July 26) with Bang on a Can Plays Izhar Patkin featuring Terry Riley’s minimalist classic In C, followed by a performance that evening of Bang on Can co-founder David Lang’s haunting death speaks by the Bang on a Can All-Stars with special guest Shara Worden, as well as a late-night solo concert by Worden’s musical alter-ego My Brighest Diamond.

Festival highlights include Bang on a Can Plays Teresita Fernández featuring Bang on a Can co-founder Julia Wolfe’s Cruel Sister (July 27); Bang on a Can World Premiere Composer Concert showcasing brand new music by the Festival Fellows (July 28); Bang on a Can Plays Ann Hamilton (July 29), featuring the world premiere of Paper Chorus created by the Festival musicians wearing Hamilton’s all new paper sculptures; Bang on a Can Plays Mark Dion featuring Morton Feldman’s Why Patterns? (July 30); Bang on a Can Plays Sol LeWitt featuring the music of Steve Reich, who was a friend and colleague of LeWitt (July 31); Bang on a Can Plays Anselm Kiefer, featuring Georg Friedrich Haas’ powerful string quartet In iij. Noct. performed in total darkness (July 31); Bang on a Can Plays Natalie Jeremijenko featuring Wilco’s Glenn Kotche (Aug. 1); and the annual Bang on a Can Marathon at MASS MoCA featuring more than 50 musicians and composers in six hours of non-stop, boundary-smashing music – a feast of sound including classical, contemporary, minimalism, ambient, jazz, experimental and more – including special guest Steve Reich and his newest composition Radio Rewrite, special guest Glenn Kotche’s recent chamber music and music from his new release Adventureland (Cantaloupe) and a rare performance of Edgar Varese’s masterpiece Ionisation (Aug. 2).

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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Like a Bad Penny, Peter Schickele Brings PDQ Bach Back to the Colonial Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Peter Schickele

NOTE: Larry Murray reminisced with Professor Peter Schickele about the imaginary P.D.Q. Bach which you can read here. There is also a rare photo of the tromboon, part trombone, part bassoon which Bach invented.

Musical humorist Peter Schickele will perform 50 Years of P.D.Q. Bach: A Triumph of Incompetence at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield on Saturday (July 26) at 8pm. It’s been 50 years since Professor Peter Schickele released P.D.Q. Bach on an unsuspecting musical public. And it’s been 80 years since the professor’s mother released the professor on an society ill-prepared for such singular genius. And now, because everyone loves a birthday, Professor Schickele has reached back across the decades to explore the damp vaults and dusty attics of Leipzig to once again celebrate the twenty-first child (out of twenty) of the great J.S. Bach. This special, once in a half-century, musical extravaganza will feature the crème de la crème of history’s most justifiably neglected composer.

Peter Schickele will perform twelve “quite heavenly songs” including: musical upsettings of the signs of the zodiac (for chamber ensemble), excerpts from The Notebook for Betty-Sue Bach (for solo piano), and songs from Shakespeare: The Bard’s most famous speeches set to 1950′s rock ‘n’ roll (for piano & chamber ensemble).

One thing that Peter Schickele and P.D.Q. Bach have in common is their love of writing party music. Mr. Schickele has composed rounds, songs and piano miniatures which have served as presents, congratulatory messages, homages, bread and butter notes (notes, get it?) and simply as something new to bring to sight-reading parties. He has been writing such pieces since he began composing during his early teenage years, and he continues to do so with undiminished enthusiasm; sometimes the results turn out to be among his best works.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER: Mark H. Dold as Alan Turing in “Breaking the Code” at Barrington Stage Company [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
Mark H. Dold and the cast of "Breaking The Code" (photo: Kevin Sprague.)

Mark H. Dold and the cast of “Breaking The Code” (photo: Kevin Sprague)

Theatre Review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Gail M. Burns: If we had awards for theatrical achievement here in the Berkshires, I would immediately hand over the Best Actor in a Play award to Mark H. Dold for his tour de force portrayal of the complex and brilliant Alan Turing (1912-1954) in Breaking The Code, which is currently at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield. I understand that this was a role of great importance to him personally, and his dedication, commitment and hard work are evident.

Larry Murray: Yes, Dold is a major reason to see Hugh Whitemore’s play, it is a work that demands much from the person playing Alan Turing. In a pre-show interview, Dold summed up Turing this way: “He didn’t quite trust the human mind, it could be prone to make mistakes. He felt the only way to counter human error was to create a machine, a computer.”

And the play is designed as a bit of a puzzle starting in the middle, going back and forth in time and ending at the beginning, with his first true love.

Gail: Turing might admire the semi-cryptic style in which Whitemore has chosen to tell his life story.

Larry: Most people don’t know much about Turing, but he figured out how to break the Nazi enigma code and went on to develop the first computers and artificial intelligence. But tragedy was to be his lot, not because he was gay, but because he was honest about his homosexuality in England in the 1950′s when it was not only against the law, but terribly misunderstood, and considered a terrible security risk.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

James and Keira Naughton Preparing for Premiere of “Cedars” [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
James Naughton stars in Cedars at the Berkshire Theatre Group.

James Naughton stars in Cedars at the Berkshire Theatre Group.

Berkshire Theatre Group presents James Naughton in the world premiere of Cedars at the Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge. Opening night is Saturday (July 26) at 8pm; preview performances begin on Wednesday (July 23) at 8pm and the production closes Saturday, August 9 at 8pm.

In this world premiere, two-time Tony Award-winner James Naughton takes the stage as Gabe in Eric Tarloff’s one-man comedy, a raw and witty exploration of an estranged father-son relationship. Cedars is directed by Naughton’s daughter, Keira Naughton, who is a long-time BTG artist. She has acted in productions including: Birthday Boy, Macbeth, Faith Healer and The Book Club Play and most recently directed a stage adaptation of Roman Fever by Edith Wharton which featured Kim Taylor and BTG’s Artistic Director, Kate Maguire in 2013.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell Passionate About “Fool for Love” at Williamstown Theatre Fesival [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, July 21st, 2014
Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell play two ex-lovers holed up in a run down desert motel.

Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell play two ex-lovers holed up in a run-down desert motel.

By Larry Murray

Today we got a peek at the pair of lovers at the core of Sam Shepard’s drama, Fool for Love, which begins performances on the Nikos Stage of the Williamstown Theatre Festival on Wednesday (July 23) and continues through August 2. Daniel Aukin directs this Sam Shepard myth of the new Wild West. It stars Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur, Midnight in Paris) and Sam Rockwell (WTF’s A Streetcar Named Desire, Seven Psychopaths). The cast also includes Christopher Abbott (Girls, Martha Marcy May Marlene) and Gordon Joseph Weiss (Awakenings, Reversal of Fortune). The creative team includes Dane Laffrey (Scenic Design; Bad Jews), Anita Yavich (Costume Design; WTF’s As You Like It), Justin Townsend (Lighting Design; Here Lies Love), Ryan Rumery (Sound Design) and David Leong (Fight Director; WTF’s Corners). The Production Stage Manager is Kyle Gates.

Watching Sam Rockwell and Nina Arianda interact during the press junket it was clear that the two performers were meshing together well as the two former lovers in the searing drama. In the Shepard play, the couple, May and Eddie, unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart in the process. Director Aukin sang praises of the two and finds them a good match for this tangled tale. During my brief one-on-one with them, they joked with and teased each other, and the director, and clearly were having fun working with each other.

The good cheer belies the difficult roles they play. For Eddie and May, beaten down by ill-fated love and a ruthless struggle for identity, the question becomes one of whether they can ultimately live with, or without, each other.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

“4,000 Miles” a Satisfying Evening of Theater, Well Done at Oldcastle [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, July 18th, 2014
A worthwhile and winning evening of theatre.

A worthwhile and winning evening of theater

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: Since summer began, it feels like we have traveled some 4,000 miles in search of great theater, so it was nice to come back home to Bennington, Vermont’s Oldcastle Theatre after another busy week on the road. Granted it is not really our home, but it feels like one nevertheless. We can always count on director Eric Peterson to never settle for the adequate, whether it be in the acting, scenery or choice of plays.

Gail M. Burns: This is a most satisfying play theatrically and emotionally. This is a play about healing, which can be an agonizingly slow and uneventful process in real life, but which playwright Amy Herzog crafts into a suspenseful narrative with characters we really come to care about. Peterson has assembled a top-notch cast, and Richard Howe has designed another detailed set which uses the Oldcastle performance space to bring you right into Vera’s Greenwich Village living room.

More and more in this region “summer stock” is less about happy musicals and Neil Simon comedies and more about small, thought-provoking new plays. Herzog’s After the Revolution had its world premiere just down the road at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2010, so this 2011 sequel play has a built-in audience. That play won Herzog the New York Times Best Playwright Award, while 4,000 Miles won the 2012 Obie Award for Best New American Play and was nominated for the Pulitzer.

Larry: I loved After the Revolution, Gail. (Review) I have a soft spot in my heart for plays and films about grandmothers and troubled grandsons, and 4,000 Miles did not disappoint, even as it took us in fresh new directions in the complex relationships between skipped generations. Janis Young as Vera Joseph was the perfect senior, fumbling with her hearing aid, her teeth and her memory, she still gave of her heart and home to long-absent Leo Joseph-Connell (Andrew Krug), who had just completed a 4,000 mile cross-country bicycle ride from Seattle to New York City.

Gail: Leo is actually Vera’s step-grandson. His mother was the youngest child of her late second husband. He has suffered a tragic loss while on his cross-country journey, and the way he handled that crisis, and himself in its aftermath, has angered his family and his New York-based girlfriend, Bec (Hannah Heller). Heller had the difficult job of having to enter both of her scenes in a high state of emotion and stress, the causes of which are only obliquely revealed by the end. Hannah is an important part of the play, but it is not about her.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Mark H. Dold Is Both Hero and Outcast in Play About Alan Turing, “Breaking the Code” [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Mark H. Dold

Mark H. Dold plays Alan Turing, founder of computer science, mathematician, philosopher, codebreaker, strange visionary and a gay man before his time who was horribly persecuted for his sexual orientation despite helping end a terrible war.

As the summer’s theatre season moves forward, Barrington Stage Company plans to take a look back in time to World War II and the days when simply being gay made you a worthless human being, no matter your contributions to society, or helping to win a war against fascism.

It’s just one more tough subject that is taken on by the award-winning theatre in downtown Pittsfield under the leadership of Artistic Director Julianne Boyd and Managing Director Tristan Wilson.

The play is Breaking the Code, Hugh Whitemore’s biographical drama of Alan Turing, starring BSC Associate Artist Mark H. Dold. Directed by Joe Calarco, performances run from today (Thursday, July 17) through Saturday, August 2.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

A Fearless “Romeo and Juliet” Takes to the Road from Hubbard Hall to the People of NY & VT [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
Romeo and Juliet played by actors who are teens themselves.

Romeo and Juliet played by actors who are teens themselves.

Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts is about to set out on its 20th Free Outdoor Shakespeare Tour. The acting company is bringing Shakespeare’s most famous and popular play not only to its own community but to many other cities and towns in New York and Vermont.

Two young kids in love, running towards each other quicker than they can think…
With the world against them and their hearts entwined,
Their families fight,
Adults try to drive them apart,
Until tragedy – and wondering – how could this have happened?

This fun, fast-paced Romeo and Juliet, directed by Hubbard Hall’s new Executive Director David Snider, will bring the world of the play to vibrant life in 10 beautiful settings. With minimal props and costumes, the focus will be on the words, the actions, the actors and the setting. Each site will inform the production, with an emphasis on a fierce, fearless tackling of Shakespeare’s world and words. Actual teenagers will play Romeo and Juliet. With a mix of young talent and seasoned professionals, this company will mix Shakespeare’s world with our own, exploring how age, authority, religion and family continue to shape us – and what can happen when generations collide, or at least fail to communicate.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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