Posts Tagged ‘Larry Murray’

“Spring Awakening” Soars with Youthful Energy in Theatre Institute at Sage College Production [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, April 24th, 2015
L to R Amelia Morgan, Annaleigh Lester, Katie Pedro, Taylor Hoffman, Kelci Loring.

L to R Amelia Morgan, Annaleigh Lester, Katie Pedro, Taylor Hoffman, Kelci Loring.

Review by Larry Murray and Gail M. Burns

Larry Murray: With book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik, the 2006 Tony Award-winning alternative rock musical “Spring Awakening” is now playing at Sage College’s audience-friendly Meader Little Theatre in Troy. Last performance is Sunday (April 26). I am putting all this information up front because this review is more of a “must see” reader advisory: this production with its youthful cast is directed by Leigh Strimbeck and utilizes a functional and ingenious set by Juliana Haubrich.

Gail M. Burns: The Theatre Institute at Sage is a great company that is doing some really great theatre. TIS is only five years old, but it is carrying on the tradition established on its campus by the now defunct New York State Theatre Institute, which utilized Sage facilities, faculty and students to provide quality theatre for schools and the general public from 1974-2010. The connection with Sage was NYSTI’s greatest asset, and in turn the company helped the Sage Colleges develop a robust theatre curriculum. It is not at all surprising to see what talented students select Sage today.

Larry: We haven’t had a chance to see this cutting edge musical much in these parts, the only production I can remember is the one at the University at Albany Department of Theatre which was last year. None of our Equity companies, nor even the Mac-Haydn or Theater Barn have staged it. That may because the music is so important to the whole production, and it requires violin, cello and bass in addition to piano, drums and guitar. Two or three synthesizers will never do the score justice. I was as impressed with the accomplished musicians and Music Director Marcus Schlegel, as with the actors. The cellist, Erin Rousseau, on whom much of the melody line rests, has a vibrato and intonation that infused the songs with real heart.

Gail: I saw a production of the 1890/91 Franz Wedekind play of the same name, upon which this musical is based, at Williams College many years ago. “Spring Awakening” is an ideal college show because you need to have a young cast and a fairly sophisticated audience. Really, the best way to “get away with” staging this fierce and graphic material is to bill it as education. The play has a prominent role in the development of 20th century theater, and, as you mentioned, this musical version has made history, too.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Advertisement

“An Iliad,” Homer’s Epic Story of Undying Love, Chaos & Humanity @ Hubbard Hall [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

AnIlliad

By Larry Murray

Masterfully adapted by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare from Robert Fagles’s acclaimed translation, An Iliad adapts Homer’s Trojan War epic into a gripping piece of theater that captures both the heroism and horror of war. This fierce, funny piece will ignite your imagination and leave you breathless. It stars Jeannine Haas and is directed by Sheila Siragusa at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, in a co-production with Pauline Productions.

Greek poet Homer’s 8th-century B.C. epic, “The Iliad,” told the story of the mythical 10-year Trojan War, featuring two warrior heroes, the wrathful Greek, Achilles, and noble Hector, the peace-loving Trojan prince. Now, a lone poet travels through time, wearily sharing her often-anguished memories of that war-mongering, vengeful time nearly three millennia ago.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

EMPAC Madness: Two Conflicting Music Styles Share One Program on Saturday [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
Architeuthis Walks on Land is Amy Cimini and Katherine Young.

Architeuthis Walks on Land is Amy Cimini and Katherine Young.

By Larry Murray

It’s a bit like beauty and the beast. One is a soloist known for her elegance, grace and precise interpretation of contemporary composition. The other is a fearsome duo, known for their raw improvisational encounters with the extreme ranges of their instruments.

Conventional wisdom tells us that the two should repel one another, forcing both performers and their respective audience back into the safe disciplinary niche from whence they came. But the magic of this fable is that opposites attract and what contrasts also complements. On Saturday (April 25) at 8pm, this premise will be put to the musical test in Studio 2 at EMPAC at RPI in Troy, where Architeuthis Walks on Land will share the stage with Miranda Cuckson.

The viola and bassoon are not typically brandished in the pursuit of free improvisation and noise, but the duo Architeuthis Walks on Land brings fierceness and energy to these typically “orchestral” instruments. By way of extended techniques, bass amplification and rich textures, Amy Cimini and Katherine Young create a space where composition, indeterminacy and immediacy intersect.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

C-R Productions Says Goodbye to Cohoes Music Hall with Two Gala Shows This Weekend [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015
Tony Rivera (l) and Jim Charles (r) at Cohoes Music Hall

Tony Rivera (l) and Jim Charles (r) at Cohoes Music Hall

After a dozen years of staging musicals at the Cohoes Music Hall, C-R Productions is closing the curtain on its main-stage shows to focus on its performing arts school and youth performances. Marking the end of one era and the beginning of another are two concerts to say goodbye on Saturday and Sunday (April 25 & 26).

The company has fallen on hard times in recent years and has found it impossible to financially maintain main stage shows at the venue in Cohoes. The gala benefit shows will also serve as the springboard for continuing its C-R Kids programs.

The company produced many memorable shows during its dozen years of operation, at one point even taking its production of the The Producers to the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield. But during recent years the quality of its productions and size of its audiences sagged and subscribers dwindled to just some 300. Many of them were older and not as receptive to new work as musical theatre has evolved. That is not enough to sustain a company that hires professional talent and has always tried to keep up with the evolving art form. Their operation also suffered from inadequate PR, often opening shows without detailed press releases or photos in sufficient time to generate advance stories that might have helped sell more tickets. Physical problems with the theatre itself – a leftover from the Victorian era – also drained valuable resources.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Justin Long, Blair Underwood, Estelle Parsons, More Cast for Williamstown Theatre Fest [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Williamstown Theatre Festival

In Williamstown, the stars come out during the daytime as well as at night when the Williamstown Theatre Festival is in season.

Here’s a guide of some of the luminaries to be on the lookout for thanks to WTF’s artistic director Mandy Greenfield, who has announced additional casting for Williamstown Theatre Festival’s Main Stage and Nikos Stage productions for the upcoming summer season, which kicks off on Tuesday, June 30 and runs through Sunday, August 23.

On the Main Stage:

Becky Ann Baker (returning for her 13th season at WTF), Aaron Costa Ganis (WTF’s Whaddabloodclot!!!), Howard W. Overshown (Julius Caesar), Academy Award-winner Estelle Parsons (Bonnie and Clyde) and Mary Wiseman (An Octoroon) join Kyra Sedgwick in Off the Main Road (June 30-July 19).

Tony Award-nominee De’Adre Aziza (Passing Strange), Andre Holland (Selma), Keith Randolph Smith (Fences) and Blair Underwood (“Sex and the City,” A Streetcar Named Desire) all join the cast of the world premiere of Dominique Morisseau’s Paradise Blue (July 22-August 2).

Aaron Costa Ganis and Howard W. Overshown also join the cast of A Moon for the Misbegotten (August 5-August 23), with Audra McDonald and Will Swenson.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Lenox Singer-Songwriter Katherine Winston @ The Garage on Saturday [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Berkshire Theatre Group welcomes “American Idol” contestant and Berkshire native, Katherine Winston to The Garage in Pittsfield on Saturday (April 18) at 8pm. Tickets to Katherine Winston are $10 in advance and $12 day of performance.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

High School Drop-out Paula Poundstone Is One of the Funniest People Ever [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Paula Poundstone

The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy welcomes comedian Paula Poundstone on Saturday (April 18). 25 years ago, Paula Poundstone climbed on a Greyhound bus and traveled across the country — stopping in at open mic nights at comedy clubs as she went. A high school drop-out, she went on to become one of the great humorists of our time. You can hear her through your laughter as a regular panelist on NPR’s popular rascal of a weekly news quiz show, “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me.” She tours regularly, performing stand-up comedy across the country, causing Bob Zany of The Boston Globe to write: “Poundstone can regale an audience for several hours with her distinctive brand of wry, intelligent and witty comedy.” Audience members may put it a little less elegantly: “I peed my pants.”

While there is no doubt that Poundstone is funny, the thing that probably separates her from the pack of comics working today and that has made her a legend among comics and audiences alike is her ability to be spontaneous with a crowd. Poundstone says: “No two shows I do are the same. It’s not that I don’t repeat material. I do. My shows, when they’re good, and I like to think they often are, are like a cocktail party. When you first get there, you talk about how badly you got lost and how hard it was to find parking. Then you tell a story about your kids or what you just saw on the news. You meet some new people and ask them about themselves. Then, someone says, “Tell that story you used to tell,” and then someone on the other side of the room spills a drink, and you mock them. No one ever applauds me when I leave a party, though. I think they high five.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Stockbridge Drummer Kenny Aronoff Fuels High Energy BoDeans @ Colonial Theatre on Thursday [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Berkshire Theatre Group welcomes rock band BoDeans, featuring legendary drummer and Stockbridge native Kenny Aronoff to the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield at 7:30pm on Thursday (April 16).

Tickets to BoDeans are $25 and $45. Contact the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street, Pittsfield by calling 413-997-4444, or online. Ticket Offices are open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm, Saturdays 10am-2pm or on any performance day from 10am until curtain.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Caffe LenaCartoonist John CaldwellHolly & EvanAdvertise on Nippertown!The LindaAlbany PoetsLeave Regular Radio BehindHudson SoundsBerkshire On StageArtist Charles HaymesKeep Albany BoringArtist and Musician Michael Eck