Jeff McCarthy Is “Kunstler” @ Barrington Stage [Berkshire on Stage]

May 18th, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara
Jeff McCarthy as William Kunstler (photo: Carol Rosegg)

Jeff McCarthy as William Kunstler (photo: Carol Rosegg)

Pittsfield’s award-winning Barrington Stage Company kicks off its 2017 summer season with Kunstler by Jeffrey Sweet. Running from Friday (May 18) through Saturday, June 10, the production by Saratoga Springs-based Creative Place International/And Theatre Company will take over the St. Germain Stage at BSC’s Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center. The official opening is at 3pm on Sunday (May 21).

Directed by Meagan Fay, Kunstler stars BSC veteran Jeff McCarthy (BSC’s Broadway Bounty Hunter, All My Sons, Sweeney Todd) as the self-described “radical lawyer” and civil rights activist William Kunstler and Erin Roché (BSC debut) as the whip-smart student who opposes him. The colorful, perpetually rumpled defense lawyer whose best-known clients include the Chicago Seven, inmates involved in the Attica prison riots and members of the American Indian Movement, makes a case for his often unconventional style, in this wise and revealing play.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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THEATER REVIEW: 10×10 New Play Festival @ Barrington Stage [Berkshire on Stage]

February 22nd, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara

Dina Thomas is horrified by the sight of two grown men – Matt Neely and Douglas Rees – playing with plastic dinosaurs in “Sandbox.” (photo: Scott Barrow)

Review by Gail M. Burns

Ten 10-minute plays – five before intermission and five after – helmed by two directors – Julianne Boyd and Matthew Penn – performed by a versatile ensemble of six actors – three male, three female – on a bare stage with only the most basic sets and costumes in the middle of February. This is the 10×10 New Play Festival at Pittsfield’s Barrington Stage Company, now in its sixth season and well established a welcome winter outing for locals and ski-bunnies alike.

This year’s showcase of 10 plays were selected from close to 200 submissions, and I am happy to say that the majority of them are written by women. Gender parity is an ideal, but it is nice to see the women in the lead for a change. All the plays are entertaining. Most lean towards comedy to make their point, but a couple are on the more thoughtful side.

But before we get to the plays themselves, mention must be made of the delightful “Hamilton”-ian rap, written by actor Matt Neely, which opens the show. This has become an annual tradition, and it alone is worth the price of admission. The cast wears a few bits of appropriately revolutionary dress, and Neely concludes the piece by striking Lin-Manuel Miranda’s signature Hamilton pose, which graces that show’s posters in silhouette.

This year the 10 plays can fairly neatly be divided into five pairs that cover the same ideas and issues. So I will review them that way, as contrasting pairs. I have numbered the plays by the order in which they are performed.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Barrington Stage Company Announces 2017 Season [Berkshire on Stage]

January 26th, 2017, 1:00 pm by Sara
Jeff McCarthy as Kunstler

Jeff McCarthy as Kunstler

Barrington Stage Company, the award-winning theater in downtown Pittsfield, under the leadership of Artistic Director Julianne Boyd and Managing Director Tristan Wilson, has announced its 2017 season.

The 2017 season at BSC will include Kunstler by Jefferson Award winner and Emmy Award nominee Jeffrey Sweet (Flyovers), directed by Meagen Fay (Second City in Chicago), and starring Jeff McCarthy (Broadway’s Chicago, BSC’s Broadway Bounty Hunter); a production of The Birds by Conor McPherson, directed by BSC Artistic Director Julianne Boyd (BSC’s Broadway Bounty Hunter, American Son); a new production of Ragtime, directed by Helen Hayes Award winner Joe Calarco (The Burnt Part Boys, Shakespeare’s R&J), with a book by Terrence McNally, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and music by Stephen Flaherty; and the laugh-out-loud but rarely staged comedy, Taking Steps, by Olivier and Tony Award winner Alan Ayckbourn (The Norman Conquests) in a new production from Tony Award nominated director Sam Buntrock (Broadway’s Sunday in the Park with George).

The 2017 season will continue with This by Obie Award winner Melissa James Gibson (“House of Cards”) and directed by Christopher Innvar (BSC’s The Other Place); Company, with a book by George Furth and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, choreographed by Jeffrey Page (BSC’s Broadway Bounty Hunter) and directed by Julianne Boyd, and Gaslight (Angel Street) by Patrick Hamilton.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

“peerless” Premieres at Barrington Stage Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

July 20th, 2016, 3:00 pm by Sara

peerless

Jiehae Park’s comedy peerless will be seen for the first time in the Berkshires at the Barrington Stage Company, the award-winning theater in downtown Pittsfield.

Directed by Louisa Proske, peerless begins previews on Thursday (July 21), officially opens on Sunday (July 24), and runs through Saturday, August 6 at BSC’s St. Germain Stage.

peerless tells the story of brilliant, ambitious twin sisters L and M when they realize that perfect academics and superb extracurricular activities aren’t enough to get into their dream college – so they decide to take matters into their own hands. peerless is a comedy…until it isn’t.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

David Lutken Brings “Yankee Doodle Folkie” Music to Barrington Stage [Berkshire on Stage]

July 1st, 2016, 1:00 pm by Sara
David Lutken

David Lutken

Pittsfield’s Barrington Stage Company welcomes back award-winning singer David Lutken & the Seat of the Pants Band with “Yankee Doodle Folkie: Music for Independence Day” at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret 8pm on Sunday (July 3) and 7pm on Monday (July 4). Tickets are $35.

David Lutken and his band will treat audiences to a treasure trove of American folk music guaranteed to get hands clapping and feet stomping. Joining Lutken are the Seat of the Pants Band members Ken Breard, Jane Gillman, Helen J. Russell, Antoine Silverman and Andy Teirstein. According to Lutken, “rehearsing is cheating,” is the mantra of this banjo-pickin’, harmonica-blowin’ band.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

FREE: Symposium on Race at Barrington Stage Co. This Weekend [Berkshire on Stage]

June 29th, 2016, 1:00 pm by Sara
Luke Smith, Michael Hayden, Andre Ware and Tamara Tunie (photo: Scott Barrow)

Luke Smith, Michael Hayden, Andre Ware and Tamara Tunie (photo: Scott Barrow)

Utilizing the world premiere play American Son as a springboard to further dialogue about race, identity and bias in America, Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield has invited members of the Berkshire community as speakers, moderators and panelists regarding these timely and important issues. The free weekend symposium will take place beginning at 1pm on Saturday (July 2) and at 2pm on Sunday (July 3) on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage under the title of Race, Bias and Culture in Present-Day America.

Winner of the prestigious Laurents/Hatcher Award for Best New Play of 2016, American Son stars Tamara Tunie (“Law & Order: SVU”), Michael Hayden, Luke Smith and Andre Ware. Written by award-winning playwright Christopher Demos-Brown and directed by Julianne Boyd, American Son runs through Saturday, July 9.

Saturday (July 2), 1—2:30pm
“The Struggle of Growing Up Biracial— Caught In the Middle”
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Ferentz Lafargue, Director, The Davis Center at Williams College, Williamstown, MA
Moderated by: Chief Michael J. Wynn, Pittsfield Police Department
Panelists: Dr. Barbara Baker, Director of Project Link at BCC
Byonte Jones, 9th grade student, BART Charter School
Eddie Taylor, Executive Director, S.E.E.D. Network, Inc.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER REVIEW: “Kimberly Akimbo” @ Barrington Stage Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

June 20th, 2016, 1:00 pm by Sara
Chris Thorn (Buddy) and Debra Jo Rupp (Kimberly) in a scene from “Kimberly Akimbo”. Photo by Scott Barrow.

Chris Thorn (Buddy) and Debra Jo Rupp (Kimberly) in a scene from “Kimberly Akimbo”. Photo by Scott Barrow.

Review by Macey Levin

David Lindsay-Abaire won a Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for his play Rabbit Hole — a story of a family that has lost a child who was struck by a car and killed eight months earlier. He has also given us plays filled with off-beat humor such as Fuddy Meers, Wonder of the World and Kimberly Akimbo which is currently receiving a dynamic production at Barrington Stage Company’s St. Germain Stage in Pittsfield.

Kimberly (Debra Jo Rupp) has the aging disease progeria; though she is only sixteen, physically and internally she is past middle age on the verge of dying. She knows how to deal with the condition, but she is also a member of a highly dysfunctional family that has recently moved from Secaucus, New Jersey to Bogota, New Jersey under mysterious circumstances. Her father Buddy (Chris Thorn) is an alcoholic who works in a gas station and often forgets his responsibilities to his daughter. Pattie (Jessiee Datino), her mother, is pregnant, has been operated on for carpal tunnel syndrome and is self-involved. Aunt Debra (Jessica Savage) has been in and out of jail several times and is currently homeless. The only relatively sane one in her life, and that’s relative, is Jeff (Adam Langdon), a classmate who creates anagrams and is a Dungeons and Dragons aficionado.

Kimberly, despite her youth, is the only rational character and she also displays a moral center. She knows but does not fear what lies ahead. She attempts, sometimes vainly, to teach her family members the difference between right and wrong and how to act as a grown-up.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Theater Review: 10×10 New Play Festival @ Barrington Stage [Berkshire on Stage]

February 16th, 2016, 3:00 pm by Sara
Best In Class from the 10 x 10 plays at Barrington Stage 2016.

Best In Class from the 10 x 10 plays at Barrington Stage 2016 (photo: Scott Barrow)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: As theater-lovers who live year round in the Berkshires, Gail, winter can be like Lent is for Catholics and others. What we seem to give up from January to April are the live performances that we thrive on the rest of the year. Which is why, for the fifth year in a row, we were delighted to get a generous serving of on-stage belly laughs, drama, pathos and even a bit of bathos at the opening of the fifth annual 10×10 Upstreet New Play Festival. The ten mind-tickling moments came from ten new ten-minute plays, all slices of life that shed light on things like beginning a relationship, or ending one.

Gail M. Burns: To paraphrase Forrest Gump, the 10x10s are like a box of chocolates. Each one is a treat; some will be your favorites, and some will be mine. And they are brief enough it takes you at least 3-5 minutes to decide this one’s not for you, which means it’s almost over anyway. Once again Barrington Stage Co. in Pittsfield has assembled a versatile cast of six: three men – Jake Keefe, Andrew May and Matt Neely – and three women – Madison Micucci, Kelley Rae O’Donnell and Peggy Pharr Wilson. Neely and Wilson are popular local actors and 10×10 veterans, while the rest are newcomers, but they work as a seamless ensemble here, as they are mixed and matched in a variety of roles.

Larry: The ten playwrights (three women, seven men) covered an amazing variety of topics, while Julianne Boyd and John Miller-Stephany split the role as directors with five plays each. Boyd has been artistic director of the company since its inception, and while Miller-Stephany is new to the company, he has an enviable record of success with the Guthrie in Minneapolis and before that with the Acting Company in New York City.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage

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