Posts Tagged ‘Barrington Stage’

THEATER: “An Enemy of the People” at Barrington Stage, a Collision of Fire and Ice Onstage [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
An Enemy of the People with Joey LaBrasca, Dee Nelson, Steve Hendrickson, Katya Stepanov and Noah Bailey (photo:Kevin Sprague)

“An Enemy of the People” with Joey LaBrasca, Dee Nelson, Steve Hendrickson, Katya Stepanov and Noah Bailey (photo: Kevin Sprague)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Gail M. Burns: Tragically, An Enemy of the People, a tale of the battle between the truth and those who would manipulate or stifle it for their own gain, is as relevant today as when Henrik Ibsen penned En folkefiende in 1882 in response to the public attacks on his play Ghosts, and in 1950 when Arthur Miller adapted it as a response to the actions of the House Un-American Activities Committee headed by Senator Joseph McCarthy. It is all too easy to draw parallels to the key concerns of today.

Larry Murray: I agree, Gail, and rarely do we see theater productions that so perfectly capture the temper of our times from a distance of 65 or 130 years. I think a large part of the reason that An Enemy of the People works so well is the excellence of every aspect of the Barrington Stage Company production in Pittsfield. Director Julianne Boyd has been doing these issue plays for many years now, and has yet to have one that has misfired. Her sense of historical importance combines with some pretty innovative direction to bring a big, long, grey play like this into sharp focus. The fourteen actors – drawn as much from this region as from New York – are uniformly superb.

Gail: The plot is painfully simple. In a town struggling to revive its economy after the Second World War, much money and many hopes have been pinned on the healing spa waters of Kirsten Springs and a new resort has been developed to capture the tourist market. The local doctor, Thomas Stockmann (Steve Hendrickson), concerned over a rash of illness among the Springs early patrons, has had the water analyzed and discovered that it is, in fact, contaminated by the run-off from the tannery upstream – a business that has been in his wife’s family for generations and is currently owned by his ecentric father-in-law, Morten Kiil (Glenn Barrett). Dr. Stockmann’s brother, Peter (Patrick Husted), is the Mayor, and they both sit on the board of directors of the resort. Dr. Stockmann has a happy family life with his wife Catherine (Dee Nelson), 20-something daughter Petra (Katya Stepanov), and two school-age sons Morten (Noah Bailey) and Ejlif (Joey Labrasca). They are well liked in the community and in the first scene the family is entertaining Aslaksen (Jack Wetherall), the publisher of the local paper, its young editor Hovstad (Scott Drummond) and his assistant, Billing (Christopher Hirsh), along with an elderly neighbor, Captain Horster (Don Paul Shannon), at dinner when the water analysis report arrives from the lab.

At first everyone hails Dr. Stockmann as a hero for catching this important information on time. But as the economic impact of this discovery becomes clear – the Mayor goes about making that impact starkly real to all concerned – the worm turns and by the opening of the second act Dr. Stockmann is not even allowed to speak at a public meeting he has called, held in the Captain’s home because no one in town will rent him a hall. Stockmann is officially declared An Enemy of the People, and the play concludes with he and his family sheltering behind their living room couch, as a mob roars outside their home and hurls rocks through their windows, determined to stick together and fight for the truth.

Larry: The tension that built during the opening of the second act where the point of the play all melds together, builds the excitement of the citizens into a frenzy, and you can feel it build all around you as the ensemble brings the action of the mob into the midst of the audience. It is a passionately breathtaking example of full-tilt theatrical magic at work. And it has to be the most memorable 15 minutes of theater I have seen this year. It’s an all-out assault on the truth by the classic powers-that-be which is at the heart of this great human story.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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“An Enemy of the People” @ Barrington Stage: When a Majority Rejects the Truth [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, September 29th, 2014
Steve Hendrickson plays Tom Stockmann in An Enemy of the People. File photo by Rick Teller from an earlier Chester Theatre Co production of The Iliad.

Steve Hendrickson plays Tom Stockmann in An Enemy of the People. File photo by Rick Teller from an earlier Chester Theatre Co production of The Iliad.

By Larry Murray

The brilliant theatre director Julianne Boyd takes on another classic, An Enemy of the People, Arthur Miller’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s play. It is her third Arthur Miller play at Barrington Stage Co., having earlier staged The Crucible in 2010 and All My Sons in 2012. Both earned high praise from critics and audiences alike.

This powerful drama explores the impact of polluted waters in a small town and the consequences of uncovering the truth. Follow the story of one man’s brave struggle to do the right thing in the face of extreme social intolerance. Master playwright Arthur Miller adapted Ibsen’s classic play in response to the political climate fostered by McCarthyism in 1950, but the play is still shockingly relevant today.

The company’s fall production runs from October 2-19 on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage. The press opening is Sunday, October 5 at 3pm.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Jim Brochu Gives His Regards to Broadway in His One-Man Show @ Barrington Stage [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
Jim Brochu and his cast of “character men.”

Jim Brochu and his cast of “character men.”

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: “Character Man” at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield is a wonderfully funny and touching evening of unforgettable theatrical memories. Jim Brochu may not be the first actor to draw on the famous and near-famous he has rubbed shoulders with during a long and rich life to create an evening’s entertainment, but he is certainly one of the best. As he explains at the outset, playing a “character man” means you are an essential part of any play, even though people are not likely to remember your name.

Gail M. Burns: Jack Gilford, Bert Lahr, Lou Jacobi, Zero Mostel, Jack Albertson, Phil Silvers, Charles Nelson Reilly… Indeed, while I recognized many of the names Brochu mentioned – and their faces as they appeared on a screen upstage – I am hard pressed to place his mentor, David Burns (obviously no relation), even though his face was shown at various ages throughout the show. But Burns was Brochu’s dear friend and enabler – his entree into the fascinating and frustrating world of show business.

Larry: For an hour and a half he certainly keeps the Barrington Stage audience spellbound as he rattles off anecdotes and stories about his father, his co-stars, and his beginnings as an orange drink seller in lobbies at intermission. The period he focuses on most effectively is the one in which I was a stage door Johnny myself. But while I was outside with a program and a pen he was running to get corned beef sandwiches from a deli for Cyril Ritchard, Australian stage, screen and television actor, and director. Ritchard is probably best remembered today for his performance as Captain Hook in the Mary Martin musical production of Peter Pan.

Gail: I can just taste that orange drink, Larry. It was watery with strong overtones of cardboard, and it was wildly overpriced, but you HAD to buy one when you went to the theatre in New York. I suspect now that I, like Brochu, could no longer afford one, let alone a Broadway ticket, but the very mention of that beverage brings back memories to anyone who has ever darkened a Manhattan theatre.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER: Mark St. Germain’s Luminous “Dancing Lessons” Sparkles @ Barrington Stage [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, August 15th, 2014
John Carioni(l) and Paige Davis (r) in Dancing Lessons (photo: Kevin Sprague)

John Carioni(l) and Paige Davis (r) in “Dancing Lessons” (photo: Kevin Sprague)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: Mark St. Germain’s newest play Dancing Lessons at Pittsfield’s Barrington Stage Company could easily be categorized as a play that teaches us something new, and when it comes to Asperger Syndrome, it is certainly both instructive and inspirational on that subject. But that is a by-product of what has to be St. Germain’s best work to date. It is really a romantic comedy at heart, and it takes us to the verge of tears even as we are laughing delightedly at a young couple trying to figure out how to deal with each other.

Gail M. Burns: There are more and more people with diagnoses on the Autism Spectrum, and what they teach us is that there is no such thing as “normal.” Everyone’s brain and body function and experience the world differently and society makes an enormous error when it tries to force humankind into any mold. Every couple faces challenges as their relationship develops because there is no other place where we are as intimately and openly ourselves.

Larry: There are only two characters in this one act play, Paige Davis (as Senga Quinn, a successful Broadway dancer) and John Cariani (Dr. Ever Montgomery – a professor of geosciences who is about to be honored for his achievements). Both were at the top of their game, but are under new stress as they tentatively come together and blow apart as the story unfolds. Because of his Asperger’s, Ever is aware that he sees the world differently than most. Yet he needs help in fitting into the normal world. He uses the term “neuro-typicals” to describe people who are not like him. He refers to himself as an “Aspy,” an abbreviated description he likes to use. What I find interesting is that Senga – who is a dancer and actually sidelined with an injury – is also searching for answers.

Gail: Both characters are facing a crisis of self. Ever is very intelligent and “high-functioning.” He has had great success in his chosen field, but is terrified of relating on a personal and physical level. Senga (her name was supposed to be Agnes but her aunt wrote it backwards on her birth certificate) has achieved success as a dancer – studying and performing with some of the top choreographers and their companies, and appearing on and off-Broadway – but she was hit by a taxi and her left leg is shattered, with seriously torn muscles and ligaments in her knee. Her only hope for any kind of recovery is surgery, which a rare allergy to anesthesia prevents, and even then she will never be able to perform at the level she did before.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Bittersweet “Working on a Special Day” Unfolds at Barrington Stage [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
Antonio Vega and Ana Graham direct and star in “Working On A Special Day” at Barrington Stage June 18-July 6. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Antonio Vega and Ana Graham direct and star in “Working On A Special Day” at Barrington Stage June 18-July 6. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Working on A Special Day has received recognition internationally and arrives at Barrington Stage Company in a production by the Play Company and Mexico City-based Por Piedad Teatro. According to Artistic Director Julianne Boyd and Managing Director Tristan Wilson, it will run from Wednesday (June 18) through July 6 at Barrington Stage’s St. Germain Stage. Press Opening is Sunday, June 22 at 3pm.

Directed by and featuring Ana Graham and Antonio Vega, Working on A Special Day is a new play about a life-changing encounter between an over-worked housewife and a mysterious bachelor on May 8, 1938 – the day Rome celebrates Hitler’s visit to Mussolini’s Italy. A bittersweet drama unfolds within the charged political landscape of rising fascism in Rome.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

At Barrington Stage, Marg Helgenberger Going for a Tour-de-Force in “The Other Place” [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, May 19th, 2014
Marg Helgenberger (photo:  Larry Murray)

Marg Helgenberger (photo: Larry Murray)

By Larry Murray

In deciding to do The Other Place, Marg Helgenberger has accepted the biggest acting challenge of her long and honored career. When she steps into the role of Juliana Smithton, she assumes the identity a successful neurologist whose life seems to be coming unhinged. Her husband has filed for divorce, her daughter has eloped with a much older man and her own health is in jeopardy. But in this brilliantly crafted work, nothing is as it seems. Piece by piece, a mystery unfolds as fact blurs with fiction, past collides with present and the elusive truth about Juliana boils to the surface. The story unfolds in a cottage on the windswept shores of Cape Cod.

At a preview gathering at Barrington Stage Co.’s Sydelle & Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center in Pittsfield, director Christopher Innvar and the popular Emmy Award-winning star of TV’s “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” made themselves available to talk about the upcoming show. A transcript of that discussion follows.

Helgenberger has had one of the most successful careers of any actor, and most of it on television, which she says is a “writer’s medium.” But for all her success, she yearned for a chance to return to the “actor’s medium,” live theater.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Tommy Tune, Liz & Ann Hampton Callaway Headed to Barrington Stage [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, March 21st, 2014
Broadway’s legendary song and dance man, Tommy Tune, hits the stage high stepping through his nine-time Tony Award winning career celebrating 50 years on the Great White Way. He sings, dances, and laughs his way through those glorious musical moments that made him a Theatre Legend.

Broadway’s legendary song and dance man, Tommy Tune, hits the stage high stepping through his 9 time Tony Award winning career celebrating 50 years on the Great White Way. He sings, dances, and laughs his way through those glorious musical moments that made him a Theatre Legend.

Barrington Stage Company, the award-winning theater in downtown Pittsfield, under the leadership of Artistic Director Julianne Boyd and Managing Director Tristan Wilson, is proud to present the 2014 Summer Concert Series on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage featuring Tony Award-winner Tommy Tune in Taps, Tunes, and Tall Tales on Monday, July 28 at 8pm, and the return of Tony Award nominees Liz & Ann Hampton Callaway in the Berkshire debut of their all-new show Here Come the Callaways on Monday, August 11.

Single tickets to Tap, Tunes and Tall Tales and Here Come the Callaways will go on sale to the general public on Monday, March 24 at 10am.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

MCLA and Barrington Stage Team Up for “Dancing Lessons” in North Adams [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, March 7th, 2014
John Cariani is featured in Mark St. Germain’s "Dancing Lessons."

John Cariani is featured in Mark St. Germain’s “Dancing Lessons.”

Barrington Stage Company, the award-winning theater in downtown Pittsfield, under the leadership of artistic director Julianne Boyd and managing director Tristan Wilson, travels to North Adams to present a staged reading of “Dancing Lessons,” the new romantic comedy by playwright Mark St. Germain, on Saturday (March 8) at 7pm at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ Church Street Center, Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium (corner of Church and Porter Streets), North Adams.

Directed by Julianne Boyd, “Dancing Lessons” stars John Cariani and Brenna Palughi. Cariani made his BSC debut as Dogberry in last summer’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” Cariani is also the playwright of the popular play “Almost, Maine” and is currently starring in the play’s Off-Broadway revival. Recently seen in John Grisham’s “A Time to Kill” on Broadway, Palughi is making her BSC debut.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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