Posts Tagged ‘Berkshire On Stage’

“Stonewall” DIldine and the Mess at Shakespeare & Company [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, October 20th, 2014
Stonewall Dildine’s answer to all questions: “”We don’t discuss personnel matters.”

Stonewall Dildine’s answer to all questions: “We don’t discuss personnel matters.”

By Larry Murray

For more than a week, the board and management of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox have evaded every question about the sudden departure of artistic director Tony Simotes. It has also refused to give any indication of whether this signals a major reorganization of the theatre company, and just who is going to be next on the chopping block. The order to be silent has reverberated throughout the company and many of the founders and long-term members fear that if they open their mouth, they will lose their jobs. It seems that heads are going to roll soon, and that worries me as a veteran theater watcher who has a great love for this venerable company of actors.

Secrecy and stonewalling are a familiar form of corporate politics. Whether white collar workers or actors, using these sorts of wily tactics always backfires, and has already began to erode the company’s years of reputation and audience building.

Oddly, Shakespeare & Company chose to release the news of Simotes departure with hints of more changes to come in an after-hours news release (original story) late on a Friday night. They probably expected that few would print the news, or – most importantly – that few would notice that the popular Simotes was being unceremoniously ushered out months before his contract ends despite promises to the contrary. There were few details, just the usual meaningless niceties that accompany such corporate beheadings. My own attempts to glean more information were rebuffed even when such attempts were done using personal email rather than official ShakesCo email address which were undoubtedly being monitored for leaks.

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Kyle Abraham’s Electrifying Dance “The Watershed” This Weekend @ MASS MoCA [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, October 17th, 2014
Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion. (photo: Steven Schreiber)

Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion (photo: Steven Schreiber)

Tackling subject matter from the Emancipation Proclamation to the end of apartheid in South Africa and set to a score that incorporates contemporary cello, soul favorites and more, The Watershed is at once an elegant, physically electrifying choreographic work and a provocative sociopolitical reflection.

The new evening-length work has been created by Kyle Abraham, a Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award recipient, MacArthur “Genius” Fellow and critically lauded choreographer who pairs diverse movement styles with issues of social and historical significance. Ella Baff, executive and artistic director of Jacob’s Pillow, describes Abraham’s work as “passionate, intelligent, earnest and always beautifully danced.”

It is an inportant and rare major dance event in the Berkshire off-season. Kyle Abraham brings his newest work to MASS MoCA in North Adams on Saturday & Sunday (October 18 & 19) in a co-presentation with Jacob’s Pillow, made possible by the Irene Hunter Fund for Dance. The Watershed is an evening-length work in Abraham’s signature blend of classical form, postmodern invention and urban influences, performed by Abraham and his accomplished company, Abraham.In.Motion.

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Joy Behar to Talk It Up @ the Colonial Theatre on Friday [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Joy Behar

Comedian/talk show host Joy Behar brings her stand-up tour to the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield. With more than 30 years on stage and screen, Behar’s one-woman show takes us on a journey from her rollicking childhood in Brooklyn to center stage as one of America’s most notable talk show hosts and comedians. Behar comments, “It’s a good time to take stock of my shenanigans.”

Tickets to Joy Behar at 8pm on Friday (October 17) are on sale now for $35, $50 and $65. Contact the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street, Pittsfield by calling 413-997-4444. Tickets can also be bought online at www.berkshiretheatregroup.org. The Ticket Office is open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm, Saturdays 10am-2pm or on any performance day from 10am until curtain.

Behar is a comedic original and a leading woman both on stage and screen. She received an Emmy Award for her performance on The View, where she was a member of the cast for 16 years. She also hosted her own talk shows, The Joy Behar Show on HLN and Say Anything on Current TV.

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An Evening of Political Theater Flips the “Pro-Life” Movement on Its Head with “Mom Baby God” [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, October 10th, 2014
Madeline Burrows in “Mom Baby God”  (photo: Jessica Neria)

Madeline Burrows in “Mom Baby God” (photo: Jessica Neria)

At 7:30pm on Saturday (October 11) Madeline Burrows’ virtuoso show, MOM BABY GOD, arrives at the Charles Wood Theater in Glens Falls for one night only. Taking on the right-wing anti-abortion movement through the eyes of a teenage girl, she portrays several characters in a passionate, solo 90-minute performance that was derived from the two years Burrows spent undercover at anti-choice conferences, interviewing priests, teenage video bloggers and abstinence-only sex (mis)educators. Over the course of one evening she throws you into the world of those whose answer to unwanted pregnancy is prayer and celibacy while asking others to achieve the impossible; the “be sexy/don’t have sex” ideal foisted on young women in America today.

While tackling a controversial and serious subject, MOM BABY GOD has flashes of irony and humor. The show has left audiences around the country inspired and galvanized to action in its exploration of how girls develop a sense of self and sexuality during a time of political backlash against feminism and reproductive rights.

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Noël Coward’s “Fallen Angels” Opens 40th Ghent Playhouse Season Friday [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, October 9th, 2014
Mark Fingar as Willy Banbury tries to discern what Cathy Lee-Vosscher as Julia Sterroll and Christina Reeves as his wife, Jane are talking to in the Ghent Playhouse production of “Fallen Angels”.  (photo: Daniel Region)

Mark Fingar as Willy Banbury tries to discern what Cathy Lee-Vosscher as Julia Sterroll and Christina Reeves as his wife, Jane are talking to in the Ghent Playhouse production of “Fallen Angels.” (photo: Daniel Region)

For the first production of their 40th season, the Ghent Playhouse presents the very funny Noël Coward comedy Fallen Angels. Directed by Kate Gulliver, this is the 1955 version of Coward’s comedy.

This is the third Noël Coward comedy that Kate Gulliver has directed for the Playhouse. Previously she directed Private Lives and Hay Fever. Gulliver describes the play as “Set in the heady freedom of the 1920s, Fallen Angels is a frothy tale of two London ladies whose pre-marital indiscretions with a French lover come back to complicate their now happily-married lives. The cast of characters is led by a hilariously superior maid who knows everything about everything, and betters her betters at everything from playing the piano to speaking French.” Add a few martinis and several bottles of fine champagne, and this dryly witty 1920s romp comes very close to slapstick.

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Made in the Berkshires Festival: Full Schedule of Events for 2014 [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
Made in the Berkshires takes place over Columbus Day Weekend.

Made in the Berkshires takes place over Columbus Day Weekend.

Columbus Day weekend is when the Berkshire Theatre Group kicks off the Made in the Berkshires Festival this year, running Friday-Sunday (October 10-12) at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield and the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge. This is the fourth year of the Berkshire’s homegrown festival that spotlights local art and artists of exceptional quality.

And it is as social as it is artistic.

The opening night celebration kicks off on Friday (October 10) at 6pm in the Colonial Theatre lobby with a cocktail hour and visual art show curated by Suky Werman. The opening night program begins at 7:30pm on stage at the Colonial Theatre. Highlights include a film rave by Joe Wheaton; a scene from Diary of a Fashionista: Styled by Destiny featuring Destiny Saunders and dancers from Youth Alive combining hip-hop and fashion; a solo performance by 13-year-old jazz guitarist Nico Wohl; Pas de deux from “Carmina Burana” by Ruslan Sprague & Anna Acker; solo classical piano performance by Paul Celebi; blues-rocker Albert Cummings’ new music video directed by Dave Simonds; and scenes from Emmy Award-winning writer Lee Kalcheim’s new play Speed Dating. The opening night celebration will be followed by a “Taste of the Berkshires” reception in the Colonial lobby featuring Berkshire farm-to-table produce and locally crafted foods with music from DJ RothFitz.

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Obie Award-Winning Musical Ode to the Unemployed Coming to Mr. Finn’s Cabaret [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014
(L to R) Vito Dieterle, Ian M. Riggs, Ethan Lipton, and Eben Levy in “No Place To Go.” (photo:  Heather Phelps-Lipton)

(L to R) Vito Dieterle, Ian M. Riggs, Ethan Lipton, and Eben Levy in “No Place To Go” (photo: Heather Phelps-Lipton)

Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield will offer Ethan Lipton’s No Place to Go, the Obie Award-winning musical ode to the unemployed, for three performances this weekend (October 10-12) at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center.

Composed and performed by Ethan Lipton & his OrchestraEben Levy (guitar), Ian M. Riggs (upright bass) and Vito Dieterle (sax) – No Place to Go received an Obie Award and was commissioned and originally produced by Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater. Originally directed by Leigh Silverman, No Place to Go is produced in association with ArKtype/Thomas O. Kriegsmann.

The corporation where he’s worked for the past 10 years is moving to Mars, and Ethan Lipton doesn’t want to go. The work of a truly original American theater artist, No Place to Go is a deeply compassionate musical ode to America’s work force, steeped in musical traditions including jazz, blues, folk and country. Capturing the vagaries of everyday life with wry humor and universal appeal, No Place to Go is a love letter to friends, family and country.

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THEATER: Edgar Allan Poe’s Life and Death on Stage at the Unicorn [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, October 6th, 2014
The cast of “Poe” – a world premiere written and directed by Eric Hill at the Unicorn Theatre. (photo: Christina Riley)

The cast of “Poe” – a world premiere written and directed by Eric Hill at the Unicorn Theatre (photo: Christina Riley)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: We’re just weeks away from Halloween, and as if to set the mood for an evening with Poe we had a wonderfully spooky ride through darkness, rain, and fog as we made our way to the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge. Poe is a new work, getting its world premiere by the Berkshire Theatre Group.

With all the movies featuring grunting zombies, slashers and hauntings constantly being offered to us via Netflix and the local multiplex, one might wonder whether the world has forgotten one of the pioneers of horror, Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849). All you need to do is listen to Kate Maguire recite “The Tell Tale Heart” in this play to remember how penetrating true horror can be. She’s doing exactly that in the photo above, with David Adkins (far left), as Poe, listening raptly.

Gail M. Burns: Even though I am not a fan of Poe, or of the horror genre in general, I recognize him as an extraordinary writer – one of the first Americans ever to attempt to earn his living solely by his pen. If he had been a sober and careful steward of his finances, that plan might have worked out better than it did…

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