Posts Tagged ‘Berkshire On Stage’

Jessica Swale’s London Hit “Blue Stockings” Gets USA Reading by WAM Theatre in West Stockbridge [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, April 4th, 2014
Jessica Swale’s play examines the trials and tribulations of four brilliant, passionate young women who are desperate to become scientists.

Jessica Swale’s play examines the trials and tribulations of four brilliant, passionate young women who are desperate to become scientists.

With only 25 seats, the first in a series of Sunday afternoon new play readings by WAM Theatre will certainly be a rare experience for those lucky enough to be there. When first announced, few details were known about just who would be doing the reading but with the announcement of the cast, it is obvious that this is more than a simple reading, it will be an afternoon filled with drama, and if you want, great coffee and comestibles.

Blue Stockings is set in 1896 at Girton, the first college in Britain to admit women. It’s a moving, comical and eye-opening story about four young women fighting for education and self-determination against the backdrop of women’s suffrage. This critically acclaimed play dramatizes the fight for education, equality and access for women; issues that are prized by WAM Theatre and its audiences.

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New York State Legislature Creates New Tax Credits for Developing Live Theater [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
Proctor’s in Schenectady might find itself hosting a pre-Broadway tryout.

Proctors in Schenectady might find itself hosting a pre-Broadway tryout.

Story by Larry Murray

When it comes to commercial theatre, the Broadway League is the organization to watch. As the national trade association of the commercial theatre industry, it often has surprises to announce. The latest – and this is no April Fool – is that New York is now the fourth jurisdiction in America to offer financial incentives to investors who originate live productions within New York State. The new program will be effective for tax year commencing January 1, 2015. Included in the budget for Fiscal Year 2014–2015 is a program offering a 25% tax credit to producers who tech their shows in New York’s facilities.

Nearby theatres in Albany, Schenectady and Rochester were included, as are those in Elmira, Binghamton and Syracuse. This is not a new idea – Illinois, Rhode Island and Louisiana already offer tax incentives. The four major Berkshire theater companies have long been sending shows to New York City, to play both on and off Broadway. In Manhattan, theatre is a multi-billion dollar industry and a major marketing and economic foundation of the tourist trade. Here’s more from today’s announcement:

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Will Pittsfield’s Shakespeare in the Park Become a Reality This Summer? It’s Up to Us… [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Shakepeare in the park

Commentary by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Gail M. Burns: Berkshire natives and visitors love outdoor, bring-a-picnic entertainment – the lawn at Tanglewood, concerts at the Clark, Windsor Lake, and the Bandstand in Great Barrington, the WTF Free Theatre, Bankside entertainments at Shakespeare & Company, and the BTG productions on the Ellenoff Stage at The Mount, and now the possibility of free Shakespeare in the Park in Pittsfield. The recent announcement was an historic day for the city.

Larry Murray: That’s right, Gail, it’s another positive development for Pittsfield, and while we have seen the genial Mayor Bianchi at other theatrical announcements, he seemed particularly excited about what this new theatre company and its series of eight open air performances mean to his city and Springside Park. But even with free performances, there are expenses to be paid, and a crowdsourced Indiegogo funding campaign has been launched to let the public help make it a reality. More on that a bit later. What do you think of the concept in general? Been there, done that?

Gail: I confess that I didn’t frequent NY Public Theatre’s free outdoor Shakespeare at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park when I was growing up. But I have enjoyed many outdoor performances here in Berkshire county and have even staged a few of my own. I love watching the bats start swooping over a performance to catch the insects attracted by the stage lights as dusk falls.

Larry: There is something about outdoor performances during the glory days of summer that are like catnip for families. Who doesn’t like a glorious warm evening, stars sparkling above, and the fun of an easily digestible Shakespeare play like A Midsummer’s Night Dream. That play may seem to be done a lot to us regular theater-goers, but scratch most people and they have never seen it, so it seems a perfect choice to kick off this new Berkshire attraction. There will be dozens of children pretending to be Puck after they see it, and repeating its many famous lines.

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MCLA Presents Offers Unusual Tabletop Puppet Docu-Drama “Who’s Hungry?” [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, March 31st, 2014

MCLA Presents "Who’s Hungry?"

Review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Gail M. Burns: You took a little convincing to give up a Saturday afternoon for a puppet show, Larry.

Larry Murray: Yes, I was resistant, perhaps because I thought I had experienced just about everything the miniature world of puppetry could offer, but I was wrong.

Gail: If your idea of puppetry is still the hand puppets on Captain Kanagroo and Mister Rogers, the marionettes in The Sound of Music, or even the Muppets, be ready to be surprised! For one thing, these productions are not for little children, although tweens and teens with a theatrical bent will love them.

Larry: The thought that has stuck in my head is that this wasn’t the first puppet documentary I had seen. Mass MoCA brought in Dan Hurlin, who designed and directed this show, in 2010 with his sensational puppet biography of eccentric Arkansas photographer Mike Disfarmer. (Larry’s article) That too was “tabletop puppetry,” an advance on the art form that uses traditional techniques from Bunraku to shadow puppetry, and in this case, with two slow-motion Robert Wilson-esque sequences for model cars and accessories.

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AC Battles DC in “Westinghouse and Edison: War of Currents” at Ventfort Hall [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, March 28th, 2014
Inventors Thomas Edison (l) and George Westinghouse (r).

Inventors Thomas Edison (l) and George Westinghouse (r).

Veteran actor Douglas Weeks will reenact a fierce battle that took place at the beginning of the electrification of America. Back then individuals did the inventing, and sold the benefits, not the huge corporations that would follow in their footsteps.

There’s not only a great story of clashing personalities but deep history behind “Westinghouse and Edison: War of Currents” which is being performed at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum in Lenox on Saturday (March 29) at 3:30pm. A Victorian tea will be offered after the performance.

Weeks will take on the role of George Westinghouse, 19th century inventor, industrialist and a pioneer in the early days of the electrical industry. Although Westinghouse invented a wide range of mechanical equipment including the railroad air brake, Weeks will focus on the titanic battle between Westinghouse and Thomas Edison in creating a system for distributing electrical power.

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Jayne Atkinson and Susan Rose bring “Motherhood Out Loud” to the Berkshires [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, March 27th, 2014
The actors prepare for Motherhood Out Loud at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge,

The actors prepare for Motherhood Out Loud at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge,

Great Barrington, MA, February 28, 2014 – Two-time Tony nominee Jayne Atkinson (CRIMINAL MINDS, HOUSE OF CARDS) will direct a benefit production of MOTHERHOOD OUT LOUD at Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge on March 28th and 29th as part of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. Proceeds from the production, co-produced by Atkinson and Susan Rose, will benefit WAM Theatre and the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers.

The cast will feature Jane Kaczmarek (MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE and the upcoming FOX sitcom HERE’S YOUR DAMN FAMILY), Michel Gill (HOUSE OF CARDS) and Academy Award winner James Lecesne, as well as local guest artists Amber Chand, Tammy Denease, Tyler Malik, Corinna May, Rachel Siegel and Barbara Sims. After successful productions across the country, including an off-Broadway run at Primary Stages in New York City, this will be its Berkshire premiere.

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A Stripped-Down Rick Springfield Headed to Colonial Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

By Larry Murray

The best butt in the business is no longer being sued for assaulting a member of the audience with his buttocks in Syracuse. (News Report) It happened at the 2004 New York State Fair while Rick Springfield was singing his 1983 single “Human Touch,” shaking his rear end and interacting with his audience. The artist says he doesn’t remember the incident, and his fans supported him online, while the gossips had a field day with his “buns of death”. But all that is in the past. Springfield hasn’t slowed down since that incident, and still loves the personal touch of singing and interacting with those who come to his concert.

Usually he takes to the road with a band, but this time it is just the man and his guitar, which makes for a very up-close-an-personal show which arrives at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield on Wednesday (March 26).

It is Rick Springfield’s first-ever solo acoustic tour which means that in addition to playing unplugged versions of many of his memorable tunes, Springfield will share stories about the songs and his life during the performances and do a Q&A session with fans after the performance.

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As Berkshire Women Writers Fest Wraps Up, Secrets, Stories, Awards Revealed [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Festival of Women Writers

By Judith Nardacci

Today (Monday, March 24), 7pm
Creating a Positive Future with the Alphabet of Vibration
Workshop led by Analesa Rose Berg
Church on the Hill Annex, 55 Main Street, Lenox

This workshop begins with the premise that creating a future where we honor one another and the earth is possible. What is the new vision? What do we need to release to make room for new ways of being to take place? How do we do that together? The Alphabet of Vibration, an art series created by Analesa Rose Berg, combines Hebrew letters with symbols to serve as prompts to write, draw, or dance what we see, feel, or hear.

Tuesday (March 25), 6:30pm
A Celebration of the Next Generation of Young Women Writers
Hosted by Emily Pulfer-Terino with Olivia Gomez and Anna Durning
Miss Hall’s School, 492 Holmes Road, Pittsfield

This event features creative non-fiction and personal essays by Miss Hall’s students and other high school-age girls in Berkshire County. Participants will be selected by the hosts.

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