Posts Tagged ‘Berkshire On Stage’

Review: “It’s a Wonderful Life” Returns to Shakespeare & Company [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, December 15th, 2014
It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play runs from Dec. 5-28. (photo: Enrico Spada)

It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play runs from Dec. 5-28. (photo: Enrico Spada)

Theater review and discussion by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray (Reprinted from the December 12, 2013 review)

Larry Murray: What can be more fitting for the holidays than It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play which is the story of idealistic George Bailey as he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve. Do you agree that Shakespeare & Company in Lenox captured all the magic of Frank Capra’s classic 1946 holiday film It’s a Wonderful Life in this production?

Gail M. Burns: Darned if I know. I am one of the few adult Americans who has never seen the film all the way through. This iteration, adapted by Joe Landry from the screenplay by Francis Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra, and Jo Swerling, reimagines the story as performed by five stalwart radio actors on a snowy Christmas Eve when the sound effects guy gets stuck in the blizzard and can’t get to the studio. We, the studio audience for the broadcast, get the fun of watching them cope with the emergency and perform all the music and sound effects as well as the well-worn story of George Bailey.

Larry: Landry didn’t miss a single plot point of the film, and the five actors created the dozens of characters with just their voices. It was astonishing to hear Ryan Winkles change his voice instantly from Clarence the angel (second class) to Bert the cop. He played a dozen roles, as did favorite Jonathan Croy and the amazing Jennie M. Jadow. These chameleons changed accent, tone and cadence from one character to the next like racers taking the hairpin turn on the Mohawk Trail.

Gail: David Joseph and Sarah Jeanette Taylor anchor the story as George Bailey and the woman he marries, Mary Hatch. They also provide much of the charming music, with Taylor on piano and Joseph as the lead vocalist. The whole show, but especially the music, was charming in its simplicity and beauty, with many songs sung virtually a cappella. Joseph plinks out a few notes on the xylophone and Winkles bravely tackles a trombone riff, but Jadow on violin and Taylor on piano provide the melodic lines.

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Memo to Masochists: NBC’s Banal Version of “Peter Pan” Set to Air Again Saturday [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, December 12th, 2014
OMG, OMG, OMG what a waste…

OMG, OMG, OMG what a waste…

By Larry Murray

Some loved it, and some hated it. Being a theater critic with a decidedly acidic opinion of commercial-laden and low-brow television, NBC’s made-for-TV re-telling of the classic children’s story Peter Pan was doomed from the start. Perhaps it is because Mary Martin and Cyril Ritchard are no longer around to show a new generation how it is done. A wooden Christopher Walken and a smiley Allison Williams lip-synched most of the songs.

Below are five of the songs in the current television version and two from the famous earlier telecast in 1960 – Mary Martin singing “I’m Flying” and Cyril Ritchard camping it up in “Captain Hook’s Waltz.” He is also wearing the proper hook, the double one on the right hand, the one which the crocodile ate, not the single one seen on Christopher Walken’s left hand.

But what really furrowed my brow was the claim that this was going to bring a whole new audience into live theater.

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Sheryl Crow in Concert with Boston Pops Added to Tanglewood 2015 Line-up [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Sheryl Crow

Nine-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow will join Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops at Tanglewood in Lenox on June 19, 2015, at 8:30pm, for a concert performance to help kick off Tanglewood’s 2015 season. She last appeared at Tanglewood in concert with James Taylor and Yo-Yo Ma in August, 2009.

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James Taylor Returns to Tanglewood for July 4th with All-Star Band, Fireworks [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014
The Berkshires love James Taylor’s appearances at Tanglewood as much as those of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

The Berkshires love James Taylor’s appearances at Tanglewood as much as those of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

James Taylor returns to Tanglewood in 2015 with his All-Star Band for a performance on Saturday, July 4, at 7pm in the Koussevitzky Music Shed, followed by a spectacular fireworks display over the Stockbridge Bowl in celebration of the Independence Day holiday.

The July 4 performance will include many of the iconic songs so closely associated with Mr. Taylor, as well as new original material from his forthcoming album — his first in a decade — to be released in 2015. Mr. Taylor, who regularly performs to sold-out audiences at Tanglewood, has returned to the festival 23 times since his first performance there in 1974.

Tickets for the July 4 concert by James Taylor, priced from $26 (lawn tickets) to $103, go on sale January 24 at 10am at 888-266-1200 or www.tanglewood.org, where visitors can also find full details of the 2015 Tanglewood concert schedule, including performances by the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops orchestras, the Tanglewood Music Center and guest artists from the worlds of classical, jazz, the American Songbook, Broadway, pop rock, dance and film. Tanglewood — this country’s preeminent summer music festival and the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra — is located in the Berkshire hills between Stockbridge and Lenox.

Jim Brickman, Pianist Extraordinaire, at Troy Music Hall on Thursday [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014
Jim Brickman, appearing at the Troy Music Hall.

Jim Brickman, appearing at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

By Larry Murray

Christmas is warmer, more special when you celebrate it with a friend. And for many, Jim Brickman is a special person in their lives, having brought his unique music and personality to the stage for more than a decade. For those of us in the Berkshire and Albany area, his appearance at 7:30pm on Thursday (December 11) at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall will be writ large in our holiday calendar.

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Exploring FX in the Berkshires: A New Series @ the Little Cinema [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, December 8th, 2014
We’ve all wondered “How do they do that!” at one time or another.

We’ve all wondered “How do they do that!” at one time or another.

FX creativity thrives in the Berkshires – and the Little Cinema at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield will celebrate some local contributions to the genre with screenings and fascinating talks with those who make cinematic magic. From Middle Earth to the Matrix, FX in the Berkshires will feature films accompanied by talks with area filmmakers who are active in the special and visual effects fields.

The series opens with The Fellowship of the Ring at 6pm on Thursday (December 11), with a commentary by special effects expert John Nugent. The series is presented in partnership with Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative and is curated by Nannina Stearn.

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Madcap Time Again as the PantoLoons Take Ghent Playhouse Stage [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
The Pantoloons take a bow in last year’s panto “SleepFrog” at The Ghent Playhouse. (photo: Daniel Region)

The Pantoloons take a bow in last year’s panto “SleepFrog” at the Ghent Playhouse. (photo: Daniel Region)

Opening Friday (November 28) and running through Sunday, December 14, the Ghent Playhouse will present the PantoLoons’ fifteenth production. This year, the madcap troupe will present “Ali Baba and the Four Tea Thieves,” a new, heretofore untold, version of the Two Thousand and One Nights story of Ali Baba. The number of PantoLoons in the company necessitated this adaptation, thus Four Tea Thieves instead of Forty. Thus tea becomes the prize commodity instead of oil, leaving plenty of room for commentary on today’s mores.

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Jacob’s Pillow Has Record-Breaking 2014; Previews Some 2015 Offerings [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, November 21st, 2014
The serenity of Jacob’s Pillow in winter belies the intense activity now underway as it prepares for its 2015 season.

The serenity of Jacob’s Pillow in winter belies the intense activity now underway
as it prepares for its 2015 season.

By Larry Murray

No sooner has the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival tallied up its record-breaking attendance and ticket sales for 2014 than we find them in the midst of planning another season of exciting activity. For one thing, the year-round international center of dance is breaking ground this month on an expansion project. The building project is significant – it will triple the areas available for storage and public access to its rare and extensive dance archives.

The Pillow also revealed some of its 2015 offerings.

In brief, 2015 will see the Pillow launch its 90th anniversary season with the legendary modern dance ensemble Martha Graham Dance Company. Jessica Lang Dance will offer The Wanderer, created in part during a Creative Development Residency at the Pillow. For families, the New York Theatre Ballet will mount a production of Cinderella for all ages. Finally, tap superstar Michelle Dorrance, her company Dorrance Dance, and composer Toshi Reagon and her band BIGLovely are highlighted in a return engagement of The Blues Project.

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