Posts Tagged ‘Berkshire On Stage’

Natalie Merchant Returns to the Mahaiwe with New Album “Leave Your Sleep” [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
Natalie Merchant returns July 5 at the Mahaiwe

Natalie Merchant returns July 5 at the Mahaiwe

Natalie Merchant is a new Mahaiwe audience favorite, having sold out her performance here with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic last year,” said Mahaiwe Executive Director Beryl Jolly. “We are delighted to welcome her back to Great Barrington to celebrate the release of her new album.”

Natalie Merchant returns to the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center the with her band on Saturday (July 5) at 8pm.

Over her 30-year career, Merchant has earned a distinguished place among America’s most respected recording artists with a reputation for being a prolific songwriter with a compelling artistic vision and a unique and captivating performance style. With her latest and highly acclaimed Nonesuch recording, Leave Your Sleep, which debuted on the Billboard Top 200 at No. 17, she embarks on a new artistic path, creating songs from literary inspiration which are composed for expanded musical ensembles and orchestra.

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Theater Barn Kicks Off Season with “You Should Be So Lucky” by Charles Busch [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, June 30th, 2014
(l to r) Daniel Dunlow, Stephen Powell and Jamie Bock in You Should Be So Lucky at The Theater Barn through July 6th.

(l to r) Daniel Dunlow, Stephen Powell and Jamie Bock in You Should Be So Lucky
at The Theater Barn through July 6.

Theater Review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Gail M. Burns: Joan and Abe Phelps at Theater Barn have never been shy about booking outrageous and quirky comedies to open their season, and they have a knack for finding some really talented young comic actors as well. This year is no exception.

Larry Murray: You Should Be So Lucky is a great vehicle for young players, and Charles Busch is one of a handful of playwrights who are able to straddle the theatrical line between offbeat comedy and outright farce while always throwing in lots of unexpected twists and turns. Busch could be described as a writer whose work has characters who are more nervous and insecure than angst-ridden. They are exactly the kind of accessible roles young actors love to hone in on as they perfect their craft. And they aren’t too taxing on audiences either. His works aren’t performed nearly often enough in the Berkshire region. They offer such opportunities for playfulness.

Gail: An example of that playfulness came as director Phil Rice inserted Joan’s name into the list of VIPs the leading character meets at a swanky soiree, because for many young performers over the past 31 years meeting Joan Phelps has been an important moment in their early careers.

Larry: I’ve seen lots of promising actors at the Theater Barn, some of whom now have Equity cards. This year they certainly are kicking off the season with a corker of a play, one that is both a sort of madcap situation comedy but has characters that are both sweet and silly. There’s a generous dose of Jewish comedy, too, mashed up with gay humor, overwrought actresses and even a little supernatural possession. Something for everyone wrapped in a delightfully fast-paced show.

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Richard Chamberlain to Introduce New Musical “Sometimes Love” at BTG Benefit [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Richard Chamberlain

Special Benefit Event Featuring a Reading of Sometimes Love
composed and written by Martin Rabbett
written by Jocelyn Fujii
featuring Richard Chamberlain
at the Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield
Friday, July 18 at 2pm
Tickets: $40 (ticket includes catered boxed supper and talk back with cast)

Berkshire Theatre Group presents a special benefit event featuring a reading of Martin Rabbett’s new musical Sometimes Love at the Colonial Theatre on Friday, July 18 at 2pm with participating artist, Richard Chamberlain.

In Sometimes Love, seven contemporary New Yorkers, most of them longtime friends, discover that life brings empowerment in surprising ways. They face the full spectrum of challenges: unemployment, infidelity, narcissistic lovers and alcoholic parents. But when the shame is confronted head-on and the smoke finally clears, their broken lives arrive at a fragile order, a simple and elegant truth. Love comes and goes, they discover, and the only way to make it stay is to adapt to its many mutations.

“I wrote the music for ‘Sometimes Love’ over a three-year period, during which I was going through a painful personal experience,” Martin Rabbett director, composer and writer said. “Through it all, I discovered that it was not just the writing of the music that helped me heal, but the friends who lived through that time with me. It was, for me, a redefining of family—the realization that in the end, we really can create our own family. That experience empowered me and ultimately saved my life.”

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“Working on a Special Day” Is Simply Beautiful at Barrington Stage Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, June 26th, 2014
Working on a Special Day

(photo by Kevin Sprague)

Theatre Review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: Take away the claustrophobic sets and piles of clutter that mark the film that Working on a Special Day is based on, and lurking in its core is a remarkable story well suited for the stage. I’m trying to think of a word that sums up the essence of this very unusual 74 minute play that has both charm and substance.

Gail M. Burns: It is achingly simple, both in style and story. It gets at the very root of human need – for companionship, affection and physical intimacy.

Larry: Exactly, and The Play Company and Por Piedad Teatro have wrought a perfect distillation of the overwrought 1977 Italian film Una giornata particolare that was directed by Ettore Scola and starred Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. It captures the essence of two human beings whose lives are suffocating, although in completely different ways. From the first moments, with the house lights still on, it begins in a deceptively simple and creative way.

Gail: The actor/director/translators – Antonio Vega and Ana Graham – started the show in their street clothes, sharing the welcoming speech with BSC Artistic Director Julianne Boyd, and then chatting with the audience as they changed into their costumes and prepared the stage. This is a rare time when Barrington Stage Co. has “imported” a production on to their stage, in this case literally. Por Piedad Teatro is based in Mexico City and has as its mission: “…to promote the dialogue between two cultures – Mexican and American – so close to one another and yet so different, through cutting edge contemporary theater.” Previously the company’s only American performances have been in New York City, so it is exciting to have this production join the international offerings of the Berkshire Fringe in downtown Pittsfield this summer.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Tina Packer Returns with “Julius Caesar” @ Shakespeare & Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar brims with modern politics

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar brims with modern politics

Idealism, ambition, conspiracy, honor, greed, betrayal and the lust for power — echoes of our own modern politics — are all on tap in Shakespeare’s potent and bloody Julius Caesar. Last performed at Shakespeare & Company. in 1993, Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer delivers audiences her ‘bare-Bard’ production of Caesar, marking its final leg of a three city tour – Orlando, Florida; Prague in the Czech Republic; and now at home in Lenox, with Shakespeare & Company. With seven actors playing multiple roles, this poetry-filled psychological and political thriller follows the conspiracy and assassination of the omnipotent Roman leader, and the consequences that ensue from his brutal murder. Performances run in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre from Friday (June 27) through August 30.

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A Thought-Provoking “Red” Stars Tim Daly at Dorset Theatre Festival [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
“Red” at the Dorset Theatre Festival starring Tim Daly and Charles Socarides (photo: Taylor Crichton)

“Red” at the Dorset Theatre Festival starring Tim Daly and Charles Socarides
(photo: Taylor Crichton)

Theatre review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Gail M. Burns: As the lights come up on “Red” at the Dorset Theatre Festival, Mark Rothko (Tim Daly) is staring intently through the fourth wall looking, not at the audience, but rather at some imaginary painting he has just finished, and asks: “What do you see?”

Larry Murray: For me, those words signify the beginning of a wonderful excursion into the mind of the artist, as imagined by playwright John Logan. As we took our seats, that incredibly detailed set by John McDermott and the classical music playing in the background told me a lot about Rothko and his life as an artist.

Gail: It is a marvelous set, very realistic. I love creative spaces, they tell a lot about the artist, which is exactly what McDermott and director Adrienne Campbell-Holt intend. There are existing photos of Rothko in his studio at about this time – the play is set in 1958-1959 when Rothko was at the verge of waning as an artist – which show a less cluttered space with more natural light than either this set or Logan’s script describe, but they also show how enormous Rothko’s canvases are. Everything had to be scaled down to fit on the Dorset stage.

Larry: In many ways this was an expedition into the mind of an artist, a trip stimulated by Logan’s visit to the Tate in London during a film shoot where the Rothko Seagram paintings were. Created for the Four Seasons Restaurant, the writer was smitten by them and they in turn prompted him to write the play. “I thought about the way the colors in the paintings vibrate back and forth,” he said, deciding “it would be a great two-hander because it sorta represents and mirrors his work. Once I came up with the idea of Rothko and his assistant, everything fell in place.” And, as theatre, it works as the device to get us to learn about his art. Tim Daly as Rothko and Charles Socarides as Ken are able to answer that question, not once, but again and again.

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“The Mystery of Irma Vep: A Penny Dreadful” at the Fitzpatrick Stage of BTG [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

The Mystery of Irma Vep @ Berkshire Theatre Gruop

Charles Ludlam’s classic romp of a gothic spoof is titled The Mystery of Irma Vep, A Penny Dreadful and opens the Berkshire Theatre Group’s season at the Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge. MA. Opening night is Saturday (June 28) at 8pm. Preview performances begin on Tuesday (June 24) at 8pm, and the production closes July 19 at 8pm.

Broadway actor Bill Bowers and Tony Award-nominated Tom Hewitt take on eight characters in this wonderfully different and diverting evening of theatre. Named one of the best plays of the 20th Century by The New York Times and Time Magazine and also chosen as a New York Times’ summer stages 2014 pick, Aaron Mark directs Charles Ludlam’s campy comedy which tells the pell-mell tale of Lady Enid (Hewitt) and Lord Edgar (Bowers), who arrive one stormy night at a haunted and dreary estate to investigate the sudden disappearance of Irma Vep. Side-splitting antics and mysteries unfold as the two journey from the London manor to the ancient pyramids in Egypt with vampires, werewolves, mummies and more in tow in this satire of Victorian melodrama, gothic horror and classic films.

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WTF: Lauren Ambrose and Chris Pine Are Out; Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell Now in “Fool for Love” [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, June 20th, 2014
Fool for Love now stars Sam Rockwell (l) and Nina Arianda (r).

“Fool for Love” now stars Sam Rockwell (l) and Nina Arianda (r).

Citing scheduling conflicts for the originally scheduled actors Chris Pine and Lauren Ambrose, the Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF) has announced that Tony Award-winner Nina Arianda and stage and screen star Sam Rockwell will join the cast of Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love, playing the Nikos Stage from July 24–August 2, 2014. The two originally cast in-demand actors have departed the production due to scheduling conflicts.

“While we were greatly looking forward to welcoming Chris Pine back to Williamstown, Sam Rockwell and I have long included Fool for Love at the top of our wish list for a production on the Nikos Stage, and we are thrilled that Sam is available to return to Williamstown. He has a long history of recreating extraordinary roles by great American writers here. We are further blessed by the red-hot Nina Arianda, a formidable actor and great foil as May to Sam’s Eddie.” – Jenny Gersten, Artistic Director Emeritus

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