“The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds” Comes to Bridge Street Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

July 5th, 2017, 2:00 pm by Sara

Lindsay Cahill and Kalia Lay (Photo: John Sowle)

A mother’s bitterness colors the lives of her two high school-aged daughters in Paul Zindel’s 1971 Pulitzer Prize-winning The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, coming to Catskill’s Bridge Street Theatre for eight performances July 6-16. Called “the most compelling work of its kind since Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie,” this poignant and lyrical drama will be performed by a cast of five brilliant female actors, led by Bridge Street favorite Roxanne Fay (Home Fires Burning, Dream Child, Upon This Rock) in the role of Beatrice Hunsdorfer.

The original Off-Broadway production of the play opened in April of 1970 and ran for 819 performances, winning not just the Pulitzer, but also the New York Drama Critics’ Circle and Obie Awards for Best Play of the Year. A film version was released in 1972, directed by Paul Newman and starring his wife Joanne Woodward, who won the award for Best Actress at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival for her performance. In the following decade, the play was widely produced internationally, regionally and in countless college and high school productions. Then it seemed to vanish…

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HRC Showcase Theatre Presents Reading of “Up from Stardom” [Berkshire on Stage]

April 21st, 2017, 1:00 pm by Sara

You are cordially invited to HRC Showcase Theatre on April 22 for a staged reading of Up from Stardom, by Lawrence DuKore.

Lawrence DuKore has had success as a playwright, screen writer, television writer, novelist, and lyricist. He began his career with the Richard Pryor film, Greased Lightning. His television play, A Mistaken Charity, was produced for PBS/American Playhouse and was nominated for a Writers Guild of America award for best dramatic writing. Mr. DuKore is a member of both the HB (Herbert Berghof/Uta Hagen) Playwrights Foundation and the Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Workshop. His plays have been produced regionally (CentreStage, Greenville, South Carolina; Jewish Ensemble Theatre, West Bloomfield, Michigan, etc.) and off-Broadway. His play, Stained Glass, premiered off-Broadway at the award-winning Metropolitan Playhouse.

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Barrington Stage Company Announces 2017 Season [Berkshire on Stage]

January 26th, 2017, 1:00 pm by Sara
Jeff McCarthy as Kunstler

Jeff McCarthy as Kunstler

Barrington Stage Company, the award-winning theater in downtown Pittsfield, under the leadership of Artistic Director Julianne Boyd and Managing Director Tristan Wilson, has announced its 2017 season.

The 2017 season at BSC will include Kunstler by Jefferson Award winner and Emmy Award nominee Jeffrey Sweet (Flyovers), directed by Meagen Fay (Second City in Chicago), and starring Jeff McCarthy (Broadway’s Chicago, BSC’s Broadway Bounty Hunter); a production of The Birds by Conor McPherson, directed by BSC Artistic Director Julianne Boyd (BSC’s Broadway Bounty Hunter, American Son); a new production of Ragtime, directed by Helen Hayes Award winner Joe Calarco (The Burnt Part Boys, Shakespeare’s R&J), with a book by Terrence McNally, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and music by Stephen Flaherty; and the laugh-out-loud but rarely staged comedy, Taking Steps, by Olivier and Tony Award winner Alan Ayckbourn (The Norman Conquests) in a new production from Tony Award nominated director Sam Buntrock (Broadway’s Sunday in the Park with George).

The 2017 season will continue with This by Obie Award winner Melissa James Gibson (“House of Cards”) and directed by Christopher Innvar (BSC’s The Other Place); Company, with a book by George Furth and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, choreographed by Jeffrey Page (BSC’s Broadway Bounty Hunter) and directed by Julianne Boyd, and Gaslight (Angel Street) by Patrick Hamilton.

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Stephen Petronio Dance Co. to Make the Catskills Home [Berkshire on Stage]

January 12th, 2017, 11:00 am by Sara

The Catskills are returning as a cultural mecca, not so much for the popular Jewish comedians which were their stock in trade for decades, but for the fine arts like theater and dance. In the town of Catskill, Bridge Street Theatre has just completed the construction of its new theater, and now in an act that will provide a creative home for dance, Stephen Petronio Company has purchased Crows Nest, a 175-acre property in Round Top, just outside the town of Cairo in Greene County. The $1.3M property includes two modern buildings, built in 2003, which offer 9,000 square feet of year-round residential and studio space, and an 1800’s caretaker’s cottage.

There will be a wait as all the pieces come together. Crows Nest will house and fully support the recently launched Petronio Residency Initiative, which will open in the summer of 2018. The Initiative will focus on the beginning stages of the artistic process and provide dance companies, invited by a rotating selection panel, with multi-week creative residencies, in addition to room and board and a healthy stipend. With stunning views of four states, Crows Nest will offer artists in residency a bucolic retreat from commercial marketplace pressures.

“After years of searching for the right property, I found heaven at Crows Nest,” says choreographer Stephen Petronio, 60. “When I began this search, it seemed only natural to secure a home where the next generation of work could be made. With Crows Nest, I’m hoping to leave the world an intimate place where dance can be made, where history happens, and where the dance community can feel at home.”

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THEATER REVIEW: “Forever Plaid” @ Theater Barn [Berkshire on Stage]

August 2nd, 2016, 3:00 pm by Sara
Forever Plaid at Theater Barn.

“Forever Plaid” at the Theater Barn

Review by Gail M. Burns

I have lost track of how many productions of Forever Plaid I have now seen, but this time was special because I brought my 20-year-old nephew and he had never seen the show before. I had the pleasure of watching the Plaids work their magic once again, and as we exited the Theater Barn in New Lebanon, my nephew proclaimed that Forever Plaid was now his favorite musical of all time. The last show to earn that approbation was Cabaret, which actually IS one of the great masterpieces of 20th century musical theater. What is it about this little piece of fluff that has made it so hugely popular over the last quarter of a century? It holds the record as one of the longest running shows on the Vegas strip – and this is a show with no scantily clad women (in fact, there are no women at all!) What makes Forever Plaid work?

One word: writing. Stuart Ross didn’t just craft a great line-up of late 1950s/early 1960s guy-group harmony tunes; he created a story and four distinct, lovable characters. Over the course of a mere 90 minutes you genuinely come to care about Frankie, Sparky, Jinx and Smudge, even though you never learn their last names, or even their real first names except for Frankie/Francis. These four guys are the schleppy everymen we all knew or once were. Sort of the upbeat version of Seymour Krelborn, if he’d had pals instead of plants to hang out with.

For those of you who haven’t seen this show (where have you been for the past quarter century?) Forever Plaid is the story of a mid-20th century close harmony “guy group” who are dead. On February 9, 1964, en route to pick up their custom-made plaid tuxedos, they were driving in their cherry-red 1954 Mercury convertible and rehearsing their big finale when they were slammed broadside by a school bus filled with eager Catholic teens on their way to witness the Beatles make their U.S. television debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” The schoolgirls miraculously escaped injury. The members of Forever Plaid were killed instantly. Through the power of Harmony and the Expanding Holes in the Ozone Layer, in conjunction with the positions of the planets and all the other astro-technical stuff, they are allowed to come back to perform the show they never got to do in life.

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A Jazzy “Midsummer Night’s Dream” Set in 1930′s New Orleans [Berkshire on Stage]

July 10th, 2014, 2:00 pm by Sara
(photo by Kevin Sprague)

(photo by Kevin Sprague)

Theatre review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: A Midsummer Night’s Dream is probably Shakespeare’s best known and most performed play next to Romeo and Juliet, and while it has within it the seeds of the tragedy about the star-crossed lovers, it does not end with a double suicide, but with the joy and happiness of a group wedding. But even more uplifting is that fantasy and reality are what we see married in this Shakespeare classic.

Gail M. Burns: And it is a very special show for Shakespeare & Company because it was the first show they ever presented outdoors at The Mount in 1978. Artistic Director Tony Simotes, a founding member of the company, played Puck back then. He has directed this production, which is the Company’s eighth, its second indoors in the Packer Playhouse.

Larry: Simotes decided to set this production in 1930’s New Orleans which means it opened, not surprisingly, with some Dixieland Jazz.

Gail: We both loved the music, composed by the multi-talented Alexander Sovronsky. In addition to acting as composer, music director and sound designer for this production, he also plays an hilarious Francis Flute who in turn is cast as the leading lady in Pyramus and Thisbe.

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