“Copenhagen” Opens at Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill [Berkshire on Stage]

July 19th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara

If you’ve never seen Michael Frayne’s Copenhagen, it’s hard to imagine that a play in which three dead people discuss atomic physics could be electrifying and intensely emotional. Yet this riveting drama, full of crackle and vitality, delivers a literary and theatrical punch that stays with you long after the curtain has fallen.

On the surface, Copenhagen turns around a mysterious 1941 meeting between the esteemed Danish physicist Niels Bohr and his former pupil, the German scientist Werner Heisenberg. Old friends who had revolutionized atomic science during the 1920s, they are now on opposite sides of a world war. But the science, it turns out, is merely a vehicle, a metaphor for a wrenching probe into deeply human quandaries and contradictions.

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“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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Jeanne MacDonald Comes to Bridge Street Cabaret [Berkshire on Stage]

June 2nd, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara

With a voice as pure as a Catskill creek, NYC nightlife luminary Jeanne MacDonald mesmerizes audiences and critics alike with her subtle, intelligent way with a lyric and an authentic style all her own. Come to Catskill’s intimate Bridge Street Theatre at 8pm on Saturday (June 3) and find out what all the shouting’s about!

Originally from Freeport, Long Island, MacDonald is a graduate of the Crane School of Music. Her education and performing experience encompass a wide range of performance styles, from jazz to classical to musical theater. She has performed in such renowned venues as the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel, the FireBird Cafe, the Hideaway Room at Helen’s and in the Mabel Mercer Foundation’s Annual Cabaret Convention. McDonald also makes regular NYC appearances on the stage of the beautiful Metropolitan Room in Chelsea.

She was the 2008 MAC Award Winner for Female Vocalist and 2008 NY Nightlife Finalist, both of which she received in 2004 as well. She has earned the BACK STAGE Bistro, the MAC Hanson Award and in 2005 was presented with the Julie Wilson Award for excellence in cabaret on the stage at Jazz at Lincoln Center. MacDonald’s debut CD Company, produced and arranged by her longtime musical director/arranger Rick Jensen, received outstanding critical praise and a MAC Nomination for Recording of the Year. McDonald developed her artistry at the celebrated Bradstan Country Hotel in White Lake, where she recorded her most recent CD, Live at the Bradstan.

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Performathon @ Bridge Street Theatre This Weekend [Berkshire on Stage]

May 26th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara

Do you (or anyone you know) have a talent you want to share with the world? This Memorial Day weekend, Catskill’s Bridge Street Theatre will give you a chance to strut your stuff, whatever it may be, when they present the Performathon fundraiser in their beautiful new Mainstage auditorium.

Want to haul out that old accordion or maybe see your child perform her magic act on the stage of a professional theater? Or perhaps you’ll hear your neighbor play ukulele, sponsor your plumber to come and tap dance, or enjoy your friend from work reciting his Shakespeare sonnet or performing that song from Les Mis. Now’s your chance! The organization’s first-ever Performathon is the culminating event of the theater’s push to raise $35,000 for its Capital Campaign. All proceeds go toward the Campaign, and all donations are tax deductible.

As part of the event, Bridge Street Theatre will also be attempting to break the Guiness World Record for most signatures on a piece of theater memorabilia. They’ll begin collecting signatures on a big golden cupola (which was removed from the theater’s roof during its recent renovation) in early May, and the attempt to reach a goal of 700 signatures will culminate at the Memorial Day weekend event.

On both days of the event, $1 snacks will be available including hot dogs, cupcakes and more. There will also be raffles and a 50/50, all of it in a family-friendly, county fair atmosphere. Bridge Street Theatre invites everybody to perform or just to come and enjoy all the incredible talent in our local community.

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“Coney Island”: A Musical Concert Reading @ Bridge Street Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

May 19th, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara

It’s the summer of 1946, and Frankie’s back from serving in the Pacific with big dreams of takin’ New York City by storm! Hop aboard the F Train for Coney Island, the grand, old-school, Broadway-style musical comedy being presented for one performance only in a concert reading at Catskill’s Bridge Street Theatre at 2pm on Sunday (May 21).

Almost a decade in development, Catskill resident Frank Cuthbert’s swingin’ and affectionate tribute to WWII-era NYC is bursting at the seams with all the charm, grit and promise of Gotham in the postwar years. Amidst the colorful backdrop of the iconic Cyclone roller coaster and Wonder Wheel, the story follows Frankie, a war hero, who has returned to his old neighborhood with dreams of making it as a crooner. Frankie struggles with recurring nightmares of war, his parents’ skepticism about his dreams, and a dangerous rivalry with a mob-connected club owner, who threatens his singing career and is in hot pursuit of his girlfriend Patsy, an aspiring Broadway dancer. Burlesque queens, freaks, hustlers, kooch dancers, entrepreneurs, grifters, small-time (and big-time) hoods – all play a part in the nostalgic tapestry of another time and place that the musical depicts.

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“ChipandGus: A Comedy With Balls” Comes to Bridge Street Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

May 3rd, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara
Christopher Patrick Mullen as Chip and John Ahlin as Gus in “ChipandGus.” Photo William Selby.

Christopher Patrick Mullen as Chip and John Ahlin as Gus in “ChipandGus” (Photo William Selby)

While the electric give-and-take of energy between actors on stage is often referred to as “ping pong,” a new play is taking the idea quite literally. A ping pong table and fast-paced matches are prominently featured in ChipandGus, a 90-minute “comedy with balls” by actor-writers John Ahlin and Christopher Patrick Mullen, getting a three-performance run at Catskill’s Bridge Street Theatre this weekend.

In this Fat Knight Theatre production, two oddball buddies meet in the back room of a rundown sports bar in Schenectady for their weekly game. But what happens between volleys on this particular funny, sad, surprising night will change their relationship forever. Conceived over a ping pong table and written and rehearsed in basements, attics and garages, this fast, furious, smart comedy was the winner of the Overall Excellence Award for Ensemble in the 2016 NYC Fringe Festival, was selected for an extended run in the Fringe Encore Series at Soho Playhouse in NYC, and has been seen in developmental presentations in a variety of spaces, including a black box in New Jersey, a bar in Baltimore, a garage in Pennsylvania, Parkside Lounge in Manhattan, and Proctors in Schenectady.

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THEATER REVIEW: “The Official Adventures of Kieron and Jade” @ Bridge Street Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

April 26th, 2017, 2:00 pm by Sara

Review by Barbara Waldinger

In 2015, according to playwright Kieron Barry, he “at last achieved the long-coveted triple: broken heart, nervous breakdown and midlife crisis.” How would he get through the various stages of grief after the woman he lived with for three years left him? Barry decided to keep a diary, writing down each new thought, which led him to the idea of writing a play about the trauma he suffered, and/or a play about writing a play about his grief.

In the course of the world premiere of The Official Adventures of Kieron and Jade at Catskill’s Bridge Street Theatre, we learn that the play began as a four-hour-and-40-minute oeuvre, which his unwilling director, having been threatened by Kieron with breach of contract if she did not direct it, was able to whittle down to a 90-minute intermission-less comedy.

It had to be a comedy, says Barry, because who would be interested in the misery he suffered unless the play provoked the laughter of recognition from an audience who had gone through similar breakups? “On paper, this is a play about self-harming, mental illness, even suicide. But as long as I can make a joke out of it, it will work.”

Born in Stratford-upon-Avon and currently residing in California, Barry has written several published plays, including Tomorrow in the Battle (performed at Stageworks/Hudson), Numbers (featured in Lucy Kerber’s book “100 Great Plays for Women”) and Stockwell (for which Barry was nominated for a London Evening Standard Theatre Award).

The Official Adventures of Kieron & Jade features two accomplished performers: Jason Guy, a talented, energetic, fast-talking British actor who portrays Kieron, and Bonita Jackson, who creates more than 15 different characters, according to director John Sowle. Jackson’s talent at transforming herself into multiple characters using various accents is a tour-de force, but it is not always easy to tell them apart.

The most puzzling aspect of having only two performers, no matter how enjoyable it is to see good actors at the top of their game, is that we expect and look forward to seeing the other title character – the American singer/songwriter Jade — but it rarely happens. This leaves us to wonder whether we missed her among the other characters, and if not, why the playwright has chosen to sideline her. We do see Jade in videos and photographs projected onto a lopsided screen upstage — are these projections the real people or the actors?

Kudos to John Sowle for his visual imagery and for the amazingly inventive set — a long, triangular piece that spans the width of the stage, with a steep incline on the top (another skewed angle), along which the actors can sit, stand and lie down. Behind the incline are two small boxes that can be pulled up as seats for the actors, as well as a tennis net, and below the incline is a wall facing us with multiple doors that contain props used during the play.

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New Kieron Barry Comedy Has Its World Premiere @ Bridge St. Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

April 17th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara
Jason Guy and Bonita Jackson star in "The Official Adventures of Kieron and Jade"

Jason Guy and Bonita Jackson star in “The Official Adventures of Kieron and Jade”

When playwright Kieron Barry and his longtime girlfriend broke up, he was stunned. It took him a long time to process the ‘why’ and the ‘what did I do wrong.’ To try and sort it out, he wrote.

“Every time I had a new thought,” he says, “it was a clue.” Inevitably, the diary grew to “gargantuan proportions.” After six months, he says, “I thought, you’re doing a lot of writing about this, and, coincidentally, you’re a playwright. Clearly, the idea had been planted.”

The result is “The Official Adventures of Kieron and Jade” a comedy with its world premiere taking place at Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill on Thursday (April 20). Performances run Thursday-Sunday for two consecutive weeks. Evenings at 7:30pm; Sunday matinees at 2pm; Thursday (April 20) and Sunday, April 23 performances are pay-what-you-can.

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