Posts Tagged ‘Chatham’

PS21 in Chatham Announces Bold, Diverse 2014 Schedule of Events [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

PS 21 Summer Schedule

By Larry Murray

There is a lot to recommend in Columbia County, but perhaps the most beautiful outdoor venue there is PS21. The Performance Spaces for the 21st Century has announced its diverse 2014 summer array of dance, music, theater and film events, making some bold choices in the process. This is PS21’s ninth season and highlights include classical and jazz music performances, live theatre, a fashion show, Just For Fun (an afternoon program for kids), plenty of foot-tapping film and the first ever Chatham Dance Festival.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham to Stage Eight Musicals in 2014 [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, February 6th, 2014
Musicals in the round at the Mac-Haydn Theatre.

Musicals in the round at the Mac-Haydn Theatre.

“Sondheim Putting it Together”
May 22-25, May 28–June 1
You’re gonna love this show — travel near and far with over 30 songs from “Forum,” “Company,” “Sunday in the Park,” “Follies” and more!

“The Music Man”
June 5-8, 11-15
A slick salesman tries to sell River City, Iowa, “76 Trombones” but instead finds love he’s been able to resist “Till There Was You” — “Marian, The Librarian.”

“Fiddler on the Roof”
June 19-22, 25-29
Warm, loving, humorous story of a family’s closeness and struggles as old world Russia changes around them. “Tradition,” “If I Were a Rich Man.” “Matchmaker”…

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Larry Gelbart’s Play “Better Late” Unusual Offering at Theater Barn [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013
(L to R) Joan Coombs and John Noble in “Better Late” at the Theater Barn.

(L to R) Joan Coombs and John Noble in “Better Late” at the Theater Barn.

Theater review by Gail M. Burns & Larry Murray

Larry Murray: In the world of theatre we don’t get to see many plays like Better Late, which is about older people and their relationships. So three cheers for the Theater Barn taking on this Larry Gelbart play. It’s a sort of a “dramedy,” isn’t it?

Gail M. Burns: It is a remarkably solemn little play for the Theater Barn, which generally offers up light comedy, murder mystery, and bijou musicals.

Larry: What I was amazed at was the opening night audience in what is now the shoulder season for tourism, with the summer folks gone and the leaf peepers still weeks away. At the Theater Barn, it is strictly a local audience, and they turned out for the opening in respectable numbers, and while I saw some grey hair, I was surprised at the amount of blonde, brunette and every shade in between that dotted the audience in front of me. It seems that Gelbart’s story has a universal appeal. I suppose that is because we all have aging members in our family.

Gail: None of us are getting any younger, that’s for sure. But I think most of the audience thought they were attending a very different kind of play from what was presented. The Theater Barn has tackled profound subjects before – their top-notch production of Stones in His Pockets, which filled this fall slot a few seasons back, springs to mind – but they have been more satisfying dramatic journeys.

Click to read the rest at Berkhshire on Stage.

“Young Frankenstein” the Mel Brooks musical at The Theater Barn [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013
The cast poses for a rehearsal photo of Young Frankenstein.

The cast poses for a rehearsal photo of Young Frankenstein.

Theatre Review by Gail M. Burns

Okay gang, buy tickets to see Young Frankenstein at The Theater Barn, fire up the Way Back Machine, set your sense of humor to “Junior High,” and you’ll have a ball. Set it any higher and you may be disappointed (high brow it ain’t!) but there are many worse ways to spend a summer evening than laughing your ass off at the stuff you used to find hilarious back in the day.

After Mel Brooks had a Broadway mega-hit in 2001 with his musical stage adaptation of his film The Producers, it was only natural that people would clamor for an encore. Blazing Saddles had too many horses and Silent Movie didn’t have them leaving the theatre humming, so Brooks and co-author Thomas Meehan (Brooks and Gene Wilder had written the screenplay) settled on Brooks’ iconic 1974 film Young Frankenstein. It opened on Broadway in 2007 and had a respectable 15 month run, but it was not the sensation that The Producers was.

Young Frankenstein is a VERY faithful adaptation of the film, so all your favorite jokes are there. “Put the candle back.” “Walk this way.” “My name is Frau Blücher (horse whinnies)” “Abby normal.” “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” etc. Of course the stage at The Theater Barn is tiny and the 15-person cast is large for this venue. But director Bert Bernardi makes excellent use of every inch of Abe Phelps’ two-story set and scene melts into scene effortlessly and convincingly.

1978′s “They’re Playing Our Song” at the Theatre Barn Showing Its Age [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013
Caitlin Lester-Sams (Sonia) and Ryan Halsaver (Vernon) in They’re Playing Our Song at the Theater Barn.

Caitlin Lester-Sams (Sonia) and Ryan Halsaver (Vernon) in “They’re Playing Our Song” at the Theater Barn.

Theater review by Gail M. Burns

Somehow this little musical, which premiered in 1978, has evaded me all these years, so I was excited to see it turn up on the 2013 Theater Barn schedule. It seemed a natural fit for the Barn, where their August musicals are usually the highlight of their season. I would prefer to think that this production is a sad exception to that rule, rather than a harbinger of an overall slide in quality in their musical productions.

But the first problem lies with the show itself. They’re Playing Our Song is basically a two person chamber musical with a book by Neil Simon, music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager. The show centers on the romance between award-winning songwriter Vernon Gersh and up-and-coming lyricist Sonia Walsk, thinly disguised versions of Hamlisch and Sager, who were concluding a long relationship around the time the show opened. There are also two choruses – three men and three women – who are supposed to be the main characters’ subconscious voices or some such thing, which is hogwash because they are nothing but vocal harmony and eye-candy.

The 1970′s are long gone, and Hamlisch is dead. This does not bode well for a topical show filled with in-jokes. Simon has done his friends no favors by providing a book that is nothing but punchlines. Character is always sacrificed to laughs here, presumably on the assumption that the audience already knew all about Hamlisch and Sager and would be appropriately star-struck by this peek behind the scenes at their oh-so-wacky creative and romantic processes.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

“The Taffetas” at the Theater Barn: Jukebox Musical About Four Singing Sisters [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Berkshire on Stage Theatre Review

Review by Gail M.Burns

The Taffetas, a jukebox musical about a quartet of singing sisters making the television debut in 1956, is often billed as the female version of Forever Plaid, although it predates that off-Broadway phenomenon by two years. But it lacks the heart and the fun of the Plaids, and fails to individuate the characters or give you much of a reason to care about them. Kay, Cheryl, Donna and Peggy are all pretty and sing sweetly. The songs, the majority of which are reduced to medley form, are nostalgic. There was nothing unpleasant about the evening, but nothing memorable either.

Bert Bernardi’s staging of the original 1988 script on Abe Phelps’ bright and uncluttered set is very nice. Nice girls singing nice songs for ninety minutes. Good musical direction by Victoria Casella, who plays the piano and doubles as the girls’ “Cousin Vicky” for a couple of gags. Roger Mason on bass and Ian Tucksmith on percussion round out the on stage trio of musicians. Allen Phelps mentioned the purchase of new hanging microphones, and I did notice an improvement in the sound balance. The girls are not body miked – thank God! – and the standing mikes they use are merely props.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Five Firsts: Fred Boak of the Chandler Travis Philharmonic

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013
Fred Boak

Fred Boak (photo by Cliff
Spencer)

NAME: Fred Boak
BAND AFFILIATION: Chandler Travis
Philharmonic (and Chandler Travis Three-O)

INSTRUMENT: Voice, Vuvuzela and Valet to Chandler

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … The Beatles’ Let It Be – pretty sure I got both the 45 and the LP at the same time. I definitely remember being totally entranced by “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” (the flip of the “Let It Be” 45) and the fact that the single and album versions of “Let it Be” were different – oh, that Leslie guitar solo!

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … I like to say Frank Zappa (at age 15), though I saw both Woody Herman & His Young Thundering Herd and Maynard Ferguson play shows at the local high school, plus a whole bunch of classical shows, and I think even Nick Seeger at some Boy Scout event before that. But on my own, paying with my own money … Frank. Great lineup, too – Terry Bozzio on drums, Adrian Belew on guitar, Patrick O’Hearn on bass, Tommy Mars & Peter Wolf on keyboards, Ed Mann on percussion – the same lineup as in the “Baby Snakes” movie.

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Families, Gardens, Love in Bloom, the Mac-Hayden Returns to Its Roots with “The Fantasticks” [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
Showing their new-found togetherness is struck by Bellomy (Derrick Jaques), Luisa (Stephanie Granade), Matt (Andrew McMath), and Hucklebee (Gabe Bleyeu) in The Fantasticks. Even as they celebrate newfound happiness, El Gallo (Patrick Heffernan) wonders how long they will stay that way.

Showing their new-found togetherness is struck by Bellomy (Derrick Jaques), Luisa (Stephanie Granade), Matt (Andrew McMath), and Hucklebee (Gabe Bleyeu) in The Fantasticks. Even as they celebrate newfound happiness, El Gallo (Patrick Heffernan) wonders how long they will stay that way.

Everyone loves The Fantasticks, the tale of interfering fathers, a swashbuckling rogue, charm and comedy which opens May 23, 2013 and plays until June 2 at the Mac-Hayden Theatre in Chatham, New York. The Fantasticks, the world’s longest running musical, opens the 45th anniversary season at The Mac-Haydn Theatre.

“Since the show was part of our very first summer in 1969, it seemed right to put it into an anniversary season”, Artistic Director/Producer Lynne Haydn said about the perennial favorite show, adding “especially since several of our people have performed in the show Off-Broadway: Tom Flagg as the Mute, Jim Charles as the Mute, the Boy and El Gallo and Christine Long as the Girl.”

Mac-Haydn’s newest presentation of the show stars past season favorites Patrick Heffernan as El Gallo, Andrew McMath as the Boy, Gabe Belyeu and Derrick Jaques as the Fathers, and David Beditz and Monk Schane-Lydon as Henry and Mortimer. Newcomers this season, Stephanie Granade will be the Girl, and the Mutes are Lea Nardi and Scott Caron.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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