“Hi, Are You Single?” @ Bridge Street Theatre This Weekend [Berkshire on Stage]

February 24th, 2017, 1:00 pm by Sara
Ryan Haddad

Ryan Haddad in “Hi, Are You Single?”

Ryan has a higher sex drive than you. He also has cerebral palsy. Following a pair of standing-room-only performances at the Public Theatre’s recent Under the Radar Festival and overflow crowds and standing ovations in two separate engagements at Dixon Place in NYC, Ryan Haddad’s frank and funny Hi, Are You Single? comes to Catskill’s Bridge Street Theatre for two performances only on Saturday & Sunday (February 25 & 26). The show has adult themes and is recommended for audience members 16 and older.

Society generally assumes that people with disabilities possess no sexual drive or desire. Ryan shatters that as he attempts to navigate the gay dating pool, searching for love with equal parts humor and hurt, and finding plenty of discrimination and intolerance of difference within an already marginalized community. He hits the clubs and bars ready for glamour and excitement, but soon realizes that his cerebral palsy makes him an outsider. The men he meets there force him to confront his insecurities and examine his own judgmental behavior. But hey, not everything is so serious! Grab a margarita and say hi to Ryan on Grindr. Give him a kiss if you’d like. There’s no need to be shy and bring an attractive friend.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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THEATER REVIEW: 10×10 New Play Festival @ Barrington Stage [Berkshire on Stage]

February 22nd, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara

Dina Thomas is horrified by the sight of two grown men – Matt Neely and Douglas Rees – playing with plastic dinosaurs in “Sandbox.” (photo: Scott Barrow)

Review by Gail M. Burns

Ten 10-minute plays – five before intermission and five after – helmed by two directors – Julianne Boyd and Matthew Penn – performed by a versatile ensemble of six actors – three male, three female – on a bare stage with only the most basic sets and costumes in the middle of February. This is the 10×10 New Play Festival at Pittsfield’s Barrington Stage Company, now in its sixth season and well established a welcome winter outing for locals and ski-bunnies alike.

This year’s showcase of 10 plays were selected from close to 200 submissions, and I am happy to say that the majority of them are written by women. Gender parity is an ideal, but it is nice to see the women in the lead for a change. All the plays are entertaining. Most lean towards comedy to make their point, but a couple are on the more thoughtful side.

But before we get to the plays themselves, mention must be made of the delightful “Hamilton”-ian rap, written by actor Matt Neely, which opens the show. This has become an annual tradition, and it alone is worth the price of admission. The cast wears a few bits of appropriately revolutionary dress, and Neely concludes the piece by striking Lin-Manuel Miranda’s signature Hamilton pose, which graces that show’s posters in silhouette.

This year the 10 plays can fairly neatly be divided into five pairs that cover the same ideas and issues. So I will review them that way, as contrasting pairs. I have numbered the plays by the order in which they are performed.

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Bridge Street Theatre Announces New Season of Theater & Cabaret [Berkshire on Stage]

February 22nd, 2017, 11:00 am by Sara

The Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill has announced a brilliant selection of plays for 2017 – a musical sensation, a world premiere comedy, a Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, a powerful Best New Play about impossible choices, and a lovely, intimate Lanford Wilson work especially for Veteran’s Day.

A season subscription for all five plays is now available for $100, and you can pick your performance dates and select your seats in advance, or wait until up to 24 hours before the performance you want to attend.

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Shakespeare & Company Announces Its 40th Anniversary Season [Berkshire on Stage]

February 16th, 2017, 2:15 pm by Sara
Illustrations by Kevin Sprague

Illustrations by Kevin Sprague

Shakespeare & Company in Lenox has announced its line-up for the 2017 summer season, which includes three Shakespeare plays: Cymbeline, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; plus two Edith Wharton comedies, Roman Fever and the newly adapted The Fullness of Life. Additional titles include the Obie Award winning 4,000 Miles by Amy Herzog; New York Drama Critics Circle and the Outer Critics Circle Recipient, Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage; and Tony Award Winner, God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza.

“Marking this 40th Season at Shakespeare & Company represents a thrilling opportunity for us to celebrate our company’s legacy, to take stock of where we are, and to look forward to an exciting future,” said Artistic Director Allyn Burrows. “Our robust 2017 programming highlighting the Bard is expanded to include special musical guests and contemporary women writers. We heartily invite people to make our grounds a destination to picnic, and enjoy a true Berkshire theatrical experience, including our new outdoor theatre in the Shakespeare’s Garden.”

The new Garden Theatre, located directly across from the Tina Packer Playhouse, is an intimate outdoor performance space with comfortable seating. This summer the space will be home to The Tempest, performed in-the-round at dusk. The Company will also present a 90-minute production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream outdoors in the Dell at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home. The popular Fourth of July Community Event, featuring the reading of the Declaration of Independence, will also return this summer.

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Explore Wave Field Synthesis @ EMPAC [Berkshire on Stage]

February 15th, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara

In 2016, EMPAC at RPI in Troy completed construction on a 496-speaker “wave field synthesis” audio array, one of the most extensive and precise systems of its kind in the world, and this week on February 16-18, EMPAC music curator Argeo Ascani and audio engineers Todd Vos and Jeff Svatek will present a series of demonstrations introducing audiences to this new immersive sound technology.

Introduction to Wave Field Synthesis will be offered in four sessions between Thursday-Saturday, with attendance limited to just 15 participants at each event. Please reserve your ticket in advance.

Wave field synthesis is a spatial audio rendering technique that places virtual sound sources in real space, creating a precise three-dimensional sound field that may be physically explored by the listener. This is accomplished by placing a very large number of very small speakers very close together. EMPAC’s new system is novel in that it can reach into a much higher frequency range than other such systems — the band of human hearing that is most sensitive to sound placement in space. EMPAC’s system is also unique in that it is modular in construction, allowing composers, musicians and aficionados different geometric configurations for the wave field.

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Adirondack Theatre Festival Announces 23rd Season [Berkshire on Stage]

February 15th, 2017, 1:00 pm by Sara

The Adirondack Theatre Festival has announced its 23rd season – the third for Producing Artistic Director Chad Rabinovitz, who will again bring an entire season of major new works to Glens Falls with a team of top-level professional artists. After a record-breaking season of sold-out performances last year, nearly doubling attendance and subscribership in just the past two years, the 2017 season promises to be even bigger and better with performances running from June 21-August 12 at the Charles R. Wood Theater in Glens Falls.


2017 SUMMER MAINSTAGE SHOWS

NIKOLA TESLA DROPS THE BEAT
By Nikko Benson & Benjamin Halstead
Directed by Marshall Pailet
June 21-July 1
A misunderstood genius. A rivalry for the ages. An idea that would change the world forever. Turning the volume up on one of our time’s most influential (and controversial) innovators, Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat is a theatrical experience unlike anything you’ve ever seen. A show that can only be described as “Hamilton meets Tesla”, this epic battle of Nikola Tesla vs. Thomas Edison is set to the rhythm of a brand-new beat, in a modern and mesmerizing musical that will leave you speechless… and electrified.

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Williamstown Theatre Festival Announces 2017 Summer Season [Berkshire on Stage]

February 13th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara

Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield has announced the Williamstown Theatre Festival 2017 Summer Season, the 63rd season for the Tony Award-winning theater company, which will include four world premieres, a new musical, the first production of a WTF commissioned artist and much more.

The season – running from June 27-August 20 – begins on the Main Stage with a production of a new comedy by Jen Silverman, The Roommate, (June 27–July 16) directed by Mike Donahue and starring Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner S. Epatha Merkerson (WTF debut) and Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee Jane Kaczmarek (fourth season at WTF); continues with Sarah Ruhl’s 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist comedy The Clean House (July 19-July 29), starring Tony Award nominee Jessica Hecht (10th season at WTF) and directed by Rebecca Taichman; and closes with a new musical A Legendary Romance (August 3-20), with music and lyrics by Geoff Morrow and book by Timothy Prager and directed by Lonny Price.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

OPERA REVIEW: “Madama Butterfly” @ Hubbard Hall [Berkshire on Stage]

August 17th, 2016, 1:00 pm by Sara
Bei-Bei Guan

Bei-Bei Guan

Opera review by Gail M. Burns

When Alexina Jones founded Hubbard Hall Opera Theater in 2008, one of her goals was to “engage and build rural audiences for opera through offering affordable, intimate, high-quality musical and theatrical performances.” This she achieved immediately when HHOT’s premiere production of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte started out playing to 85 percent capacity its first few performances, and then it sold out.

This year, which is Jones’ last at Hubbard Hall as she is moving on in her arts management career, 25 people were turned away from the open dress rehearsal of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly that I attended. The Hall only seats 120. A “rural audience” for opera has not only been engaged, they have been enthused. In case you are not sufficiently impressed, Jones is well under age 40.

Jones started out producing truncated, comedic, family-friendly operas – although the singers and musicians have always been professionals – on the theory that full-length grand opera might scare off first-time opera-goers. And now they are packing the house for full-length productions of Rigoletto and Madama Butterfly.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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