“Doubt” Opens at Schenectady Civic Players on Friday [Berkshire on Stage]

March 16th, 2017, 2:00 pm by Sara
Meigg Jupin as Sister James and Ben Katagiri as Father Flynn in “DOUBT, A Parable” at Schenectady Civic Players.

Meigg Jupin as Sister James and Ben Katagiri as Father Flynn in “DOUBT, A Parable” at Schenectady Civic Players

Award winning Doubt, A Parable, by John Patrick Shanley and directed by Tom Templeton, opens Friday (March 17) and runs through Sunday, March 26 at Schenectady Civic Players, 12 South Church Street in Schenectady’s historic Stockade district.

In this brilliant and powerful drama, Sister Aloysius, a Bronx school principal, takes matters into her own hands when she suspects the young Father Flynn of improper relations with one of the male students.

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“Souvenir” Kicks Off Bridge Street Theatre’s Season [Berkshire on Stage]

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

On October 25, 1944, wealthy (and tone-deaf) soprano Florence Foster Jenkins and her accompanist Cosme McMoon performed a recital at Carnegie Hall. Tickets sold out weeks in advance; an estimated 2,000 people were turned away at the door. The world of music has never quite recovered. Come share the hilarious and touching tale of this unlikely pair in the musical Souvenir at Catskill’s Bridge Street Theatre. The show kicks off on Thursday (March 16) with a pay-what-you-will performance and continues through Sunday, March 26.

Opera impresario Ira Siff, who dubbed her “the anti-Callas”, has said, “Jenkins was exquisitely bad, so bad that it added up to quite a good evening of theater … There was no end to the horribleness … They say Cole Porter had to bang his cane into his foot in order not to laugh out loud when she sang. She was that bad.” The historian Stephen Pile ranked her as “the world’s worst opera singer.” “No one, before or since,” he wrote, “has succeeded in liberating themselves quite so completely from the shackles of musical notation.”

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“Mothers & Sons” Opens at the Ghent Playhouse on Friday [Berkshire on Stage]

March 14th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara
Wendy Power Spielmann and Ely Loskowitz in Terrence McNally’s “Mothers and Sons” at the Ghent Playhouse. Photo: Cindy Smith.

Wendy Power Spielmann and Ely Loskowitz in Terrence McNally’s “Mothers and Sons” at the Ghent Playhouse (photo: Cindy Smith)

The Ghent Playhouse presents the regional premier of Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons – a timely and touching contemporary play about change, reconciliation and becoming a family.

Mothers and Sons opens on Friday (March 17) and runs through Sunday, April 2 with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm.

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THEATER REVIEW: “The Book Club Play” @ Hubbard Hall [Berkshire on Stage]

March 6th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara
The relationships between Ana (Megan Demarest), her husband Rob (Wade Simpson) and their old college friend Will (Oliver Wadsworth) form the heart of “The Book Club Play.”

The relationships between Ana (Megan Demarest), her husband Rob (Wade Simpson) and their old college friend Will (Oliver Wadsworth) form the heart of “The Book Club Play.”

Review by Gail M. Burns

I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of my winter down-time reading. Books – tangible, virtual and audio – provide satisfying and very inexpensive entertainment. Sharing them with friends is an added joy and having an excuse to gather together for food and friendship makes belonging to book clubs a popular pastime.

Of course, such gathering are not just about books, they also reflect the character and social milieu of the participants. Confined as they often are to a single setting with a relatively small cast of characters, it is not surprising that a playwright took her own personal Book Club experience and translated it to the stage.

The Book Club Play had its world premiere in 2008 at the Berkshire Theatre Group. Since then it has gone on to become playwright Karen Zacarías’ most produced work. Through Zacarías’ working relationship and friendship with Hubbard Hall’s Artistic Director David Snider, it has found its way to the Freight Depot Theatre at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge as a delightful winter time treat.

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“Watering the Flowers” Film Series Continues @ EMPAC at RPI [Berkshire on Stage]

March 1st, 2017, 2:00 pm by Sara

Tonight (Wednesday, March 1) EMPAC at RPI in Troy kicks off the second half of the Watering the Flowers film series, which will feature the work of EMPAC artists-in-residence throughout the Spring 2017 season.

Started in Fall 2016, Watering the Flowers takes its title from cinema pioneer Georges Méliès’ 1896 film of the same name, which was itself a copy of a Lumiere brothers film and was in turn endlessly copied and referenced by fellow filmmakers. In a similar way, this film series aims to “water the flowers” by allowing current artists-in-residence to screen the films that influence them.

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Home Made Theater Announces 33rd Season [Berkshire on Stage]

February 28th, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara

Home Made Theater, Saratoga Springs’ resident theater company, is happy to announce their upcoming 2017-2018 season. HMT is located in SPAC’s Spa Little Theater in Saratoga Spa State Park.

In October, Home Made Theater will open their 33rd season with the musical Peter and the Starcatcher, written by Rick Elice, music by Wayne Barker, based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, directed by Bob Berenis. December’s “Theater for Families” production will be Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, directed by Dianne O’Neill Filer. In February, HMT will present Daniel Sullivan’s Inspecting Carol, directed by Jonathan Hefter. And closing the season in April/May will be the favorite Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, with lyrics by Tim Rice, and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, directed by Dawn Oesch.

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“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.

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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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