Posts Tagged ‘Great Barrington’

Review: A Spookily Enjoyable “DARK An End of the World Play…” in Great Barrington [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, February 27th, 2014
(l to r) Sara Katzoff (Kessie) , Michael Brahce (Emmet), and Emma K. Dweck (Ida) in DARK at Mixed Company Theatre in Great Barrington.

(l to r) Sara Katzoff (Kessie) , Michael Brahce (Emmet), and Emma K. Dweck (Ida) in DARK at Mixed Company Theatre in Great Barrington.

Theater Review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: You never know what you are going to discover at the Mixed Company Theatre space in Great Barrington, MA. Since my first trip there with you five years ago, it continues to be a true incubator for playwrights and smaller, hand-crafted theatre companies. The innovative play, DARK An End of the World Play with Music and an Exercise Bike is from Timothy Ryan Olson (book), Peter Wise (score) and Sara Katzoff (actress), the people at Bazaar Productions who bring us the Berkshire Fringe Festival, operating here as Kickwheel Ensemble Theater.

Gail M. Burns: DARK premiered during the 2012 Berkshire Fringe (Review), which is where I first saw it, but this was your first encounter with the show.

Larry: With so much of the summer divided between the two of us, I didn’t get to see the original, which means it was all fresh and new to me. DARK hung together quite well, constantly surprising us at several points with its bicycle-driven lighting and seemingly spontaneous singing.

Gail: I found it slightly less suspenseful the second time around, because the basic plot remained much the same, but I had fun looking to spot the changes. The same cast reunites here, with director Adam Sugarman the only new member of the team.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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“Dark” Descends on Great Barrington as the End of the World Play Moves into Mixed Company [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, February 20th, 2014
A cataclysm. Survival. Desperation in the dark. With music and an exercise bike. (photo:  Glenn Koetzner)

A cataclysm. Survival. Desperation in the dark. With music and an exercise bike.
(photo: Glenn Koetzner)

Set in the aftermath of a cataclysmic event, “DARK” chronicles one family’s attempt to survive in a small cabin atop a lonely mountain. Stylized physical action, dark comedy and hauntingly beautiful songs unravel a story of desperation, resilience and hope.

Building on the original premiere, this new version of “DARK” is from Kickwheel Ensemble Theatre and is directed by Adam Sugarman. It includes architectural adjustments to the script, a heightened sense of style within the piece and the addition of a revised sound score, performed live by Peter Wise.

Conceived and developed by Kickwheel in 2012, “DARK,” written by Timothy Ryan Olson with original music by Peter Wise, received its world premiere at the 8th annual Berkshire Fringe festival. Inspired by audience feedback and ongoing interest in the project, the company has spent the last several months in the lab work-shopping, re-imagining and streamlining the piece with an eye towards a US and UK tour in 2016.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Baroque and Bach in the Berkshires with the Brandenburgs for New Year’s Eve [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, December 30th, 2013
 The Berkshire Bach Ensemble

The Berkshire Bach Ensemble

By Larry Murray

The Berkshire Bach Society celebrates the twentieth year of its landmark “Bach at New Year’s” series, featuring the celebrated Berkshire Bach Ensemble directed by world-renowned harpsichordist Kenneth Cooper. There will be two performances of the six Brandenburg Concerti… and for something a little different, they will be performed in reverse order.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

The Miraculous Violin: A CEWM Evening with Vadim Gluzman & Angela Yoffe @ the Mahaiwe, Dec. 21 [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

The Miraculous Violin

In technique and sensibility, violinist Vadim Gluzman harkens back to the Golden Age of violinists of the 19th and 20th centuries, while demonstrating the passion and energy of the 21st century. Lauded by both critics and audiences as a performer of depth, virtuosity and technical brilliance, he has appeared throughout the world as a soloist and in a duo setting with his wife, pianist Angela Yoffe. Gluzman’s warm tone, developed out of his miraculous “ex-Leopold Auer” Strad (on which the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto was premiered!) takes its inspiration from the timeless examples of Mischa Elman, Nathan Milstein and David Oistrakh. A legendary violin in the hands of a master, and a dazzling holiday program with music of Mozart, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Castelnuovo-Tedesco will be heard on Saturday, December 21, at 6pm at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington with Angela Yoffe as his chamber music partner.

Gluzman’s extraordinary artistry both sustains the great violin tradition of the 19th and 20th centuries and enlivens it with the dynamism of today. A recent music critic captured the singular quality of his approach to violin playing: “Most remarkable was his ability to sustain Tchaikovsky’s romantic emotionalism without falling into vibrato-drenched clichés,” wrote Chris Waddington of New Orlean’s Times-Picayune. “Gluzman did it by unleashing an astounding palette of colors from his violin: a golden hive-like droning, finger-snap pizzicatos, and a plunging dive-bomber wail that had me thinking of klezmer — and of Jimi Hendrix calling down fire from heaven in ‘Machine Gun.’” He goes on to say, “For folks who prefer the classics, I’d sum up Gluzman this way: He is better than Itzhak Perlman, better than Midori, better than Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and all the other big-name string titans who have soloed with the LPO [Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra] in recent years.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

“Downton Abbey,” The Mount and Gilded Age Holiday Entertaining with Francine Segan [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, December 12th, 2013
Downton Abbey

A Dinner Party at Downton Abbey

The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, in partnership with The Mount, cordially invites you to attend a lecture by food historian Francine Segan titled “Downton Abbey and Gilded Age Holiday Entertaining” on Sunday (December 15) at 3pm, followed by a 4pm screening of “Somewhere in Time.” NOTE: This is a schedule change for Segan’s previously announced lecture on Saturday, December 14 at 6:30pm.

“Downton Abbey and Gilded Age Holiday Entertaining” will be an amusing lecture about the fascinating time period when high society was at its peak. It was a time of calling cards, horse-drawn coaches, high tea, cotillions, lawn parties, formal dinners – a time when even picnics were served on fine china.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

A Busy 2013 Christmas Season as Mahaiwe Celebrates the Holidays [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, November 18th, 2013
The film Polar Express is due to stop in town.

The film Polar Express is due to stop in town.

The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington will host a festive array of events this holiday season, including Darlene Love’s “Love for the Holidays” concert on Friday, November 29 at 8:00pm and jazz guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli and Broadway singer and actress Jessica Molaskey with guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli in a cabaret concert celebrating the Great American Songbook and other classics on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 8:00pm. In honor of Love’s live appearance, the Mahaiwe will screen the hit documentary “20 Feet From Stardom,” in which she plays a starring role, on Saturday, November 23 at 7:00pm. Food historian Francine Segan will give a talk about Gilded Age holiday entertaining on Saturday, December 14 at 6:30pm. In addition, the theater will screen two Met: Live in HD opera broadcasts and several family-friendly classic movies detailed below.

Darlene Love’s “Love for the Holidays” concert will feature songs from the holiday season performed with her full band and backup singers. Every year since 1986 (with the exception of the writers’ strike in 2007), Love has appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman” during the last episode of the calendar year to perform her classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” Rolling Stone proclaimed Love “one of the greatest singers of all time” and The New York Times declared that her “thunderbolt voice is as embedded in the history of rock and roll as Eric Clapton’s guitar or Bob Dylan’s lyrics.” In the 1960s, she sang lead on a string of Phil Spector-produced hits, including “He’s a Rebel,” “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” “(Today I Met) The Boy I’m Gonna Marry,” “Wait Til My Bobby Gets Home,” “Why Do Lovers Break Each Other’s Hearts?” and the seasonal classic “(Christmas) Baby Please Come Home.” In the 1970s and early ’80s, she joined Dionne Warwick, singing back-up for her on records, on tour and on the Warwick-hosted TV show “Solid Gold.” She also starred in Broadway musicals, including “Leader of the Pack” and “Hairspray,” as well as taking on dramatic roles in all three “Lethal Weapon” movies and a stage adaptation of Stephen King’s “Carrie.” In 2007, she released a holiday album, It’s Christmas of Course and in 2010, she released a live retrospective, The Concert of Love. In 2011, Love received the highest honor in rock music: she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She is featured in “Twenty Feet From Stardom,” the hit documentary film about the world of back-up singers, which opened the Berkshire International Film Festival at the Mahaiwe in June, where Love wowed the audience with her live rendition of “Stand by Me.” Tickets are $30 to $80.

Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. In his compelling new film “20 Feet From Stardom,” award-winning director Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the back-up singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others. These gifted artists span a range of styles, genres and eras of popular music, but each has a uniquely fascinating and personal story to share of life spent in the shadows of superstardom. Along with rare archival footage and a peerless soundtrack, the film boasts intimate interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Sting to name just a few. However, these world-famous figures take a backseat to the diverse array of back-up singers whose lives and stories take center stage in the film, including most of all: the incomparable Darlene Love. Tickets are free for Mahaiwe members who have purchased Darlene Love concert tickets or $7 (general admission).

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Playing Footsie with the Devil, Cabaret Musical “La Belle Epoque” Set for Mahaiwe, Aug. 10 [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, August 9th, 2013
La Belle Epoque. Photos by Chris Gauthier.

La Belle Epoque. Photos by Chris Gauthier.

Theatrical impresario and local hero, Heather Fisch wants you to know that her newest live theater show, “La Belle Epoque,” is an invocation, calling to the ghosts of American Vaudeville. It is such a unique concept, we asked her to describe it in her own words.

Preview by Heather Fisch

At the turn of the 20th century, Great Barrington’s historic Mahaiwe Theater was a vaudeville house, like many others across the U.S., and it became a movie palace in the 1930’s after the advent of the motion picture. During the vaudeville days, the Mahaiwe Theater had a sign posted just below the stage that read, “Touch the girls, and the show is over.”

La Belle Epoque is a depression-era cabaret musical about a young gamine who plays footsie with the devil, gambles away her soul and eventually escapes doom by becoming a showgirl. It’s an ancient story wrapped up in a shiny package of slapstick comedy, fast live Gypsy jazz music and sexy lipstick choreography.

I was inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, The Little Mermaid and the mystical tarot, so the show offers viewers an array of symbolic thought lines. People are invited to read them into their own subconscious minds or to simply enjoy the story and the visions floating by.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

May van Oskan’s Rock Opera About “The Ape Woman” Has Great Beauty at the Berkshire Fringe [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, August 9th, 2013
The Ape Woman, photo by Geoffrey Parkhurst.

The Ape Woman, photo by Geoffrey Parkhurst.

Theater review by Gail M. Burns

Julia Pastrana (1834-1860) was born with a condition called hypertrichosis, where dark hair grows all over the face and body. Today we call it Werewolf Syndrome. She also had Gingivia hyperplasia, which gave her a second set of teeth, thick gums, and protruding lips. She stood just four and a half feet tall. Ethnically, she was a Native American from a tribe in the Sinaloa State of Mexico. Her face did not fit any conventional standards of beauty, but she had an hour-glass figure, the much admired Victorian “well-turned ankle,” was a talented dancer and singer, and spoke three languages.

But she was a woman and a “freak of nature,” and it was the 19th century. Her life was not her own and her fate lay in the hands of men. Her birth family was the first to sell her. She was liberally displayed and “examined” by professionals, one of whom declared her to be the spawn of a human and an orangutan, hence the moniker “The Ape Woman.” She eventually married her “manager” – one Theodore Lent – and died less than a week after giving birth to their son, who also had hypertrichosis and only lived a few days.

Pretty grim, huh? But that’s just the start of Julia’s story. Her husband had her body, and that of her infant, taxidermied and continued to display them in a glass case which travelled worldwide. Then he met a German woman with hypertrichosis, married her, and tried to pass her off as his first wife’s long lost sister, displaying her alongside the mummified remains. The second wife, named Marie, was much feistier than Julia and outlived her husband by many decades.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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