Berkshire Playwrights Lab Celebrates a Decade of Original Plays [Berkshire on Stage]

June 9th, 2017, 2:00 pm by Sara
Saint James Place at 352 Main Street (Rts. 7 & 41) in Great Barrington, MA is the new home of the Berkshire Playwrights Lab.

Saint James Place at 352 Main Street (Rts. 7 & 41) in Great Barrington is the new home of the Berkshire Playwrights Lab.

Berkshire Playwrights Lab is celebrating its tenth anniversary and its new home at Saint James Place in Great Barrington with a celebration today (Friday, June 9). BPL kicked off the year with the Radius Playwrights Festival, which featured new short plays created by six local writers within a 50-mile radius of Great Barrington and filled the new performance space to capacity. BPL will continue its Staged Reading Series on Wednesdays June 28, July 12 & July 26, and will cap off the summer with a full three-week production of Some Old Black Man, a play that began its history with BPL as a Staged Reading in 2015.

Today’s anniversary celebration begins with a 7pm party for Underwriter and Patron ticket holders that includes a silent auction, followed by a performance at 8:30pm (house opens for show-only ticket holders at 8pm), and a reconvening of the gathering for Underwriters and Patron ticket holders post-show. The performance will be a revue of some of the best short plays performed at BPL galas through the years, which have always featured professional stage and screen actors, many very well-known. The cost for the party and performance is $250 per Underwriter ticket; $150 per Patron ticket; and show-only tickets for $50 per person.

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Monologuist Mike Daisey Plays “The Trump Card” @ the Mahaiwe [Berkshire on Stage]

October 19th, 2016, 1:00 pm by Sara
Mike Daisey

Mike Daisey

With his latest creation The Trump Card, monologuist Mike Daisey is doing for Donald Trump what Michael Moore once did for General Motors: exposing the politician for the fraud he is. To do this he is using the best weapons currently available: the truth and biting humor. The insanely gifted and controversial comedian has never failed to make audiences sit up and take notice of what he says, and in our interview with him he admits that Trump surrogates have followed his latest show with more than casual interest.

There’s been some catcalling and heckling, and protests outside the theaters in different cities. Nothing I can’t handle — I’ve dealt with Apple fanatics and Scientologists, so I’ve seen the worst. – Mike Daisey

Daisey’s monologues are a brilliant amalgam of heartbreaking autobiography, hilarious gonzo journalism and unscripted performance pieces that cut to the bone. At the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington on Thursday (October 20), Daisey turns his razor-sharp wit to America’s surreal race for President, and there is no question as to which candidate he dislikes.

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Sunday Is the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence [Berkshire on Stage]

September 23rd, 2016, 1:00 pm by Sara

concert

The Concert Across America to End Gun Violence is a nationwide series of memorial events in more than two hundred venues across America on Sunday (September 25), the date designated by Congress in 2007 as a day of remembrance for gun violence victims. Organizers and musicians will sing out in memorial and draw attention to the nation’s epidemic of gun violence, prior to the first Presidential debate, final voter registration days, and the 2016 elections. To date there are more than 20 concerts scheduled to take place in Massachusetts alone.

The Berkshire concert will take place from 2-5pm on Sunday (September 25) at the Society of the Congregational Church in Great Barrington.

All performances are contributed by local Massachusetts musical artists, and in the Berkshires they include such luminaries as Maureen O’Flynn, Bobby Sweet, David Reed, Terry a la Berry, Teresa Mango, David Grover, the Beeline Ramblers and the Matchstick Architects, as well as surprise guest artists. Some of the artists have written songs after mass shootings.

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Berkshire International Film Festival 2016 Kicks Off Today [Berkshire on Stage]

June 2nd, 2016, 1:00 pm by Sara
Kevin Sprague photo from BIFF 2015 – and 2016 is looking great, too!

Kevin Sprague photo from BIFF 2015 – and 2016 is looking great, too!

The 11th annual Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) kicks off its packed weekend line-up of films today (Thursday, June 2), marked by stronger international programming and continuing dedication to the best in documentary film. The BIFF will showcase 26 documentaries, 26 narrative features and 17 short films from 26 countries, including Germany, Afghanistan, Brazil, Australia, Iran, England, India, France, China, Italy, Israel, Austria, Norway, Hungary, Argentina and Iceland. The festival runs from today (June 2) through Sunday (June 5) in Great Barrington and from Friday-Sunday in Pittsfield.

To quote BIFF Founder and Executive Director, Kelley Vickery: “I believe this is one of the best festivals we have ever programmed. I am absolutely thrilled not only with our special events, but also our incredible line-up of foreign films, documentaries, narrative dramas, and shorts. Once again, we have secured the best in independent film which is what our audience has come to expect. It is exciting to have Yo-Yo Ma, Bruce Dern, Karen Allen, Doug Trumbull, Noah Baumbach, Gregory Crewdson, Jake Paltrow and Kent Jones as highlights in our program. It doesn’t get better than that! The BIFF’s programming has combined our community’s sense of wonder, curious spirit, intellectual needs, and desire to engage in and explore the world around us, as well as to learn about stories close to home. With 26 countries represented, the BIFF truly brings the world to the Berkshires!”

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Close Encounters with JS Bach… And PDQ Bach [Berkshire on Stage]

March 16th, 2016, 1:00 pm by Sara
Acronym Baroque String Band

Acronym Baroque String Band

The Berkshires’ premiere chamber music organization, Close Encounters With Music, celebrates Johann Sebastian Bach and his progeny at 6pm on Saturday (March 19) at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington with “J.S. Bach and Sons: Legitimate and Otherwise.” The Bach brood boasts an illustrious cluster of great musicians who act as a bridge into the classical style. Family members represented include Bach’s uncle Heinrich and his sons Johann Christoph Friedrich, Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel.

Also appearing on the program is Johann Sebastian’s “illegitimate” son (the 21st of Johann’s 20 children!), P.D.Q. Bach (aka, Peter Schickele), in a concerto for “Four Handed Viola” that combines musicological scholarship, the conventions of Baroque and the antics of slapstick comedy.

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The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers Arrives March 12-20 [Berkshire on Stage]

March 10th, 2016, 1:00 pm by Sara

bosbfww

The month of March in the Berkshires is known for maple syrup, as the sap starts flowing in our beautiful forests. But there have been other kinds of creative juices rising in these hills every March since 2010. The Berkshires is also known for celebrating Women’s History month with an outpouring of women’s creative voices and visions, thanks to the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, now in its sixth year.

This year, BFWW presents a new conference-style festival, offering 33 events beginning on Saturday (March 12). For nine full days more than 60 nationally renowned and local women writers will present workshops, discussions, readings, performances and talks. Many events are free, although some do require pre-registration and tickets.

Among this year’s featured presenters are the young adult authors Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple, a mother-daughter team, as well as the celebrated food writer and restaurant critic, Ruth Reichl, who will give a brunch talk on Saturday, March 19 at Hotel on North in Pittsfield. Other popular Berkshire writers include Laura Didyk, Lara Tupper, Sonia Pilcer, Alison Larkin and many more.

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Bach Rings in the New Year in Great Barrington, Troy & Northampton [Berkshire on Stage]

December 28th, 2015, 11:00 am by Sara
The gorgeous strings of the  Berkshire Bach Society.

The gorgeous strings of the Berkshire Bach Society

By Larry Murray

This week the new year will dominate our thoughts. Decisions. Whether to celebrate the birth of the new year by getting a little tipsy, or to mark it with a salute to the past is always a choice to be made. The Berkshire Bach Society gives us the chance to do a little of both. With refinement and tradition and absolutely no silly noisemakers anywhere in sight.

This year, the Berkshire Bach Society is celebrating its 25th season by bringing baroque music to the Berkshires, Troy and the Pioneer Valley with Johann Sebastian Bach as the focal point. While its iconic “Bach at New Year’s” series most often includes all six of the Brandenburg Concerti led by the Society’s music director and harpsichordist Kenneth Cooper, this year is one of the occasional departures from that programming.

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Thanksgiving Eve at the Mahaiwe: Arlo Guthrie & “Alice’s Restaurant” [Berkshire on Stage]

November 23rd, 2015, 1:00 pm by Sara

arloguthrie

The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and the Guthrie Center will co-present an on-stage conversation with Arlo Guthrie, moderated by WAMC-FM’s Alan Chartock, at 7pm on Wednesday (November 25), followed by a screening of Arthur Penn’s 1969 film Alice’s Restaurant. The Mahaiwe will also present its annual Thanksgiving weekend screenings of The Wizard of Oz at 4 & 7pm on Saturday (November 28).

“The Mahaiwe team is very happy to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with two special community classic films,” said Mahaiwe Executive Director Beryl Jolly. “We also invite the public to participate in the StoryCorps’ ‘Great Thanksgiving Listen’ by interviewing family elders over the holiday weekend and to help local families and pets in need by bringing contributions to the donation bins in the Mahaiwe lobby.”

The Mahaiwe is partnering with the People’s Pantry and the Berkshire Community Diaper Project to help provide for families in need this holiday season, including accepting pet food donations. From now until the end of the year, donation boxes will be available in the theater lobby between the hours of 12noon-6pm, Wednesday-Saturday. Non-perishable food items, as well as paper/cleaning products and disposable diapers (which are not covered by WIC or food stamps) can be dropped off during these hours.

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