Posts Tagged ‘Hubbard Hall’

Hubbard Hall’s “The Drawer Boy” is Down to Earth Storytelling at its Best [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, January 11th, 2013
Miles (l) (Jason Dometsch) and Morgan (r) (Benjie White)

Miles (l) (Jason Dometsch) and Morgan (r) (Benjie White)

Review by Gail Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: Sitting in on the dress rehearsal for Hubbard Hall’s “The Drawer Boy” in Cambridge, New York last night was a real treat. First off, I suppose we should point out that the title refers to a person who draws, and is therefore pronounced draw-er and that the “boy” in question is no longer a boy.

The author uses the title as a metaphor for the healing power of art. But I am getting ahead of myself. It is important to put this wonderful tale in context: it actually has a lot to do with our part of the world.

One of the wonderful things about living where Massachusetts, New York and Vermont intersect is that we have farmers all around us. I have met dozens at the farmers market, and while making purchases at small scale operations like the raw milk provider Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown, the veggie paradise Clear Brook Farm in Shaftsbury, VT, and the Lewis Waite Farm in Greenwich, NY which raises grass fed beef and apple fed pork. I love the connection we all have to the earth in these parts, don’t you? Local food operations are a lot like local theatre operations, they are all small scale, hands-on enterprises.

Gail Burns: I certainly do, but the emergence of CSAs and the resurrengence of local farms is very, very recent. The non-GMO, organic, Know-Your-Farmer locally grown food movement is “hot” now, but it certainly wasn’t in 1972, the year in which this play is set. At that point North Americans were just beginning to understand that not all the food in the supermarket came from a local family farm, and the word “organic” had just entered our vocabulary as consumers.

Larry: The affinity I feel for the farmers who have persevered came bubbling to the surface last night. It seems the two long-time Canadian farmers in Michael Healey’s play have stuck it for more than thirty years, and despite a serious war injury to Angus (Philip Kerr), his wartime comrade Morgan (Benjie White) has stuck by him for all those years, even after their lady friends/wives had departed the scene. At its heart this is a play about simply being human, and all the complex and interwoven threads that flows from this.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.


Guerilla Opera Literally Puts You in the MIddle of the Opera at Hubbard Hall [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
Brian Church, Partick Massey, Aliana de la Guardia, and Glorivy Arroyo in Heart of a Dog at Hubbard Hall, a Guerilla Opera production. (photo: Rudolf Rojahn)

Brian Church, Partick Massey, Aliana de la Guardia, and Glorivy Arroyo in Heart of a Dog at Hubbard Hall, a Guerilla Opera production. (photo: Rudolf Rojahn)

When the centuries old form of opera smashes headlong into contemporary theatre, this exciting hybrid experience is what you get. You aren’t a passive member of the audience, you are in the midst of the action, right there, on the carnival fairgrounds.

Hubbard Hall Opera Theater in Cambridge, New York will host the Boston-based company Guerilla Opera in an acclaimed new production of Heart of a Dog, loosely-based on the novella by Mikhail Bulgakov, music and libretto by Rudolf Rojahn, directed by Copeland Woodruff. Heart of a Dog runs Friday and Saturday, Sept. 28-29 at 8pm, and Sunday, Sept. 30 at 2pm at Hubbard Hall, 25 E. Main Street Cambridge, NY 12816. (40 minutes and sung in English)

Listen to the alluring banter of a belligerent carnival barker as he navigates you through a twisted carnival sideshow where the main attraction is a unique performance by a bizarre troupe of actors. Utilizing an arsenal of bunraku puppets the troupe tells a dark tale of a scientist’s overly successful experiment of implanting human glands into the body of a stray dog. But the grandeur of the scientific achievement is overshadowed by the misery of living with the half-dog/half-woman whose varied appetites and manipulations prove disastrous for all.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Gail Burns Reviews “The Magic Flute” – Hubbard Hall Opera Theatre, Cambridge, NY [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, August 13th, 2012
he Company assembles under the baton of maestro Kelly Crandall for Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, New York, and the whole town turns out to enjoy it. (photo: Pete Carrolan)

he Company assembles under the baton of maestro Kelly Crandall for Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, New York, and the whole town turns out to enjoy it. (photo: Pete Carrolan)

by Gail Burns. For the Berkshire-Capital region’s most comprehensive listing of theatre offerings visit

Have I explained to you how amazing it is to see professional opera in a 1879 wooden opera house in tiny, rural Cambridge, NY.? Have I told you about how beautiful and peaceful the drive there is? How reasonable the ticket prices are? Every August I look forward to the Hubbard Hall Opera Theater (HHOT) production.

This year its The Magic Flute. Magic would be the operative word. I guarantee you, even if you have never seen an opera before or think you don’t like opera, you will love this. And if you are already an opera fan, you will be blown away.

Today opera is usually presented in enormous houses. The audience is often so far from the stage that opera glasses are required to actually see the faces of the singers on stage. At Hubbard Hall the house is small enough to provide a thrillingly close look at all the action, but big enough to handle an audience of about 150, a cast of twenty three, and a twenty piece orchestra. Top ticket price is $30. These figures should tell you two things: 1) There is not a bad seat in the house, and 2) You’d better book tickets NOW because seating is limited and there are only five performances.

The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte), with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder, was first performed in Vienna, Austria in September of 1791. We call it an opera now, but Mozart and Schikaneder called it a Singspiele, which is really just the 18th century German word for musical comedy. It is now the eighth most performed opera in the world.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Amadeus Opens at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, NY – The Burns & Murray Report [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, May 17th, 2012
The opening of Amadeus is very striking, letting us know that this is no ordinary play.

The opening of Amadeus is very striking, letting us know that this is no ordinary play.

Our intrepid reporters saw Amadeus on May 6, 2012 at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, NY. This is the discussion they had about the performance.

Gail Burns: Larry this one is in your ballpark. I know American musical theatre, but you know classical music. Amadeus has been around since 1979, but I had not seen a production or the 1984 film version. I knew it was about the rumored rivalry between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and Antonio Salieri (1750-1825). Salieri was by far the more famous during Mozart’s lifetime and was already the court composer for Austrian Emperor Joseph II (1741-1790) when the two met.

Larry Murray: There is much talk of Amadeus not being an accurate historical play, and the scholars will warn you away from taking it literally. But it does have historical roots in the relationship between the composers. Salieri was a gifted composer, and all you have to do is listen to Cecilia Bartoli recording of many of his arias to see that Salieri was one of the greats. The problem is that when the sun is out, you are blinded by it, and you can’t see the stars. Mozart was the sun that eclipsed Salieri by the sheer force of his brilliance.

Gail: I was impressed with the brilliance of Peter Shaffer’s script. This is a very good play, and sadly we agreed that Jeannine Haas’ direction of this production at Hubbard Hall did not serve it as well as it could have. You never know how the audience and acting spaces will be organized at the Hall from production to production. Haas had the actors on the stage and on a wide swath of floor directly in front with a connecting ramp and staircases. The audience would have been on three sides of the floor space, only at the Sunday matinee we attended there was no one sitting in the side sections so we saw it as a fourth wall production.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

“Amadeus” A Rollicking Ride About Rivalry Between Mozart and Salieri from Hubbard Hall Theatre Company [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
(l to r) Constanze, Salieri, and Mozart (Betsy Holt, John Hadden, Miles Mandwelle)

(l to r) Constanze, Salieri, and Mozart (Betsy Holt, John Hadden, Miles Mandwelle)

The Hubbard Hall Theater Company in Cambridge, New York has plucked a gem to fill their May calendar with its fresh production of Peter Shaffer’s five time Tony Award-winning Amadeus directed by Jeannine Haas. The 1984 film of the same name won best picture. The stage version premiered on Broadway in 1980 with Sir Ian McKellen as Salieri, Tim Curry as Mozart, and Jane Seymour as Constanze. It ran for 1,181 performances.

Amadeus is a fully absorbing story that is pure drama, and wonderfully funny at times, but still a highly fictionalized account of the of the lives of the composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri. First performed in 1979, Amadeus is inspired by a short 1830 play by Alexander Pushkin called Mozart and Salieri. It depicts the maddening rivalry between Antonio Salieri, the most successful composer in Mozart’s 18th century Vienna, and Mozart, the poverty-stricken genius whose work would entirely erase that of Salieri.

The play begins forty years later, long after the death of Mozart, as Salieri seethes with ineffectual jealousy and claims to be the man who murdered “the Creature.” The play is a rollicking ride back and forth in time, full of dazzle, irreverence, a hilariously pompous court and the best music ever made.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

“The Night of the Iguana” – An Unusual Tennessee Williams Classic at Hubbard Hall [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
The Iguana's not talking.

The Iguana's not talking.

It’s been about fifty years since Tennessee Williams (Glass Menagerie, Rose Tattoo, Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Camino Real) adapted his 1948 short story The Night of the Iguana into a stage play in 1961, arguably the last decent one he wrote before the playwright descended into an almost continuous catatonic state of depression and substance abuse. Scheduled to run at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, New York from March 2-25, it is also a classic of timing.

For The Night of the Iguana, it has been fifty years since its Broadway debut. Then, on March 26, it will be Williams’ 100th birthday. It is an auspicious time to honor the playwright and revisit this strange – and wonderful! – play.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Two Classic Albee Short Plays on Tap at Hubbard Hall This Month [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
Two By Albee @ Hubbard Hall

Edward Albee has written many famous plays, among them Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, but for many, two of his shortest are also two of his best.

The Zoo Story gives us a pair of strangers and a park bench. Peter is trying to take a simple break from his conventional routine and Jerry needs someone to witness the final brilliant moments of his life. In The Sandbox, Mommy and Daddy are taking Grandma to the beach. An angel, disguised as a young man, waits there to ease her out of this life. By turns loving and manipulative, playing with wildly different styles, Albee takes us on two unforgettable magic carpet rides. In the cast of Zoo Story are Robert Forgett and Doug Ryan, while the cast of The Sandbox includes Sylvia Bloom, Robert Forgett, Christine Decker and Will Jacob.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

LIVE: Don Pasquale @ Hubbard Hall Opera Theater, Cambridge [GailSez]

Friday, August 12th, 2011

While I can tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed the Hubbard Hall Opera Theater (HHOT)’s production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale and thought that the orchestra and the singers sounded splendid, I do not have the expertise to analyze their artistry in depth. I can merely judge the entertainment value of the piece, which ranked high on my fun-o-meter, in spite of the language barrier.

Earlier this summer I announced the The Who’s Tommy was indeed an opera based on three criteria:
1) Wonderful music
2) Inscrutable plot
3) The need for supertitles to understand the lyrics

Using that litmus test, Don Pasquale is not an opera, because, while it has wonderful music and supertitles (Tommy, which was written and sung in English, did not) it actually has a comprehensible plot, albeit a very silly one, but the songs do spring directly from plot and character, so in that regard Don Pasquale is more 19th century Italian musical theatre than opera.

Click to read the rest of this story at GailSez.

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