Posts Tagged ‘Larry Murray’

Jay & the Americans Celebrate the Music Inn and Made in the Berkshires, Oct. 12 [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, September 8th, 2014

A benefit for a benefit for Music Inn Archives

Music Inn Revival and Berkshire Theatre Group present Jay & the Americans at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield on Sunday, October 12 at 7:30pm as a part of Made in the Berkshires 2014 and a benefit for the Music Inn Archives. Over Columbus Day Weekend on October 10-12, the fourth annual Made in the Berkshires Festival features cutting-edge theatrical works performed as staged readings, live music, film, short stories and dance in a festival atmosphere. New and innovative pieces as well as established work will be presented by local Berkshire County playwrights, actors, directors, musicians and performers.

Tickets for Jay & the Americans are on sale now for $35-$65. Ticket buyers who purchase an All-Access MITB Festival Pass for $50 will receive a 15% discount for tickets to Jay & the Americans and admission to all of the events for MITB Festival. Contact the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street, Pittsfield by calling 413-997-4444. Tickets can also be bought online at www.berkshiretheatregroup.org.

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Mac-Haydn Theatre Continues with the “All Night Strut,” Sept. 5-14 [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
Strutting onto The Mac-Haydn Theatre stage in nearby Chatham, NY September 5 through 14. are Phil Sloves, Sarah Talbot, La’Nette Wallace and Don Seldon.

Strutting onto the Mac-Haydn Theatre stage in nearby Chatham, September 5-14 are Phil Sloves, Sarah Talbot, La’Nette Wallace and Don Seldon.

Labor Day doesn’t mean the end of the fun at the Mac-Haydn Theatre. No sir. In fact, this energetic theater invites you to strut back in time to the music of the 1930’s and 1940’s in The All Night Strut, playing a special schedule September 5-14. The All Night Strut is a classy and sassy musical bonanza that has all the special sounds from the depression and lowdown Harlem jive to WWII and stage door canteens to the sophistication of both uptown and downtown night club elegance. You’ll tap your toes and go home humming as jazz, blues, bop and classics bring back the romance, dance and delight of this inimitable musical era.

Starting with the full-throttle welcome of “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and ending with the excitement of “Lullaby of Broadway,” the over two dozen songs in between range from the plaintive depression anthem “Brother Can You Spare A Dime” to happier times of getting “In the Mood” and the syncopations of “Fascinating Rhythm.” There are reflections on the emotions of war with “G.I. Jive,” “White Cliffs of Dover” and “I’ll Be Seeing You.” You’ll also hear “Ain’t Misbehaving,” “Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar,” “A Fine Romance,” “Tuxedo Junction,” “Jukebox Saturday Night,” “As Time Goes By” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing” plus many more as the show goes swinging and strutting along.

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10-Piece Band Serves Up a Hot End-of-Summer Dance Party @ MASS MoCA

Friday, August 29th, 2014
EMEFE Dance Party at Mass MoCA August 30, 2014.

EMEFE Dance Party at MASS MoCA, August 30, 2014

Weather permitting, you will be dancing under the stars as EMEFE (as in M.F.A. – Music Frees All) a ten-piece soul-funk-everything band celebrates Labor Day weekend. These ten wailing musicians are on a mission to prove that there are no bad days, only days that need a new soundtrack. The blazing rhythms and bright sound will bounce off the bricks at MASS MoCA on Saturday (August 30) at 8pm in Courtyard C for an end-of-summer dance party that’s sure to be a barn-burner.

EMEFE lures crowds from the bar to the dance floor by beginning its live shows in the audience. The group is prone to snake conga lines while blaring trumpet squeals and swinging saxophones in one syncopated rhythm. The fun gets started at 8pm, and, yeah, if you want to learn some new moves, there will be some fun dance instruction by Jacob’s Pillow.

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Charles Busch Returns to Club Helsinki, Aug. 31 for “Pretty in Pink” [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, August 29th, 2014

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After two sold out engagements at Club Helsinki in Hudson, Charles Busch, Tony Award nominee for his hit Broadway play, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife and legendary drag star of such films as Die, Mommie, Die! and Psycho Beach Party, returns for a third engagement to Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday (August 31) at 8PM as part of the Helsinki on Broadway cabaret series presented in association with Showstoppers New York.

Back with brand new stories, brand new songs and brand new gowns, the fabulous, flamboyant and forever fascinating Charles Busch is not to be missed in a rare appearance in these parts. His all new show Pretty in Pink features Tom Judson on the piano and promises to be an evening of glamour, music, gossip, comedy and general mayhem! As an author his plays include The Lady in Question, Red Scare at Sunset and the long running Vampire Lesbians of Sodom.

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Tanglewood’s Labor Day Weekend offers Tony Bennett, Josh Groban and Boston Pops, plus Train [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops return for the last time this season for an evening with Josh Groban.

Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops return for the last time this season for an evening with Josh Groban.

Wrapping up a star-studded summer of great music, the Tanglewood Music Festival pulls out all the stops for the final weekend of music with some of the finest artists performing today. Here’s what’s on the calendar:

Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! opens the Labor Day weekend festivities at Tanglewood on Thursday, August 28 with a live presentation of the witty and fast-paced radio quiz program. This 8 p.m. performance, featuring hosts Peter Sagal and Judge and Scorekeeper Bill Kurtis, will be recorded for broadcast to its weekly audience of 3.2 million weekly listeners on more than 600 NPR stations nationwide. Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! is presented Tanglewood at on August 28 in conjunction with NPR and NEPR. Tickets for Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! Range from $24 to $120 and can be purchased at www.tanglewood.org, by calling 888-266-1200 or at the Tanglewood Box Office.

Grammy award-winning rock group Train helps close out the 2014 Tanglewood season this summer with their concert on Friday, August 29, at 7 p.m. in the Koussevitzky Music Shed. Train made its Tanglewood debut with a concert on August 8, 2011 and performed again at Tanglewood in August 2012. The multi-platinum band made its mark on music history with the Grammy Award-winning song “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” and chart-topping singles like “Meet Virginia” and “Calling All Angels.”

Sounding Good, But Strange: Roomful of Teeth @ MASS MoCA on Friday [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Roomful of Teeth

Upon receiving a 2014 Grammy Award for “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance,” Roomful of Teeth director Brad Wells said, “We wouldn’t have this album without our work at MASS MoCA.”

You can hear them in the open air courtyard space at MASS MoCA in North Adams on Friday (August 29) at 8pm. Listen for Hindustani and Persian singing styles, Ritornello with music and film by vocalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw, and compositions by MASS MoCA and FreshGrass favorite, Sam Amidon.

On the heels of the success of its self-titled debut, Roomful of Teeth has been in residency at MASS MoCA since August 18 to explore different vocal techniques and create new groundbreaking work with a roster of guest composers. The group collaborates with American roots singer-songwriter and Vermont native Amidon, a virtuoso in the indie music world. Amidon reinvents traditional songs and contemporary hip-hop covers on guitar, banjo and fiddle and delivers them with eerily deadpan vocals that both charm and unsettle. According to Pitchfork, Amidon’s performances “meld the rural and the urban, the organic and the synthetic, the oral tradition and the written score.”

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REVIEW: “The Addams Family” Haunts the Theater Barn with Music, Mischief [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
Tony Pallone, Steph Bacon and Kimberly Suskind.

Tony Pallone, Steph Bacon and Kimberly Suskind

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: The moment you hear the “Addams Family Theme Song,” you know you are in for fun evening at the Theater Barn in New Lebanon. The main reason is that the director Bert Bernardi is back in town and up to no good, taking this critically drubbed musical and giving it a fresh new life in its regional premiere. The Addams Family musical is being performed for the first time in the Berkshires.

Gail M. Burns: I had read some of those dismal reviews the New York production received, and I have to say that I am disappointed if this book and score are what passes for a successful Broadwy musical these days. But as I watched the show I realized that The Addams Family is not about great music and dramatic literature, but instead it’s about nostalgia and the love Americans, especially Baby Boomers like me, have for these characters. A while back someone did a poll asking who TV’s most happily married couple were, and Gomez and Morticia Addams beat Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, Ward and June Cleaver, even George Burns and Gracie Allen! We love these fictional folks and rush for any chance to see them again.

Larry Murray: People in this area look forward to the annual return of Bernardi to the Theater Barn since he has developed a reputation for finding hidden gems and making them into breathtaking productions while staying inside a pauper’s Broadway show budget. Last summer we all enjoyed his hit Young Frankenstein, and he has followed that spooky but hardly scary musical with yet another. The cast sang, danced and cracked jokes with the best of them, and while much of the material is silly, vaudevillian and sometimes a bit coarse, it was clear the audience was enjoying every morsel these performers dished out. It is among the best work I have ever seen from Bernardi and Theater Barn.

There’s another connection too…The Addams Family composer and lyricist Andrew Lippa is a Theater Barn alum, having toiled in New Lebanon during the summers of 1990 and 1991.

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REVIEW: “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” @ Shakespeare & Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, August 25th, 2014
(from left): Angel Moore, Mat Leonard and Ellizabeth Aspenlieder. (photo: Kevin Sprague)

(from left): Angel Moore, Mat Leonard and Ellizabeth Aspenlieder. (photo: Kevin Sprague)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Gail M. Burns: I am deeply saddened, in the most appropriately Russian manner, to realize that Christopher Durang writes Chekhovian drama almost better than Anton Chekhov. Allow me a moment of deep reflection on the meaning of this revelation and its impact on my understanding of the cosmos and my pointless existence as an infinitesimal speck of useless matter within its vastness.

(Pause…)

Larry Murray: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike – currently on view at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox through September 14 – could have easily been a parody of Chekhov’s classic plays but instead it is a valentine, a love letter of a play by Durang. The result is a comedy with deep life lessons, as its characters relearn what it means to be a family.

Gail: While you don’t have to know Chekhov’s plays to thoroughly enjoy this one, the more you know about dramatic literature, the more fun you’ll have. And while Chekhov is definitely an acquired taste, this will tickle the fancies of Chekhov lovers and haters in equal measure because Durang understands both what is wonderful and what is thoroughly annoying about the works of the Master.

Here Durang uses character names from Chekhov’s plays – Vanya and Sonia from Uncle Vanya, Masha from Three Sisters and The Seagull, Nina from The Seagull – and throws in endless allusions to his works throughout. Here Vanya (Jim Frangione), Sonia (Tod Randolph) and Masha (Elizabeth Aspenlieder) are siblings – after a fashion, Sonia is adopted – whose professorial parents named them after Chekhov’s characters. Masha, a five-times-divorced B-list film actress, owns the family home in Buck’s County, Pennsylvania, (just down the road from the home Dorothy Parker owned in the mid-20th century), where Vanya and Sonia, both unmarried, continue to live after caring for their parents through the ends of their lives. Nina (Olivia Saccomanno) just happens to be the name of a young woman visiting next door, and Spike (Mat Leonard) is Masha’s studly young lover. Like Madame Arkadina in The Seagull, Masha is an actress sliding precipitously over the hill, who is simultaneously jealous of and inspired by Nina’s luminous youthful beauty and incipient passion for acting.

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