Berkshire Theatre Group welcomes “American Idol” contestant and Berkshire native, Katherine Winston to The Garage in Pittsfield on Saturday (April 18) at 8pm. Tickets to Katherine Winston are $10 in advance and $12 day of performance.
The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy welcomes comedian Paula Poundstone on Saturday (April 18). 25 years ago, Paula Poundstone climbed on a Greyhound bus and traveled across the country — stopping in at open mic nights at comedy clubs as she went. A high school drop-out, she went on to become one of the great humorists of our time. You can hear her through your laughter as a regular panelist on NPR’s popular rascal of a weekly news quiz show, “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me.” She tours regularly, performing stand-up comedy across the country, causing Bob Zany of The Boston Globe to write: “Poundstone can regale an audience for several hours with her distinctive brand of wry, intelligent and witty comedy.” Audience members may put it a little less elegantly: “I peed my pants.”
While there is no doubt that Poundstone is funny, the thing that probably separates her from the pack of comics working today and that has made her a legend among comics and audiences alike is her ability to be spontaneous with a crowd. Poundstone says: “No two shows I do are the same. It’s not that I don’t repeat material. I do. My shows, when they’re good, and I like to think they often are, are like a cocktail party. When you first get there, you talk about how badly you got lost and how hard it was to find parking. Then you tell a story about your kids or what you just saw on the news. You meet some new people and ask them about themselves. Then, someone says, “Tell that story you used to tell,” and then someone on the other side of the room spills a drink, and you mock them. No one ever applauds me when I leave a party, though. I think they high five.”
Tickets to BoDeans are $25 and $45. Contact the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street, Pittsfield by calling 413-997-4444, or online. Ticket Offices are open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm, Saturdays 10am-2pm or on any performance day from 10am until curtain.
WAM Theatre has announced the cast for their staged reading of Silence by Moira Buffini, the first reading in the 2015 Fresh Takes Play Reading Series. The inaugural series last year sold out, and whetted audience appetites for more professional readings of plays that explore the lives and experiences of women and girls.
WAM Theatre will present the reading on Sunday (April 19) at 3pm at No. Six Depot Roastery and Café, 6 Depot Street in West Stockbridge.
The cast of Silence features Gregory Boover (Shakespeare & Company’s Romeo & Juliet), Doria Bramante (Ensemble for the Romantic Century’s Beethoven Love Elegies), Caroline Calkins (Shakespeare & Company’s Private Eyes), Rory Hammond (NYU’S The Scarlet Letter), Miles Harrison (Pittsfield Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Josh Aaron McCabe (Shakespeare & Company’s The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). Acclaimed actor and director Tod Randolph, a Berkshire area favorite, will direct the reading. Jessica Sovronsky will be the stage manager.
The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey is a one man show written and performed by James Lecesne. It has received rave reviews in New York City, so I was delighted to learn that it has been booked into Club Helsinki in Hudson for one night only on Sunday (April 12) at 8pm. Tickets are $40 reserved; $25 for limited bar seating. To secure tickets call 518.828.4800.
A show about the brutal murder of a 14-year-old boy should not, logically speaking, leave you beaming with joy. And yet that’s the paradoxical effect of “The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey,” a superlative solo show at Dixon Place written and performed by James Lecesne, himself a pretty darn dazzling beacon of theatrical talent. When he disappeared, Leonard was wearing a pair of rainbow-colored platform sneakers that he’d made himself by gluing half a dozen flip-flops to the bottom of Converse high-tops.” – Charles Isherwood, New York Times
It was some 40 years ago that a multi-talented Emerson College student James Lecesne and I worked together, he filling the role as stage manager for Boston’s Pocket Mime Theatre at the Church of the Covenant on Newbury Street. We would spend a lot of time talking about life in general and theatre in particular. Who knew then that he would one day create and star in this wonderful and challenging play, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, which ran last month at Dixon Place in Manhattan’s lower east side. I was the fundraiser and publicist for the little mime company with a candy box stage and no dressing rooms, an early force (along with the Boston Repertory Theatre and Cambridge Ensemble) that helped start the explosive growth of theater in Boston in recent decades. Back then, mime was no easy sell, and things have not changed much in the interim. Mime still gets very little respect and is a sure-fire laugh on tv shows like “Saturday Night Live.”
You can say it is a culmination of a lifetime studying Shakespeare and his plays, but it is more than than. It is passion on paper (or your tablet) as well.
Today (Tuesday, April 7), Tina Packer, Shakespeare & Company’s Founding Artistic Director, actor, writer and one of the country’s foremost experts on Shakespeare is launching her new book Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare’s Plays (336 pages, $27.95). The launch will be followed by more than a month of promotional activity. Published by Knopf, Women of Will is a fierce and witty exploration — part master class, part brilliant analysis — of the women in Shakespeare’s plays that illuminates Shakespeare’s changing understanding of the feminine and reveals some of his deepest insights.
Packer has synthesized 40 years of teaching, textual analysis and stage experience into Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare’s Plays, which charts Shakespeare’s evolution and his increasingly empathetic and nuanced portrayal of his female characters. It follows Shakespeare’s development from youth to enlightened maturity and explores the spiritual journey he undertook. Most importantly, Packer grapples not only with the language and the historical context of the plays but with them as they were and are actually performed.
By Larry Murray
Cultural partners Jacob’s Pillow Dance and MASS MoCA present Keigwin + Company, at 8pm Satuday and 3pm on Sunday (April 11 & 12) at MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center. A favorite among dance audiences and critics, Keigwin + Company will bring a mixed program of high art and pure entertainment featuring a variety of diverse contemporary works that embody the company’s signature wit, broad musicality and profound emotional capacity. Annual co-presentations by Jacob’s Pillow and MASS MoCA are made possible by the Irene Hunter Fund for Dance.
Ella Baff of Jacob’s Pillow talks about Larry Keigwin and the partnership with MASS MoCA:
The job of an Artistic Director is to curate performances many other activities, and through that, create an exciting environment for artists and the public. I search far and wide for talent to bring a great variety of dance styles and traditions from all over the world. I travel, read, listen, look, network, attend performances, rehearsals, meet with artists, managers and agents. I cast a wide net and shape a Festival out of it from possibilities. I spend hundreds of hours seeing performances, rehearsals and watching videos.” – Ella Baff
We had a lively email exchange with Ella Baff, and quotes from that correspondence are in the pull-out quotes we have scattered in this preview.
The announcement of the upcoming 2015 season for the Berkshire Theatre Group came in two announcements a month apart, but here is the rundown of the theatrical offerings from the now merged Berkshire Theatre Festival and the Colonial Theatre.
Tickets may be purchased in person at the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street, Pittsfield or by calling (413) 997-4444 or online at www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org. The Ticket Office is open Monday-Friday 10am–5pm, Saturdays 10am–2pm or on any performance day from 10am until curtain. All plays, schedules, casting and prices are subject to change.