Posts Tagged ‘Larry Murray’

WAM Theatre Receives New Grants; Launches Fall Season [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016
(l to r) David Adkins, Kristen van Ginhoven and Corinna May.

(l to r) David Adkins, Kristen van Ginhoven and Corinna May

The summer has been exciting for the team at WAM Theatre as the seven-year-old Berkshire-based theater company has received three substantial competitive grants, been honored by the National Philanthropy Day Committee, been nominated for a Berkshire Trendsetter Award and a Nonprofit Awareness Day Excellence Award – and WAM’s Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven was recently invited to attend the Women’s Leadership Conference in San Francisco.

“Excellence comes in all shapes and sizes. This is what I was told when I received the call informing me that WAM Theatre was awarded the Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation award from the National Philanthropy Day Committee. What a wonderful acknowledgement of our work!” exclaimed van Ginhoven. “WAM has been the lucky recipient of an incredible number of awards and accolades this year. We feel lucky that our double philanthropic mission has received such esteemed recognition. As a young, fast growing company, we are incredibly grateful for these votes of confidence in our work and look forward to our continued impact into the future.”

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

Friday, September 23rd, 2016


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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THEATER: Spend “An Intimate Evening with Death, Herself” [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
Douglass Truth

Douglass Truth

Douglass Truth, a well-known painter, performer and former Berkshires resident who was the first artist to join Pittsfield’s Storefront Artist Project, returns to the Berkshires this month for an art show and series of performances at the Dreamaway Lodge in Becket.

“An Intimate Evening with Death, Herself” is a 90-minute one-woman show about a middle-aged waitress who meets Death in a bar, and 49 days later, replaces him. Douglass Truth is Dorothy, a meatloaf-phobic waitress. She goes to a bar after a bad day on the cafeteria line and meets Tod, who turns out to be the Grim Reaper. In the course of an understated, unpretentious, poignant and tender, droll and massively ambitious performance, Dorothy helps her audience relate to death without flinching and with abundant amusement.

“An Intimate Evening with Death, Herself” will be performed Sunday (September 25) at 8pm, at the Dreamaway Lodge, in Becket. There will be a tip jar available for donations to support Dorothy’s work.

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Finn Wittrock to Star in Shakespeare & Co.’s “Hamlet” Reading [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
Finn Wittrock

Finn Wittrock

Shakespeare & Company in Lenox will present a staged reading of William Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Hamlet, at 7pm on Saturday, October 8. Featuring Finn Wittrock – of American Horror Story and The Big Short – and other special guests, the reading will be presented in the Tina Packer Playhouse, and will be directed by Kevin G. Coleman, Shakespeare & Company’s Director of Education and a 2016 Tony Award nominee.

A star of stage, film and television, Finn Wittrock grew up with the Company. As a child he appeared in many of the Company’s outdoor Shakespeare productions at The Mount, as well as with Jonathan Epstein in Richard III at the Duffin Theatre in 1999.

Most recently, Wittrock was seen in the Oscar nominated film The Big Short, in which he starred opposite Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and Steve Carell. Wittrock has been a part of the critically-acclaimed series American Horror Story for the last two seasons and he was nominated for an Emmy for his season four portrayal of Dandy Mott. This fall, Finn will be seen with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in the film La La Land for Lionsgate. Upcoming theatrical productions include Othello with Daniel Craig and David Oyelowo directed by Sam Gold and The Glass Menagerie with Sally Field.

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Debra Jo Rupp and Mark H. Dold will share “Love Letters” at Barrington Stage Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, September 19th, 2016


Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield is preparing a September treat, a special production of Love Letters, directed by Julianne Boyd and starring BSC favorites Mark H. Dold (Freud’s Last Session, Breaking the Code) and Debra Jo Rupp (Dr. Ruth, All the Way, Kimberly Akimbo). Performances begin on Thursday (September 22), with opening night set for Saturday. The show is slated to run through Sunday, October 2.

A Pulitzer Prize finalist, written by A.R. Gurney, Love Letters is unusual in that it is not so much acted as simply read, with a very naturalistic – and loving – vibe. The heart-warming show has been performed all over the country and by everyone from local actors to some of our biggest stars. Its appeal is catnip for theater lovers. Gurney’s gem is a touching, funny and ultimately moving story of a 50-year old correspondence between two childhood friends whose relationship weathers time and distance.

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John Davidson Headlines “Saturday Night Liv” This Weekend [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, September 15th, 2016
John Davidson

John Davidson

Lenox resident John Davidson – well known star of stage and TV – brings his singer-songwriter side to “Saturday Night Liv” (hosted by Liv Cummins) at the Spectrum Playhouse in Lee on Founder’s Day weekend, September 16 & 17. “SNLiv” is a long-running, live variety show that combines elements of SNL and the classic variety shows like Carol Burnett and Ed Sullivan. Also performing are magician Carl Seiger, a Tyringham resident; comic Danny Bloom; Berkshire Children’s Theater; and sketch comedy troupe the Really Convincing Players: Sarah Mitchell, Andrew Joffe, Tony Carrano, Lora Lee Ecobelli and Katelyn Pekrul.

Davidson is well known to TV viewers as the host of “That’s Incredible,” “Hollywood Squares” and his own talk shows, as well as many appearances as guest host of “The Tonight Show,” filling in for Johnny Carson. He is a Broadway stalwart and is seen in Las Vegas showrooms regularly. He now writes and performs his own original songs and will do so at the Lee shows.

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Bridge Street Theatre’s New Mainstage Opens with “The Tavern” [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Kane Prestenback as The Vagabond & Louise Pillai as Violet.

Kane Prestenback as The Vagabond & Louise Pillai as Violet.

Catskill’s Bridge Street Theatre, the newest addition to the Hudson Valley theater scene, presents the first full production on its new Mainstage — George M. Cohan’s classic, The Tavern, with performances running from Thursday (September 15) through Sunday, September 25.

On a dark and stormy night, a rural inn shelters an unlikely assortment of oddball characters, including a mysterious vagabond who’s almost certainly not what he appears to be. Kane Prestenback stars as The Vagabond with a cast that features some of the finest local talent in the Hudson Valley region – Gabriel James, Lindsay Cahill, Robert Ragaini, Art Skopinsky Louise Pillai, David Smilow, Elisabeth Henry, Alexandra Doggette, Brett Owen, Keith Mueller and Parker Cross.

When The Tavern originally premiered in 1920, it utterly baffled a majority of the critics. But the play was championed by Robert Benchley, who called it “the biggest night in my theatergoing career, for it marked the birth of something new on the stage, a gorgeous insanity from which it is to be hoped the drama as an institution will never recover.” And by Dorothy Parker, who proclaimed it “an entertainment sent from Heaven, via Mr. Cohan.” The play went on to become one of Cohan’s greatest theatrical successes, one in which he toured the provinces for years once the original production had closed.

Steven Patterson, who helms the current production, previously directed the play to great acclaim to open the 1977 summer season of the Lexington Conservatory Theatre in Lexington. Now, in 2016, Bridge Street Theatre is delighted to share this unique celebration of the joy of theater devised by a titan of 20th century American entertainment with a whole new audience in a gorgeous new performance venue.

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THEATER REVIEW: “Broadway Bounty Hunter” @ Barrington Stage Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
Annie Golden and Alan Green (photo: Scott Barrow)

Annie Golden and Alan Green (photo: Scott Barrow)

Review by Larry Murray

Broadway Bounty Hunter is having its world premiere at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield as part of its Musical Theatre Lab (MTL) where Tony-winner William Finn introduces the most promising new musical writers to Berkshire audiences. The exuberant new musical overflows the stage of the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center and brings the audience into the world of blaxploitation and martial arts movies of the ’70s.

Curiously, its composer, lyricist and co-book writer Joe Iconis never experienced the arrival of the black hero and Hong Kong chop-socky aesthetic directly: he was not born until 1981, long after the form had been bled dry by the Hollywood film industry. Even so, his ability to turn these formulaic movies into a satirical musical is a wonder.

With Julianne Boyd sitting in the director’s chair, Broadway Bounty Hunter matched the awesome energy level achieved by BSC’s earlier mainstage musical Pirates of Penzance directed by John Rando. And in a theater as intimate as the St. Germain, the intensity of the choreography by Jeffrey Page matched the incredible volume of the musical and vocal sounds from its perfectly cast ensemble. Ensconced in the rear fifth of the stage were the six musicians of the band, the largest in memory for a MTL production. The score is rich with R&B and funk and not a little of plain old ‘80s rock ‘n’ roll.

With those elements in place, Iconis added one more: Broadway, in the person of Annie Golden, an aging actress who gets no respect, and who clings on to her fading identity even as a younger generation tries to replace her. She goes through auditions with an old headshot, determination and an old star-shaped off-Broadway award she received decades ago. (Little does she suspect, at the outset, that it will come in handy later in the show as her secret shuriken throwing star.)

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