Posts Tagged ‘Larry Murray’

The Lucky 5 Jazz Up the Swing Dance Scene [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016
The Lucky Five

The Lucky Five

The Shire City Sanctuary – formerly the Notre Dame church – in Pittsfield’s Upstreet Cultural District is hosting the ongoing Shire City Rhythm Club with the Lucky 5 on Friday (May 20). A night of swing dancing from 8-11pm, with a free swing dance lesson from 7-8pm.

The Shire City Rhythm Club will offer a one-hour lesson (7-8pm) prior to the dance that will teach beginners and advanced students alike dance steps to incorporate into the evening’s partner-style dance. The lesson is included in the ticket price. All ages are welcome; beer, wine and pizza will be available at a separate cost. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door, and Shire City Sanctuary members will receive a 25% discount.

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It’s “Presto Change-O” as Barrington Stage Begins 2016 Season [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, May 16th, 2016
Presto Change-O stars (clockwise from bottom) Lenny Wolpe, Barbara Walsh, Michael Rupert, Bob Walton, Jenni Barber and Jarrod Spector.

“Presto Change-O” stars (clockwise from bottom) Lenny Wolpe, Barbara Walsh, Michael Rupert, Bob Walton, Jenni Barber and Jarrod Spector.

By Larry Murray

For 2016, things are going to be different at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield. They are ratcheting up their productions.

Usually their season opens with a simple show with one or two characters, followed by bigger and bigger productions as the summer tourist season takes over the Berkshires.

But Julianne Boyd (artistic director) and Tristan Wilson (managing director) have decided to begin instead with the Musical Theatre Lab world premiere new musical, Presto Change-O, which runs from Wednesday (May 18) through Saturday, June 11. The company’s press release describes this intriguing new musical as one that “tells the story of three generations of magicians who find themselves under one roof for the first time in years. When the grandfather causes real magic to happen, they must confront their past mistakes and re-examine what it means to be a family.”

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Comedian Kevin Meaney Brings the Laughs Tonight @ The Garage [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Stand-up comedian and actor Kevin Meaney – who steps into the spotlight at The Garage in Pittsfield tonight (Wednesday, May 11) – had known since he was a teen that he was gay, but like so many in that era, had been afraid he might be shunned or worse if he came out. As reported by Nick A. Zaino III in the Boston Globe, it was in the ’80s, that Meaney felt he might finally be ready, but then the AIDS crisis hit. It wasn’t until he got to Broadway in 2002 that he started to feel safe.

“That turned me around,” he says. “I got a job doing the gayest musical of all time, ‘Hairspray,’ and everybody in the cast and everybody in the crew and everybody in the audience, they were all gay. So it just gave me the courage. People say, ‘Does Broadway make you gay?’ Yes, it does. OK? It does. Even going to see a show, you can become gay. So you’ve got to be careful.”

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Janis Joplin Documentary Broadcast on PBS Tonight [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

janis

At 8pm tonight (Tuesday, May 3) WMHT-TV and other PBS-TV stations will not only offer the exclusive U.S. broadcast premiere of Oscar-nominated filmmaker Amy Berg’s Janis Joplin documentary on PBS, but the film Janis: Little Girl Blue will include never-before-seen extended-cut features and new interviews with Pink, Juliette Lewis, Melissa Etheridge, Laura Joplin and narrator Cat Power.

In the documentary, more details of Joplin’s sexual fluidity is revealed, as well as much of the angst she endured from her high school classmates that lit the fire of her extraordinary performances, while at the same time drove her to experiment with drugs, alcohol and lovers of both genders.

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TONIGHT: Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company Celebrates 25th Anniversary @ The Egg [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, April 29th, 2016
Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company (photo: Gary Gold)

Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company (photo: Gary Gold)

In celebration of its 25th performance season, the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company performs at The Egg’s Hart Theatre at 8pm tonight (Friday, April 29) in a program that will feature the premiere of Tumble, set to the music of Terry Riley, written for four hands on one piano. The evening will begin with a 7:15pm prelude talk given by Artistic Director Ellen Sinopoli.

The remainder of the program will feature a retrospective of ESDC’s most popular works from the last 25 years:

Sandungera – This dance revels in the groove, sensuality and rhythm of Latin jazz and Cuban music.

Rising Low – With blues and country music, this dance tells a poignant tale of loss and loneliness.

Becoming – Based on a Rainer Maria Rilke poem, this dance for a solo female pulsates with longing, questioning and beauty to Zoe B. Zak’s music for voice and accordion that brings a captivating combination of tonalities that are tied to her Jewish-American roots.

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“Aunt Nona” Takes Over the Bridge Street Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, April 28th, 2016
Anna Carol is Aunt Nona.

Anna Carol is Aunt Nona.

Playwright/performer Anna Carol brings her hilarious North Dakotan alter ego to the Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill in An Evening with Aunt Nona, which opens on Friday (April 29) for a three-performance run. Directed by Joshua Chase Gold, Aunt Nona first appeared in 2014 at the University of Central Florida, then toured the Midwest before her New York City debut at the United Solo Festival in September, 2015.

Audiences spend an hour in Nona’s dressing room just prior to her solo performance debut on the Great White Way … in Fargo, North Dakota. Through stand-up, improv, and storytelling, Anna Carol explores the idiosyncrasies of Nona’s eccentric life. Attempting to find her way in the world, she joyfully shares her jaunts through a world of jingle writing, cookies and bars, gay nephews, boyfriends, drag queens, mothers, meat raffles and lady locker rooms. And while she optimistically muddles through every misstep, she’s definitely not without true fears she just can’t seem to conquer. For every misfit, college graduate or millionaire who has desired a life beyond set expectations, Aunt Nona is the family member who will be always be there to commiserate, communicate and cachinnate with.

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Williamstown Theatre Festival Announces Casting for Summer 2016 [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

boswtf2016cast

Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield has announced additional casting for the upcoming Williamstown Theatre Festival 2016 summer season, which runs from June 28-August 21.

ON THE MAIN STAGE:
* Christopher Abbott (“Girls”), Katie Lee Hill (The Wildness), Darren Pettie (“Mad Men”), Will Pullen (Goat), Lindsay Mendez (Wicked) and Constance Shulman (“Orange is the New Black”) join the previously announced Marisa Tomei in The Rose Tattoo (June 28–July 17)
* Justin Long (last season’s An Intervention and Legacy), Connie Ray (Stuart Little, “ER”) and Andrew Weems (Born Yesterday) will be seen in the world premiere comedy Romance Novels For Dummies (July 20–31)
* Saidah Arrika Ekulona (Ruined), Grace Gummer (Arcadia), Roe Hartrampf (Nobody Loves You), Stephen Kunken (“Billions”), Tony Award nominee Deborah Rush (“Orange is the New Black”) and SAG Award winner Kate Walsh (“Grey’s Anatomy”), along with Pettie and Pullen, will all appear in An American Daughter (August 3 – August 21)

ON THE NIKOS STAGE:
* Gregg Mozgala (Downsizing Camus), Rebecca Naomi Jones (American Idiot) and Wendell Pierce (“The Wire,” WTF’s 2008 Broke-ology) can be seen in the world premiere of Cost of Living (June 29–July 10)
* Carson Elrod (Peter and the Starcatcher), Sue Jean Kim (Bachelorette), Brían F. O’Byrne (Doubt) – who replaces the previously announced Michael Stuhlbarg – and Laila Robins (“Homeland”) make up the cast of the world premiere sci-fi comedy thriller The Chinese Room (July 13–23)
* Jerry Dixon (If/Then), Jose Llana (The King and I), Katie Lee Hill, Stephen Wallem (“Nurse Jackie”) and Noah Zachary (Dear Edwina) will appear in the world premiere musical Poster Boy(July 27–August 7)
* Closing out the summer are the previously announced Tony and Emmy Award nominee Alfred Molina and Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee Jane Kaczmarek in the American premiere of And No More Shall We Part (August 10–21).

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Queer & Campy Whodunit: “Nasty Drew & That Harder Boy: The Mystery of the Family Jewels” [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, April 15th, 2016
Nasty Drew and That Harder Boy. Photo by John Goddard via The Broadway

“Nasty Drew and That Harder Boy.” Photo by John Goddard via The Broadway

By Larry Murray

Not to be missed on Sunday (April 17) at Club Helsinki in Hudson is Nasty Drew & That Harder Boy: The Mystery of the Family Jewels which is a “queer and campy whodunit” written and produced by Chris Harder parodying the classic Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries beloved by baby-boomers. This co-production of GayHudson.com and BigGayHudsonValley.com features some of New York City’s hottest names in burlesque, drag and circus performers. The show will also play ar Canvas in Poughkeepsie at 9:30pm tonight (Friday, April 15) and 9:30pm on Saturday (April 16) at the Rosendale Theater in Rosendale with a final Greater Nippertown performance at 7pm on Sunday (April 17) at Club Helsinki in Hudson.

It does seem a shame that a Berkshire venue like Mr. Finn’s Cabaret run by Barrington Stage, or the Garage Club at the Colonial run by the Berkshire Theatre Group couldn’t join this consortium of venues for affordable entertainment directed at the LGBT community.

Sporadically on view at New York City’s Laurie Beechman Theater off and on through Sunday, May 15, this live theatrical parody of teen detective novels of a bygone era co-stars two of burlesque’s hottest performers, Chris Harder and Nasty Canasta, in an evening that blends comedy, mystery, drag and stripping. The cast and crew makes their way to neighboring Hudson, delighting the region’s lovers of unconventional theater, not to mention the LGBT community.

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