Posts Tagged ‘Larry Murray’

James and Keira Naughton Preparing for Premiere of “Cedars” [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
James Naughton stars in Cedars at the Berkshire Theatre Group.

James Naughton stars in Cedars at the Berkshire Theatre Group.

Berkshire Theatre Group presents James Naughton in the world premiere of Cedars at the Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge. Opening night is Saturday (July 26) at 8pm; preview performances begin on Wednesday (July 23) at 8pm and the production closes Saturday, August 9 at 8pm.

In this world premiere, two-time Tony Award-winner James Naughton takes the stage as Gabe in Eric Tarloff’s one-man comedy, a raw and witty exploration of an estranged father-son relationship. Cedars is directed by Naughton’s daughter, Keira Naughton, who is a long-time BTG artist. She has acted in productions including: Birthday Boy, Macbeth, Faith Healer and The Book Club Play and most recently directed a stage adaptation of Roman Fever by Edith Wharton which featured Kim Taylor and BTG’s Artistic Director, Kate Maguire in 2013.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell Passionate About “Fool for Love” at Williamstown Theatre Fesival [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, July 21st, 2014
Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell play two ex-lovers holed up in a run down desert motel.

Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell play two ex-lovers holed up in a run-down desert motel.

By Larry Murray

Today we got a peek at the pair of lovers at the core of Sam Shepard’s drama, Fool for Love, which begins performances on the Nikos Stage of the Williamstown Theatre Festival on Wednesday (July 23) and continues through August 2. Daniel Aukin directs this Sam Shepard myth of the new Wild West. It stars Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur, Midnight in Paris) and Sam Rockwell (WTF’s A Streetcar Named Desire, Seven Psychopaths). The cast also includes Christopher Abbott (Girls, Martha Marcy May Marlene) and Gordon Joseph Weiss (Awakenings, Reversal of Fortune). The creative team includes Dane Laffrey (Scenic Design; Bad Jews), Anita Yavich (Costume Design; WTF’s As You Like It), Justin Townsend (Lighting Design; Here Lies Love), Ryan Rumery (Sound Design) and David Leong (Fight Director; WTF’s Corners). The Production Stage Manager is Kyle Gates.

Watching Sam Rockwell and Nina Arianda interact during the press junket it was clear that the two performers were meshing together well as the two former lovers in the searing drama. In the Shepard play, the couple, May and Eddie, unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart in the process. Director Aukin sang praises of the two and finds them a good match for this tangled tale. During my brief one-on-one with them, they joked with and teased each other, and the director, and clearly were having fun working with each other.

The good cheer belies the difficult roles they play. For Eddie and May, beaten down by ill-fated love and a ruthless struggle for identity, the question becomes one of whether they can ultimately live with, or without, each other.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

“4,000 Miles” a Satisfying Evening of Theater, Well Done at Oldcastle [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, July 18th, 2014
A worthwhile and winning evening of theatre.

A worthwhile and winning evening of theater

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: Since summer began, it feels like we have traveled some 4,000 miles in search of great theater, so it was nice to come back home to Bennington, Vermont’s Oldcastle Theatre after another busy week on the road. Granted it is not really our home, but it feels like one nevertheless. We can always count on director Eric Peterson to never settle for the adequate, whether it be in the acting, scenery or choice of plays.

Gail M. Burns: This is a most satisfying play theatrically and emotionally. This is a play about healing, which can be an agonizingly slow and uneventful process in real life, but which playwright Amy Herzog crafts into a suspenseful narrative with characters we really come to care about. Peterson has assembled a top-notch cast, and Richard Howe has designed another detailed set which uses the Oldcastle performance space to bring you right into Vera’s Greenwich Village living room.

More and more in this region “summer stock” is less about happy musicals and Neil Simon comedies and more about small, thought-provoking new plays. Herzog’s After the Revolution had its world premiere just down the road at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2010, so this 2011 sequel play has a built-in audience. That play won Herzog the New York Times Best Playwright Award, while 4,000 Miles won the 2012 Obie Award for Best New American Play and was nominated for the Pulitzer.

Larry: I loved After the Revolution, Gail. (Review) I have a soft spot in my heart for plays and films about grandmothers and troubled grandsons, and 4,000 Miles did not disappoint, even as it took us in fresh new directions in the complex relationships between skipped generations. Janis Young as Vera Joseph was the perfect senior, fumbling with her hearing aid, her teeth and her memory, she still gave of her heart and home to long-absent Leo Joseph-Connell (Andrew Krug), who had just completed a 4,000 mile cross-country bicycle ride from Seattle to New York City.

Gail: Leo is actually Vera’s step-grandson. His mother was the youngest child of her late second husband. He has suffered a tragic loss while on his cross-country journey, and the way he handled that crisis, and himself in its aftermath, has angered his family and his New York-based girlfriend, Bec (Hannah Heller). Heller had the difficult job of having to enter both of her scenes in a high state of emotion and stress, the causes of which are only obliquely revealed by the end. Hannah is an important part of the play, but it is not about her.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Mark H. Dold Is Both Hero and Outcast in Play About Alan Turing, “Breaking the Code” [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Mark H. Dold

Mark H. Dold plays Alan Turing, founder of computer science, mathematician, philosopher, codebreaker, strange visionary and a gay man before his time who was horribly persecuted for his sexual orientation despite helping end a terrible war.

As the summer’s theatre season moves forward, Barrington Stage Company plans to take a look back in time to World War II and the days when simply being gay made you a worthless human being, no matter your contributions to society, or helping to win a war against fascism.

It’s just one more tough subject that is taken on by the award-winning theatre in downtown Pittsfield under the leadership of Artistic Director Julianne Boyd and Managing Director Tristan Wilson.

The play is Breaking the Code, Hugh Whitemore’s biographical drama of Alan Turing, starring BSC Associate Artist Mark H. Dold. Directed by Joe Calarco, performances run from today (Thursday, July 17) through Saturday, August 2.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

A Fearless “Romeo and Juliet” Takes to the Road from Hubbard Hall to the People of NY & VT [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
Romeo and Juliet played by actors who are teens themselves.

Romeo and Juliet played by actors who are teens themselves.

Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts is about to set out on its 20th Free Outdoor Shakespeare Tour. The acting company is bringing Shakespeare’s most famous and popular play not only to its own community but to many other cities and towns in New York and Vermont.

Two young kids in love, running towards each other quicker than they can think…
With the world against them and their hearts entwined,
Their families fight,
Adults try to drive them apart,
Until tragedy – and wondering – how could this have happened?

This fun, fast-paced Romeo and Juliet, directed by Hubbard Hall’s new Executive Director David Snider, will bring the world of the play to vibrant life in 10 beautiful settings. With minimal props and costumes, the focus will be on the words, the actions, the actors and the setting. Each site will inform the production, with an emphasis on a fierce, fearless tackling of Shakespeare’s world and words. Actual teenagers will play Romeo and Juliet. With a mix of young talent and seasoned professionals, this company will mix Shakespeare’s world with our own, exploring how age, authority, religion and family continue to shape us – and what can happen when generations collide, or at least fail to communicate.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Talking with Justin Long about “Living On Love” at Williamstown Theatre Festival [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014
Justin Long (l) and Renee Fleming

Justin Long (l) and Renee Fleming

Interview and preview of “Living on Love” by Larry Murray

Sitting down with Justin Long, it cames as no surprise that he is passionate about theater, film and the stage. (He has been seen in WTF’s One Slight Hitch and Seminar). What is a revelation is his incredibly fast mind, combined with an earthiness and passion that reveals what is truly important to him. It’s not fame, parties or celebrity. Turns out he really loves the mountains, the fresh air and the Williamstown Theatre Festival which brings him to our doorstep. Sitting down to talk with Justin during rehearsals for the world premiere Main Stage production, Joe DiPietro’s Living on Love, we learned a lot about Long and were surprised by his honesty and candor.

He’s part of a great cast that is preparing Living With Love which runs from Wednesday (July 16)-July 26. It also includes Anna Chlumsky (In the Loop, “Veep”), Renée Fleming (Le Nozze di Figaro, La Traviata), Blake Hammond (First Date, Sister Act), Scott Robertson (Cabaret, Damn Yankees), and Douglas Sills (The Scarlet Pimpernel, Little Shop of Horrors).

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

“A Great Wilderness” at WTF: A Story About Evangelicals Who Think They Can “Pray the Gay Away” [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, July 14th, 2014
From left: Mia Dillon, Jeffrey DeMunn, Tasha Lawrence and Kevin Geer. (photo: T. Charles Erickson)

From left: Mia Dillon, Jeffrey DeMunn, Tasha Lawrence and Kevin Geer (photo: T. Charles Erickson)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: If the purpose of this play is to evoke a visceral reaction, it has succeeded beyond the playwright’s wildest dreams. I hated it.

In the program notes, playwright Samuel D. Hunter prepares us for A Great Wilderness by revealing that “I wasn’t completely sure I even wanted to write the play.” As a gay man who just saw it I would like to state, gently, that I am not sure I really wanted to see the play, either, Sam.

Still you have to give points to the Williamstown Theatre Festival for having the audacity to undertake it. WTF has a real passion for exploring the human condition, so it fits right in with their dramatic profile, focusing more on the people than the issues as a way of trying to understand them.

Gail M. Burns: I wanted to see it. I find the question of “curing” or “fixing” LGBT people as abhorrent as you, and I don’t understand the mindset that finds it not only a rational idea, but a necessary one. I came away with a better understanding of the fundamentalist Christian worldview.

Larry: To be clear, the play is about the characters, not the issues, and at the center of this gang of evangelical Christians is Walt (Jeffrey DeMunn) whose opening lines were said softly so as not to alarm Daniel (Steven Amenta). The young man, who got caught looking at gay porn on the computer, was unceremoniously shipped off to Walt to get the gay out of him, and was very soft-spoken as well. At intermission, I heard some people commenting they could barely make out their initial conversations, so I was relieved it wasn’t just me.

Director Eric Ting strived for realism in the dialogue, an admirable choice, but did it so well he left much of the audience, many of whom are older ticket buyers, wondering what was actually being said as Walt tried to assure Daniel there would be no shock therapy, just prayer, conversation and the isolation of the woods where there were no signals for the teen’s smartphone.

Gail: Despite my own hearing loss, I am famous for being able to hear and understand every word spoken or sung on a stage – even when I can’t hear my own husband sitting next to me (usually something about washing the dishes) – but even my well-tempered ears strained to hear much of this play. I heard it, but it wasn’t easy! I would suggest that either the actors project or some area mics be employed.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Summer-Long Chesterfest Music Series Begins Tonight at Chesterwood [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, July 11th, 2014
The Pistolwhips, July 18, 2014 at Chesterwood.

The Pistolwhips, July 18, 2014 at Chesterwood

A wide range of contemporary American musicians, from folk, alt-country and rockabilly to garage, punk and psych-folk bands, are scheduled to perform this summer at Chesterfest, a new Americana music series presented by Chesterwood in Stockbridge, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Chesterfest will kick off at 6:30pm tonight (July 11) with singer-songwriter Mikey Sweet (returning to Chesterfest for the second year), followed by the Picky Bastards. Local sponsors of Chesterfest include Tune Street, Toole Insurance and Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club.

The concerts will be held at Chesterwood on Friday evenings, rain or shine, from tonight through August 29. Solo artists perform at 6:30pm, followed by bands at 7:30pm. The grounds open at 6pm; attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets for lawn seating. Tickets are $10 per person; children under 18 are free. A glass of Wandering Star Craft Brewery beer, made in the Berkshires, is included with adult admission. Homemade snacks from Delicious Traditions and refreshments, including beer, will be available for purchase. More info: http://chesterwood.org/chesterfest-the-new-americana-music-festival-2014/

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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