Posts Tagged ‘Larry Murray’

Shakespeare & Company 2015 Puts the Spotlight on Diversity of Plays, People, Topicality [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
John Douglas Thompson returns at last.

John Douglas Thompson returns at last.

By Larry Murray

Shakespeare & Company in Lenox announced its upcoming season at a celebratory gathering of members of the company, its board and select members of the press. With a dozen productions and special events planned over the summer, a challenging handful of contemporary plays will join proven Shakespeare works on the company’s three stages. As PR spokesman Elizabeth Aspenlieder remarked: “This season includes both the shortest of Shakespeare’s plays, Comedy of Errors, and the longest, Hamlet, plus one that’s in-between.”

Of the new works, the regional premiere of Red Velvet by Lolita Chakrabarti caused considerable buzz, and the world premiere of Jane Anderson’s Mother of the Maid, starring Tina Packer was greeted with applause. In addition, the summer season includes The Unexpected Man by Yasmina Reza, and opens with the provocative new play by Sarah Treem, The How and the Why.

Diversity seems to be one key to the season, with four plays by women playwrights, including Lolita Chakrabarti’s Red Velvet. She has made her mark on stage and screen as both actor and writer and has created this astonishing play, to be seen for the first time in New England. Red Velvet is about Ira Aldridge, an African-American actor at the centre of controversy in 1833 when he takes over from Edmund Kean in Othello at the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden, It premiered in 2012 at the Tricycle Theatre in London, and in the this US debut will stars one of the company’s most renowned members, John Douglas Thompson.

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Berkshire Theatre Group 2015 Plans: “Deathtrap,” “Bells Are Ringing,” McNally’s “Clair de Lune” [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015
Karen Allen will direct Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.

Karen Allen will direct “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.”

The Berkshire Theatre Group has announced its main offerings for 2015’s summer season musical, the 10th annual community theatre production, the Fitzpatrick Main Stage productions in Stockbridge and a medley of other performances to be presented this summer.

BTG plans a second round of programming announcements, including the Unicorn Theatre’s summer season, in the next several weeks.

“Our 87th season offers a mix of unforgettable musicals and classic, influential plays,” says Kate Maguire, Artistic Director/CEO for the Berkshire Theatre Group. “At the Colonial, they will stage the 1956 Comden and Green and Jule Styne sweetheart musical “Bells Are Ringing.” Ethan Heard is directing this romantic show, once again working with Kate Baldwin and Graham Rowat, as he did in last year’s “A Little Night Music.” For our 10th annual community theatre production, the company will present the iconic “Mary Poppins.” As with most of their community productions, some 100 children and adults from the community will participate, some will even soar over the Colonial stage.

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From Brooklyn to MASS MoCA: Legs – Indie Pop with Stax-Worthy Hooks [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, February 13th, 2015
The band Legs, at Mass MoCA February 14, 2015

The band Legs @ MASS MoCA on Saturday, February 14

If extroversion had a musical embodiment, it would be in the sounds and rhythms of Brooklyn’s Legs. Blending modern indie pop with Stax-worthy hooks, they are a mobile cauldron of everything retro and cosmopolitan. Bring a date, or find one here. Legs plays MASS MoCA’s Club B-10 on Saturday (February 14) at 8pm.

Two sets of brothers and one good friend make up the fresh-faced band, a five-man surge of energy that defines its sound as indie dance, soul, and “new disco.” Legs’ highest priority on stage is to ensure that every person in the audience is having a great time, and with a funky sound, kinetic style and unbeatable onstage chemistry, success is always guaranteed. This Valentine’s Day, the band leaves its beloved Brooklyn behind to treat MASS MoCA audiences to an evening of mind-clearing, soul-freeing, heart-warming and dance-inspiring music.

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EMPAC Streams Cally Spooner’s Live Show Around the World on Friday [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

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By Larry Murray

From Ed Sullivan to Jimmy Fallon, the TV variety show is a well-known format to American audiences. The at-home viewer watches a cavalcade of performers entertain an unseen studio audience, while that studio audience is complicit in the show, laughing and applauding according to prompts and direction. On Friday (February 13) at 8pm, for the final evening of her residency at EMPAC at RPI in Troy, artist Cally Spooner will stage a TV variety show in Studio 1, shot before a live studio audience and live-streamed to viewers around the world as part of her in-progress film work And You Were Wonderful, On Stage.

For the past two years, Spooner has developed material for the piece through itinerant engagements at galleries and performing arts venues around the world. Sketching scenes and stand-alone vignettes as the piece traveled, she performed a live musical version of And You Were Wonderful, On Stage with a chorus line of singers at Tate Modern last winter before coming to finish the work in residency at EMPAC.

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NYC Ballet Announces SPAC Programs: 17 Ballets from 7 Different Choreographers [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, February 12th, 2015
Justin Peck is bringing his own interpretation of Aaron Copland’s iconic Americana score Rodeo to SPAC this summer.

Justin Peck is bringing his own interpretation of Aaron Copland’s iconic Americana score “Rodeo” to SPAC this summer.

By Larry Murray

For dance lovers, there is lots to look forward to this summer in Saratoga as the New York City Ballet returns for two weeks of glorious ballet with live music at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Highlights include iconic ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and August Bournonville, as well as contemporary work by Christopher Wheeldon. The Balanchine favorites returning to SPAC during the residency include La Valse, Symphony in Three Movements and The Four Temperaments.

The announcement by the New York City Ballet, one of the world’s great dance companies, detailed the summer’s plans. When it returns to SPAC from July 7–18, it will present a diverse repertory of 17 extraordinary ballets, resuming its two-week summer residency in Saratoga. Featured works include the Saratoga premiere of Peter Martin’s La Sylphide, one of the oldest Romantic ballet productions still in existence; iconic ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Danish choreographer August Bournonville; and contemporary works by Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky and Justin Peck. Additional highlights of the programs include the Saratoga premiere of Peck’s newest work, R­ōdēō: Four Dance Episodes, set to Aaron Copland’s symphonic score; a gala tribute to some of the brightest choreographers of the 21st century; and the return of favorites not seen at SPAC in several years, including Bournonville Divertissements, Martins’ Symphonic Dances, and Balanchine’s La Valse.

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New Leadership, Fresh Approach as Adirondack Theatre Festival Unveils Daring 21st Season [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
Spun is a high-octane musical that weaves together the memories of siblings with comedy, wit, and rock.

“Spun” is a high-octane musical that weaves together the memories of siblings with comedy, wit and rock.

By Larry Murray

There’s a wonderful summer ahead for those who live in the Glens Falls/Lake George area as the Adirondack Theatre Festival’s new producing artistic director Chad Rabinovitz lays out his inaugural season for this fine company. Frankly, it’s a stunningly ambitious and diverse array of shows that he is planning. Berkshire on Stage has plans to preview and/or review several of them. You know how you sometimes get the feeling of something special in the air? Its siren call is clearly at work here.

As the new guy, Rabinovitz emphasized that he will continue the vital and longstanding mission of ATF to champion the presentation of new and contemporary works. Says Rabinovitz: “The company will continue to focus on the development and production of new works, offering experiences that cannot be found anywhere else in the world – only in Glens Falls. With a team of top-level professional artists, ATF’s 21st season will be entirely new plays and musicals.” While our whole region is known for its ground-breaking work in these areas, Glens Falls might be added to Pittsfield and Williamstown as cities where Broadway producers scour the boonies for new shows. The ATF season will run from June 23–August 7 at the Charles R. Wood Theater in Glens Falls.

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21 Events & Fireworks for the Fourth Annual 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

The City of Pittsfield’s Upstreet Cultural District has a sure cure for cabin fever this February: the fourth annual 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival featuring a lively array of music, art, theater, dance, comedy, film, fashion, magic, a bonfire, fireworks and more from February 12-22. Organized by the City of Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development and Barrington Stage Company, the festival features 70 performances highlighting dozens of artists, actors, musicians, playwrights, comedians and performers.

The 10X10 festival kicks off on Thursday (February 12) with the Ten Spot Art Show opening reception at the city-owned Lichtenstein Center for the Arts; a community art project at Shire City Sanctuary; and the first preview night of Barrington Stage’s 10X10 New Play Festival.

“The 10×10 Upstreet Holiday Festival is one of my favorite cultural events of the year because it brings affordable fun to the winter time,” noted Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi. “I encourage everyone to come out and enjoy everything from the winter fireworks display to new theater at Barrington Stage.” Shire City Sanctuary is a new addition this year featuring an evolving community demonstration and installation of a screen printed poster over the course of the 10-day festival. They will also host a Valentine’s Day dinner and dance party following Berkshire Historical Society’s 10x10x10x10 Undergarment Fashion Show featuring ten models wearing ten outfits from ten eras by ten designers, highlighting the winter exhibition at Herman Melville’s Arrowhead.

Other new additions this year include: a free, community wide bonfire and fireworks extravaganza at the newly renovated Common on First Street; WAM Theatre’s return to Pittsfield with a one-night-only staged reading of their critically acclaimed 2013 production of “Emilie”; two family-friendly shows at the Colonial Theatre; 10 Decades of Jazz Piano with master pianist Bill Mays; 10 Shorts, a multi-disciplinary, multicultural work by Berkshire-based performing artists at the Whitney Center for the Arts; and the Berkshire International Film Festival hosting a closing night Academy Awards party at the Beacon.

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ADDITIONAL UPCOMING FESTIVALS FOR 2015:
Bridge Jazz Fest @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall & College of St. Rose’s Massry Center, Troy & Albany, 2/27&28/15
Country Con 2015 @ the Empire State Plaza Convention Center, Albany, 2/28 & 3/1/15
Mountain Jam @ Hunter Mountain, Hunter, 6/4-7/15
A Taste of Country Music Festival @ Hunter Mountain, Hunter, 6/12-14/15
Solid Sound @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, 6/26-28/15
FreshGrass @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, 9/18-20/15

Williamstown Theatre Festival Announces Audra McDonald, Kyra Sedgwick, Will Swenson, 5 Play Premieres & a New Musical [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
Six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald and Tony Award-nominee Will Swenson will co-star in O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten.

Six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald and Tony Award-nominee Will Swenson will co-star in O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten.

By Larry Murray

Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield has announced the Williamstown Theatre Festival’s 2015 Season, the 61st season for the Tony Award-winning theater company and first under Ms. Greenfield’s leadership.

The season, which was announced on Monday from the City Winery stage at WTF’s Annual Gala, runs from June 30–August 23 with a Main Stage line-up that includes: a world premiere production of William Inge’s Off the Main Road (June 30–July 19), directed by Evan Cabnet and featuring Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winner Kyra Sedgwick in her WTF Debut; the world premiere of Paradise Blue (July 22–August 2) by 2012 L. Arnold Weissberger Award-winner Dominique Morisseau directed by Tony Award-winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson; and an invigorating new look at Eugene O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten (August 5–23), featuring six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald and Tony Award-nominee Will Swenson.

The Nikos Stage season kicks off on July 1 and includes the world premiere of Daniel Goldfarb’s Legacy (July 1–12), starring Jessica Hecht and Eric Bogosian; the American premiere of Carey Perloff’s Kinship (July 15–25), directed by Jo Bonney and starring Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award-winner Cynthia Nixon; the world premiere of Unknown Soldier (July 30–August 9) with music & lyrics by Michael Friedman, book & lyrics by Daniel Goldstein and directed by Trip Cullman; and the American premiere of two British plays, including Michaela Coel’s solo play Chewing Gum Dreams and Mike Bartlett’s An Intervention (August 12–23) directed by Lila Neugebauer.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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