Posts Tagged ‘Lenox’

Shakespeare & Company Announces Six Plays for 2016 [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, January 25th, 2016
Nigel Gore and Ryan Winkles. Photo by Kevin Sprague

Nigel Gore and Ryan Winkles. Photo by Kevin Sprague

Shakespeare returns to Lenox and Shakespeare & Company for the renowned company’s 2016 summer season, in a season which also includes which includes the regional premieres of Or, by Liz Duffy Adams and Lauren Gunderson’s The Taming. Additional titles include Ugly Lies the Bone by Lindsey Ferrentino, a bracing drama fresh from an acclaimed Off-Broadway production, Sotto Voce by Pulitzer Prize-winner Nilo Cruz, and the return of Stephan Wolfert in Cry “Havoc!”

Shakespeare in the Round

From the works of Shakespeare, the company will do The Merchant of Venice, The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Twelfth Night.

The summer season will also introduce a new stage configuration in the Tina Packer Playhouse. Artistic Directors Ariel Bock and Jonathan Croy announced plans to present performances in-the-round, offering a greater intimacy between performers and audience.

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New Concert: James Taylor Returns to Tanglewood [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015
James Taylor and his All-Star Band coming to Tanglewood July 3 and 4

James Taylor & His All-Star Band are coming to Tanglewood July 3 & 4

James Taylor returns to Tanglewood in Lenox with his All-Star Band for performances at 8pm on Sunday & Monday, July 3 & 4, in the Koussevitzky Music Shed. The July 4 concert will be followed by a spectacular fireworks display over the Stockbridge Bowl in celebration of the Independence Day holiday. Both performances will include many of the iconic songs so closely associated with Mr. Taylor, as well as new original material from his recent album Before This World, which was released earlier this year.

Just last week Taylor was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in a ceremony at the White House. The Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor. Taylor, who regularly performs to sold-out audiences at Tanglewood, has returned to the festival 24 times since his first performance there in 1974.

As in past years, Kim and James Taylor will donate proceeds from the July 4 performance to Tanglewood.

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Tanglewood Announces 2016 Season of Classics & Surprises [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, November 20th, 2015

tanglewood2016

There will be a youthful edge to the classical offerings of the Boston Symphony Orchestra when it returns to Tanglewood in Lenox this summer. Lots of Mahler and Beethoven, a healthy portion of opera favorites and a trip back in time with Barry Humphries’ Weimar Cabaret. This most unusual program shows the hand of music director Andris Nelsons, pushing the envelope of traditional offerings, yet not quite out of the box. The Weimar Cabaret features the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Barry Humphries — Australia’s greatest entertainer, best-known to audiences around the world as Dame Edna Everage — who will curate, present and perform the popular music of Berlin’s Weimar Republic (1920s–1930s) including jazz, cabaret, tango and Broadway-musical style pieces (Sunday, August 14).

Overall the 2016 Tanglewood season – June 25-September 3 – is complex and diverse, offering Berkshire visitors a wide-ranging schedule of performances and events with some of the biggest names in the classical music world and beyond. They include Andris Nelsons, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Yefim Bronfman, Christoph von Dohnányi, Charles Dutoit, Renée Fleming, Paul Lewis, Yo-Yo Ma, Kristine Opolais, Dawn Upshaw and Yuja Wang featured with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Boston Pops concerts including one with guest artist Seth MacFarlane, with Keith Lockhart conducting, and the ever popular John Williams’ Film Night.

Ozawa Hall performances by Jordi Savall, the Chick Corea Trio, Chanticleer and the Emerson String Quartet; and favorite radio programs “A Prairie Home Companion” and “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” live from the Koussevitzky Music Shed.

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THEATER Review: Tina Packer Stars in “Mother of the Maid” @ Shakespeare & Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, August 28th, 2015
Anne Troup as Joan Arc and Tina Packer as Isabelle Arc.

Anne Troup as Joan Arc and Tina Packer as Isabelle Arc

Theater review by Gail M. Burns

Ever heard of Isabelle Romée (1377–1458)? She was married to a man named Jacques d’Arc and they had a daughter named Jeanne, known in English as Joan. Joan d’Arc. Joan of Arc. The Maid of Orleans. Saint Joan.

I had always been presented with Joan of Arc (1412-1431) as a peasant girl, but in fact her family was what we today would consider solidly middle class. They owned and farmed several acres. Isabelle spun wool, while Jacques also held a minor position in the village government as a tax collector. Yes, they were illiterate; the majority of people were back then. After Joan went to court, the family was ennobled in 1429 by King Charles VII, the former dauphin who Joan had brought to the throne. After Joan’s death, Isabelle moved to Orleans, where she received a pension from that city.

Turns out the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. While Isabelle’s life was far less spectacular than her daughter’s, she was an intelligent and tenacious woman who devoted the second half of her life to clearing Joan’s name. This required her to learn to read and write so that she could petition a series of Popes and argue her case before church courts, and to travel internationally. Over the course of four years from 1452-1456, the posthumous retrial of Joan’s case involved clergy from all across Europe and concluded with her being cleared of all charges and labeled a martyr instead of a heretic. Incidentally, the crime for which Joan was burned alive was cross-dressing, and she wasn’t canonized until 1920.

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THEATER Review: “The Comedy of Errors” @ Shakespeare & Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015
(l to r) Kelley Curran as Adriana, Aaron Bartz as Dromio of Ephesus, Ian Lassiter as Antipholus of Ephesus, Ben Chase as the Officer, Malcolm Ingram as Egeon, Douglas Seldin as Luce, Christianna Nelson as the Abbess and Cloteal L. Horne as Luciana.

(l to r) Kelley Curran as Adriana, Aaron Bartz as Dromio of Ephesus, Ian Lassiter as Antipholus of Ephesus, Ben Chase as the Officer, Malcolm Ingram as Egeon, Douglas Seldin as Luce, Christianna Nelson as the Abbess and Cloteal L. Horne as Luciana. (photo: Enrico Spada)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns

Yesterday, as I was writing my review of The Unexpected Man, a little voice in my head said, “You should wait until after you see The Comedy of Errors to write this.” But speed is everything in these days of instant electronic communication, and I chose to meet my deadline rather than to wait until I had a broader base of information. Now I regret it.

Rick Dildine was the Executive Director of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox for about six controversial months in 2014-2015, and both this big, bold, energetic production and the tiny fragile staging of Unexpected Man are the result of invitations he issued to directors new to the Berkshires. The two shows share the space in the Tina Packer Playhouse, where Comedy of Errors practically bursts the seams of the former Quonset hut, and The Unexpected Man seems to barely leave a footprint as it tip-toes through. Looking at The Unexpected Man alone, it appeared that Dildine had little sense of what the space was for or about. Assessing the two shows together, a broader and more coherent plan for the season emerges.

And I am actually the only member of the press to see The Unexpected Man first and The Comedy of Errors second. The Shakespeare comedy opened two weeks ahead of the Yasmina Reza one-act, but health issues delayed my opportunity to see the former. Dildine’s choice of the young Taibi Magar, a recently minted MFA from Brown University-Trinty Rep directing program, was genius and right in step with Tina Packer’s tradition of hiring innovative female directors with a genuine love and respect for the Bard. She in turn has cast from both inside and from outside the Shakespeare & Company stable of performers, and while it is painful to long-time fans of the Company to see comic geniuses like Josh Aaron McCabe and Michael F. Toomey relegated to minor roles, the newcomers Magar has hired are excellent and blend well with Company regulars like Cloteal L. Horne and Douglas Seldin.

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John Williams Ailing, Bows Out of Tanglewood [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, August 3rd, 2015
John Williams Conducting The Boston Pops 5/22/07. Photo by Michael Lutch.

John Williams conducting the Boston Pops, 5/22/07. Photo by Michael Lutch.

John Williams regretfully has had to cancel his upcoming appearances at Tanglewood in Lenox for Tanglewood on Parade on Tuesday (August 4) and Film Night on Saturday, August 22, due to a back ailment that requires him to rest and limit travel over the next few weeks. Williams is expected to recover soon and return to his conducting work in the coming weeks.

BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons will lead the Boston Pops in Williams’ “Throne Room and Finale” from “Star Wars” during Tanglewood on Parade on Tuesday (August 4). And Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart will join conductor David Newman to lead John Williams’ Film Night on August 22.

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LIVE: Boston Symphony Orchestra @ Tanglewood, 7/3/15 [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, July 6th, 2015
Jacques Lacombe conducts Gershwin Piano Concerto in F with Kirill Gerstein, soloist. (photo: Hilary Scott)

Jacques Lacombe conducts Gershwin Piano Concerto in F with Kirill Gerstein, soloist.

Review by Larry Murray
Photograph by Hilary Scott

All across the Berkshires, the stages have lit up as music, theater and dance return to the area in profusion. No migration is bigger – or more welcomed – than the annual arrival of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s 100+ players and staff, all of whom make their homes in the Berkshires every summer. The legendary orchestra has a world famous sound that is still unequaled, one that is loud enough to fill Tanglewood’s 5,000-seat shed which serves as its summer concert hall with music, and up to some 15,000 on the lush and legendary lawn that surrounds the concert hall with the aid of loudspeakers. Both the classics and popular music are welcomed at the famous Lenox venue with its lush grounds.

Friday night (July 3) was perfect in every respect for the symphonic opening. The weather was clear and brisk, the grounds serene and green, the festive crowd expectant and in a very good mood.

For its first concert of the 2015 Tanglewood season, the BSO explored the riches of our country’s own musical heritage with a ravishing all-American program of music by John Harbison, George Gershwin, Aaron Copland and Duke Ellington. The dynamic Jacques Lacombe conducted, with the exciting pianist Kirill Gerstein, equally renowned in jazz and classical repertoire, featured in Gershwin’s Concerto in F. John Douglas Thompson electrified the audience as the speaker in Copland’s Lincoln Portrait.

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REVIEW: “The How and The Why” @ Shakespeare & Co [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, June 4th, 2015
Tod Randolph (l) as Zelda and Bridget Saracino (r) as Rachel. (photo: John Dolan)

Tod Randolph (l) as Zelda and Bridget Saracino (r) as Rachel. (photo: John Dolan)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Gail M. Burns: The How and The Why is a play about the biological fact of being female. It is not about sexual preference or gender roles, it is about being biologically, physiologically female. The two characters in the play – women aged 28 and 56 – are evolutionary biologists by trade, and they are also mother and daughter, but only in the biological sense since Zelda (Tod Randolph) gave Rachel (Bridget Saracino) up for adoption immediately after birth.

Larry Murray: I wasn’t sure how I would react to The How and The Why, but the focus on what it means to be female was surprisingly revelatory to me. So many men joke about how they don’t “understand” women, they don’t realize that figuring it all out is a pretty complicated job for women, too. There are far more difficult choices than I realized as any women balances her personal and workaday worlds with the unyielding evolutionary demands of child bearing. It’s something you have done so smoothly, and I have little understanding of. This play covers a lot of information as its scientific theories are discussed alongside some very human emotions. It’s a volatile combination. The relationship on stage could be compared to the Hadron collider because – at times – the mother and daughter came so close to annihilating their relationship with one another. But for all the insights science gives us, isn’t it limited in its contribution to understanding mammals, being more about contemporary women in the 21st Century than aborigines in the forest?

Gail: Playwright Sarah Treem addresses many aspects of the choices available to upper class white women in modern day America, yes. The choices available to women of other classes and races are very different, and actually more dramatic, which is why they are written about more often. Choices to reproduce, to marry, even to have a career that allows for financial independence are unique to this race and class in this culture.

Larry: While the how and why of scientific inquiry is easy to understand – how do things happen and for what reason – the collision between Zelda and Rachel is less easy to fathom. We know how the 29 year old tracked down her birth mother, but it is not at all clear why. Within the first few minutes of the play she seems unprepared to ask the important questions someone would ask a birth mother, Rachel makes an attempt to leave several times before the gentle comments of Zelda bring her back to their meeting.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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