Posts Tagged ‘Lenox’

THEATER REVIEW: “The Merchant of Venice” @ Shakespeare & Company [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016
John Hadden, Jonathan Epstein and Jason Asprey

John Hadden, Jonathan Epstein and Jason Asprey

Review by Gail M. Burns

The Merchant of Venice is fairly early play in the Shakespearean canon, and it is not a particularly good one, being a mash-up of two or three folk tales well known to Elizabethan audiences, that don’t hang together particularly well. Add to that that attitudes towards Jews are very different in 21st century America than they were in 16th century Britain, and you have a real “problem play.” When Shakespeare & Company last staged this work in 1998, then as now with Tina Packer directing and Jonathan Epstein playing Shylock, there was a great public outcry against the play, with questions raised about whether it could, or even should, be staged in modern times.

Having taken the plunge and mounted a new production, I can only imagine the dismay with which Packer and company watched racial tensions and violence erupt nationally during the course of their previews. Merchant… is the big Shakespearean production for 2016, the centerpiece of their season. Would the national mood turn audiences against their choice? Or would they be more open to exploring the prejudice that has always raged within society?

At least on the official opening night, the audience, comprised primarily of the press along with Shakespeare & Company board and company members and donors, was open to being schooled in the depth and persistence of anti-Semitism in particular and racial/ethnic/religious hatred in general. It was perfectly acceptable to be prejudiced in Shakespeare’s time, particularly on religious grounds, as Roman Catholics and Protestants of various ilks waged bloody warfare across most of Europe for the right to be considered the “true” religion of the people. Catholics considered Protestants, Jews and Muslims alike to be pagans and heretics. Their souls were going to burn in hell if not “saved” by conversion to Christianity.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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LIVE: Bob Dylan & His Band @ Tanglewood, 7/2/16

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Dylan-Tanglewood-7_2_2016-nipper

Review and photographs by Martin Benjamin

What a gorgeous evening it was at Tanglewood. Perfect breeze, perfect temp, perfect humidity and crystal clear out. The crowd was mostly boomer with some 30-40 somethings sprinkled in. Mavis Staples opened with a spirited set backed by her integrated band of three white guys and two black back-up singers. The musicians were a tight unit, playing softly when called upon and incredibly rocking when justified. Guitarist Rick Holmstrom was a standout, full of the energy of youth backing the energetic 76-year-old singer.

Mavis hit her stride beautifully on the third song, Talking Heads’ “Spirited People.” At the end of this song Mavis chatted about Bob. “We’re happy to be here with our good friend Bob Dylan. That Bob, he’s something, you know. I love listening to him, but I really love watching him. He’s got this move [to his step], he’s so cool.”

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The Capitol Steps Return to Cranwell Spa [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, July 8th, 2016

If you’ve ever wanted to see Hillary Clinton belt a show tune, Donald Trump sing a rock song, or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie perform classical ballet, the Capitol Steps might just be the show for you.

Cranwell Spa & Golf Resort in Lenox is offering a chance to laugh off some election-year stress throughout the summer, hosting the award-winning musical satire group the Capitol Steps in a limited run of performances that continue through Friday, September 2. The troupe will be the first to perform on Cranwell’s new Harvest Barn stage, a 220-seat venue.

The Capitol Steps began as a group of congressional staffers who set out to satirize the very people who employed them. Now in its 35th year, the show has since evolved to feature 26 actors and five pianists, who stage shows across the United States.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Jacob’s Pillow Welcomes World Premiere [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016
Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards (photo: Eduardo Patino)

Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards (photo: Eduardo Patino)

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket is presenting the world premiere engagement of And Still You Must Swing featuring three of the world’s most celebrated tap dance luminaries — Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Jason Samuels Smith and Derick K. Grant — through Sunday (July 10) in the intimate Doris Duke Theatre. The program embraces masterful technique, musicality and improvisation including a live onstage band and a star-studded cast with critically-acclaimed guest artist and 2016 Jacob‘s Pillow Dance Award recipient Camille A. Brown.

“We are experiencing a tap renaissance in this country and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Jason Samuels Smith and Derick K. Grant are three of the exceptional artists at its core,” says Jacob’s Pillow Director Pamela Tatge. ”That they are being joined by this year’s Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award winner Camille A. Brown is a gift.”

A “fiercely elegant” and “singularly authoritative artist” (Claudia La Rocco, The New York Times), Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards joins forces with Derick K. Grant and Jason Samuels Smith to present a dynamic project that captures the heart and legacy of tap dance, honoring the profound influence of jazz and swing. A highly-anticipated engagement, the cast returns to the Pillow following several celebrated individual engagements.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

July’s Classical Music Calendar for Tanglewood & the Berkshires [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

bosjulyclassical

TODAY (TUESDAY, JULY 5)
TANGLEWOOD MUSIC CENTER FELLOWS PERFORM IN CONCERT TOGETHER

TMC String Quartet]On Wednesday, July 5, the talented young musicians of BSO Music Director Laureate Seiji Ozawa’s Swiss Academy String Quartet Ensemble and the Tanglewood Music Center join together for a program including the first movement from Mendelssohn’s Octet in E-flat for Strings, Op. 20, and Grieg’s Holberg Suite. The musicians from the Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland will perform string quartet excerpts during the first half of the program. Tickets for today’s concert are free and can be reserved at www.tanglewood.org.

WEDNESDAY (JULY 6)
TANGLEWOOD BRASS: BOSTON POPS WITH FOUR WORLD-RENOWNED DRUM CORPS

On Wednesday, the Tanglewood Brass Spectacular! returns for its second year, featuring members of the Boston Pops brass and percussion sections performing a one-of-a-kind concert with four of the world’s best drum corps: the Boston Crusaders, the third oldest drum corps in America; the Rockford, Illinois-based Phantom Regiment; the Bluecoats, from Canton Ohio; and 10-time Drum Corps International World Champions, the Cadets, from Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Theater Review: “Ugly Lies the Bone” @ Shakespeare & Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, June 30th, 2016
Christianna Nelson in Ugly Lies the Bone

Christianna Nelson in “Ugly Lies the Bone”

Theater review by Macey Levin

For years countless men and women have returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with horrendous physical injuries. In Lindsey Ferrentino’s play Ugly Lies the Bone, currently at Shakespeare & Co.’s Bernstein Theatre in Lenox, we meet Jess (Christianna Nelson), a young woman who has suffered severe physical damage as well as profound psychological pain.

Having returned to her childhood home in Florida she shares with her sister Kasie (Rory Hammond), she is undergoing a rehabilitation process that involves a virtual reality experiment in which she wears goggles and is urged by an unseen character (Ariel Bock) to create her personal version of Paradise. This, presumably, will move her away from her bleak daily existence into a world that will give her hope for the future.

As Jess creates her idyllic space, the voice continually urges her to “Move forward!” Her conflict is that she wants life to be what it had been, especially before her third deployment. Her mother (Ms. Bock) was well and vital, her lover Stevie (Hamish Allan-Headley) cheered her and her sister Kasie was happier. Now, mother is institutionalized with Alzheimer’s, Stevie is married and works as a gas station attendant and Kasie is in love with Kelvin (Dylan Chalfy), who is unemployed plumber.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER: Lindsey Ferrentino’s “Ugly Lies the Bone” Comes to Shakespeare & Company [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016
Ugly Lies the Bone, written by Lindsey Ferrentino (above), is being directed by Daniela Varon.

“Ugly Lies the Bone,” written by Lindsey Ferrentino (above), is being directed by Daniela Varon.

Shakespeare & Company in Lenox continues to roll out its 39th performance season with the regional premiere of the Woodward and Newman Award-winning play, Ugly Lies the Bone, written by Lindsey Ferrentino and directed by Daniela Varon. This insightful, emotional and timely drama joins the Bernstein Theatre repertory on Thursday (June 16) and runs through Sunday, August 28.

Combat veteran Jess comes home to Florida after three tours in Afghanistan bearing deep physical and emotional scars. An innovative, experimental video game therapy offers an escape from her excruciating pain, but can virtual reality help Jess come to terms with the altered reality of her hometown, relationships and dreams?

“I fell in love with this play the first time I read it,” says director Daniela Varon. “The playwright’s thematic landscape encompasses so many timely subjects – such as the changing role of women in the military, how we see or don’t see our veterans, and how we care for our elderly. Among things that are especially difficult to comprehend if one hasn’t experienced them firsthand are combat on the battlefield, and constant, intractable physical pain. This play asks its audiences to imagine both. Jess, our protagonist, is referred to as a war hero, but her hero’s journey only begins at war. The longer journey is in coming home — to her community, her family, and her body.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Tanglewood Becomes Dollywood on Friday [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

dolly

Legendary country music star Dolly Parton makes her Tanglewood debut with a season-opening performance at 7pm on Friday (June 17) in the Koussevitzky Music Shed. The most honored female country performer of all time, the iconic and irrepressible Parton has contributed countless treasures to the world of music entertainment, penning classic songs such as “Jolene,” “Coat of Many Colors” and her mega-hit “I Will Always Love You,” garnering seven Grammy Awards, 10 Country Music Association Awards and so much more.

Tickets have been on sale for some time, and as of this report, there are still lawn tickets available at $32 (plus service charge). But for the shed, only obstructed view seats are still available. So if you want to attend, and secure full view seats, you are at the mercy of the scalpers, and will pay dearly for having delayed ordering until now. To see what Tanglewood has left, go to: www.bso.org.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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