Posts Tagged ‘Lenox’

Tanglewood’s Labor Day Weekend offers Tony Bennett, Josh Groban and Boston Pops, plus Train [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops return for the last time this season for an evening with Josh Groban.

Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops return for the last time this season for an evening with Josh Groban.

Wrapping up a star-studded summer of great music, the Tanglewood Music Festival pulls out all the stops for the final weekend of music with some of the finest artists performing today. Here’s what’s on the calendar:

Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! opens the Labor Day weekend festivities at Tanglewood on Thursday, August 28 with a live presentation of the witty and fast-paced radio quiz program. This 8 p.m. performance, featuring hosts Peter Sagal and Judge and Scorekeeper Bill Kurtis, will be recorded for broadcast to its weekly audience of 3.2 million weekly listeners on more than 600 NPR stations nationwide. Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! is presented Tanglewood at on August 28 in conjunction with NPR and NEPR. Tickets for Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! Range from $24 to $120 and can be purchased at www.tanglewood.org, by calling 888-266-1200 or at the Tanglewood Box Office.

Grammy award-winning rock group Train helps close out the 2014 Tanglewood season this summer with their concert on Friday, August 29, at 7 p.m. in the Koussevitzky Music Shed. Train made its Tanglewood debut with a concert on August 8, 2011 and performed again at Tanglewood in August 2012. The multi-platinum band made its mark on music history with the Grammy Award-winning song “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” and chart-topping singles like “Meet Virginia” and “Calling All Angels.”

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Josh Groban, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Josh Groban

Josh Groban

“The first album that I bought was the Pearl Jam Ten album.

“But before that, the first album that was given to me was the Paul Simon Graceland album, from my dad. That was a hugely influential album for me, even though it was very different for me. It was the music that made me very aware that there were no boundaries, and that there was such a big world out there with lots of different musics. Paul Simon made it OK to cross-pollinate sounds. His melodies and lyrics combined with the heartbeat of that African music was something that just brought me to a whole other level.”

Josh Groban – singer, actor and the host of yet another network TV singing competition – steps into the spotlight at Tanglewood’s Koussevitzky Music Shed with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra at 7pm on Saturday (August 30) in support of his latest album, All That Echoes.

REVIEW: “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” @ Shakespeare & Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, August 25th, 2014
(from left): Angel Moore, Mat Leonard and Ellizabeth Aspenlieder. (photo: Kevin Sprague)

(from left): Angel Moore, Mat Leonard and Ellizabeth Aspenlieder. (photo: Kevin Sprague)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Gail M. Burns: I am deeply saddened, in the most appropriately Russian manner, to realize that Christopher Durang writes Chekhovian drama almost better than Anton Chekhov. Allow me a moment of deep reflection on the meaning of this revelation and its impact on my understanding of the cosmos and my pointless existence as an infinitesimal speck of useless matter within its vastness.

(Pause…)

Larry Murray: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike – currently on view at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox through September 14 – could have easily been a parody of Chekhov’s classic plays but instead it is a valentine, a love letter of a play by Durang. The result is a comedy with deep life lessons, as its characters relearn what it means to be a family.

Gail: While you don’t have to know Chekhov’s plays to thoroughly enjoy this one, the more you know about dramatic literature, the more fun you’ll have. And while Chekhov is definitely an acquired taste, this will tickle the fancies of Chekhov lovers and haters in equal measure because Durang understands both what is wonderful and what is thoroughly annoying about the works of the Master.

Here Durang uses character names from Chekhov’s plays – Vanya and Sonia from Uncle Vanya, Masha from Three Sisters and The Seagull, Nina from The Seagull – and throws in endless allusions to his works throughout. Here Vanya (Jim Frangione), Sonia (Tod Randolph) and Masha (Elizabeth Aspenlieder) are siblings – after a fashion, Sonia is adopted – whose professorial parents named them after Chekhov’s characters. Masha, a five-times-divorced B-list film actress, owns the family home in Buck’s County, Pennsylvania, (just down the road from the home Dorothy Parker owned in the mid-20th century), where Vanya and Sonia, both unmarried, continue to live after caring for their parents through the ends of their lives. Nina (Olivia Saccomanno) just happens to be the name of a young woman visiting next door, and Spike (Mat Leonard) is Masha’s studly young lover. Like Madame Arkadina in The Seagull, Masha is an actress sliding precipitously over the hill, who is simultaneously jealous of and inspired by Nina’s luminous youthful beauty and incipient passion for acting.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

WAM Chooses “In Darfur” for Season Five with a Change Makers Benefit Panel Aug. 24 [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, August 22nd, 2014
Playwright Winter Miller took these photos at a Darfuri refugee camp in Chad.

Playwright Winter Miller took these photos at a Darfuri refugee camp in Chad.

As WAM (Women’s Action Movement) Theatre prepares to celebrate its fifth season at the August 24 Change Makers benefit, artistic director Kristen van Ginhoven has announced that this year’s fall production will be the New England premiere of In Darfur.

In Darfur is the provocative account of three intertwined lives at a camp for internally displaced persons. The story follows an aid worker’s mission to save and protect lives, a journalist’s pursuit to deliver a front page story, and a Darfuri woman’s quest for safety. It is a searing story of urgency and international significance.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER: “Henry IV, Parts I & II” (Condensed) @ Shakespeare & Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, August 14th, 2014
The cast of Henry IV, Parts I and II (photo:  Kevin Sprague)

The cast of Henry IV, Parts I and II (photo: Kevin Sprague)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns

Shakespeare’s two history plays purporting to be about King Henry IV of England (1367-1413 CE) are actually about the coming of age of his son, the future King Henry V (1386-1422 CE). They form the center of the Bard’s tetralogy which begins with Richard II and ends with Henry V, although some will argue that Henry VI, Parts I, II and III are also a part of what becomes then a seven-play cycle. All of this was quite recent history for Shakespeare (1564-1616 CE) and these plays were not only very popular entertainment, but also formed the Tudor equivalent of the required high school course in American History we are familiar with today. At a time when most people were illiterate and few had any formal schooling, they could learn the royally sanctioned history of their land at the theater while laughing at Sir John Falstaff and his merry band of thieves and whores.

Performed in their entirety, Henry IV, Part I and Henry IV, Part II occupy the stage for a good seven hours. Hard to perform apart contextually, they are impossibly expensive and time consuming for a modern company to perform together. Starting off last year with a production of Richard II, Shakespeare & Company wanted to continue on with the history plays, and so commissioned actor/director Jonathan Epstein to condense Henry IV into one play. The resulting work runs a solid three hours, and when you add in the much-needed 20-minute intermission you walk out of the theater about three and a half hours after you entered. Thankfully the evening performances start at 7:30, not 8pm.

Epstein has cut much of the history in favor of the excellent comedy in the plays, but sadly that renders the politics and battles that remain even harder for the average audience member to understand. Adding to that muddle, just about every significant political player is named Henry (and sometimes called Harry or Hal), which is neither Epstein nor Shakespeare’s fault, that’s just history. For the sake of clarity in this review we will refer to them as Henry IV, Prince Hal (the future King Henry V), Hotspur (Henry Percy), and Percy (Hotspur’s father, the Earl of Northumberland).

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Jonathan Epstein Adapts, Directs and Stars in Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” Thru Aug. 31 [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, August 7th, 2014
In rehearsal: Henry Clarke (l) and Jonathan Epstein (phot: Elizabeth Aspenlieder)

In rehearsal: Henry Clarke (l) and Jonathan Epstein (photo: Elizabeth Aspenlieder)

A sweeping spectacle of bawdy buffoonery and bloody rebellion, director Jonathan Epstein’s razor sharp and condensed adaptation of Henry IV delivers both parts in one dynamic evening of theatre. Performances run in Shakespeare & Co.’s Tina Packer Playhouse through August 31. Press opening is Friday (August 8) at 7pm.

Shakespeare’s take on honor, war, sex and violence has never been more acute than in this riotous comedy that inter-mingles the young-rascal-that-would-be-king, Prince Hal, with the psychological underpinnings of father/son relationships. Epstein sets Shakespeare’s wildest history tale between a bustling 15th century Eastcheap and a more contemporary London, where both settings blend together as we follow this stirring history of succession to the throne. Meet the notorious Prince Hal, heir apparent, who rebels against his father, forsakes the court and engages in petty crime with that huge ‘sweet creature of bombast,’ the unruly knight Falstaff. When the Prince’s nemesis, Hotspur, and the northern lords rebel, will Hal stay and continue carousing with his surrogate ‘father’ Falstaff or heed the call of duty from the ailing King Henry? An exhilarating and potent journey through time and history, Henry IV offers many of the most memorable characters and lines in Shakespeare’s canon as it continues to captivate and mesmerize audiences over four centuries later.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

A Jazzy “Midsummer Night’s Dream” Set in 1930′s New Orleans [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, July 10th, 2014
(photo by Kevin Sprague)

(photo by Kevin Sprague)

Theatre review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: A Midsummer Night’s Dream is probably Shakespeare’s best known and most performed play next to Romeo and Juliet, and while it has within it the seeds of the tragedy about the star-crossed lovers, it does not end with a double suicide, but with the joy and happiness of a group wedding. But even more uplifting is that fantasy and reality are what we see married in this Shakespeare classic.

Gail M. Burns: And it is a very special show for Shakespeare & Company because it was the first show they ever presented outdoors at The Mount in 1978. Artistic Director Tony Simotes, a founding member of the company, played Puck back then. He has directed this production, which is the Company’s eighth, its second indoors in the Packer Playhouse.

Larry: Simotes decided to set this production in 1930’s New Orleans which means it opened, not surprisingly, with some Dixieland Jazz.

Gail: We both loved the music, composed by the multi-talented Alexander Sovronsky. In addition to acting as composer, music director and sound designer for this production, he also plays an hilarious Francis Flute who in turn is cast as the leading lady in Pyramus and Thisbe.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage

All-American Opening Night at Tanglewood Stars Renée Fleming [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Renee Fleming

The Boston Symphony Orchestra begins its 2014 Tanglewood season on Saturday (July 5), at 8:30 p.m. in the Shed, with an all-American Opening Night at Tanglewood program featuring superstar soprano Renée Fleming. The first half of the concert, led by conductor William Eddins in his BSO debut, begins with two brief works by Joseph Schwantner and Aaron Copland: the former’s Freeflight, a 1989 Boston Pops commission, and the latter’s Night Thoughts from Music for a Great City. Ms. Fleming then joins the orchestra for Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, and the first half concludes with John Adams’s vivacious Short Ride in a Fast Machine. After intermission, Ms. Fleming joins conductor Rob Fisher (also in his BSO debut) and the orchestra for a selection of favorites from musical theater, including songs from South Pacific, The King and I, Porgy and Bess and The Sound of Music.

Ms. Fleming, who first performed with the BSO at Tanglewood on July 13, 1991, will also be featured from July 16-26 in Williamstown Theatre Festival’s Living on Love (written by Joe DiPietro and Garson Kanin) as a celebrated diva, along with actor Justin Long. In 2013 she released her album, Guilty Pleasures, which includes songs and arias in eight different languages and won her the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo. She also recently sang the National Anthem during the 2014 Super Bowl.

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