Posts Tagged ‘Pittsfield’

THEATER REVIEW: “Tribes” @ Barrington Stage Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, August 25th, 2016
C. David Johnson, Deirdre Madigan, Joshua Castille, Justine Salata and Miles G. Jackson (photo: Scott Barrow)

C. David Johnson, Deirdre Madigan, Joshua Castille, Justine Salata and Miles G. Jackson
(photo: Scott Barrow)

Review by Macey Levin

For the deaf, there are four divisions: those born deaf, those who lose their hearing, those who lip read and those who use sign language. Playwright Nina Raines calls them, and other groups, “tribes” in the play of that same name currently at Barrington Stage Company’s Boyd-Quinson Main Stage in Pittsfield.

Tribes is an intriguing play with some flaws. The first scenes introduce a highly dysfunctional North London family. The patriarch, Christopher (C. David Johnson) a self-involved former teacher turned writer, tries to rule his conflicted family with an iron hand and injurious comments. His wife Beth (Deirdre Madigan) argues with him and their two oldest children, who have recently returned to live at home, at the least provocation. Daniel (Miles G. Jackson) is a schizophrenic who has been rejected by a young woman his family abhorred. The daughter Ruth (Justine Salata), a depressive, believes she is an opera singer with an outstanding future. The youngest son Billy (Joshua Castille) attempts to ameliorate the conflicts with measured success. He has learned to speak by lip-reading his family and the guidance of his mother. Christopher feels that if Billy signs there will be a stigma covering his son. He declares, the deaf “…are the Muslims of the handicapped world.”

Into Billy’s life comes Sylvia (Eli Pauley), the child of deaf parents with whom she signs; she tells him she is slowly losing her hearing. Their initially tenuous relationship moves into a love affair; she helps him get his first ever job as a lip reader for the courts when videotapes do not have audio. When he brings Sylvia home to meet the family, she is subjected to an inquisition led by Christopher, especially when he learns she signs. Various confrontations soon develop between Billy and the family as well as with Sylvia.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Advertisement

THEATER REVIEW: “Broadway Bounty Hunter” @ Barrington Stage Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
Annie Golden and Alan Green (photo: Scott Barrow)

Annie Golden and Alan Green (photo: Scott Barrow)

Review by Larry Murray

Broadway Bounty Hunter is having its world premiere at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield as part of its Musical Theatre Lab (MTL) where Tony-winner William Finn introduces the most promising new musical writers to Berkshire audiences. The exuberant new musical overflows the stage of the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center and brings the audience into the world of blaxploitation and martial arts movies of the ’70s.

Curiously, its composer, lyricist and co-book writer Joe Iconis never experienced the arrival of the black hero and Hong Kong chop-socky aesthetic directly: he was not born until 1981, long after the form had been bled dry by the Hollywood film industry. Even so, his ability to turn these formulaic movies into a satirical musical is a wonder.

With Julianne Boyd sitting in the director’s chair, Broadway Bounty Hunter matched the awesome energy level achieved by BSC’s earlier mainstage musical Pirates of Penzance directed by John Rando. And in a theater as intimate as the St. Germain, the intensity of the choreography by Jeffrey Page matched the incredible volume of the musical and vocal sounds from its perfectly cast ensemble. Ensconced in the rear fifth of the stage were the six musicians of the band, the largest in memory for a MTL production. The score is rich with R&B and funk and not a little of plain old ‘80s rock ‘n’ roll.

With those elements in place, Iconis added one more: Broadway, in the person of Annie Golden, an aging actress who gets no respect, and who clings on to her fading identity even as a younger generation tries to replace her. She goes through auditions with an old headshot, determination and an old star-shaped off-Broadway award she received decades ago. (Little does she suspect, at the outset, that it will come in handy later in the show as her secret shuriken throwing star.)

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage

Last-Minute Change of Directors for “Broadway Bounty Hunter” [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, August 15th, 2016
Broadway Bounty Hunter‘s creative team remains essentially unchanged: (l to r) Joe Iconis, Annie Golden, Lance Rubin, Sweet Tooth Williams (photo: Stephen Sorokoff)

The “Broadway Bounty Hunter” creative team: (l to r) Joe Iconis, Annie Golden, Lance Rubin, Sweet Tooth Williams (photo: Stephen Sorokoff)

Just days before opening night, director Leah C. Gardiner has parted ways with Barrington Stage Company’s production of Broadway Bounty Hunter due to creative differences.

Julianne Boyd, Artistic Director of Barrington Stage Company, has stepped in to handle direction for the musical’s world premiere.

The first preview on Friday, August 12 was cancelled. Previews began on Saturday, and the opening night world premiere performance is slated for 7:30pm Friday (August 19). The new musical starring Annie Golden (former lead singer with new wave band the Shirts and currently featured in Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” will run through Sunday, September 4.

Founded in 2006, the BSC Musical Theatre Lab is overseen by Artistic Director Julianne Boyd and Artistic Producer William Finn.

Under the leadership of Julianne Boyd, Broadway Bounty Hunter will continue essentially unchanged. The hot new musical features music and lyrics by Joe Iconis (Be More Chill, The Black Suits, Bloodsong of Love), book by Joe Iconis, Lance Rubin (author of Denton Little’s Deathdate) and Jason SweetTooth Williams (Off Broadway: Once Upon A Mattress) and choreography by Jeffrey Page (Broadway’s Violet). Joel Waggoner (BSC’s Presto Change-O, Southern Comfort) serves as music director.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER REVIEW: “Peerless” @ Barrington Stage Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016
Sasha Diamond as “M” and Laura Sohn as “L” are featured as sisters in Jiehae Park’s comedy “peerless” (photo: Justin Allen)

Sasha Diamond as “M” and Laura Sohn as “L” are featured as sisters in Jiehae Park’s comedy “Peerless” (photo: Justin Allen)

Review by Macey Levin

When Barrington Stage Company Artistic Director Julianne Boyd introduced the play Peerless by Jiehae Park at its opening performance, she said, “Park is a new voice… The rhythms of the play are different… It’s a comedy until it isn’t… It has shades of Macbeth…” She didn’t say, “It’s a terrific piece of theater!” And it certainly is.

The play centers on twin Asian sisters, seniors in high school, awaiting their college acceptances. L (the characters’ names are way off the beaten track) has applied to THE College (institution names are not used), and she is concerned that she’ll be beaten out. Her sister M (Sasha Diamond) assures her she has nothing to worry about, though L (Laura Sohn) is concerned about a nerdy classmate who may or may not be as bright as her.

The first several scenes depicting high school life are quite funny though a shadow of darkness hovers over the comic moments. A third of the way through this 85-minute play a corner is turned, and we slowly find ourselves in a contemporary/teen-age version of Macbeth. You don’t have to know the Shakespeare play, but it adds a level of intrigue to be aware of it as Peerless develops. The play, however, can stand alone.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER REVIEW: “The Pirates of Penzance” @ Barrington Stage Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016
Will Swenson and  pirates ensemble (photo: John Rando)

Will Swenson and pirates ensemble (photo: John Rando)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns

If you are looking for a traditional, D’Oyly Carte staging of The Pirates of Penzance, keep on moving. There is nothing for you to see here. What is on the Main Stage at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield is what you get when you let two award-winning 21st century artists and the perfect cast loose with one of Gilbert & Sullivan’s silliest masterpieces. It is a tidal wave of music and mayhem guaranteed to thrill and entertain all but the stodgiest of Savoyards.

After the colossal international success of their fourth collaboration, H.M.S. Pinafore (1878) – think of it as the Hamilton of the Victorian era – Gilbert & Sullivan were free in Pirates (1879 NYC/1880 London) to be fully themselves artistically. The result is G&S at the top of their form – witty, silly fun set to sublime music. It is also the most American of their operettas in feel, and the only one to premiere in New York instead of London.

In 1980, the centennial of Pirates’ London premiere, the New York Public Theatre, then under the leadership of Joseph Papp, presented this operetta as one of its free summer offerings outdoors on the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. This production was directed by Wilford Leach, choreographed by Graciela Daniele, and featured new orchestral arrangements by William Elliott, who also served as the musical director. It went on to a successful run on Broadway, winning seven Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical, Best Director for Leach, and Best Choreography for Daniele.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Kickwheel Premieres “Passage” @ Shire City Sanctuary [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

bospassagebanner

For more than a year, Kickwheel Ensemble Theater (the creative arm of The Berkshire Fringe) has been devising a new play that will premiere with a limited run of performances at Pittsfield’s Shire City Sanctuary from Wednesday-Sunday (July 27–31).

Merging original text, music, researched accounts and fantastical imagery, Passage weaves together two parallel storylines of survival: the tale of Sir John Franklin’s doomed 19th expedition to conquer the famed Northwest Passage and the story of a modern day couple on a luxury wellness cruise through the now melting arctic.

A dark comedy exploring themes of a changing climate, love and loss, Passage integrates sea otters on razor scooters, a guru of ultimate enlightenment, dead sailors, marketing executives and questions of hubris and faith to reveal the cyclical nature of human history.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Judd Hirsch Stars in “The Stone Witch” [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, July 21st, 2016
Actor Judd Hirsch

Actor Judd Hirsch

Berkshire Theatre Group welcomes the world premiere of The Stone Witch, featuring Tony, Golden Globe, Emmy and Obie Award-winning actor Judd Hirsch.

It’s an interesting tale. Peter, an aspiring children’s book author, is sent to the cabin of his idol, Simon, a reclusive award-winning author and illustrator of children’s books, to help him finish what might be his last book. Desperate to save his own career, Peter hopes to discover the secret of Simon’s genius, but first he must accept the impossible task: helping Simon confront the monsters that populate the woods inside his mind. This darkly humorous play makes us question the cost of success.

Written by Pen/USA Award-winning playwright Shem Bitterman (Harm’s Way, Open House, Influence) and directed by Drama Desk and Humanities Award-winning director Steve Zuckerman (Broadway: Nuts), The Stone Witch opens in previews tonight (July 21) and runs through Saturday, August 20 at the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

“peerless” Premieres at Barrington Stage Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

peerless

Jiehae Park’s comedy peerless will be seen for the first time in the Berkshires at the Barrington Stage Company, the award-winning theater in downtown Pittsfield.

Directed by Louisa Proske, peerless begins previews on Thursday (July 21), officially opens on Sunday (July 24), and runs through Saturday, August 6 at BSC’s St. Germain Stage.

peerless tells the story of brilliant, ambitious twin sisters L and M when they realize that perfect academics and superb extracurricular activities aren’t enough to get into their dream college – so they decide to take matters into their own hands. peerless is a comedy…until it isn’t.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Jim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysHolly & EvanCaffe LenaCartoonist John CaldwellThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantAdvertise on Nippertown!Berkshire On StageHudson SoundsLeave Regular Radio BehindThe LindaArtist Charles HaymesAlbany PoetsThe Sanctuary For Independent Media