Posts Tagged ‘Pittsfield’

THEATER: Mark St. Germain’s Luminous “Dancing Lessons” Sparkles @ Barrington Stage [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, August 15th, 2014
John Carioni(l) and Paige Davis (r) in Dancing Lessons (photo: Kevin Sprague)

John Carioni(l) and Paige Davis (r) in “Dancing Lessons” (photo: Kevin Sprague)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: Mark St. Germain’s newest play Dancing Lessons at Pittsfield’s Barrington Stage Company could easily be categorized as a play that teaches us something new, and when it comes to Asperger Syndrome, it is certainly both instructive and inspirational on that subject. But that is a by-product of what has to be St. Germain’s best work to date. It is really a romantic comedy at heart, and it takes us to the verge of tears even as we are laughing delightedly at a young couple trying to figure out how to deal with each other.

Gail M. Burns: There are more and more people with diagnoses on the Autism Spectrum, and what they teach us is that there is no such thing as “normal.” Everyone’s brain and body function and experience the world differently and society makes an enormous error when it tries to force humankind into any mold. Every couple faces challenges as their relationship develops because there is no other place where we are as intimately and openly ourselves.

Larry: There are only two characters in this one act play, Paige Davis (as Senga Quinn, a successful Broadway dancer) and John Cariani (Dr. Ever Montgomery – a professor of geosciences who is about to be honored for his achievements). Both were at the top of their game, but are under new stress as they tentatively come together and blow apart as the story unfolds. Because of his Asperger’s, Ever is aware that he sees the world differently than most. Yet he needs help in fitting into the normal world. He uses the term “neuro-typicals” to describe people who are not like him. He refers to himself as an “Aspy,” an abbreviated description he likes to use. What I find interesting is that Senga – who is a dancer and actually sidelined with an injury – is also searching for answers.

Gail: Both characters are facing a crisis of self. Ever is very intelligent and “high-functioning.” He has had great success in his chosen field, but is terrified of relating on a personal and physical level. Senga (her name was supposed to be Agnes but her aunt wrote it backwards on her birth certificate) has achieved success as a dancer – studying and performing with some of the top choreographers and their companies, and appearing on and off-Broadway – but she was hit by a taxi and her left leg is shattered, with seriously torn muscles and ligaments in her knee. Her only hope for any kind of recovery is surgery, which a rare allergy to anesthesia prevents, and even then she will never be able to perform at the level she did before.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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Mark St. Germain’s Touching “Dancing Lessons” Set to Debut at Barrington Stage Company [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014
Dancing Lessons

Dancing Lessons

Once again we await – with great interest – the world premiere of another Mark St. Germain play, Dancing Lessons. It is described as a new romantic comedy by the Barrington Stage Company Associate Artist Mark St. Germain and will play on the main stage from Thursday (August 7) through August 24. Opening night is August 13 at 7pm.

Directed by Barrington Stage Artistic Director Julianne Boyd, Dancing Lessons stars John Cariani and Paige Davis. John Cariani made his BSC debut as Dogberry in last summer’s Much Ado About Nothing. Cariani is also the playwright of the popular play Almost, Maine and recently starred in the play’s Off-Broadway revival. Paige Davis (Broadway’s Chicago and TV’s “Trading Spaces”) makes her BSC debut.

Dancing Lessons centers on a young man (Cariani) with high-functioning autism (Asperger’s syndrome) who seeks the instruction of a Broadway dancer (Davis), now sidelined with injuries. As their relationship unfolds, they’re caught off-guard by the surprising discoveries – both hilarious and heartwarming – that they make about each other.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Berkshire Fringe Festival Has It All – Comedy, Drama, Music, Labs – August 2-18 [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, August 1st, 2014
Brooklyn’s Under The Table present The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a wildly hilarious, irreverent and poignant reimagining of Victor Hugo’s classic tale.

Brooklyn’s Under The Table present “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” a wildly hilarious, irreverent and poignant reimagining of Victor Hugo’s classic tale.

Founded in 2003 by Sara Katzoff, Peter Wise and Timothy Ryan Olson, the Berkshire Fringe Festival begins its second decade at its new home, the Shire City Santuary in Pittsfield. The Berkshire Fringe is an international center for new work in the heart of the Berkshire Community. Since its first events in 2005, the Berkshire Fringe has become a vital testing ground and has hosted over 500 emerging performers while bringing nearly 100 full-length original productions to the Berkshires.

Participating artists are given space to develop and perform their newest concepts, teach community workshops and invite audiences to engage more deeply in the creative process through open rehearsals and discussions.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

A Tapping and Tall-Tale Telling Tommy Tune Will Light Up Barrington Stage Tonight [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, July 28th, 2014
A wonderful, pensive moment with Tommy Tune, captured by photographer Stephen Sorokoff.

A wonderful, pensive moment with Tommy Tune, captured by photographer Stephen Sorokoff.

Broadway’s tallest tapper takes to Barrington Stage Co.’s Boyd-Quinson Mainstage in Pittsfield — dancing, singing and tale-telling through 50 years of big-time showmanship. The show features Tommy Tune and his musical director Michael Biagi. It’s the kick off for the 2014 Summer Concert Series with Tony Award-winner Tommy Tune in Taps, Tunes, and Tall Tales tonight (Monday, July 28) at 8pm.

Tune is a nine-time Tony Award winner for his work on Seesaw, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, Nine, My One and Only, Grand Hotel and The Will Rogers Follies. In addition, he has been awarded eight Drama Desk Awards, three Astaire Awards and the Society of Directors and Choreographers’ George Abbott Award for Lifetime Achievement. He was honored with the Helen Hayes Tribute in 2011.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Like a Bad Penny, Peter Schickele Brings PDQ Bach Back to the Colonial Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Peter Schickele

NOTE: Larry Murray reminisced with Professor Peter Schickele about the imaginary P.D.Q. Bach which you can read here. There is also a rare photo of the tromboon, part trombone, part bassoon which Bach invented.

Musical humorist Peter Schickele will perform 50 Years of P.D.Q. Bach: A Triumph of Incompetence at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield on Saturday (July 26) at 8pm. It’s been 50 years since Professor Peter Schickele released P.D.Q. Bach on an unsuspecting musical public. And it’s been 80 years since the professor’s mother released the professor on an society ill-prepared for such singular genius. And now, because everyone loves a birthday, Professor Schickele has reached back across the decades to explore the damp vaults and dusty attics of Leipzig to once again celebrate the twenty-first child (out of twenty) of the great J.S. Bach. This special, once in a half-century, musical extravaganza will feature the crème de la crème of history’s most justifiably neglected composer.

Peter Schickele will perform twelve “quite heavenly songs” including: musical upsettings of the signs of the zodiac (for chamber ensemble), excerpts from The Notebook for Betty-Sue Bach (for solo piano), and songs from Shakespeare: The Bard’s most famous speeches set to 1950′s rock ‘n’ roll (for piano & chamber ensemble).

One thing that Peter Schickele and P.D.Q. Bach have in common is their love of writing party music. Mr. Schickele has composed rounds, songs and piano miniatures which have served as presents, congratulatory messages, homages, bread and butter notes (notes, get it?) and simply as something new to bring to sight-reading parties. He has been writing such pieces since he began composing during his early teenage years, and he continues to do so with undiminished enthusiasm; sometimes the results turn out to be among his best works.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Mark H. Dold Is Both Hero and Outcast in Play About Alan Turing, “Breaking the Code” [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Mark H. Dold

Mark H. Dold plays Alan Turing, founder of computer science, mathematician, philosopher, codebreaker, strange visionary and a gay man before his time who was horribly persecuted for his sexual orientation despite helping end a terrible war.

As the summer’s theatre season moves forward, Barrington Stage Company plans to take a look back in time to World War II and the days when simply being gay made you a worthless human being, no matter your contributions to society, or helping to win a war against fascism.

It’s just one more tough subject that is taken on by the award-winning theatre in downtown Pittsfield under the leadership of Artistic Director Julianne Boyd and Managing Director Tristan Wilson.

The play is Breaking the Code, Hugh Whitemore’s biographical drama of Alan Turing, starring BSC Associate Artist Mark H. Dold. Directed by Joe Calarco, performances run from today (Thursday, July 17) through Saturday, August 2.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

The Singers Shine in “A Little Night Music” from Berkshire Theatre Group [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, July 11th, 2014
Kate Baldwin and Graham  Rowat (photo: Reid Thompson)

Kate Baldwin and Graham Rowat (photo: Reid Thompson)

Theatre review by Gail M. Burns and Roseann Cane

Gail M. Burns: Four couples meet, mate and miscommunicate in the woods as Midsummer Night smiles three times – “First, for the young who know nothing, second for the fools who know too little, and third for the old who know too much.” No, not Shakespeare, although the parallels are obvious, but Stephen Sondheim as the Berkshire Theatre Group presents his delightful 1973 musical A Little Night Music at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield.

Roseann Cane: The more Sondheim musicals I see (and see again), the more I’m astonished by the man’s genius. I cannot think of another composer and lyricist whose work displays such depth, breadth and variety, who achieves the nearly impossible feat of transmitting intellect, wit and emotion. This production is blessed by a cast gifted with sumptuous singing voices and some standout acting capable of rendering all three with ease and style

Gail: This is a score that I have loved and memorized and cherished in my heart for four decades, and, as with anything so personally meaningful, I find I have a hard time finding words to help others understand how beautiful this score is and how the incredibly clever and intricate lyrics are rendered easy enough to understand so that even someone who has never heard them before can follow along as they rapidly advance both plot and character.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Richard Chamberlain to Introduce New Musical “Sometimes Love” at BTG Benefit [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Richard Chamberlain

Special Benefit Event Featuring a Reading of Sometimes Love
composed and written by Martin Rabbett
written by Jocelyn Fujii
featuring Richard Chamberlain
at the Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield
Friday, July 18 at 2pm
Tickets: $40 (ticket includes catered boxed supper and talk back with cast)

Berkshire Theatre Group presents a special benefit event featuring a reading of Martin Rabbett’s new musical Sometimes Love at the Colonial Theatre on Friday, July 18 at 2pm with participating artist, Richard Chamberlain.

In Sometimes Love, seven contemporary New Yorkers, most of them longtime friends, discover that life brings empowerment in surprising ways. They face the full spectrum of challenges: unemployment, infidelity, narcissistic lovers and alcoholic parents. But when the shame is confronted head-on and the smoke finally clears, their broken lives arrive at a fragile order, a simple and elegant truth. Love comes and goes, they discover, and the only way to make it stay is to adapt to its many mutations.

“I wrote the music for ‘Sometimes Love’ over a three-year period, during which I was going through a painful personal experience,” Martin Rabbett director, composer and writer said. “Through it all, I discovered that it was not just the writing of the music that helped me heal, but the friends who lived through that time with me. It was, for me, a redefining of family—the realization that in the end, we really can create our own family. That experience empowered me and ultimately saved my life.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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