“Million Dollar Quartet” Opens Berkshire Theatre Group’s 2017 Summer Season [Berkshire on Stage]

June 13th, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara

Berkshire Theatre Group presents the Tony Award-winning jukebox musical and epic night of rock ‘n’ roll, Million Dollar Quartet, directed and music direction by James Barry (Broadway’s Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson). Million Dollar Quartet runs from Wednesday (June 14) through Saturday, July 15 at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge. Opening night is set for 8pm Saturday (June 17).

Director James Barry says, “I’m thrilled to be making my debut as a director at BTG, specifically in he Unicorn Theatre, where I made my professional acting debut 18 seasons ago in The Einstein Project. Coming back to the Unicorn to direct a show that I have been involved with for years is an honor. I performed the role of Carl Perkins in the first National Tour of Million Dollar Quartet for two years, and since then, I have reprised the role many times and provided musical direction. I am honored to take a seat in the director’s chair for this production.”

Million Dollar Quartet brings you into the recording studio with icons, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Based on a true story, set on December 4, 1956, Million Dollar Quartet follows the tale of these four legendary musicians, as they come together for one monumental night of music at Sun Records in Memphis. This smash-hit musical includes classic tunes such as: “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Walk the Line,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Hound Dog” and more.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Advertisement

THEATER REVIEW: “The Bakelite Masterpiece” @ the Unicorn Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

October 12th, 2016, 2:00 pm by Sara
David Adkins and Corinna May in WAM Theatre’s Bakelite Masterpiece (photo: Emma K. Rothenberg-Ware)

David Adkins and Corinna May in WAM Theatre’s Bakelite Masterpiece (photo: Emma K. Rothenberg-Ware)

Review by Macey Levin

Under what circumstances would a convicted art forger gain his freedom by forging another masterpiece? The current production of The Bakelite Masterpiece by Kate Cayley, jointly produced by WAM Theatre and Berkshire Theatre Group at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, explores an historical incident in the Netherlands during the late stages of World War II.

Han van Meegeren (David Adkins) has been sentenced to be executed for having sold an original painting by Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer to Nazi leader Hermann Goering. His defense is that the painting was his forgery. The prosecutor Geert Piller, (Corinna May) an art historian and resistance fighter, conducts one last interview demanding Meegeren sign a prepared confession. He refuses citing the fact that the painting was not the original. To prove his facility at forgery he requests that he be allowed to demonstrate his ability to recreate another Vermeer. Out of curiosity, Piller agrees.

He tells her he will reproduce Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery, the “long-lost” painting he sold to Goering, if she will pose for him in a blue dress. Reluctantly, she agrees. Instead he paints an interpretation of Vermeer’s Woman in a Blue Dress. Both are attempting to define their respective version of the truth; he to demonstrate the validity of his claim; she to reinforce the case against him. As van Meergeren starts to paint, he and his watchdog develop a relationship of mutual respect. After feinting and parrying through several conversations each becomes concerned for the other.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER REVIEW: “Constellations” @ the Unicorn Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

August 11th, 2016, 2:00 pm by Sara
Kate Baldwin and Graham Rowat in “Constellations,” BTG, 2016. Photos by Emma Rothenberg-Ware.

Kate Baldwin and Graham Rowat in “Constellations.” Photos by Emma Rothenberg-Ware.

Review by Macey Levin

Life is full of serendipity. A chance remark, meeting a stranger, missing a train, making a decision, all contribute to the arc of our lives. We don’t know what is going to happen in the next moment that will redirect us immediately or in the future. We review and dissect our experiences to determine the why of the path we have chosen. This is the core of Nick Payne’s engrossing play Constellations now at the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge.

Marianne (Kate Baldwin) and Roland (Graham Rowat) meet at a mutual friend’s barbecue. That moment, like others throughout the script, is played again and again with the actors using different inflections and timing to give each replay a different quality. We follow them through their growing relationship, marriage and separation. Each important moment of their lives together and apart is explored as they contemplate why they are where they are.

Marianne is a cosmologist who facilely refers to string theory, relativity and quantum theory. She says that in a parallel universe everything one does is not always what it seems. A beekeeper, Roland informs her that bees have a strict utilitarian purpose; the workers, drones and queen know their predetermined responsibilities. Their different occupations are a severely opposite to each other but also a description of the two lovers. In addition to their contrasting professional worlds, they also have a problem in communication. Or is it that they hear what they want to hear, another of playwright Payne’s thematic statements. To further express the communication content, one of the scenes is performed entirely in sign language, a fitting dramatic complement.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER REVIEW: “The Stone Witch” @ Fitzpatrick Main Stage [Berkshire on Stage]

July 28th, 2016, 3:00 pm by Sara
Judd Hirsch and Rupak Ginn in “The Stone Witch" (photo: Emma Rothenberg-Ware)

Judd Hirsch and Rupak Ginn in “The Stone Witch” (photo: Emma Rothenberg-Ware)

Review by Macey Levin

A young, struggling author/artist of children’s books is offered the chance to observe his idol, a legendary figure. He sees that he can watch a genius at work and, when the time is right, show him his own book with which he has been struggling for years. Unbeknownst to him, this opportunity is fraught with unknown challenges. This is the premise of Shem Bitterman’s The Stone Witch, currently in its world premiere at the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge.

Peter Chandler (Rupak Ginn) has submitted his book to a powerhouse editor, Claire Forlorni (Kristin Griffith), who likes his work but also tells him she needs help to motivate fabled author Simon Grindberg (Judd Hirsch) to finish a project that is now 12 years old. She asks Peter to spend one day a week with Simon. He accepts the task.

Upon arriving at Simon’s isolated country home, he is confronted by the author in his pajamas and robe and who is at once child-like and dour. The older man avoids Peter’s suggestion that they work and instead bounces from nonsensical bantering to fleeting anger to disdain for Peter’s book. Frustrated, Peter tries various ploys to settle Simon down. The day finishes in a detente. Over the next several weeks the young man journeys to the country and then decides to spend his week’s vacation there urging and assisting Simon to finish his book.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

BTG’s “Fiorello!” Heads to Off-Broadway [Berkshire on Stage]

July 7th, 2016, 1:00 pm by Sara
A victorious “Fiorello!” with Austin Lombardi as the memorable Mayor (photo: Emma Rothenberg-Ware)

A victorious “Fiorello!” with Austin Lombardi as the memorable Mayor (photo: Emma Rothenberg-Ware)

Berkshire Theatre Group and Artistic Director/CEO Kate Maguire announced that due to critical acclaim and record breaking attendance, BTG’s production of the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning musical, Fiorello! is moving to New York City. This is the first time Berkshire Theatre Group will be producing a show Off-Broadway. The current production, playing at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, is being directed by Robert Moss, the founder of Playwrights Horizons in New York City.

Moss says, “Mayor La Guardia was long gone by the time I moved to New York, so I never lived under his tenure in City Hall. But the “Little Flower,” as he was called, lives on in memory. The music is toe-tappingly delightful, the characters are richly drawn and a story about good guys is desperately needed in today’s jaded and vitriolic politics. It’s great to be reminded, as the music lifts us aloft, that good can triumph over selfishness.”

The current staging of Fiorello! continues in the Berkshires through Saturday, July 23 at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge. For ticket information and show times go to www.berkshiretheatregroup.org.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER REVIEW: “Fiorello!” @ Berkshire Theatre Group [Berkshire on Stage]

June 27th, 2016, 1:00 pm by Sara
Chelsea Groen and Dan Cassin in Fiorello (photo: Emma Rothenberg-Ware)

Chelsea Groen and Dan Cassin in “Fiorello!” (photo: Emma Rothenberg-Ware)

Theater review by Larry Murray

Back in 1959, Fiorello! was the hit show that scooped up a Pulitzer Prize for best drama, and tied with the The Sound of Music for the Tony as best musical, leaving Gypsy in the dust. Tom Bosley, as Fiorello LaGuardia, won best actor.

As delivered by a youthful cast, Fiorello! moves right along with a breezy score by Jerry Bock, clever lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and this is a good thing because the weak link is a thin, choppy book which has undergone various revisions over the years. The program credits Jerome Weidman and George Abbott for the version currently on stage at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge. It seems close (if not identical) to the original, which I saw some 56 years ago. Memories fade, though I remember how much I enjoyed songs like “Politics and Poker,” “Little Tin Box” and “Till Tomorrow.”

The cast of Fiorello! is uniformly excellent, a parade of characters and caricatures that easily delight today’s audiences just as they did those a half century ago. Who doesn’t love to watch love blossom on stage between a policeman – a sturdy Dan Cassin – and the radical striker, Dora (Chelsea Groen).

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER: “Fiorello!” Celebrates NYC Mayor LaGuardia [Berkshire on Stage]

June 13th, 2016, 2:00 pm by Sara

fiorello

Kate Maguire, Artistic Director of Berkshire Theatre Group, is excited about the young cast of the classic musical Fiorello!, opening this week at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge. Directed by Playwrights Horizons founder Bob Moss, Fiorello! will run from Wednesday (June 15) through Saturday, July 23. “I’m thrilled that we’re starting the season with this delightful, Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning musical, created by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, who currently have two hit shows on Broadway, She Loves Me and Fiddler on the Roof.”

Moss adds, “Mayor LaGuardia was long gone by the time I moved to New York, so I never lived under his tenure in City Hall. But the ‘Little Flower,’ as he was called, lives on in memory. The music is toe-tapping, the characters are richly drawn and a story about good guys is desperately needed in today’s jaded and vitriolic politics. It’s great to be reminded, as the music lifts us aloft, that good can triumph over selfishness.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

WAM Theatre Presents “Special” in Workshop Production [Berkshire on Stage]

March 14th, 2016, 1:00 pm by Sara

Special

WAM Theatre is co-producing a workshop production of Special with playwright and actress Rachel Siegel at the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge for a three-day run beginning on Friday (March 18). Created and performed by Siegel, and based on personal experience and interviews with mothers of children with special needs, Special follows one woman’s journey after she discovers she is pregnant with a child with Down syndrome.

WAM Advisory Board member Jayne Atkinson will direct this funny, unstinting and ultimately inspiring look into the complexities and possibilities of love. “I am very honored to be part of Special,” Atkinson said. “It is a humorous, poignant, at times dark journey – an eye of the needle experience that will move us all deeply.”

“I did a lot of writing during my pregnancy with [our son with Down Syndrome], and knew that I would do something with it eventually,” Siegel explained. “I wanted to broaden the story and interview other mothers, but I really didn’t know any other parents of special needs children. Then I found this wonderful organization called Whole Children in Hadley, started by mothers who knew they needed this kind of group for their own children and for themselves. There I met wonderful women, wonderful mothers, who wanted to do the best for their children. And they agreed to be interviewed by me.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage

Holly & EvanCartoonist John CaldwellThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysCaffe LenaAdvertise on Nippertown!Berkshire On StageArtist Charles HaymesAlbany PoetsAustralian Cattle Dog Rescue Association