Posts Tagged ‘The Colonial Theatre’

REVIEW: “Bells Are Ringing” @ the Colonial Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, July 16th, 2015
James Ludwig (center) in Bells Are Ringing at Berkshire Theatre Group. (photo: Reid Thompson)

James Ludwig (center) in “Bells Are Ringing” at the Colonial Theatre (photo: Reid Thompson)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Roseann Cane

Roseann Cane: Currently on stage at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Bells Are Ringing originally opened on Broadway in 1956 – the same year that Candide, The Most Happy Fella and My Fair Lady premiered (Oh, to have a time machine!) – and ran for 924 performances. With a book and lyrics by Comden and Green, music by Jule Styne and choreography by Jerome Robbins and Bob Fosse, what a pedigree it boasts. Its star, the magnificent Judy Holliday, won a Tony for her performance, as did her co-star Sydney Chaplin.

Gail M. Burns: This is certainly a musical of its era, right down to the setting at a telephone answering service. For the young and unenlightened, back in prehistoric times when phones had rotary dials and plugged into the wall, if you weren’t home when a call came in, you missed it. Or if you were on the phone and another call came in, the caller got a busy signal. There was no way to leave a message. This was a problem, especially for the rich and famous, so the answering service was invented. Your number rang at a central switchboard where an actual human (invariably a woman) answered it and wrote down (with a pen on a piece of paper) your message. Then you called in, were read your messages, and you could return the calls, or receive important pieces of news, like “you got the job!” or “your uncle died.”

Judy Holliday’s first job was as an assistant switchboard operator at Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre in the 1930’s, and in 1956 a woman named Mary Printz opened Belles Celebrity Answering Service in New York. (Astoundingly, in this electronic age, the agency is still in business!) Comden and Green were clients of Printz’s and long-time friends and theater colleagues of Holliday’s, who by this point had won an Oscar to go with her Tony. They created Bells Are Ringing and the leading role of Ella Peterson for her.

Roseann: Which explains why this charming and paper-thin story, about a switchboard operator for an answering-service who falls in love with a client she has never seen, is more of a star vehicle and musical showcase than the more complexly plotted aforementioned shows, but so what?

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Lenox Singer-Songwriter Katherine Winston @ The Garage on Saturday [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Berkshire Theatre Group welcomes “American Idol” contestant and Berkshire native, Katherine Winston to The Garage in Pittsfield on Saturday (April 18) at 8pm. Tickets to Katherine Winston are $10 in advance and $12 day of performance.

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Stockbridge Drummer Kenny Aronoff Fuels High Energy BoDeans @ Colonial Theatre on Thursday [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Berkshire Theatre Group welcomes rock band BoDeans, featuring legendary drummer and Stockbridge native Kenny Aronoff to the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield at 7:30pm on Thursday (April 16).

Tickets to BoDeans are $25 and $45. Contact the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street, Pittsfield by calling 413-997-4444, or online. Ticket Offices are open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm, Saturdays 10am-2pm or on any performance day from 10am until curtain.

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Two Genders, Two Planets, One Insightful Evening with Peter Story [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
Peter Story explains the inexplicable.

Peter Story explains the inexplicable.

It’s time to enter the ultimate mystery of the universe, the one that makes the mysterious rational: the relationships between men and women. It’s the multiverse that exceededith all human understanding. Until now.

Coming to the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield for one night only on Thursday (Ocotber 30), Men Are From Mars – Women Are From Venus LIVE! is a one-man fusion of theatre and stand-up starring Peter Story and based on The New York Times #1 best-selling book of the last decade by John Gray. Moving swiftly through a series of vignettes, the show covers everything from dating and marriage to the bedroom.

After beginning in Paris in 2007, Men are From Mars–Women are From Venus LIVE! has been seen by more than one million people around Europe. It debuted in the United States in February, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina and will be playing to audiences around the United States and Canada throughout the year. This hysterical show will have couples elbowing each other all evening as they see themselves on stage. Sexy and fast paced, this show is definitely for adults, but will leave audiences laughing and giggling like little kids.

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LIVE: Empire Jazz Orchestra with Claire Daly, Sharel Cassity & Ada Rovatti @ Colonial Theatre, 10/18/14

Monday, October 27th, 2014
The Empire Jazz Orchestra with leader Bill Meckley

The Empire Jazz Orchestra with leader Bill Meckley

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu

When I heard that the Pittsfield CityJazz Festival was celebrating its 10th anniversary, I suddenly remembered that I had covered the anchor concert for the inaugural Pittsfield CityJazz Festival in 2005. Dr. Billy Taylor was the headliner, and it will be a deathbed memory that I got to shake the iconic pianist/educator’s hand backstage and tell him, “Thank you for… well, for everything!” Fast-forward to today, where PCJazz has developed a very nice niche for itself: Bringing headlining acts to the area, while showcasing the musical and educational spirit of the community.

Let’s talk about that last bit first. A Wall Street Journal Online article recently discussed statistical evidence that music education can have a direct impact on scholastic achievement. If that’s the case, the Berkshires are going to turn out some smart, smart kids. The opening act(s) at the Colonial Theatre were billed under the umbrella name “Berkshires Jazz Youth Ensemble,” but in fact, they were two distinct groups: The Herberg Middle School Band (which is a feeder group for the Pittsfield H.S. band), and the Rock On Workshop Jazz Ensemble. Both groups performed admirably: Highlights included Herberg’s straight-down-Broadway take on Booker T. & the MGs’ “Green Onions,” and Rock On’s righteous work-up of Freddie Hubbard’s “Red Clay.” Guitarist Ethan Wesley’s amp failed him during Herberg’s two-song set, but his technical issues were resolved so he could tear it up during Rock On’s appearance, capping Ella Sears’ bluesy treatment of George Gershwin’s “Summertime” with the opening lick to “Stairway to Heaven.”

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Joy Behar to Talk It Up @ the Colonial Theatre on Friday [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Joy Behar

Comedian/talk show host Joy Behar brings her stand-up tour to the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield. With more than 30 years on stage and screen, Behar’s one-woman show takes us on a journey from her rollicking childhood in Brooklyn to center stage as one of America’s most notable talk show hosts and comedians. Behar comments, “It’s a good time to take stock of my shenanigans.”

Tickets to Joy Behar at 8pm on Friday (October 17) are on sale now for $35, $50 and $65. Contact the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street, Pittsfield by calling 413-997-4444. Tickets can also be bought online at www.berkshiretheatregroup.org. The Ticket Office is open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm, Saturdays 10am-2pm or on any performance day from 10am until curtain.

Behar is a comedic original and a leading woman both on stage and screen. She received an Emmy Award for her performance on The View, where she was a member of the cast for 16 years. She also hosted her own talk shows, The Joy Behar Show on HLN and Say Anything on Current TV.

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Noam Pikelny & Stuart Duncan and Their New Bluegrass Duo Project @ the Colonial on Thursday [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

by Larry Murray

When it comes to banjo and fiddle, bluegrass lovers love the old hands the best, but there are some youngsters that are preparing to step into the boots of the great legends. Foremost among them are Noam Pikelny and Stuart Duncan who have certainly proved themselves in front of audiences all across the country. Now they are on a national tour together, having put together an unusual evening that will hold any music lover spellbound.

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Made in the Berkshires Festival: Full Schedule of Events for 2014 [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
Made in the Berkshires takes place over Columbus Day Weekend.

Made in the Berkshires takes place over Columbus Day Weekend.

Columbus Day weekend is when the Berkshire Theatre Group kicks off the Made in the Berkshires Festival this year, running Friday-Sunday (October 10-12) at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield and the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge. This is the fourth year of the Berkshire’s homegrown festival that spotlights local art and artists of exceptional quality.

And it is as social as it is artistic.

The opening night celebration kicks off on Friday (October 10) at 6pm in the Colonial Theatre lobby with a cocktail hour and visual art show curated by Suky Werman. The opening night program begins at 7:30pm on stage at the Colonial Theatre. Highlights include a film rave by Joe Wheaton; a scene from Diary of a Fashionista: Styled by Destiny featuring Destiny Saunders and dancers from Youth Alive combining hip-hop and fashion; a solo performance by 13-year-old jazz guitarist Nico Wohl; Pas de deux from “Carmina Burana” by Ruslan Sprague & Anna Acker; solo classical piano performance by Paul Celebi; blues-rocker Albert Cummings’ new music video directed by Dave Simonds; and scenes from Emmy Award-winning writer Lee Kalcheim’s new play Speed Dating. The opening night celebration will be followed by a “Taste of the Berkshires” reception in the Colonial lobby featuring Berkshire farm-to-table produce and locally crafted foods with music from DJ RothFitz.

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