Playing Footsie with the Devil, Cabaret Musical “La Belle Epoque” Set for Mahaiwe, Aug. 10 [Berkshire on Stage]

August 9th, 2013, 2:00 pm by Sara
La Belle Epoque. Photos by Chris Gauthier.

La Belle Epoque. Photos by Chris Gauthier.

Theatrical impresario and local hero, Heather Fisch wants you to know that her newest live theater show, “La Belle Epoque,” is an invocation, calling to the ghosts of American Vaudeville. It is such a unique concept, we asked her to describe it in her own words.

Preview by Heather Fisch

At the turn of the 20th century, Great Barrington’s historic Mahaiwe Theater was a vaudeville house, like many others across the U.S., and it became a movie palace in the 1930’s after the advent of the motion picture. During the vaudeville days, the Mahaiwe Theater had a sign posted just below the stage that read, “Touch the girls, and the show is over.”

La Belle Epoque is a depression-era cabaret musical about a young gamine who plays footsie with the devil, gambles away her soul and eventually escapes doom by becoming a showgirl. It’s an ancient story wrapped up in a shiny package of slapstick comedy, fast live Gypsy jazz music and sexy lipstick choreography.

I was inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, The Little Mermaid and the mystical tarot, so the show offers viewers an array of symbolic thought lines. People are invited to read them into their own subconscious minds or to simply enjoy the story and the visions floating by.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.


Be Here Now: Live Opera, Concert and Theatre Events Being Beamed to The Mahaiwe This Fall [Berkshire on Stage]

September 7th, 2011, 3:00 pm by Sara
Comedian James Corden and the cast of "One Man, Two Guvnors"

Comedian James Corden and the cast of "One Man, Two Guvnors"

The Mahaiwe continues to be an invaluable Berkshire treasure for presenting live performances of music, theatre and dance. At the same time it has also developed an equal reputation as the foremost house for Live in High Definition telecasts of live theatre and opera. Working with both London’s National Theatre and the venerable Metropolitan Opera in New York, it uses state of the art projection equipment to present far flung events of great merit. Now those of us in the Berkshires can watch the same great shows that used to be only available to the jet set.

London’s National Theatre

This fall the Mahaiwe opens its telecasts with the first of several 2011-12 broadcasts of London’s National Theatre: Live in HD. Nicholas Hytner directs Richard Bean’s English version of Goldoni’s classic Italian comedy, One Man, Two Guvnors, about sex, food, and money on Thursday, September 15 at 7:00pm. The Sunday Times of London called it ‘Sheer, joyous pandemonium. The moments of slapstick are so perfect, they’re choreographically beautiful as well as funny.’

Following that, on Thursday, October 6 at 7:00pm the Berkshires will have a chance to see Arnold Wesker’s The Kitchen, a black comedy set in a 1950s London restaurant: In the kitchen of an enormous West End restaurant, the orders are piling up: a post-war feast of soup, fish, cutlets, omelettes, and fruit flans. Thrown together by their work, chefs, waitresses and porters from across Europe – English, Irish, German, Jewish – argue and flirt as they race to keep up. London’s National Theatre: Live in HD tickets are $18 to $25.

Click to read the rest of this story at Berkshire on Stage.

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