LIVE: The Who’s “Tommy” @ Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield [GailSez]

July 13th, 2011, 3:30 pm by Sara
Tommy (Randy Harrison, top center) is a sensation in the BTF production at the Colonial Theatre. (photo: Jaime Davidson)

Tommy (Randy Harrison, top center) is a sensation in the BTF production at the Colonial Theatre. (photo: Jaime Davidson)

I hate it when I am called on to name my “Best Picks” for the upcoming season because I don’t have ESP and because I often get excited over obscure shows that interest no one but me. But mostly importantly because more often than not what looks lit a sure-fire hit in April turns out to be a big disappointment in July, and usually for reasons it was impossible to anticipate.

But Tommy proves the exception to that rule. The minute I heard that the first BTF production at The Colonial Theatre would be The Who’s Tommy starring Randy Harrison I said “Wow!” What a cool, bold choice of show! What a great way to build on the relationship that has developed between Harrison and the BTF. What a fabulous way to bring the theatrical riches – and potential – of this region to the attention of the movers and shakers of the theatre world.

Now that I have been there and seen that, I am happy to report that this production lived up to every bit of hype, hope, and expectation. It is daring, it is wonderfully entertaining, and it is thoroughly homegrown. It has the fingerprints of the BTF and Eric Hill all over it. This is not a bus-and-truck show hauled out to the sticks to amuse the locals, this is theatre by us, for us. This bodes very well indeed for the newly minted BTF/Colonial merger. More, more!

Click to read the rest at GailSez.


LIVE: Randy Harrison Rocks The Berks in The Who’s “Tommy” at Colonial [Berkshire on Stage]

July 11th, 2011, 12:30 pm by Sara
Paige Scott and Randy Harrison (photo by Christy Wright)

Paige Scott and Randy Harrison (photo by Christy Wright)

Last night there was a miracle – in more ways than one – on South Street in Pittsfield. The Who’s Tommy is the first production of the newly minted Berkshire Theatre Group and it was more than good, or great. It was heart-thumpingly fantastic. By the time the classic story of Peter Townshend’s deaf, dumb and blind boy had been told, the audience was up and out of its seats, whooping, hollering, dancing in the aisles with complete joy and abandon.

In decades of seeing theatre, including the original Broadway version of Tommy, and its national road show company, I have never seen anything like this response before. My delight with the show was pretty unexpected too, as I found tears of joy suddenly streaming down my face.

But I am a critic and this is supposed to be an objective review. So I have pulled myself together to try to give you the reasons why, despite the many Tommy‘s before it, this is the one to see and save in your memory.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire On Stage.

Be Here Now: The Who’s “Tommy” @ The Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield [Berkshire on Stage]

July 6th, 2011, 3:30 pm by Sara

Tommy @ The Colonial Theatre

(Updated 7/5) It’s been several months since the Colonial Theatre-Berkshire Theatre Festival schedule was announced and the first show to draw questions was the complex and wildly popular rock opera Tommy by Peter Townshend and The Who. Anticipation continues to build. (July 7-16, 2011) Undertaking a rock opera in the Berkshires is rare, especially this one. The Who’s Tommy was first released as a concept album in 1969, and then given the full Broadway treatment in 1993. It toured the country for a decade afterwards.

In 2011 the Berkshires will be one of the few places in the world where it can be seen in a fully staged production from the Berkshire Theatre Festival on the stage of the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA. Previews begin July 7, with the opening set for July 9 and the final performance on July 16.

As the rehearsals progress, we were able to snag this snippet of a rehearsal that gives a peek at the choreography and overall concept, though with just the rehearsal piano, street clothes and work lights. You have to imagine the final product, but this behind the scenes view is tempting, isn’t it?

Click the read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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