Posts Tagged ‘Williamstown Theatre Festival’

Two World Premieres Open the Williamstown Theatre Festival’s 2015 Season [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015
(L to R): Estelle Parsons (Mrs. Bennet), Kyra Sedgwick (Faye Garrit) and Mary Wiseman (Julia Conroy) Photo: Paul Fox.

(L to R): Estelle Parsons (Mrs. Bennet), Kyra Sedgwick (Faye Garrit) and Mary Wiseman (Julia Conroy) Photo: Paul Fox.

Williamstown Theatre Festival hosts the opening night celebrations for its first two shows of the 2015 season at 8pm on Thursday (July 2): on the Main Stage, Off the Main Road, world premiere play by Pulitzer Prize-winner William Inge, and on the Nikos Stage, Legacy, a world premiere play by Daniel Goldfarb. A special opening night celebration will follow the performances.

On the Main Stage, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winner Krya Sedgwick makes her WTF debut in Inge’s Off the Main Road. As the second wave of feminism crests in America, the elegant but emotionally fragile Faye Garrit (Sedgwick) seeks refuge from her husband, a former professional baseball player, by checking into a run-down resort on the outskirts of St. Louis with her 17-year-old daughter. The future for mother and daughter may look hazy, but personal, political and sexual awakenings allow them to move forward with new and heartbreaking clarity. Directed by Evan Cabnet, this gripping and powerful drama deepens Inge’s legacy of penning rich, emotionally hard-hitting stories populated by complicated and truthful human characters.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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Williamstown Theatre Festival Adds Six Special Events to Busy 2015 Season Calendar [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

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The Williamstown Theatre Festival has added a batch of new, exciting special events to their 2015 season line-up. In addition to the Main Stage and Nikos Stage productions, the 61st season will also include: Paradise Lew (Monday, July 13), an evening of stand-up with Williamstown veteran Lewis Black; straight from its hit Off-Broadway run, a one-night-only concert performance of Benjamin Scheuer’s The Lion (Sunday, July 19); the return of the stripped-down musical comedy duo the Skivvies (Sunday & Monday, July 26 & 27); The Darrell Hammond Project (Monday, August 10), with “Saturday Night Live” impersonation icon Darrell Hammond; for the first time ever at Williamstown, one of the most-celebrated musical improv shows in the world, Baby Wants Candy (Thursday-Saturday, August 20–22); as well as this summer’s Free Theatre production, Song for a Future Generation (July 15–18 & 21–24).

As previously announced, WTF’s Main Stage Season will include William Inge’s Off the Main Road directed by Evan Cabnet and featuring Kyra Sedgwick in her WTF debut (June 30–July 19); the world premiere of the 2012 L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award-winner Paradise Blue by Dominique Morisseau; directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson (July 22–August 2), and six-time Tony® Award-winner Audra McDonald and Tony nominee Will Swenson in Nobel laureate Eugene O’Neill’s masterpiece: A Moon for the Misbegotten, directed by Gordon Edelstein (August 5–August 23).

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Justin Long, Blair Underwood, Estelle Parsons, More Cast for Williamstown Theatre Fest [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Williamstown Theatre Festival

In Williamstown, the stars come out during the daytime as well as at night when the Williamstown Theatre Festival is in season.

Here’s a guide of some of the luminaries to be on the lookout for thanks to WTF’s artistic director Mandy Greenfield, who has announced additional casting for Williamstown Theatre Festival’s Main Stage and Nikos Stage productions for the upcoming summer season, which kicks off on Tuesday, June 30 and runs through Sunday, August 23.

On the Main Stage:

Becky Ann Baker (returning for her 13th season at WTF), Aaron Costa Ganis (WTF’s Whaddabloodclot!!!), Howard W. Overshown (Julius Caesar), Academy Award-winner Estelle Parsons (Bonnie and Clyde) and Mary Wiseman (An Octoroon) join Kyra Sedgwick in Off the Main Road (June 30-July 19).

Tony Award-nominee De’Adre Aziza (Passing Strange), Andre Holland (Selma), Keith Randolph Smith (Fences) and Blair Underwood (“Sex and the City,” A Streetcar Named Desire) all join the cast of the world premiere of Dominique Morisseau’s Paradise Blue (July 22-August 2).

Aaron Costa Ganis and Howard W. Overshown also join the cast of A Moon for the Misbegotten (August 5-August 23), with Audra McDonald and Will Swenson.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Williamstown Theatre Festival Announces Audra McDonald, Kyra Sedgwick, Will Swenson, 5 Play Premieres & a New Musical [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
Six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald and Tony Award-nominee Will Swenson will co-star in O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten.

Six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald and Tony Award-nominee Will Swenson will co-star in O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten.

By Larry Murray

Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield has announced the Williamstown Theatre Festival’s 2015 Season, the 61st season for the Tony Award-winning theater company and first under Ms. Greenfield’s leadership.

The season, which was announced on Monday from the City Winery stage at WTF’s Annual Gala, runs from June 30–August 23 with a Main Stage line-up that includes: a world premiere production of William Inge’s Off the Main Road (June 30–July 19), directed by Evan Cabnet and featuring Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winner Kyra Sedgwick in her WTF Debut; the world premiere of Paradise Blue (July 22–August 2) by 2012 L. Arnold Weissberger Award-winner Dominique Morisseau directed by Tony Award-winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson; and an invigorating new look at Eugene O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten (August 5–23), featuring six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald and Tony Award-nominee Will Swenson.

The Nikos Stage season kicks off on July 1 and includes the world premiere of Daniel Goldfarb’s Legacy (July 1–12), starring Jessica Hecht and Eric Bogosian; the American premiere of Carey Perloff’s Kinship (July 15–25), directed by Jo Bonney and starring Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award-winner Cynthia Nixon; the world premiere of Unknown Soldier (July 30–August 9) with music & lyrics by Michael Friedman, book & lyrics by Daniel Goldstein and directed by Trip Cullman; and the American premiere of two British plays, including Michaela Coel’s solo play Chewing Gum Dreams and Mike Bartlett’s An Intervention (August 12–23) directed by Lila Neugebauer.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

PigPen Theatre Co. Offers “The Old Man and the Old Moon” @ Williamstown Theatre Festival [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
The company takes storytelling to new heights. Seen here: Ryan Melia, Curtis Gillen, Ben Ferguson, Matt Nuernberger, Dan Weschler.

The company takes storytelling to new heights. Seen here: Ryan Melia, Curtis Gillen, Ben Ferguson, Matt Nuernberger, Dan Weschler

The Williamstown Theatre Festival’s final show of the 2014 season is The Old Man and the Old Moon, which runs on the Nikos Stage from Wednesday (August 6) through August 17.

Of course, the endlessly imaginative PigPen Theatre Co. comes to Williamstown with a reputation for luminously low-fi spectacle that elevates traditional storytelling to high art. Their fantastical, song-filled tale takes us to the end of the world, when an old man abandons his duty of filling the moon with liquid light to search for his missing wife. With a rollicking array of ever-changing characters, inventive theatrical effects and an infectious contemporary folk sound, these seven young actor-musicians transform the seemingly ordinary into sheer wonder.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER: “The Visit” with Chita Rivera Gets an Epic Production at Williamstown Theatre Festival [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, August 4th, 2014
The cast on the set of The Visit. (photo by T. Charles Erickson)

The cast on the set of The Visit. (photo by T. Charles Erickson)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: From the moment you take your seat at the ’62 Center where the Williamstown Theatre Festival performs, you know you are in for a special evening. Soaring into the flies on stage is Scott Pask’s single set that will contain the evening’s performance of The Visit. This tuneful John Kander and Fred Ebb musical has been trying to get to Broadway since 2001. With a book by Terrence McNally and Chita Rivera in the lead role as Claire Zachanassian, it could be well on its way. The WTF production is directed by John Doyle, who knows how to showcase the darker side of human nature, the rich manipulating the poor and it couldn’t be more timely.

Gail M. Burns: This is billed as Kander and Ebb but since Fred Ebb’s death in 2004, Kander and McNally have formed the creative team. Doyle made many changes for this version – cutting the show from two and a half hours and two acts down to a 95-minute one-act form – so the lyrics have obviously been changed since Ebb wrote them.

Larry: The 2001 production was put together at Chicago’s Goodman but 9/11 killed its prospects when New York producers were unable to fly in to see it. The Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA staged a workshop production in 2008, and now in 2014 it looks like the Williamstown team has put together the definitive version. Earlier productions were a bit top heavy having incorporated far too many characters and details from Friedrich Dürrenmat’s 1956 satirical play about greed and revenge, Der Besuch der alten Dame.

The tightening up of the show has worked well, and only a few songs have been lost – the Chorale that opened Act 2, Claire’s “Confession” song, and the reprise of “Winter” by a Young Adam. Other songs have likely been shortened a bit to keep things moving swiftly. They were not missed, since the story is still delightfully rich, full of detail. With a large cast and luscious ten-piece orchestra under David Loud, this Williamstown production fully conveys a dark parable about what desperate people will do when faced with a financial payoff.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

John Doyle, Chita Rivera, Roger Rees All Excited by the Kander-Ebb Musical “The Visit” at WTF [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
Chita Rivera stars in the Williamstown Theatre Festival production of The Visit. (photo: Laurie Duncan)

Chita Rivera stars in the Williamstown Theatre Festival production of The Visit. (photo: Laurie Duncan)

Preview of “The Visit” by Larry Murray

There’s a lot going for the Kander and Ebb musical The Visit, which runs on the Main Stage of the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Williamstown from Thursday (July 31) through August 17, 2014. First and foremost is its lead actor, Chita Rivera. And then there is the return of John Doyle as director and Roger Rees, a WTF favorite.

I had a chance to chat with all three briefly before one of their rehearsals. I asked Doyle, who is known for having actors play instruments during a performance (Remember Donna McKechnie in Ten Cents a Dance at WTF?) if that was to be for this new project, and he laughed, “No, not this time. It’s really a rather dark musical, very European, and not at all what you might expect from a Kander and Ebb score.”

Rivera for her part was delighted to have a chance to put together a large scale musical once again, thinking out loud that “It’s very exciting, very unique, dark [and] passionate. It’s one of the last scores Freddie and John wrote. I am enjoying the challenge and who knows where it might go.” With luck, it could have a life on Broadway after Williamstown.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER: Brilliant Production of Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love” at Williamstown Theatre Festival [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, July 28th, 2014
Sam Rockwell, Nina Arianda (photo: T. Charles Erickson)

Sam Rockwell, Nina Arianda (photo: T. Charles Erickson)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Gail M. Burns: Playwright Sam Shepard says that his own experience of being in love inspired the aptly titled Fool for Love, now on the Nikos Stage at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Williamstown through Saturday (August 2). He wrote: “[Falling in love is] such a dumbfounding experience. In one way, you wouldn’t trade it for the world. In another way, it’s absolute hell.” In the play, May and Eddie (Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell) are both trapped, dumbfounded, in their own mutual hell of love.

Larry Murray: Their relationship hit the rocks ages ago, yet something still binds them together. This passion is at the core of Shepard’s raw and emotion-drenched drama. Like watching a catastrophic storm destroy the foundations of our lives, we watch the two lovers cling to each other like life rafts even as they try to flee from the tumultuous waters of their own unpredictable relationship.

Gail: And we discover the brutal roots of their affair over the brisk, intermission-less 75 minutes of this production. Eddie and May are more than lovers, they are half-siblings whose mutual father kept two wives and families secret from each other until after his unwitting offspring had fallen in love in high school.

Larry: Fool for Love was written three decades ago, yet like so much of Shepard’s work, it still holds us in its thrall as the pair confront their passion for each other and the inevitable pain that May will feel when Eddie’s wanderlust kicks in again. The script is at times subtle with much to read between the lines, a masterpiece of understatement and allusion. But as with Sam Shepard plays, the words escalate into explosive action, the actors tearing at each other like mortal enemies. Everything happens in May’s seedy motel room while Eddie practices his lasso tricks, swigs beer and cleans his shotgun. When Eddie isn’t looking, she packs her suitcase in order to make a quick getaway. As a story, how do you feel this 1983 play has held up?

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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