Posts Tagged ‘Williamstown Theatre Festival’

Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell Passionate About “Fool for Love” at Williamstown Theatre Fesival [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, July 21st, 2014
Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell play two ex-lovers holed up in a run down desert motel.

Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell play two ex-lovers holed up in a run-down desert motel.

By Larry Murray

Today we got a peek at the pair of lovers at the core of Sam Shepard’s drama, Fool for Love, which begins performances on the Nikos Stage of the Williamstown Theatre Festival on Wednesday (July 23) and continues through August 2. Daniel Aukin directs this Sam Shepard myth of the new Wild West. It stars Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur, Midnight in Paris) and Sam Rockwell (WTF’s A Streetcar Named Desire, Seven Psychopaths). The cast also includes Christopher Abbott (Girls, Martha Marcy May Marlene) and Gordon Joseph Weiss (Awakenings, Reversal of Fortune). The creative team includes Dane Laffrey (Scenic Design; Bad Jews), Anita Yavich (Costume Design; WTF’s As You Like It), Justin Townsend (Lighting Design; Here Lies Love), Ryan Rumery (Sound Design) and David Leong (Fight Director; WTF’s Corners). The Production Stage Manager is Kyle Gates.

Watching Sam Rockwell and Nina Arianda interact during the press junket it was clear that the two performers were meshing together well as the two former lovers in the searing drama. In the Shepard play, the couple, May and Eddie, unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart in the process. Director Aukin sang praises of the two and finds them a good match for this tangled tale. During my brief one-on-one with them, they joked with and teased each other, and the director, and clearly were having fun working with each other.

The good cheer belies the difficult roles they play. For Eddie and May, beaten down by ill-fated love and a ruthless struggle for identity, the question becomes one of whether they can ultimately live with, or without, each other.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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Talking with Justin Long about “Living On Love” at Williamstown Theatre Festival [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014
Justin Long (l) and Renee Fleming

Justin Long (l) and Renee Fleming

Interview and preview of “Living on Love” by Larry Murray

Sitting down with Justin Long, it cames as no surprise that he is passionate about theater, film and the stage. (He has been seen in WTF’s One Slight Hitch and Seminar). What is a revelation is his incredibly fast mind, combined with an earthiness and passion that reveals what is truly important to him. It’s not fame, parties or celebrity. Turns out he really loves the mountains, the fresh air and the Williamstown Theatre Festival which brings him to our doorstep. Sitting down to talk with Justin during rehearsals for the world premiere Main Stage production, Joe DiPietro’s Living on Love, we learned a lot about Long and were surprised by his honesty and candor.

He’s part of a great cast that is preparing Living With Love which runs from Wednesday (July 16)-July 26. It also includes Anna Chlumsky (In the Loop, “Veep”), Renée Fleming (Le Nozze di Figaro, La Traviata), Blake Hammond (First Date, Sister Act), Scott Robertson (Cabaret, Damn Yankees), and Douglas Sills (The Scarlet Pimpernel, Little Shop of Horrors).

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

WTF: Lauren Ambrose and Chris Pine Are Out; Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell Now in “Fool for Love” [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, June 20th, 2014
Fool for Love now stars Sam Rockwell (l) and Nina Arianda (r).

“Fool for Love” now stars Sam Rockwell (l) and Nina Arianda (r).

Citing scheduling conflicts for the originally scheduled actors Chris Pine and Lauren Ambrose, the Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF) has announced that Tony Award-winner Nina Arianda and stage and screen star Sam Rockwell will join the cast of Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love, playing the Nikos Stage from July 24–August 2, 2014. The two originally cast in-demand actors have departed the production due to scheduling conflicts.

“While we were greatly looking forward to welcoming Chris Pine back to Williamstown, Sam Rockwell and I have long included Fool for Love at the top of our wish list for a production on the Nikos Stage, and we are thrilled that Sam is available to return to Williamstown. He has a long history of recreating extraordinary roles by great American writers here. We are further blessed by the red-hot Nina Arianda, a formidable actor and great foil as May to Sam’s Eddie.” – Jenny Gersten, Artistic Director Emeritus

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Remembering Nicholas Martin and his time at the Williamstown Theatre Festival [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, May 5th, 2014
Nicholas Martin

Nicholas Martin

Update 5-1-14 – The sad news arrived that former Williamstown Theatre Festival artistic director Nicholas Martin (75) passed away at the Beth Israel Hospital after a long illness. His theatre friends all over the country mourn his passing. It seems appropriate for me to post the last interview we did with him in which he reflects on theatre, Williamstown and the people in theatre he loved. You might also like to read Don Aucoin’s report in today’s Boston Globe. (LM).

As the curtain goes up tonight on Fifth of July, (August 11-22) Nicholas Martin wraps up his three year stint as artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival with some pretty impressive achievements. We talked about a few of them during a recent conversation, but first some background.

Martin is much beloved by his company of actors and designers, and part of that is his loyalty to them. In 2008 when he took over as artistic director, Campbell Scott appeared in The Atheist, and was featured again in the recent 2010 Our Town which Martin also directed. In fact, Martin directed 14 WTF shows before taking the reins in June 2008. His history with Campbell Scott goes back to one of his earliest WTF directorial efforts, Dead End in 1998.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Blythe Danner to Star in “The Country House,” a Play about Summer in Williamstown [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
Blythe Danner

Blythe Danner

Story by Larry Murray

Plans have been announced for The Country House, a new comedy by Donald Margulies, whose story takes place at a Berkshire summerhouse during the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Starring Blythe Danner, it will open this June at the Geffen Playhouse in LA, then move to Roundabout Theatre in New York City in September.

A press announcement noted that it is the sixth production at the Geffen Playhouse for Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies (Coney Island Christmas, Times Stands Still, Sight Unseen). The Country House is a new comedy about a deeply dramatic family and begins previews June 3 (opening night is June 11).

Tony and Emmy winner Blythe Danner (The Commons of Pensacola, Meet the Parents) stars as Anna Patterson, the matriarch of a brood of famous and longing-to-be-famous creative artists who have gathered at their Berkshires summerhouse during the Williamstown Theatre Festival. But when the weekend takes an unexpected turn, everyone is forced to improvise… inciting a series of simmering jealousies, a flurry of romantic outbursts and a bout of passionate soul-searching.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Barrington Stage and Williamstown Festival Make Major 2014 Season Announcements [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, January 31st, 2014
One of the great heroes of WWII is Alan Turing who broke the Nazi’s enigma code and whose riveting personal story will be presented by Barrington Stage Company this summer.

One of the great heroes of WWII is Alan Turing who broke the Nazi’s enigma code and whose riveting personal story will be presented by Barrington Stage Company this summer.

by Larry Murray

Theater news is in the air as Pittsfield’s Barrington Stage Company announced its full season of 2014 offerings and the Williamstown Theatre Festival dropped the names of the shows and stars to light their main stage marquee. A detailed look at the Barrington Stage offerings is in the works here at Berkshire on Stage as Gail M. Burns and I report on the kick-off lunch and our discussions with Julianne Boyd and others later this week. For now, the Barrington Stage Company offerings are:

Kiss Me, Kate will be from June 11-July 12. This classic musical which mixes Shakespeare with a traveling troupe of theatrical folks was first announced last September. The popular musical recounts the backstage and onstage antics of two feuding couples during a touring production of The Taming of the Shrew. Sparkling with 18 classic Cole Porter songs, Kiss Me, Kate includes “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,” “So in Love,” “Always True to You in My Fashion,” “Too Darn Hot,” and “Brush Up Your Shakespeare”.

Breaking the Code, Hugh Whitemore’s biographical drama about the true story of Alan Turing, the famed mathematician and computer science pioneer and the primary designer of the Turing Machine, an early computer used to solve the German Enigma code during World War II, a solution many believe was instrumental in the Allied victory. The title refers to both the solution of the Enigma code and Turing’s open admission to his homosexuality, which at the time violated not only the codes of polite society but British law. To star BSC Associate Artist Mark H. Dold, and will be directed by Joe Calarco. Performances of Breaking the Code are from July 17-August 2.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Mandy Greenfield to Succeed Jenny Gersten as Williamstown Theatre Festival Artistic DIrector [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, December 5th, 2013
Mandy Greenfield

Mandy Greenfield

Williamstown Theatre Festival has named Mandy Greenfield as their new Artistic Director beginning September, 2014. The appointment was announced by the Festival’s Board Chair Matt Harris. Greenfield, who is currently Artistic Producer at Manhattan Theatre Club, succeeds Jenny Gersten. As previously announced, Gersten departs Williamstown Theatre Festival in January 2014 to become Executive Director of Friends of the Highline. Gersten will program the upcoming 2014 season, and Williamstown Theatre Festival Producer Stephen Kaus will oversee the season. Greenfield’s tenure as Artistic Director will begin immediately following the 2014 season, the Festival’s 60th.

“We are thrilled for Jenny’s new chapter, and know that she will forever be linked to WTF; we welcome Mandy Greenfield with great excitement. Mandy has the experience, leadership ability, taste, and vision to help us write the next chapter for our theater,” – Board Chair Matt Harris

In the news release announcing the appointment, new artistic director Mandy Greenfield said, “I am thrilled to build upon the rich history of the Williamstown Theatre Festival and create bold, adventurous work with the company. I look forward to producing theater with writers, directors, designers, actors and apprentices passionate about making great art, in a spectacular and singular environment, in the seasons ahead. I am excited to work with the Festival’s devoted board, unwavering supporters and loyal audiences to sustain and grow one of the great American cultural treasures.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

WTF and the Debate Society Opens “Blood Play” – Dark, Difficult Story About the Dystopian ’50s [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013
(L to R): Paul Thureen (Jeep), Hannah Bos (Bev), Michael Cyril Creighton (Morty), Hanlon Smith-Dorsey (Sam) and Birgit Huppuch (Gail). Photograph T Charles Erickson.

(L to R): Paul Thureen (Jeep), Hannah Bos (Bev), Michael Cyril Creighton (Morty), Hanlon Smith-Dorsey (Sam) and Birgit Huppuch (Gail). Photograph T Charles Erickson.

Theater review by Larry Murray

The Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF) continues its tradition of presenting and supporting up and coming theatre companies that most people have never heard of. The Debate Society (TDS) is one of them, and it opened Blood Play at the Nikos Theatre last week. This work occupies the final slot in WTF’s 2013 season of seven plays.

Blood Play places us in a claustrophobic pine-paneled basement room with five refugees from the fifties. In the dystopian culture which those years spawned we meet some people on the cusp of success who spend their time drinking, socializing and playing silly party games. It is all innocuous enough on the surface, but the sheer mediocrity of it left me thinking about how much I dreaded not being able to escape that sort of life half a century ago. That’s when I fled suburban Freeport, Long Island in search of something more meaningful, more real than the regimentation of getting married, having 2.5 kids, 1/4 acre, and a station wagon in the garage. The oppressive scourge that era brought us includes Senator Joe McCarthy and the red scare, Levittown, keeping up with the Joneses, the John Birch Society, TV dinners. It ultimately paved the way for the vacuity of discount big-box stores, overcrowded highways and mindless television, not to mention the military-industrial complex and war as big business.

Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “The past is prologue,” and I might posit that this dystopia still exists, even as the nature and variety of amusements has changed. Now we have all manner of “smart” electronic toys that make us feel unique and powerful even as they keep us from actually communicating with each other as the drinking games in Blood Play do. Times have not changed all that much, just the things we amuse ourselves with. On another level there are hints of family dysfunction, sexual curiosity and neglected, possibly abused children. These are some of the things that Blood Play – whether purposely or by accident – brings to the surface. They are all hinted at. We, the audience have to fill in the blanks.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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