The Tempest is always filled with magic. Part of the magic in Shakespeare & Company’s production is the setting, out of doors in the Shakespeare Garden. Watching it in the early evening was enchanting. The other magic is the actors and Shakespeare. This play has everything, treachery, love and the most hilarious clowns ever.
Bob and I interviewed Allyn Burrows, the director, during rehearsals. After the interview, he invited us into the garden to watch a rehearsal. That was fun, but seeing the play with the wonderful costumes and Ariel in the trees was even better.
Listen to the interview by clicking on the link to the interview. Then click on the Shakespeare and Company website. Don’t worry if it rains. The play will be under the tent in the Rose Footprint just down the path.
This plays at Barrington Stage’s St. Germain Theatre until August 27. This should not be missed. The audience drops in on a group of old friends who like to play games. That is what they are doing when the play opens. In some ways this is a metaphor for their relationships throughout the rest of the play. An outsider enters the picture and provides some perspective. What looks like an episode of Friends morphs into something quite different.
Bob and I had the pleasure of interviewing the entire cast. Their discussion of their work and the actor’s life is worth sharing. To hear it, click on the links below
The Music Man runs until August 19 at the Weston Playhouse. Weston’s motto is that it celebrates the classics and nurtures the new. There are two classic American plays that deal with a traveling salesman who “doesn’t know the territory.” Both of these plays have had productions at the Weston Playhouse. They are however quite different. One of them is Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller and the other is The Music Man by Meredith Willson. Each in its own way gives a glimpse of times in the United States that have passed. Madison Avenue, shopping malls and the Internet are among the reasons we can only encounter traveling salesmen on our stages and not in our towns, large and small.
Meeting Harold Hill in this production is probably more fun than even the most successful traveling salesman in the past. Meredith Willson’s melodies recreate a 1912 River City that may never have existed, but should have. The cast is excellent and the audience leaves the theatre with the lovely music playing in their heads.
Bob and I had the pleasure of talking with three of the cast members: David Bonanno who plays Harold Hill, Marissa McGowan who plays Marian the Librarian, and Michael Mendez who plays Marcellus Washburn, Hill’s accomplice.
A Legendary Romance plays at the Williamstown Theatre Festival until August 20. It is a new musical that is well worth seeing. Jeff McCarthy is on stage throughout the play as his character remembers his past differently from the film about it an eager, young producer wants him to approve. Like many contemporary musicals, A Legendary Romance deals with issues that will leave you thinking after the show is over. There is the question of what is true and what is fiction. There is also a political dimension.. These themes are dealt with in ways that keep the audience engaged in the lives unfolding on stage, entertained as well as stimulated.
Bob and I had much to talk about after we saw it. Click below to hear some of our thoughts.
“Always look on the bright side of life”. Eric Idle transformed the film Monty Python and The Holy Grail into a wonderful musical, Spamalot which is playing at the Mac-Haydn Theatre until August 20. Our sons saw the film twelve times. They would probably wish to see this production that many times as well. The score is wonderful, the book full of laughs and the production at Mac-Haydn a delight to see and hear. The joy in Python jokes is that you relish hearing them over and over until you can almost say the lines with the actors. Each time you hear them they are as fresh as the first time. This production builds on that as the actors transform into various characters just as the Pythons did. Arthur, King of the Britains and The Lady of the Lake are always themselves, of course. Hard to choose highlights, but “Whatever Happened to My Song?” and “I Am All Alone” and “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway…” come to mind.
The Mac-Haydn Theatre is a gem for lovers of musicals. To transform from Anything Goes to Saturday Night Fever to Sweeney Todd to Spamalot every two weeks on a tiny arena stage is incredible. Bob and I are in awe of the exhilarating performances we have seen there. Fortunately, each production for us has been preceded by an interview with people involved with the particular show. This time it was Neal Kowalsky, the director, Jillian Zack , music director and John Anker Bow who plays.Arthur, King of the Britains. Click below to hear the interview.
The Legend of Georgia McBride runs until August 19 at the Dorset Theatre Festival. There are matinees on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The play runs for ninety minutes without intermission and gives the audience a glimpse into a world that most people don’t know too much about. This is the world of the drag queen. There have been some plays and television shows that offer a glimpse into this world. However, this play provides a unique perspective.
Bob and I were eager to see the play since we greatly admired The Whipping Man by Lopez which also had a production at the Dorset Theatre Festival a few seasons ago. We talked with Sam Levitt, one of the company’s dramaturgs about The Legend of Georgia McBride. You can hear that talk by clicking on the link below.
However, that did not prepare us for the experience of seeing the play. We were struck by the set as we settled in our seats. When the play began, we were absorbed in the lives unfolding before us. Lopez is a playwright who enables an audience to experience the humanity of people they do not know, but get to know and understand in new ways.
Curious to know more about the playwright, I went to his website. There are scenes from productions of his other plays that makes me hope that the Dorset Theatre Festival will bring more of his work to their stage.
After you order your tickets for The Legend of Georgia McBride, by clicking on their website below, visit Matthew Lopez’s web page.
Arsenic and Old Lace is a delightful comedy that is playing at The Fitzpatrick Main Stage of the Berkshire Theatre Group in Stockbridge, MA until August 19. This is a play that has been popular over the years on stage, film and television. However, nothing equals seeing it onstage. The title and the poster gives one an idea of what they are to experience. However, one needs to be at the theatre with fellow audience members of a range of ages to see how a comedy written seventy-eight years ago can still generate laughs and a good time. As always when we see theatre, Bob and I talk about it on the way home. We continued our discussion once at home. Click on the link below to hear some of our thoughts.