Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley

To add to the festivities of the holiday season, Shakespeare and Company is presenting a costumed staged reading of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.  With many of our favorite books, we imagine  life going on  after we close the book. The romance of Pride and Prejudice continues in this delightful play by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon. Jane Austen would be pleased to see her characters live   once again.

However, this reading has a short run from December 15 to 17. If you miss  the  performances,  Shakespeare and Company has  other presentations during the winter season which will please you. There will be a Winter Studio Festival of Plays January 13 – 14, 2018. Five plays will be read over the two days.

February 17-18, 2018  Lovers’ Spat Round Two will offer scenes from Shakespeare and other playwrights showing that  the course of true love never did run smooth.

Click on the link below as Bob and I discuss this.

Discussion of Christmas at Pemberley and other things

Then click on Shakespeare and Company’s website for further information.

Shakespeare and Company

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Each year The Dorset Players offer a show that brightens  the holiday season. This year they are presenting The Twelve Days of Christmas, a family friendly production with a cast primarily of children and a few adults. Putting together the participants of the  twelve days song is a challenge for this year’s partridge in a pear tree. She  gets some help from the audience. Having a cast primarily of children also presented challenges to Sheila Childs which she shares in our interview with her.

Click on the link below to hear about that and more.

Interview with Sheila Childs

 

Click on the link below to get tickets

The Dorset Players

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The Mystery of Edwin Drood

The Mystery of Edwin Drood is  a delightful musical that Hubbard Hall is presenting on weekends until December 3. This is a new version of the play  written specifically for Hubbard Hall which is a perfect setting for it. As David Snider, the director of the play and the Executive and Artistic Director of Hubbard Hall explains in the playbill,  he heard that a theatre in Raleigh, North Carolina had done a shorter version of the play which David has admired since he saw it as a seventeen year old. He wrote the theatre and never heard from them. Instead, he received a phone call from Rupert Holmes. Holmes had written the play, the music and the lyrics. After a long telephone call, Holmes agreed to write a version which set the action at Hubbard Hall in 1895. Since his adopted name is Holmes,  the year 1895 has special significance for the playwright/composer.

The result is a delightful production in a setting that enhances the play. Charles Dickens wrote the book on which the play is based. Unfortunately, Dickens did not finish the book because he died. However, as in all the productions of this play, it is the audience who finishes it by voting on the villain. Each performance may be resolved differently, not only in terms of the killer but also who will be the couple who find love and happiness at the  play’s end.

Bob and I went to opening night. We not only enjoyed the production, but had a chance to talk with Mr. Holmes and some of the actors. You can click on our discussion below. You can also click on the Hubbard Hall web site for tickets. We have also included the interview which Joe Donahue had with Rupert Holmes and David Snider on WAMC.

Discussion of the Hubbard Hall Production

Hubbard Hall web site

Joe Donahue Interview

Opening Night with Rupert Holmes and David Snider

Williamstown Theatre Festival Apprentice Program

Besides producing a season of fine plays each summer, The Williamstown Theatre Festival has a range of other programs, many of which involve preparing the next generation of theatre professionals. Bob and I were fortunate to interview some of those involved in these programs. Because of the number of plays and interviews we do during the season, we didn’t have the opportunity to share these enlightening discussions with the theatre people of the future on our blog. We do so now.

The first interview, with Brendan George,  provides a picture of what life for an apprentice at the Williamstown Theatre Festival is like. Often after we finish an interview,  a comment is made  that  adds  to what we  already learned. In this case, Brendan provided insight into how important each person, backstage or onstage, is. In commenting on what his experience working on The Model American meant,  he explained that  he had worked on the floor for the  play. “I won’t get an award for that floor, but I know it was important for the play.”

                    Brendan George

 Interview with Apprentice Brendan George

Williamstown Theatre Festival Work and Learn Programs

Dorset Players 90th Anniversary

Community theatres are an important resource. The Dorset Players is an outstanding example. They not only offer an opportunity for children and adults to act in plays, they also give people a chance to develop their back stage skills such as building sets, hanging lights and all the other aspects of theatre. The major performer in one play might be working on costumes for the next.  Although community theatres have to pay royalties for the plays , as all theatres do, community theatres can present classic plays which have large casts because the players volunteer their time.

Recognizing how inspiring the longevity of the Dorset Players is, Bob and I had the pleasure of interviewing Angie Merwin, currently the President of the Board. She also has been doing lighting for many years.  Past presidents, Suzi Dorgeloh, who does costumes and directs and Errol Hill who acts, works on sets and does whatever needs to be done,  also shared their experiences and gave us a sense of how valuable community theatre is to the volunteers and to their audiences.

Click below to listen to the interview.

Interview with Dorset Players Members

Dorset Players website

 

Dorset Playhouse Then
Dorset Playhouse Now

Berkshire Theatre Critics Association 2017

Peter Bergman toasts at last year’s Awards Cermony

The Berkshire Theatre Critics Association announced the nominees for their Second Annual Berkshire Theatre Awards. These awards, known as “Berkies,” are given to theatres in Massachusetts, Vermont, New York and Connecticut.  They are voted on by the critics in the area.  The awards celebrate the quality and diversity of theatre in the greater Berkshire region. There is also a special award honoring the late Larry Murray, the founder of the awards. This award, The Larry Murray Award for Community Engagement on the part of a theatre company, is voted on by the Association’s Board members.

The award winners will be announced at the awards ceremony  November 6 on the St. Germain Stage in the Sybelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center at Barrington Stage in Pittsfield.

Bob and I interviewed Peter Bergman, the President of the Berkshire  Theatre Critics Association, about the association and the awards. After you click below to listen to him, you can  review the nominees below.

Interview with Peter Bergman on Berkshire Theatre Awards.

You might also want to check out Peter Bergman’s website

Berkshire Bright Focus

Nominees for Berkshire Theatre Critic Association Awards

  1. Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Musical:

Ellen Harvey, Company, Barrington Stage Co.

Rachel Rhodes- Devey, Hello, Dolly!, Mac-Haydn Theatre

Madison Stratton, Spamalot, Mac-Haydn Theatre

Zurin Villanueva, Ragtime, Barrington Stage Co.

  1. Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Musical:

Gabe Belyeu, Spamalot, Mac-Haydn Theatre

Gil Brady, Mamma Mia!, Capitol Repertory Theatre

Roe Hartrampf, A Legendary Romance, Williamstown Theatre Festival

Paul Urriola, Guys and Dolls, Theater Barn

  1. Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Play:

Jessica Hecht, The Clean House, Williamstown Theatre Festival

Zoe Laiz, 4000 Miles, Shakespeare & Co.

Ella Loudon, The Tempest, Shakespeare & Co.

Medina Senghore, Intimate Apparel, Shakespeare & Co.

  1. Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Play:

Joey Collins, At Home At The Zoo, Berkshire Theatre Group

Mark H. Dold, This, Barrington Stage Co.

Carson Elrod, Taking Steps, Barrington Stage Co.

Rocco Sisto, The Birds, Barrington Stage Co.

  1. Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor in a Musical:

Darnell Abraham, Ragtime, Barrington Stage Co.

Mark Hardy, Sweeney Todd, Mac-Haydn Theatre

Jeff McCarthy, A Legendary Romance, Williamstown Theatre Festival

Aaron Tveit, Company, Barrington Stage Co.

  1. Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actress in a Musical:

Lora Lee Gayer, A Legendary Romance, Williamstown Theatre Festival

Emily Kron, Sweeney Todd, Mac-Haydn Theatre

Elizabeth Stanley, Ragtime, Barrington Stage Co.

Monica M. Wemitt, Hello, Dolly!, Mac-Haydn Theatre

  1. Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actress in a Play:

Lynette R. Freedman, Lost Lake, Berkshire Theatre Group

Diane Prusha, Wharton Comedies, Shakespeare & Co.

Lauren Ridloff, Children of a Lesser God, Berkshire Theatre Group

Kim Stauffer, Emilie, WAM Theatre

  1. Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor in a Play:

David Adkins, At Home At the Zoo, Berkshire Theatre Group

Nigel Gore, The Tempest, Shakespeare & Co.

Quentin Maré, Lost Lake, Berkshire Theatre Group

Oliver Wadsworth, Emilie, WAM Theatre

  1. Outstanding Ensemble Production:

Baskerville, Dorset Theatre Festival

God of Carnage, Shakespeare & Co.

Shipwrecked, Oldcastle Theatre

Skeleton Crew, Chester Theatre

  1. Outstanding Solo Performance Piece:

Kyle Branzel, Buyer & Cellar, Weston Playhouse

Ed Dixon, Georgie, Barrington Stage Co.

Joel Ripka, Every Beautiful Thing, Chester Theatre

Oliver Wadsworth, The Tarnation of Russell Colvin, Dorset Theatre Festival

  1. Outstanding Direction of a Musical:

James Barry, Million Dollar Quartet, Berkshire Theatre Group

Joe Calarco, Ragtime, Barrington Stage Co.

Trey Compton, Godspell – 2012, Theater Barn

John Saunders, Hello, Dolly!, Mac-Haydn Theatre

  1. Outstanding Direction of a Play:

Eric Hill, At Home At the Zoo, Berkshire Theatre Group

Kenny Leon, Children of a Lesser God, Berkshire Theatre Group

Regge Life, God of Carnage, Shakespeare & Co.

Rebecca Taichman, The Clean House, Williamstown Theatre Festival

  1. Outstanding Scenic Design:

Riccardo Hernandez, The Clean House, Williamstown Theatre Festival

Randall Parsons, Arsenic and Old Lace, Berkshire Theatre Group

Brian Prather, Ragtime, Barrington Stage Co.

Kristen Robinson, Company, Barrington Stage Co.

  1. Outstanding Costume Design:

Tyler Kinney, Cymbeline, Shakespeare & Co.

Govane Lohbauer, Emilie, WAM Theatre

Bethany Marx, Hello, Dolly!, Mac-Haydn

Sara Jane Tosetti, Ragtime, Barrington Stage Co

  1. Outstanding Lighting Design:

Mike Baldassari, Children of a Lesser God, Berkshire Theatre Group

Chris Lee, Ragtime, Barrington Stage Co.

David Weiner, Where Storms are Born, Williamstown Theatre Festival

Robert Wierzel, A Legendary Romance, Williamstown Theatre Festival

  1. Outstanding Sound Design:

Scott Killian, Lost Lake, Berkshire Theatre Group

Ryan Rumery, The Legend of Georgia McBride, Dorset Theatre Festival

Alex Sovronsky, The Last Wife, WAM Theatre

David Thomas, The Birds, Barrington Stage Co.

  1. Outstanding Choreography:

Jeffrey Page, Company, Barrington Stage Co.

Freddy Ramirez, Mamma Mia!, Capitol Repertory

Sebastiani Romagnolo, Hello, Dolly!, Mac-Haydn

Shea Sullivan, Ragtime, Barrington Stage Co.

  1. Outstanding New Play or Musical:

Every Brilliant Thing, Duncan Macmillan, Chester Theatre

I and You, Lauren Gunderson, Chester Theatre

A Legendary Romance, Timothy Prager/Geoff Morrow, Williamstown Theatre Festival

Where Storms Are Born, Williamstown Theatre Festival

  1. Best Production of a Musical:

Company, Barrington Stage Co.

Hello, Dolly!, Mac=Haydn Theatre

A Legendary Romance, Williamstown Theatre Festival

Sweeney Todd, Mac-Haydn Theatre

  1. Best Production of a Play:

The Birds, Conor McPherson, Barrington Stage Co.

Children of a Lesser God, Mark Medoff, Berkshire Theatre Group

The Clean House, Sarah Ruhl, Williamstown Theatre Festival

Lost Lake, David Auburn, Berkshire Theatre Group

 

 

The Last Wife

The Last Wife runs until November 5 at the Elayne Bernstein Theatre at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, MA. This is a production of WAM Theatre. The play runs Friday through Sunday. Tickets are purchased through the Shakespeare and Company box office.

The play is about Henry VIII’s last wife, Katherine Parr, and her influence on a future king and  two queens of England, specifically Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. This is history as it should be experienced. Not only is the language contemporary, but the issues that the play raises about the political power of women are relevant  today.  Not just history, the play is a delightful theatrical experience.

Click below to hear Bob and I discuss the play

Discussion of The Last Wife

Then go to The WAM Theatre website

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