Thoughts About 2017 Season: J. Peter Bergman

As we look forward to the 2018 season, we reflect on last season.  Considering the season from Peter Bergman’s perspective always provides us with  insights into the plays and into theatre generally.  Peter probably sees as much theatre as it is possible to see.  He ranges from Massachusetts to Vermont, Connecticut and New York. He also gets to New York City once in a while to see what they have to offer. Large and small, professional and community theatres, new and classic plays are all part of his theatre experience. We benefit from his knowledge and understanding of theatre; what makes it successful and what falls short. When we  only knew Peter from his reviews, we found ourselves traveling to new and distant theatre companies based on his thoughtful, intriguing  analyse   s. Since we have been interviewing him in person, we  still do it.

Click below to listen to his summary of last season

Interview with Peter Bergman on 2017 Theatre.

Then click below to follow his reviews on Berkshire Bright Focus.

Berkshire Bright Focus

J. Peter Bergman-2017 Theatre Season

Each year we like to check in with Peter Bergman about the upcoming theatre season. As always, the conversation roams over many topics about theatre besides the anticipated season. Peter shared information about the Berkshire Theatre Awards among other topics. As always, we gained a fresh perspective on matters theatrical from Peter. After listening to what he has to say,  click on the link below to check out his website Berkshire Bright Focus.  Bookmark it to read insightful reviews of plays as they open.  We always do.

J.Peter Bergman Part 1

J. Peter Bergman Part 2

J. Peter Bergman Part 3

J. Peter Bergman Part 4


Berkshire Bright Focus

Peter Bergman: End of Season Report 2016

Peter Bergman at the Awards Ceremony
Peter Bergman at the Awards Ceremony

Each year we look forward to Peter Bergman’s review of  the past season. This year there was the added excitement of the new Berkshire Theatre Awards, celebrating the achievements of theatre artists in the Berkshires, Southern Vermont and some theatres across the border in  New York. Founded by Larry Murray, a theatre critic, it is an award decided on by the critics in the area. Bob and I were honored to be among those selected to nominate and vote on the nominees. The awards  have become known as Berkies and they recognize the rich array of talent     in our area from actors to directors to set designers and choreographers and all the other artists that make theatre special.

Peter was very much involved in the development of the award and was a delightful co-host of the event where the artists received their recognition. In our interview with him, he talks about the Berkies as well as what he found satisfying and challenging in this past season’s productions.  Listen to what he has to say by clicking below

Interview with Peter Bergman

Nehassaiu de Gannes
Elizabeth Aspenlieder and Debra Jo Rupp








         Larry Murrray
Larry Murray with the Murray Award

Click on link below to read more about the awards.

Berkshire On Stage and Screen

A Man of Many Talents

download-8Bob and I first encountered J. Peter Bergman when we read his reviews in various papers. We thought that he brought a great deal of insight into his reports on the productions. His knowledge and appreciation of theatre in all its aspects was evident to us. When we started broadcasting Theatre Talk in 2011, we thought it would be interesting to get a reviewer’s perspective on theatre so we invited him as a guest. We are so glad we did because he brings such richness to his understanding of theatre.


We now regularly invite him once or twice each year to give his perspective on our area theatre at the beginning and the ending of each season. However, we as we have gotten to know Peter, we realize he has many more talents. Just this past week, we enjoyed his staged reading of  Melville…On the Light Side at Herman Melville’s former home, Arrowhead. As Peter says, he co-wrote it with Melville, by imagining a group of Melville scholars reading various passages as they discuss his life and work.  Peter directed the five actors who performed in the historic red barn. Peter is a director of Arrowhead. He created the Edna St. Vincent Millay museum at Steepletop. He is a writer of short fiction, plays and a novel as well as a teacher.  We decided it was time to talk about these aspects of his work as well.

Click below to listen

Interview with J. Peter Bergman

J. Peter Bergman, Spring 2016

280_2007_Christmas064Peter Bergman is a man of many talents. He was the Executive Director of the Edna St.Vincent Millay Society at Steepletop from 2007 through 2013. He is now the Director of Communications at Herman Melville’s  home, Arrowhead. He is also a novelist,  playwright, poet and theatre critic. It is always a pleasure to talk with Peter about theatre. We will have to have him back, however, to talk about his career as a child actor. Not many six year old actors  have had the opportunity to sing a Noel Coward song to Noel Coward and the Lunts. He told us about that after the program was over so we want to know more about his experiences on stage. Meanwhile,  Peter has given us an informative preview of the upcoming season.

J. Peter Bergman 2016 Part 1

J. Peter Bergman 2016 Part 2

J. Peter Bergman 2016 Part 3

J. Peter Bergman 2016 Part 4

You will also want to check out Peter’s  reviews on

J. Peter Bergman, Fall, 2015

PBergman-31As theatre goers, we read reviews, often after we have seen the play. The reviewer we always check is J. Peter Bergman since his discussions of the plays are always thoughtful and enlightening. Since 2012, we have had the pleasure of talking with Peter on our Theatre Talk program. If we see Peter at a performance, we know as soon as the play is finished, he will be rushing home to write his review. Given his extensive experience in theatre in many different capacities, his insights deepen our understanding and appreciation of what we have seen.

Each year we enjoy hearing his review of the previous season although as he noted when he arrived at the radio station, the theatre season seems to be getting longer and there are plays to see in October and beyond. In New York City the season begins in the fall unlike in the regions when it is concentrated during the summer. In Southern Vermont and the Berkshires, we are fortunate to have as many theatres as we do who extend their seasons. We also have colleges in the area with drama programs that put on intriguing productions as well. Peter doesn’t review them although he does review smaller non-equity productions in the area. Besides his commentary on specific plays, Peter also has a perspective on the larger issues of theatre.

His website, Berkshire Bright Focus is one that it is worth bookmarking and checking regularly.

Peter Bergman, 2015, Part 1

Peter Bergman, 2015, Part 2

Peter Bergman, 2015, Part 3

Peter Bergman, 2015, Part 4

As a bonus, here is our first interview with Peter in 2012

J. Peter Bergman

On our radio program we  don’t review shows. We see our program as celebrating theatre and those who create it. This is not to say we like every show we see, but our opinions are not our focus. However, we do read reviews. One of our favorite reviewers is J. Peter Bergman. His reviews have gotten us to see plays at Ghent and other theatres about which we knew nothing. We usually find ourselves in agreement with Peter, but not always. Even when we don’t agree, however, we find value in his analysis of the productions.

Peter started reviewing plays professionally at the age of fourteen. That means he got paid for his reviews, even if at that time it was only eight dollars a review. He has also worked in theatre and the arts all his life as well as being a playwright and a novelist himself. He brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding of theatre and its history to his reviews. He supplies a context for the plays and the performances. He is interested in conveying what makes the performance work or not, rather than in scoring clever points as some critics like to do.  You can get Peter’s reviews online at Berkshire Bright Focus and we recommend that you do so.

We were thrilled when we first asked him to be on our program and he now returns regularly to sum up his views of how the season worked and to provide insight into the condition of theatre generally.

Here are two programs with Peter.

The first is before the 2014 season reflecting on the year past and the second is some of his response to the 2014 season just past.

January 13, 2014. 

November 24, 2014

2014-11-24 – Peter Bergman – Part 1

2014-11-24 – Peter Bergman – Part 2