actor

Shakespeare & Company is currently presenting Obie Award-winning playwright Taylor Mac's dark comedy “HIR,” directed by Alice Reagan through October 7.

The play begins with Isaac, who has returned from the war in Afghanistan, only to discover a household in revolt.

The insurgent: his mom.

Liberated from an oppressive marriage with a now ailing husband, and with Isaac’s newly out transgender sibling as her ally, she’s on a crusade to dismantle the patriarchy. But in Taylor Mac’s sly, subversive comedy, we learn that annihilating the past doesn’t always free you from it.

Mac has said “Hir” was inspired and influenced by Sam Shephard’s “Buried Child” and by his own miserable hometown experience in Stockton, California.

We are joined by actors Elizabeth Aspenlieder, John Hadden, and Jack Doyle.

courtesy of the Billy Name Estate

Bibbe Hansen, pop cultural icon, performance artist, musician, and actress known for her work with Andy Warhol will visit the University at Albany for as part of “The Creative Life: Conversation Series” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 5 at the University Art Museum on UAlbany’s Uptown campus.

The Creative Life series is a major arts initiative of the University Art Museum, New York State Writers Institute and UAlbany Performing Arts Center in conjunction with us here at WAMC and with major support from the University at Albany Foundation.

Bibbe Hansen first achieved prominence as a protégé of American pop artist Andy Warhol. She collaborated on several films with Warhol, including “PRISON,” which she starred in alongside Marie Mencken and Edie Sedgwick. From 1990–1995 she operated Troy Café, which became the center of a multicultural renaissance in downtown Los Angeles and was home to a generation of musicians, comedians, artists, and filmmakers. Today Bibbe creates artwork and is represented by Gracie Mansion Gallery in New York City. She recently completed the first draft of her memoirs, and lectures frequently on art and the creative process.

Roslyn Ruff (Berenice) - THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING  By Carson McCullers  Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch  Williamstown Theatre Festival  August 5 - 19
Carolyn Brown / Williamstown Theatre Festival

Carson McCullers’ “The Member of the Wedding,” directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, is running on the Main Stage at The Williamstown Theatre Festival through August 19.

Set in the South on the eve of a family wedding in 1945, housekeeper Berenice Sadie Brown tries to calm the nerves of her 12-year-old charge, Frankie, a tomboy - lonely and uncertain - struggling to feel a part of something.

McCullers novel was published in 1946 and the author adapted the story for the stage where it opened on Broadway in 1950.

Roslyn Ruff plays Berenice Sadie Brown. Ruff’s an accomplished television, film, and stage actress with Broadway credits that include “Romeo and Juliet” with Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad, and “All the Way” with Bryan Cranston.

Samira Wiley (Pretty Mbane) - DANGEROUS HOUSE  By Jen Silverman  Directed by Saheem Ali  Williamstown Theatre Festival  August 8 - 19
Sarah Sutton / Williamstown Theatre Festival

For its final Nikos Stage production of the 2018 season, The Williamstown Theatre Festival presents “Dangerous House,” a new play by Jen Silverman directed by Saheem Ali.

Set in Cape Town, South Africa during the 2010 World Cup, “Dangerous House” contrasts the celebration of global football against a devastating truth of South African culture when it comes to gender roles and sexuality.

Samira Wiley plays Pretty Mbane. Wiley is an Emmy nominated Actress for her work as Moira on the Hulu series, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and she played Poussey for four seasons on the Netflix series, “Orange is the New Black.”

In “Skeleton Crew,” Dominique Morisseau’s third play in her Detroit Cycle, a makeshift family of workers at the last exporting auto plant in the city navigate the possibility of foreclosure. Power dynamics shift, and they are pushed to the limits of survival. When the line between blue collar and white collar gets blurred, how far over the lines are they willing to step?

The Dorset Theatre Festival in Dorset, Vermont presents “Skeleton Crew” through August 4, directed by Jade King Carroll.

We are joined by actors Mirirai Sithole, Gabriel Lawrence, and Leland Fowler.

The Saratoga Shakespeare Company is presenting two summer productions in Congress Park in downtown Saratoga Springs, New York.

The bard’s “As You Like It” directed by Elizabeth Carlson-Guerin, and “Henry IV, Parts 1&2,”directed by David Girard. This is a Season of Transformation and celebrates Saratoga Shakespeare’s eighteenth summer season of free outdoor theater.

David Girard join us now along with Saratoga Shakespeare Company’s Artistic Director Lary Opitz and actors Gwynedd Vetter-Drusch and Kevin McGuire.

Whoopie Goldberg
provided

Whoopi Goldberg is one of a very elite group of artists who have won the Grammy, the Academy Award, the Golden Globe, the Emmy and a Tony. She is also a prolific producer and is well-known around the world for her many humanitarian endeavors. Born and raised in New York City, she performed in San Diego and the Bay Area with the Blake Street Hawkeyes theatre troupe. It was there that she created the characters which became “The Spook Show” and evolved into her hit Broadway show, Grammy Award-winning album and the HBO special that helped launch her career.

Whoopi Goldberg will perform at The Mahaiwe's 2018 Gala on Sunday, July 29. 

Celebrating its 50-year anniversary this year, Tony Award-winning rock musical, “Hair” takes audiences back to the counterculture of the '60s with now classic songs like “Aquarius,” “Good Morning Starshine,” “I Got Life,” and many others.

The Berkshire Theatre Group presents “Hair” at the Unicorn Theater in Stockbridge, Massachusetts through August 11. The production is directed by Daisy Walker.

We are joined by three members of the cast Andrew Cekala (Claude), Brandon Contreras (Berger), and Kayla Foster (Sheila).

Vassar and New York Stage and Film’s second Main Stage Powerhouse production this summer is “The Waves,” a musical adaptation of the novel by Virginia Woolf. The piece, which features a book by Lisa Peterson and music and lyrics by the late Davick Bucknam, was produced nearly 30 years ago in New York City. The version running at Vassar July 19-29 is directed by Peterson, features additional music and lyrics by Adam Gwon, and employs four time Tony Award nominee Raúl Esparza as creative consultant and actor.

Esparza’s Broadway credits include “Cabaret,” “The Rocky Horror Show,” “Taboo,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “Company,” “The Homecoming,” “Speed the Plow,” “Arcadia,” and “Leap of Faith.” Television credits include “Pushing Daisies,” “Hannibal,” “The Path,” “BoJack Horseman,” and he recently finished a six-season run as ADA Rafael Barba on “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.”

Esparza joins us to talk about his work.

The cast at Powerhouse features Ken Barnett, Eleasha Gamble, Douglas Lyons, Alice Ripley, and Lauren Worsham.

Actor Joshua Boone is back at The Williamstown Theatre Festival after making his debut at the festival last year in two plays, "Actually" and "Where Storms are Born." He now stars in James Anthony Tyler’s “Artney Jackson,” where he plays Perkins Howard.

Perkins is one of the employees of the cable company where the play is set. He has was left by his parents at the age of 15 when they were deported. He finished high school and made enough of himself to land a job that allows him buy cool sneakers and a $700 dollar rug from Costco.

Boone appeared on Broadway in the Tupac Shakur musical "Holler if Ya Hear Me" in 2014.

Laila Robins in "A Doll's House, Part 2" at Barrington Stage
Daniel Rader / broadwayworld.com

In the final scene of Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 ground-breaking masterwork, “A Doll’s House,” Nora Helmer makes the shocking decision to leave her husband and children and begin a life on her own. Lucas Hnath’s “A Doll’s House, Part 2” dares to wonder what Nora has been up to since she slammed the door. The play received eight 2017 Tony Award nominations.

Joe Calarco directs “A Doll’s House, Part 2” on Barrington Stage Company’s Main Stage in Pittsfield, MA through July 28. Laila Robins stars as Nora.

Robins appeared in the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of George Bernard Shaw's “Heartbreak House,” other Broadway appearances include “Frozen” by Bryony Lavery, “The Herbal Bed” by Peter Whelan, and “The Real Thing” by Tom Stoppard, directed by Mike Nichols. Large and small screen credits include “Deception,” “Murder in the First,” “Homeland,” “Bored to Death,” and “Planes, Trains & Automobiles.”

Ann Harada is best known for the musical "Avenue Q," in which she originated the role of Christmas Eve, the heavily accented Japanese therapist who had such winning numbers as "The More You Ruv Someone" and "Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist."

She has also starred on Broadway in "Les Miz," "Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella" and TV’s "Smash." She is at The Williamstown Theatre Festival starring in Douglas Carter Beane’s “The Closet” as Brenda, the office worker nobody quite likes or trusts but who is always ready to launch into a show tune.

Jessica Hecht was last seen on Broadway in Arthur Miller’s "The Price." Before that she starred as Golda in "Fiddler on the Roof" and was in the Manhattan Theatre Club production of "The Assembled Parties." She was nominated for a Tony Award for her role in "A View From the Bridge."

She was at Williamstown Theatre Festival last season to star in "The Clean House" with Jayne Atkinson and returns this season in "The Closet," where she plays Pat Pennebarry, Martin O'Reilley's (Matthew Broderick) only friend and eternally optimistic co-worker -- who can’t bake enough muffins to stave off her romantic longings for him.

We speak with Hecht about "The Closet," doing comedy, and The Campfire Project which uses the power of theater and Shakespeare to provide Syrian Refugees in Camp Ristona with an outlet to exercise imagination and express their humanity.

Matthew Broderick will forever be linked to the cinematic classic of 1986, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." However, before doing that at age 24 – he had already won a Tony Award for Neil Simon’s "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and had starred in Simon’s follow-up "Biloxi Blues." All of this after making his stage debut in Harvey Fierstein’s "Torch Song Trilogy."

Now, Broderick stars in this world premiere comedy by Douglas Carter Beane, "The Closet," as Martin O’Reilly who is stuck in Scranton, PA in a dead-end job at a religious supply company, his marriage is over, and his son won’t return his calls. Then a stranger, played by Tony nominee Brooks Ashmanskas, sashays into his world and drags Martin and everyone around him out of their respective closets.

"The Closet" runs through Saturday night on the Main Stage at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Halley Feiffer
Kirk McCoy / LA Times

Halley Feiffer is a writer and actor. Her plays include "I'm Gonna Pray For You So Hard," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York City," and "How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them." Her play "Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow" had its world premiere at The Williamstown Theatre Festival last summer. She has appeared on Broadway in "The Front Page" with Nathan Lane and "The House of Blue Leaves" with Edie Falco. 

Tomorrow afternoon at 3 o'clock there will be a Fridays@3 reading of Feiffer's new play, "Saying Goodbye to the People I Love From My Bathtub." Fridays@3 readings take place at The Clark Auditorium.

Voice Theatre's main stage production of “All My Sons” runs July 12th through the 29th at the Byrdcliffe Theater in Woodstock, NY.

“All My Sons” is a gripping drama written by one of the greatest playwrights of the 20th Century - Pulitzer Prize-winner Arthur Miller responsible for such great American plays as “Death of a Salesman,” “The Crucible” and “A View from the Bridge.”

Has right and wrong lost its value in America? A monstrous swindle catapults the Keller family, revealing their truths of profit and greed, love and shame.

Leigh Strimbeck plays Kate Keller, Ryan Feyk plays Chris Keller and Shauna Kanter directs.

Chita Rivera
Laura Marie Duncan

The incomparable Broadway icon Chita Rivera performs a one-night-only solo concert, benefiting Williamstown Theatre Festival's New Play & Musical Development Initiative.

The two-time Tony Award winner and recipient of a special honor for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre at the 2018 Tony Awards (last seen at WTF starring in "The Visit" and its subsequent Broadway transfer) will recreate moments from her legendary career, showcasing the artistry and history that has made her a star of the Great White Way and beyond.

She will be accompanied by her long-time trio, Michael Croiter (Music Director/Percussion/Guitar), Gary Adler (Associate Music Director/Piano), and Jim Donica (Bass).

Debra Jo Rupp in Bekah Brunstetter's The Cake at Barrington Stage Company.
Carolyn Brown

Faith, family and frosting collide in the touching and timely new comic drama by Bekah Brunstetter, "The Cake," starring actress Debra Jo Rupp and directed by Jennifer Chambers. The play is running at Barrington Stage Company's St. Germain Stage through July 15.

Rupp plays Della. Della makes cakes, not judgment calls - those she leaves to her husband, Tim. But when her best friend's daughter comes home to North Carolina to get married, Della's life gets turned upside down when she realizes there's not just one bride, but two. She can't really make a cake for such a wedding, can she?

For the first time in her life Della has to think for herself, forcing her to re-examine some of her deeply-held beliefs, as well as her own marriage.

Debra Jo Rupp has been a regular at Barrington Stage Company in "Love Letters;" "Kimberly Akimbo;" "Dr. Ruth, All the Way;" "To Kill a Mockingbird" and many more. Her film credits include "Big," "Clockwatchers," and "Sgt. Bilko" and over 300 television appearances, most notably on "That ‘70s Show," "Seinfeld," "Friends" and currently recurring on "This Is Us" and "The Ranch" with Sam Elliot.

Christopher Lloyd in "Our Town" at Weston Playhouse
Hubert Schriebl

In the small town of Grover’s Corners, ordinary people lead extraordinary lives. The Pulitzer Prize winning "Our Town" is a simple yet profound story of a community, brought to life by Thornton Wilder’s singular voice.

Christopher Lloyd is playing The Stage Manager in Weston Playhouse's production of "Our Town" through July 7.

Lloyd is a beloved American character actor, best known for his work on "Taxi" and in the "Back to the Future" film franchise.

Bard SummerScape 2018

Jun 29, 2018
Jack Ferver as Tinker Bell in “Peter Pan” at Bard SummerScape festival. (Credit Lauren Lancaster for The New York Times) -- and Kathleen Chalfant (credit - playwrightshorizons.org)
Lauren Lancaster for The New York Times (Peter Pan); playwrightshorizons.org (Chalfant)

The fifteenth annual Bard SummerScape festival features seven weeks of world-class opera, theater, dance, cabaret, film, and music, including the 29th annual Bard Music Festival, “Rimsky-Korsakov and His World.”

Gideon Lester, Director of Theater and Performance Programs at Bard and Artistic Director for SummerScape Dance's “Four Quartets” is here along with acclaimed actress Kathleen Chalfant, who is performing in “Four Quartets” as the narrator reading T.S. Eliot's poems.

"Four Quartets" is a World Premiere/SummerScape Commission with poetry by T. S. Eliot, choreography by Pam Tanowitz, music by Kaija Saariaho performed by The Knights, and images by Brice Marden.

We will also learn about a new production of Leonard Bernstein's Peter Pan.

The Creative Life series is produced by UAlbany’s University Art Museum, NYS Writers Institute, and the UAlbany Performing Arts Center in collaboration with WAMC. The series features leading figures from a variety of artistic disciplines in conversation about their creative inspirations, their craft and their careers. At 11am we will air Joe Donahue’s candid conversation with Tony Award winning Broadway star, Patti LuPone.

Two-time Tony and Grammy Award winner Patti LuPone was most recently seen on Broadway in the musical ”War Paint.”

A graduate of the first class of the Drama Division of New York’s Juilliard School and a founding member of The Acting Company in which she toured the country for four years, LuPone went on to be a Broadway superstar for more than 30 years – starting with her Tony-winning performance in “Evita.” 

Part of what keeps a theater festival running for 90 years is the devotion of its contributing artists. It’s the dedication of returning actors, directors, designers -- and countless others -- that keeps an endeavor like The Berkshire Theatre Group on its feet.

What is it about Berkshire Theatre Group that inspires collaboration from world-class creators and interpreters season after season?

To answer that question, we are joined by actor Tara Franklin; actor and Director of BTG’s Acting Intern Program David Adkins; and Resident Composer/Sound Designer Scott Killian. 

H. Jon Benjamin
Ben Denzer

H. Jon Benjamin is a comedian and actor - best known for voicing the title characters on Fox’s "Bob’s Burgers" and FXX’s "Archer."

His new attempted memoir, “Failure is an Option,” is a chronicle of  defeats and losses beating a steady drum throughout his life. It begins with the inscription “For all of you failures out there. You CAN do worse.” He is, by all accounts, a pretty successful guy -- the lead of two popular television shows. But he points out: voiceover only takes a few hours on any given workday and often he fills the rest of his time with failing -- and that’s ok.

For decades, actress and director Christine Lahti has captivated the hearts and minds of her audience through iconic roles in "Chicago Hope," "Running on Empty," "Housekeeping," "And Justice for All," "Swing Shift," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "God of Carnage," and "The Blacklist." Now, in "True Stories from an Unreliable Eyewitness," this acclaimed performer channels her creativity inward to share her own story for the first time on the page.

In this poignant essay collection, Lahti focuses on three major periods of her life: her childhood, her early journey as an actress and activist, and the realities of her life as a middle-aged woman in Hollywood today.

Known on both sides of the Atlantic as the English American, Alison Larkin is a comedian, award-winning audiobook narrator/producer, screenwriter and the bestselling author of "The English American," a novel. Her autobiographical one woman show about an adopted English women who finds her birth parents in the U.S. was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

As an actress she has appeared on Broadway with the Royal National Theater and Off-Broadway with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Larkin’s new one woman show "Alison Larkin LIVE!" will premiere at the Elayne Bernstein theater in Lenox, MA as part of WAM Theatre’s 9th season on May 4 and 5.

Alison Larkin joined us along with Kristen van Ginhoven, Artistic Director of WAM.

The National Tour of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The King and I” is at Proctors in Schenectady, New York this week. The Tony Award winning Lincoln Center Theater revival features such beloved songs as “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance” and “Something Wonderful.”

Set in the early 1860s, newly widowed Anna Leonowens and her son, Louis, set sail from their native England for Bangkok, Siam where Anna has taken a position as the schoolteacher for the royal offspring of the King of Siam. The King is determined to usher Siam into the modern world but not immediately willing to make changes to his customs and traditions.

We are joined by Anna and The King, actors Elena Shaddow and Jose Llana.

The youngest of thirteen children in a devout Catholic family, Tina Alexis Allen grew up in 1980s suburban Maryland in a house ruled by her stern father, Sir John, an imposing, British-born authoritarian who had been knighted by the Pope. Sir John supported his large family running a successful travel agency that specialized in religious tours to the Holy Land and the Vatican for pious Catholics.

But his daughter, Tina, was no sweet and innocent Catholic girl. A smart-mouthed high school basketball prodigy, she harbored a painful secret: she liked girls. When Tina was eighteen her father discovered the truth about her sexuality. Instead of dragging her to the family priest and lecturing her with tearful sermons about sin and damnation, her father shocked her with his honest response. He, too, was gay.

The secret they shared about their sexuality brought father and daughter closer, and the two became trusted confidants and partners in a relationship that eventually spiraled out of control.

Tina Alexis Allen’s new book is "Hiding Out: A Memoir of Drugs, Deception, and Double Lives."

Broadway legend Patti LuPone will appear at two events in the Capital Region this week. 

On Thursday, April 26 she will join Joe Donahue in a Creative Life conversation about Ms. LuPone’s career and devotion to the arts and high standards therein. The conversation will take place at Page Hall on UAlbany's downtown campus at 7 p.m. The Creative Life series is a major arts initiative of the New York State Writers Institute, UAlbany Performing Arts Center and University Art Museum in conjunction with WAMC Northeast Public Radio.

On Friday, April 27, Ms. LuPone will perform "Don't Monkey With Broadway" at Proctors in Schenectady at 8 p.m. "Don’t Monkey with Broadway" features music by the likes of Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Jule Styne, Stephen Schwartz, Charles Strouse, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin.

This Saturday, April 28, Linda Lavin and Steve Bakunas will present "Portrait Of An Artist" at 5 p.m. in a benefit performance for the Spencertown Academy Arts Center.

The event features Lavin and Bakunas in a 90-minute intimate evening during which she answers questions about her life and career, posed by her husband, while he paints her portrait on stage. An evening of warmth, romance, humor and nostalgia, the couple has previously performed the program at venues around the country.

Book Cover - My Adventures With God
Amazon

From legendary character actor Stephen Tobolowsky, who currently appears on "The Goldbergs" and HBO’s "Silicon Valley," and Norman Lear’s new "One Day at a Time," author of "The Dangerous Animals Club" and The Tobolowsky Files podcast; "My Adventures with God" is a funny, introspective collection about love, catastrophe, and triumph, all told through the lens of his evolving relationship with the mystery that is “God.”

As Tobolowsky explains, “It’s hard to believe in nothing. Even cats believe in suppertime. As much as we love certainty, we are often shaped by the invisible, the unexplainable—something we call faith. We are inclined to acknowledge the holy. Even if it is only a paper heart we find in an old suitcase.”

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