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Berkshire Opera Festival is presenting Giuseppe Verdi’s masterpiece, “Rigoletto” with performances August 25th, 28th, and 31st at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The production is conducted by Artistic Director Brian Garman and directed by General Director Jonathon Loy.

A timeless story of love, betrayal, and vengeance, “Rigoletto” tells the story of a young woman suffering at the hands of self-entitled and abusive men: a theme never more relevant than in our present day.

The Woodstock Shakespeare Festival, celebrating its 22nd Anniversary, will stage the bard’s beloved tragedy “Romeo and Juliet” this summer. The production will run on Woodstock’s outdoor Elizabethan stage every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from July 27 through September 2.

Bird-On-A-Cliff Theatre Company co-founders and artistic co-directors David Aston-Reese and Elli Michaels have run the Woodstock Shakespeare Festival since its beginning 22 years ago and they join us this morning along with “Romeo and Juliet” director, Christopher Martin.

The Williamstown Theatre Festival’s second Main Stage production this year is the World Premiere Musical “Lempicka,” book and lyrics by Carson Kreitzer, music by Matt Gould, and directed by Rachel Chavkin.

Tamara de Lempicka, a Polish artist best known for her Art Deco paintings, was an active participant in the artistic and social life of Paris between the World Wars. She transformed herself from destitute refugee to a star of the art world. The musical explores the beauty and danger of one painter pursuing it all.

Sarah LaDuke spoke with Matt Gould and Rachel Chavkin in separate interviews that are both posted here.

Gould is the co-writer of "Invisible Thread" (Second Stage and The American Repertory Theater). He’s the recipient of the 2012 and 2014 Richard Rodgers Award, the Jonathan Larson Award and ASCAP’s Rodgers Award, Dean Kay, and Harold Adamson Awards.

Chavkin received Tony and Lortel nominations, and the Drama Desk, Elliot Norton and the prestigious Smithsonian American Ingenuity Awards for her direction of "Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812" (Broadway, Ars Nova, Kazino, A.R.T.). Other select credits include "The Royale" (Old Globe, LCT- Obie Award, Lortel & Drama Desk Nomination), "Small Mouth Sounds" (Ars Nova, Nat’lTour), and "Hadestown" (New York Theatre Workshop). She is the Founding Artistic Director of The TEAM.

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.” 

The Woodstock Film Festival in collaboration with Upstate Films: Woodstock will present a special screening of “Leave No Trace” on June 23 at 8:15 p.m. at Upstate Films Woodstock with director Debra Granik present for a Q&A following the film.

In the film, Ben Foster plays a veteran named Will who lives off the grid on public land near Portland, Oregon with his teenage daughter Tom, played by Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie. They live a minimalist survivalist existence separate from society apart from occasional trips into town. When their camp is discovered they are absorbed into social services. Well-meaning people attempt to integrate them into society, but Will can’t adjust and he and Tom run away from the housing and job where they have been placed.

The film is adapted by Granik and Anne Rosellini and based on the novel “My Abandonment” by Peter Rock which was inspired by a true story. Debra Granik directed and co-wrote “Winter’s Bone,” which was nominated for four Academy Awards. Her other films include “Down to the Bone” and the documentary, “Stray Dog.”

Berkshire Theatre Group presents Emmy Award-winner Lee Kalcheim’s World Premiere, “Coming Back Like a Song!” on The Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge, Massachusetts June 28 through July 21.

In the play, It’s 1956, and three of America’s great songwriters, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen and Jimmy Van Heusen, are at a crossroads in their lives; rock ‘n roll is now king, and their careers could be over.

Directed by Tony Award-nominee Gregg Edelman, “Coming Back Like a Song!” features Tony Award-nominee David Garrison as Irving Berlin, Philip Hoffman as Harold Arlen and David Rasche [rah-shee] as Jimmy Van Heusen.

We are joined by playwright Lee Kalcheim, Director Gregg Edelman, and actor David Garrison.

Hailed as “crackling, resonant, humorous” by NPR and written by Emmy Award-nominated Jason Odell Williams, “Church & State” is a provocative, fast-paced and witty look at the life of a politician, whose belief system gets shaken to the core three days before his bid for re-election.

Directed by Charlotte Cohn founding producer of the New York Music Theatre Festival and Mainstreet Musicals, “Church & State” intends to have you talking and Tweeting long after the curtain closes – which is why all shows feature a talkback following the performance.

“Church & State” runs through June 30th at the Unicorn Theatre and features: Judy Jerome, Keira Naughton, Graham Rowat, and Andy Talen.

We welcome Graham Rowat, Director Charlotte Cohn and playwright Jason Odell Williams.

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.

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” is a musical by Rupert Holmes for which he received Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Original Score in 1986. The show, then called “Drood” also won Best Musical that year.

Based on Charles Dickens’ last, unfinished novel and murder mystery, the show stops just before the murderer is revealed and at each performance the audience decides who “done it.”

Rupert Holmes has adapted the script into a new quick and hilarious 90 minute version. The new version will be presented at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, NY with a further adjustment by Holmes for the action of the play to be set at Hubbard Hall.

Performances begin tonight and we are joined now by composer/playwright/lyricist Rupert Holmes and Executive & Artistic Director of the Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts and Education David Andrew Snider.

Breaking the Code, a play by Hugh Whitemore tells the story of computer genius Alan Turing. The play is being staged by Performing Arts of Woodstock for a three-week run beginning November 3rd.

It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing saved the Allies from the Nazis and invented the computer and artificial intelligence - all before his suicide at age forty-one.  Breaking The Code tells how Turing's revolutionary ideas laid the foundation for the modern computer, and how he took a leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during WW II, a scientific triumph that was critical to Allied victory.  

This is also the tragic account of a man who, despite his wartime service, was arrested and forced to undergo cruel and humiliating chemical castration -- all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a criminal office -- gross indecency.

The play is directed by Bette Siler and Wallace Norman and they join us.

In the documentary film, The Rape of Recy Taylor, Nancy Buirski reconstructs events from 1944, when Recy Taylor, a twenty-four-year-old black woman in Abbeville, Alabama, was abducted on her way home from church by six white men who then raped her. Though Taylor identified her attackers, a local grand jury did not indict anyone for the crime. The NAACP mobilized a national campaign on Taylor’s behalf, sending Rosa Parks, its leading rape investigator to Abbeville. She and others recognized that, if justice could be served, it would be the result of reporting outside the immediate area. They nationalized the case yet the perpetrators remained uncharged, and the case slipped into oblivion.

The film will screen in Woodstock on Saturday at 10 a.m. as part of the Woodstock Film Festival and Nancy Buirski will be there for a Q&A following.

In the new movie, Landline, Jenny Slate and new comer Abby Quinn play sisters Dana and Ali. Dana is engaged and feeling trapped and Ali is a senior in high school feeling somehow tethered and free at the same time when she finds out that their father, Alan (played by John Turturro) is cheating on their mother Pat (Edie Falco). The film also features Jay Duplass as Ben and Berkshire native Finn Wittrock as Nate. Set in 1995, Landline is human and hilarious.  

Co-written by Gillian Robespierre and Elisabeth Holm and directed by Robespierre, Landline begins screening at Images Cinema in Williamstown, MA today. Robespierre will participate in a Skype Q&A at tomorrow night’s 7pm showing of the film.

Robespierre’s first feature-length film - also co-written with Elisabeth Holm and starring Jenny Slate - Obvious Child was released in 2014.


  Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA presents George Furth and Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award winning 1970 musical Company from through September 2nd on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage.

 

In the play, consummate bachelor, Robert, interacts with - as the song says "those good and crazy people his married friends" as he and tries to commit, to find love, and figure out what "it's really about."

 

The Barrington Stage production of Company is directed by BSC Artistic Director Julianne Boyd. She joined us at The Linda along with the show’s Music Director Dan Pardo and Bobby and his three girlfriends - April, Marta, and Kathy -- respectively played by Aaron Tveit, Mara Davi, Nora Schell, and Rebecca Kuznick.

Sarah LaDuke and Lonny Price
Joe Donahue

The third Main Stage production of the Williamstown Theatre Festival’s 2017 season is A Legendary Romance. Written by Timothy Prager and Geoff Morrow and starring Jeff McCarthy and Lora Lee Gayer, A Legendary Romance is directed by Emmy Award winner and Tony Award nominee, Lonny Price.

Price played Charley in the ill-fated original production of Merrily We Roll Along on Broadway -- an experience which he has lately translated into an acclaimed documentary film The Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened (which is now available to stream on Netflix).

He’s an award winning director who helmed the recent Broadway revival of Sunset Boulevard starring Glenn Close. Other directorial credits include Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill starring Audra McDonald -- which is running in London this summer -- and episodes of the television programs 2 Broke Girls and Desperate Housewives and the screen-via-stage favorites Great Performances and Live from Lincoln Center. He’s also a writer and was nominated for a Tony Award in 2001 for the book of A Class Act. As an actor he has a number of theatrical credits after Merrily and several films, including The Muppets Take Manhattan and Dirty Dancing.

A Midsummer Night's Dream - The BSO
Winslow Townson

On Saturday, August 5 at Tanglewood, The Boston Symphony Orchestra presents one of the best-known musical works inspired by Shakespeare - Mendelssohn’s incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream - in a specially designed production adapted by stage director Bill Barclay, first performed with the BSO at Symphony Hall in Boston in early 2016 as part of the BSO’s three-week Shakespeare celebration honoring the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.

Bill Barclay joins us to tell us more.

Brave New Jersey

Aug 3, 2017

The new movie – Brave New Jersey – is a comedy about the small New Jersey town of Lullaby on the night of Orson Welles' legendary 1938 "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast, which led millions of listeners to believe the U.S. was being invaded by aliens.

The film is co-written by Berkshire based screenwriter and playwright Michael Dowling and Jody Lambert. Lambert also directs. Having had a successful tour of film festivals, the movie opens in select cities nationwide tomorrow.  

Brave New Jersey will run in the Berkshires at the Cinema at the Berkshire Museum from August 18 to August 21.

Since the opening of the Fisher Center at Bard, Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra have been responsible for championing and restoring to the stage a growing number of important but long-neglected operas.

This year’s Bard SummerScape festival features the long overdue American premiere of Antonín Dvořák’s Dimitrij in an original new staging by award-winning director Anne Bogart. Dimitrij runs for five performances between today and August 6.

Dvořák’s work includes no fewer than twelve operas but his grand opera, Dimitrij, is rarely staged outside the Czech Republic.

Here to tell us more is Choral Director, James Bagwell. 


  Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man is about a con-man who ultimately does good by a community. Harold Hill's heart opens up through the course of one of America's most beloved musicals.

 

Berkshire Theatre Group is currently presenting the Tony Award-winning musical at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA through August 6th.

 

Directed by Travis G. Daly with music direction by Mark Gionfriddo, the BTG production of The Music Man features over 100 talented Berkshire youth along with Rylan Morsbach as neck-or-nothing, rip-roarin', every-time-a bull's-eye salesman Harold Hill and Haley Aguero as Marian “Madam Librarian” Paroo.

 

We are joined this morning at The Linda by the aforementioned Rylan Morsbach, Haley Aguero, Mark Gionfriddo, and Travis G. Daly.

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright, Edward Albee, Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo (Zoo story) delves deep into the complex concept of human loneliness and social disparity. Berkshire Theatre Group presents the show on its Unicorn Stage through August 26th.

Directed by Eric Hill, Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo (Zoo story) joins Albee's classic play, The Zoo Story (1959), the classic play which launched Albee's sensational career, with its prequel, Homelife written 45 years later. This production features David Adkins and Tara Franklin.

Rebecca Taichman and Joe Donahue
Sarah LaDuke

Last Month at the Tony’s, for the seventh time in the history of the Tony Awards, a woman’s name was announced as the winner of Best Director of a Play and that woman was Rebecca Taichman, who directed and co-created, along with playwright Paula Vogel, Indecent

Indecent also marked Rebecca’s Broadway debut, after years of directing at major Off-Broadway and regional theatres including her frequent collaborations with playwrights like Sarah Ruhl.

Even though Taichman won the Tony, the show was set to close June 25th. But in a rare turnaround, the producer, citing an outpouring of public support for the show, decided to keep “Indecent” open through August 6th at the Cort Theatre.

Now, she is in Williamstown, MA to direct Jayne Atkinson and Jessica Hecht in The Clean House by Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Ruhl. The show opens July 19th and runs through July 29th on the Main Stage. 

Good Men Wanted at Vassar and New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theatre
Buck Lewis

Vassar College and New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theatre’s second mainstage show this summer is Good Men Wanted. The new play is about women who - for varied reasons and to varied ends - disguised themselves as men to fight in the Civil War.

The drama punctuated by explosive dance sequences - choreographed by Ani Taj and set to contemporary pop music. They play is written by Kevin Armento and directed by Jaki Bradley who joins us.

Arthur Yorinks has written and directed for opera, theater, dance, film, and radio and is the author of over thirty-five acclaimed and award-winning books, including Hey, Al, a children's book, which earned the Caldecott Medal in 1987.

His latest book is: Making Scents. It is a graphic novel, written by Yorinks and illustrated by Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline. Mickey isn't quite like his brothers and sisters. They're all stronger, faster, and have a much better sense of smell. That's because his "brothers and sisters" are dogs--bloodhounds, to be exact. Mickey's mom and dad are crazy about canines.

Their dogs are the loves of their lives and their livelihood. So, naturally, they're raising their son as if he was a dog, and Mickey wants nothing more than to make his parents proud.

Through his forty years of picture-book making, he has teamed up with many famed illustrators including Maurice Sendak, William Steig, Mort Drucker and David Small.  

Arthur Yorinks has an event at Battenkill Books in Cambridge, NY on Thursday, July 20th at 7 pm.

Following the launch of her new book, Low Relief, artist Lucy Raven and special-effects legend Phil Tippett will present an excerpt of their in-progress moving-image work, Coming Attraction at EMPAC in Troy, NY tomorrow at 7PM.

Tippett will discuss his collaboration with Raven, and offer an in-depth look at the making of the 1997 sci-fi cult classic Starship Troopers, including an edit of footage made by Tippett during the Troopers location scout in the badlands of Wyoming.

Under a staircase in his Berkeley visual-effects studio Tippett recently unearthed over 12 hours of VHS tapes, including the location scout and behind-the-scenes recordings made on-set during the shoot, an edit of which will be screened at this presentation. 

The evening will end with a screening of Starship Troopers, directed by Paul Verhoeven. Tippett’s career in visual effects has spanned more than 30 years and his selected filmography includes: The Twilight Films, RoboCop 1, 2 and 3Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Empire Strikes Back and the original Star Wars.

Francesca Zambello, Glimmerglass Festival Artistic & General Director
Claire McAdams / Glimmerglass Festival

 The Glimmerglass Festival, which presents four mainstage productions of opera and musical theater as well as many events every summer, is now underway in Cooperstown, NY.

The 2017 Festival includes main-stage productions of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, Handel’s Xerxes, and Donizetti’s The Siege of Calais.

The season also includes the world premiere of Stomping Grounds, a piece from Victor Simonson and Paige Hernandez that blends hip-hop, spoken word and opera, and Derrick Wang’s opera Scalia/Ginsburg, starring 2017 Artist in Residence William Burden.

And yes, festival guests include William Burden, Theodore Chapin, Paige Hernandez, Stephen Schwartz, David Sedaris and more. To tell us all about it we welcome Francesca Zambello - Glimmerglass's Artistic & General Director,

Powerhouse Theater
Vassar College/ Tamar M. Thibodeau

Vassar College and New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater Training Program challenges young theatre artists to look at their art in new and meaningful ways while they explore boundaries by living, breathing, and creating theater with peers and professionals alike. To learn more we are joined by Max Reuben and Emily Mendelsohn.

Reuben is a playwright, director, sometimes-actor, and founding member of AGGROCRAG – a Brooklyn-based theater company dedicated to creating original plays. At Vassar he directs and composes Soundpainting -- which is performed Thursdays in July in The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.

Mendelsohn is a Brooklyn-based director who is adapting and directing William Shakespeare's Hamlet which is running July 14-16 in the Environmental Cooperative at The Vassar Barns.

This Saturday - July 15th at 2pm - the Woodstock Film Festival will present a special screening of Story Of A Girl at Upstate Films in Woodstock. The film's director, Kyra Sedgwick, and editor, Sabine Hoffman, will host an in-person Q&A session following the screening. The screening is happening before the film's official television premiere on Lifetime on July 23rd.

The film tells the story of a young girl's loss of innocence and the role of social media in adolescent lives. It is based on Sara Zarr's award winning novel. 

The film is Kyra Sedgwick's directorial debut. She's an actress who has in The Closer and starred in films such as The Woodsman and Personal Velocity.  

Tamara Hickey and Thomas Brazzle in Cymbeline at Shakespeare & Company
Stratton McCrady / shakespeare.org

We're at Tanglewood this morning and just a few miles away through the Berkshire beauty of Lenox lives another cultural gem, Shakespeare & Company.

Cymbeline is a rarely performed story of intrigue and deception in the face of steely resolve with wild plot twists, mistaken identities, and a heart-rending quest for love.

We are joined now by Tamara Hickey who plays Imogen in Cymbeline; Allyn Burrows, artistic director, at Shakespeare & Company; and Tina Packer, Founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company and Director of Cymbeline. The production also marks a personal milestone for Packer, who, after opening her production of Cymbeline, will have directed all 37 plays in the Shakespeare canon.

Berkshire Theatre Group presents the Tony Award-winning Children of a Lesser God, directed by Tony Award-winner, Kenny Leon. The play opened Saturday night and runs through July 22nd at The Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge, MA.

In the play - after joining the staff at a school for the deaf, speech therapist with an unorthodox approach to education, James -- played by Joshua Jackson -- becomes infatuated by Sarah, a vivacious, yet delicate, deaf woman, played by Lauren Ridloff. James tries to help Sarah, a school dropout, navigate her way through the hearing world, however Sarah finds solace in her sphere of silence.

We are thrilled to welcome the play’s director Kenny Leon who won a Tony Award for A Raisin in the Sun with Denzel Washington. He also directed Holler if Ya Hear Me on Broadway and The Wiz and Hairspray LIVE productions on TV.

Also here – the stars of the show - Lauren Ridloff - recently seen in the film Wonderstruck and a former Miss Deaf America – she is joined by ASL translator Candace Broecker Penn. And Joshua Jackson is in the house. He is currently starring in Showtime’s The Affair and is well-known for his roles in Dawson’s Creek & Fringe

The Dorset Theatre Festival opens its 40th Anniversary Season with the World Premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s Downstairs, under the direction of Resident Director Adrienne Campbell-Holt. The production opens Thursday and runs through July 8th.

Theresa Rebeck is a widely produced playwright throughout the United States and abroad. She is the screenwriter and director of the upcoming film Trouble, starring Anjelica Huston, Bill Pullman, and David Morse. Adrienne Campbell-Holt is the Associate Director of the Tony award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen and was also the assistant director of Dead Accounts.


  The new documentary STEP shares the story of three young women in the first graduating class at Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women and their experiences with school, their families, boyfriends, friends, and their Step team.

 

Pushed to succeed by devoted teachers, teammates, counselors, coaches and themselves, they chase their dreams: to win a step championship and to be accepted into college.

 

STEP which won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Inspirational Filmmaking at Sundance this year, will have its Massachusetts premiere as the opening night film at the Berkshire International Film Festival -- screening tonight at 6pm at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington.

 

The film is directed by Amanda Lipitz who joins us.

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