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Barrington Stage Eyes Another Season Of World Premieres

Facebook: Barrington Stage Company

Pittsfield’s Barrington Stage Company recently announced the casting for its 2016 season. It features a star-studded lineup with a mix of drama and musical premieres.The world premiere of Presto Change-O kicks off Barrington Stage’s 22nd season on May 18th featuring Tony-winning performer Michael Rupert and Jarrod Spector. As Barrington Stage’s Artistic Director Julianne Boyd explains, the musical is about three generations of magicians living under one roof.

“It’s a grandfather, father and a young man in his 20s,” Boyd said. “[It’s about] trust as far as not giving away secrets in magic. That’s something that you never do. Actually in our rehearsal we’ll have a magician who is going to be with us the entire four weeks and you have to sign a confidential form that says you will not give away the secrets of the trade. That’s basically what this musical is about.”

In August, Broadway Bounty Hunter featuring Screen Actors Guild Award-winner Annie Golden, most recently of Orange is the New Black, will also make its world premiere. As Boyd describes, it’s a rollercoaster ride that follows an unemployed actress in her 60s.

“And all of a sudden, now remember this is blaxploitation films – they’re not realistic, but they’re tremendously exciting – bounty hunters storm into her apartment and say ‘You need to become a bounty hunter!’” Boyd explained. “It’s about her journey when she does the fantastical. It’s about a woman who doesn’t understand what here capabilities are. It just so happens in this instance it’s a fantastical journey. She’s partnered up with this unbelievably wonderful black man named Lazarus and they go on a journey, believe it or not, this one of these road trips, but it’s happening on a stage, to Venezuela looking for a drug warlord.”

The season also features the drama American Son starring Tamare Tunie of Law & Order. On stage from June 17 to July 9, it tells the story of a separated biracial couple whose son has gone missing.

“It’s about this biracial couple and how they are rearing their child and what really is the American dream?” Boyd said. “Is the white American dream the same as the black American dream? How do they fit together? This play, written by Christopher Demos-Brown, just won the Laurents/Hatcher Award for Best New Play of 2016.”

Barrington Stage will also bring back to life Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance.

“It’s about a young man who was indentured to pirates on a pirate ship,” Boyd explained. “But these are the friendliest pirates in the whole world because they can’t kill anyone. They’re these fun-loving, strong men. This young man when he gets to be 21 he can leave. He’s with his nursemaid this whole time. The only problem is he was born in a leap year. So even though he appears to be 21 they won’t let him leave until he celebrates 21 birthdays and that’s the humorous very funny plot.”

The operetta runs from July 15 to August 13 starring Tony nominee Will Swenson.

Six other major productions, including The Wiz, fill out the rest of Barrington Stage’s 2016 season, which runs through October 23rd. The Pittsfield-based company attracts nearly 56,000 visitors every year.

Jim is WAMC’s Assistant News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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