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The Woodstock Film Festival is announcing its 2020 lineup of screenings and events that will be held virtually and at area drive-ins, including a pop-up drive-in at Andy Lee Field in Woodstock.

The 21st annual festival is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 30, through Sunday, Oct. 4. This year's festival will be a "reformatted virtual edition," due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with in-person screenings limited to drive-in venues in Woodstock, Greenville and Poughkeepsie.

Festival Executive Director and Co-founder Meira Blaustein joins us this morning to tell us more. 

Best known for directing such successes as "Addams Family Values," "Get Shorty," and the first three "Men in Black" movies, Barry Sonnenfeld's importance to modern cinema expands considerably when his cinematographer credits are added to the list: The Coen Brothers' first three films: "Blood Simple," "Raising Arizona," and "Miller's Crossing." He also was the Director of Photography on "Throw Momma from the Train," "Big," "When Harry Met Sally," and "Misery," plus, of course, his television hits: "Pushing Daisies" and "A Series of Unfortunate Events."

Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts and Education in Cambridge, New York presents “Stupid F*%king Bird,” a new adaptation of Chekhov's “The Seagull” by Aaron Posner, weekends January 24 through February 2. The show is produced in partnership with Bennington College.

An aspiring director rampages against the art created by his mother’s generation. A young actress wrestles with an aging Hollywood star for the affections of a renowned novelist. And everyone discovers just how disappointing love, art, and growing up can be.

We were joined by Director Kirk Jackson, actor Jesse Pennington, and Executive and Artistic Director of Hubbard Hall David Snider.

Founded in 2014 in Oakland, California by two queer women of color as a social justice alternative to scouting organizations, The Radical Monarchs create an opportunity for young girls of color to gather and grow together while celebrating their identities and contributing to their communities.

The documentary film “We Are The Radical Monarchs” will screen at Images Cinema in Williamstown, Massachusetts at 7 p.m. on Monday, January 13. 

Linda Goldstein Knowlton is the Director and Co-producer of the film and she joins us now.

Goldstein Knowlton is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker whose projects include “Women and Hollywood,” one of the six, one-hour documentaries for the Emmy-nominated PBS MAKERS: Women Who Make America series. Prior to that, she produced “Code Black” and “Somewhere Between.” For her directorial debut, Linda co-directed “The World According to Sesame Street,” which debuted at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. She started her career producing feature films, including the award-winning “Whale Rider” and “The Shipping News.” With Katie Flint she runs the independent production company Ladylike Films.

Ancram Opera House in Ancram, New York is mounting an original musical theatre adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.” The staged reading will have performances December 7-15.

The production features book and lyrics by Barbara Wiechmann, music by Lisa Dove, and is directed by Jeffrey Mousseau.

A photo of Berkshire Theatre Group's A Christmas Carol
Emma K. Rothenberg-Ware

The Berkshire Theatre Group presents its adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” on stage at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Massachusetts December 7 -21.

A holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol” celebrates the import of empathy and community connection – and BTG’s production of the story does the same.

The story was adapted for the stage by Eric Hill, who stars as the miser-who-makes-good, Ebenezer Scrooge.

Eric Hill joined us along with BTG’s Artistic Associate of Education Travis Daly, who directs “A Christmas Carol” and actor and high school student, Kate Goble – who plays Belle.

Berkshire Theatre Group presents "What The Jews Believe" at The Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, Massachusetts through October 20. The play is presented in association with The American National Theatre

Dave and his family still live in the old home built by his father in rural Central Texas, and they are still the only Jewish family in town. His son Nathan feels isolated attempting to understand the family’s beliefs, while his wife Rachel faces an even greater crisis of faith. Meanwhile, Dave struggles to maintain a sense of normalcy for his searching family.

Written and directed by Mark Harelik, "What the Jews Believe" is a poignant story about the loss of faith and the journey to find it.

“The Great Society,” the sequel to Robert Schenkkan's 2014 Tony-winning epic “All the Way,” began its Broadway run at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on September 6. Bill Rauch, who helmed "All the Way," also directs the new work which officially opens on October 1 for a limited run through November 30. Brian Cox stars in the production as President Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Capturing Lyndon B. Johnson's passionate and aggressive attempts to build a great society for all, the new play follows his epic triumph in a landslide election to the agonizing decision not to run for re-election just three years later.

The World Premiere of the new play, “American Underground,” by Brent Askari and directed by Julianne Boyd opens at Barrington Stage Company’s Boyd-Quinson Mainstage in Pittsfield, Massachusetts on October 2 and runs through October 20.

In the not-so-distant future, an interracial couple enjoys a visit from their college-aged son when a young Muslim woman arrives at their back door. She’s looking for safe passage via a new Underground Railroad as Muslims are being detained and imprisoned.

Suddenly, a government official knocks on their door wreaking havoc on the family. They must decide how much to risk to save an innocent woman.

To tell us more we welcome the playwright Brent Askari and Artistic Director of Barrington Stage Company Julianne Boyd.

Suzan-Lori Parks’ “Topdog/Underdog” won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for drama and was the number-one choice in last year’s New York Times list of “The 25 Best American Plays Since ‘Angels in America.’” The play is now being performed at Shakespeare & Company through September 8th.

In the play: two brothers, Lincoln and Booth, are locked in a battle of wits and struggle to come to terms with their identity and what history has handed them, even their names.

Director Regge Life; actors Deaon Griffin-Pressley and Bryce Michael Wood joined us.

Celebrating its 33rd summer season, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (HVSF) is a critically acclaimed professional, non-profit theater company based in Garrison, New York. The Festival has established a reputation for engaging and highly inventive productions staged under an iconic, open-air Theater Tent overlooking the Hudson River at historic Boscobel House and Gardens.

Jason O’Connell joined us to fill us in on two of HVSF’s current offerings. Returning to HVSF for a tenth season, the actor and playwright is portraying the title character of "Cyrano" in a new adaptation of the classic Edmond Rostand tale, which O’Connell has co-written with Brenda Withers. O'Connell is also playing The Narrator/Mysterious Man in the James Lapine/Stephen Sondheim musical “Into the Woods.”

Harold Prince
Marc J. Franklin

Harold Prince is a legend in the American theatre – the acclaimed director and producer behind a long list of America’s most iconic musicals and the winner of a staggering, record-breaking 21 Tony Awards died yesterday at the age of 91. Prince produced or directed (and sometimes both) many of the most enduring musicals in theater history, including “West Side Story,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Cabaret,” “Sweeney Todd” and “The Phantom of the Opera” – and so many more.

In 2017, Applause Books published Prince’s memoir “A Sense of Occasion” and Manhattan Theatre Club was presenting a Broadway musical retrospective celebrating his work entitled “Prince of Broadway.” Joe Donahue interviewed him for our show then and we re-aired that interview today in memoriam.

Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate NY presents “The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington” by James Ijames. The show will run at the Meader Little Theatre at Sage College June 7 through the 16. The production is directed by Patrick White.

A recently widowed Martha Washington lies helpless in her Mount Vernon bed, ravaged by illness and cared for by the very slaves that will be free the moment she dies. As she begins to slip away, she falls deep into a fever dream of terrifying theatricality that investigates everything from her family to her historical legacy.

Here to tell us more about the production are Black Theatre Troupe and this production are Black Theatre Troupe Artistic Director Jean-Remy Monnay and actors Lucy Breyer and Angelique Powell who play Martha Washington and Doll, respectively.

"Cold Brook" tells the story of Ted Markham and George Hildebrandt, two ordinary, small town maintenance workers at a college in Upstate New York. Best friends, they love their families and enjoy a simple life. After pursuing an intruder after hours at a museum exhibition on the college campus, the men become local heroes. But Ted and Hilde learn that the intruder is lost, finding themselves torn between helping him find his home, and taking care of their own.

The film was co-written, produced, and directed by William Fichtner - who also stars. Fichtner has been acting for years on screens large and small. An incomplete sample of his film credits includes “Heat,” “Armageddon,” “Go,” “The Perfect Storm,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Black Hawk Down,” “Crash,” “The Longest Yard,” “The Dark Knight,” and “The Lone Ranger.” Some of his television series are “Grace Under Fire,” “Prison Break,” “Entourage,” and “Mom.”

“Cold Brook” is Fichtner’s directorial debut and will screen twice as part of this year’s Berkshire International Film Festival. Both screenings this Saturday, June 1: 11:15am at The Triplex in Great Barrington and 2pm at The Beacon in Pittsfield.

We spoke with Fichtner about directing, his friendship with Kim Coates, the casting thanks he owes his wife, and filming in Western New York.

This weekend, the Broadway revival of Terrence McNally’s “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” begins previews at The Broadhurst Theatre starring Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner Audra McDonald and two-time Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon.

Originally produced more than 30 years ago Off-Broadway, “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” is one of McNally’s most popular plays. It centers on a waitress and a short order cook whose first date turns into a one-night stand and moves - if haltingly - toward a new relationship as they reveal themselves to each other.

Obie Award winner Arin Arbus directs, making her Broadway debut. 

Beetlejuice musical artwork and photograph of director Alex Timbers
Photo of Timbers: Morris Mac Matzen/Stage Entertainment

Tonight a show about death opens at The Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway. A very funny, extremely wacky, semi-familiar show about death.

Beetlejuice: The Musical,” adapted from the 1988 Tim Burton film, features a book by Scott Brown and Anthony King and music by Eddie Perfect - who is further represented on Broadway this season with “King Kong."

The ghost-with-the-most, played memorably by Michael Keaton, in the film is dusted-off and deaded-up by Alex Brightman. Lydia, a grieving but righteous teen, is artfully inhabited by Sophia Anne Caruso. Kerry Butler and Rob McClure play the recently deceased Barbara and Adam. Adam Dannheisser and Leslie Kritzer play Charles and Delia; the sort-of-crazy sort-of-couple that buys Barbara and Adam’s now-haunted house. It’s a powerful cast, all joyfully mourning and energetically filling David Korins’ memorable-moveable set eight shows a week. Musical Supervision, Orchestrations, and Incidental Music is by Kris Kukul, formerly the Music Director at The Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Connor Gallagher is the choreographer.

Alex Timbers directs. His previous Broadway credits include “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson,” “The Pee-Wee Herman Show,” “Peter and the Star-Catcher,” “Rocky,” and “Oh, Hello.” He directed the stand-up special “John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City.” Some of his off-Broadway productions are “Gutenberg! The Musical!,” “Here Lies Love,” “The Robber Bridegroom.” He is the co-creator of the Amazon series “Mozart in the Jungle.” His next directorial project is the stage adaptation of “Moulin Rouge” which begins previews at the Hirschfeld Theatre in June.

The Camphill Hudson Players will be performing their second original comedy, "Food Talks," at Hudson Hall in Hudson, NY on April 12th. Camphill is an in-residence program for adults with developmental disabilities.

Director Jody Brookes devised the show with the help of the Players. Each short vignette focuses on different aspects of food systems in Columbia County, such as food waste or the struggles around healthy eating. Jody joins us along with Camphill Hudson Director Nathan McLaughlin.

Gerard Stropnicky
Gordon Wendell

In our time, when 280-character insults and snarky memes pass for conversation, is Civic Empathy possible?

Writer, director, activist and instigator, USA Fellow Gerard Stropnicky offers a Field Report on community story applied to community healing and progress as part of Vassar College’s “Engaged Pluralism Initiative Semester of Storytelling.”

On March 27 at 6 p.m. Stropnicky will host the workshop, “Civic Empathy: A Field Report” in the Villard Room on the Vassar campus.

Director and actor Gerard Stropnicky is one of the founding members of the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, one of the oldest resident ensemble theaters in the U.S.

Troy Foundry Theatre has commissioned Die-Cast of Philadelphia for the co-creation of a new site-specific immersive performance piece, unfolding the underground subculture of alcohol and speakeasies in Troy, NY during Prohibition. The company will take residency at Collar Works in Troy for the development and performance of the new work, “The Prohibition Project.”

In a country divided, there is a battle being waged over who gets to be called an American. Workers are striking, immigrants are coming and the Democratic Party has too many candidates for the upcoming convention. It is the end of the Roaring 1920s and everyone knows the world is about to change. But whose change will win out?

We are joined by Troy Foundry Theatre Executive Director David Girard, Producing Executive Directory Emily Curro, co-founder of Die-Cast theatre in Philadelphia, Director and co-creator of The Prohibition Project Brenna Geffers, and company member of Die-Cast and cast member of The Prohibition Project, Ross Beschler.

The 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival returns to downtown Pittsfield for the eighth year and features music, theatre, dance, film, visual art, spoken word, comedy and more, including Barrington Stage Company’s 10X10 New Play Festival (which we will learn more about right now)!

Directors for the 10X10 New Play Festival are BSC Artistic Director Julianne Boyd and returning for his third year, Matthew Penn who is (among his many accomplishments) a Co-Artistic director for the Berkshire Playwrights Lab in Great Barrington.

Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, New York is currently presenting the world premiere of “Red Maple.” The play was written by Capital Region veteran actor-writer, David Bunce and was the runaway hit of the 2016 NEXT ACT! New Play Summit.

In this comedy set in the suburbs of Albany, everyone wants to know, “What’s the matter with Robert?” Since becoming an empty-nester, the usually solid and dependable professor seems to be falling apart — just like the old red maple tree in the back yard.

When friends get together for a cheer-him-up dinner, Robert announces he’s had an epiphany that will rock the world of the stalwart suburban gang around the table. Things get shaken and stirred as the cocktails and confessions flow, building to a hilarious crescendo when an unexpected guest shows up begging another question, “Guess who’s coming to dinner?”

TheRep’s production of “Red Maple” is directed by Margaret E. Hall who joined us along with playwright, David Bunce.

In Tom Dudzick’s “Miracle on South Division Street,” Clara Nowak, of Buffalo, New York, and her three grown kids have always known they were special, ever since the miraculous night in 1942, when the Blessed Mother appeared to their grandfather in his barbershop.

Since then the neighborhood has looked upon the Nowaks’ commemorative shrine as a beacon of hope and faith amidst the urban rubble. When daughter Ruth announces her plans to write and star in a one-woman show about the family miracle so the “whole world will know,” a deathbed confession causes the family legend to unravel.

The Ghent Playhouse in Ghent, New York presents “Miracle on South Division Street” starting tomorrow with performances through the 17th.

Cathy Visscher, the Director of “Miracle On South Division Street,” and the artist director of the Ghent playhouse and Sam Reilly who plays Jimmy in “Miracle On South Division Street” and is the Vice President of the Ghent playhouse board of directors join us.

In Lee’s Blessing’s “A Walk in the Woods,” two men, one American and one Soviet, take walks in the woods over the course of a year and struggle to save the world from certain annihilation.

Based on a real incident, the compelling and topical play resonates in fresh ways today, as audiences watch two intelligent and caring politicians lean into the careful craft of true diplomacy and try to save the world.

“A Walk in the Woods” will be performed at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, New York January 25 through February 3.

Executive & Artistic Director of Hubbard Hall David Snider, Kirk Jackson, and former head of theater for NY State Council on the Arts Robert Zukerman join us now to tell us more. Snider and Zuckerman co-star in “A Walk in the Woods” at Hubbard Hall, and Kirk Jackson, who is a professor of theater at Bennington College, directs.

Actor, comedian, director and writer Penny Marshall died Monday night from complications from diabetes.  She was 75. In 2012, she joined us for a two-part interview upon publication of her memoir "My Mother Was Nuts."


  The Tony Award winning 2015 Lincoln Center Theatre Broadway revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The King and I” was remounted at The Palladium Theatre in London’s West End earlier this year. That production has been filmed for the screen and will be be shown in cinemas nationwide on November 29 and December 4, presented by Trafalgar Releasing.

 

The original Broadway stars, Kelli O’Hara, Ken Watanabe, and Ruthie Ann Miles made their West End debuts in the production. O’Hara and Miles won Tony Awards in 2015 for their roles as Anna and Lady Thiang. “The King and I” was directed for Broadway and the West End by Tony Award winning director, Bartlett Sher.

 

Sher is Resident Director of Lincoln Center Theater, where his productions include Lerner & Loewe's “My Fair Lady,” J.T. Rogers’ “Oslo,” Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The King and I,” “Golden Boy,” “Blood & Gifts,” “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” “South Pacific,” “Awake and Sing!” and “The Light in the Piazza.” He directed the recent Broadway productions of “Fiddler on the Roof” and “The Bridges of Madison County.”

Please note: when we recorded this interview the Broadway production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” was in rehearsals - it is in previews now, and Laura Benanti was rehearsing to play Eliza in the Lincoln Center production of “My Fair Lady” - she is now playing the role nightly - and at matinees - on the Vivian Beaumont stage.

First a one-man act,written and acted by Chazz Palminteri,  then a movie and now a musical "A Bronx Tale" takes viewers into the 1960s Bronx neighborhood.  Palminteri tells the story of a young kid caught between his relationship with his father and the mob boss he'd like to be. The story brings emotional force to a tough and gritty plot.

Chazz Palminteri played Dave Kujan in "The Usual Suspects" and was nominated for an Oscar for his role in "Bullets Over Broadway".  "A Bronx Tale" is running at Proctors in Schenctady, New York October 23- 28. 

In the new play, “The Lifespan of a Fact,” the determined young fact checker is about to stir up trouble. The demanding editor has given him a big assignment: apply his skill to a groundbreaking piece by the unorthodox author. Together, they take on the high-stakes world of publishing in this new comedy of conflict. The ultimate showdown between fact and fiction is about to begin – with undeniably delicious consequences.

“The Lifespan of a Fact” is based on the stirring true story of John D’Agata’s essay, “What Happens There,” about the Las Vegas suicide of teenager Levi Presley. Jim Fingal, assigned to fact check the piece, ignited a seven-year debate on the blurred lines of what passes for truth in literary nonfiction.

“The Lifespan if a Fact” is currently in previews at Studio 54 on Broadway starring Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones, and Bobby Cannavale. It opens on October 18. It is directed by our guest, Leigh Silverman.

Nobel Prize-winner Luigi Pirandello’s “Naked,” in a new version by Nicholas Wright, is currently running on The Larry Vaber Stage at Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

The play delves deep into the struggle of self-identity, and the tendency to skew reality to benefit desires of the heart.

Directed for BTG by Eric Hill, “Naked” follows the story of a woman, in the midst of questioning her existence, as the men around her impose their view of her into the world.

Hill joins us now along with actors Tara Franklin and James Barry.

In her documentary film “Hot to Trot,” Hudson Valley based filmmaker, Gail Freedman, brings her audience into the world of same-sex ballroom dancing -- and into the lives of several dancers.

“Hot to Trot” will screen at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck, New York on October 6 and at the Rosendale Theatre in Rosendale, New York on October 21. Gail Freedman will be in attendance for both screenings.

In more than 20 years as an award-winning filmmaker, Freedman has produced, directed and written dozens of documentaries on a wide range of subjects, through her company, Parrot Productions. She has also taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Among her films is Making the 9/11 Memorial, a primetime special for The History Channel, which aired on the 10th anniversary of September 11th, when the Memorial opened. Her creative output encompasses independent projects, as well as extensive work for PBS, network television, cable, syndication and the Internet, along with educational and non-profit films.

Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts was founded in 1978 to create a theatre of unprecedented excellence in Performance, Training, and Education. This season, Shakespeare & Company has presented productions of The Bard’s “Macbeth,” “Love’s Labours Lost,” and “As You Like It” – the last of which runs through September 2.

Terrence McNally’s “Mothers and Sons” began performances last night and opens officially on Sunday and Shakespeare & Company’s production of Simon Stephens’ “Heisenberg” opens tonight.

We are joined by Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer, Artistic Director Allyn Burrows, and Director of “Mothers and Sons,” James Warwick.

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