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Artwork for WAM Theatre production of ROE
https://www.wamtheatre.com/ / https://www.wamtheatre.com/

Two Women. Multiple Truths. One Landmark Supreme Court Case. "ROE," by Lisa Loomer, is an historically sweeping play with a large ensemble cast that illuminates the history of one of the most polarizing social issues of the modern era, the Roe v. Wade, U.S. Supreme Court ruling that established a woman’s right to an abortion.

The play provides a reminder of the human stories behind the debates and how hard we have to work to compassionately communicate with people with whom we may disagree.

"ROE" will be presented as a creatively designed, digital production by WAM Theatre. Performances will be available October 17 through October 20. To tell us more, we welcome WAM Producing Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven and Scenic Designer Juliana von Haubrich.

The Berkshire Theatre Group has announced its 2020 summer theatrical season, with a casting sneak-peek. And Kate Maguire - Artistic Director, CEO, and new WAMC panelist – is here to tell us more.

The 2020 season – which marks ten years since the announcement of the merger between The Colonial Theatre and Berkshire Theatre Festival – includes classics, three world premieres, and plenty in between.

The play: “Switzerland” by Joanna Murray-Smith opens tonight at the Curtain Call Theatre in Latham, New York and runs through March 14.

Somewhere in the Swiss Alps, grande dame of crime literature Patricia Highsmith lives with an impressive collection of books, and a somewhat sinister collection of guns and knives. The comfort she finds in her solitude, cats, and cigarettes is quickly broken when a mysterious international visitor arrives at her reclusive home, where her love of fictional murders becomes a dangerous reality.

We're joined by Director Aaron Holbritter, Barbara Richards who plays Patricia, and Ian LaChance who plays Edward.

  Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: "The Assistant"

Upcoming:

  • Michelle Ellsworth: Work in Progress - EMPAC, Studio 1 - Goodman, RPI, Troy, Thursday 2/27, 7 PM
  • Air Supply: The Lost in Love Experience - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Thursday 2/27, 7:30 PM
  • "Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill" - Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes, opens Thursday 2/27 at 8 PM, through March 15
  • FLEX AVE. - The Egg, Albany, Friday 2/28, 7:30 PM
  • Annie & The Hedonists - The Van Dyck Lounge, Schenectady, Friday 2/28, 8 PM
  • Blue Man Group - Proctors, Mainstage, Schenectady, Friday 2/28 at 8 PM; Saturday 2/29 at 2 & 8 PM; Sunday 3/1 at 2 PM
  • Sam Evian - MASS MoCA, Club B10, North Adams, Mass., Saturday 2/29, 8 PM
  • Caitlin Canty, w/s/g Corey Laitman - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Sunday 3/1, 7 PM
  • Jennifer Block, author “Everything Below the Waist: Why Health Care Needs a Feminist Revolution” in conversation with Elisa Albert - NYS Writers Institute, New York State Museum Huxley Theatre, Albany, Tuesday 3/3, 7:30 PM

New movies: "Seberg," "The Invisible Man," "Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band," "The Traitor"

Barrington Stage Company’s ninth annual 10X10 New Play Festival will have performances February 13 through March 8 at BSC’s St. Germain Stage in the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The new play festival is part of Pittsfield’s 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival.

The new play festival is part of the 2020 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival which is a collaborative effort spearheaded by Barrington Stage Company and the City of Pittsfield, and coordinated through a steering committee that includes the Beacon Cinema, Berkshire International Film Festival, Berkshire Museum, Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, and the City of Pittsfield.

Actor Peggy Pharr Wilson is performing in 5 of the 10 news plays on offer this year. She has acted often at Barrington Stage - as well as at many other theaters - and is one of Barrington Stage’s newest Artistic Associates.

The New Colossus” tells the true stories of twelve refugees from twelve different time periods, fleeing from violence and oppression in a journey toward freedom. In the play -- which will be at Proctors in Schenectady, New York on Friday, February 7 and Saturday, February 8 -- a group of actors from all over the world tell their ancestors' stories, all woven into a single narrative about escaping their homeland and coming to America.

“The New Colossus is co-written by The Actors’ Gang Ensemble and their Artistic Director and Co-Founder Tim Robbins who also directs. The Actors’ Gang was founded in 1981 and is based in Culver City, California.

Academy Award winning actor, Tim Robbins is best known for his films “Bull Durham,” “The Hudsucker Proxy,” “Mystic River,” and “The Shawshank Redemption.” He directorial film credits include “Cradle will Rock” and “Dead Man Walking.”

William Doyle is a New York Times bestselling author and TV producer for networks including HBO, The History Channel, and PBS. Since 2015 he has served as Fulbright Scholar, Scholar in Residence and Lecturer on Media and Education at University of Eastern Finland, a Rockefeller Foundation Resident Fellow, and advisor to the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland.

With Pasi Sahlberg, Professor of Education Policy at Gonski Institute for Education, University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, Doyle has written the book "Let the Children Play: How More Play Will Save Our Schools and Help Children Thrive."

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.

Wallace Norman is directing the Performing Arts of Woodstock production of Will Eno’s "The Realistic Joneses." The play takes place in the rural Southwest.

Shortly after one couple moves into town, they meet their neighbors who share the same last name. As their lives intertwine they learn that they share much more as the two couples struggle to survive in their imperfect worlds.

The show will runs at the Mescal Hornbeck Community Center in Woodstock, New York from November 15 through December 1.

“Water, Water, Everywhere…” is the final production of Oldcastle Theatre Company's 48th season. The play is set in the office of a small town newspaper in the fictional small town of Walloomsac, Vermont as its reporters begin work on a story about a factory spewing (PFOA) from exhaust stacks that build up over years in the groundwater and soil.

Similar things happened in Bennington, Vermont and nearby Hoosick Falls, New York. But playwright and Oldcastle’s Producing Artistic Director, Eric Peterson, cautions that the play is fiction, not a documentary.

Much of the play revolves around the local newspaper which is facing a difficult financial situation and is in danger of closing. Two young reporters team up with a veteran editor to bring the story to their readers. Peterson, a former columnist for both the Bennington Banner and the Berkshire Eagle, has written often about Vermont themes in plays such as “Civil Union.”

This month, Drama Desk nominee Lori Wilner revisits her one woman show “Hannah Sanesh,” which she co-created with writer/director David Schechter in 1984.

It is an intimate account of a young Hungarian Jewish girl growing up in 1930’s Budapest. Not particularly religious, she is drawn to investigate her Judaism as she experiences increasing persecution and anti-semitism.

Originally performed Off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theater, Lori received the Goldy Award, DramaLogue Award and Drama Desk nomination for her solo performance and went on to tour extensively in the states, Canada and Israel. Lori will perform the show on Saturday, October 5 at Unison Arts Center in New Paltz, New York.

"Lobby Hero" At TheRep

Oct 2, 2019

Penned nearly 20 years ago and debuting off Broadway just prior to the 9/11 tragedy, Kenneth Lonergan’s "Lobby Hero" is rife with proto-memes of #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, police brutality, workplace harassment, bullying and the millennial urge to save the world without actually doing much about it. It is now running at Capital Repertory Theatre through Oct. 20th, directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian.

In the play: Jeff is a blabbermouth. He’s not a doorman he will repeatedly tell you, but a security guard. Your secrets are not safe with him. Just ask William, his superintendent whose brother has been accused of a heinous crime. Or Bill, the veteran beat cop who has a standing tryst with a fading flower upstairs. Or Dawn, the new rookie Bill is preening despite the fact that three months into her new gig she’s already been called up on assault charges.

Kenny Toll plays Jeff, the self-imagined lobby hero whose mouth can’t stop flapping long enough for his brain to take over.

“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.

Constance Shulman in "The Rose Tattoo" at The Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2016
Daniel Rader

This week, the Roundabout Theatre Company production of Tennessee Williams’ “The Rose Tattoo” begins previews on Broadway at The American Airlines Theatre, directed by Trip Cullman and starring Marisa Tomei. A version of the production premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2016. Much of the cast has changed between the two stagings, but our next guest, Constance Shulman, has remained a part of the play. She plays The Strega.

Shulman is best known as Yoga Jones on the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black” and as the voice of Patti Mayonnaise on the Nickelodeon cartoon, “Doug.” Her theatre credits include originating the role of Annelle in the first production of “Steel Magnolias” Off-Broadway.

    Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: "Maiden"

Upcoming:

  • George A. Romero’s "Season of the Witch" - GE Theatre at Proctors, Schenectady, Thursday 9/5, 7 PM
  • In-faux-structure - Exhibit opening reception & Beer Garden with Joe Barna’s Sketches of Influence, Stacy Dillard - Opalka Gallery, Sage College of Albany, Albany, Friday 9/6, 6-9 PM; show runs through Oct. 19
  • "The Heiress" - Albany Civic Theater, Albany, opens Friday 9/6 at 7:30 PM, runs Fri-Sun through Sept. 22
  • Neil Simon’s "Broadway Bound" - Curtain Call Theatre, Latham, opens Friday 9/6 at 8 PM, runs Thu-Sun through Sept. 28
  • Cardi B - SPAC, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, Friday 9/6, 7:30 PM
  • The National Reserve - The Hangar On the Hudson, Troy, Friday 9/6, 8 PM
  • A Bread Factory Part 1: For the Sake of Gold; A Bread Factory Part 2: Walk With Me a While Time + Space Limited, Hudson, Saturday 9/7, 2 PM, 4:15 PM (repeated Sept. 14)
  • Banda Magda - SPAC, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, Monday 9/9, 8 PM
  • Jazz On the Plaza featuring Fleur Seule - Empire State Plaza, Albany, Wednesday 9/11, 5:30-7:30 PM
  • The Growlers, w/s/g Pinky Pinky - Pearl Street Nightclub, Northampton, Mass., Wednesday 9/11, 8 PM

New movies: "It: Chapter 2"

Hershey Felder in "George Gershwin Alone"
Mark Garvin

The celebrated one-man play, “George Gershwin Alone,” features acclaimed actor, playwright and accomplished pianist, Hershey Felder rendering an intimate portrait of George Gershwin’s personal life and artistic genius.

Widely regarded as the man who brought jazz into the concert hall, Gershwin changed the musical landscape forever. Packed with Gershwin’s legendary songbook, “George Gershwin Alone” features delightful classics such as “I Got Rhythm,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” songs from “Porgy and Bess” and “An American in Paris,” and a complete performance of “Rhapsody in Blue.”

Berkshire Theatre Group presents “George Gershwin Alone” at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Massachusetts through August 31.

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.”

“I Loved Lucy” is an autobiographical play by Lee Tannen about his friendship with entertainment icon Lucille Ball during the final years of the comedy legend’s life.

After receiving a warm reception in London, the play will have its New York premiere performances in the Hudson Valley this month presented by Gary DiMauro at Helsinki Hudson in Hudson, New York on August 24, and at The Woodstock Playhouse in Woodstock, New York on August 31.

In this production, Lee Tannen will play himself opposite Sandra Dickinson as Lucy.

Accomplished stage and screen actor, Sandra Dickinson is best known for her work in Birds Eye Beefburger TV advertisements directed by Alan Parker in the early 1970s, and as Trillian in the 1981 television adaptation of “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.” She’s often works as a voice-actor for animated series.

Actor Deirdre O’Connell joins us to discuss her work in the World Premiere of Adam Bock's "Before the Meeting," which is currently running on The Nikos Stage at The Williamstown Theatre Festival. The production is directed by Trip Cullman.

Every day, Gail (O’Connell) and the regular members of her early morning group set up for their meeting in the exact same way: Nicole makes the coffee, Gail arranges the chairs, and Ron complains. As they forge a path toward sobriety and well-being, they come to rely on the routine and each other. But when Gail’s estranged granddaughter reopens old wounds, Gail knows it will take more than coffee, chairs, and companionship to keep her life from falling apart.

A few of O'Connell's credit include Broadway's "The Front Page" and "Magic/Bird;" television's "Nurse Jackie," "The Closer," and "Six Feet Under," and the films "A Dog Year," "What Happens in Vegas." and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

In “Beau,” eight actor-musicians tell the story of Ace Baker, who spends the first decade of his life fatherless. At 12 years old, a phone call reveals that his grandfather, Beau, has been alive all his life and his mother knew. Family secrets unravel as Ace rushes to make up for lost time with a man who changes his life and puts a guitar in his hand.

“Beau” features a concept, book, and lyrics by Douglas Lyons and music by Ethan D. Pakchar and Lyons. Michael Wilson directs the Adirondack Theatre Festival production which runs in Glens Falls, New York August 3-9.

We are joined by Douglas Lyons and Ethan D. Pakchar, actor Matt Rodin who plays Ace, and ATF Producing Artistic Director Chad Rabinovitz.

Three-time Pulitzer Prize-Winner Thornton Wilder’s "The Skin of Our Teeth" is now playing at The Berkshire Theatre Group’s Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and runs through August 3. Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-Winner David Auburn directs the show.

"The Skin of our Teeth" is an optimistic tribute to the invincibility of the human spirit. To tell us more we welcome Harriet Harris who plays Mrs. Antrobus and Danny Johnson who plays Mr. Antrobus.

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.

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. 

WAM Theatre’s World Premiere of Anne Undeland’s "Lady Randy" is now up and running.

"Lady Randy" is a romp through the life of Jennie Jerome, mother of Winston Churchill. In 1875, the American heiress, Jerome, seemed to have have it all. She had married an English lord, she was young, rich and beautiful, and she had just given birth to Winston Churchill.

The play takes us on a dizzying ride through the treacherous, kaleidoscopic sexual and political landscape of her marriage. A woman ahead of her time, Jennie kept everyone watching, kept them guessing, and she never, ever surrendered.

To tell us more we welcome actress/playwright Anne Undeland, director Jim Frangione, and actor Mark Zeisler.

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.

photo of Nora Burns performing "David's Friend"
Eric McNatt (the projected image is by Patrick McMullan)

On Saturday, April 27 Hudson Hall in Hudson, New York will present Nora Burns in a performance of her one-woman show "David's Friend," written and performed by Nora Burns with direction by Adrienne Truscott, dramaturgy by Lucy Sexton, and visual collaboration by Len Whitney, and featuring Billy Hough.

The show is about a crazy friendship in 1980s New York City. The one-woman show is a comic odyssey about cruising, disco, drag queens, strippers, sex, love, loss, and AIDS, told with music, videos, costumes, characters, tall tales and torrid truths.

The hit 1982 film, Tootsie, has a new stage-musical adaptation that is opening on Broadway tomorrow night. The updated story of the actor, Michael Dorsey, who disguises himself as a woman to get cast in a show, is directed by Scott Ellis, features a book by Robert Horn, and music and lyrics by David Yazbek. Santino Fontana dons the infamous pumps.

Sarah Stiles plays Sandy Lester in “Tootsie: The Musical” - the role was played in the film by Teri Garr. Stiles is a Tony nominated performer whose previous Broadway credits include “Hand to God,” “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever,” “Avenue Q,” and “The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee.” She plays Bonnie on the Showtime series “Billions”  and Gladys in “Get Shorty” on Epix.

David Furr, Keri Russell, and Brandon Uranowitz in "Burn This" at The Hudson Theatre
Matthew Murphy

The first Broadway revival of Pulitzer Prize winner Lanford Wilson’s “Burn This” opened at The Hudson Theatre this past Tuesday evening.

When a mysterious death brings together two unlikely strangers, their explosive connection sparks a chemistry too fiery to ignore. "Burn This," directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer, is a smoldering story of love and raw attraction by one of the most vital playwrights of the modern era. The steamy new revival stars Keri Russell as Anna, Adam Driver as Pale, Brandon Uranowitz as Larry, and our guest, David Furr as Burton.

Furr earned a Tony nomination for his work as Garry in Roundabout Theatre Company’s hilarious 2016 revival of “Noises Off” at the American Airlines Theatre where, in 2011, Furr played John “Jack” Worthing in Roundabout’s tremendous production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” co-starring Brian Bedford and Santino Fontana.

His other Broadway credits include “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” “Accent on Youth,” “Cymbeline,” “The Rivals,” and “King Lear.” Furr’s film credits include “13 Hours,” “Evening,” “The Sounding,” and the upcoming “The Highwaymen.” His recurring television appearances include “Bull,” “The Man in the High Castle,” “Mr. Mercedes,” “Dynasty,” “Odd Mom Out,” “TURN: Washington’s Spies,” “Iron First,” “Madam Secretary,” “The Following,” and “The Americans.”

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