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Key artwork for Alien/Nation at WTF
provided / Williamstown Theatre Festival

“Alien/Nation” an immersive world premiere theatrical experience that takes you on a journey throughout Williamstown, Massachusetts -- revealing unexpected surprises.

Commissioned and Originally Produced by the Williamstown Theatre Festival, audiences who attend “Alien/Nation” may choose to experience the unique site-specific performance by foot or by car.

Tony Award-nominated director Michael Arden and the company of The Forest of Arden invite WTF audiences to plunge themselves into the center of stories inspired by real events that took place in Western Massachusetts in 1969. The two-part play is ritten and devised by Eric Berryman, Jen Silverman, and the Company of The Forest of Arden.

Sarah LaDuke speaks with Jen Silverman and Eric Berryman.

Artwork for Mamet play at Great Barrington Public Theater
provided / Great Barrington Public Theater

Great Barrington Public Theater caps its eclectic season of new plays with a drama by David Mamet entitled "The Christopher Boys Communion" - in performance July 29 through August 8 at the Daniel Art Center at Bard College at Simon's Rock in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

"The Christopher Boys Communion" is a gripping, chilling story of crime, evil, privilege and justice with an all star cast to Berkshire actors. The play poses the question of just how much a parent will sacrifice to preserve one of their own.

David Mamet is the author of many plays, including "The Monarchist," "Glengarry Glen Ross," "American Buffalo," "Race," "Speed the Plow" and "Sexual Perversity in Chicago" - just to name a few.

Artwork for "DAD" at Great Barrington Public Theatre
Great Barrington Public Theater / https://www.greatbarringtonpublictheater.org/

"Dad" is a poignant new comedy by acclaimed playwright Mark St. Germain. The play offers a heartfelt exploration into sibling and parent rivalries, the challenges of aging, and the power of reconciliations to foster self-discovery.

The show runs through July 3, presented by the Great Barrington Public Theater - a collaborative of seasoned theater professionals committed to new work and new voices.

Mark St. Germain has written about everyone from Sigmund Freud, Hemingway, Einstein, Dr. Ruth, Thomas Edison and, in a play premiering next month in the Berkshires, Eleanor Roosevelt. His latest is “Dad,” writing about himself and his family.

Artwork for "The Light" presented by WAM
provided - WAM Theatre

WAM Theatre’s latest production is a reading of the new play "The Light" by Loy Webb, directed by Colette Robert, which will be available to stream through Sunday, May 2.

In the play, a surprise proposal gift puts the future of Genesis and Rashad's relationship at risk when they are forced to confront a devastating secret from the past. "The Light" is a 70-minute, real-time rollercoaster ride of laughter, romance, and despair that uncovers how the power of radical love can be a healing beacon of light.

"The Light" was playwright Loy Webb’s first play. Loy and WAM Theatre’s Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven join us.

Artwork for WAM Theatre production of Letters to Kamala
provided

In the lead up to the 2020 presidential election, playwright Rachel Lynett conjures three female American political leaders of the past to share their wisdom, perspective, and wry humor with VP candidate Kamala Harris.

In the WAM Theatre event, "Letters to Kamala," we meet three powerful women on whose shoulders Kamala now stands: Charlotta Bass, the first Black woman candidate for vice president, Charlene Mitchell, the first Black woman to run for president, and Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink, the first woman of color to be elected to the House of Representatives, first Asian-American woman to run in Congress and the first Asian-American to run for president.

The play is available for streaming from this Sunday, March 14 through Sunday, March 21. We welcome WAM Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven and playwright Rachel Lynett.

Book cover title artwork for "Homeland Elegies"
Little Brown / littlebrown.com

Ayad Akhtar is a novelist and playwright, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. His latest work is novel, "Homeland Elegies," a deeply personal work about identity and belonging in a nation coming apart at the seams. It blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of longing and dispossession in a world that 9/11 made.

Playwright Bess Wohl is making her Broadway debut with “Grand Horizons” - a co-commission from The Williamstown Theatre Festival and Second Stage Theater - now in previews at The Hays Theatre in New York City and officially opening on Thursday, January 23.

Wohl’s other plays include “Small Mouth Sounds” “Make Believe” “Continuity,” “American Hero,” “Barcelona,” “Touched,” “In,” “Cats Talk Back” and “Pretty Filthy.” She is an associate artist with New York based investigative theater troupe The Civilians and her plays have been produced at theater companies around the country. She is the recipient of the 2015 Sam Norkin Special Drama Desk Award for “establishing herself as an important voice in New York theater” and the John Gassner Outer Critics Circle Award. She is a MacDowell fellow and an alumna of Ars Nova’s Play Group.

“Grand Horizons” is directed by Leigh Silverman and stars Jane Alexander and James Cromwell as a couple navigating divorce after being married for 50 years. Ben McKenzie and Michael Urie play their adult sons. The cast is rounded out by Priscilla Lopez, Maulik Pancholy, and Ashley Park.

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.

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.

“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.”

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.

Adam Rapp’s play “The Sound Inside” is currently in previews on Broadway produced by Jeffrey Richards and co-produced by Lincoln Center at Studio 54, directed by David Cromer. It stars Mary Louise Parker as Bella Lee Baird, a Creative Writing professor at Yale University, and Will Hochman as Christopher Dunn - one of her students. It had its world premiere production with the same cast and director at The Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2018.

Adam Rapp is an award-winning playwright and director. He is the author of numerous plays including “Red Light Winter” which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. “The Sound Inside” is the first of his plays to be produced on Broadway.

In “The Sound Inside” Bella, 53, conducts her life in solitude and work. Early in the play, we find out she’s been diagnosed with aggressive stomach cancer. As a college freshman, Christopher Dunn is alienated by his peers and societal expectations. The two meet and connect over a shared interest in writing and the profound capability of literature to inspire.

Michael Mitnick and Adam Gwon in front of a RTC step-and-repeat
Jennifer Broski / broadwayworld.com

Tomorrow night, the new musical “Scotland, PA” begins previews at The Laura Pels Theatre in New York City - produced and commissioned by The Roundabout Theatre Company.

Based on the 2001 film of the same name written and directed by Billy Morrissette, “Scotland, PA” is inspired by Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” - though instead of being a Scottish general, this Mac is an American burger joint employee in 1975. Mac and his wife, Pat, make a plan to improve their lives in a darkly-comic musical directed by Lonny Price.

“Scotland, PA” features a book by Michael Mitnick and music and lyrics by Adam Gwon and they joined us to talk about the show.

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.

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.”

The new play, “Gertrude and Claudius,” billed as a prequel to Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” began performances at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Massachusetts last night, officially opens July 21, and runs through August 3 on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage.

The play is by award-winning playwright, Mark St. Germain, author of “The Best of Enemies,” “Dancing Lessons,” “Dr. Ruth, All the Way,” and the long-running Off-Broadway hit “Freud’s Last Session” – among many other plays.

“Gertrude and Claudius” is based on John Updike’s 2000 novel of the same title. The story shows Queen Gertrude’s relationship with Hamlet’s father, who appears only as ghost in the Shakespeare play, and how she conspires with his brother Claudius to commit the murder that sets in motion the events of the classic drama.

St. Germain has a long history with Barrington Stage, this being his 13th play produced by the company.

Dorset Theatre Festival Resident Playwright Theresa Rebeck – author of Roundabout Theatre Company's 2018 Broadway production "Bernhardt/Hamlet" - has developed more than six productions at Dorset that have gone on to other stages around the country, including 2017’s "Downstairs" starring Tim Daly and Tyne Daly, which ran Off-Broadway at Primary Stages in the fall of last year.

The most Broadway-produced female playwright of our time, Rebeck returns to the Dorset Theatre Festival with "Dig" – running through July 27th.

A dying plant shop in a dying urban neighborhood receives a visitor from the past: Meghan, the neighborhood screw-up, whose suicide attempt followed a terrible tragedy. Roger, the store owner, wants nothing to do with this situation, but Meghan is improbably clinging to life. Can a soul beyond saving be saved? It is a play about courage, redemption and photosynthesis.

Beth Henley
Courtesy of Beth Henley

Since 1985, Vassar and New York Stage and Film have been proud partners in the Powerhouse Season which is known for being the springboard for new stories that go on to theaters across the country and around the world.

This summer, Powerhouse’s second Mainstage production is Beth Henley’s “Lightning (or The Unbuttoning).”

In a cabin high on a peak surrounded by the blue mountains and a vibrant, swirling sky, a young woman is visited by a traveling salesman as a lightning storm brews. A mysterious, mystical visitor, he awakens in her the promise and the peril of something more.

Pulitzer Prize-winner Beth Henley returns to Powerhouse with this story of resilience and determination in an unforgiving world.

Playwright Richard Nelson will talk with Michael Rhodes, Artistic Director of the Tangent Theatre Company in Tivoli about the newest play in his series that follows the Gabriel family of Rhinebeck, New York, through the momentous and divisive 2016 election year. The event takes place Thursday night at Oblong Books and Music in Rhinebeck, New York at 6 p.m.

The play is: "The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family." While preparing meals in their kitchen, together they grapple in real time with issues of money, history, art, politics and family, as well as the fear of having been left behind.

Richard Nelson’s plays include "Nikolai and the Others," "Farewell to the Theatre," "How Shakespeare Won the West," and the musical James Joyce’s "The Dead" and the screenplays for the films "Hyde Park-on-Hudson" and "Ethan Frome." He has received numerous awards, including a Tony, an Olivier and two New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards.

Christopher Castellani’s new novel, "Leading Men," is a story of desire, artistic ambition, and the consequences of unspoken words. We meet playwright Tennessee Williams and his longtime partner Frank Merlo when they take a mysterious Swedish actress under their wing, setting in motion a chain of events that will alter all three of their lives.

In February 2013, the arch-conservative Pope Benedict XVI made a startling announcement: he would resign, making him the first pope to willingly vacate his office in over 700 years. Reeling from the news, the College of Cardinals rushed to Rome to congregate in the Sistine Chapel to pick his successor. Their unlikely choice? Francis, the first non-European pope in 1,200 years, a one time tango club bouncer, a passionate soccer fan, a man with the common touch.

Why did Benedict walk away at the height of power, knowing his successor might be someone whose views might undo his legacy? Having immersed himself in these men's lives to write the screenplay for the upcoming motion picture The Pope, Anthony McCarten weaves their stories into one gripping narrative. The Pope is soon to be a major motion picture starring Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce.

Anthony McCarten is a novelist, playwright, television writer, and filmmaker. He is two time Academy-Award nominated screenwriter for writing the biographical films - "The Theory of Everything" and "The Darkest Hour." He most recently wrote the film "Bohemian Rhapsody" – which has been nominated for an Oscar this year for Best Picture.

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.

Playwright Kyle Bass is the Associate Artistic Director at Syracuse Stage; he is currently the Burke Chair for Regional Studies at Colgate University.

His newest play, “Possessing Harriet,” directed by Tazewell Thompson, just had a successful world premiere at Syracuse Stage with sold-out houses for the entire run.

The original cast and the playwright will be performing a public staged reading of the full play on Thursday, November 15th at 7:30 pm at the New York State Museum.

Alexi Kaye Campbell
Robert Viglasky


  You do not mess with Kristin Miller. In the 1960s, she was a radical activist and political protester. Now a celebrated art historian, the publication of her memoir threatens to split her family apart. But Kristin has never been one to shy away from a fight.

 

Direct from London, Alexi Kaye Campbell’s biting play “Apologia” makes its New York debut, produced by Roundabout Theatre Company and featuring Stockard Channing in a powerhouse performance as a woman facing the repercussions of her past.

“Apologia” runs off-Broadway at the Laura Pels Theatre through December 16. Playwright and screenwriter, Alexi Kaye Campbell joins us.

American Son” is a new play, now in previews on Broadway and marking the Broadway debut of playwright Christopher Demos-Brown. The play had its world premiere in 2016 at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The new drama examines our nation’s racial divide through the eyes of an estranged, interracial couple. Over the course of one evening, the couple’s disparate backgrounds collide as they confront an unexpected crisis involving their son, the police, and an abandoned car.

On Broadway, the play stars Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale, Jeremy Jordan and our guest, Eugene Lee.

Lee once performed for President Lyndon B. Johnson at his Texas ranch in a command performance of “A Raisin the Sun.” Forty-five plus years later, he is still performing in film, television and theater, and he has also become an acclaimed writer. He has worked and traveled with New York’s renowned Negro Theatre Ensemble, performing in the Pulitzer Prize winning “A Soldier’s Play” and numerous other works. He is considered a “Wilsonian Warrior” for his many appearances in the works of August Wilson, including the Broadway production of “Gem of the Ocean.” He is Artist in Residence and Artistic Director of the Black and Latino Playwright’s Conference at Texas State University.

Jason Butler Harner and Janet McTeer in Roundabout Theatre Company's "Bernhardt/Hamlet"
Joan Marcus

Last night, The Roundabout Theatre Company opened a new play by Theresa Rebeck at The American Airlines Theatre in New York City. Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, “Bernhardt/Hamlet” is set just before the turn of the 20th Century when the acclaimed and adored Sarah Bernhardt stages a production of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” with herself in the title role of the halting and hesitant Prince of Denmark.

In “Bernhardt/Hamlet,” the divine Sarah is inhabited by Golden Globe, Tony, and Olivier Award-winning actress, Janet McTeer. Bernhardt as penned by Rebeck is having an affair with poet and playwright, Edmond Rostand who is played by our guest, Jason Butler Harner.

Harner’s previous Broadway credits include “The Crucible” and “The Coast of Utopia.” He’s performed Off-Broadway, as well, earning OBIE and Drama Desk nominations. His major film debut came in Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated film “Changeling” and he currently stars on the Netflix series “Ozark.”

"Grant & Twain" At PS21

Sep 24, 2018

"Grant & Twain," a new play by playwright Elizabeth Diggs will have its debut at PS21Chatham this Thursday, September 27th. The play tells the story of a remarkable friendship.

At age 62, Ulysses Grant is bankrupted in a Wall Street swindle. His only hope to restore his honor and save his family is an offer to write his memoirs of the war. News of Grant’s calamity brings his friend Mark Twain to his side. Twain is infuriated by the terms offered by the prestigious publisher.

He makes an audacious proposal: he himself will publish Grant’s book and make it the biggest bestseller in American history. When Grant finally agrees, he is faced with a double enemy: he is diagnosed with terminal cancer and writes in a race with death, and he discovers an enemy close to home.

To tell us more, we welcome playwright Elizabeth Diggs and actor Michael Sean McGuiness who is playing Ulysses Grant in the production.

The 413Heart Music & Arts Festival at The Stationery Factory in Dalton, Massachusetts is celebrating its third year bringing an exciting mix of art to the Berkshires. The festival runs this Thursday through Sunday, August 16-19.

Michael Dowling is a Berkshire-based playwright and screenwriter. His play “Tamarack House” is a comedy/drama about five men struggling to stay afloat when they discover the run-down boarding house they call home is suddenly put on the market. There will be a staged reading of the play at The Stationery Factory on Saturday, August 18.

Our pal Johnny Irion has a new solo record entitled “Driving Friend” – he’ll headline the 413Heart Festival on Friday, August 17.

Theresa Rebeck's new play "Seared" opens on Wednesday night on the Nikos Stage at the Williamstown Theatre Festival - her third play to premiere at WTFest. In "Seared," between the smell of sizzling garlic and balsamic drizzle, tempers are boiling over in an on-stage kitchen. Chef Harry has poured his heart into his intimate Brooklyn restaurant and it is finally paying off. A rave review has New Yorkers flocking through his door and selling out every table, but is this the success he has been dreaming of?

This also marks the start of a string of new productions for Theresa Rebeck. After "Seared," she'll premiere her new Broadway play "Bernhard/Hamlet" starring Janet McTeer followed by a New York premiere of "Downstairs" starring Tyne and Tim Daly and the release of her film, "Trouble" starring Anjelica Houston and Bill Pullman.

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.

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