summer theater 2018

The play, “Ann,” is an intimate, brash, and feisty portrait of Ann Richards, legendary Governor of Texas. 

Written by award-winning actress and writer Holland Taylor, “Ann” is an inspiring and hilarious play that brings us face to face with the complex, colorful, and captivating character bigger than the state from which she hailed. The Dorset Theatre Festival production is performed by two-time Tony nominee Jayne Atkinson (“House of Cards,” "Madam Secretary”) and directed by Kristen van Ginhoven. 

Written by Obie Award-winner Christopher Durang, the comedic double feature, “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You” and “The Actor’s Nightmare” is an absurdly hilarious evening of theatre. The Berkshire Theatre Group production of the show, running now in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is directed by Matthew Penn and features Tony Award-winner Harriet Harris, Levi Hall, Anna O'Donoghue, Tom Story, Matt Sullivan and Ariana Venturi.

Hailed as “consistently clever” by The New York Times when it first opened in 1981, “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You” and “The Actor’s Nightmare” are still bitingly witty satires on the psychology of belief and belonging. The show runs at BTG’s Unicorn Theatre through August 31st. Here to tell us more we welcome: Harriet Harris, Anna O’Donoghue, and Matt Sullivan.

Written by four-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert E. Sherwood, “The Petrified Forest” tells the story of a waitress named Gabby Maple; a disillusioned writer named Alan Squier; and a fugitive killer named Duke Mantee as they sweat out a manhunt with a handful of colorful characters in an Arizona diner.

Berkshire Theatre Group presents “The Petrified Forest” on The Fitzpatrick Mainstage in Stockbridge, Massachusetts through August 25th.

The production is directed by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winner David Auburn and stars David Adkins (Alan Squier), Rebecca Brooksher (Gabby Mable), and Jeremy Davidson (Duke Mantee) – who join us.

Roslyn Ruff (Berenice) - THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING  By Carson McCullers  Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch  Williamstown Theatre Festival  August 5 - 19
Carolyn Brown / Williamstown Theatre Festival

Carson McCullers’ “The Member of the Wedding,” directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, is running on the Main Stage at The Williamstown Theatre Festival through August 19.

Set in the South on the eve of a family wedding in 1945, housekeeper Berenice Sadie Brown tries to calm the nerves of her 12-year-old charge, Frankie, a tomboy - lonely and uncertain - struggling to feel a part of something.

McCullers novel was published in 1946 and the author adapted the story for the stage where it opened on Broadway in 1950.

Roslyn Ruff plays Berenice Sadie Brown. Ruff’s an accomplished television, film, and stage actress with Broadway credits that include “Romeo and Juliet” with Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad, and “All the Way” with Bryan Cranston.

Samira Wiley (Pretty Mbane) - DANGEROUS HOUSE  By Jen Silverman  Directed by Saheem Ali  Williamstown Theatre Festival  August 8 - 19
Sarah Sutton / Williamstown Theatre Festival

For its final Nikos Stage production of the 2018 season, The Williamstown Theatre Festival presents “Dangerous House,” a new play by Jen Silverman directed by Saheem Ali.

Set in Cape Town, South Africa during the 2010 World Cup, “Dangerous House” contrasts the celebration of global football against a devastating truth of South African culture when it comes to gender roles and sexuality.

Samira Wiley plays Pretty Mbane. Wiley is an Emmy nominated Actress for her work as Moira on the Hulu series, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and she played Poussey for four seasons on the Netflix series, “Orange is the New Black.”

For its third mainstage production this summer, Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Massachusetts presents “West Side Story,” book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The original 1957 Broadway production of “West Side Story,” was conceived, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins. 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the births of both Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins.

Barrington Stage’s Artistic Director Julianne Boyd directs the masterpiece tale of star-crossed lovers which will run August 3 through September 1 and she joined us at The Linda along with the production’s Maria, Tony, and Anita -- respectively played by Addie Morales, Will Branner, and Skyler Volpe. We are also joined by Musical Director Darren Cohen.

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.

Living Room Theatre is a boutique Equity company of New York professionals entering its seventh season that concentrates on classics (Chekhov, Shaw, Strindberg) and new plays done in intimate settings.

The company looks to explore material deeply before presenting it to the public. This summer they are presenting the U.S. premiere of Lucy Caldwell's Irish adaptation of Chekhov's “Three Sisters,” set in Belfast in the 1990s at the end of the Troubles directed by Christopher McCann.

Performances run from August 2-18 on the grounds of the Historic Park McCullough House in North Bennington, Vermont. To tell us more we welcome Living Room Theatre Founder and Artistic Director Randolyn Zinn, Founder and Co-Artistic Director Allen McCullough, and Director of “Three Sisters,” Christopher McCann.

The 2018 Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice will take place in Phoenicia, New York August 3-5. This year’s theme is “Sirens of the Voice.” The festival’s Director Maria Todaro and Artistic Director Louis Otey join us.

Molly Beach Murphy, Jeanna Phillips, and Annie Tippe
http://mollybeachmurphy.com

In the early 1990s in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, local police and the FBI were stymied by a series of bank robberies committed by a suspect they called Cowboy Bob. When they caught the lawbreaker, they were surprised to find Peggy Jo Tallas -- a middle-aged woman living a modest life with her aging mother. [Texas Monthly article by Skip Hollandsworth]

This weekend, Vassar and New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theatre presents a musical workshop Inspired by Peggy Jo’s story and all of the questions it raises. The workshop features Alex Brightman, Ashley Pérez Flanagan, Alex Grubbs, Eric Lockley, Claire Rothrock, Kate Shindle, Felix Solis, Barbara Walsh and Amelia Workman.

The show is created by writer Molly Beach Murphy, composer Jeanna Phillips, and director Annie Tippe.

In “Skeleton Crew,” Dominique Morisseau’s third play in her Detroit Cycle, a makeshift family of workers at the last exporting auto plant in the city navigate the possibility of foreclosure. Power dynamics shift, and they are pushed to the limits of survival. When the line between blue collar and white collar gets blurred, how far over the lines are they willing to step?

The Dorset Theatre Festival in Dorset, Vermont presents “Skeleton Crew” through August 4, directed by Jade King Carroll.

We are joined by actors Mirirai Sithole, Gabriel Lawrence, and Leland Fowler.

The Saratoga Shakespeare Company is presenting two summer productions in Congress Park in downtown Saratoga Springs, New York.

The bard’s “As You Like It” directed by Elizabeth Carlson-Guerin, and “Henry IV, Parts 1&2,”directed by David Girard. This is a Season of Transformation and celebrates Saratoga Shakespeare’s eighteenth summer season of free outdoor theater.

David Girard join us now along with Saratoga Shakespeare Company’s Artistic Director Lary Opitz and actors Gwynedd Vetter-Drusch and Kevin McGuire.

company of a HV Shakespeare production on the hill at Boscobel
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival Facebook page

The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is under way which includes two Shakespeare classics, "Richard II" and "The Taming of the Shrew," alongside David Farr’s adaptation of "The Heart of Robin Hood," and the world premiere of Seth Bockley’s "Rip Van Winkle; or, Cut the Old Moon into Stars, the first-ever mainstage commission by HVSF, featuring 40-plus members of the Hudson Valley community alongside a cast of 4 professional actors.

The season will also feature the HVSF Conservatory Company in an original clown piece, "The Sea-Maid's Music," devised and directed by Zachary Fine.

Davis McCallum is The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival's Artistic Director.

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.

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.

Celebrating its 50-year anniversary this year, Tony Award-winning rock musical, “Hair” takes audiences back to the counterculture of the '60s with now classic songs like “Aquarius,” “Good Morning Starshine,” “I Got Life,” and many others.

The Berkshire Theatre Group presents “Hair” at the Unicorn Theater in Stockbridge, Massachusetts through August 11. The production is directed by Daisy Walker.

We are joined by three members of the cast Andrew Cekala (Claude), Brandon Contreras (Berger), and Kayla Foster (Sheila).

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.

Vassar and New York Stage and Film’s second Main Stage Powerhouse production this summer is “The Waves,” a musical adaptation of the novel by Virginia Woolf. The piece, which features a book by Lisa Peterson and music and lyrics by the late Davick Bucknam, was produced nearly 30 years ago in New York City. The version running at Vassar July 19-29 is directed by Peterson, features additional music and lyrics by Adam Gwon, and employs four time Tony Award nominee Raúl Esparza as creative consultant and actor.

Esparza’s Broadway credits include “Cabaret,” “The Rocky Horror Show,” “Taboo,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “Company,” “The Homecoming,” “Speed the Plow,” “Arcadia,” and “Leap of Faith.” Television credits include “Pushing Daisies,” “Hannibal,” “The Path,” “BoJack Horseman,” and he recently finished a six-season run as ADA Rafael Barba on “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.”

Esparza joins us to talk about his work.

The cast at Powerhouse features Ken Barnett, Eleasha Gamble, Douglas Lyons, Alice Ripley, and Lauren Worsham.

Actor Joshua Boone is back at The Williamstown Theatre Festival after making his debut at the festival last year in two plays, "Actually" and "Where Storms are Born." He now stars in James Anthony Tyler’s “Artney Jackson,” where he plays Perkins Howard.

Perkins is one of the employees of the cable company where the play is set. He has was left by his parents at the age of 15 when they were deported. He finished high school and made enough of himself to land a job that allows him buy cool sneakers and a $700 dollar rug from Costco.

Boone appeared on Broadway in the Tupac Shakur musical "Holler if Ya Hear Me" in 2014.

Laila Robins in "A Doll's House, Part 2" at Barrington Stage
Daniel Rader / broadwayworld.com

In the final scene of Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 ground-breaking masterwork, “A Doll’s House,” Nora Helmer makes the shocking decision to leave her husband and children and begin a life on her own. Lucas Hnath’s “A Doll’s House, Part 2” dares to wonder what Nora has been up to since she slammed the door. The play received eight 2017 Tony Award nominations.

Joe Calarco directs “A Doll’s House, Part 2” on Barrington Stage Company’s Main Stage in Pittsfield, MA through July 28. Laila Robins stars as Nora.

Robins appeared in the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of George Bernard Shaw's “Heartbreak House,” other Broadway appearances include “Frozen” by Bryony Lavery, “The Herbal Bed” by Peter Whelan, and “The Real Thing” by Tom Stoppard, directed by Mike Nichols. Large and small screen credits include “Deception,” “Murder in the First,” “Homeland,” “Bored to Death,” and “Planes, Trains & Automobiles.”

Ann Harada is best known for the musical "Avenue Q," in which she originated the role of Christmas Eve, the heavily accented Japanese therapist who had such winning numbers as "The More You Ruv Someone" and "Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist."

She has also starred on Broadway in "Les Miz," "Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella" and TV’s "Smash." She is at The Williamstown Theatre Festival starring in Douglas Carter Beane’s “The Closet” as Brenda, the office worker nobody quite likes or trusts but who is always ready to launch into a show tune.

Jessica Hecht was last seen on Broadway in Arthur Miller’s "The Price." Before that she starred as Golda in "Fiddler on the Roof" and was in the Manhattan Theatre Club production of "The Assembled Parties." She was nominated for a Tony Award for her role in "A View From the Bridge."

She was at Williamstown Theatre Festival last season to star in "The Clean House" with Jayne Atkinson and returns this season in "The Closet," where she plays Pat Pennebarry, Martin O'Reilley's (Matthew Broderick) only friend and eternally optimistic co-worker -- who can’t bake enough muffins to stave off her romantic longings for him.

We speak with Hecht about "The Closet," doing comedy, and The Campfire Project which uses the power of theater and Shakespeare to provide Syrian Refugees in Camp Ristona with an outlet to exercise imagination and express their humanity.

Matthew Broderick will forever be linked to the cinematic classic of 1986, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." However, before doing that at age 24 – he had already won a Tony Award for Neil Simon’s "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and had starred in Simon’s follow-up "Biloxi Blues." All of this after making his stage debut in Harvey Fierstein’s "Torch Song Trilogy."

Now, Broderick stars in this world premiere comedy by Douglas Carter Beane, "The Closet," as Martin O’Reilly who is stuck in Scranton, PA in a dead-end job at a religious supply company, his marriage is over, and his son won’t return his calls. Then a stranger, played by Tony nominee Brooks Ashmanskas, sashays into his world and drags Martin and everyone around him out of their respective closets.

"The Closet" runs through Saturday night on the Main Stage at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.

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.

Voice Theatre's main stage production of “All My Sons” runs July 12th through the 29th at the Byrdcliffe Theater in Woodstock, NY.

“All My Sons” is a gripping drama written by one of the greatest playwrights of the 20th Century - Pulitzer Prize-winner Arthur Miller responsible for such great American plays as “Death of a Salesman,” “The Crucible” and “A View from the Bridge.”

Has right and wrong lost its value in America? A monstrous swindle catapults the Keller family, revealing their truths of profit and greed, love and shame.

Leigh Strimbeck plays Kate Keller, Ryan Feyk plays Chris Keller and Shauna Kanter directs.

Chita Rivera
Laura Marie Duncan

The incomparable Broadway icon Chita Rivera performs a one-night-only solo concert, benefiting Williamstown Theatre Festival's New Play & Musical Development Initiative.

The two-time Tony Award winner and recipient of a special honor for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre at the 2018 Tony Awards (last seen at WTF starring in "The Visit" and its subsequent Broadway transfer) will recreate moments from her legendary career, showcasing the artistry and history that has made her a star of the Great White Way and beyond.

She will be accompanied by her long-time trio, Michael Croiter (Music Director/Percussion/Guitar), Gary Adler (Associate Music Director/Piano), and Jim Donica (Bass).

Debra Jo Rupp in Bekah Brunstetter's The Cake at Barrington Stage Company.
Carolyn Brown

Faith, family and frosting collide in the touching and timely new comic drama by Bekah Brunstetter, "The Cake," starring actress Debra Jo Rupp and directed by Jennifer Chambers. The play is running at Barrington Stage Company's St. Germain Stage through July 15.

Rupp plays Della. Della makes cakes, not judgment calls - those she leaves to her husband, Tim. But when her best friend's daughter comes home to North Carolina to get married, Della's life gets turned upside down when she realizes there's not just one bride, but two. She can't really make a cake for such a wedding, can she?

For the first time in her life Della has to think for herself, forcing her to re-examine some of her deeply-held beliefs, as well as her own marriage.

Debra Jo Rupp has been a regular at Barrington Stage Company in "Love Letters;" "Kimberly Akimbo;" "Dr. Ruth, All the Way;" "To Kill a Mockingbird" and many more. Her film credits include "Big," "Clockwatchers," and "Sgt. Bilko" and over 300 television appearances, most notably on "That ‘70s Show," "Seinfeld," "Friends" and currently recurring on "This Is Us" and "The Ranch" with Sam Elliot.

Christopher Lloyd in "Our Town" at Weston Playhouse
Hubert Schriebl

In the small town of Grover’s Corners, ordinary people lead extraordinary lives. The Pulitzer Prize winning "Our Town" is a simple yet profound story of a community, brought to life by Thornton Wilder’s singular voice.

Christopher Lloyd is playing The Stage Manager in Weston Playhouse's production of "Our Town" through July 7.

Lloyd is a beloved American character actor, best known for his work on "Taxi" and in the "Back to the Future" film franchise.

This season the Weston Playhouse presents productions of "Anne of Green Gables," "Our Town," "Fun Home," "West Side Story," "A Doll's House, Part 2," "Million Dollar Quartet," and "Two Trains Running" on its two stages in Weston, Vermont. 

Steve Stettler is Weston's Producing Artistic Director.

Bard SummerScape 2018

Jun 29, 2018
Jack Ferver as Tinker Bell in “Peter Pan” at Bard SummerScape festival. (Credit Lauren Lancaster for The New York Times) -- and Kathleen Chalfant (credit - playwrightshorizons.org)
Lauren Lancaster for The New York Times (Peter Pan); playwrightshorizons.org (Chalfant)

The fifteenth annual Bard SummerScape festival features seven weeks of world-class opera, theater, dance, cabaret, film, and music, including the 29th annual Bard Music Festival, “Rimsky-Korsakov and His World.”

Gideon Lester, Director of Theater and Performance Programs at Bard and Artistic Director for SummerScape Dance's “Four Quartets” is here along with acclaimed actress Kathleen Chalfant, who is performing in “Four Quartets” as the narrator reading T.S. Eliot's poems.

"Four Quartets" is a World Premiere/SummerScape Commission with poetry by T. S. Eliot, choreography by Pam Tanowitz, music by Kaija Saariaho performed by The Knights, and images by Brice Marden.

We will also learn about a new production of Leonard Bernstein's Peter Pan.

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