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In a collaboration devised to meet the challenges posed by the global health pandemic, the 2020 Williamstown Theatre Festival season will be the first-ever complete theatre season released by Audible, the world’s largest producer and provider of original spoken-word entertainment and audiobooks.

The 2020 WTF Season on Audible is being produced in an audio-only format safe to elevate, entertain, and transform audiences from the comfort of their homes. While this season is different, it is being made with the spirit of invention that has long been a hallmark of the Festival.

The new work looks to transport you into the world of Blanche DuBois in 1940s New Orleans, into a hotel in Thailand where Kina prepares for gender confirmation surgery, onto Tori McClure’s rowboat as she rows solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and so much more.

To tell us about it – we welcome Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Director of WTF.


  Berkshire Theatre Group presents “An Intimate Performance with Brian Stokes Mitchell” on September 5 at 8 p.m. at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

 

Stokes is a Tony Award winning actor whose Broadway credits include “Ragtime,” “Kiss Me Kate,” “Man of La Mancha,” and “Shuffle Along.” Television credits include Trapper John, MC and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Glee, Mr. Robot, Billions, and The Good Fight - among many others.

He is serving his 16th term as The Chairman of The Board of The Actors Fund and is a co-founder of the Black Theatre United Coalition.

The Growth Of Virtual Entertainment

Aug 30, 2020

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The learning curve of creative people never ceases to amaze.  Six months ago, when live entertainment, including theater, shut down, I never thought I’d be writing about how well new material can work on Zoom, and other digital platforms.

Shakespeare & Company and Cherry Orchard Festival are co-presenting the Arlekin Players Theatre’s "State vs. Natasha Banina," a live online interactive art experiment directed by Igor Golyak, winner of the 2020 Elliot Norton Award for best director and featuring Darya Denisova, winner of the 2020 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Actress.

"State vs Natasha Banina" began as an online experiment from Golyak's living room and became an overnight international sensation, bringing in virtual audiences from around the globe and garnering a New York Times Critic's Pick.

The live performance will be projected on the big screen at the Berkshire Drive-in at Shakespeare & Company’s campus, 70 Kemble Street in Lenox, MA. It can also be watched from home on ZOOM.

Bob Goepfert: Theater On The Air

Aug 2, 2020

SARATOGA - When attending theater, I always think of a conversation I had with a world-class Shakespearean scholar many years ago.  She made a point of saying that in Shakespeare’s time, people going to the theater would say they were “going to hear a play.”

Sue Frost is founding partner of Junkyard Dog Productions, which is the lead producing entity of the Broadway musical "Come From Away." They currently have 5 productions around the world - Broadway, North American Tour, Toronto, London and Australia - on hiatus. 

She is also an active member of the Broadway League, working on multiple task forces aimed at bringing Broadway and touring Broadway back. 

Lorraine Toussaint, Santino Fontana, and John Ortiz in the livestreamed world premiere of The Line, written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, and directed by Jessica Blank.
Courtesy of The Public Theater

NEW YORK, NY - Not long ago, on television, every evening you could see a clip of people standing on their balconies in major urban areas throughout the world, clapping, applauding and banging pots to salute health care workers during the height of Covid-19 crisis.

TROY – In the world of theater there has hardly been an organization that hasn’t expressed regrets about not having done enough to tell the stories of people of color.

Adirondack Theatre Festival Producing Artistic Director, Chad Rabinovitz, will be here to tell us about their entire season of interactive virtual experiences beginning this September through February 2021. 

The first ever of its kind, these experiences include a from-your-couch cruise, hands-on-insane magic shows, a holiday talent show with live voting, an interactive hunt for a criminal, a film festival, and a “wine and canvas” night gone wrong.

The full season of performances will be branded as IN THE BOX ENTERTAINMENT presented by ATF.  All shows will include a box mailed to the ticket holder prior to the show which will fuel their at-home experience. 

One of my greatest adjustments during this forced-stay-at-home period is transitioning from live theater to streaming productions.

Gina-Simone Pemberton in "Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grille"
Richard Ruotolo

If ever a show deserved to be termed a “tragic musical,” its “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grille.”  

Michael Farrell

It’s common to call a puzzling mystery a head scratcher.

“Switzerland” is a mystery, playing at Curtain Call Theatre in Latham through March 14.   The play centers about famed mystery writer Patricia Highsmith.    It’s a head scratcher in a way that is not entirely complimentary.

Danny Burstein and the company of Moulin Rouge on Derek McLane's set
http://www.derekmclane.com/


  Derek McLane is an award-winning production and set designer for stage and screen. He’s designed for The Academy Awards, NBC’s live musical productions, and nearly countless theatrical productions around the country - including on and Off-Broadway.

 

His work is currently represented on Broadway in the opulent Bohemian-Parisian spectacular of the set for “Moulin Rouge!” at the Hirschfeld Theatre and in Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of “A Soldier’s Play” at The American Airlines Theatre.

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"

Bob Goepfert Reviews "10 x 10" At Barrington Stage

Feb 21, 2020

If the cabin fever that tends to hit hardest in February has you in its grip, there is a two-hour remedy waiting for you at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Mass. Their production of “10 X 10”, which consists of ten 10-minute plays is pure escapism fun.  

If you asked a random sampling of theatergoers to name a list of their top ten favorite musicals, there is little doubt that “ Fiddler on the Roof” would be named on every ballot. 

  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: "Downhill"

Upcoming:

  • "Magic" - GE Theatre at Proctors, Schenectady, Thursday 2/20, 7 PM
  • Low Lily - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Thursday 2/20, 7 PM
  • "Jerry Lee Lewis vs Jerry Lee Lewis" - Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes, opens Thursday 2/20, 8 PM through March 8
  • The National Reserve - Hangar on the Hudson, Troy, Friday 2/21, 8 PM
  • Kamasi Washington, Honeycomb - Calvin Theater, Northampton, Mass., Saturday 2/22, 8 PM
  • Bindlestiff Family Cirkus - Helsinki Hudson, Saturday 2/22, 9 PM
  • Jennifer Frautschi, violin, Jeewon Park, piano, Edward Arron (cello) - music of Schumann, Kodaly, Debussy, Beethoven - Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Mass., Sunday 2/23, 2 PM
  • Trixie Mattel - The Egg, Albany, Sunday 2/23, 8 PM
  • "The Princess Bride" - Palace Theatre, Albany, Monday 2/24, 7 PM

New movies: "The Assistant," "The Call of the Wild," "The Lodge," "Olympic Dreams"

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.

  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 Gentlemen"

Upcoming:

  • 1st Friday Albany - Albany Institute, African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region, Opalka Gallery, Albany Center Gallery, Friday 2/7, 5-8 PM
  • Cheap Trick - Palace Theatre, Albany, Friday 2/7, 8 PM
  • Southern Avenue - The Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany, Friday 2/7, 8 PM
  • Cyrille Aimee - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Saturday 2/8, 8 PM
  • Jump the Line Film Series - "In Our Time" (Studio 1—Goodman); "Luanda-Kinshasa" (Concert Hall); "A Hundred Schools of Thought" (Theater); "What Are We Doing Here Together?" (Theater) - EMPAC, RPI, Troy, Saturday 2/8 through February 14th, various times
  • Dianne Reeves - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Sunday 2/9, 3 PM
  • Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia: "The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favorites" - The Egg, Albany, Sunday 2/9, 3 PM
  • Jeremy Denk, piano: Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - Capital Region Classical at Union College, Memorial Chapel, Schenectady, Sunday 2/9, 3 PM
  • ABBA Mania - Calvin Theater, Northampton, Mass., Sunday 2/9, 7 PM

New movies: "Birds of Prey"

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.”

In the book, “Beyond Broadway: The Pleasure and Promise of Musical Theatre Across America,” Stacy Wolf examines the widespread presence and persistence of musical theatre in United States culture.

Those two words: “musical theatre” evoke images of The Great White Way - glitz and glamour on a few short blocks in New York City -- but what truly keeps the art and industry alive is the creating, watching, and listening that happens all over the country in high schools, community theaters, afterschool programs, summer camps, and dinner theaters and regional festivals.

“Beyond Broadway” - it is published by Oxford University Press. Stacy Wolf is Professor in the Program in Theatre in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University.

Celia Keenan-Bolger photographed for broadway.com
Photographs by Caitlin McNaney | Styling: Sarah Slutsky | Hair: Morgan Blaul | Makeup: Rachel Estabrook / broadway.com

Celebrating its 18th season, Modfest 2020 is Vassar College’s annual exploration of the arts of the 20th and 21st centuries. This year’s theme, “reflect to project,” looks backward to move forward. All events are free and open to the public.

On Saturday, February 1 at 3 p.m., Modfest 2020 presents “Reflect: An Artist’s Life, Onstage and Off” featuring Tony Award-winner Celia Keenan-Bolger sharing stories about Broadway, acting, and art. This event is sponsored by The Capotorto-Mulas Family Lecture Fund and will take place in The Martel Theater at the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film on the Vassar campus in Poughkeepsie, New York. Keenan-Bolger will be in conversation with actor and Vassar Drama Professor Shona Tucker.

Celia Keenan-Bolger’s works includes both plays and musicals, on and off-Broadway. She made her Broadway debut as Olive Ostrovsky in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” earning her first Tony Award nomination. Her other Broadway credits include Eponine in “Les Miserables,” Molly in “Peter and the Starcatcher,” Laura in “The Glass Menagerie,” Varya in “The Cherry Orchard,” and, most recently, Scout in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” She won her first Tony Award for her portrayal of the willful and reflective Scout Finch and was also nominated for “The Glass Menagerie” and “Peter and the Starcatcher.”

James Lloyd Reynolds, Jake Goodman, Michael McCorry Rose & Kate Wetherhead
Richard Lovrich

“Your Best One,” which is playing at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, through February 9, is the kind of play that almost makes you long for the days when theater was not only about making huge profits.

Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, New York is currently presenting the East Coast premiere of Meridith Friedman’s “Your Best One,” directed by Gordon Greenberg.

Eight-years since the death of their beloved matriarch, the Hoffman family rallies together – and against each other – when one of their own is confronted by a sudden health crisis. With their trademark wit and inherited neurosis, they wage battles over health insurance, child custody, inheritance, and superfoods.

Kate Wetherhead plays Laura in “Your Best One.” Wetherhead is the co-creator, writer, director and star of the popular theater-based web series "Submissions Only." She has appeared on and off Broadway in shows such as "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," "Legally Blonde" and "Ordinary Days." Kate has also performed regionally at theaters like the Guthrie, Paper Mill Playhouse, Goodspeed Opera House, George Street Theater and the Dallas Theater Center.

  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: "Bad Boys for Life"

Upcoming:

  • We Banjo 3 - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Thursday 1/23, 5 and 7:30 PM
  • National Geographic Live - "Spinosaurus: Lost Giant of the Cretaceous" - Proctors, Mainstage, Schenectady, Thursday 1/23, 7 PM
  • Eclectic Rock Showcase featuring Brasskill, The Wild Weeeds, Burt Murder - Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, Thursday 1/23, 8 PM
  • Ben Butler - Curtain Call Theatre, Latham, preview Thursday 1/23 at 7:30 PM; through Feb. 8
  • The Lawn Sausages 30th Anniversary - Hangar On the Hudson, Troy, Saturday 1/25, 5 PM
  • Courtney Barnett w/s/g Hachiku - Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Friday 1/24, 7 PM Levon Helm Studios, Woodstock, Saturday 1/25, 8 PM
  • M.A.K.U. Soundsystem - MASS MoCA, Club B10, North Adams, Mass., Saturday 1/25, 8 PM
  • The Lift Concert Series: Cellist Ashley Bathgate - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Wednesday 1/29, 6 PM
  • Greensky Bluegrass - The Egg, Albany, Wednesday 1/29, 7 PM

New movies: "The Gentlemen," "Les Miserables," "The Turning," "The Last Full Measure"

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.

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.

The Tour of The Tony-Award winning revival of the musical “Once on this Island” will be at Proctors in Schenectady, New York on Friday, January 17 and Saturday, January 18.

The Lynn Ahrens/Stephen Flaherty musical, directed by Michael Arden and choreographed by Camille A. Brown, tells the story of the orphaned Ti Moune and four competitive Gods who make a wager over her life and her love. “Once on this Island” is a celebration tinged with sadness that emphasizes the importance of telling everyone’s stories.

Tyler Hardwick joined us. He plays Daniel and he joins the tour after playing a storyteller and understudying roles during the show’s Broadway run.

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