actor

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 Wolfe. 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.

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.

The Creative Life series is produced by UAlbany’s University Art Museum, NYS Writers Institute, and the UAlbany Performing Arts Center in collaboration with WAMC. The series features leading figures from a variety of artistic disciplines in conversation about their creative inspirations, their craft and their careers. At 11am we will air Joe Donahue’s candid conversation with Tony Award winning Broadway star, Patti LuPone.

Two-time Tony and Grammy Award winner Patti LuPone was most recently seen on Broadway in the musical ”War Paint.”

A graduate of the first class of the Drama Division of New York’s Juilliard School and a founding member of The Acting Company in which she toured the country for four years, LuPone went on to be a Broadway superstar for more than 30 years – starting with her Tony-winning performance in “Evita.” 

Part of what keeps a theater festival running for 90 years is the devotion of its contributing artists. It’s the dedication of returning actors, directors, designers -- and countless others -- that keeps an endeavor like The Berkshire Theatre Group on its feet.

What is it about Berkshire Theatre Group that inspires collaboration from world-class creators and interpreters season after season?

To answer that question, we are joined by actor Tara Franklin; actor and Director of BTG’s Acting Intern Program David Adkins; and Resident Composer/Sound Designer Scott Killian. 

H. Jon Benjamin
Ben Denzer

H. Jon Benjamin is a comedian and actor - best known for voicing the title characters on Fox’s "Bob’s Burgers" and FXX’s "Archer."

His new attempted memoir, “Failure is an Option,” is a chronicle of  defeats and losses beating a steady drum throughout his life. It begins with the inscription “For all of you failures out there. You CAN do worse.” He is, by all accounts, a pretty successful guy -- the lead of two popular television shows. But he points out: voiceover only takes a few hours on any given workday and often he fills the rest of his time with failing -- and that’s ok.

For decades, actress and director Christine Lahti has captivated the hearts and minds of her audience through iconic roles in "Chicago Hope," "Running on Empty," "Housekeeping," "And Justice for All," "Swing Shift," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "God of Carnage," and "The Blacklist." Now, in "True Stories from an Unreliable Eyewitness," this acclaimed performer channels her creativity inward to share her own story for the first time on the page.

In this poignant essay collection, Lahti focuses on three major periods of her life: her childhood, her early journey as an actress and activist, and the realities of her life as a middle-aged woman in Hollywood today.

Known on both sides of the Atlantic as the English American, Alison Larkin is a comedian, award-winning audiobook narrator/producer, screenwriter and the bestselling author of "The English American," a novel. Her autobiographical one woman show about an adopted English women who finds her birth parents in the U.S. was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

As an actress she has appeared on Broadway with the Royal National Theater and Off-Broadway with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Larkin’s new one woman show "Alison Larkin LIVE!" will premiere at the Elayne Bernstein theater in Lenox, MA as part of WAM Theatre’s 9th season on May 4 and 5.

Alison Larkin joined us along with Kristen van Ginhoven, Artistic Director of WAM.

The National Tour of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The King and I” is at Proctors in Schenectady, New York this week. The Tony Award winning Lincoln Center Theater revival features such beloved songs as “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance” and “Something Wonderful.”

Set in the early 1860s, newly widowed Anna Leonowens and her son, Louis, set sail from their native England for Bangkok, Siam where Anna has taken a position as the schoolteacher for the royal offspring of the King of Siam. The King is determined to usher Siam into the modern world but not immediately willing to make changes to his customs and traditions.

We are joined by Anna and The King, actors Elena Shaddow and Jose Llana.

The youngest of thirteen children in a devout Catholic family, Tina Alexis Allen grew up in 1980s suburban Maryland in a house ruled by her stern father, Sir John, an imposing, British-born authoritarian who had been knighted by the Pope. Sir John supported his large family running a successful travel agency that specialized in religious tours to the Holy Land and the Vatican for pious Catholics.

But his daughter, Tina, was no sweet and innocent Catholic girl. A smart-mouthed high school basketball prodigy, she harbored a painful secret: she liked girls. When Tina was eighteen her father discovered the truth about her sexuality. Instead of dragging her to the family priest and lecturing her with tearful sermons about sin and damnation, her father shocked her with his honest response. He, too, was gay.

The secret they shared about their sexuality brought father and daughter closer, and the two became trusted confidants and partners in a relationship that eventually spiraled out of control.

Tina Alexis Allen’s new book is "Hiding Out: A Memoir of Drugs, Deception, and Double Lives."

Broadway legend Patti LuPone will appear at two events in the Capital Region this week. 

On Thursday, April 26 she will join Joe Donahue in a Creative Life conversation about Ms. LuPone’s career and devotion to the arts and high standards therein. The conversation will take place at Page Hall on UAlbany's downtown campus at 7 p.m. The Creative Life series is a major arts initiative of the New York State Writers Institute, UAlbany Performing Arts Center and University Art Museum in conjunction with WAMC Northeast Public Radio.

On Friday, April 27, Ms. LuPone will perform "Don't Monkey With Broadway" at Proctors in Schenectady at 8 p.m. "Don’t Monkey with Broadway" features music by the likes of Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Jule Styne, Stephen Schwartz, Charles Strouse, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin.

This Saturday, April 28, Linda Lavin and Steve Bakunas will present "Portrait Of An Artist" at 5 p.m. in a benefit performance for the Spencertown Academy Arts Center.

The event features Lavin and Bakunas in a 90-minute intimate evening during which she answers questions about her life and career, posed by her husband, while he paints her portrait on stage. An evening of warmth, romance, humor and nostalgia, the couple has previously performed the program at venues around the country.

Book Cover - My Adventures With God
Amazon

From legendary character actor Stephen Tobolowsky, who currently appears on "The Goldbergs" and HBO’s "Silicon Valley," and Norman Lear’s new "One Day at a Time," author of "The Dangerous Animals Club" and The Tobolowsky Files podcast; "My Adventures with God" is a funny, introspective collection about love, catastrophe, and triumph, all told through the lens of his evolving relationship with the mystery that is “God.”

As Tobolowsky explains, “It’s hard to believe in nothing. Even cats believe in suppertime. As much as we love certainty, we are often shaped by the invisible, the unexplainable—something we call faith. We are inclined to acknowledge the holy. Even if it is only a paper heart we find in an old suitcase.”

Eileen Schuyler, Yvonne Perry, and Brenny Rabine in "Blithe Spirit" at TheRep
Capital Repertory Theatre Facebook page

The classic Noël Coward comedy, Blithe Spirit, is being produced at The REP, through May 6th, directed by Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, and featuring three of the region's best known Equity actresses: Yvonne Perry, Brenny Rabine and Eileen Schuyler, together on stage for the first time.

In the play, we meet cantankerous novelist Charles Condomine, re-married to Ruth but haunted (literally) by the ghost of his late first wife, the clever and insistent Elvira who has been conjured up by a visiting “happy medium.”

To tell us more – we welcome actors Yvonne Perry (Elvira) and Eileen Schuyler (Madame Arcati).

"Paris Time" At TheRep

Feb 2, 2018

Capital Reparatory Theatre is currently presenting, "Paris Time," a drama that looks behind the headlines at anti-semitism in today’s France. The world premiere production by Steven Peterson is directed by Gordon Greenberg and runs through February 18.

When Deborah, the wife of a successful American executive based in Paris, becomes an activist defending a young Jewish Frenchwoman, Charles gets caught in the corporate hot seat. Company policy demands him to withdraw from the political limelight or lose his career, but if he won’t get involved, he may lose his marriage.

Jenny Ashman plays Reina in the show and Wally Dunn plays Martin and is making his Capital Rep debut in "Paris Time."

John Cariani in "The Band's Visit"
Matthew Murphy / Playbill.com

The new musical, "The Band’s Visit," is currently running at The Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway. Based on the film of the same name, "The Band’s Visit" features music and lyrics by David Yazbek, book by Itamar Moses, and is directed by David Cromer. The New York Times called the show “One of the most ravishing musicals you will ever be seduced by.”

The Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra is traveling from Egypt to play a concert in Petah Tikva, Israel but after language confusion at the border end up in Beit Hatikva - a small city where civic pride is low.

Without a means of transportation out of town until the morning, the band is begrudgingly taken in by the locals.

John Cariani plays Itzik, one of the citizens of Beit Hatikva and he joins us. Cariani’s previous Broadway credits include “Something Rotten!” and the 2004 revival of “Fiddler on the Roof.” He’s also performed at nearly all of the regional theatres in our area you can think of and as a playwright is responsible for the praised and oft-produced plays, “Almost, Maine;” “Last Gas;” “Love/Sick;” and “cul-de-sac.”

John Bolton as Vlad in "Anastasia"
Dave Mack / https://www.franbro.com


  The Broadway musical "Anastasia" features a book by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally and a lush, new score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens; Tony Award-winning director Darko Tresnjak directs. Inspired by the beloved films with the same title, "Anastasia" transports audiences from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as Anya sets out to discover the mystery of her past aided by conmen Dmitry and Vlad - who attempt to teach Anya how to embody the missing princess, Anastasia Romanov.

 

Vlad is played on Broadway by our guest, John Bolton, whose previous Broadway credits include "Dames at Sea," "A Christmas Story," "Curtains," "Monty Python’s Spamalot," "Contact," "Titanic," "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and "Damn Yankees."

Broadway Cast Of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater
Sara Krulwich / The New York Times


  The new Broadway adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” which opening in New York City last April will end its run on January 14.

 

The show is directed by Jack O’Brien and features a book by David Greig, original music Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman. Kathy Fitzgerald plays Mrs. Gloop - the mother of Augustus one of the ill-fated golden-ticket holding visitors to Mr. Wonka’s fantastical factory.

 

Fitzgerald’s previous Broadway credits include “Swinging on a Star,” “The Producers,” “Wicked,” and “9 to 5.”

Actor Lucas Hedges was nominated for an Academy Award for his work in "Manchester by The Sea" last year. He is in two films currently in theaters, Greta Gerwig's "Lady Bird" and Martin McDonagh's "Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri."

Wilson Bethel and Alex Mickiewicz in The Roundabout Theatre Company production of  "The Last Match"
Joan Marcus

In Anna Ziegler’s new play, “The Last Match,” Tim Porter and Sergei Sergeyev face-off in the semifinals of the US Open: Porter a statesman of the game, Sergeyev an up-and-comer show with unharnessed potential.

Gaye Taylor Upchurch directs “The Last Match” for Roundabout Theatre Company where it runs at The Laura Pels Theatre through December 23rd.

Alex Mickiewicz plays Sergei Sergeyev. His previous work with Roundabout includes the recent Broadway productions of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and “Therese Raquin.”

Ward Horton, Jack DiFalco, Michael Urie, Mercedes Ruehl in "Torch Song" at Second Stage Theater
Joan Marcus


  “Torch Song Trilogy” is a collection of three plays by Harvey Fierstein rendered in three acts: “International Stud,” “Fugue in a Nursery,” and “Widows and Children First!” The story centers on Arnold Beckoff, a Jewish homosexual, drag queen, and torch singer who lives in New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In its original incarnation, the trilogy was first produced in those same decades with its Broadway production opening in June of 1982 and running until May of 1985. The show earned Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Actor in a Play for Fierstein.

Fierstein has recently adapted his work into a shorter version entitled “Torch Song” which is running at Second Stage Theatre on 43rd Street in New York City through December 9. The production, directed by Moisés Kaufman, features Jack DiFalco, Roxanna Hope Radja, Michael Rosen, Mercedes Ruehl, Michael Urie, and our guest, Ward Horton.

 

Horton is best known for playing Dr. Scott Strauss on CBS’ “Pure Genius” and was the male lead in the horror film “Annabelle.” He plays Ed in “Torch Song.”

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