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  Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is presenting an adaptation of Homer’s epic An Iliad for one actor that is making the rounds in the Valley this August.

HVSF's first solo show stars Kurt Rhoads as the ageless Poet who unleashes the fury of an ancient story he has told for centuries - creating heroes and battles before our eyes, challenging us to contemplate both the heroism and horror of war.

The New York Times said this OBIE Award-winning play is "spellbinding...an age-old story that resonates with tragic meaning today."

The show is directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch and features longtime HVSF actor Kurt Rhoads.

The show will be performed at Basilica Hudson on 8/16, on Bannerman Island on 8/22 and 8/23, and at the HVSF tent at Boscobel House and Gardens on 8/21 and 8/24.

  In his memoir, I Must Say: My Life As a Humble Comedy Legend, Martin Short writes about his early years in Toronto as a member of Second City to the all-American comic big time of Saturday Night Live and memorable roles in movies.

He also writes about the creation of his lasting characters - and about his personal life which includes the loss of both of his parents before the age of 20.

  The final mainstage production of this summer’s Williamstown Theatre Festival line-up began previews last night. Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield’s inaugural season ends with Eugene O’Neill’s final masterpiece, A Moon for the Misbegotten. The show will run in Williamstown through August 23rd.

Gordon Edelstein, Artistic Director at the Long Warf Theatre in New Haven, is directing and brings years of O’Neill experience to this invigorating look at what he calls “one of the great sad love stories in modern dramatic literature.”

A Moon for the Misbegotten stars Audra McDonald as Josie Hogan and Will Swenson as James Tyrone Jr. Married couple McDonald and Swenson are two of the best and most in-demand actors working today. Swenson recently left the Broadway revival of Les Miserables after playing Javert for more than a year, other New York credits include Murder Ballad, Little Miss Sunshine, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and the acclaimed Public Theater production of Hair which ran off-broadway, moved to Broadway for a summer of love, and toured the country. Will was nominated for a Tony Award for his portrayal of Berger. He is also a film director.

Audra McDonald has won a record 6 Tony Awards - one for her work in each of the following: Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill. She is the only person to have won one in each acting category. She’s also a television and film actress, featured in the new Meryl Streep movie, Ricki and the Flash, written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jonathan Demme.

  Tony and Golden Globe winner Linda Lavin takes the Club Helsinki stage this Sunday, performing Broadway favorites, standards, jazz, and even some songs she learned from the great girl singers.

Broadway audiences remember her from It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Broadway Bound, Collected Stories, The Diary of Anne Frank, Gypsy, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, and many others know her as Alice Hyatt in the long-running hit TV series Alice and her recent stint on The Good Wife.

A veteran of the cabaret stage, she’ll be joined by Musical Director Billy Stritch for Helsinki on Broadway.

  I Saw My Neighbor On the Train and I Didn’t Even Smile is a world premiere play by Suzanne Heathcote currently running at The Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, MA. The production is directed by Jackson Gay world premiere, co-produced by New Neighborhood.

This is Rebecca’s life: she wakes up, eats a sensible breakfast, wraps herself in three layers, drives to the train station, commutes to her bookkeeping job in the city, watches the clock, goes home, cooks dinner for her domineering mother, watches TV, and falls asleep grieving for her dead dog. Every day is the same as the next until Rebecca’s underachieving brother begs her to take care of her troubled niece—and she does what she always does—she lets it happen. In an unforgivingly bitter month, three generations of women with nothing in common, except a deeply buried ache, try to keep the cold away.

I Saw My Neighbor On the Train and I Didn’t Even Smile features longtime BTG artist Keira Naughton as Rebecca, as well as Linda Gehringer, and Ariana Venturi who join us.

*The audio for this interview is lower quality than our other posts. Our first recording failed and we had to retrieve this from a back-up source. 

Paul Fox / courtesy Williamstown Theatre Festival

  

In a haunting new musical created by writer Daniel Goldstein, Obie Award-winning composer Michael Friedman, and director Trip Cullman, Ellen Rabinowitz sets out to understand her past after she discovers an enigmatic photograph while cleaning out her deceased grandmother’s home in Troy, NY.

As she chases the truth about the soldier featured in the photo, Ellen is drawn into a tangle of historical facts and mysteries that lead her to surprising love stories and unexpected truths.

The world premier musical, Unknown Soldier, will run on The Nikos Stage at The Williamstown Theatre Festival in Williamstown, MA July 30th through August 9th.

We are joined at The Linda by cast-members Lauren Worsham, Jessica Phillips, and Clara Young as well as composer and lyricist, Michael Friedman and Music Director, Marco Paguia.

  Blair Underwood stars as Blue in the new play, Paradise Blue - a drama by Dominique Morisseau receiving its World Premiere on the Mainstage at The Williamstown Theatre Festival. The production is directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson and runs through August 2nd.

Blair Underwood is known for his roles on L.A. Law, The Event, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and is currently on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. He was last on Broadway playing Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Tony-Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson was at The Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2002 with his amazing one-man show, Lackawanna Blues. He returns to WTF this summer directing Blair Underwood, De’Adre Aziza, and Andre Holland in the world premiere of Paradise Blue - a drama from Dominique Morisseau.

Blue (Underwood), a gifted trumpeter, contemplates selling his once-vibrant jazz club in Detroit’s Blackbottom neighborhood to shake free the demons of his past and better his life. But where does that leave his devoted Pumpkin, who has dreams of her own?

  Everyone is a suspect in the Capital Rep production of Murder For Two, a musical murder mystery with a twist: one actor investigates the crime, the other plays all of the suspects and they both play the piano.

The show is a blend of classic musical comedy and madcap mystery. The New York Times calls it “Ingenious! A snazzy doubt act,” while Entertainment Weekly describes it as “A charmingly frenetic all-stops out musical comedy.”

We welcome two actors from the production: Kyle Branzel and Ian Lowe.

Michelle McGrady

  The Tony Award-nominated musical that made Judy Holliday a star, Bells Are Ringing is a classic comedy with a sweet heart.

Written by seven-time Tony Award-winners Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Bells Are Ringing was originally directed by five-time Tony Award-winner Jerome Robbins and choreographed by Robbins and eight-time Tony Award-winner Bob Fosse.

The fetching and farcical love story includes notable show tunes, "Long Before I Knew You," "Just in Time," and "The Party's Over."

Bells are Ringing is currently running at The Colonial in Pittsfield, MA as part of The Berkshire Theatre Group’s summer season.

Telephone service operator, Ella Peterson, played by Tony Award-nominated Kate Baldwin is not your typical phone operator. Using a variety of comical personae’s, Ella meddles with her clients’ lives as she takes and delivers their phone messages. Ella’s busybody ways trigger trouble when she falls for one of her customers, Jeff Moss, played by Kate Baldwin’s real life husband, Broadway and television actor, Graham Rowat. The show is directed by BTG Alum, Ethan Heard.

Kate Baldwin and Graham Rowat join us.

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