play

Shawn Stone, Digital Editor of The Alt joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Best-selling author Steven Johnson joins us to make the case that play is a profound driver of future invention.

His new book Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World explores how pursuits born from wonder and delight have led to essential breakthroughs in computing, communication and connecting the world.


  Earlier this week the New York premiere of Vietgone, opened at Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City. Written by Qui Nguyen and directed by May Adrales, the comedy tells the love story of two refugees from the Vietnam War who have settled in a relocation camp in Middle America - where their “new life” isn’t anything near what they’d hoped.  

 

They play isn’t what you might imagine based on that description either - for instance - one of the bios in the Playbill is for Rap Consultant, Miriam Hyman.

 

Miriam is a 2016 Leonore Annenberg Fellowship recipient for Performing Arts. She is a 2012 graduate of Yale School of Drama where she earned her MFA in acting and a 2011 Princess Grace recipient of the George C. Wolfe award in Theater. Since graduating she’s worked in film, television, regional, and Off-Broadway Theaters including LaMaMa, The Public, Manhattan Theater Club, and Lincoln Center.

 

Under her moniker, Robyn Hood, she will soon release an EP entitled For Higher.

The Department of Theatre Arts at SUNY New Paltz presents Belfast Blues, a one-woman play written and performed by Geraldine Hughes and directed by Carol Kane, with performances on Oct. 14th and 15th at 8:00 p.m. in McKenna Theatre on the New Paltz campus.

Belfast Blues is a tapestry of stories told from Hughes’ perspective as a little girl coming of age in the war-torn Belfast of the 1980s. Passionate, riveting, often humorous, these stories bear insightful witness to the many faces of “trying to live a normal life” amidst the violence born of the longstanding grudge between Catholics and Protestants.

Life is boring: filled with meetings and traffic, errands and emails. Nothing we'd ever call fun. But what if we've gotten fun wrong?

In Play Anything, visionary game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost shows how we can overcome our daily anxiety; transforming the boring, ordinary world around us into one of endless, playful possibilities.

  The regional premiere of the Donald Margulies play Time Stands Still opens tonight and runs through October 15th at the Curtain Call Theater in Latham, NY.  

After barely surviving a bomb blast in Iraq, photojournalist Sarah Goodwin finds herself caught in a tug of war between her career and the quiet of domestic life.

Returning home into the care of her long-time lover, James, Sarah is caught off-guard by James’ desire for family and by the simple domestic life pursued by Richard, her editor, and his much younger girlfriend, Mandy. Two of the cast-members join us this morning – Amy Lane and Tom Templeton. 

  Gene Wilder, who regularly stole the show in such comedic gems as “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Stir Crazy,” died Monday at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 83 years old.

We spoke with Wilder around a decade ago about his memoir Kiss Me Like A Stranger: My Search for Love and Art. Today we share that interview in memoriam for the actor and comic genius. 

Fresh from a Tony Award-winning revival on Broadway, Dorset Theatre Festival presents playwright Lanie Robertson’s vivid look into the life and times of jazz great Billie Holiday, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill

The time is 1959. The place is a seedy bar in South Philadelphia. The audience is about to witness one of Billie’s last performances, given four months before her death. More than a dozen musical numbers ─ including her signature tunes, “What a Little Moonlight Can Do”, “God Bless the Child”, “Strange Fruit” and others ─ are interlaced with salty, often humorous, reminiscences, revealing a riveting portrait of the lady and her music.

Returning to Dorset Theatre Festival after her power-house performance in last season’s play, Intimate Apparel, actress and singer, Marinda Anderson plays Billie Holiday. Making his debut at the theatre musical director and actor, Kenney Green plays Jimmy, Lady Day’s piano player. 

  Have you ever wondered if one simple interaction could change your life’s trajectory? The infinite question of “what if?” is raised in Nick Payne’s Drama League Award and Tony Award-nominated drama, Constellations.

Directed by Tony Award-nominated Gregg Edelman (and featuring Tony Award-nominated Kate Baldwin and Baldwin’s real life husband, Broadway and television actor, Graham Rowat.

Constellations is a poignant two-character drama follows Marianne, a quirky quantum physicist, played by Kate Baldwin, and Roland, a beekeeper, played by Graham Rowat. Their first encounter is seemingly ordinary—crossing paths at a mutual friend’s barbeque. Exploring the endless possibilities of their budding romance, the characters create their own multi-verse to see how their relationship would play out if they had chosen fate over chance.

The show runs through August 27th at the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. To hear more, we welcome Kate Baldwin and Graham Rowat.

  Jane Kaczmarek stars alongside Alfred Molina in the American premiere of And No More Shall We Part on the Nikos Stage at The Williamstown Theatre Festival. The play, written by Tom Holloway and directed by Anne Kaufman, opens this week and runs through August 21st. When Pam (Kaczmarek) becomes terminally ill, she and her husband Don (Molina) must face the most difficult decision yet in their long and loving marriage. With passion, fear, strength and even humor, they grapple with how, and if, to say goodbye.

On August 22nd, Kaczmarek will participate in a Selected Shorts presentation entitled "Unforgettable Journeys" at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA. Jane Curtin and Robert Sean Leonard will also read that evening in the Berkshires.

  The Berkshire Theatre Group is presenting the World Premiere of playwright Shem Bitterman’s The Stone Witch at the Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge, MA. It is directed by Drama Desk and Humanities Award-winning theatre & television director Steve Zuckerman and features Tony Award, Golden Globe Award, Emmy Award and Obie Award-winning actor Judd Hirsch.

In the play, Peter, an aspiring children’s book author, is sent to the cabin of his idol, Simon, played by Hirsch, a reclusive award-winning author and illustrator of children’s books, to help him finish what might be his last book. Desperate to save his own career, Peter hopes to discover the secret of Simon’s genius, but first he must accept the impossible task: helping Simon confront the monsters that populate the woods inside his mind.

We are joined by actors Judd Hirsch, Rupak Ginn, and Kristin Griffith.


  It’s a Saturday in winter, somewhere in the suburbs, and a high school girls’ soccer team warms up for its indoor game. They stretch in sync – right quad, left quad, lunge – and their conversations spin around and off their turf, far outside the air dome bubble, and back again.

 

The Wolves, by Sarah DeLappe, is the second mainstage production this season presented by Vassar and New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theatre. The production, directed by Lila Neugebauer, runs July 21st through July 31st.

 

The play was a recipient of the American Playwriting Foundation’s inaugural Relentless Award and a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Sarah DeLappe joins us to tell us more.

  This Summer, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival presents productions of The Bard’s Measure for Measure, As You Like It, and Macbeth in repertory in the tent at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, NY.

Davis McCallum and Annie Purcell join us.

Davis is Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s Artistic Director, he has been in the position for two full seasons. The award winning director has also directed this summer’s production of Measure for Measure -- which stars Annie Purcell as Isabella. Her Broadway credits include The Coast of Utopia, Dividing the Estate, and Awake and Sing!.

Emma K. Rothenberg-Ware / Berkshire Theatre Group


  This is the final week to see Berkshire Theatre Group’s production of the Tennessee Williams classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in Stockbridge, MA. It ends it’s run this coming Saturday.

Jim Beaver plays the doomed patriarch of the family, Big Daddy. Beaver is an actor best known for his roles on The CW’s Supernatural and HBO’s Deadwood -- where he played  Ellsworth - a prospector with a good heart and (like everyone else on that show) an incredible affinity for creative cursing. He also recurred on FX’s Justified and several other shows and has appeared in film and on stage. He is playwright, a film historian, and a television and film writer.

  Shadowland Stages in Ellenville, NY began this summer season with John Cariani’s Last Gas. The are currently presenting the Hudson Valley premiere of John Logan’s RED – and the season to come includes Miracle on South Division St., 8-Track: Songs of the 70’s, and God of Carnage all of that and the Acting Academy at the Shadowland Stages is entering its ninth year.

Brendan Burke is the Artistic Director at the Shadowland Stages and he joins us. 

Mississippi plantation owner, the cantankerous Big Daddy, is celebrating his 65th birthday. His family has returned for the occasion, including his favorite son, the masculine Brick, and Brick’s wife, the lonely and longing Maggie.

Brick and Maggie’s strained marriage plagues Big Daddy’s mind, and he demands answers to why they haven’t given him a grandchild yet.

However, Big Daddy’s family holds a powerful secret, and an ulterior motive as to why they have returned to the plantation. The families’ troubled relationships and emotional lies become exposed in the timeless American treasure by Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Berkshire Theatre Group presents Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as part of their season this summer. The show opened on Saturday after a few previews and runs through July 16th.

We are joined this morning by Rebecca Brooksher and Michael Raymond-James – who play Maggie and Brick on BTG’s Fitzpatrick Stage.

Barrington Stage Company’s second St. Germain stage production of this season is Kimberly Akimbo by Pulitzer Prize winner, David Lindsay-Abaire.

Starring Debra Jo Rupp and set in the wilds of suburban New Jersey, Kimberly Akimbo is a hilarious and heartrending play about a teenager with a rare condition causing her body to age faster than normal.

When she and her family flee Secaucus under dubious circumstances, Kimberly is forced to reevaluate her life while contending with a hypochondriac mother, a rarely sober father, a scam-artist aunt, her own mortality and, most terrifying of all, the possibility of first love.

Debra Jo Rupp was last seen at Barrington Stage in Dr. Ruth: All the Way and will return to the St. Germain stage later this season to perform in Love Letters with Mark H. Dold. 

  Vermont's Weston Playhouse Theatre Company is turning 80 and their summer 2016 season boasts a line-up that includes groundbreaking partnerships, collaborations with major stars, and the Vermont Premiere of one of Broadway's longest-running hits.

Producing Artistic Director, Steve Stettler, joins us now to tell us all about it.

Shakespeare & Company was founded in 1978 and since then they’ve been presenting world-class classical and contemporary theater with a focus on none other than The Bard of Avon in Lenox, MA.

The season includes three Shakespeare plays: The Merchant of Venice, The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Twelfth Night, plus Regional Premieres by three women playwrights: of Or, by Liz Duffy Adams; The Taming by Lauren Gunderson and Ugly Lies the Bone by Lindsey Ferrentino, a bracing drama fresh from an acclaimed Off-Broadway production.

Additional titles include Sotto Voce by Pulitzer Prize-winner Nilo Cruz, and the return of Stephan Wolfert in Cry "Havoc!", and a new adaption of Aphra Behn’s Emperor of the Moon by Jenna Ware.

Ariel Bock and Jonathan Croy are serving as co-interim Artistic Directors at Shakespeare & Company. They join us along with Daniella Varon who is directing Ugly Lies the Bone

Brilliant Traces, by Cindy Lou Johnson is a roller-coaster of a play about feelings of isolation and people's need to be understood. Both comic and anguished, Brilliant Traces is set in a recluse's cabin in an Alaskan blizzard where a runaway bride seeks shelter.

Performing Arts of Woodstock is opening a production of the play at the Mescal Hornbeck Community Center this week.

The production is directed by Sande Shurin and stars Maria Elena Maurin as Rosannah. They join us along with President of Performing Arts of Woodstock, Adele Calcavecchio.

  Barrington Stage Company’s world premiere production of American Son by Christopher Demos-Brown begins previews in Pittsfield, MA this Friday.

Winner of the prestigious Laurents/Hatcher Award for Best New Play of 2016, 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. Tamara Tunie and Michael Hayden star as Kendra Ellis-Connor and Scott Connor in the production directed by Barrington Stage’s artistic director, Julianne Boyd.

Actor and producer Tamara Tunie played attorney Jessica Griffin on CBS’ As the World Turns, and medical examiner Melinda Warner on NBC’s Law & Order: SVU. She co-produced the original production of Spring Awakening on Broadway and recently won an Obie Award for her work in Familiar at Playwright’s Horizons. Michael Hayden was on the ABC series Murder One. He made his Broadway debut as Billy in the 1994 revival of Carousel and has since starred in many Broadway and Off-Broadway shows.

Will Gallacher (Tin Man puppeteer), James Ortiz (the Tin Man/Nick Chopper) and Eliza Martin Simpson as Nimmee, the object of the Tin Man’s affection
Matthew Murphy

  The critically acclaimed Off-Broadway re-telling of how Oz's Tin Man lost his heart features James Ortiz as the star, creator, puppet designer, co-director and writer in The Woodsman, a beautiful imaginative theatrical experience by Strangemen & Co.

The show is currently running at New World Stages in New York City.

Calendar Girls At HMT

Apr 6, 2016

  Based on a true story, Calendar Girls tells the tale of best friends Annie and Chris, who resolve to raise money for their local hospital** by persuading four fellow members of their women’s club to pose nude with them for an “alternative” calendar.

Home Made Theater closes their 31st season with Tim Firth’s heartwarming comedy - the show runs weekends April 15th through May 1st at the Spa Little Theater in the Saratoga Spa State Park.

We are joined by the production’s Director, Dianne O’Neill Filer; and actors Devra Cohen-Tigor and Joan Meyer who play Annie and Chris respectively.

  Ben Applebaum and Dan DiSorbo have coauthored several humorous pop culture books together. Their latest is Recess: From Dodgeball to Double Dutch: Classic Games for Players of Today , an illustrated guide to the best games of the playground, for inside and outside.

Ben Applebaum joins us to tell us more.

  Bedlam theatre company in New York City has created a production of Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility that The New York Times called an “enchanting romp of a play … [with] buoyant spirits, cunning stagecraft and enlivening insights …”

Adapted for the stage by Kate Hamill and directed by Eric Tucker, Bedlam’s lively Sense & Sensibility may appeal to those who don’t usually like Jane Austen, but the production doesn’t betray its source material - emphasizing the values, society, proprietary, and human frailties.

Andrus Nichols is the Producing Director & Co-Founder of Bedlam, she plays Elinor Dashwood in Sense & Sensibility and she joins us to talk about the show, the company, and her connections to the WAMC area.

Chris McGarry and Timothee Chalamet in "Prodigal Son" at Manhattan Theatre Club.
Joan Marcus

  Pulitzer Prize winner John Patrick Shanley’s latest play, Prodigal Son, ends its run at Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City tomorrow.  

Written and directed by Shanley, the autobiographical play features a 17-year-old boy from The Bronx who finds himself in a private school in New Hampshire. He’s violent and gifted, with a passion for writing and an intense desire to understand and control the world and his life. Two faculty members, played by Robert Sean Leonard and Chris McGarry wrestle with the dilemma: Is the kid a star or a disaster?

Chris McGarry has worked with John Patrick Shanley a number of times. Here, we speak with McGarry about what working with Shanley has meant to him.

Fifteen teams consisting of more than 300 professionals from local architecture, engineering and construction firms, as well as design students, built massive structures made entirely out of canned goods at the New York State Museum  last night.

Now, this year’s CANstruction Play themed program at the New York State Museum benefiting The Food Pantries for the Capital District is under way. This year’s participants have been challenged to collect 100,000 pounds of food in addition to a monetary donation to support local food pantries.

The sixth annual Capital Region CANstruction is open to the public today through Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at the New York State Museum. To tell us more we welcome CANstruction President Sara Stein, and Natasha Pernicka – Executive Director of the Food Pantries fore the Capital District.

  The Blue-Sky Boys dramatizes the unorthodox creative process used by a group of maverick engineers at NASA to land men on the moon.  It’s a wild comedy about the beginnings of the Apollo space mission and about the crossroads of science and art.

Capital Repertory Theater in Albany, NY will launch (pun intended) a production of the play directed by Gordon Greenberg. Previews begin tonight and the show opens on Tuesday.

The show is written by Deborah Brevoort who joins us to tell us more. 

   Little children come into the world hardwired to learn in virtually any setting and about any matter. Yet in today’s preschool and kindergarten classrooms, learning has been reduced to scripted lessons and suspect metrics that too often undervalue a child’s intelligence while overtaxing the child’s growing brain. 

  In The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups, Christakis explains what it’s like to be a young child in America today, in a world designed by and for adults, where we have confused schooling with learning. She offers real-life solutions to real-life issues, with nuance and direction that takes us far beyond the usual prescriptions for fewer tests, more play.

  Michael Riedel has been a theater columnist for the New York Post since 1998. He worked at the Daily News for five years before returning to the Post, he is the cohost of Theater Talk with PBS.

In his first book, Razzle Dazzle, he pulls back the curtain on Broadway's stars, producers, and mega-hits to reveal all the shocking drama, intrigue, and power plays that happened off stage.

Razzle Dazzle is a provocative, no-holds-barred narrative account of the people and the money and the power that re-invented an iconic quarter of New York City, turning its gritty back alleys and sex-shops into the glitzy, dazzling Great White Way—and bringing a crippled New York from the brink of bankruptcy to its glittering glory.

Pages