playwright


  Alan Ayckbourn’s The Norman Conquests is a brilliant comic trilogy telling the same story from the point of view of three different rooms: Living Together follows the romp in the living room; Table Manners times perfectly to show what happens in the dining room, and Round and Round the Garden depicts desperately funny activities in the garden.

Each play stands completely on its own, but together, they are a triumph of theatrical imagination.

Audience members have traveled from Northern Stage to Dorset Theatre Festival to see the first two plays. Now, Weston Playhouse in Weston, Vermont presents the third. Richard Gallagher has played Norman in all three productions and he joins us now.

Richard’s Broadway credits include The Lyons and Roundabout Theatre Company’s The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by Brian Bedford.


  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.


  In her one woman show, Forever, Pulitzer prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith travels to the famed Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris where, by the graves of legendary artists such as Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde, and Jim Morrison, she finds unexpected grace in a gripping tale of the legacy a daughter inherits from her mother.

Forever opens tonight on Weston Playhouse’s OtherStages in Weston Vermont, directed by Steve Stettler.

This summer, The Williamstown Theatre Festival brings together professional theatre artists with Berkshire residents to create and perform new work. Born of the belief that theatre is central to understanding, building and maintaining community, this initiative invites the people of Western Massachusetts to be a part of the Festival’s creative process — not just as audience members, but on stage!

Obie Award-winning playwright Lucy Thurber puts a new spin on the Orpheus myth, set in Western Massachusetts. When Orpheus, a teenage girl, realizes that something is amiss in her neighborhood, she embarks on a treacherous journey to save her hometown.

Helmed by Festival Associate Director Laura Savia, and developed in collaboration with community partners, this World Premiere features a cast of 75 Berkshire residents performing alongside Festival actors. Performances are July 14-16 at 7:30PM and July 17 at 5PM.

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.

  Vassar and New York Stage and Film’s first main stage Powerhouse production this season is Lucy Thurber’s Transfers.

As two young men from the Bronx vie for acceptance to an elite college, their shared past threatens to overshadow their bright futures. Class, ambition, and expectations are called into question when higher education – and its life-changing potential – is just within reach.

Thurber is a Lilly Award winner and won a 2014 OBIE Award for her theatrical cycle, The Hill Town Plays. She was also a member of the influential Obie-winning playwrights’ collective, 13P.

John Cariani is the heart at the center of the hit Broadway’s musical comedy Something Rotten!. The Tony-nominated actor stars as Nigel Bottom, a sensitive, aspiring playwright in 1595 who worships Shakespeare and begins a forbidden love affair with a Puritan beauty by the name of Portia.

But, Cariani is also a playwright – having written Almost, Maine, Love/Sick and Last Gas.

Cariani's third play, Last Gas is now playing at Shadowland Stages in Ellenville. It is its Hudson Valley premiere and runs through June 19th.

  Chester Theatre Company is getting ready to start their 27th season since the theater was founded in 1990 and the first under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Daniel Elihu Kramer. The four-play season will run from June 30th through August 28th at the Chester Town Hall in Chester, MA.

The season starts with a show, written by Kramer, My Jane, a world premiere
 adapted from the novel by Charlotte Brontë. It’s Kramer’s newest play, his second for CTC, following Pride@Prejudice in 2011. My Jane weaves Jane’s romantic story with the lives of her readers, all of whom have their own beloved “Jane.”

Daniel Elihu Kramer, joins us this morning along with Camila Canó-Flaviá who is playing Jane in the Chester Theatre production.

  CENTERstage Productions hosts Warrior Productions and The Second Annual Short Play Festival at The CENTER for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck May 6, 7 & 8.

Eight short plays of new and original works will be showcased and we are joined by Elaine Fernandez, playwright and President and Founder of Warrior Productions; and playwrights Marianna Boncek and Nadeen Currie.

  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. 

  Tina Packer is one of the country’s foremost experts on Shakespeare and theatre arts and now the actor, director, and master teacher offers an exploration of the women of Shakespeare’s plays in her new book: Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare's Plays.

  The Sundance Institute Theatre Lab will present an evening of work-in-progress musical theater in MASS MoCA’s Club B10 tomorrow, November 14, at 8pm.

The Sundance Institute’s renowned Theatre Program has produced and molded many future Broadway and Off-Broadway hits through their incubation process. This is the 5th year they’ve partnered with MASS MoCA.

This year they will present 3 in-progress musicals including a new work from Adam Guetel and Craig Lucas.

The Tony Award-winning composer-lyricist and Obie Award-winning playwright creators of Light in the Piazza re-team to reimagine a story that tells of a love affair between two average Americans, torpedoed by alcoholism.

Adam Guetel joins us now along with Philip Himberg is the producing artistic director of Sundance Institute Theatre Program.

The new play Holy Laughter follows an Episcopal priest who finds that the reality of leading a church is radically and hilariously different than what she learned in seminary. As she wrestles with church finances, eccentric parishioners, changing sexual mores and her own doubting human heart, Abigail struggles to make peace with the realities of contemporary church life.

WAM did a reading of Catherine Trieschmann’s play How the World Began as part of the inaugural 2014 Fresh Takes series, and it was very well received. Earlier this year, WAM Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven saw the first staged reading of her new play Holy Laughter at the Denver Center New Play Summit, where it had been commissioned.

Catherine Trieschmann’s plays include The Bridegroom of Blowing Rock, Crooked, How the World Began, Hot Georgia Sunday, and The Most Deserving. We welcome her to The Roundtable this morning along with Kristen van Ginhoven, Artistic Director of WAM Theatre.

  The Cocoon Theatre’s Beckett Festival will take place in Poughkeepsie, NY October 16 - 25 and will include a production of Samuel Beckett’s "Happy Days" and two public symposia - "Why Beckett? Why Now?" on October 18 and a student symposium "Why Study the Arts?" on October 25.

Beckett scholar, David Tucker, will participate in the "Why Beckett? Why Now?" Symposium. He is a Research Fellow at the University of Chester where he has been working on a performance history project on Beckett and British drama.

  The new play Veils opens on Thursday at the Barrington Stage Company on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage. This morning we meet the playwright, Tom Coash.

When Intisar, an African American Muslim student, arrives in Cairo for a year abroad, she hopes finally to be understood. She’s quickly enlisted by her liberal Egyptian roommate to help create a controversial blog debating the practice of wearing veils. Soon mounting political unrest threatens their new-found friendship.

Playwright, director, and dramaturg Tom Coash spent four years teaching playwriting at The American University in Cairo, Egypt. He was a Co-founder of the Offstage Theatre in Charlottesville, VA and has worked for such theaters as the Manhattan Theatre Club, Stageworks/Hudson, and Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Sara Krulwich

  Playwright John Guare is best known for his plays Six Degrees of Separation, Two Gentlemen of Verona and House of Blue Leaves.

His adaptation of the comedy His Girl Friday is getting great reviews at Barrington Stage in Pittsfield and will run through August 30th.

This past April, Capital Rep announced the winners of its inaugural Young Playwright Contest and the five winning plays are being produced this week and through the weekend.

From costumes to props and sets all designed and built by the REP’s staff, these productions are giving young peoples’ voices a chance to be heard. The plays are directed by Margaret Hall, theREP’s assistant to the artistic director, and performed by theREP’s new Summer Stage Young Acting Company.

Director Margaret Hall and student playwright Jaimie Gaskell join us to discuss how art and community is being fostered and grown.

Gaskell is a tenth grade student at Greenwich Jr./Sr. High School. Her play, Y.A.P.’s Homeless Youth Hostel, takes us into a residence where protagonists from Young Adult novels await the arrival of their prophecy from the United States Post Office.

David Butow - Los Angeles Times

Carey Perloff, Artistic Director of San Francisco's legendary American Conservatory Theater has written a memoir entitled Beautiful Chaos: A Life in Theater which is an impassioned manifesto for the role of live theater in today's technology infused world.

  Perloff's personal and professional journey—her life as a woman in a male-dominated profession, as a wife and mother, a playwright, director, producer, arts advocate, and citizen in a city erupting with enormous change. Whether reminiscing about her turbulent first years as a young woman taking over an insolvent theater in crisis and transforming it into a thriving, world-class performance space, or ruminating on the potential for its future, Perloff takes on critical questions about arts education, cultural literacy, gender disparity, leadership, and power.

Her new play is Kinship, which had its world premiere last year in Paris. It's having its American debut at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in a Jo Bonney production starring Cynthia Nixon running on the Nikos Stage through July 25th.

  Tony Award-nominee Jessica Hecht and Drama Desk Award-winner Eric Bogosian join forces for the world premiere of Daniel Goldfarb‘s funny and turbulent Legacy on The Williamstown Theatre Festival’s Nikos Stage.

When renowned novelist Neil Abrams is panned by The New York Times, he reopens the conversation with his wife Suzanne about starting a family. As Neil copes with feeling increasingly antiquated and culturally irrelevant, and Suzanne begins a relationship with one of Neil’s brilliant grad students, the equilibrium of their marriage is threatened.

Eric Bogosian is well-known for writing and starring in several one-man shows and plays, including Talk Radio and Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, landing a leading role in the TV series Law & Order: Criminal Intent; writing three novels and nabbing several awards, including three Obies, the Drama Desk, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. He last joined us to talk about his new book: Operation Nemesis: The Assassination Plot That Avenged the Armenian Genocide.

Jessica Hecht made her Broadway debut in The Last Night of Ballyhoo and has twice been nominated for a Tony for her roles in A View From the Bridge and The Assembled Parties. She is known for her work as Victoria in the indie hit Sideways and had recurring roles on Breaking Bad and Seinfeld and played Susan Bunch on TV’s Friends.

Legacy opens on Wednesday and runs through July 12th.

  Thoreau or, Return to Walden is a world premiere play running at the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge.

Longtime BTG Alum, David Adkins takes the stage as transcendentalist, poet, and philosopher, Henry David Thoreau. BTG Artist, Eric Hill, who most recently wrote and directed Adkins in the wildly well-received Poe, is directing this production.

The writing of Henry David Thoreau comes to life in this dramatic and uplifting tale as he battles with himself, with his own thirst for blood and for the soul of our American conscience.

We are joined by David Adkins.

roundabouttheatre.org

  In Joshua Harmon’s new play, Significant Other, Jordan Berman would love to be in love, but until he meets Mr. Right, he wards off lonely nights with his trio of close-knit girlfriends. But as singles’ nights turn into bachelorette parties, Jordan finds that supporting the ones you love can be just as impossible as finding love itself. The play takes an often funny and alternately heartbreaking look at what it’s like to be single when all of your close friends are marrying themselves off (and even worse than that - sometimes having destination weddings that you attend, even though it destroys your budget).

The Roundabout Theatre Company production of Significant Other, directed by Trip Cullman, has been in previews for a few weeks and officially opens at The Laura Pels Theatre in New York City this coming Thursday night.

Roundabout Theatre Company’s relationship with Joshua Harmon began when his play Bad Jews was selected for the inaugural Roundabout Underground Reading Series for Emerging Playwrights in February 2012. The play then premiered at Roundabout Underground’s Black Box in Fall 2012, in a sold-out extended run and then moved upstairs to the 420-seat Laura Pels Theatre - where Significant Other is performed now.

We spoke with Joshua Harmon and Trip Cullman recently about Roundabout, the play, and working together.

Joan Marcus

  Nominated for 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Something Rotten! tells the story of playwright brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom played by Brian D’Arcy James and John Cariani, who live in the shadow of that Renaissance rockstar known as “The Bard” - Christian Borle as a strutty Shakespeare who renders everyone he encounters utterly star-struck.

In his effort to overshadow Shakespeare, Nick Bottom seeks out a soothsayer (played by Brad Oscar) who foretells that the future of theater involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first musical!

John Cariani  - a playwright and actor who has worked often in our region - steals Something Rotten! with his endearing nerdiness - his character is a sincere, sweet, Shakespeare fan-boy.

    In 1921, a tightly knit band of killers set out to avenge the deaths of almost one million victims of the Armenian Genocide. They were a humble bunch: an accountant, a life insurance salesman, a newspaper editor, an engineering student, and a diplomat. Together they formed one of the most effective assassination squads in history. They named their operation Nemesis, after the Greek goddess of retribution.

Eric Bogosian tells their never-before-told story in his new book, Operation Nemesis: The Assassination Plot that Avenged the Armenian Genocide.

Valerie Macon/Getty Images North America

  Academy Award-nominated Lucy Alibar, whose stage play was adapted into the award-winning film Beasts of the Southern Wild, has been working on her latest, Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up with the Sundance Theatre Lab, in residency for two weeks at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA.

There will be a performance of the work at the museum's Club B10 tomorrow night at 8pm.

  The 10th season of “Frequency North,” the visiting writers series at The College of Saint Rose, rocks on with novelist and rock writer Marc Spitz. Spitz will read from his latest works tonight at 7:30 PM in the Saint Joseph Hall Auditorium in Albany.

SPIN magazine hired Spitz in 1997, where he wrote more than a dozen cover stories on artists as diverse as Axl Rose, Weezer, Trent Reznor and Franz Ferdinand. Dubbed the “hipster playwright,” Spitz’s plays include Retail Sluts, I Wanna Be Adored and P.S. It’s Poison.

In his new book: Twee, Spitz explores the first great cultural movement since Hip Hop: an old-fashioned and yet highly modern aesthetic that’s embraced internationally by teens, twenty and thirty-somethings and even some Baby Boomers; creating hybrid generation known as Twee.

This week in our Ideas Matter segment, we feature MASS Humanities and are joined by Harley Erdman, Professor of Theater at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her new play, Nobody's Girl, will have its premiere at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, MA on October 17th and is based on real events that occurred at the Academy of Music in the early 1940s.

    The final performance for the 2014 season at the Berkshire Playwrights Lab is The Season, and it looks at the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day in the Berkshires through the eyes of one summer home owning family.

The playwright, Michael Brady, most well known for the award-winning For Gillian on her 37th Birthday, which was made into a film starring Peter Gallagher and Michelle Pfeiffer, is a 30 year resident of the Berkshires and also well known to Great Barrington in his other life working in the local CVS.

We welcome Michael Brady and co-artistic director of Berkshire Playwrights Lab, Joe Cacaci.

 

   Barrington Stage Company will be presenting the world premiere of Dancing Lessons, the new romantic comedy by playwright and BSC Associate Artist Mark St. Germain from August 7th – 24th.

Directed by Barrington Stage Artistic Director Julianne Boyd, Dancing Lessons stars John Cariani and Paige Davis. John Cariani made his BSC debut as ‘Dogberry’ in last summer’s Much Ado About Nothing. Cariani is also the playwright of the play Almost, Maine. Paige Davis is known for Broadway’s Chicago and TLC’s Trading Spaces.

    John Patrick Shanley is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning playwright, Oscar winning screenwriter, and theatre and film director. His works include Moonstruck, Joe Versus the Volcano, Welcome to The Moon, Savage in Limbo, Outside Mullingar, Doubt: A Parable - for stage, the title shortened to Doubt when it was adapted to film.

His new play, The Danish Widow, opens tonight in the Hallie Flanagan-Davis Powerhouse Theatre on the Vassar College campus in Poughkeepsie, NY. It’s the third mainstage show of the New York Stage and Film summer season.

  After decades as the gentle-natured leader of a Christian retreat that endeavors to “cure” gay teens, Walt is packing up his life and preparing for a reluctant retirement. But when his final client quietly disappears into the remote Idaho wilderness, Walt discovers that his previously unwavering moral compass no longer points the way.

A Great Wilderness is a play by Obie Award winner, Samuel D. Hunter. It is directed at Williamstown Theatre Festival by Eric Ting and stars Jeffrey DeMunn. The three join us to talk about the play, which runs on the Nikos Stage at WTF July 9-July 20.

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