theater

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. 

  Award winning stage and screen actress Mary-Louise Parker’s new book - Dear Mr. You – shows the singular arc of her life through letters composed to the men, real and hypothetical, who have informed the person she is today.

Beginning with the grandfather she never knew, the letters range from a missive to the beloved priest from her childhood to remembrances of former lovers.


  Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally’s Summer of 69: No Apostrophe Tour will be at The Palace in Albany, NY tomorrow night at 8. The PG-at-least-13 show displays in song and conversation the couple’s lauded comedic chops and their incredible attraction to each other.

Megan Mullally is a two-time Emmy award winning actress - well known for her work as the boozy and shrill-larious Karen on Will & Grace. She’s also a stage actress having most recently appeared on Broadway in Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play.

Nick Offerman grumbled into celebrity as the multilayered feminist Libertarian lover of meat and privacy Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation. Offerman is also a stage actor, author, woodworker, and writer.

 

He joins us to talk about his varied and satisfying resumé, his wife, Jeff Tweedy, and his one episode of HBO's Deadwood.

  What does a ''producer'' actually do? How does one travel from that great idea for a show to a smash hit opening night on Broadway?

John Breglio cannot guarantee you a hit, but he does take the reader on a fascinating journey behind-the-scenes to where he himself once stood as a child, dreaming about the theatre. 

Chase Brock’s "The Song That I Sing; or, Meow So Pretty" - lighting by Kevin Adams
Rosalie O'Connor


  The Chase Brock Experience is the Brooklyn-based contemporary dance company led by choreographer Chase Brock. They will perform at PS21 as part of the Chatham Dance Festival at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

 

Chase Brock is an acclaimed choreographer working in theater, modern dance, ballet, opera, television and video games. He joins us now along with Obie and 4-time Tony Award winning lighting designer, Kevin Adams. Adams has worked extensively on Broadway winning his Tony Awards for The 39 Steps, Spring Awakening, American Idiot, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Kevin Adams has designed the lighting for Chase Brock’s The Song That I Sing; or, Meow So Pretty -- one of 4 pieces being performed at PS21 this week.


  Drama League and Drama Desk Award nominee Julia Coffey has joined the company of The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival to take over the roles of Rosalind in As You Like It, and Mariana and Mistress Overdone in Measure for Measure.

Staged in the tent at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, NY and framed by stunning Hudson Valley views, As You Like It runs in rep through August 27th, and the final performance of Measure for Measure’s will be on August 28th.

  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.

Allyn Burrows and Tod Randolph in 'Or,' at Shakespeare & Company, 2016.
Ava G. Lindenmaier

  Liz Duffy Adams' playful comedy Or, is based on the real life of Britain's first female playwright Aphra Behn.

The production runs through September 4 in Shakespeare & Company’s Tina Packer Playhouse and is staged in-the-round. Alice Reagan is the director and she joins us along with actors Tod Randolph and Allyn Burrows.


  Michael Mayer is the Tony-Award winning director of plays, musicals, opera, and film and television who helmed the Broadway revival of Hedwig and The Angry Inch, and the original runs of the musicals of Everyday Rapture, American Idiot, Spring Awakening, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. He’s also directed revivals of A View From the Bridge, The Lion in Winter, After the Fall, and ‘night Mother. His breakthrough of sorts was Side Man.

 

Side Man had an early production in Poughkeepsie, NY at Vassar College and New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater -- it moved to off-Off-Broadway and then to Broadway winning the Tony Award for Best Play in 1999.

 

Michael Mayer has been coming back to Poughkeepsie in the summer for 20 years, working on shows in various stages of development and recently joining the New York Stage and Film board of directors.

He was in the Hudson Valley this summer working on a new musical entitled Head Over Heels which blends Sir Philip Sidney’s The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia with the music of seminal 80s girl-group, The Go-Go’s. Jeff Whitty is writing the book and Tom Kitt will provide musical supervision.

  Obie-Award winning performance group, The Secret City, will be playing their third annual gathering in Woodstock, NY this Sunday - July 31st at 12 noon. The theme will be PLAY.

The Secret City is the brainchild of impresario and Byrdcliffe Resident, Chris Wells, who moved to Woodstock three years ago and felt the small town with its cultural history, inclusiveness and love of community were a perfect setting for this tribal art gathering.

The Secret City combines art, food, music, storytelling, meditation, singing, performance and community interaction in an event that is part tent revival, part ceremony, part salon.

For their Woodstock gathering they’ll present musical guest Eric Redd, visual art by Jacinta Bunnell, roller derby troupe The Hudson Valley Horrors, food offering by LaGusta of New Paltz, a performance by Percussion Orchestra of Kingston and Energy Dance Company, a reading by Martha Frankel, songs by The Secret City Singers and The Secret City Band and a story by Chris Wells. We welcome Chris and artist Jacinta Bunnell.

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

  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.

The unmistakable voice filled with raw emotion and tinged with Southern Comfort made Janis Joplin a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock.

A Night with Janis Joplin, now running at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, NY, is a musical journey celebrating Janis and her biggest musical influences.

The show is created, written and directed by Randy Johnson and stars Kelly McIntyre as Janis Joplin. 

(Left to right) Stacey Yen, Nance Williamson and Maria-Christina Oliveras in Macbeth
T. Charles Erickson


  Fair is foul, and foul is fair -- more fair than usual in the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s production of Macbeth - now running in repertory at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, NY.  The fairer for having a cast of only three actors, and all three -women.

Lee Sunday Evans directs Maria-Christina Oliveras, Nance Williamson, and Stacey Yen in the production and we are joined by two-thirds of the trio, Maria-Christina and Stacey, to talk about the production.


  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.

  Constance Shulman is best known as Yoga Jones on Orange is the New Black on Netflix and the voice of Patti Mayonnaise on the cartoon, Doug

She is currently performing at The Williamstown Theatre Festival as The Strega in Tennesse Williams' The Rose Tattoo, starring Marisa Tomei and directed by Trip Cullman. Shulman's daughter, Gus Birney, plays Rosa in the production. 

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.

  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.

  Barrington Stage Company, a professional award-winning Equity regional theatre located in the heart of the Berkshires, in Pittsfield, MA, was founded in 1995. Barrington Stage’s mission is three-fold: to present top-notch, compelling work; to develop new plays and musicals; and to find fresh, bold ways to bringing new audiences into the theatre—especially young people.

On their two stages they present new plays and musicals created by the best theatrical minds working today as well as classics.

Julianne Boyd is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Barrington Stage and she joins us now with an overview of the season.

  Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-ass Wit of Molly Ivins is a staged reading with Nancy Rothman at PS21 in Chatham on Friday night at 8PM.

It’s an election year, so what better time to enjoy a play based on the famous witticisms of political columnist and humorist Molly Ivins? Her satirical insights into the American political system still ring true today, and twin-sister journalists Margaret and Allison Engel have written a very funny show celebrating Ivins’ courage and tenacity.

Nancy Rothman has acted on stages in NYC, regionally and abroad, as well as on film, television and radio. She is also a favorite with local audiences, and has graced the PS21 stage on numerous occasions. Nicola Sheara is directing Nancy in the reading and we welcome them both to The Roundtable.

  Voice Theatre in Woodstock, NY creates new productions and explores relevant dimensions of classic works. From play development readings and in-school workshops, to full-scale productions and international tours, Voice Theatre cuts through barriers of ethnicity, language and nationality, bringing together diverse peoples seeking mutual respect because of their shared experiences of humanity.

They join us to talk to talk about their Summer Youth Workshop which creates a fun supportive environment for young people to explore skills that develop confidence, social skills, focus, independent inquiry and collaboration while having fun in a creative environment.

We are joined by Voice Theatre artistic director Shauna Kanter and ensemble member Christa Trinler.

  Vassar and New York Stage and Film’s first Musical Workshop of this Powerhouse season is a brand-new adaptation of The Roar of the Greasepaint - The Smell of the Crowd. The production involves a commissioned by The Roundabout Theatre Company in New York City and is directed by Scott Ellis - responsible for Roundabout’s recent productions of She Loves Me and On the Twentieth Century.

The show will keep its original score by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley -- but replace the duo’s book with a new one by Santino Fontana.

Fontana co-stars as Greg on the CW’s musical television comedy, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. He was the voice of Hans in that tiny-little Disney movie, Frozen. Broadway and off-Broadway credits include: The Fantasticks, Sunday in the Park with George, Billy Elliot: The Musical, Brighton Beach Memoirs, A View from the Bridge, The Importance of Being Earnest, Sons of the Prophet, Act One, and Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella.

  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.

Powerhouse Theater
Vassar College/ Tamar M. Thibodeau


  This month, Vassar College and New York Stage and Film’s summer Powerhouse season in Poughkeepsie, NY will present two fully staged productions, three Musical Theater workshops, two Inside Look workshops, and a number of readings. In addition to all of that, their training program is in full swing.

Ed Cheetham is the Producing Director of Powerhouse Theater at Vassar.

Poiwerhouse Theater
Vassar College/ Buck Lewis


  Since 1985, Vassar and New York Stage and Film have been partners in the Powerhouse season, a collaboration known for being the springboard for new stories that go on to theaters across the country and around the world. This year’s Tony Award winning and nominated shows The Humans, Bright Star, and Hamilton, can all claim incubation periods at Powerhouse.

 

The 2016 season began with a reading festival last weekend and its first main stage show, Transfers by Lucy Thurber, opened last night and runs through July 10th.

>Johanna Pfaelzer is the Artistic Director of New York Stage and Film and she joins us to talk about the 2016 season.

  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. 

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