New York Stage and Film and Vassar College's first Powerhouse mainstage show of this summer is Keith Byunin's The Unbuilt City. The production opened last night and runs through July 12th.

The show stars Beth Dixon and Carter Hudson and is directed by Tony Award nominee, Sean Mathias.

Writer, actor, and director, Sean Mathias directed the film Bent and numerous acclaimed plays all over the world - including London, New York City, Cape Town, Sydney, and Los Angeles.

  Shakespeare & Company is a cultural - and physical - neighbor to Tanglewood. Located here in Lenox, MA, Shakespeare and Company was founded in 1978.

Shakespeare & Company’s summer season includes three Shakespeare plays, Henry V, The Comedy of Errors and Hamlet, plus the Regional Premiere of Red Velvet, the World Premiere of Jane Anderson’s Mother of the Maid, starring Tina Packer, and The Unexpected Man.

Here to tell us more are: , Taibi Magar, director of The Comedy of Errors, Jonathan Croy – a longtime company veteran artist starring in Henry V, and Seth Gordon who is making his S&Co. directing debut with Tony award winning playwright’s Yasmina Reza’s The Unexpected Man.

  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.

  Emmy Award-winner Kyra Sedgwick makes her Williamstown Theatre Festival debut in the world premiere of a play by Pulitzer Prize-winner William Inge. Off the Main Road was, until recently, a lost work among Inge’s canon – found and reintroduced by the Inge Estate in 2008. Broadway veterans Estelle Parsons and Becky Ann Baker co-star in the production and join us this morning.

Estelle Parsons is a Five-time Tony nominee. She most recently appeared on Broadway in Nice Work If You Can Get It and The Velocity of Autumn.

She worked as a singer with a band before she became the first Women's Editor on The Today Show in 1952. She won an Oscar for her performance as Blanche Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde. The following year, she garnered an Academy Award nomination for her performance in Rachel, Rachel. On television, she is perhaps best remembered as Roseanne and Jackie's mother on Roseanne.

Becky Ann Baker is a fixture here at Williamstown – this is her 13th season. She made her Broadway debut in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. She has also appeared in Broadway’s Titanic, A Streetcar Named Desire, All My Sons, Assassins and The Sisters Rosensweig by Wendy Wasserstein. She may be best known for her portrayal of Jean Weir on Freaks and Geeks and currently as Lena Dunham’s mom in HBO’s Girls.

Off the Main Road opens on the Williamstown Main Stage tomorrow night and runs through July 19th. It is a great pleasure to welcome Estelle Parson and Becky Ann Baker to the show.

Ky DiGregorio

  Chad strives to find his 15 minutes of fame, and discovers what he is really looking for along the way.

Based on the experience of Steve Rubell, co-owner of the New York City disco, Studio 54, 15 Minutes: A New Musical will be part of this weekend’s Reading Festival at New York Stage and Film and Vassar College’s Powerhouse Theater.

The show has a book by Rick Elice and music and lyrics by Stephen Trask and Peter Yanowitz.

The reading at Powerhouse stars Michael C. Hall, Derek Klena and Tony-Award winner for her portral of Yitzak in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Lena Hall - who joins us to talk about rock, readings, choosing her path, and her love of Stephen Trask.

Sean Thomas /

  Stephen Belber’s new play, The Dizzy Little Dance of Russell DiFinaldi, will be part of New York Stage and Film and Vassar College’s Powerhouse Theater’s Reading Festival this weekend.

A sprawling modern American epic about Russell DiFinaldi and his brother Jerry, two men trying to figure out what it means to do good in the world. David Cromer directs the reading and it stars Finn Wittrock.

Wittrock co-starred on American Horror Story: Freak Show and on HBO’s The Normal Heart. He was also in the most recent Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.

  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.

Claire Sabbattié /

The Caravan Stage Company has a most unique theatre venue — a 90 ft tall ship, the Caravan Stage Tall Ship Theatre. After 20 years of touring contemporary professional theatre the Caravan now tours its innovative theatrical productions on to the deck of the Amara Zee, a unique Ship Theatre.

This summer they present Hacked: The Treasure of Empire -- a operatic theatre fantasy featuring a Band of Virtual Pirate Hacksters who have deleted the “Treasure of the Empire”.

Bob Goepfert Reviews "Kinky Boots" At Proctors

Jun 18, 2015

SCHENECTADY – Not all plays have titles that perfectly prepare you for what you are going to experience.

  The Williamstown Theatre Festival’s 2015 Season, the 61st Season for the Tony Award-winning theatre company and first under Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield gets underway June 30th.

  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.

  The Exchange is a NYC based arts institution committed to the to creation of bold new work. Their Orchard Project has made its way to our region.

Over 25 projects will be developed in the various residencies of The Orchard Project in Saratoga Springs this month. It also marks the first-ever Orchard Project Presents season, a series of public performances that will take place at Universal Preservation Hall as well as at venues around Saratoga Springs.

The series will feature events every week in June, including Sneak Peeks, Cabarets and Concerts, and an Open Studio Week. Events are already underway and will conclude with an intimate concert with Tony Award winning actor, singer, and writer Alan Cumming. We get a look now with Ari Edelson - artistic director of The Exchange and founder of The Orchard.

 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is nominated for 6 Tony Awards including Best New Play. It’s been called “the most inventive new show on Broadway.” The acclaimed National Theatre production of the show won 7 Olivier Awards. It opened in New York in October and a national tour was recently announced.

Tony Award winner Marianne Elliott directs an adaptation by two-time Olivier Award winner Simon Stephens. Based on Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel, the drama follows Christopher — a 15-year-old mathematics savant with an often crippling antisocial disorder — as he pieces together clues to solve a neighborhood mystery and comes to a greater understanding of his own family.

Terry Shapiro

  The National Tour of Pippin is at Proctors in Schenectady this week - opening tonight and running through Sunday. The 2013 Tony Award winner for Best Musical Revival with a beloved score by Tony nominee Stephen Schwartz tells the story of a young prince on a death-defying journey to find meaning in his existence.

This production is directed by Tony winner Diane Paulus and features sizzling choreography in the style of Bob Fosse and breathtaking acrobatics by Les 7 Doigts De La Main.

John Rubinstein plays Charlemagne in the production - he played the title role of Pippin in the original Broadway production in 1972. Rubinstein is a film, stage, and television actor and director and a composer of film and theatre music. He does it all and he joins us to talk about returning to Pippin's corner of the stage.

Joan Marcus

In The Way We Get By, a new play by Neil LaBute, Beth and Doug wake up after a hook up and deal with the conversation and consequences that sometimes entails. The show is running At the Second Stage Theater in New York City through June 21st.*

Thomas Sadoski plays Doug. Sadoski is a stage and screen actor - in 2011 he originated the role of 'Trip Wyeth' in Jon Robin Baitz's Other Desert Cities for which he won an Obie Award and Lucille Lortel Award. He’s worked often on and off-Broadway in New York, as well as appearing all over the country and the world - including in our backyard at New York Stage and FIlm’s Powerhouse season at Vassar and return engagements at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. On screen, recent credits include - HBO’s The Newsroom and the film, Wild.

Thomas Sadoski speaks with us about returning to the work of certain playwrights, pre-performance energey on stage and on screen, and about his love of the Williamstown Theatre Festival.

  Creative License, the Capital Region’s newest Theater Collective, will present its second production: Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead at the Albany Barn, May 29 - June 13, 2015.

This dark and emotional comedy by Bert V. Royal won the Excellence Award from the 2004 NYC Fringe Festival and has been a hit for small companies around the country. If the character’s, like CB, Van, Tricia and Marcy, seem familiar, that’s because the play is an “unauthorized parody” of Charles Schultz’s “Peanuts” comic strip and cartoons. But now, the kids are in high school.

Here to tell us more are co-founders of Creative License, Aaron Holbritter and Casey Polomaine – also the director of the show and actor playing "Tricia", respectively, and the actor playing "CB," Tom Templeton.

Joan Marcus / AP

  The Audience is a play written by Peter Morgan, directed by Stephen Daldry, and starring Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth the II. It opened in the West End in 2013 earning Olivier Awards for Mirren and one of her co-stars, Richard McCabe. McCabe portrays Harold Wilson who was a British Labour Party politician and served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1976.

In The Audience, Peter Morgan has written imagined conversations between the Queen and her Prime Ministers during their weekly private meetings in Buckingham Palace. The play floats from year to year and decade to decade making use of theatre and costume quick-change magic and, of course, the skill of tremendous performers.

The Audience, now running on Broadway through June 28, is nominated for three Tony Awards - one for Dame Mirren, one for Bob Crowley for his costume design, and one for our guest, Richard McCabe.

Joan Marcus

  Airline Highway, by Lisa D’Amour, is an ode to the outcasts that make life a little more interesting. In the parking lot of The Hummingbird, a once-glamorous motel on New Orleans’ infamous Airline Highway, a group of friends gather. A rag-tag collection of strippers, hustlers and philosophers have come together to celebrate the life of Miss Ruby, an iconic burlesque performer who has requested a funeral before she dies.

Directed by Joe Mantello, Manhattan Theatre Club’s presentation of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of Airline Highway is running at the Samuel J. Friedman theatre in New York City through June 7th.

The play co-stars K. Todd Freeman as Sissy Nana. Freeman has been a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago since 1993. The Obie Award winning theatre, television, and film actor has earned a Tony Award nomination - his second - for Best Performance for an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for his performance.


    An American in Paris is a new stage musical based on the 1951 film of the same name -- the film, directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, was itself inspired by a 1928 orchestral composition by George Gershwin.

The new musical, set in the City of Lights just after World War II, features classic songs by George and Ira Gershwin including “I Got Rhythm,” “‘S Wonderful,” “But Not for Me,” and “They Can’t Take That Away,” and orchestral music from George Gershwin including “Concerto in F,” and “An American in Paris.” The show is currently running at The Palace Theatre on Broadway and is nominated for 12 Tony Awards including Best Musical.


  Based in Glens Falls, NY, the Adirondack Theatre Festival strives to challenge, entertain, and nourish its audience through the development and production of new and contemporary musicals and plays -- since its first season in 1995, ATF has produced 19 world premieres.

This summer productions include Kalamazoo, The Uncivil War, Spun: A Brother/Sister Rock Musical, a Backstage Series reading of The Banana Tree by Dan Castellaneta & Deb Lacusta – and more!

Here to tell us all about it is ATF’s new Producing Artistic Director – Chad Rabinovitz.

Bob Goepfert Reviews "Dinner With Friends"

Apr 18, 2015

"Dinner With Friends," playing at Curtain Call Theatre in Latham through May 9, is a richly textured play filled with insights on human nature. It also has wise observations on the complicated dynamic of relationships.

  Spring Awakening is a rock musical with music by Duncan Sheik and a book and lyrics by Steven Sater. It is based on the 1891 German play Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind. Set in late-19th century Germany, the musical tells the story of teenagers discovering the inner and outer tumult of sexuality and struggling with repression, rejection and lack of information.

Spring Awakening won Best Musical and several other Tony Awards for its original Broadway run. The Theatre Institute at Sage will present a production of the musical this weekend and next at the James L. Meader Little Theater in Troy, NY.

The production’s director, Leigh Strimbeck, joins us now along with Austin Lombardi, Junior Theater Major, who plays Moritz in the show and Kaleigh Cerqua, Senior Theater Major who is the assistant director.

  Tina Packer is one of the world's leading authorities on Shakespeare's work and the Founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA.

She'll be delivering the 19th Annual Burian Lecture on April 13th at SUNY Albany, sponsored by the Department of Theatre and co-sponsored by the NYS Writers Institute. In the lecture she'll discuss her new book, Women of Will: The Feminine in Shakespeare’s Plays

Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

  James Lecesne has been telling stories for over 25 years. His short film, Trevor, won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short in 1995 and went on to inspire the founding of The Trevor Project, the only nationwide 24-hour suicide prevention helpline for LGBT and, Questioning youth. He is also the founder of The After The Storm Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to offering support to community centers in New Orleans that are working with youth and the arts.

On Sunday, April 12th he will bring his one-man show The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey to the stage of Club Helsinki in Hudson, NY as part of their Helsinki on Broadway series presented in association with Showstoppers New York.

  Can You Hear Me Baby? Stories of Sex, Love, and OMG Birth! is being presented as a staged reading with music on March 27th and 28th at Berkshire Theatre Group's Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, MA as a benefit for the National Perinatal Association, Berkshire Festival of Women Writers and WAM Theatre.

Written by Lisa Rafel, with music by Lisa Rafel and Gary Malkin, Can You Hear Me Baby? brings together birth stories and original music to dramatize the joy, challenges, personal courage and profundity of birth.

Here to tell us more are playwright Lisa Rafel and the production’s director/producer Jayne Atkinson.


  Jim Dale started his professional career as a seventeen year old comedian playing the Music Halls of Britain. A little down the road he became a pop singing star during the early days of rock and roll and appeared in fourteen of the legendary Carry On films for the British cinema.

At the request of Laurence Olivier he joined the British National Theatre. He starred in the first Musical by Cameron Mackintosh, The Card, and played Fagin in Oliver! at the London Palladium. He first appeared on the American stage in 1973 - in 1980 he won the Tony Award for his work in Barnum.

'Souvenir' At TheRep

Mar 11, 2015

  At the turn of the last century, Florence Foster Jenkins was a New York phenomenon where she rose to fame for her annual sold-out recitals at the Ritz Carlton and Carnegie Hall. Crowds went wild when Mrs. Jenkins tackled the most difficult arias in opera, festooned in fabulous costumes.

The only trouble was: Mrs. Jenkins could not sing. Not a note. Still, Florence, a YouTube sensation far ahead of her time, could not be deterred from her dedication to music and voice lessons with her accomplished and compassionate accompanist, Cosme McMoon.

Souvenir is a play by Stephen Temperley about Florence Foster Jenkins and Cosme McMoon. It is currently running at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, NY. The production is directed by CapRep’s Producing Artistic Director, Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill.

Jonas Cohen plays afore mentioned “compassionate accompanist,” Cosme McMoon and he joins us to discuss the play.


  The classic American musical, Annie, is at Proctors in Schenectady this week in a touring production which chooses to eschew recent adaptations and modifications to spin back to the pure fun of the original Broadway production.

Opening last night, the new tour is staged by Annie’s original lyricist-director Martin Charnin. Featuring book and score by Charnin and Tony Award®-winners Thomas Meehan, and Charles Strouse. Annie includes - as if we needed to tell you - such unforgettable songs as "Easy Street," "I Don't Need Anything But You," and "Tomorrow."

And what would Annie’s story be without her ultimately-adoptive father - Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks? In this touring company, Daddy Warbucks is played by Gilgamesh Taggett.

  Does acting matter?

David Thomson, one of our most respected and insightful writers on movies and theater, answers this question in his essay, Why Acting Matters.

Thomson tackles this most elusive of subjects, examining the allure of the performing arts for both the artist and the audience member while addressing the paradoxes inherent in acting itself. He reflects on the casting process, on stage versus film acting, and on the cult of celebrity.

Metroland 2/12/15

Feb 12, 2015

  Shawn Stone, the Arts Editor of Metroland, lets us know what is coming to area stages and screens this week.