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WELCOME TO ONE MAN'S VIEWS ON THE BERKSHIRE REGIONAL THEATRE SCENE

BERKSHIRE BRIGHT FOCUS.com 

Reviewing theatre in Berkshire County, Massachusetts

and theaters within driving distance in New York State  (including New York City ),

Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts

YEAR ROUND

Our seasons begin Oct 1 and end September 30

For reviews for 2018-2019 see blue pages below;

For older reviews go to Archives


Theatre News in the Time of Pandemic

As our regional theaters have all shut down their operations (while some are still actively planning for the summer months) I wanted to alert you, keep you posted on plans, and encourage you to think about the year ahead. So, I will be posting news as I get it from theaters around the Berkshire region which includes eastern NYS, northern Connecticut, southern Vermont and Massachusetts as far east as Springfield. Anything I have seen - or might see - will still be posted in the regional columns below

Hartford Stage Announces Their 2020/21 Season

+ More News

Artistic Director of Hartford Stagem Melia Bensussen announces:

                                 As You Like It

By William Shakespeare • Directed by Melia Bensussen


Love and other contradictions. Shakespeare’s most beloved romantic comedy features his most delightful heroine, Rosalind, who is banished from the court of Duke Frederick and escapes to the enchanted Forest of Arden, a fantastical place where all are welcomed and embraced. Lost amidst the trees, she finds community and acceptance in this exuberant gender-bending theatrical journey.

SIMONA'S SEARCH

By Martín Zimmerman • Directed by Melia Bensussen


The past is always present. Simona’s father is an enigma. Curious about his life in Latin America before moving to the US, she obsesses over his secrets and her thoughts and dreams become haunted by the mystery that is his past. A moving and poetic look at the bond of fathers and daughters, love and sacrifice. From Martín Zimmerman, a writer and producer of Netflix’s Ozark, and the showrunner and creator of the streaming service's crime thriller, Puerta 7.

ANGRY, RAUCOUS AND SHAMELESSLY GORGEOUS

By Pearl Cleage • Directed by Susan Booth

In association with Denver Center Theatre Company and Arena Stage

Rage before beauty. Anne and Betty are best friends who return to the United States to participate in an arts festival after twenty-five years of living abroad in creative exile. However, they find that the country is quite different than it was in the ’70s. Drawing on a life of art and activism, playwright Pearl Cleage explores the current political landscape and the generational differences among African-American women with her signature wry humor.

MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN

Written and Directed By David Catlin


The monsters within. An eerie evening of ghost stories get spun as Mary Shelley herself breathes new life into her tale of the infamous Victor Frankenstein and his unholy experiment. Along the way, Shelley’s own personal torments emerge to add to this gothic tale of love and horror in this terrifying retelling of Frankenstein.
        
      +  2 MORE TITLES TO BE ANNOUNCED along with dates!

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From Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill, NY:


As many of you are aware, we needed to cancel all the events we had scheduled during the month of March, though several of those have already been re-scheduled for later in the year. 

Sadly, this means we’ve had to cancel what would have been the opening production in our 2020 “American Roots” Season, Audrey Cefaly’s MAYTAG VIRGIN. Unfortunately we weren’t able to find an open space on our production calendar this year when our dream cast (Joel Bryant and Kay Capasso, whom we were flying out from Los Angeles) and dream director (Patrick White), would all be free simultaneously. We’re now hoping to open our 2021 Season with that production.
 
We’re keeping our fingers crossed that our second show, Samuel D. Hunter’s LEWISTON, currently slated to open on May 28th, will be able to go on as scheduled, but if not we should be able to find space for it later in the season. 

In the interim, rest assured that we’re brainstorming all kinds of ways we can stay connected with you in our respective isolations.  As a kick-off, here’s a copy of the archival video of our 2015 production of THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH for you to enjoy at your leisure.  
HERE


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From Kate Maguire at Berkshire Theatre Group:


I want to offer you an update. Our staff is working from home. We are putting plans in place to open our doors on August 1st, with the iconic musical Godspell on the Fitzpatrick Main Stage in our beloved Playhouse. The Unicorn theatre will open on August 8th with the musical comedy They're Playing Our Song by Neil Simon, Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager. Next up at the Unicorn is a beautiful story of one family’s perseverance through uncertain times, And a Nightingale Sang, in its original fall slot, opening on September 24.


Over Labor Day weekend, Letters to the President originally scheduled for July, will run for two very special performances at The Colonial Theatre.


Also at The Colonial Theatre, Disney's The Little Mermaid Jr. will swim into late October, and Peter Pan will fly from summer to the holiday season, in December. Peter Pan first premiered in 1929. At that time, J.M. Barrie dedicated all future proceeds to a children's hospital in London, as the times demanded caretaking. We are in such times as well. Our production of Peter Pan will be dedicated to all the brave healthcare workers in our community. To each, we will offer a complimentary ticket to our Peter Pan. Details to follow.


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Announcements and Items of Interest


This is from Julianne Boyd, Artistic and Founding Director of Barrington Stage Company:


We wish we could continue with our season uninterrupted; however, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the first production of our season, The Great Leap. We will now begin the season on June 18 with the Pulitzer Prize-winning Anna in the Tropics, by Nilo Cruz. This was not an easy decision, as it affects the many people who contribute to making our shows possible: our subscribers, our ticket holders, our donors, our artists, our actors and our craftspersons.


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From Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, Artistic Director of theRep in Albany, NY (which had to cancel both its hit production of "The Irish..." and its final production due to open the company's new theatre in May):


Thrilled by the response to my FaceBook questions about costumers making masks. We have arranged to deliver our industrial machines to our stitchers homes...We are connected to the hospital network accepting masks. Our costume staff (one at a time) have gone into our stock to pull the cotton that is most recommended. We have more muslin coming in next week for the cause. I am so proud of Amber and Andrea for their commitment and creativity! This is strictly a volunteer, work from home deal and I love these women for turning their skills to this task. Thank you, all -- Creativity is what will get us through! I send love to all my FB friends -- stay safe and keep those messages coming - I love the good news in the midst of the rest. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo


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From Jim Frangione, Founder and Artistic Director of Great Barrington Public Theatre:


Addressing the next few months—we are still planning to present our season, exploring ways to creatively bring us all together for our Solo Festival, Bear Tales, and the East Coast premiere of David Mamet’s brilliant new play, The Christopher Boy's Communion, at our summer home at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. The important thing is that we are planning and exploring new ways to bring you and our artists together. We are writing. We are creating, and we are preparing for the future and for the growth of our theater.


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More from Melia Bensusson at Hartford Stage  -  03/28/2020


We lost a great colleague to Covid-19 this week in the amazing actor Mark Blum, who met his wife actor Janet Zarish (who was in Emily Mann's production of A Doll's House at Hartford Stage in 1986) while both were working with me 20 years ago. 


A shout out to our Technical Director, Aaron Bleck, who gathered gloves, glasses, N95 masks, and other safety equipment from our shops and the shops at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford to share with our local medical professionals. 


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At this time Dorset Theatre Festival is postponing tickets sales for the 43rd Season until further notice.

We hope this delay will result in less confusion and inconvenience for our patrons in the event our plans must change. 


In the meantime, many of our ongoing programs continue in the world of social distancing. The Dorset Theatre Festival Women Artists Writing Group has moved their meetings to an online platform, and The Jean E. Miller Young Playwrights Program is being offered online for the first time ever in its eight-year history, still at no charge to the local schools who participate. Artist development programs, including our new Commissioning and Fellowship program, will also forge ahead. 


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From Mandy Greenfield at Williamstown Theatre Festival:



FREE ONLINE THEATRE WORKSHOPTuesday, April 14 / 5:00 - 5:45pm EST


via Facebook Live Follow Williamstown Theatre Festival on Facebook for updates! Join us on FACEBOOK LIVE for a workshop exploring how an actor approaches their script. Through simple and fun exercises, you'll speak powerful, theatrical language with confidence. No prior experience is necessary and all ages are welcome. Full household participation is encouraged! 


WTF will post instructions about how to tune in; a recording of the workshop will also be available. We will offer an audio-only version of the workshop by phone at 5:00pm EST the following day; email Hayley at community@wtfestival.org if you would like to join our phone workshop.


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From Pam Tatge, Artistic Director, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival

 

Dear Pillow Community,

 

I want to start off by hoping that you, your family, and your friends are healthy and safe, and then by thanking you for your enduring dedication to our beloved Jacob’s Pillow.

 

By now, I’m sure you have received many cancellation announcements from the arts organizations you treasure, as we respond to the global spread of the coronavirus.

 

Even so, it is still very hard to tell you that, for the first time in our 88-year history, our Board and Executive Leadership have made the difficult decision to cancel the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival for this summer.

 

We remain unwavering in the commitment to our mission. And, in the coming months, we will do all we can to take care of our staff, community, artists, and audiences. When the time is right, we'll look to create strategies that support our mutual recoveries and well-being.

 

Currently, we look forward to exploring different ways we can bring to you what is quintessential about the Pillow experience digitally, and we hope you will join us. For more details about these plans, I hope you'll watch this video.


https://ecp.yusercontent.com/mail? rl=https%3A%2F%2Ffiles.constantcontact.com%2F7b862c48001%2Ff928a19a-b81d-4687-b7de-cafdda64c08.jpg&t=1585752815&ymreqid=f8406dc9-eb67-c6af-2f0d-d5006b010c00&sig=hXnohcywykSIy9tOdD3aWg--~C

  

At times like these, we can find comfort in the courage and moral imagination of our ancestors and predecessors. In the midst of World War II, with its many shortages and hardships, Pillow founder Ted Shawn wrote, “Jacob's Pillow has great and necessary work to do...and we must carry on no matter what the difficulties.”

 

We continue with that conviction today more than ever. Thank you always.

  

                                         

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT WHAT'S AVAILABLE?

Click on the links in each region (the most recent at the top) below;

then make up your own mind about what to see.

BERKSHIRE COUNTY/REGION THEATRES


including:

Barrington State Company, Berkshire Opera Festival, Berkshire Playwrights Lab, Berkshire Theatre Group, Chester Theatre, Cranwell, Emergent Ensemble, GhostLit Theatre, Northampton Academy of Music, Pauline Productions, Shakespeare and Company, St. James Place, The Stables at Edith Wharton's The Mount, Studio One, The Town Players, WAM Theatre, Whitney Center for the Arts-Pittsfield, Williamstown Theatre Festival



Oct 1 2019 - Sept 30, 2020


10x10 New Play Festival - 2020

NOW  

Pipeline  

AMERICAN UNDERGROUND


























VERMONT AND CONNECTICUT THEATRES


Including:

Bennington Community Theatre, Dorset Theatre Festival, Goodspeed Musicals, Hartford Stage, Living Room Theatre, Northern Stage, Oldcastle Theatre,  Sharon Playhouse, Weston Playhouse



Oct 1, 2019 - Sept 30, 2020


You Have the Right to Remain Dead

Jane Eyre

Water, Water, Everywhere
Billy Elliot  









NEW YORK STATE

THEATRES


including:

The Actors' Ensemble, Albany Civic Theatre, Ancram Opera House, Bridge Street Theatre, Broadway and Off- Broadway, Capital Rep, Copake Theatre Company, Hubbard Hall,  MacHaydn Theatre, Proctors Schenectady, PS21, Sand Lake Center for the Arts, Schenectady Civic Players, Theater Barn, Theater at the Grange, Walking the Dog



Oct 1, 2019 - Sept 30. 2020


The Irish...And How They Got That Way

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Tina, The Tina Turner Musical

Harry Townsend's Last Stand

Fiddler on the Roof

The New Colossus

The Chalk Garden

Stupid F*%cking Bird  
Your Best One  
Once On This Island  
The Band's Visit  
The Snow Queen  
Live from WVL Radio Theatre: It's a Wonderful Life 

The Half-Life of Marie Curie

BEETLEJUICE

The Inheritance 
Pinocchio: All Strung Out  
Spamilton, An American Parody  
The Subject Was Roses  
The Cemetery Club  
Sweeney Todd 

  Lobby Hero