Bountiful Fall Schedule Delights Berkshire Audiences

Our Guide to the Pick of the Harvest - through November

By: - Sep 10, 2009

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Picks and Previews for
September 15 - November 15, 2009


Barrington Stage Company
Main Stage 30 Union Street, Pittsfield
Stage II 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield
Box Office 413.236.8888

AMANDA McBROOM: OCTOBER 23-24. A scintillating songstress. She gave a sensational SRO performance in July and lovers of cabaret welcome her back again. Arguably the greatest cabaret performer of her generation, singing songs whose lyrics tell stories that touch your heart, make you smile, or fill you with nostalgia.

Her name first came to the attention of the music public when Bette Midler's version of Amanda's song "The Rose" hit number one all over the world in 1979. But it was Amanda's performance of her own song on the Golden Globes (she won), the Grammys (she didn't) and The Tonight Show that launched her career as a singer as well as songwriter. Amanda McBroom in Cabaret plays at BSC's Stage 2.

THE FANTASTICKS: October 7 - 18, on the Main Stage. Who hasn't seen this, the world's longest running musical, at least once. And who wouldn't want to see it again, and again! The Fantasticks is a captivating romantic comedy about a boy, a girl, two fathers, and a wall. With music by Harvey Schmidt and a book and lyrics by Tom Jones, The Fantasticks features memorable songs that include "Soon It's Gonna Rain," "They Were You" and the beloved hit "Try to Remember." The Fantasticks will be directed by Andrew Volkoff (BSC's Underneath the Lintel, I Am My Own Wife, Fully Committed) and choreographed by Janet Watson who is choreographer of current NY production.  Cast TBA.

THE LARAMIE PROJECT: 10 YEARS LATER (AN EPILOGUE) October 12 at 3 and 7 PM. This major theatrical event will take place at over 100 theatres across America, including BSC. The Laramie Project is one of the most performed plays in America, and this staged reading of the Epilogue will be a premiere.

It focuses on the long-term effect of the gay bashing and horrific murder of Matthew Shepard on the town of Laramie. He was left to slowly die on a fence in a farm field. It explores how the town has changed and how the murder continues to reverberate in the community. BSC Producing Director Richard M. Parison, Jr. will direct.  The creators of the original play are Moisés Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris and Stephen Belber of the Tectonic Theater Project.

FREUD'S LAST SESSION: Run extended to October 4 at BSC Stage 2. Theatre as brain food. This popular play received its world premiere earlier this summer and just keeps getting extended again and again.  The audience loves it! Our Review  Written by Mark St. Germain, the play stars Mark H. Dold and Martin Rayner as C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud in a meeting between the two on the day Britain enters WWII. Freud, a staunch atheist, quizzes Lewis, a former atheist who converted to Christianity, about his views on God, life and other important things. This is theatre that is both entertaining and intellectually nourishing.

Berkshire Theatre Festival
Main Stage Main Street (Route 102), Stockbridge
Unicorn Theatre Route 7, Stockbridge
Box Office 413.298.5576

RED REMEMBERS:  Now to November 1 on the Unicorn Stage. This long awaited world premiere of Red Remembers, a one-man show starring Tony nominee David Garrison is based on the career of Red Barber, former announcer for the Brooklyn Dodgers and later the New York Yankees. Well into retirement, Red Barber, invites the audience into an intimate, beautifully nostalgic story about his life, the history of baseball, and the core values of humanity in an ever changing world. The honor, loyalty, and perseverance of America and its favorite pastime are not lost upon Red, and he ensures they shall not be lost to us.

David Garrison has previously been at BTF in 13 Rue De L'Amour. David has performed on Broadway in A Day in Hollywood/A Night in Ukraine, Wicked, and The Pirates of Penzance. Red Remembers was written by Andrew Guerdat. The show is directed by Tony winner BTF regular John Rando (Urinetown on Broadway) and with Wes Grantom as assistant director.

PETER PAN: The Musical - Now to September 13 on the Main Stage. Head towards the "second star to the right" and re-discover this wonderful tale of the boy who wouldn't grow up. BTF is proud to once again stage a production cast completely from the Berkshire County community. Join the Darling children, the Lost Boys, and evil Captain Hook for an evening of music, merriment, and wonder. Based on the play by James M. Barrie, with Lyrics by Carolyn Leigh (and others) , Music by Mark Charlap and directed  by E. Gray Simons III and Travis Daly.

Cohoes Music Hall
58 Remson Street
Cohoes, NY 12047

SWEENEY TODD: October 15-25. Just in time for Halloween, Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's chilling, suspenseful, heart-pounding musical masterpiece of murderous barber-ism and culinary crime tells the infamous tale of the unjustly exiled barber who returns to 19th century London seeking revenge against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife. His thirst for blood soon expands to include his unfortunate customers, and the resourceful proprietress of the pie shop downstairs soon has the people of London lining up in droves with her mysterious new meat pie recipe! Sophisticated, macabre, visceral and uncompromising, Sweeney Todd (the always terrific Jim Charles) nevertheless has a great sense of fun, mixing intense drama with funny moments of dark humor!

DREAMGIRLS: To September 27.  Set in the fabulous sixties - a time when we were still screaming at Elvis and listening to the Beatles, but were dancing to the new beat of countless girl and boy groups like The Supremes, The Marvelettes, The Temptations and The Shirelles. Dreamgirls is not just about the singing and the dancing and the performing. The play is also about the behind-the-scenes reality of the entertainment industry-the business part of show business that made possible this cultural phenomenon. The play deals with a musical contribution to America of such importance that only now-two decades later-are we beginning to understand.

Goodspeed Musicals
6 Main Street
East Haddam, CT
Box Office: 860.873.8668

The trip to East Haddam, CT is always worthwhile since the Goodspeed is the home of the American musical, and not that far from the  Southern Berkshires. They use a real live pit band, too.

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM: Through November 29.  A thoroughly disarming slave named Pseudolus schemes to gain his freedom by helping his master's son get the girl he desires.  It's an accelerating whirl of mixed identities, swinging doors, double takes, double entendres, outrageous puns and gags that will keep you laughing all the way home.  Winner of tons of Tony Awards including Best Musical. Forum features Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and Book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart. Returning to Goodspeed Musicals as Pseudolus will be Adam Heller who previously performed in Goodspeed's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Directed by Ted Pappas.

CAMELOT: Closing September 19. This new production of Camelot, with the music of Lerner and Loewe is to die for.  Review Here Directed by Rob Ruggiero, once a Berkshires regular at Barrington Stage, this show gets the full scale production with live  orchestra and lavish sets that makes Goodspeed productions so special. Tickets are tough to secure on the weekends, so plan ahead.

Shakespeare & Company
Founders Theatre, Rose Footprint, Bernstein Theatre
70 Kemble Street, Lenox
Box Office 413.637.3353

21st FALL FESTIVAL OF SHAKESPEARE:     November 19-22 in the Founders Theatre. Following a nine-week residency program at high schools throughout western Massachusetts and parts of neighboring New York State a full-scale production is performed on the Mainstage for the public. Details TBA. This is part of Shakespeare & Company's ongoing educational efforts in which directors at each school lead nearly 500 students through a language-based exploration of a Shakespeare play, culminating in four days of performances.

THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES: Now Until November 8. Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre. If you are looking for a hoot and a howl, look no further. This Hound is a Monty Python-like spoof in the best tradition of British beer hall comedy. Stitched together by silliness and pratfalls, this madcap outing gets its American Premiere under the hand of S&Co's Artistic Director Tony Simotes. Written by Steven Canny and John Nicholson.

There are reports of rumblings coming from the grave of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Perhaps it is because word reached him that this version of his classic features "three actors playing 16 characters, a few fake beards, plenty of cross-dressing and a host of bad British accents."


Williamstown Film Festival
Box 81
williamstown, MA 01267
Ticket Line (413) 458-9900

The Eleventh Annual Season of the WFF takes place from October 23 to November 1. Other than the opening night festivities, centered around the film Against the Current showing on October 24 at the Hunter Center at Mass MoCA, the schedule is impressive and we have a in-depth preview here. We do look forward to the appearance of ETHEL, a cutting edge post-classical string quartet which will be featured with the Mexican film La Nave De Los Monstruos (The Monsters' Ship, 1959) on October 30, also as Mass MoCA.

Images Cinema
50 Spring Street, Williamstown
Movie Line: 413.458.5612

Check their website for the latest information.

Little Cinema at the Berkshire Museum
39 South Street
Pittsfield, MA

Check their website for the latest information.

Berkshire Performing Arts Centers

Colonial Theatre
111 South Street, Pittsfield
Box Office 413.997.4444

BALLETS METROPOLIS PRESENTS DRACULA: October 30-31.  After the success of its 2008 debut, Darrell Pucciarello's Dracula returns to the Colonial in this family-friendly production by Ballets Metropolis.

THE FOUR BITCHIN' BABES IN DIVA NATION:  November 7. Where Music, Laughter, and Girlfriends Reign
with Sally Fingerett, Debi Smith, Nancy Moran & Deirdre Flint. Come celebrate your inner majesty with these whimsical, hip and sophisticated musicians. They let loose on how the new millennium has, in some cases literally, changed the face of The Diva! You can find her everywhere; in your office, your mall, your grocery store, she's cleaning up messes, and putting out fires, possibly from her own hot flashes. Quick, look in your mirror, there she is!

SEUSSICAL: November 8. "Oh, the thinks you can think" when Dr. Seuss' best-loved characters and stories hit the stage in this unforgettable musical adventure. The noble Horton the Elephant, the one-feathered bird Gertrude McFuzz and the antics of the Cat in the Hat steal the spotlight in one of Theatreworks' largest-scale productions to date! Recommended for ages 5 and up

THE LED ZEPPELIN EXPERIENCE. November 13. 100,000 watts of noise, special effects, and not any decent music all night. Bring earplugs if you haven't already ruined your hearing from these noisy tribute events.

THE SECOND CITY: November 14. Funny and spontaneous, Second Second City is the most famous brand in live sketch comedy and has been the springboard for generations of the comedy world's best and brightest. See the great comics of tomorrow, today.

BERKSHIRE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: November 15. Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Rendering by Luciano Berio based on sketches by Franz Schubert for a 10th symphony, Brahms' Double Concerto for violin and cello. Haldan Martinson, violin, Mihail Jojatu, cello (members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra).

DAVID SEDARIS: September 30. With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris is one of America's pre-eminent humor writers. The great skill with which he slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness proves that Sedaris is a master of satire and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today. You may know Sedaris as the NPR Humorist and Best-selling Author of "Me Talk Pretty One Day" and "When You Are Engulfed in Flames."

AN EVENING WITH RUDY RUETIGGER: October 3. A benefit for the Catholic Schools of Pittsfield with the motivational speaker who is part comedian, part legend.

RICHIE HAVENS: October 10 with special guest Meg Hutchinson. Still the poignant, soulful spirit of Woodstock 1969 whose song Freedom became the anthem of a generation.

I'M A BOOMER BABY! October 16. Dan Riley delivers a one-man, fun-filled, musical tribute celebrates the songs, the spirit and the times of the Baby Boomer generation. Dan Riley covers songs by Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Elvis Presley, Richie Valens, Rod Stewart, The Who, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles.

DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET: October 17. Designated a "living legend" by the Library of Congress, Dave Brubeck continues to be one of the most active and popular musicians in both the jazz and classical worlds. The Pittsfield CityJazz Youth Ensemble, a big band comprising high school students, will perform and later join the Brubeck Quartet onstage.

BERKSHIRE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: October 18. Under the direction of Ronald Feldman, and accompanied by the Williams Concert Choir, Brad Wells, Director. The theme of the program is Music from the Movies and the Gallery, including Close Encounters,Altered States, Edward Scissorhands, Oscar and Lucinda,Empire of the Sun and Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.

Mahaiwe Peforming Arts Center
14 Castle Street, Great Barrington
Box Office 413.528.0100

THE MET OPERA - AIDA IN HD. October 24. Sold Out.

DOO-WOPP AMERICAN OLDIES: October 25.  0ne-night only concert at The Mahaiwe Theatre, featuring some great Hall of Fame recording artists of the '50's and '60's, altogether in one fabulous show. Includes Doug McClure and Sid Hall, former members of The Flamingos; "I Only Have Eyes For You".

JOHN IRVING TIMES TALKS - LIVE IN HD: October 28.  TimesTalks LIVE - one-of-a-kind, intimate discussions with some of today's most fascinating film, TV and literary talents, interviewed by prize-winning New York Times journalists. Novelist John Irving is the first offering.

RICKIE LEE JONES: OCTOBER 30.  Rickie Lee Jones has a  career that spans decades and includes an eclectic range of genres: folk, rock, jazz, soul, spoken word, and pop. Always fearless, Jones has consistently pushed her seemingly limitless creative abilities, as well as the music industry's envelope. Her voice has a unique and boyish tonality, offering no vibrato, and replete with a 40s-style jazz sensibility, has distinguished her from every other major singer in the modern era.

THE MET IN HD - TURANDOT: Novermber 7. Sold Out.


WARM UP FOR WINTER II: November 11. Returning performers will include Quintessential (Al Thorp, Jay Wise, Jim McMenamy, John Miner and David Anderegg), Joshua Zecher-Ross, and Deborah Zecher, with Joe Rose accompanying. Additional acts TBA.

SHANGRI LA CHINESE ACROBATS: November 13. The Shangri-La Chinese Acrobats perform their trademark acrobatics, balancing feats, marital arts displays in a show for all ages. Their art has been formed by centuries of tradition.

JANE MONHEIT: November 15. Since being first runner-up in the 1998 Thelonious Monk Institute Vocal Competition at the tender age of 20, sultry jazz vocalist Jane Monheit has taken the jazz world by storm.

BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY: September 11 at 8 PM. This is a personal recommendation and extra notice to get your tickets for America's Favorite Little Big band! This contemporary swing band from southern California specializes in tunes from the 1940's and 1950's and has sold more than three million albums.  The seven-man group forged a massively successful fusion of classic American sounds from jazz, swing, Dixieland and big-band music, building their own songbook of original dance tunes, and, sixteen years later, BBVD is a veteran force that to this day adds new fans by the roomful every time they play.

BERKSHIRE PLAYWRIGHTS LAB: Wednesday, September 16. Joe Cacaci will direct a staged reading workshop production of The Orion by Tom Minter. In The Orion, one of a triptych of plays, a widowed mother wishes her son would live in the past; the son strives to make his mark as an actor in the opportunities of the present; and a corporate young woman pins her future to an ambitious TV series and a reach over her boss. Completed in 2004, each "panel" [The Orion, Breathing Ash, and America Rex] weaves an unflinching investigation of American culture, through issues of race, politics, media and religion, and is presented in a compelling lens of narrative mediums.

A founding director of BPL, Joe Cacaci just completed principal photography in New Orleans for a National Lampoon feature film, Snatched, starring Andrew McCarthy, Jonathan Silverman, Jay Thomas and Ernest Borgnine.

JAMES KUNSTLER SPEAKS: September 20. "Living in the Long Emergency." An outspoken critic of suburban and urban development trends. Kunstler argues that endless highways and nondescript strip malls are in part responsible for the deterioration of civic life and the growth of American social and economic problems.  Presented by WBCR-LP.


LIVE IN HD: Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well. October 1. irected by Marianne Elliott, with Oliver Ford Davies, Clare Higgins, Conleth Hill, George Rainsford and Michelle Terry "Live in HD", presented by London's National Theatre.

FODFEST: October 3. FODfest honors the life of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was murdered by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002 at the age of 38. FODfest is a featured event of Daniel Pearl World Music Days organized by the Daniel Pearl Foundation, and to date has toured to 20 cities with more than 350 participating musicians from across the country and the globe.

BRUCE HORNSBY AND THE NOISEMAKERS: October 6.  No information on what is on the program of this thirteen time Grammy nominee, but fans will have a good time.

ADAMS RIB (1949):  October 9. The classic George  Cukor comedy is screened on its 60th Anniversary. Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn star along with Judy Holliday and Tom Ewell.

THE MET OPERA - TOSCA IN HD. October 10. Sold out.

PILOBOLUS: October 11. The celebrated company returns to the Berkshires for another innovative evening of dance. Pilobolus began in 1971 as an outsider dance company, and quickly became renowned the world over for its imaginative and athletic exploration of creative collaboration. Nearly 40 years later, it has evolved into a pioneering American cultural institution of the 21st century.

CHOPIN IN PARIS: October 17. Another Close Encounter With Music.  A celebration of the 250th anniversary of Chopin's birth, with Ballades, Mazurkas and Polonaises - framed by chamber works of his favorite opera composers, including Bellini and Donizetti as well as his friendly rival Franz Liszt. Acclaimed in every major concert hall throughout the world, and with a special affinity for Chopin and the Romantics, pianist Walter Ponce has been hailed by the Chicago Tribune as "magical."

Mass MoCA
1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams
Information: 413.662.2111

AGAINST THE CURRENT: October 24 in the Hunter Center. Since its reading at the Williamstown Film Festival five years ago, Peter Callahan's screenplay has been made into a feature film. Seeking emotional closure, a young man decides to swim the length of the Hudson River accompanied by Two friends in a boat. Callahan's direction and superb cast – Joseph Fiennes, Justin Kirk, Elizabeth Reaser, Mary Tyler Moore, and Michelle Trachtenberg – create a funny/sad, beautifully nuanced saga of human folly and the tests of friendship

ETHEL CREATES A FILM SCORE: October 30 in the Hunter Center. ETHEL, the nation's premier rock-infused, postclassical string quartet, tackles the vintage Mexican science fiction classic La Nave De Los Monstruos (The Monsters' Ship, 1959). In the film, the last male on Venus has died and the planet's regent sends Gamma and Beta -- two hot Venusian babes who could teach Captain Kirk a thing or two about amorous interplanetary exploration -- on a quest to find men on other worlds. They land, of course, on planet Mexico. ETHEL digs into this fertile ground to create a new original score, which will be performed live to the film. Presented with the Williamstown Film Festival.

AIN'T THAT GOOD NEWS: November 7 in Club B-10. Abigail Nessen Bengson & Shaun McClain Bengson Ain't That Good News is a raucous vaudevillian cabaret, full of roaring music and impassioned characters. The Bengson duo evoke the quintessentially American stories of the immigrant and the outcast and play at the heart of the political struggles of our age through a melding of the musical forms of Tin Pan Alley, the Old South, German Weimar and rock and roll. The show is constantly evolving.

MEDESKI, MARTIN & WOOD: November 12 n the Hunter Center. The legendary jazz/funk trio returns to North Adams with a full head of steam, having just released Radiolarians III, the third installment of its 2009 3-album, 3-tour project Viva La Evolution. Standing Room Only.

HOTTENTOT VENUS: September 25 in the Huter Center Theatre. South African composer Philip Miller returns to MASS MoCA for a residency to work on his latest musical-drama, a contemporary 'video diary' of Sara Baartman's journey told through song, set, and video projection. Sara Baartman, the "Hottentot Venus", was a slave girl and accomplished singer, dancer, and musician who despite her talents, was paraded around Britain in 1810 as an anthropological exhibit. This is a work in progress.

LEAH SIEGEL: October 3 in Club B-10. Leah Siegel has made a splash on the NYC scene this past year, winning over both the singer-songwriter and indie rock scenes with her serious songwriting chops, sharp lyrics.

EMIO GRECO/PC:     October 10 in the Hunter Center.  {purgatorio] POPOPERA explores the intersection of refined virtuosity in one art form with raw talent in another. Donning shiny black electric guitars connected to 50' long cords, the dancer's expression usually manifested in legs and torsos is transferred to fingers plucking strings and voices reaching for a note. Music composed by Bang on a Can co-founder Michael Gordon.

DR.DOG WITH WINTERPILLS: October 17 in the Hunter Center. Dr. Dog filters the gamut of American popular music into its own idiosyncratic brand of blue-eyed, dilated-pupil soul. The band makes magic from an enduring pop palette of intricate harmonies, shape-shifting melodies, and ramshackle audio ingenuity—all presented through a slightly skewed and utterly individualistic outlook.

Classical Music

BERKSHIRE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: October 18 and November 15. (See Colonial Theatre Listings)

South Mountain Music
PO Box 23 (Routes 7 and 20)
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Phone 413.442.2106



PACIFICA STRING QUARTET and Menahem Pressler, Piano. October 11.

Special Event

North Adams Open Studios
October 17 and 18
Various Locations throughout the city.

This major collaborative event  takes place downtown in the storefronts, and at the Eclipse, Beaver and Windsor Mills. More than a hundred artists collaborate to show their work, both finished and in progress. Hours are from 10 am to 6 pm both days. You can sign up for informative emails at their website.