Before the 2010 season was barely played out, Julianne Boyd, the artistic director of Barrington Stage was already hard at work lining up her offerings for next year. With the loss of producing director Richard Parison, she and managing director Tristan Wilson had some clear ideas for 2011. First, one shoe dropped with the announcement of the return of The Game, then another when Guys and Dolls was announced. Clearly this was going to be a year for two musicals for the company, not a small feat.
Today, from Pittsfield, came the early announcement of much of the rest of the 2011 season. The plans for the Main Stage, Stage II and the Youth Theatre were announced. While the Musical Theatre Lab is not yet pinned down, the shape of the new season has emerged, and it is very exciting – and diverse – indeed.
Guys and Dolls – A Musical Fable of Broadway.
While we knew the Mainstage production season opener would be Guys and Dolls what came as great news is its production team. It will be directed by Berkshrie’s popular Tony Award-winner John Rando (Urinetown, The Wedding Singer, and The Dinner Party), choreographed by Joshua Bergasse with music direction by Darren R. Cohen. Bergasse’s previous BSC credits are Carousel, And The World Goes ‘Round, and West Side Story. Among Cohen’s many musical direction credits at BSC include Sweeney Todd, West Side Story, Follies, and Mack and Mabel.
The production dates for Guys and Dolls are now June 21 through July 16 with the official press opening slated for Friday, June 24 at 8:00pm.
Guys and Dolls, the Tony Award-winning musical by Frank Loesser, Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling, based on characters and stories created by Damon Runyon, features one of the greatest musical scores in the history of the American theatre – “Luck Be a Lady,” “A Bushel and a Peck,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” Guys and Dolls tells the tale of Nathan Detroit, the organizer of the oldest established permanent floating crap game in New York, who bets fellow gambler Sky Masterson that he can’t make the next girl he sees fall in love with him.
“The Game” is Seduction. Betrayal. Revenge
The Game, based on the 18th century scandalous novel “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” returns to Barrington Stage where it received its world premiere in 2003 to critical raves and audience acclaim. Directed by Julianne Boyd, The Game features a musical score by Megan Cavallari, and book and lyrics by Amy Powers and David Topchik. The Game will bring back key members of the team from Guys and Dolls with choreography by Joshua Bergasse and music direction by Darren R. Cohen.
The musical is inspired by the Cholderos de Laclos novel of aristocratic sexual games in 18th-century France.
Performances of The Game are from August 11 through August 28, with a press opening on Wednesday, August 17 at 7pm.
Mark St. Germain takes on the KKK and desegregation
Celebrated playwright and author of BSC’s longest-running hit play, Freud’s Last Session, Mark St. Germain’s new play The Best of Enemies will premiere on the Mainstage from July 21 through August 6. The press opening is Wednesday, July 27 at 7:00pm. Directed by Julianne Boyd, The Best of Enemies received an impressive staged reading at BSC last summer.
Inspired by the best-selling book by Osha Gray Davidson, The Best of Enemies is a true story about the relationship between C.P. Ellis (a Grand Cyclops of the KKK) and Ann Atwater (a civil rights black activist) during the desegregation of the Durham, NC schools in 1971. It exposes the poison of prejudice in the hearts of Atwater and Ellis, who by facing each other are forced to face the worst, and best, in themselves. Author and historian Studs Terkel called their dramatic journey “one of the most moving love stories I’ve ever come across. More than that, in a time of bleakness, it sounds a note of hope.”
Part of Lift Ev’ry Voice celebration in June, 2011
Barrington Stage Company’s production of The Best of Enemies will be a part of Berkshire County’s Summer 2011 first-annual Lift Ev’ry Voice: Celebrating African-American Culture & Heritage, a Festival that will unite programming from a wide variety of Berkshire cultural organizations to celebrate, honor and showcase the extraordinary contributions African-Americans have made and continue to make to our nation’s culture, from literature to dance, music to theatre, visual art to filmmaking, as well as the community’s rich history here in the Berkshires.
The Great Zero Mostel comes to life again.
The recent award-winning Off-Broadway hit play, The Zero Hour, Jim Brochu’s solo homage to stage legend Zero Mostel, kicks off the Stage 2 season from May 18 through June 5. The press opening is May 20 at 7:30pm.
Set in theatre legend Zero Mostel’s painting studio on West 28th Street, a naïve reporter attempts to interview the famously volatile artist, prompting an explosion of memory, humor, outrage, and juicy backstage lore. Mostel is remembered for his comedic genius and his definitive roles, but in the 1950s he was equally known for his place on the infamous Hollywood blacklist.
Actor-writer Brochu previously stated, “Zero had a great influence on my life and I was fortunate to get to know him when I was first starting out. His life was filled with great laughter, great drama and great life lessons for all of us. He considered himself primarily an artist who took acting jobs to support his painting. I can think of no other person in show business who had more obstacles to overcome than Zero Mostel. He grew up poor. He survived the blacklist. A bus accident almost took his leg off. But he fought and survived, and then went on to win three Tony Awards.”
Brochu won the 2010 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance for The Zero Hour. With composer Steve Schalchlin, Brochu penned the award-winning musicals The Last Session and The Big Voice: God or Merman? In addition to his theatrical work, Brochu’s acting credits also include appearances on “All My Children,” “Mary Hartman,” “Cheers,” “Wings” and “Bram and Alice.”
The larger-than-life Mostel earned Tony Awards for his performances in Fiddler on the Roof, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Rhinoceros. His film credits include The Front, Mastermind, Journey Into Fear, Fore Play, Rhinoceros, Marco, Once Upon a Scoundrel, The Hot Rock, The Great Bank Robbery, The Producers, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and DuBarry Was a Lady.
“Going to St. Ives” – Two women…Two cultures…A potent brew.
Questions of life and death are settled over pots of tea in Lee Blessing’s Going to St. Ives, directed by Tyler Marchant (BSC’s A Picasso and Freud’s Last Session). Performances of Going to St. Ives are June 16 through July 3, with a press opening on June 19 at 7:30pm.
The lives of two extraordinary women intersect: May N’Kame, a member of the African elite who is the mother of a murderous dictator and Cora Gage, a world-renowned eye surgeon who lost her son tragically years before. In this thriller-like political and psychological drama, the two women start sharing a terrible secret, at the core of which is their gnawing feeling of guilt over the fate of their respective sons. The power and passion of two strong women in an all-too-possible modern day situation is examined, as we see both women’s political and personal agendas that go way beyond treating a patient … or being one.
BSC has previously presented Blessing’s Black Sheep, Thief River and Eleemosynary.
Lee Blessing, head of the Playwrighting Program at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, has become a major voice in the modern American theater. His plays have been nominated for Tony and Olivier awards and a Pulitzer Prize. Recent plays in New York, Thief River, Cobb and Chesapeake, received Drama Desk nominations and an award, plus nominations from the Outer Critics Circle. He’s had two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as from the Guggenheim, Bush, McKnight and Jerome Foundations. His plays include A Walk in the Woods, Eleemosynary, Two Rooms, Down The Road and Going to St. Ives among many others, and have been performed throughout the world. His work has been stage-read in eight different summers at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference in Waterford, Ct.
BSC’s Musical Theatre Lab 6th season will be announced by February 2011.
BSC YOUTH THEATRE
Romance, comedy and rock ‘n’ roll.
All Shook Up, the Broadway musical that married a fresh story to songs made famous by Elvis Presley, marks the 12th BSC Youth Theatre production. Christine O’Grady returns for the fifth year to direct and choreograph, from July 20 through August 7 in Pittsfield and August 10-14 in Great Barrington (locations TBA). All Shook Up has an original book by Tony winner Joe DiPietro (Memphis and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change). Among the famous Presley tunes heard in the show are “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Burning Love,” “Love Me Tender,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “A Little Less Conversation,” “Hound Dog,” “Don’t Be Cruel” and “All Shook Up.” Auditions will be held in March 2011.
Affordable Theatre For All Continues In 2011.
BSC will once again offer the popular Pay What You Can Performances for each Mainstage and Stage 2 show during the summer season. Low-priced previews continue at $15 and $20 for the first two performances on the Mainstage and $15 on Stage 2. $15 tickets for youth 21 years and younger will be offered again for all performances except Saturday evenings. Single tickets will go on sale March 1, 2011. FlexPass subscriptions for the Mainstage and Stage 2 season are now available with no handling fees through December 31, 2010. Groups of 15 or more should contact Group Sales at 413 236-8888. For information on shows, FlexPasses and tickets call 413-236-8888 or http://www.barringtonstageco.org.
About Barrington Stage Company
Barrington Stage Company, a professional award-winning Equity theatre located in the heart of the Berkshires, in Pittsfield, MA, was co-founded in 1995 by Artistic Director Julianne Boyd. 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. Barrington Stage garnered national attention in 2004 when it workshopped, and premiered William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin’s musical hit The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which later transferred to Broadway’s Circle-in-the-Square Theatre where it won two Tony Awards and played more than 1,000 performances. In 2009/2010 Barrington Stage produced the world premiere of Mark St. Germain’s Freud’s Last Session, which later moved Off-Broadway to the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater. Now on a hiatus, it will resume performances in January 2011. For more information, log on to www.barringtonstageco.org.