Today the balance of the Stage 2 season was announced, adding four new events to the already full Barrington Stage Company (BSC) season. Three of the four play to the strengths of the company’s Musical Theatre Lab efforts which nurture, showcase and give full productions to the works of upcoming composers and lyricists under the watchful eye of William Finn.So it is happy news for musical lovers that under the leadership of Julianne Boyd, Artistic Director, and Tristan Wilson, Managing Director, the company adds yet another musical to its two Main Stage events, Guys and Dolls June 21 to July 16, and The Game August 11-28. (That story here.) This time it is the world premiere of Mormons, Mothers and Monsters. (Earlier Berkshire on Stage story here.) It will receive its first full production on BSC’s Stage 2. Also playing on the Main Stage is The Best of Enemies, Mark St. Germain’s dramatic take on the KKK and desegregation, playing July 21-August 6.
According to the announcement, the company is also adding two musical cabarets, a category of entertainment that has shown much potential in the Berkshires. The more intimate and less formal evenings connect artists and audiences in a very personal way, building on the reactions between the two. The two cabarets have been dubbed with the names Surviving the Avalanche and Hell Raisers.
The offerings on Stage 2 are quite varied. For many it will be the Berkshire premiere of Chaim Potok’s My Name is Asher Lev—as well as the previously announced productions of Zero Hour and Going to St. Ives that hold a fascination.
Let’s look at each of these coming shows.
Mormons, Mothers and Monsters
Those of us who live in the Berkshires have come to consider BSC’s Musical Theatre Lab one of the region’s treasures. Under the mentorship of Tony Award-winning composer/lyricist William Finn. The Lab kicks off its sixth season with its eighth world premiere musical – Mormons, Mothers and Monsters, a quirky musical comedy with music by Will Aronson and book and lyrics by Sam Salmond.
A boy and his Mormon mother smile their way through three shattering divorces. As he grows, the boy hides under his bed-sheets, prays fervently and tries to figure out just who is responsible for his miserable little life.
Will Aronson (Music) is no stranger to the Musical Theatre Lab having written the score for My Scary Girl and music for Mary Testa’s Sleepless Variations. Aronson has had two musicals presented at NYMF – My Scary Girl and The Trouble with Doug. He is currently the musical arranger for the new William Finn/James Lapine musical, Little Miss Sunshine.
Sam Salmond (Book and Lyrics) is finishing his Master’s degree at NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. Mormons, Mothers and Monsters marks his first full-length musical to be produced. Sam has contributed songs to BSC’s Songs By Ridiculously Talented Composers and Lyricists You Probably Don’t Know, But Should and The Big V-Day Cabaret.
Mormons, Mothers and Monsters runs on Stage 2 from July 14 through 31 with performances Tuesday-Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 4 pm and 8 pm, and Sunday at 3pm. There will be two weekday matinee performances: Thursday, July 21 and Thursday, July 28 at 3pm. Tickets are $15-$39. Press Opening is Wednesday, July 20 at 7:30pm. Mormons, Mothers and Monsters is sponsored in part by Elayne Bernstein and Sol Schwartz and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
My Name is Asher Lev
Barrington Stage will present the Berkshire premiere of My Name is Asher Lev from August 18 through September 4 . Based on the acclaimed novel by Chaim Potok the story was adapted by and will be directed by Aaron Posner at BSC. My Name is Asher Lev is a fascinating coming-of-age story that seamlessly explores art, family, religion, and loyalty. Posner’s adaptation follows the journey of a young Jewish painter torn between his Hasidic upbringing and a desperate need to fulfill his artistic genius. This stirring adaptation of Chaim Potok’s modern classic presents a triumphant vision of what it means to be an artist.
Asher Lev adaptor/director Aaron Posner is a playwright, director, teacher and former artistic director whose work has been seen at major regional theatres across the country including Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Arena Stage, Folger Theatre, Seattle Rep, and many more. He is a multi-talented artist on the rise.
His adaptations of Chaim Potok’s novels The Chosen and My Name is Asher Lev have been produced at more than 50 regional theatres, as well as internationally. Recently it was seen in Boston for the first time in a production at Lyric Stage Company.
He has won Barrymore Awards and Helen Hayes Awards for both playwrighting and directing. Performances of My Name is Asher Lev are Tuesday-Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 4pm and 8pm, and Sunday at 3pm. Additional matinee performances on Thursday, August 25 and Thursday, September 1 at 3pm. Tickets are $15-$39.
Stage 2 to host two Cabaret presentations
They’ve been simmering on the back burner for some time. And here come the BSC Stage 2 cabarets full of fresh talent and songs. If there ever was a ridiculously talented composer, it is Vadim Feichtner, musical director of the BSC productions of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, The Memory Show, and this season’s Mormons, Mothers and Monsters. Together with lyricist Jeremy Desmon, they are two of the funniest and freshest songwriting teams working today. Their musical cabaret called Surviving the Avalanche proves no climb is easy– love, sex, career, family holidays in Kansas — but one thing is clear: when life keeps throwing rocks at you, the best thing to do is sing. As in this video featuring Jesse Tyler Ferguson singing a typical Vadim Feichtner song, one which you may see live on Stage 2.
Barrington Stage’s Musical Theatre Lab will present four outstanding vocalists as they take on an exhilarating deluge of songs in Surviving the Avalanche at Stage 2 from June 10 through 12. Matt Castle is Music Director. Performances times are Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are $15 on Friday/Sunday and $20 on Saturday. Surviving the Avalanche is a production of the Musical Theatre Lab which is sponsored in part by Elayne Bernstein and Sol Schwartz and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
But wait! there’s more!
Rabble-rousing songwriter Joe Iconis makes his BSC debut with Hell Raisers – A Night of Songs by Joe Iconis from August 11 through 13 at BSC Stage 2, 36 Linden Street. An Edward Kleban and Jonathan Larson Award-winner, Joe Iconis has sold out performances at Ars Nova, Laurie Beechman Theater, Le Poisson Rouge, and Joe’s Pub. Join Iconis (video of one of his songs above) and his merry band of musical theater punks for an explosive night of high-octane show tunes. Quirky portraits of normal people, outcasts, vagabonds, suburbanites, weirdos, fat kids, and porn stars are set to hummable music that pulses with the energy and excitement of a barroom brawl.
Grab a drink, gather round the old piano and sing along to songs with a rock and roll spirit and an old-fashioned heart. Performances times are Thursday and Friday at 8pm, and Saturday at 8pm and 10pm. Tickets are $15 Thursday/Friday and $20 on Saturday. Hell Raisers is a production of the Musical Theatre Lab which is sponsored in part by Elayne Bernstein and Sol Schwartz and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Previously Announced Shows
BSC‘s 2011 Stage 2 Season will kick off with the Off-Broadway hit Zero Hour starring Drama Desk Award-winner Jim Brochu (Watch the video below for a behind the scenes look at how he does Zero’s comb-over hair.) from May18 through June 5, followed by Lee Blessing’s Going to St. Ives, directed by Tyler Marchant (BSC’s A Picasso and Freud’s Last Session), with performances from June 22 through July 10.
Single tickets for all performances for Barrington Stage Company’s 2011 season are on sale now.
NEW this year – ALL seats to Stage 2 performances are now reserved; no longer general admission seating. BSC Stage 2 is located at 36 Linden Street in Pittsfield, MA.
Mainstage FlexPasses are available for $105-$138. Stage 2 Passes are available for $81-$124. A Musical Theatre Lovers Pass to all three musicals on the Mainstage and Stage 2 is available for $130. Special rates, benefits and packages are available for groups of 15 or more on the Mainstage and groups of 10 or more on Stage 2. For more information contact Kate Ivey, Box Office & Group Services Manager, at 413-236-8888 or visit barringtonstageco.org/tickets/groups.php.
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, where it resumed performances on January 14, 2011. For more information, log on to www.barringtonstageco.org.