Each Summer the Berkshires of Massachusetts is home to a vast array of live performances, making this rural enclave one of the top vacation destinations for seekers of entertainment, culture and the arts. With more than a dozen major stages, and an equal number of important visual arts attractions, the region is packed with natural beauty, warm and friendly guest houses and inns, and affordable restaurants.
As the summer of 2012 approaches, Berkshire on Stage has begun to post each company’s plans as they are announced. As plans are updated, details are added as the summer unfolds.
Not all companies have made their announcements as this is published, but stay tuned, by June just about every offering will be known.
Lenox and Stockbridge are the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood is home to not only classical music, but to jazz, pop and rock as well. Season highlights include James Taylor over the Independence Day Weekend, and jazz as Labor Day approaches. The schedule is so extensive it has been broken down into several articles.
Aston Magna Music Festival
Celebrating their fortieth year in the Berkshires, the Aston Magna Music Festival specializes in music from the 17th to 20th Century played on authentic period instruments. This season their Gala concert will be at Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood and the regular season at Slosberg Auditorium at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA; Olin Hall on the Main Campus of Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; and at the Daniel Arts Center at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, MA.
Bard SummerScape 2012
Bard SummerScape 2012 presents seven weeks of opera, music, theater, dance, films, and cabaret. The season’s focal point is the 23rd annual Bard Music Festival which this year celebrates the French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. But there’s more than great music – theatre, dance and opera also take the stage, there’s fun aplenty in the Spiegeltent Cabaret, family events, and even a film festival. SummerScape is an arts buffet unlike any other.
Music Mountain Festival
Located in the northwest corner of Connecticut, Music Mountain is so close by, many Tanglewood visitors make a point to take in their chamber music and unusual array of popular offerings. This year it includes some Gilbert and Sullivan.
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
With more than three hundred paid and free events on its dance card, Jacob’s Pillow is where dancers gather each summer, to create, to learn and to perform. At dusk there is usually a free performance on their outdoor stage in the woods. Set in the wilds of Becket, MA the rustic nature of Jacob’s Pillow amplifies the natural grace and beauty of the dancers and their work.
The Original 2012 Season Announcement 300 Dance Events Mark 80th Summer of Jacob’s Pillow Festival
Jacob’s Pillow 2012 Week by Week Guide with videos of each dance company.
Barrington Stage Company
One of the four major theatre companies that call the Berkshires home, the company has two stages, plus a third outpost at the Berkshire Museum for its Youth Company. Under the direction of Julianne Boyd the newest of the four companies is “only” in its seventeenth season, but its fame as a producer of musicals, comedies and “thinking man’s” plays is now well established.
Berkshire Theatre Group
Artistic Director Kate Maguire leads this adventurous company, almost a conglomerate. The Berkshire Theatre Group has two stages in Stockbridge, MA, the home of the Berkshire Theatre Festival, plus the gorgeously renovated Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA and an outdoor venue at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s estate in Lenox. The company also performs at the Berkshire Museum.
Berkshire Theatre Group: 2012 season announcement with 12 minute Kate Maguire video previewing the shows.
Shakespeare & Company
Spread across a lovely campus in Lenox, MA, Shakespeare & Company performs both contemporary plays as well as Shakespeare. In fact, they are well known for their superb approach to comedy and farce. Artistic Director Tony Simots has scored several coups. The most interesting is that they will produce Terry Teachout’s Satchmo at the Waldorf, likely to be a real newsmaker.
Williamstown Theatre Festival
The Williamstown Theatre Festival has been where famous actors spend their summers for many decades, and under Jenny Gerstein, this is truer than ever before. Located on the campus of Williams College, the ’62 Center has two state of the art theatres, a large main stage, plus the smaller Nikos Theatre.
The Willimstown Theatre Festival has announced six of the seven plays for 2012. They include an Oscar Wilde, Neal Simon, an original musical, a satire – all interesting choices. Read the full report on the WTF’s 2012 Season Announcement.
Additions to the 2012 Season – Elephant Man and David Byrne Event at Mass MoCA, Here Lies Love.
Preview of the Coming Season announcing two shows and return of Blythe Danner.
Reading of Dustin Lance Black’s”8″ scheduled for summer.
Other Music, Dance, Theatre Festivals
Caramoor (Westchester, NY) Season Announcement 2012 and Day by Day Schedule.
Other Theatre Companies
Note to Publicists: If your group does not appear here, it is because we have not received a news release detailing your coming season. Send it to BerkshireLarry@gmail.com If you are not familiar with the format for press releases, go to the top of this page and click on “About” which has information on how to format and send publicity notices.