WAM Theatre has expanded the reach of their upcoming October 12-28 World Premiere production of The Old Mezzo by doing what it does best, getting everyone involved in its project. After all, they are not out to just do a play, they want to make it fun for all as well, and maybe even change the world a bit while they are at. So The Old Mezzo is just gliding into a new and larger role, adding the accoutrements of a memorable event.
Of course it’s all built around the premiere of the play by Berkshire based playwright Susan Dworkin to be presented at the Berkshire Museum. The associated offerings have both style and substance, which is not surprising considering the innovative tendencies of this feisty theatre group.
Among things recently added are “talkbacks” where the audience gets to talk with the playwright and actors as well as 2 for 1 deals with the Museum’s Sunday Noon Opera and Ballet offerings in the Little Cinema, plus 20% restaurant discounts for pre or post performance fare. They are all part of the extras offered.
Susan Dworkin, the playwright, will be on hand for two talkbacks, Sunday, October 14 and 21 following the 5pm performance of The Old Mezzo.
Ms. Dworkin is best known for her books The Viking in the Wheat Field and The Nazi Officer’s Wife as well as her play All Day Suckers. She was also a finalist for the Susan Blackburn Prize in 1980-1981 for her play Deli’s Fable. Ms. Dworkin was one of the original writers and editors at Ms. Magazine.
Gloria Steinem, when asked about Ms. Dworkin, recently said, “As a writer and as a human being, Susan Dworkin has always had the ability to draw us into new dreams of justice, and to make them irresistibly practical, humorous and human. She makes clear that progress and pleasure go together.”
The actors will also be on hand for the Oct. 14 and 21 talkbacks.
Eileen Schuyler of the Capital Region (NY) plays the title role of Alyssa, the old mezzo. Ms. Schuyler has worked with professional theatres across the Capital Region and beyond including Stageworks/Hudson and Capital Repertory Theatre, most recently in their critically acclaimed production of 33 Variations.
Ryan Winkles of Berkshire County plays Joe, one of Alyssa’s students. Mr. Winkles is familiar to Berkshire audiences for his many notable and wide-ranging roles at Shakespeare & Company, most recently as Ferdinand in The Tempest.
Rylan Morsbach plays Billy, another of Alyssa’s students. Mr. Morsbach is from the Pioneer Valley and wowed audiences in the summer of 2011 with his tour de force solo performance in Pauline Productions Scaramouche Jones.
Alyssa’s other two master class students are played by Erin Ouellette of the Capital Region, graduate of Shakespeare & Company’s Conservatory and recently seen at Hubbard Hall in Amadeus, and Elizabeth Donnelly, a Connecticut based actress with credits ranging from Hartford Stage in CT to Stoneham Theatre in MA. Both Erin and Elizabeth were part of WAM Theatre’s sold out 24hr Berkshire/Capital Region Theatre project held in April at Shakespeare & Company.
2 for 1 Sunday Movie/Theatre deal with Berkshire Museum’s Little Cinema
The Berkshire Museum and WAM Theatre have teamed up to offer a 2 for 1 Sunday deal for anyone wanting to take in an Opera or Ballet film at noon and the play performance at 5pm. Offer is available for all three Sunday’s at $30 total. Tickets can be purchased at 1-800-838-3006 or www.wamtheatre.com with the code ‘2for1’.
Sunday, October 14 at noon: Giacomo Rossini’s Opera L’Italiana in Algeri
Sunday, October 21 at noon: La Scala Ballet with L’altra Metà del Cielo (The Other Side of the Sky)
Sunday, October 28 at noon: Teatro Regio di Torino’s Ballet Un Ballo in Maschera
The following restaurants are offering 20% discounts for patrons of The Old Mezzo:
Mission Bar & Tapas, 438 North Street, Pittsfield, MA
Spice Dragon, 297 North Street, Pittsfield, MA
Ybar, 391 North Street, Pittsfield, MA
Simply bring proof of your ticket purchase to enjoy this pre or post performance discount.
The Old Mezzo concerns the political awakening of a great opera singer. Alyssa, the old mezzo, is driven by the recent death of a famous conductor to teach a master class concerning the Politics of Singing. The class becomes a play within a play where we revisit important scenes from Alyssa’s past. She has assigned parts to four of her students and as the exercise unfolds, we see how Alyssa had to risk her fame and success to preserve the freedom that is so essential to the arts. By the end of the play, through a surprising connection to recent events, the importance of politics in art is revealed.
Tickets, ranging from $12-$30, can be purchased by calling 1-800-838-3006 or online at www.wamtheatre.com. The production runs October 12-28 at the Berkshire Museum at 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA, playing Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm and Sunday at 5pm. In keeping with WAM’s double philanthropic mission, the beneficiary for the production will be Berkshire-based Shout Out Loud Productions, a non-profit helmed by Jeanet Ingalls that takes action to address sexual trafficking. Shout Out Loud will receive up to 25% of the box office proceeds.
“By selecting Shout Out Loud Productions as the beneficiary for ‘The Old Mezzo’, WAM Theatre demonstrates that it not only understands our mission and purpose to raise awareness to protect victims of sex trafficking, but it also wants to be proactive in this effort as well,” said Jeanet Ingalls, Founder / President.
Pier Boutin, Vice President, continues “We thank WAM for its bold action, are honored by their choice, and we hope the power of our outreach project will inspire and motivate others to do what they can to help the victims of sex trafficking.”
39 South Street
“Berkshire Museum is delighted to host WAM Theatre this fall,” says Van Shields, Berkshire Museum’s executive director. “The innovative nature of their work, from their dedication to producing art that engages the community to their unique philanthropic model, makes collaborating with them most rewarding. And that they have chosen to produce a play by a Berkshire-based author makes this production particularly appropriate for presentation in our theater.”
Friday, October 12 @ 8pm (Preview)
Saturday, October 13 @ 8pm (Opening Performance)
Sunday, October 14 @ 5pm*
Friday, October 19 @ 8pm
Saturday, October 20 @ 8pm
Sunday, October 21 @ 5pm*
Friday, October 26 @ 8pm
Saturday, October 27 @ 8pm
Sunday, October 28 @ 5pm
*Performance followed by a talkback
$15 students + groups of 10 or more
$20 adults/ $12 students + groups (Preview Price for Friday, October 12 8pm Performance)
$30 2 for 1 Sunday Movie/Theatre deal with Berkshire Museum’s Little Cinema (code 2for1)
Elizabeth Donnelly*- Sally/Pow
Erin Ouellette – Marcy/Marcelle
Rylan Morsbach – Billy/Captain Billy/Louie
Eileen Schuyler*- Alyssa
Ryan Winkles*- Joe/Johannes
*Member of Actors Equity Association
Director-Kristen van Ginhoven
Scenic Designer- Juliana von Haubrich
Costume Designer-Rita Watson
Lighting Designer-Meryl Joseph
Sound Designer-Brad Berridge
Stage Manager-Chris Donovan
Technical Director-Sam Craig
Associate Producer-Corissa Bryant
Graphic Designer-Enrico Spada
The production sponsor is Mission Bar & Tapas. Other sponsors include: Berkshire Museum, Adams Community Bank, Arizona Pizza, Berkshire Bank Foundation, Cohen Kinne Valicenti & Cook LLP, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Interprint and Pittsfield Coop Bank.
Other organizations helping to make this production possible include: Barrington Stage Company, Berkshire Museum, Berkshire Theatre Group, Luminix Light and Williams College.
About WAM Theatre:
WAM Theatre is a theatre company based in the Berkshires of Massachusetts and the Capital Region of New York State. Inspired by the book ‘Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide’ by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, WAM Theatre was founded in 2009 by professional theatre artists Kristen van Ginhoven and Leigh Strimbeck. WAM’s philanthropic mission is two-fold; first, producing theatrical events for everyone, with a focus on women theatre artists and/or stories of women and girls; second, to donate a portion of the proceeds from those events to organizations that benefit women and girls. WAM has donated nearly $5000 to its beneficiaries by creating professional theatre for everyone that benefit women and girls. www.wamtheatre.com