Mark St. Germain’s Dancing Lessons
First Reading at Barrington Stage September 1
by Larry Murray
It’s not even Labor Day weekend and already Julianne Boyd, artistic director of Barrington Stage Company (BSC) is thinking about next year. That’s what I infer from the announcement she and Tristan Wilson, Managing Director, made today. Coming up on Sunday of Labor Day weekend is a staged reading of Dancing Lessons, a new play by Mark St. Germain.
BSC Associate Artist and playwright St. Germain is known for fictional history, usually of famous people meeting on stage. He’s written successful plays about Dr. Ruth and her hidden life, the legendary Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis in Freud’s Last Session; F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway in Scott and Hem in the Garden of Allah now playing into September and others.
But famous folks are not his only specialty. He also brings less celebrated folks to life, and such is the case with Dancing Lessons, a new play that was commissioned through the generosity of Judith Goldsmith and is part of BSC’s New Works Initiative. As with The Best of Enemies, he has chosen to write about less famous folk, but their lives are every bit as worthy of our attention, and their stories equally riveting.
Dancing Lessons centers around a young man with high-functioning autism (Asperger’s syndrome) as he tries to navigate a relationship with a Broadway dancer, now sidelined with injuries. She learns how to deal with her disabilities while he gets a glimpse of the emotional and transformational power of dance.
The staged reading will take place on one night only, September I, at 7:00 pm with a post-show discussion with the cast, playwright and director following the reading.
Directed by Julianne Boyd, Dancing Lessons stars John Cariani (BSC Much Ado About Nothing) and Heidi Armbruster (BSC Uncle Vanya, The Violet Hour). The event will take place at the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage, 30 Union Street, Pittsfield. Tickets are $15 (reserved seating). For tickets call 413-236-8888 or purchase online at www.barringtonstageco.org.
Barrington Stage Company, a professional award-winning Equity regional 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 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 and played 775 performances. Barrington Stage was voted “Best Live Theatre” by The Berkshire Eagle readers in 2011 and 2012 and was named “Best Theatre Company” in Metroland’s Best of the Capital Region 2009-2012.