News, Happenings, Updates around the Berkshires

Burlesque Comes to the Berkshires

In what has to be the most interesting press release I have received this year, I discovered there is Burlesque in the Berkshires. And now you know, too. It is timed so as to follow performances at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Clever bunch. Here’s the scoop from their press release.

Having started June 17 and running every Thursday night throughout the summer, GYPSY LAYNE , the Berkshire’s first home grown Burlesque show, premieres upstairs at the Red Herring in Williamstown, MA.

The brainchild of Nicole Rizzo of North Adams, Gypsy Layne is a show that traces over a century of American Burlesque, highlighting the historical and theatrical aspects from the London stages to vaudeville, thru Old Broadway to the present neo-burlesque craze. Featuring Ms Karen Louise Lee as host/MC,(as well as playing Gypsy Rose Lee) the hour long revue showcases six other dancers, including Ms. Rizzo (director/producer), as well as a surprise guest performer each week.

Singing, hoola (sic) hoops, roller skates, belly dancing, a carousel horse and Jelly Rolls are just some of the gimmicks this multi-talented ensemble will display, with plenty of improv, comedy and audience participation to boot. Or not to boot… (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun)

Shows are at 8pm the month of June only and will begin at 11:30pm (apres WTF) for all of July and August.

Seating is limited so reservations are encouraged and can be made thru

Tickets are $15

Berkshire Theatre Festival

The Berkshire Theatre Festival invites the public for the first reading of a new play by Sam Forman, The Moscows of Nantucket!

Affluent, anxious and at each other’s throats, the Moscows attempt some unusual family bonding over a summer weekend in Nantucket. On the agenda are brisket, booze and a blowout confrontation between competing brothers who’ve avoided each other for years. A fast-paced new American comedy with its heart in Chekhov’s country.

Every week, members of the directing assistantship program will be staging never-before-seen plays with the company’s professional actors as well as members of the Acting Apprenticeship program. The Moscows of Nantucket will be directed by Shelby Hibbs, who assisted Wes Grantom on K2 .

All readings are free of charge and start at 2 pm. The Moscows of Nantucket will be read this Friday, June 25 in the Unicorn Stage.

Richard Moscow – Macey Levin
Ellen Moscow – Deann Simmons Halper
Benjamin Moscow – Greg Keller
Michael Moscow – Tim McGeever
Virginia Christiansen – Liz Tancredi
Sarah Pearlman – Nicole Davis

Jacob’s Pillow

Jacob’s Pillow celebrates the 4th of July with Let’s Dance!, a new community event where patrons of all ages are invited to participate in a variety of free activities, performances, and dance classes.

A new event for the Pillow, Let’s Dance! is specifically geared toward teenagers and adults, with a variety of “no experience necessary” dance classes and workshops offered.

Let's Dance gives student dancers from the Berkshires a chance to learn and interact with their more famous peers. Photo by Karli Cadel.

“We are always finding new ways to engage our community,” says Ella Baff, Jacob’s Pillow Executive Director. “We are dedicated to expanding access to the art of dance, particularly among young adults. Teens and adults often have trouble finding beginner classes they feel comfortable taking– we hope many people will attend this event and experience something new.”

Let’s Dance! will feature free workshops for teens and adults of all experience levels including Pilates with instructor Karen Lee, swing dance with Heather Gehring and Lou Brock of Ballroom Dancing for Tough Guys, yoga with Leslie Nelson, the popular dance-exercise class ZUMBA®, and more. For younger participants and their families, Jeff Bliss of the Wolftrap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts will lead a movement workshop called “Families Dance Together.”

Festival 2010 artist Camille A. Brown will teach a free Master Class for intermediate-advanced dancers (pre-registration is required for participation; observation is open to the public) in her own dynamic movement style. To pre-register, contact Jacob’s Pillow at 413-243-9919 x5 by June 27.

Williamstown Theatre Festival

Thornton Wilder’s classic Our Town will take on a whole new meaning this summer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. The production will be a local affair. While Williamstown has enlisted New York actors, including John Rubinstein, Becky Ann Baker, Dylan Baker, Jessica Hecht and Campbell Scott, the production will also welcome townsfolk to its cast.

Some Berkshire actors will have a chance to appear with Broadway actors like Campbell Scott.

Casting directors are seeking men and women over 40, and boys and girls ages 8-16. According to a representative, Williamstown hopes to fill up to seven roles, including those of Woman in Auditorium, Man in Auditorium, a Crowell Brother, and members of the Church Choir.

Local actors are asked to be prepared tell a joke and sing a short hymn or folk song Appointments can be made by phoning (203) 500-0077. Williams College professor Sam Crane has also been cast as Professor Willard.

Berkshire Theatre Festival – A Delicate Balance Casting

Artistic Director/CEO Kate Maguire is pleased to announce the final casting for Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance. The powerhouse lineup for this Pulitzer Prize winner includes Maureen Anderman, Mia Barron, Mia Dillon, Keir Dullea, Lisa Emery, and Jonathan Hogan. The production runs on the historic BTF Main Stage from August 17 – September 4. The piece is directed by David Auburn and the design team includes R. Michael Miller (scenic), Wade Laboissonniere (costumes), Daniel J. Kotlowitz (lighting), and Scott Killian (original music and sound).

Maureen Anderman (Agnes) was last seen at BTF in Noël Coward in Two Keys. She has also appeared with the Huntington Theatre in Boston in Becky Shaw, Third, Rabbit Hole, and The Sisters Rosensweig. Her numerous Broadway credits include The Last of Mrs. Lincoln; Hamlet and Macbeth (both for Lincoln Center Theater); The Man Who Came to Dinner; A History of the American Film; and Edward Albee’s Seascape, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and The Lady From Dubuque for which she received a Tony Award ® nomination.

Mia Barron (Julia) has been seen on Broadway in Coast of Utopia and QED (Lincoln Center Theatre). She has also starred in many regional productions including Love’s Labor’s Lost, The Rivals, Springtime for Henry, and Heartbreak House (Huntington Theatre Co.), The School for Scandal (The Guthrie), and Macbeth (Ca. Shakespeare Fest.). She attended Tisch School of the Arts.

Mia Dillon (Edna) is a veteran stage actor whose Broadway credits include Our Town, The Miser, Hay Fever, Crimes of the Heart (Tony nomination, Clarence Derwent and Drama Logue Awards), Agnes of God, The Corn is Green, Once a Catholic (Drama Desk nomination), and Da. Her Off-Broadway credits include Mary Rose, The Exonerated, New England and The Three Sisters at Manhattan Theatre Club, and Come Back, Little Sheba for Roundabout Theatre Company. Her BTF credits include Ghosts, Noël Coward in Two Keys, Paris Bound and Palace of Amateurs (all four for BTF),

Keir Dullea (Harry) most recently starred Off-Broadway in the highly acclaimed revival of I Never Sang For My Father. His Broadway credits include Butterflies Are Free, Cat on A Hot Tin Roof, P.S. Your Cat is Dead, and Doubles. His film credits include 2001, A Space Odyssey, David & Lisa (Golden Globe), The Thin Red Line, and The Good Shepherd. Mr. Dullea is very pleased to be back at BTF where he last appeared in Still Born Lover with Richard Chamberlin.

Lisa Emery (Claire) has been seen in The Matchmaker, Dinner with Friends, What the Butler Saw, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Talley & Son, Burn This, Rumors and Present Laughter. She was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play for her performances in Marvin’s Room and Abigail’s Party. She also had a recurring role on the television series Ed and has made guest appearances on many shows.

Jonathan Hogan (Tobias) is a Broadway veteran and has been in The Homecoming (Roundabout Theatre), Taking Steps (Circle in the Square), Burn This (Plymouth Theatre), As Is (Lyceum Theatre) for which he was nominated for a Tony Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor as well as a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play.

David Auburn’s directing credits include last year’s production of Sick at BTF, as well as work at The Juilliard School, Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, and the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami. Plays include Proof (MTC/Broadway, Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award), An Upset (EST Marathon 2008), and The Journals of Mihail Sebastian (Keen Company). Films include The Girl in the Park (2007, writer/director) and The Lake House (2005).

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