Pittsfield’s Barrington Stage begins to fill out its casting for Summer 2016
by Larry Murray
In the past, Barrington Stage Company (BSC) announced the actors cast in their upcoming shows via press release, but this year it is being leaked, one actor at a time, via Twitter. The news is coming not only from them, but from such celebrities as Audra McDonald who follow-up with their own tweets, congratulating their friends and colleagues.
Also new this year with its recently hired New York PR firm, the Berkshire based company is holding a press preview for New York media tomorrow, April 13 at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York City, with a number of this summer’s performers on hand to do a little show and tell. Clearly polishing the big apple for future transfers is in artistic director Julianne Boyd’s game plan. Both Barrington Stage and the Williamstown Theatre Festival are great Berkshire testing grounds for Broadway quality shows.
I love that we get to see them first, and that not only big city critics, but national ones as well, make the lengthy pilgrimage to the Berkshires to get a taste of what might be arriving on and off Broadway during the following year.
Among those expected at the BSC preview are Tony Award winner William Finn who will host the event, Tony Award winner John Rando (On the Town, Urinetown) who will direct Pirates of Penzance, Tony Award nominee Will Swenson (Les Misérables, Priscilla Queen of the Desert) who will take one of the leads in Pirates along with Scarlett Strallen (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Mary Poppins). Also on tap are Tony Award nominee Jarrod Spector (Beautiful The Carole King Musical, Jersey Boys), Tony Award winner Michael Rupert (On the Town, Legally Blonde), Marc Bruni, Joel Waggoner, Eric Price, Joe Iconis (Bloodsong of Love, Be More Chill), Lance Rubin, Jason SweetTooth Williams and Badia Farha (Little Shop of Horrors National Tour, RENT National Tour).
UPDATE: The Company announced its initial casting on April 13.
The world premiere new musical Presto Change-O will star Tony Award winner Michael Rupert (Broadway’s Falsettos, On The Town) as “Lance,” Tony Award nominee Jarrod Spector (Broadway’s Beautiful The Carole King Musical) as “Michael,” Jenni Barber (Broadway’s Wicked) as “Tina,” Tony Award nominee Barbara Walsh (Broadway’s Company) as “Mary,” Lenny Wolpe (Broadway’s The Drowsy Chaperone, Wicked) as “Sheldon,” and Bob Walton (Broadway’s 42nd Street) as “Arthur.” Presto Change-O features a book and lyrics by Eric Price, music by Joel Waggoner, choreography by Chris Bailey, and direction by Marc Bruni of Broadway’s Beautiful The Carole King Musical. Performances begin May 18, 2016, with an opening night set for May 25, and closing on June 11, 2016
Debra Jo Rupp (“That 70’s Show”) will star as the titular character in Kimberly Akimbo by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire, which begins performancesJune 16, 2016, opens June 19, and runs through July 9, 2016
Tamara Tunie (“Law and Order”) will star as “Kendra Ellis-Connor” in the world premiere of American Son by award-winning playwright Christopher Demos-Brown, winner of the prestigious Laurents/Hatcher Award for Best New Play of 2016. American Son begins previews June 17, 2016, opens June 22, and runs through July 9, 2016.
Starring in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance is Tony Award nominee Will Swenson (Broadway’s HAIR) as “The Pirate King,” Scarlett Strallen (Broadway’s Mary Poppins) as “Mabel,” Kyle Dean Massey (Broadway’s Pippin, Next To Normal) as “Frederic,” Tony Award nominee David Garrison (Broadway’s Wicked) as “The Modern Major General,” Jane Carr (Broadway’s A Gentleman’s Guide To Love and Murder) as “Ruth,” and Tony Award winner Phillip Boykin (Broadway’s Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, On The Town) as “Samuel.” Choreographed by Emmy Award winner Joshua Bergasse, and directed by Tony Award winner John Rando, the team behind the acclaimed and Tony Award nominated Broadway revival of On the Town, Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance begins performances July 15, 2016, opens July 20, and runs through August 13, 2016.
SAG Award winner Annie Golden (“Orange is the New Black”) stars as “Annie Golden” and Jeff McCarthy (Broadway’s Chicago, Urinetown) as “Mac Roundtree” in the world premiere of Jonathan Larson Award winning composer Joe Iconis’s Broadway Bounty Hunter, featuring a book by Joe Iconis, Lance Rubin and Jason SweetTooth Williams, choreography by Jeffrey Page, and direction by Leah C. Gardiner. Broadway Bounty Hunter begins performances August 12, 2016, with an opening night set for August 19, and runs through September 4, 2016.
Joshua Castille (Broadway’s Spring Awakening) will star as “Billy” in the acclaimed Drama Desk Award winning play Tribes by Nina Raine. Previews for Tribes begin August 18, 2016, with an opening night set for August 21, and running through September 3, 2016
Rupp and Mark H. Dold (“All My Children”) will star as “Melissa Gardner” and “Andrew Makepeace Ladd III” respectively in Pulitzer Prize finalist Love Letters, written by A.R. Gurney. Performances for Love Letters begin September 22, 2016, with opening night set for September 23, running through October 2, 2016.
The 2016 Barrington season will also include Peerless by Jiehae Park (Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, Wondrous Strange), and directed by Louisa Proske (Engagements), direct from its world premiere at Yale Rep. Peerless begins previews July 21, 2016, with an opening night set for July 24, and runs through August 6, 2016.
Mark St. Germain’s Camping with Henry and Tom, the recipient of both the Outer Critics Circle Award and the Lucille Lortel Award, will begin performances October 5, 2016, opens October 9, and will run through October 23, 2016.
The 2016 Boyd-Quinson Mainstage season will begin on June 10 and 11, 2016 with Songs by Ridiculously Talented Composers and Lyricists You Probably Don’t Know, But Should…, hosted by Tony Award winner William Finn. BSC also recently announced the 2016 lineup for its nightlife hotspot, Mr. Finn’s Cabaret, named after the composer/lyricist. Among the performers scheduled to perform are Tony Award winner Donna McKechnie, Leslie Kritzer, and Christina Bianco.
In addition to the theatrical productions, BSC recently announced two special one-night-only performances for the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage. On Monday, July 25, 2016 at 8pm, Ann Hampton Callaway and Amanda McBroom will appear in Divalicious, accompanied by Michele Brourman; and on >Monday, August 8, 2016 at 8pm, married stars Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley return to BSC in Broadway and Beyond: Reprise Edition after their tremendously successful concert at BSC last summer.
Additional casting and creative team for all productions will be announced shortly.
Performance schedules for all productions are available by visiting href=”http://barringtonstageco.org/