(Pittsfield, MA) Barrington Stage Company (BSC), the award-winning theatre in Downtown Pittsfield, MA under the leadership of Artistic Director Julianne Boyd and Managing Director Michele Weathers, presents The Creative Place International/And Theatre Company production of Kunstler by Jeffrey Sweet, from May 18 through June 10 at the St. Germain Stage at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center (36 Linden Street). Opening night is May 21 at 3:00pm.
Directed by Meagan Fay, Kunstler stars BSC veteran Jeff McCarthy (BSC’s Broadway Bounty Hunter, All My Sons, Sweeney Todd) as the self-described “radical lawyer” and civil rights activist, William Kunstler and Erin Roché (BSC debut) as the whip-smart student who opposes him. The colorful, perpetually rumpled defense lawyer whose best-known clients include the Chicago Seven, inmates involved in the Attica prison riots, and members of the American Indian Movement, makes a case for his often unconventional style, in this wise and revealing play.
An American Civil Rights pioneer and attorney so famous he played himself on “Law & Order,” William Kunstler’s career defending “social outcasts” was as colorful as the man himself. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the ACLU from 1964 – 1972, he gained prominence serving as defense attorney for the Freedom Riders and the Chicago Seven as well as members of the Black Panther Party, Attica Prison rioters, the American Indian Movement, and Weather Underground. As an attorney in private practice in NYC, he continued to court headlines with controversial clients, from defending Omar Abdel-Rahman for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing to notorious mafia figures like John Gotti.
The production is designed by James Fenton (sets), Elivia Bovenzi (costumes), Betsy Adams (lights), and Will Severin (sound). Production stage manager is Mary Jane Hansen.
On May 20 following the 7:30pm performances there will be a special post-show (at 9:00pm) talk-back with playwright Jeffrey Sweet, who will discuss the process of writing Kunstler. Artistic Director Julianne Boyd will moderate.
BSC’s popular Conversations With… series kicks off June 3 at 1pm with Conversations With…Karin Kunstler: An Up-Close Portrait of Her Father, William Kunstler, which will be moderated by Artistic Director Julianne Boyd.
While all Conversations With… events are free, reservations are highly recommended. All seating is general admission. Call the Box Office at 413-236-8888.
Kunstler performances: Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30pm; Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 3:00pm. St. Germain Stage at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center (36 Linden Street). Tickets: $15-$48. Barrington Stage Box Office: (413) 236-8888 or online at www.barringtonstageco.org.
Jeff McCarthy (Kunstler) At BSC: Broadway Bounty Hunter, Man of La Mancha, Southern Comfort, All My Sons, Sweeney Todd, Follies, Mack & Mabel and a staged reading of Kunstler. Jeff recently starred Off-Broadway in Kunstler at 59E59 Theater. Broadway: Chicago (Billy Flynn), Urinetown (Lockstock), The Grinch Who… (Grinch), The Pirate Queen (Dubdhara), Side Show (Terry), Beauty and the Beast (Beast), Smile (Big Bob), Zorba (Niko), The Pirates of Penzance (Pirate King). L.A.: Les Misérables (Javert), The Three Sisters (Vershinin), A Little Night Music (Frederick), City of Angels (Stone). Off Broadway: Southern Comfort (Public Theater), Sympathetic Magic (Second Stage), Dream True (Vineyard), On the 20th Century (York). Regional: My Fair Lady (Guthrie), Kunstler (Hudson Stage), Fox on the Fairway (Signature Theater), Mame (Kennedy Center), Oliver! (Arena Stage), The Price and The Front Page (Long Wharf), Buried Child and Pantegleize (ACT, San Francisco), A Lie of the Mind (Denver Center). International: Iphenigia in Aulis (Athens Theater Center), Lady Be Good (La Fenice, Italy) TV: “Elementary”, “The Good Wife”, “Schweitzer” (title role), “Letterman”, “Love Monkey,” “Star Trek: TNG” and “Voyager,” “Ed,” “Law & Order(s),” “Cheers,” “Designing Women,” “L.A. Law,” “In the Heat of the Night.” Film: Starting Out in the Evening, Consent, RoboCop 2, Eve of Destruction, Rapid Fire, Cliffhanger. Jeff is the voice of the great Chuck Jones’ creation, Michigan J. Frog.
Erin Roché (Kerry) is thrilled to be making her BSC debut! Regional credits include: All’s Well That End’s Well, Othello,Two Gentlemen of Verona, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Winter’s Tale, Pygmalion (The Old Globe), Heist!, Post Wave Spectacular (Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville), Henry IV, pts. I & II (Actors’ Shakespeare Project), Done (Providence Black Repertory). Television: Forever (ABC). Training: BA, Brown University. MFA, Old Globe/University of San Diego.
Jeffrey Sweet (Playwright) plays include The Value of Names, The Action Against Sol Schumann, Bluff, Flyovers, American Enterprise, and Court-Martial at Fort Devens — have been presented in Chicago, New York and around the country. Awards include prizes from the American Theatre Critics Association, the Jeff Award, the Audelco Award, and an Outer Critics Circle Award. Books include Something Wonderful Right Away (about Second City), The O’Neill (about the O’Neill Center), The Dramatist’s Toolkit and What Playwrights Talk About When They Talk About Writing. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and EST and is an alum of New Dramatists
Meagen Fay (Director) is a multiple Jeff Award-winning Best Actress (Chicago’s The Second City), as well as A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (Court Theater), who has appeared on and off Broadway, and been a regular on countless TV series, and films. Meagen can currently be seen as regular, and recurring regular on “Transparent” (Amazon), “Good Girls Revolt” (Amazon), and “Shrink” (Seeso). Meagen is an LA Critics Award winning director of Private Stories Public Schools, and Future Boyfriend (Los Angeles SCi-Fest.) Meagen first directed Kunstler for the New York Fringe Festival in 2014.
ABOUT BARRINGTON STAGE COMPANY
Barrington Stage Company is a professional award-winning Equity regional theatre located in the heart of the Berkshires, in Pittsfield, MA. It was co-founded in 1995 by Artistic Director Julianne Boyd and has a three-fold mission: to present top-notch, compelling work; to develop new plays and musicals; and to find fresh, bold ways of bringing new audiences into the theatre—especially young people. Barrington Stage garnered national attention in 2004 when it 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. In 2009, Mark St. Germain’s Freud’s Last Session ran more than ten weeks on Stage 2 and later moved Off Broadway and played for two years. St. Germain’s Becoming Dr. Ruth (which premiered at BSC as Dr. Ruth, All the Way in 2012) played Off Broadway at the Westside Theatre in fall 2013. BSC’s all-time record-breaking musical, On the Town, was originally produced at BSC in 2013. In 2014, it opened on Broadway with BSC as a co-producer, where it was nominated for four Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival. In 2016, Barrington Stage swept the first Annual Berkshire Theatre Awards by winning 20 out of the 25 awards. In 2016, BSC produced three World Premieres; Presto Change-O, Broadway Bounty Hunter, and American Son, which won the Laurents/Hatcher Award for Best New Play.
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