Shakespeare & Company Presents Storytellers & Songwriters

(Lenox, MA) – In celebration of the Company’s 40th Season, Shakespeare & Company presents a special August event series, Storytellers and Songwriters. Each event will explore various characters through solo performances by veteran Company artists, many including live music and original compositions from acclaimed musicians and songwriters, including Michi Wiancko, Kris Delmhorst, and the BSO Tanglewood Music Composer Fellows. This series spans the weekends of August 11th, 18th, and 25th. All pieces will be performed in the Tina Packer Playhouse at 8:30pm.

“At Shakespeare & Company we celebrate language, connections, and community,” said Artistic Director Allyn Burrows. “In this unique series of performances, we celebrate the human spirit through music and the spoken word. Storytellers & Songwriters highlights indelible stories and sublime music interwoven into delightful one-night only events.”

Company artists performing solo pieces include: Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Allyn Burrows, Nehassaiu deGannes, Jonathan Epstein, Nigel Gore, John Hadden, Tina Packer, and Tod Randolph. These stories will be interlaced with musicians and songwriters who have a deep appreciation of poetry reminiscent of Shakespeare. Special musical guests include Kris Delmhorst, Michi Wiancko, Bobby Sweet, Vikki True, and the BSO Tanglewood Music Center Fellows. All events are stage managed by long-time Company member Hope Rose Kelly.

The Storytellers & Songwriters series will be performed in the Tina Packer Playhouse. Tickets are available online at shakespeare.org, or by calling Shakespeare & Company’s box office at (413) 637-3353. Tickets range from $20 – $50. The Tina Packer Playhouse is air conditioned and wheelchair accessible. Shakespeare & Company is located at 70 Kemble Street in Lenox, Massachusetts.

AT A GLANCE

jepstein2Via Dolorosa by David Hare
August 11 at 8:30pm
Featuring: Jonathan Epstein

Via Dolorosa is the story of British playwright David Hare’s 1997 visit to Israel and Gaza, told by a single actor in a virtuosic 90 minute dramatic whirlwind of people, places, and events. As Hare, Jonathan Epstein turns himself into more than 30 different characters, each an impassioned participant in the Arab-Israeli struggle, as the play ranges through London, Tel Aviv, the Settlements, Gaza, and Jerusalem itself, in search of some kind of hope in a world where it seems that everyone can say, and with justice: “This land is ours.” This performance will be followed by a talkback with Jonathan Epstein.

allynburrowswebT.S. Eliot and His Love of Shakespeare by Joan Ackermann
August 12 at 8:30pm
Featuring: Allyn Burrows with musical guest Michi Wiancko

Allyn Burrows plays the poet, playwright, literary contrarian, and Nobel Prize winner T.S. Eliot in an exploration of the great writer’s fascination with language and Shakespeare. The words of the two great poets will be intertwined with the music of celebrated violinist Michi Wiancko. Wiancko is an internationally-acclaimed and multi-dimensional violinist, composer, and collaborator, described by Gramophone as an “alluring soloist with heightened expressive and violinistic gifts.”

nehassaiuheadshotDoor of No Return by Nehassaiu deGannes
August 18 at 8:30pm
Featuring: Nehassaiu deGannes

Partly autobiographical, but drawing primarily on historical research and present-day interviews, Door of No Return courageously excavates the rich, complex but often silenced multicultural legacies of New England. Nehassaiu deGannes is a trickster/shaman figure voicing experiences of immigration, displacement, enslavement, and resistance from a brilliant multiplicity of perspectives. Drawing on her Caribbean heritage and Canadian upbringing, her visits to West Africa, and her arrival in Rhode Island, Nehassaiu criss-crosses time and space to bring us stories from the 18th century and the Triangle Trade, as well as unexpected contemporary narratives.
todIn Light of Jane by Joan Ackermann
August 19 at 8:30 pm
Featuring: Tod Randolph with musical guest Kris Delmhorst

A lighting designer visits an empty theatre space two years after a devastating loss, and as she sorts through her memories, the way forward is illuminated in unexpected ways. This funny and moving piece features long-time Shakespeare & Company actor Tod Randolph. Blended into the evening is the music of American Singer/Songwriter Kris Delmhorst, who also performs an intimate concert. Delmhorst grew up in Brooklyn, NY but her musical home is in Boston, MA where she cut her teeth on open mics, bar gigs, and subway busking before embarking on her life as an internationally touring songwriter. The Boston Globe called Delmhorst “bold and brilliant.”

bosbaddateshcropBad Dates by Theresa Rebeck
August 20 at 8:30pm
Featuring: Elizabeth Aspenlieder with musical guest Vikki True and original recorded compositions by the BSO Tanglewood Music Composer Fellows

A hilarious and heartbreaking story, Bad Dates follows a single mother’s idiosyncratic journey of self-discovery which involves the Romanian mob, a Buddhist rainstorm, a teenage daughter, over 600 pairs of shoes, and a few very bad dates. Highlights of the evening will include interwoven music provided by the BSO’s Tanglewood Music Composer Fellows, directed by Michael Gandolfi (Composition Head of the TMC), and local singer Vikki True, who will join the production with an array of soul stirring melodies that will support the production. True will then take center stage for a short set of some of her classic R&B/Jazz standards.
tinaWomen of Will by Tina Packer
August 25 at 8:30pm
Featuring: Tina Packer with Nigel Gore

After three years of traveling the world and a four month Off-Broadway run, Women of Willcomes home. By examining passion and intrigue through women’s eyes, we see how Shakespeare himself developed as a human being. Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer is joined by Company veteran actor Nigel Gore

Travels with the Masked Man by John Hadden
August 26 at 8:30pm
Featuring: John Hadden with musical guest Bobby Sweet

Founding Company member John Hadden performs a riveting 50-minute, one-man show based on his book Conversations with a Masked Man: My Father, the CIA, and Me. Bobby Sweet infuses the show with his unique sound. Join them for this journey of deception, “the game” (espionage), and rough filial love. The evening finishes with an intimate concert by local favorite singer/songwriter Bobby Sweet.


SCHEDULE:
August:
11 – 8:30 PM – Via Dolorosa
12 – 8:30 PM – T.S. Eliot and His Love of Shakespeare
18 – 8:30 PM – Door of No Return
19 – 8:30 PM – In Light of Jane
20 – 8:30 PM – Bad Dates
25 – 8:30 PM – Women of Will
26 – 8:30 PM – Travels with the Masked Man

About Shakespeare & Company
Located in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company is one of the largest Shakespeare Festivals in the country. Founded in 1978, the organization attracts over 30,000 patrons annually. The Company is also home to Shakespeare & Company’s internationally renowned Center for Actor Training and nationally renowned and award-winning Education Program. More information is available at www.shakespeare.org.

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