by Mark G. Auerbach
Judd Hirsch Headlines World Premiere at Berkshire Theatre Group
Judd Hirsch, Tony Emmy, Golden Globe, and Obie award winner, stars in the world premiere of The Stone Witch, a new play by Shem Bitterman, which plays the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge, MA through August 20. Steve Zuckerman directs the play, which is produced by Berkshire Theatre Group, in association with Darlene Kaplan Entertainment and Brierpatch Productions, which hopes to move the show to New York.
Hirsch won two Tony Awards for his performances in I’m Not Rappaport and Conversations with My Father. He was Oscar-nominated for his role in the film Ordinary People; he also starred in the TV series Taxi, and Numb3rs.
This cast also features Rupak Ginn (Friends with Benefits), and Drama Desk Award-nominated actress, Kristin Griffith (Broadway’s: A Texas Trilogy: Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander).
According to Kate Maguire, Berkshire Theatre Group’s Artistic Director, in The Stone Witch, Peter, an aspiring children’s book author, is sent to the cabin of his idol, Simon, a reclusive award-winning author and illustrator of children’s books, to help him finish what might be his last book. Desperate to save his own career, Peter hopes to discover the secret of Simon’s genius, but first he must accept the impossible task: helping Simon confront the monsters that populate the woods inside his mind. This darkly humorous play makes us question the cost of success.
Broadway at The Bushnell: If/Then
If/Then, the 2014 musical by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt that brought Idina Menzel back to Broadway after Wicked, opens the Broadway Bushnell series in Hartford on August 3-7. Michael Greif, who directed the Broadway production, has staged the national tour, which tells the story of Elizabeth, a late 30s woman who returns to New York after a divorce to start life anew. Yorkey and Kitt are best known as the authors of the Pulitzer Prize winner Next to Normal. The tour stars Jackie Burns as and Anthony Rapp from the Broadway production.
Jackie Burns plays Elizabeth, the role originated by Idina Menzel. Burns was Menzel’s Broadway standby, and like Menzel, an alum of Wicked. Burns grew up in Middletown and Ivorytown CT. She’s a UConn graduate and a former member of the Connecticut Repertory Theatre. She also won a Connecticut Theatre Critics Circle Award.
The Bushnell’s 2016-2017 season is one of its best in years. The roster includes the Lincoln Center production of The King and I the recent Broadway hits An American in Paris, Fun Home, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and more. The Book of Mormon is planning a return visit to Hartford too. For season details: www.bushnell.org.
WAM Theatre is one of three Berkshire County organizations to be honored at the Massachusetts State House on Nonprofit Awareness Day on June 27. Based in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, WAM Theatre was co-founded in 2010 by Kristen van Ginhoven to create professional theatrical events for everyone, with a focus on women theatre artists and/or stories of women and girls. For information on WAM: www.wamtheatre.com
1Berkshire has announced its finalists for the Trendsetter Awards, to be announced at Tanglewood on September 15. Nominees include: Barrington Stage Company for “Creative Economy Standout” and WAM’s Kristen Van Ginhoven for “Visionary of The Year”. For details: www.1berkshire.com
Selected Shorts: Unforgettable Journeys brings Jane Curtin, Jane Kaczmarek, and Robert Sean Leonard to the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA on August 22. The trio perform moving and comical stories of destinations real and imaginary, far flung, and close at hand, with journeys featuring wild adventures, comic mishaps, and unexpected encounters. Selected Shorts is a weekly public radio show broadcast on more than 150 stations around the country. It is produced by Symphony Space and distributed by Public Radio International. For details: 413.528.0100 or www.mahaiwe.org
Ira Glass, the Peabody Award-winning host of NPR’s This American Life, will perform his one-man multimedia show, Seven Things I’ve Learned: An Evening with Ira Glass at The Bushnell in Hartford on November 12. Glass’ appearance is a benefit for the Mark Twain House and Museum. This American Life is heard each week by over 2.2 million listeners on more than 500 NPR stations in the United States, Australia and Canada, with another 2.2 million downloading each podcast. For years, it was the most popular podcast on iTunes, until the staff created the program Serial, which has over 8 million people downloading each episode. Glass went on to host the Emmy-winning version of This American Life on Showtime for two seasons. For details: 860-987-5900 or www.bushnell.org.
Keep in Mind…
Breakdancing Shakespeare, the innovative theatre collaboration between.Hartford Stage Young Company and the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s Neighborhood Studios, performs Romeo and Juliet at Hartford Stage on August 11-13. The cast features area teens who have
studied theatre this summer. This is the 10th season that Hartford Stage has brought Breakdancing Shakespeare to the community. For
Sevenars Concerts showcases piano quartets and more from the Manchester Music Festival on July 31 in Worthington, MA. The program will include Mozart’s universally loved Piano Quartet in G Minor, Rachmaninoff’s magnificent Sonata for Piano and Cello, and Fauré’s transcendent Piano Quartet in C Minor. Ben Capps is guest cellist. For details: www.sevenars.org.
Mark G. Auerbach studied theatre at American University and the Yale School of Drama. He’s worked for arts organizations and reported on theatre for newspapers and radio.