By Mark G. Auerbach
The Bushnell’s Broadway Series is ready for a comeback, having been silenced by the pandemic, which shut down the 2019-20 season, and postponed the 2020-21 season. The season will include shows previously announced, but postponed, including: Jimmy Buffet’s Escape to Margaritaville (October 12-17); the Tony Award winners The Band’s Visit (Nov. 16-21) and Dear Evan Hansen (March 29-April 3).. What The Constitution Means to Me (Jan. 26-30), My Fair Lady (March 8-13), Blue Man Group (March 17-20), and Pretty Woman: The Musical (April 26-May 1) play Hartford, before the return of the blockbuster Hamilton (June 22-July 10). Mean Girls and Hadestown are still Hartford-bound, but dates are not finalized. For details: www.bushnell.org.
Berkshire Theatre Group announces Summer Season
Berkshire Theatre Group’s 2021 summer season will be held outdoors, with some performances in a tent at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, and others outdoors under a tent at the Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge, and the Courtyard at The Unicorn Theatre. Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest, staged by Pulitzer Prize winner David Auburn, kicks off the theatre offerings at the Fitzpatrick, June 18-July 10. David Adkins, Corinna May, and Rebecca Brooksher, all BTG regulars, co-star. Christina Ham’s Nina Simone: Four Women, a play with music imagining a conversation between the music legend and three women, will be staged by Gerry McIntyre, Aug. 13-Sept. 5 in the Unicorn courtyard, where Truman Capote’s Holiday Memories was presented outdoors during the holidays. The Wizard of Oz, directed by E. Gray Simons III with choreography by Isadora Wolfe, plays under a big tent at The Colonial July 23-Aug. 15. Broadway legends Kelli O’Hara (June 25-26) and Norm Lewis (July 2-3) join the Colonial Concert Series in Pittsfield. Additional casting and programs will be announced later. For details: www.berkshiretheatregroup.org.
Shakespeare & Company announces Summer Shakespeare
Shakespeare & Company will launch its 2021 season with a production of Shakespeare’s King Lear, featuring acclaimed actor and three-time Emmy winner Christopher Lloyd. Directed by Nicole Ricciardi, King Lear (July 2-Aug. 29) will be the first production in The New Spruce Theatre, a new outdoor amphitheater situated underneath the towering spruce trees on the Shakespeare & Company campus. Shakespeare & Company will also offer two productions in the Roman Garden Theatre. Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey, an autobiographical solo show written and performed by Debra Ann Byrd and directed by Tina Packer, runs July 16-25 in the Roman Garden Theatre. A workshop production of Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure, directed by Alice Reagan, runs Sept. 1-5. In addition, the Company will feature a lineup of contemporary productions to be announced soon. For details: www.shakespeare.org.
The Laramie Project, the powerhouse story of gay teen Matthew Shepard and his brutal murder in Wyoming, was turned into a stage production by Moisés Kaufman and the Members of Tectonic Theater Project, who went to Laramie to interview the townspeople. Barrington Stage Company’s Youth Theatre presents a streamed version of the play, April 23-25. It’s performed by high school students in WMass, under the direction of Hannah Katz. For details. www.barringtonstageco.org.
The 2021 Bach Festival and Symposium, a virtual event April 20-25, hosted by the UMass Amherst Department of Music and Dance, celebrates the music of Johann Sebastian Bach with concerts, workshops, and symposiums featuring world-class artists and scholars, UMass music faculty, and students from the department. This is the fourth Bach Festival hosted by UMass. The 2021 Festival culminates with a live streamed performance on April 25 by renowned cellist Matt Haimovitz featuring premieres by David Sanford and Luna Pearl Woolf. For details: https://blogs.umass.edu/bach/
Mark G. Auerbach studied theatre at American University and The Yale School of Drama. He has worked for arts organizations nationwide, and reported on the arts for print and broadcast. Mark produces and hosts ArtsBeat and On The Mark for WCPC15 and 89.5fm/WSKB, and he’s a regular contributor to Pioneer Valley Radio.