by Mark G. Auerbach
Broadway Week Returns, September 5-18
Broadway’s on sale in September with two-for-one tickets available for many Broadway hits. Some of the participating shows include: Alladin, Cats, Chicago The Color Purple, Holiday Inn, The Lion King, and yes, Wicked. Sorry, no Book of Mormon or Hamilton. Order
them early. For details: http://www.nycgo.com/broadway-week
Eat. Art. Love. The UMass Fine Arts Center Announces Season
It’s a virtual banquet of riches, from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre to the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Once. The upcoming UMass Fine Arts Center Series in Amherst has so much going for it this year. On the jazz front, Marcus Roberts and Terrence Blanchard return to Amherst, and Aaron Diehl and Cecile McLorin Salvant salute the music of Jelly Roll Morton and George Gershwin. Australia’s Sydney Dance Company is on the roster, as are the Shanghai Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China, and the incredible Les 7 Doigts de la Main’s:Cusine and Confessions (they created the stunning acrobatics in the recent Broadway revival of Pippin.
The season opens on September 24, with Alan Cumming from Broadway’s Cabaret and TV’s The Good Wife, in which Cumming played Eli Gold. He brings his hit one-man show, Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs, to Amherst. This is one of the area’s must-see performances of the year.
For details: 413-545-2511, 800-999-UMASS or www.fineartscenter.com The Fine Arts Center’s website has links to all of the events, information on collaborations witharea restaurants, and information on ticket discounts for students and kids.
The “Summer Theatre Season” Extended
For those of you who think that the Berkshires Summer Theatre Season ends at the close of White Shoe Season on Labor Day. think again. The Berkshire Theatre Group, Barrington Stage Company, and the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center have vibrant fall season offerings. The Berkshires will be resplenent in fall foliage colors, but the leaf peepers tend to stick to the roads. You can get some good dinner and theatre in, without waiting in line behind the summer tourists.
Barrington Stage / Pittsfield
A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, tells the story of a 50-year old correspondence between two childhood friends whose relationship weathers time and distance. Julianne Boyd stages the hit with Debra Jo Rupp and Mark H. Dold co-starring,
September 22-October 2. Many saw Love Letters, when it played Hartford last winter with Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal as co-stars. The stunt casting did little to bring out the subtleties of a magnificent script. Here’s that chance to revisit a gem.!
Camping with Henry and Tom, an early play by Mark St. Germain, will be staged at Barrington Stage by Christopher Innvar, October 5-23. Set in 1921, it’s the story of Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and President Warren G. Harding, who went camping in the Maryland woods. Camping with Henry and Tom is an exploration of friendship, politics and leadership—a comedic and dramatic clash of two great minds and one great heart of the twentieth century. Camping With Henry and Tom had its world premiere at Berkshire Theatre Festival in 1993 and had a lsuccessful, award-winning Off-Broadway run in 1995.
Barrington Stage is bringing back Christopher Demos-Brown’s riveting American Son, with original director Julianne Boyd and stars Tamara Tunie and Michael Hayden, September 14-25. In my mind, this play is so important right now, because it profiles racial profiling and racism in tough times. But, it’s also must-see theatre, whichleft me pondering about its themes months after its premiere in June.
Berkshire Theatre Group / Stockbridge
BTG and WAM Theatre, two very different Berkshires theatre companies, are co-producing the American premiere of Kate Cayley’s The Bakelite Masterpiece, staged by WAM’s Co-Founder and Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven at Berkshire Theatre Festival’s Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, MA, September 29-October 23. David Adkins and Corinna May co-star.
It’s the end of World War II, and Holland is in chaos. The artist Van Meegeren is arrested. His crime? Selling a long-lost painting by the Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer to the Nazi Leader, Hermann Goering. His defense? It was a perfect forgery painted by him. His proof? In front of his prosecutor Geert Piller, art historian and resistance fighter, he must paint another flawless Vermeer to save his life. The Bakelite Masterpiece is a play that debates beauty, faith, memory and the reconstruction of a country.
Both Adkins and May are frequent performers at Berkshire Theatre Group, and WAM is a company worth seeing. The Bakelite Masterpiece, along with Berkshire Theatre Group’s Made in The Berkshires, and the array of music bookings at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, are well worth the trip up the MassPike.
The Mahaiwe / Great Barrington
The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington has some great fall offerings, including Ramblin’ Jack Elliott (October 14), Mike Daisey’s The Trump Card (October 20), Arlo Guthrie (October 30), Melissa Etheridge (December 9), and John Pizzarelli (December 11). For classical music lovers, The Mahaiwe will present a concert by world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Alessio Bax on (October 28).
For details: www.mahaiwe.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.