Arts Beat

by Mark G. Auerbach

Elizabeth Stanley in Ragtime at Barrington Stage.

Ragtime and The Birds Fly Into Barrington Stage

A musical theatre classic from the makers of Anastasia and a thriller based on a thriller than inspired Hitchcock fly into Barrington Stage this month..

David Harris in Ragtime at Barrington Stage.

Ragtime, the panoramic musical about the changes in America at the beginning of the 20th century, plays Barrington Stage June 21-July 15. Terrence McNally provides the script and Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty provide the score. Based on E.L. Doctorow’s novel, Ragtime weaves three stories–the tale of an upper class white family; the story of Jewish immigrants newly arrived in America, and that of a bold Harlem musician all in search of the American dream. McNally, Ahrens and Flaherty wrote the Hartford Stage and Broadway hit Anastasia.

Joe Calarco directs Ragtime. Karla Kamp choreographs. The company includes David Harris from the TheaterWorks production of Next to Normal, Elizabeth Stanley from Barrington Stage’s and Broadway’s On The Town, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka from Broadway’s A Little Night Music, and Ann L. Nathan from Broadway’s Thoroughly Modern Millie.

The Birds, which plays Barrington Stage’s St Germain Theatre June 15-July 9, is Conor McPherson’s play inspired by Daphne duMaurier’s short story which inspired Alfred Hitchcok’s thriller of the same name. Julianne Boyd directs, and the cast includes Kathleen McNenny, Sasha Diamond, Christopher Innvar and Rocco Sisto. 

For details: 413-236-8888 or www.barringtonstageco.org.

Steve Hayes in CT. Rep’s Noises Off:

Laughs in Storrs with Noises Off

Noises Off, Michael Frayn’s madcap hilarious farce following a troupe of traveling actors as they rehearse a flop called Nothing’s On, plays Connecticut Repertory Theatre June 15-25 at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre on the campus of the University of Connecticut, in Storrs, CT. Former CRT Artistic Director Vincent J. Cardnial returns to direct, and the production stars Jennifer Cody from Broadway’s Shrek: The Musical, Urinetown, and The Pajama Game stars. Cody voiced Disney’s The Princess and the Frog in the role of Charlotte La Bouff, for which she won an Annie Award for Outstanding Voice Acting in a Feature Production.

Jennifer Cody in CT. Rep’s Noises Off:

Also featured are: Barrymore Award-winner Michael Doherty, seen in last season’s Peter and The Starcatcher, and Steve Hayes, previously seen at CRT in How to Succeed, Xanadu, Gypsy and Seussical the Musical. He’s star of the successful YouTube series Tired Old Queen at the Movies,

For details: 860-486-2113 or www.crt.uconn.edu

Fun Home Plays The Bushnell June 20-25

Fun Home, the 2015 Tony Award-winning musical by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, visits The Bushnell in Hartford as part of its national tour on June 20-25. Kate Shindle stars as Alison Bechdel, the award-winning artist and writer. Robert Petkoff stars as Bechdel’s father.

Kate Shindle in Fun Home at The Bushnell. Photo by Joan Marcus.

The very unique Fun Home is adapted from Bechdel’s memoir of the same name, told in a comic book style, which tells the story of Bechdel’s coming out and her father’s closeted life, and their complicated relationship. Fun Home is possibly the first Broadway musical with a lesbian protagonist. 

Kate Shindle, best known as Miss America 1999, has had a major theatre career, appearing is such productions as Legally Blonde and Cabaret. An outspoken AIDS activist, she is also the current president of Actor’s Equity, the union representing stage actors. Robert Petkoff, an actor with numerous stage and screen credits, may be familiar to Hartford Stage audiences. He starred in Mark Lamos’ 1995 production of Romeo and Juliet opposite the then-unknown Calista Flockhart. 

For details on The Bushnell performances: 860-987-5900 or www.bushnell.org. To watch a preview video of Fun Home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmsBW3tFdI4

Keep in Mind…

Arts Beat Radio welcomes UMass Fine Arts Center’s Shawn Farley on Friday, June 9 8AM-9AM. live from The Press Room in Westfield, MA, on 89.5FM/WSKB. Guest Host Patrick Berry and Shawn Farley talk about the upcoming music, dance and theatre in Amherst.  C’mon down, caffeinate, and watch live radio; or tune in live on the airwaves, on Comcast ch. 15, www.wskb.org or at www.westfieldtv.org

Travels with a Masked Man by John Hadden, launches the On The Stage series at Berkshire Theatre Group’s Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, on June 18. Travels with a Masked Man is a play about deception, “the game” (espionage) and rough filial love. It is a fifty-minute, two-character, solo performance based onHadden’s  book, Conversations with a Masked Man: My Father, the CIA, and Me. For details: 413-997-4444 or www.berkshiretheatregroup.org.

Six By Six By Six, a sextet of playlets and other musical interludes, kicks off the Town of Conway’s 250th anniversary celebration, with performances by Silverthorne Theater on June 9-10 at The Conway’s Sportsman’s Club. The playlets include works by Christopher Durang and Shel Silverstein. Admission is free, but advance reservations are required. For details: 413-369-4301  And, in conjunction with the Conway celebration, a celebration of selected paintings by William Lester Stevens (1888-1969) is on exhibition at The Field Memorial Library in Conway from June 15-18. For exhbition details: www.conwaymasshistory.org.

The Tony Awards, 71st edition, air live on CBS on Sunday, June 11 at 8PM ET. Some contenders with local ties: UMass grad David Korins and his set for War Paint; the musical Come From Away, which had a reading at Goodspeed’s Festival of New Musicals; Denis Jones for his choreography of Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn which began at Goodspeed; Kate Baldwin, a Berkshire Theatre Group regular for her performance in Hello, Dolly!; Anastasia’s Linda Cho, a frequent Hartford Stage designer, for outstanding costumes. Expect to see production numbers from nominated musicals. Kevin Spacey hosts. For details: http://www.tonyawards.com/index.html

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. 

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