by Mark G. Auerbach
At Area Theatres, Hilarity Ensues
Fully Committed, Becky Mode’s side-splitting portrait of a frazzled out-of-work actor who mans the reservations desk at a swank New York restaurant, plays TheaterWorks in Hartford at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Aug. 1-Sept. 1. Playwright Mode, a former actor and waiter, got accolades when the show opened Off-Broadway in 2000.Jesse Tyler Ferguson starred in a Broaway revival three seasons ago. Jamison Stern, who starred as Albin in Goodspeed’s La Cage Aux Folles and TheaterWorks’ production of The Legend of Georgia McBride stars in this solo show as multiple characters who bribe, cajole, and plead for an opportunity to snag a table for two at this A+ List only eatery. Bill Fennelly directs. For details: http://www.theaterworkshartford.org/
Spamilton: An American Parody, the hilarious spoof of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster Hamilton, was the brainchild of orbidden Broadway’s Gerard Alessandrini, is coming to West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park for a limited run, Aug. 14-Sept. 8. A co-presentation of Playhouse on Park and The Bushnell, the national tour has been highly lauded and a sell-out on its coast-to-coast national tour.Alessandrini directs his musical, which the New York Times calls “convulsively funny”. Tickets are available through the Playhouse on Park box-office. For details: www.playhouseonpark.org
Debra Jo Rupp, Berkshires resident, star of TV’s That Seventies Show, and the recent Off-Broaway production o The Cake, which played Barrington Stage, has joined The Board of Trustees at Barrington Stage Compny. Rupp has appeared on the stages of many regional theatre in WMass and Connecticut.
The Chalk Garden,, a comedy by Enid Bagnold, author of National Velvet,comes to the North Hall Arts Festival’s stage in Huntington, MA on August 18t. The mysterious Miss Madrigal can coax flowers to bloom in the chalky soil of England’s Dover cliffs, but she has other comic tricks up her sleeve when it comes to calming an unruly household. The staged reading will feature Susan Daniels, Margery Shaw, Kenneth Tigar, Michelle Joyner, Sandra Blaney and Mitch Giannunzio, with cameos by members of the North Hall board. Admission to the staged reading is free. For details: www.northhallhuntington.org
John Mulaney, one of the most versatile comedians working today, will headline the Mahaiwe Performing Art Center Gala Gala in Great Barrington on Saturday, Aug.10. For details: www.mahaiwe.org
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Albany Berkshire Ballet’s full-length ballet created by Paula Weber, will tour Western New England. After opening in Albany, the troupe will perform at Northampton’s Academy of Music Theatre on Aug. 31, and Pittsfield’s Colonial Theatre on Sept. 7. With enchanting music by Felix Mendelssohn and stunning original set art by Thurston Munson,A Midsummer Night’s Dream is sure to delight all ages and experience levels.For details: https://berkshireballet.org/tickets/
Keep in Mind…
Arts Beat Radio airs every Friday at 8AM, on 89.5fm/WSKB. On July 26, Dennis Akins and I will chat with members of The Capitol Steps in the second of a two part special taped at The Cranwell Resort in Lenox, MA. Meet Bari Biern and Evan Casey, who put the mock in emocracy. ArtsBeat Radio, live on Fridays at 8AM on 89.5fm/WSKB, on Westfield Comcast channel 15, or streamed onwww.wskb.org. And, if you miss an episode, find it on YouTube at WSKB Community Radio’s page
The Greenwood Chamber Players perform on the Sevenars series in Worthington on July 28. The program features the viola d’amore, with its nationally known proponent Matthew Dane, who will share his wealth of knowledge as well as playing Vivaldi’s Concerto in D minor with superb musicians Gregory Hayes (harpsichordist and Dartmouth faculty member) and Gregory Beaver (cellist of the now-disbanded but celebrated Chiara quartet). Along with major works of Bach, Ariosti, and Garth Knox (and fiddle tunes TBA), the program will include the premiere of a new (2019) work by Geoff Hudson, pairing the viola d’amore with the flute artistry of Christina Jennings (a star flutist who happens to be Matthew Dane’s wife)! For details:http://sevenars.org/:
Hartford Stage Summer Youth Programs bring programs to Hartford Classical Magnet School and Hartford Stage. Sleeping Beauty Kids plays the school on July 26-27, followed by Robin Hood and the Heroes of Sherwood Forest on August 1-2. Beauty and The Beast Jr closes the school eries on August 3. At Hartford Stage, the Breakdancing Shakepeare Company performs A Midsummer Night’s Dream on August 1-3, and the Teen Musical group performs the musical,Once Upon A Matress on August 9-10. People know Hartfford Stage for its awar-winning programming, and the robust youth programs are well worth a visit. For details: www.hartfordstage.org.
The Children, Lucy Kirkwood’s timely play, directed by James Warwick, plays Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, July 18-August 18. A 2018 Tony Award Best Play nominee, “The Children deals with pressing issues surrounding environmental change with extraordinary insight, compassion and humor,” says Director James Warwick. “The three characters in the play explore, personally and professionally, how they can contribute to a safer environment for generations to come.”. For etails: www.shakespeare.org.
A Walk in The Woods, Lee Blessing’s comedy/drama is set in the early 80’s toward the end of the Cold War, is part of the New Century Theatre season, directed by its Artistic Director, Sam Rush. Performances are JJuly 26 -August 4.at The West End at Eastworks in Easthampton. For details: www.newcenturytheatre.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. Mark produces and hosts ArtsBeat Radio for 89.5fm/WSKB.