By Mark G. Auerbach
Barrington Stage Revises Season
Barrington Stage Company (BSC) will produce a reduced and reprogrammed 2020 season starting in August, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.With the exception of Arthur Miller’s The Price, the announced productions for the 2020 season will be postponed to 2021, including Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific; Richard Greenberg’s The Assembled Parties; Ain’t Misbehavin’, directed and choreographed by Camille A. Brown; Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap; Nilo Cruz’s Anna in the Tropics; Joseph Dougherty’s Chester Bailey; the world premiere musical, A Crossing, co-conceived by Joshua Bergasse and Mark St. Germain; and the Youth Theatre’s world premiere musical, The Supadupa Kid. Two of BSC’s venues, the St. Germain Theatre and Mr. Finn’s Cabaret, will be closed for the season. All BSC performances will take place either at the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage, or at a soon-to-be-announced outdoor venue in Pittsfield, MA.
Out of precaution for actors, creative teams, staff and audiences, BSC will employ best safety practices, including reducing the 520-seat Mainstage to one third of its capacity; increasing the distance between rows and seats; and deep cleaning the theatre after every performance, among other measures. Patrons will be required to wear masks until further notice. BSC will follow all Actor’s Equity Association health and safety standards as they become available.
The Boyd-Quinson Mainstage Season
In addition to The Price (October 1-18), the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage season will now include the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway solo show Harry Clarke (August 5-16), by David Cale, starring Mark H. Dold and a return engagement of BSC’s enormously popular 10×10 New Play Festival (September 10-20). Harry Clarke and The Price will be directed by Julianne Boyd. The 10×10 New Play Festival is directed by Ms. Boyd and Matthew Penn.
The Mainstage will also host BSC’s Monday Night Concert Series, featuring the legendary jazz and cabaret singer Marilyn Maye (August 24), and singer/songwriter Ann Hampton Callaway performing The Linda Ronstadt Songbook, with Billy Stritch at the piano (August 31).
On September 5, the Mainstage will host a reading of Eleanor, a new one-woman play about the life of Eleanor Roosevelt by Mark St. Germain, and starring Tony Award-winner Harriet Harris.
At An Outdoor Venue
In anticipation of South Pacific in 2021, BSC will present South Pacific: In Concert (August 21-23) at a soon-to-be-announced outdoor venue in Pittsfield. These outdoor performances, which will also employ all social distancing practices being utilized in the Mainstage, are an opportunity to bring the Pittsfield community together to experience live entertainment after months of isolation.
For details: www.barringtonstageco.org.
Jazz in July, the annual summer symposium and series at the Umass Fine Arts center, has been cancelled. The producers are looking to provide an online series.
Playhouse on Park has revised the remainder of its current season. The play Ugly Lies The Bone has been cancelled, and DIVAS has been postponed. Lauren Gunderson’s The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful and Her Dog, a Theatre for Young Audiences production, and the musical It Shoulda Been You should open as previously scheduled. For details: www.playhouseonpark.org
TheaterWorks has revised its season schedule. The production of Fun Home, scheduled for the end of the season, will be part of the 2020-21 season, and the production of Every Brilliant Thing, which was shuttered early in its run, will be brought back. For details: www.twhartford.org.
The University of Massachusetts Fine Arts Center will be renamed in honor of the late Dr. Randolph W. Bromery, a former UMass chancellor. Bromery oversaw the construction of the Fine Arts Center. Initially a geology professor, Bromery, a life-long lover of jazz and a saxophonist, helped bring jazz legends to the FAC, including Max Roach, Archie Shepp, and Fred Tillis. Roach and Tillis, along with Billy Taylor, founded the Jazz in July program.
Peter H. Hunt, acclaimed lighting designer, and director of the stage and screen versions of 1776 has died. He served as Artistic Director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival from 1989-1995. His Broadway credits besides 1776, for which he won a Tony Award, were Georgy, Goodtime Charley, and The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Hershey Felder, the actor/musician who has brought portraits of Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, and Bernstein to area stages will livestream a performance of Hershey Felder as irving Berlin from Florence, Italy on Sunday May 10, at 8PM. 50% of the proceeds will benefit The Berkshire Theatre Group, who presented Felder at The Colonial Theatre last summer. Advance reservations and payment required. For details: https://www.berkshiretheatregroup.org/event/live-from-florence-italy-hershey-felder-as-irving-berlin/
The Majestic Theater will present a series of programs online. Subscribers and single ticket patrons that did not see The Pitch, Stan Freeman’s play which closed mid-run because of the Covid19 pandemic, can watch the the archival video of the production through May 17. Behind the Curtain at the Majestic, a series hosted by The Majestic’s producing director Danny Eaton airs Sundays at 2PM. Eaton will interview different guests who have been involved in iconic productions at the theater over the past 23 years, taking viewers behind the scenes to learn what goes into creating their favorite plays. For tdetails: www.majestictheater.com
Playhouse on Park in West Hartford is creating online theatrical events and activities. Dance with Darlene: with Co-Founder/Co-Artistic Director, Darlene Zoller, is teaching dance and exercise classes daily on Facebook Live. “Like” Playhouse on Park Theatre on Facebook, and tune in daily at noon. Shoot the Sh*t with Sean: features Sean Harris, Playhouse on Park’s Co-Founder/Co-Artistic Director, for a weekly chat via Facebook Live.Saturday at 11am. For details: www.playhouseonpark.org.
TheaterWorks upcoming online events include: The Living Room Concert Series (Wednesdays at 7:30PM on Facebook and Instagram). Hartford singer/songwriter Qwest appears on May 13; fiddler Leenya Rideout from TW’s production of Woody Sez, performs on May 20. Rob Ruggiero’s series Get Sauced (Thursdays at 5PM on Instagram) features Broadway star Christiane Noll (who starred in Next to Normal at TW) on May 7. Rob along with Eric Ort and Taneisha Duggan will announce the 2020-21 season on May 14; Hartford Stage’s Melia Bensussen and Goodspeed’s Donna Lynn Hilton join Rob on May 21. For details: www.trwhartford.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, and is a contributor to Pioneer Valley Radio.