By Mark G. Auerbach
Berkshire Theatre Group has added several Broadway stars in concert, plus the Bobbie’s Summer Series to its robust line-up of plays and musicals this summer. The Colonial Concert Series in Pittsfield welcomes Tony Award nominee Carolee Carmello, who starred in the national tour of Hello, Dolly! which played The Bushnell last year. Stage and screen star Krysta Rodriguez and Tony Award winner Stephanie J. Block are on the roster, along with Dear Evan Hansen’s Rachel Bay Jones are featured. And Broadway couple Kate Baldwin and Graham Rowat, seen at BTG in A Little Night Music and Bells Are Ringing return. Baldwin co-starred opposite Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! Rowat starred in BTG’s Church and State. Bobbie’s Summer Series in Stockbridge features Berkshires native Michael Wartella. For details: www.berkshiretheatregroup.org.
Goodspeed Musicals has announced the return of its popular Goodspeed by The River concert series, featuring Broadway standards, previews of new musicals, and more under a tent. This year’s series, which kicks off June 10, will include Turn Back Time: Ben & Dee Rock the 70s, 80s and Beyond, a classic rock-infused concert starring Ben Clark and Dee Roscioli followed by two acts in repertory. Alternating nights will be Bennett & Babs: The Songs of Tony Bennett and Barbra Streisand featuring Broadway actors Jackie Burns (from Broadway;s Wicked) and Joe Cassidy and Ambassador of Love: a Celebration of Pearl Bailey featuring Broadway and Goodspeed alumna Rashidra Scott. Ambassador of Love will play an extended run and continue in repertory with Together Again: Max & Celeste Sing Their Broadway Favorites, an evening of Broadway tunes performed by stars of Goodspeed’s hit new musical Passing Through, Max Chernin and Celeste Rose. Next will be the rollicking Johnny and The Devil’s Box, a concert version of the new musical showcasing a selection of tunes led by the show’s writer/performer Douglas Waterbury-Tieman joined by singer Annabelle Fox and a sizzling bluegrass band. For details: www.goodspeed.org.
Martin Miller, President of New England Public Media, is stepping down this Fall, after three decades of work in public broadcasting. He will continue in his role until a successor is named, and then will move into a senior counsel role focused on new fundraising efforts for NEPM’s music endowment, journalism and engagement priorities. He orchestrated the move of NEPM’s studios from UMass to Springfield, forged an alliance between New England Public Radio and WGBY Public Television and more. For details: www.nepm.org.
The Hartford Symphony Orchestra and four other Connecticut orchestras are coming together to help local music teachers with a series of recorded, live, and online services to encourage students to join the school’s instrumental ensembles. In association with the New Haven Symphony, Eastern Connecticut Symphony, Stamford Symphony Orchestra, and Waterbury Symphony Orchestra, these programs are free to teachers and students. For details: https://sites.google.com/view/ct-orchestras/home
The Berkshire Theatre Critics Association, after a year of expectation, will resume its exploration of all things theatrical in the Berkshire Region which the group identifies as all of Berkshire County, Southern Vermont including Dorset and Weston, Eastern New York State from Schenectady and Catskill to the Mass border, Northern Connecticut, and the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts. Member critics, myself among them, will once again be reviewing shows and writing articles about the many theater companies in this region and the Association will be resuming its annual award ceremony, “The Berkies,” in November. For details: www.berkshirecritics.org
The Springfield Symphony Youth Orchestras are seeking musicians to join its two orchestras for their 2021-2022 season. Auditions are taking place virtually by video and registration for ages 10-19 of all instrument levels is open through June 5. There are openings in both ensembles, The Springfield Youth Sinfonia conducted by Marsha Hassett; and the Springfield Youth Orchestra, under the baton of Jonathan Lam. For details: www.springfieldsymphony.org/springfield-symphony-youth-orchestras.
The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington will begin a series of indoor film screenings, with La La Land (May 28), Glory (May 29), Cool Hand Luke (June 4) and Hairspray original 1988 film (June 5). Audience numbers will be capped for social distancing, masks will be required, and concessions will not be available. The Mahaiwe just installed new air-filtering to ensure public safety. For details: www.mahaiwe.org.
Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative will again be hosting three virtual screenwriting workshops with Hollywood producer and agent Marilyn Atlas, beginning June 3. Enrollment is limited. For details: berkshirefilm.org.
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.