By Mark G. Auerbach
Hartford Stage has met the $1,000,000 Matching Challenge issued by a coalition of donors last January, and has surpassed their $6,000,000 Raise The Curtain fundraising goal for the season. The theatre reopens with live, in-person performances of Eugene O’Neill’s only comedy, Ah, Wilderness! on Oct. 14. For season details: www.hartfordstage.org.
Art, Yasmina Reza’s Tony Award winning play, comes to Shakespeare & Company, July 30-Aug. 22. Friendship is tested among three longtime friends, when one decides to purchase “a work of art.” The comedy is staged by Christopher V. Edwards in the outdoor Roman Gardens theatre. For details: www.shakespeare.org.
The Christopher Boy’s Communion, David Mamet’s provocative new drama, has its East Coast premiere at Great Barrington Public Theatre, July 29-Aug. 8. The cast features some of the finest Berkshires actors around including Keira Naughton, David Adkins, and Kevin O’Rourke. For details: https://www.greatbarringtonpublictheater.org/productions
Into The Woods, Stephen Sondheim’s and James Lapine’s take on classic fairy tales and what happens after “happily ever after,” is Connecticut Shakespeare’s second production of their premiere season, running at Playhouse on Park in West Hartford through Aug. 22. Sean Harris directs. Into The Woods features Cinderella, Jack (of Beanstalk fame), Rapunzel, and other characters facing adult situations in the woods. For details: www.ConnecticutShakespeareFestival.org.
Project Grand Slam, Robert Miller’s rock, jazz, and Latin fusion band, performs a benefit at and for Shakespeare & Company on Aug. 17 in the Tina Packer Playhouse. Miller is a longtime Stockbridge resident. For details: www.shakespeare.org.
Berkshire Theatre Group continues its summer concert series at The Unicorn Theatre showcasing local talent that moved on to the national arena. Michael Fabrizio, Berkshires native and Nashville recording artist, returns home on July 31. As a solo performer, Michael penned five albums working with Grammy award-winning producer Nick Sparks and Nashville legend Kent Wells. In 2016, Michael formed Fabrizio and the Fever, a band of friends and musical powerhouses, and began to tour and perform as a band for the first time in his career. Mike Wartella, Berkshires native and Broadway star (Wicked) and a regular on the regional theatre circuit (Chasing Rainbows at Goodspeed and Godspell at Berkshire Theatre Group) returns home on August 6. He’ll perform original music and some standards. For details: www.berkshiretheatregroup.org.
Sevenars presents violinist Alexia Walls and pianist Lynelle James in a program of Handel, Fauré, Gershwin, Kreisler, and Piazzolla on Aug. 8 in Worthington. Alexis has performed since age 12, including a concerto appearance at The Kennedy Center and for Pope John Paul II in Rome, while Lynelle performed since age 5, appearing at 8 with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra in New Zealand and in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. For details: www.sevenars.org.
Dallas Black Dance Theatre makes its Jacob’s Pillow debut Aug. 4-8 in the outdoor Henry J. Leir stage. The contemporary modern dance company performs a Pillow-commissioned world premiere by sought-after choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie, celebrated for his work with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, and Dance Theatre of Harlem. For details: https://www.jacobspillow.org/events/dallas-black-dance-theatre-2021-leir-stage/
The Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s Talcott Mountain Music Festival in Simsbury, CT closes its 25th season with the tribute band Super Diamond joining the HSO for a salute to Neil Diamond on July 30 (rain date July 31). Adam Boyles conducts. And the evening includes fireworks. For details: www.hartfordsymphony.org.
The North Hall Arts Festival in Huntington opens its 11th season on Aug. 1, with the Khalif Neville Trio on the Huntington Town Common. Wild Thyme Band follows on Aug. 15, with Celtic folk music. On August 29, Old Country Road Band performs vintage country tunes. The Bob Sparkman Trio performs on Sept. 12, followed by Jose? Gonza?lez & Criollo Cla?sico on Sept. 19. For details: www.northhallhuntington.org
Boca, a collection of short comedies about seniors in the Sunshine State penned by Jessica Provenz, has its world premiere at Barrington Stage, directed by Julianne Boyd. Area favorite Debra Jo Rupp leads the cast, which includes Gilbert Cruz from TV’s Pose; April Ortiz from Broadway’s In The Heights; and Kenneth Tiger, Peggy Pharr Wilson and Robert Zuckermasn from Barrington’s annual 10×10 New Play Festival. Boca runs until August 29 at BSC’s Production Center in Pittsfield. For details: www.barringtonstageco.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, Athenaeum Spotlight and On The Mark for WCPC15 and 89.5fm/WSKB. He’s a regular contributor to Pioneer Valley Radio and a member of the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association.