Made in the Berkshires
The Berkshires come alive on Columbus Day Weekend (October 10-12) with the fourth annual “Made in the Berkshires” festival, at The Berkshire Theatre Group’s Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield and the Unicorn Theatre on the BRG campus in Stockbridge. Local artists and local art are showcased in theatre, film, music, dance, and visual arts.
On Sunday, October 12, Music Inn and Berkshire Theatre Group present “Jay and The Americans” a part of Made in the Berkshires and a benefit for Music Inn Archives at The Colonial Theatre. Known for their hits “Cara Mia,” “This Magic Moment,” “Crying,” and “Sunday and Me,” “Jay and The Americans” were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002, placing them among the greatest vocal groups in rock and roll history. “Jay and the Americans”’ ties to the Berkshires stretch back to the legendary Music Inn in Lenox where they were presented by impresario David Rothstein.
One of the participating groups is Berkshire Pulse, whose dancers, both teens and adults, will be performing Friday and Saturday at Made in the Berkshires, with choreography by Artistic Director/Founder Bettina Montano, Andrea Blacklow and Ellen Gorman.
Gorman, a professional dancer and choreographer from the Berkshires, left the area to dance professionally in New York and Boston. Later, she combined dance and arts administration with a theatre company, before returning to The Berkshires to live and work. When she’s not choreographing or dancing with Berkshire Pulse, she’s the communications head of The Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative. She believes that arts in education is a vital necessity for building the next generation, and should be on everyone’s priority list.
Gorman says, I am definitly “Made in the Berkshires”. I grew up here and then left for New York because as choreographer Bettina Montano says, “you have to go, to grow”. I did, and now I am ‘back in the Berkshires’ and so very happy to see that arts and culture are booming, and so grateful to be dancing with Berkshire Pulse.”
For tickets and information: 413-997-4444 or www.berkshiretheatregroup.org.
“Annapurna” Opens TheaterWorks New Season
“Annapurna”, Sharr White’s often funny and often gutwrenching story about a reunion of two lovers gone wrong, opens TheaterWorks season (through November 9). Rob Ruggiero, TheaterWorks Artistic Director (who returns to Hartford after staging Goodspeed’s “Fiddler on The Roof”) directs.
After twenty years apart, Emma (Debra Jo Ruff) tracks down her ex-husband, cowboy poet Ulysses (Vasili Bogazianos) to a trailer park in the wilds of Colorado. In a grungy trailer, he is working on his magnum opus, while hooked up to an oxygen tank, and cooking in the buff. Their reunion, charged by pain and compassion is both healing and humorous and a final reckoning that neither of them saw coming.
Sharr White’s “The Other Place” was produced last year on Broadway, at Barrington Stage in Pittsfield, and at TheaterWorks. “Annapurna” was produced at The Chester Theatre Company earlier this summer.
Area audiences know Debra Jo Ruff from her portrayal of Dr. Ruth Westheimer off-Broadway, in Hartford, and Pittsfield. She was featured in the TV series “That 70s Show”. Vasili Bogazianos played Benny Sago on “All My Children”, and in roles on “Edge of Night”, “As The World Turns”, and “The Young And The Restless”.
For tickets: 860-527-7838 or http://theaterworkshartford.org/
Carolyn Kuan, Hartford Symphony Conductor, made her Washington National Opera debut at The Kennedy Center, conducting the WNO production of the new opera, “Florencia in The Amazon”. It’s inspired by the writings of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the opera, by Daniel Catan and Marcela Fuentes-Bertain. Kuan just returned from conducting the premiere of “dr. Sun Yat-sen” at Santa Fe Opera, and she makes her Glimmerglass Opera Festival debut next summer, conducting “The Magic Flute”..
Keep in Mind…
***Regina Carter, the jazz violinist, brings her “Southern Comfort” southern jazz concert to the UMass/Amherst Fine Arts Center’s Bowker Auditorium on thursday, October 9. She’ll be joined by Will Holshouser on accordion, Marvin Sewell on guitar, Jess Murphy on bass, and Alvester Garnett on drums. “Southern Comfort” is Carter’s heavily researched and beautifully recorded tribute to the music of her grandfather’s time and place; he toiled as a coalminer in rural Alabama. For tickets: 413-545-2511 or 800-999-UMASS or www.fineartscenter.com.
***The Oven, a monologue written and performed by Ilan Stavans and directed by Matthew Glassman, recounts a life-transforming experience with hallucinogenics. Stavans, one of today’s preeminent essayists, cultural critics, and translators, is a professor at Amherst College. There’s one performance on Sunday, October 12. For tickets: 413-256-4900 or www.yiddishbookcenter.org
***An Enemy of The People, Ibsen’s classic, as adapted by Arthur Miller, plays Barrington Stage in Pittsfield through October 19. Julianne Boyd directs. This powerful drama explores the impact of polluted waters in a small town and the consequences of uncovering the truth. Arthur Miller adapted Ibsen’s classic play in response to the political climate fostered by McCarthyism in 1950, but the play is still shockingly relevant today. For tickets: 413-236-8888 or www.barringtonstageco.org.
***Ted Vigil’s John Denver Musical Tribute returns to Springfield’s CityStage on Saturday, October 11. Vigil brought another John Denver tribute concert to town last year. For tickets: 413-788-7033 or www.citystage.symphonyhall.com.
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.