The First Annual Berkshire Theatre Awards (The Berkies) were awarded in Pittsfield MA. on Sunday November 13th. The location for the ceremony was Mr. Finn’s Cabaret and due to the overwhelming response from the Berkshire Theatre community, next years event is already being planned for a larger facility. Although Two-Time Tony Award Winner William Finn did not have a show in contention this year, he was on hand to accept for some artists who could not attend in person. Mr. Finn’s Tony Award Winning musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was launched in the Berkshires at Barrington Stage Co.
Seventeen arts journalists voted on 120 nominees in 25 categories chosen from artists in the 75 live theatre productions mounted in Berkshire County and adjacent areas between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016. Times Square Chronicles music editor and theatre critic Stephen Sorokoff is one of the voters along with the other members of The Berkshire Theatre Critics Association: Mark G. Auerbach of the Westfield News Group, Peter Bergman of Berkshire Bright Focus and the Berkshire Edge, Jeffrey Borak of the Berkshire Eagle, theatre historian Bob Bruyr, Dan Dwyer of Off Script, Helen Epstein of Arts Fuse, Bob Goepfert of the Troy Record and WAMC, Charles Giuliano of Berkshire Fine Arts, Rex Hearn of the Berkshire Record, Macey Levin of Berkshire on Stage, Gloria Miller of Curtain Up, Larry Murray of Berkshire on Stage, Chris Rohmann of the Valley Advocate, Fred Sokol of Talkin’ Broadway, Bob Sugarman of Theatre Talk, and Sally Sugarman of WBTN and More Theatre Talk. Also participating in the program but not voting are Gail M. Burns and Ed Sedarbaum.
The Berkshire theatrical community was brought together by Larry Murray who has long promoted the idea of a Berkshire Theatre Awards program and in his honor the Founders committee did create the Larry Murray Award which is given to a person or theatre project that advances social, political, or community issues. Larry personally presented this year’s award to Julianne Boyd founder/artistic director of Barrington Stage Co. Shakespeare & Company and Barrington Stage Co, were big winners this year. BSC’s productions of The Pirates of Penzance and American Son took top honors. Will Swenson, Tamara Tunie, Debra Jo Rupp, John Hadden, Andre Ware, and Jeff McCarthy were also recipients of Berkshire Theatre Awards.
(For complete photos of The First Annual Berkshire Theatre Awards go to Broadwayworld.com)
The Winners of The First Annual Berkshire Theatre Awards
Supporting Performance (Female) Intimate Theatre – Dana Harrison in Holy Laughter (WAM Theatre)
Supporting Performance (Male) Intimate Theatre – Jeff McCarthy in Broadway Bounty Hunter (BSC)
Direction of Musical – Intimate Theatre – Julianne Boyd – Broadway Bounty Hunter (BSC)
Choreography – Large Theatre – Joshua Bergasse Pirates of Penzance (BSC)
Costume Design – Play or Musical – Jess Goldstein Pirates of Penzance (BSC)
Choreography – Intimate Theatre – Jeffrey Page -Broadway Bounty Hunter (BSC)
Direction – Intimate Theatre – Eric Tucker Cry Havoc (Shakespeare & Co)
Lighting Design – Play or Musical Jason Lyons Pirates of Penzance (BSC)
Supporting Performance (Male) Large Theatre John Hadden The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare) & Andre Ware – American Son (BSC)
Scenic Design Play or Musical – Beowulf Borritt – Pirates of Penzance (BSC)
Sound Design Play or Musical- Scott Kilian – Constellations (Berkshire Theatre Group)Male Actor (Male) – Intimate THeatre- Stephan Wolfert – Cry Havoc (Shakespeare & Co.)
Actor (Female) Intimate Theatre- Debra Jo Rupp – Kimberly Akimbo (BSC)
Direction Musical – Large Theatre – John Rando – Pirates of Penzance (BSC)
Production of a New Musical – Broadway Bounty Hunter (BSC)
Production of Musical Intimate Theatre – Broadway Bounty Hunter (BSC)
Performance Male Actor – Large Theatre – Will Swenson – Pirates of Penzance (BSC)
Production of Play- Intimate Theatre – Cry Havoc (Shakespeare & Co.)
Performance Supporting Female Actor – Large Theatre – Nehassaiu Degannes -Or (Shakespeare) & Scarlett Strallen – Pirates of Penzance (BSC)
Direction of Play – Large Theatre – Julianne Boyd – American Son (BSC)
Performance Female Actor – Large Theatre – Tamara Tunie – American Son (BSC)
Production of New Play – American Son – (BSC)
Production of Musical – Large Theatre – Pirates of Penzance (BSC)
Production of Play – Large Theatre – American Son (BSC)
Larry Murray Award – Julianne Boyd
(Complete photo coverage of The Berkshire Theatre Awards can be found on Broadwayworld.com)
My View: Barrington Stage Co. on 42nd Street Oct. 30 For Its Gala at Green Room 42
The evening of cocktails, dinner, and cabaret show headlined by Billy Stritch celebrates the inaugural season of newly appointed Artistic Director Alan Paul and Managing Director Lynsey Shade.
Proceeds from the Gala will benefit the Julianne Boyd New Works Fund.
Mary Ann and Bruno Quinson are presenting the event which is sponsored in part by Rhoda Levitt. Eda Sorokoff is Chair with Violet Eagan & Rosita Sarnoff Co-Chairs
Since its inception in 1995, Barrington Stage (BSC) has produced 41 new works, 21 of which have moved on to New York and major regional theatres around the country.
BSC believes that new work is the heart and soul of theatre. If theatre is to thrive and create meaningful and new experiences for audiences, then it is vital to support playwrights and their visions of the world we live in.
BSC’s New Works Fund takes a two-pronged approach – PlayWorks supports the creation of new plays while our acclaimed Musical Theatre Lab develops new musicals. In both of these programs, BSC seeks artists whose unique voices speak to our audiences with relevant new plays and musicals. BSC hopes our new work will ask questions of the world we live in – questions that may not have answers but will begin a dialogue between the artists and our audiences.
My View: A Cult Following At Birdland For The Hilarity of CASHINO
I had no idea what I was walking into, but boy, oh, boy….am I glad we went. Birdland was packed last night for a return engagement of CASHINO which stars Susie Mosher and John Boswell. These two have, literally, built a cult following as Pepper Cole and Johnny Niagara with this unexpected piece of hilarity and music. It is so fresh, so funny, so crazy and so original that all I can say is, “You had to be there.” Thank you for such a memorable evening and Congratulations! I hope these photos give you some idea of what fun this evening was.
My View: Mr. Finn’s Cabaret Audience Enthralled by Hugh Panaro Debut at Barrington Stage Co.
It was an absolute thrill to see Hugh Panaro make his Barrington Stage Company Cabaret Series debut at Mr. Finn’s. The accomplished actor has one of the finest voices in the current landscape of performers you will find on Broadway or anywhere else in the world. Hugh has a unique and interesting career of achievements and experiences, and the young man originally from Philadelphia, is a gifted storyteller with a voice that just never ceases to amaze in color, range, power, simplicity and feelings that explode in warmth, rage, romance, humor and plenty of musical performance thrills. No adornments. Just pure and communicative. To be a part of this special evening, in such an intimate setting, with Musical Director/Arranger Joseph Thalken on the piano and Brian Holtz on Bass, it felt like they were all breathing together and us, too, along with them. The musical program was a feast and although Mr. Panaro has been in countless Broadway shows, as well as in Canada and London’s West End, and done symphony concerts all over the world, this show which he conceived with his director Richard Jay-Alexander is brand new and only the third time he’s performed it. It is very, very special.
Talking about very special……..In 2012 Board member Eda and I were with Bill Finn and Julie Boyd (founder,artistic director BSC) for the Grand Opening of Mr. Finn’s Cabaret. Tonight at this truly spectacular performance by Hugh Panaro, (and also Sunday’s opening night of William Finn’s NEW BRAIN) we were honored to be with Barrington’s new Artistic Director Alan Paul and again with Julie Boyd and Bill Finn.
My View: William Finn Attends Opening Night of NEW BRAIN at Barrington Stage Company
Last night Barrington Stage Company (BSC) in association with Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF) presented William Finn’s 1998 musical A NEW BRAIN on Barrington’s Boyd-Quinson mainstage. Check out the opening night photos and after party below. A NEW BRAIN will play through September 10, 2023.
A New Brain features Adam Chanler-Berat (Broadway: Next to Normal, Peter and the Starcatcher; HBO Max: “Gossip Girl”; WTF: Animal Crackers) as Gordon, three-time Tony Award nominee Mary Testa (Broadway: Oklahoma!, 42nd Street; Off-Broadway: Bill Finn’s In Trousers; BSC: Sleepless Variations; WTF: Most Happy in Concert) as Mimi, Tally Sessions (Broadway: Company, Anastasia, Bill Finn’s Falsettos) as Dr. Jafar / Dad, Demond Green (Broadway: Sister Act; BSC: Funked Up Fairy Tales, Bill Finn’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) as The Minister, Dorcas Leung (Broadway: Miss Saigon; National Tour: Hamilton; BSC: Into the Woods) as Rhoda, Andy Grotelueschen (Broadway: The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, Tootsie) as Mr. Bungee, Salome B. Smith (Broadway: 1776) as Lisa, and Justine Horihata Rappaport (National Tour: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella) as Nancy, Darrell Purcell, Jr. (Signature Theatre: The Scottsboro Boys; Temple Theatre: Hairspray) as Roger, and Eliseo Roman (BSC: Fall Springs; Broadway: In The Heights, On Your Feet!) as Richard. Understudies are Ross Griffin, Courtney Balan and Jamen Nanthakumar.
In A New Brain, Gordon can’t get past his writer’s block when a medical emergency forces him to reassess if his songs (or lack thereof) are more important than his family, his friends, or his partner. He needs to navigate a mean nurse, shelves of books and a bossy frog to get to the heart of his music.
A New Brain features music and lyrics by BSC Associate Artist William Finn (BSC: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Royal Family of Broadway), book by Finn and Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner James Lapine (Broadway: Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George), and direction by BSC Associate Artist Joe Calarco (BSC: Waiting for Godot, Into the Woods, Ragtime), with music direction by Vadim Feichtner (BSC: The Royal Family of Broadway; Broadway: Falsettos, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) and choreography by Chloe O. Davis (Paradise Square).
A New Brain was originally presented in 1998 at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center, where it won the 1999 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical. The largely autobiographical musical is about Finn’s life-threatening experience surviving a neurological brain condition.
For a 2015 production of A New Brain at New York City Center’s Encores! Off-Center, Jesse Green, writing for New York Magazine, said, “What makes A New Brain so satisfying is that its almost relentless humor and cynicism are used to promote a very serious and often sad inquiry into key human questions. What do we make of our time here? What do we make of our abilities? Finn’s answer is the obvious one, but no less generous for that. If your brain is wired for it, you make music.”
A New Brain features scenic design by Paige Hathaway, costume design by Debra Kim Sivigny, lighting design by Jason Lyons, and sound design by Ken Travis. Production Stage Manager is John Godbout. Assistant Stage Manager is Leslie Sears.
The Boyd-Quinson Stage season opened with the legendary Tony Award-winning musical Cabaret, directed by BSC Artistic Director Alan Paul. It also includes Pearl Cleage’s Blues for an Alabama Sky (now-August 5), directed by Candis C. Jones, and Steinberg Playwright Award winner Sanaz Toossi’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play English (September 27-October 15).
The St. Germain Stage season at Barrington Stage Company opened with The Happiest Man on Earth by Mark St. Germain, based on Holocaust survivor Eddie Jaku’s extraordinary 2020 memoir of the same name, published when Jaku was 100 years old, starring Kenneth Tigar and directed by Ron Lagomarsino. The St. Germain season continued with Mike Lew’s tiny father, a co-world premiere play produced by Chautauqua Theater Company and BSC, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel. The season concludes with a revival of Brian Friel’s Faith Healer (August 1-27), directed by Julianne Boyd and starring BSC Associate Artists Christopher Innvar, Mark H. Dold and Gretchen Egolf.
BSC casting is by McCorkle Casting (Pat McCorkle, CSA; Rebecca Weiss, CSA).
For tickets to A New Brain or the BSC Season, please call the BSC Box Office at 413-236-8888 or visit www.BarringtonStageCo.org/Tickets.
ABOUT BARRINGTON STAGE COMPANY
Barrington Stage Company (BSC), under the leadership of Artistic Director Alan Paul and Managing Director Meredith Lynsey Schade, is an award-winning theatre located in Pittsfield, MA, in the heart of the Berkshires. Co-founded in 1995 by Julianne Boyd, BSC’s mission is to produce top-notch, compelling work; to develop new plays and musicals; and to engage our community with vibrant, inclusive educational outreach programs. Alan Paul succeeded Ms. Boyd as the company’s Artistic Director in 2022.
BSC attracts over 60,000 patrons annually and has gained national recognition for its superior-quality productions and comprehensive educational programming, including the award-winning Playwright Mentoring Project, the Musical Theatre Conservatory, Youth Theatre, KidsAct! and other initiatives. The company has become integral to the economic revitalization of downtown Pittsfield.
BSC’s reputation for excellence began with a smash revival of Cabaret that moved to Boston in 1997 for an extended run. The theatre’s prominence grew with the world premiere of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin (BSC 2004; Broadway 2005-2008, winner of two Tony Awards). Other notable productions include the world premiere of Christopher Demos-Brown’s American Son (BSC 2016; Broadway 2018); Mark St. Germain’s Freud’s Last Session (BSC 2009; Off-Broadway 2010-2012); Leonard Bernstein, Comden & Green’s On the Town (BSC 2013; Broadway 2014, four Tony Award nominations); Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company, starring Aaron Tveit (2017); and West Side Story in honor of Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins’ centenaries (2018).
BSC develops and commissions new work with two programs: PlayWorks, which supports the creation of new plays, and the Musical Theatre Lab, which develops new musicals. Since 1995, BSC has produced 45 new works, 22 of which have moved to New York and major US regional theatres.
ABOUT WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
For seven decades, the Tony Award-recognized Williamstown Theatre Festival has brought emerging and professional theater artists together in the Berkshires to create a thrilling summer festival of diverse, world premiere plays and musicals, bold new revivals, and a rich array of accompanying cultural events.
Artists are drawn to Williamstown Theatre Festival to make great theater in an environment conducive to artistic risk-taking. Matthew Broderick, Audra McDonald, Dominique Morisseau, Mary-Louise Parker, Susan Stroman, Uma Thurman, and Blair Underwood are just a few of the luminous theater artists who have worked at the Festival. Many others, including Sterling K. Brown, Ty Burrell, Charlie Day, Paul Giamatti, Kathryn Hahn, Allison Janney, Brie Larson, Chris Pine, and George C. Wolfe, began their careers at the Festival.
Productions and artists shaped at the Festival fill theaters in New York City and around the world. Recently, Williamstown Theatre Festival was represented on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regionally by The Sound Inside, Grand Horizons, The Rose Tattoo, The Visit, Fool for Love, The Elephant Man, Seared, Selling Kabul, Unknown Solider, and Lempicka, to name just a few. Cost of Living, which was developed and premiered at Williamstown Theatre Festival, was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and made its Broadway debut last fall.
My View: If You Remember Being in Studio 54 in the Seventies…You Really Weren’t There….Ann Hampton Callaway
To paraphrase that well used line….If you remember being in Studio 54 in the seventies… then you really weren’t there! However if you were in 54 Below last night for “Ann Hampton Callaway Sings the Seventies” you will definitely remember being there!
The exuberance of the audience reminded me of a High School reunion, the love and camaraderie that Ann created in the room with her extraordinary musicianship and wit started from the minute she took the stage and asked us all to join in ‘Sing, Sing A Song”.
It was a reunion of baby boomers who grew up with the music of the seventies and the gathering of an audience who cherish the opportunity to be at an Ann Hampton Callaway performance.
The Diva’s song list contained some of the greatest hits of the 1970’s, and the folks who filled the seats at 54 Below got a chance to relive the soundtrack of their lives sung by this Tony Award nominee, Broadway star and platinum selling singer/songwriter.
What a wonderful treat to have Billy Stritch as Ann’s music director for this show. BIlly, can authentically bring you musically into any era. His extraordinary ability to recreate the sounds of any style of music was especially evident with the songs of the seventies. Stritch grew up with that music, and it’s organic to him. Some of the duets and harmonies with Ann were especially genuine to the genre.
“Sing, Sing a Song” “Come in From The Rain, “I Will Survive” “New York State Of Mind……and so much more….got the picture?
The Disco Ball got plenty of activity last night but the music was LIVE with Billy, Tim Horner on drums and Martin Wind on bass helping Ann gloriously recreate it.
Ann Hampton Callaway has got the “Secret O’ Life”. Thanks Ann for reminding us of “The Way We Were” in such a masterful and intimate way.
BTW getting a shout out from Ann during “You’ve Got A Friend” was a personal thrill for this baby boomer!
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