My View: Joe Iconis Has Too Much To Drink As Barrington Stage Celebrates The Creation Of The Wolfson Theater Center
It’s was only in the act as Joe Iconis was the perfect drunk with Annie Golden, Lance Rubin and Sweet Tooth Williams as they entertained the crowd when Barrington Stage Company announced the creation of The Wolfson Theatre Center in Pittsfield Ma.
Barrington Stage Company (BSC), the award-winning theatre in Downtown Pittsfield, MA, under the leadership of Artistic Director Julianne Boyd and Managing Director Tristan Wilson, announced today the creation of The Wolfson Theater Center, at 122 North Street, Pittsfield, MA. The center is made possible through a generous gift from Jessie and Bernard Wolfson, and will serve as the center of BSC operations. Renovations on the building are set to begin in August 2016, with the administrative offices set to relocate in November 2016. BSC’s current office space, known as Octagon House (58 Union Street), will be converted into company housing. A.J. Schnopp Jr. Construction Inc., of Dalton, MA, will be the general contractor. Through the Wolfsons’ generosity, BSC will be able to customize the 28,000 square foot building to serve as their main headquarters. The building will house BSC’s administrative offices, which will all be under one roof for the first time since the company moved to Pittsfield. The offices will accommodate 20 year-round staff members, as well as an additional 40 staff members during the season. The facility will also contain 2 large rehearsal studios; classrooms for the Playwright Mentoring Project, KidsAct! and the Musical Theater Conservatory; a costume shop, including storage of the large costume inventory amassed in BSC’s 22-year history; a year-round box office; and an additional reception area for staged readings and other public events. The scene shop will still be located on 4th Street. “I am absolutely thrilled to know that Barrington Stage Company will be expanding its footprint through the purchase of the 122 North Street building in downtown Pittsfield” said Mayor Linda Tyer. “We are privileged to live in a city where the arts flourish continuously throughout the year. Cultural institutions like Barrington Stage present high-quality theater productions and are equally committed to inspiring a love of the arts in our youth through dynamic community programming. I am excited about the many opportunities for creative engagement that this additional location will provide for our city, Berkshire County and beyond.” Barrington Stage has been at the forefront of “arts leading the economy” in Pittsfield and in the Commonwealth for more than a decade, first with the purchase and renovation of the Berkshire Music Hall—now the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage on Union Street—and the purchase and renovation of the VFW on Linden Street, which now houses the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Center for the Performing Arts, home of the St. Germain Stage and Mr. Finn’s Cabaret. The “campus” (extending from Fenn Street to Maplewood) will now be complete with the Wolfson Theater Center, a multiuse complex that will serve Barrington Stage’s many programs. The first production to make use of the new rehearsal space will be the world premiere of Jonathan Larson Award-winning composer Joe Iconis’ Broadway Bounty Hunter, starring Annie Golden and Jeff McCarthy. Broadway Bounty Hunter features music and lyrics by Joe Iconis, a book by Joe Iconis, Lance Rubin and Jason SweetTooth Williams, choreography by Jeffrey Page, and direction by Leah C. Gardiner. Rehearsals begin today, with previews starting August 12, 2016. Opening night is set for August 19th for a limited run through September 4, 2016.
(For complete photos of this event go to Broadwayworld.com)
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Remembering Angela Lansbury in Sweeney Todd
On Sunday look for a brand new charcuterie of Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford in Sweeney Todd.. I loved the new production, and it’s two leads.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Chicago
John Kander & Fred Ebb / Bob Fosse musical Chicago is now the longest running show playing on Broadway. Having played 10,338 performances, Chicago is the Tony Award-winning, record-breaking hit musical playing at the Ambassador Theatre, 219 W. 49th St., NYC.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Happy Birthday Richard Jay-Alexander
Yesterday was my good friend Richard Jay-Alexander’s birthday and I presented him with his own personal caricature. Fo those who do not know Richard J is an Broadway producer and director. He served as Executive Director of the New York City office of producer Cameron Mackintosh for twelve years, known for productions including Les Misérables, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Five Guys Named Moe, Oliver! and Putting It Together.
His directorial credits include the staging of For The Girls (2020) on Broadway starring Kristin Chenoweth, Porgy and Bess for the South Florida Symphony (2019), the concert versions of Les Miz (2008) and Guys and Dolls (2009), both at the Hollywood Bowl.
Jay-Alexander is a long time board member of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and has directed benefits for the honored organization, as well as other causes he cares about, including animals and no-kill shelters, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of South Florida, The Actor’s Fund, National Asian Artists Project (NAAP), Broadway Dreams, and Hollywood’s Motion Picture and Television Fund (MPTF). Most recently he directed the star studded BroadwayWorld celebration.
He is passionate about young talent and teaches workshops and master classes, when possible. For the last few years, he has been the camp director of Kristin Chenoweth’s Broadway Bootcamp.
Jay-Alexander began his Broadway career in 1977 as a production assistant on the Broadway revival of Porgy and Bess, produced by Sherwin M. Goldman and the Houston Grand Opera. He also served as a production assistant on the pre-Broadway try out of Nefertiti which starred Andrea Marcovicci and directed by Jack O’Brien.
As a director, writer, and producer his career has taken him around the globe as far away as Alaska and Singapore and from London’s Royal Albert Hall and Royal Festival Hall to Carnegie Hall, The Sydney Opera House, The Village Vanguard, Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York City, Laxness Arena-Cologne, Germany, The Metropolitan Opera House, The Hollywood Bowl, Joe’s Pub at The Public Theatre, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv, London’s O2 Arena, O2 World Berlin, and just about every other legitimate theatre, nightclub and cabaret in between.
Jay-Alexander has also contributed lyrics to projects for Disney Records. He is a regular contributor to Broadwayworld.com where he is particularly known for a series called “All Eyes On,” interviewing Angela Lansbury, Josh Groban, Sir Ian McKellen, Rose Marie, Bob Avian, Ann-Margret, and Barry Manilow about his Broadway-bound Harmony. He has also authored liner notes for reissues of musicals such as the original, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, and four titles from the Stephen Sondheim Columbia Masterworks/Sony canon: Merrily We Roll Along, Into The Woods, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and Sunday In The Park With George, giving them context all these years later as to their place in history and with 20-20 hindsight.
He has also worked Bernadette Peters, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Julie Andrews, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Lea Salonga, Sam Harris, Polly Bergen, Russell Watson, Il Volo, Il Divo, Norm Lewis, Laurie Beechman, Debby Boone, Mandy Gonzalez, Mary Cleere Haran, Roslyn Kind, Melissa Errico, Lea Michele, Betty Buckley, Donny & Marie Osmond, Ricky Martin, Well-Strung, Donna McKechnie, Melora Hardin, Jennifer Leigh Warren, and others. His work with Barbra Streisand can be seen on various DVD products or PBS specials including: Streisand: 2006 Tour; Barbra Streisand: One Night Only at The Village Vanguard; Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn; Barbra: The Music, The Mem’ries, The Magic (Netflix).
My View: “Because I Have A Story With Each And Every One Of You”…Richard Jay-Alexander
If you never heard of a restaurant/bar called Milady’s on Prince Street, you’ll know it now! That’s where Richard Jay-Alexander chose to celebrate his 70th Birthday and it was truly a WOWZA evening…the setting, the food, the peonies, the curated music PLAYLIST (assembled by longtime friend and assistant, Nellie Beavers), the craft cocktails and even a film crew (led by longtime pal, Brian Morgan) in the back, taping BRAVO-style “confessionals” with each guest, about the BIRTHDAY BOY. The guests in attendance ranged in age and interests, like a perfect jambalaya of an accomplished life. Even friends from his High School, in Solvay, NY! The most impressive part of who Richard is was quickly revealed in his post “blowing out the candles of his cake” moment when he looked around the room (clearly moved) and explained that the reason we were all there was, “because I have a story with each and every one of you.” Needless to say, there was much talent present throughout the room and plenty of legendary New Yorkers, raising a glass to a pretty special guy. In reality, it is he that entered into our lives and our stories and happily so. This is how you do it!
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: The World Says Good-Bye To Tina Turner
Tina Turner, the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll has died, after a long illness at 83. Turner was diagnosed with intestinal cancer in 2016 and underwent a kidney transplant in 2017.
Her life story was told in the 1993 smash film What’s Love Got to Do with It and in the 2019 Broadway musical Tina – The Tina Turner Musical, starring Adrienne Warren in a career-making performance.
Born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939, in Nutbush, TN, Turner became famous in the late 1960s as the singer of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Their major hits included: “River Deep – Mountain High” and “Proud Mary.”After leaving husband Ike Turner following years of physical and emotional abuse, she staged what remains one of the greatest comebacks in pop music history, scoring massive hits in the 1980s such as “What’s Love Got To Do With it”, “Private Dancer” and “The Best,” with an estimated 180 million albums sold worldwide, 12 Grammy Awards won and sold-out stadium tours around the world.
Turner scored another smash single in 1985 with “We Don’t Need Another Hero, from the Mel Gibson-George Miller threequel Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. She played the ruthless leader of Bartertown in the movie and delivered the memorable line, “Welcome to another edition of Thunderdome!”
She returned to the Top 20 later that year with “It’s Only Love,” a duet with Bryan Adams from his Reckless album, and also was part of the global smash “We Are the World.” That 1985 famine-relief single — written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, produced by Quincy Jones and credited to USA for Africa.
Turner also appeared at the intercontinental charity concert Live Aid that summer, performing a raucous, sexually charged duet with Mick Jagger in Philadelphia on a medley of his solo single “State of Shock” and the Rolling Stones’ “It’ Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It).”
Turner’s status as a musical pioneer extended to 1980s television when she became a staple of MTV.
A private funeral ceremony is expected for family and close friends and family.
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