Picks and Previews for July 21 to August 3

The Berkshires' Best Review of the Arts

By: - Jul 17, 2009

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The Top Entertainment Picks
July 21 - August 3


Berkshire Performing Arts Centers

Colonial Theatre
111 South Street, Pittsfield
Box Office 413.997.4444

JEFF DANIELS: Monday, July 20 at 7:30. When you think of "grassroots" and "down to earth," you don't normally think of a movie star. But, that is what Jeff Daniels has accomplished with his second CD, Grandfather's Hat, proving that he is not an actor who sings, but an accomplished singer–songwriter whose musical talent stands alone.

DARK STAR ORCHESTRA: Wednesday, July 22 at 7:30. sing the same methods as orchestras interpreting the music of classical composers, Dark Star Orchestra recreates song for song Grateful Dead performances with, "fanatical attention to detail," according to Rolling Stone Magazine.

GARY PUCKETT: Friday, July 24 at 8:00. Gary Puckett's unforgettable voice and songs defined a generation. Hits like "Young Girl," "Woman, Woman," "Lady Willpower," "Over You," "Don't Give In To Him" and "This Girl Is A Woman Now," have resulted in six consecutive gold records and made Puckett a concert, television and Las Vegas favorite.

THE GROOVE BARBERS: Saturday, July 25 at 8:00. This "a capella super group" is comprised of original members of Rockapella, including the lead singer and composer of the legendary TV theme "Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?". Called "acapella rock and soul royalty" by The Village Voice, this awesome foursome serves up a sparkling blend of vocal group classics including "In The Still of The Night," "Earth Angel," "Why Do Fools Fall In Love," "Under The Boardwalk," and hits by Sam Cooke, The Coasters, The Drifters, The Beach Boys and more.

TOM CHAPIN: Saturday August 1 at 2:00. Three-time Grammy winner Tom Chapin presents a lively, interactive and fun-filled performance that will engage the hearts, minds and imaginations of children and adults alike. His witty and clever songs convey positive messages about family and the environment. Parents Magazine says, "Nobody today is writing and performing better kids' songs." Recommended for ages 4 and up.

HARRY CHAPIN: Saturday August 1 at 8:00. A Celebration in Song.  The Chapin Brothers come together to celebrate and bring alive the music of the late Harry Chapin. Songs like "Taxi," "Cats In The Cradle," "Mr. Tanner" and "Circle" are sung by those who know them best—Harry's original band and his amazing family. An evening full of story, emotion, humor and transcendent music, this is a concert to fill your ear and stir your heart.

Mahaiwe Peforming Arts Center
14 Castle Street, Great Barrington
Box Office 413.528.0100

THE GODFATHER: July 19-20 at 7:00. Using beautiful restored prints, the original films will be shown on their huge screen, with Parts I and II on following nights. Isn't it time you revisited the famous Corleone family?

THE MET'S EUGENE ONEGIN: July 25 at 1:00. The Metropolitan Opera just announced a new Best of the Met: Live in HD Encore Presentation broadcast series. The Mahaiwe is pleased to present the original 2007 Met production of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, with Renee Fleming and Dmitri Hvorostovsky.

BERKSHIRE PLAYWRIGHT'S LAB. July 29 at 8:00/ Free. Readings of new plays by emerging and established writers, local and beyond. Matthew Penn will direct a staged reading workshop production of Scrambled Eggs by Robin Amos Kahn and Gary Richards. Scrambled Eggs is a play about a woman reevaluating her world at a time of crisis. She struggles to create a meaningful life while coping with crazy parents, inner doubt, marital strife, familial responsibilities, and hormonal hysteria.

DIANNE REEVES: Sunday, August 2 at 8:00.  Four-time Grammy-winner Dianne Reeves appears with guitarists Russell malone and Romero Lumbambo in "Strings Attached." Reeves is one of the pre-eminent jazz vocalists in the world today. As a result of her virtuosity, improvisational prowess, and unique jazz and R&B stylings, she was awarded the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance for three consecutive recordings-a Grammy first in any vocal category. She has recorded and performed extensively with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Blue Note Records released her latest album, When You Know, last year.

Mass MoCA
1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams
Information: 413.662.2111

BANG ON A CAN SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL. July 16 - August 1. The Festival (Advance Story Here) performs in a variety of spaces on the MASS MoCA campus and throughout the community to create and perform new music. Performances daily (except Sundays) with gallery recitals at 1:30 and 4:30pm. Full details here.

BOAC MARATHON: August 1 from 4:00 to "whenever" in the Hunter Center. More than thirty musicians and composers from around the world team up for six hours on non-stop, boundary smashing music. Highlights? George Antheil's futuristic classic Ballet Mećanique in which the "ballet" is not a show of human dancers but of mechanical instruments -- player pianos, airplane propellers, and electric bells and more. John Adams' riveting Shaker Loops is a four-part piece for seven solo strings in which each instrument is assigned a "loop" of melodic material which, when heard together, results in constantly shifting play. 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner David Lang's Pierced is a rhythmic smorgasbord that seems to pull from jazz, rock, and dub-step realms all at once.


Barrington Stage Company
Main Stage 30 Union Street, Pittsfield
Stage II 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield
Box Office 413.236.8888

SLEUTH: Now-August 1 on the Main Stage. Described as a fiendishly clever comedy thriller. The Tony award-winning Sleuth is set in an English country house owned by a famous mystery writer and ingenious gamester. When he invites his wife's lover for drinks, the two men play a wily cat and mouse game where suspense and cunning reign supreme. The brilliant combination of laughter and terror made this long play one of the most popular in Broadway history. Written by Anthony Shaffer and directed by Jesse Berger with Charles Shaughnessy and Jeremy Bobb.

UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL: Now to July 26. Underneath the Lintel (Reviewed Here) is the tale of a Dutch librarian (Glynis Bell), who, upon finding a 113-year overdue book goes on a search to find the culprit, and winds up on a life-changing quest.  One clue builds upon another as this once-staid librarian embarks on a journey that spans the globe – the result of which carries mystical and spiritual implications. Written by Glen Berger and directed by Andrew Volkoff, the adventure of Underneath the Lintel is storytelling at its best. July 10 at 7:30 is Pay-What-You-Can night ($5 minimum) for those 35 and under. Preview tickets for July 8 and 9 are $15.00. At Barrington's Stage 2.

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2: Now - August 16 at St. Joseph High School in Pittsfield, presented by Barrington Stage's Youth Theatre. With a cast of 15 of the most talented teenagers from the Berkshires and beyond, this sequel reunites audiences with East High Wildcats, Troy , Gabriella and friends as they land summer jobs at a country club, where drama heats up after Troy agrees to sing with notorious mean girl Sharpay in the club's annual talent show. This musical is fun, family-friendly and appropriate for children of all ages.

BILL NELSON'S ALL MALE REVUE: July 31 - August 1. If David Sedaris were musicalized, he'd sound like Bill Nelson! The lyrics are equal parts jaw-dropping, profound and daffy. Join Bill and the guys for a casual, fun evening of fresh, inventive theatre songs. Lyrics by Bill Nelson. Music by various composers including Will Aronson, Rob Broadhurst, Hailey Chang, Vadim Feichtner, Creighton Irons, Anna Jacobs, Dimitri Landrain, Julia Meinwald, Katya Stanislavskaya, and Niko Tsakalakos.

Berkshire Fringe Festival
Daniel's Arts Center
Bard College at Simon's Rock
84 Alford Road
Great Barrington, MA
Information: 413.320.4175

It's time for the The Berkshire Fringe (Advance Story Here) , a 21 day summer festival presenting dynamic new works of theater, dance and music by emerging artists from across the United States—as well as those right from our own backyard. Held on the campus of Bard College at Simon's Rock in Great Barrington, there are dozens of groundbreaking original performances, special events, community workshops and music.

THE GAY AGENDA'S GREAT BIG BROADWAY SHOW!  July 29 - August 2. Micah and Nicholas have been sequestered in their basement by a family member for years. Having only original cast recordings to listen to during their isolation, they've been inspired to create mini-musicals that turn the Great White Way on its head. Their mission is simple: Complete and utter world domination through showtunes. Come. Listen. Be offended. Songs have never dripped with such innocent sass and biting satire. You'll laugh yourself gay!

THE DISAPPEARING WOMAN: July 30 - August 3. Like the classic conjuring act in which a woman on stage is concealed and then revealed again, so are the dancer's bodies in The Disappearing Woman.  Using gestures inspired by classic imagery juxtaposed against movements invoking the female condition today, the three virtuosic dancers explore how technology folds around us squeezing our interactions into new kinds of abbreviated exchanges. Digital skins at times blur and stifle and at other times accentuate and amplify the woman and their movements.  Media becomes an enveloping, inescapable part of the body itself. Created and Choreographed by media artist Nell Breyer with Dancers: Alissa Cardone, Lorraine Chapman and Bronwen MacArthur.

Check their website for many other events and presentations.

Berkshire Theatre Festival
Main Stage Main Street (Route 102), Stockbridge
Unicorn Theatre Route 7, Stockbridge
Box Office 413.298.5576

CANDIDE: Now - August 15 in the Unicorn Theatre. Leonard Bernstein's popular operetta-musical (Reviewed Here) about "the best of all possible worlds". Ralph Petillo will direct the piece, based on the novella by Voltaire, and featuring a book by Hugh Wheeler. It tells the story of a young man's journey of self-discovery as he tries to find his place in a world that appears to be growing increasingly hostile. BTF has recently introduced special pricing for students with valid ID of $15 a ticket for most performances, Saturday evenings excepted.

THE PRISONER OF SECOND AVENUE: Now - August 8 on the Main Stage.  Mel and Edna Edison, a middle-aged couple living in New York, find their luck is quickly deteriorating during a terrible heat wave and a garbage strike. When Mel cracks under the pressure, his family intervenes in an attempt to nurse him back to his old self, with predictably unpredictable results. World renowned playwright Neil Simon presents a comical, and sometimes poignant, look at the pressures placed upon a working class family that ripples with his trademark crisp dialogue and quirky, hysterically memorable characters.

Goodspeed Musicals
6 Main Street
East Haddam, CT
Box Office: 860.873.8668

CAMELOT: Now - September 19. It's bit of a drive, but Goodspeed Musicals, the only two-time Tony Award winning theatre company in the country is always worth the effort. Their new production of Camelot, with the music of Lerner and Loewe is to die for. Directed by Rob Ruggiero, once a Berkshires regular at Barrington Stage, this show gets the full scale production with live  orchestra and lavish sets that makes Goodspeed productions so special. Tickets are tough to secure on the weekends, so plan ahead.

Shakespeare & Company
Founders Theatre, Rose Footprint, Bernstein Theatre
70 Kemble Street, Lenox
Box Office 413.637.3353

PINTER'S MIRROR: Now through August 2.  Three brilliant one-act plays (Reviewed Here) commemorating the darkly comedic insight of Harold Pinter. Performed by Elizabeth and Malcolm Ingram, a rare chance to see and hear exceptionally gifted actors breath life into Pinter's taut language. (Pinter Analysis) The cast includes Elizabeth Ingram and Malcolm Ingram joined by Stephen Pilkington. Bernstein Theatre.

HAMLET: Now through August 28.  (Reviewed Here). Shakespeare's uncontested masterpiece (Interview with Director) played to packed houses at Shakespeare & Company in 2006, and returns for a limited run. With Jason Asprey as Hamlet, Tina Packer as Gertrude, Dennis Krausnick as Polonius and Nigel Gore as Claudius. Founder's Theatre.

OTHELLO: Now through September 6. Mainstage in the Founder's Theatre. Back for a second year, this gut-wrenching story of love, racism and betrayal is as startling, relevant and timely today as when it first performed over 400 years ago. Directed by Tony Simotes (Interviewed Here) . John Douglas Thompson (Interviewed Here) gives a powerful performance as The Moor of Venice, and which was cited last year as the best of the season by BFA.

MEASURE FOR MEASURE: Now - September 5. Performed in the Elayne Bernstein Theatre as part of the new Lunch Box Shakespeare Series. (Reviewed here) Performances are at 12:45 PM with a boxed lunch before the performance. This Shakespeare shortie is directed by Dave Demke and tells the story of Isabella who must choose an awful choice - the death of her condemned brother or surrendering her virginity to a corrupt politician who can commute the sentence. Written as a thinly veiled comedy about hypocrisy, corruption and sex for trade in high places, it's a story as contemporary as today's cable news coverage.

TWELFTH NIGHT: July 24 - September 5 in the Founders' Theatre.  Some comedies are born great. Some achieve greatness. Some have greatness thrust upon them. The laughs are back-to-back, tipsy-turvy and echo all through the house in Shakespeare's festive holiday of misrule, madness, switched identities, gender bending and comic fantasy.

DEVIL'S ADVOCATE: July 30 - August 16 in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre. Presented by Shakespeare & Company in association with the Mercury Theatre Company UK. On Christmas Eve, 1989, Panamanian strongman Manuel took refuge from American troops in the Vatican embassy. From that night comes a boiling political dialogue about the shadowy history of the American Empire. With Dennis Krausnick and Ignatius Anthony.

OTHER EVENTS: There's a lot going on around the campus of Shakespeare & Company. There's the two-part "Toad of Toad Hall" presented during the afternoons which is adapted from The Wind in the Willows by A.A. Milne at the Rose Footprint Theatre and Bankside. Then there are daily Preludes which are sort outdoor performances. All are free. Check their website for specifics.

Ventfort Hall
104 Walker Street
Lenox, MA 01240
Box Office: 413.637.3206

PARIS 1890 - UNLACED! Now to September 6. A wonderful show that provides a humorous, slightly risqué and poignant glimpse into Parisian society of the Gilded Age and its controversial "Grand Horizontal" ladies.  The play was commissioned by Ventfort Hall from playwright Juliane Hiam and stars Anne Undeland in a one-woman adventure into the past. Sarah Taylor, formerly of Shakespeare & Company, directs. A delightful way to spend an hour and fifteen minutes with the courtesans of the past.

Williamstown Theater Festival
'62 Center for Theatre and Dance
1000 Main Street (Route 2), Williamstown
Box Office: 413.597.3400

TRUE WEST: Now - July 26 on the Main Stage. Sam Shepard's table-turning thriller (Our Review Here) is directed by Daniel Goldstein. with a cast that includes former WTF Apprentice Nate Corddry and his real-life brother Rob Corddry as the squabbling siblings in this Pulitzer Prize-winning play. This modern classic is an explosive exploration of family rivalry as two very different brothers attempt to sell Hollywood their version of the great American Western.

WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF THUNDER? July 22 - August 2 on the Nikos Stage. A world premiere of a new play by Noah Haidle and directed by Justin Waldman.  After 27 years on the same soap opera, Ada is starting to confuse her art and her life. But after so many years of acting, her art is her life. Haidle's poignant comedy brings us the hilarity of day-time drama alongside the harsher, but often equally funny, realities of life.

THE TORCH BEARERS: July 29 - August 9 on the Main Stage. Tony-nominated stage and screen actor Dylan Baker directs this side-splitting 1920s farce in which a troupe of amateur actors rehearse and perform a show-stopping new play or try to with all their might. Their stage is riddled with comedic drama, suspense, and good old-fashioned witty mayhem, similar to both Noises Off and Boeing Boeing. The casting is just heavenly, especially for WTF regulars who will treasure actors like Edward Herrmann, Jessica Hecht, Becky Ann Baker, John Rubenstein, James Waterston, Dana Ivey, Lizbeth MeKay, Yusof Bulos, John Doherty, Phillip  Goodwin,  and Katie Finneran. The addition of Andrea Martin and the replacement of Marian Seldes by Katherine McGrath were recently announced.


Performances at Koussevitzky Shed, Ozawa Hall, Gould Auditorium, Theatre
297 West Street, Lenox

The exciting summer of music offerings (Season Overview Here) continues at America's premiere music venue.

TONY BENNETT: The incomparable Tony Bennett returns to Tanglewood with his band for a special appearance on July 21. Once dubbed by Frank Sinatra as "the best singer in the business," the Grammy Award-winning vocalist is one of the world's most beloved interpreters of the Great American Songbook.

THOMAS HAMPSON: The baritone presents an All-American program on July 22 at Ozama Hall, featuring songs of composers from Stephen Foster to Leonard Bernstein, with a special selection of songs by Charles Ives.

BERLIOZ AND MUSSORGSKY: July 24. James Levine conducts the BSO in the Roman Carnival Overture and Harold in Italy by Berlioz and Prelude to Khovanshchina and Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky.

BRAHMS - A German Requiem: July 25. James Levine conducts the BSO with Hei-Kyung Hong soprano and Matthias Goerne baritone. Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

HARRIS, THOMSON, BARBER AND BERNSTEIN: David Robertson conducts the BSO with the two major works being Bernstein's Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety and Harris Symphony No. 3.

TANGLEWOOD ON PARADE: July 28. A major celebration of the BSO brand, this annual blow-out concert sees five conductors take the podium (Levine, Lockhart, Williams, Burgos and Slatkin) with various combinations of the BSO, Pops and Tanglewood Music Center Orchestras. The grounds open at 2pm with family activities and conclude with the 1812 Overture and Fireworks over the Stockbridge Bowl.

SIR JAMES GALWAY: Flutist James Galway celebrates his 70th birthday with a concert at Ozama Hall on July 30.

BEETHOVEN, DEBUSSY AND RAVEL: July 31 in the Shed. Conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and violinist Vadim Repin in a program which includes the Beethoven Violin Concerto, Debussy's La Mer and the Ravel Daphnis et Chloé.

DEBUSSY, COPLAND AND MOZART: August 1 in the Shed. Leonard Slatkin conducts a varied program including Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun, Copland's Appalachian Spring, and the Overture to the Magic Flute with Sir James Galway as soloist with special guests and surprises.

BEETHOVEN AND RACHMANINOFF: August 2. Tomas Dausgaard leads the BSO in Beehoven's Third Piano Concerto and Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2 with Leif Ove Andsnes, piano.


Performances at Koussevitzky Shed, Ozawa Hall, Gould Auditorium, Theatre
297 West Street, Lenox

DON GIOVANNI: July 26, 27, 29 at the Tanglewood Theatre. The popular Mozart opera will be presented by the Tanglwood Music Center Vocal Fellows, Orchestra  and Chorus under James Levine and sung in Italian with English supertitles.

Popular Music

Saratoga NY Performing Arts Center (SPAC)
109 Avenue of the Pines
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Box Office 518.584.9330

July 22 - Nickelback
July 24 - Jackson Brown
July 27 - Coldplay
July 28 - Crosby, Stills and Nash
July 29 - Lil Wayne


Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival
358 George Carter Road, Becket
Box Office 413.243.0745

MERCE CUNNINGHAM DANCE COMPANY: July 22-16 in the Ted Shawn Theatre. It's the legendary iconoclast's milestone birthday and this week celebrates his longstanding relationship with the Pillow. His groundbreaking re-envisioning of art, space, time and technology is honored with a retrospective of masterworks: Sounddance (1975), described by Cunningham as "space observed under a microscope," CRWDSPCR (1993), a work of constant motion and eyeSpace (2006), which invites audiences to create their own original scores using provided iPod Shuffles.

JASON SAMUELS SMITH and A.C.G.I.: July 22-August 2 in the Doris Duke Theatre. Be uplifted and astounded by tap sensation Jason Samuels Smith and his super-troupe A.C.G.I. (Anybody Can Get It) featuring some of the best feet in the business. A prodigy when cast in Savion Glover's Broadway hit Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk at age 15, Smith went on to become an Emmy Award-winner, television and feature film star, director and choreographer, carrying on the great tradition of tap. Audiences may recognize Smith as a featured guest performer on the hit television show So You Think You Can Dance.

LES GRANDS BALLETS CANADIENS de MONTREAL: July 29 to August 2 in the Ted Shawn Theatre Under the direction of Gradimir Pankov, is one of the most significant forces in international contemporary ballet today. The company just celebrated its 50th anniversary and is known for its diverse, adventurous repertoire and collaborations with top choreographers including Jírí Kylián, Mats Ek, Nacho Duato and Ohad Naharin. Their breathtaking dancers perform two very different and stunningly satisfying works by Italy's "maestro of dance," Mauro Bigonzetti. Four Seasons is set to Vivaldi's classic score of the same name and Cantata pays homage to Mediterranean culture and tradition with stirring and soulful music from Southern Italy.

INSIDE/OUT: Is a series of shorter, free performances on an outdoor stage in the woods at 6:30 unless otherwise noted:

July 22  -   Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts
July 23 -    Pam Tanowitz Dance
July 24 -    Terrain, choreography by Rebecca Lazier
July 25 -     Jacob's Pillow School - Contemporary Traditions
July 29 -    The Peggy Spina Tap Company
July 30 -    LAVA
July 31 -    Helen Simoneau
Aug.  1 -     Jacob's Pillow School - Contemporary Traditions

Saratoga NY Performing Arts Center (SPAC)
Mark Morris Dance Group
109 Avenue of the Pines
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Box Office 518.584.9330

MARK MORRIS:  July 20-21. With only a few performances over two days, company founder and choreographer Mark Morris, whose dances are noted for their intense musicality, will offer post-performance talks after the two evening performances. The company last performed at the SPAC Little Theatre in 1988 and this time they will take to the main stage of the amphitheater to present a mixed repertory program. The  works will include V, which the San Francisco Chronicle called "triumphant," All Fours, described as "a profoundly moving major work" by the Miami Herald and Grand Duo considered one of Morris' finest dances.


Images Cinema
50 Spring Street, Williamstown
Movie Line: 413.458.5612

July 17 - 23 Away We Go (R)
July 24 -30 Whatever Works (PG-13)
July 31 - August 6  Food, Inc. (PG)

Little Cinema at the Berkshire Museum
39 South Street
Pittsfield, MA

July 17 - 23 My Life in Ruins (PG-13)
July 24 - 30 Away We Go (R)
July 31 - August 6  Cheri (R)