Herewith, an all-in-one review of upcoming performances in the Berkshires, in chronological order, based on news releases we have received as of Thanksgiving week.
David Joseph Hansen Leads The Santaland Diaries through Dec. 30 at Shakespeare & Company
Shakespeare & Company’s annual production of David Sedaris’ irreverent Christmas memoir, The Santaland Diaries is getting ready to tickle everyone’s funny bone while taking a sardonic look at the big Holiday. Once again directed by Artistic Director Tony Simotes, this will be the third and final year Shakespeare & Company calls on an actor to don the regulation pointy-toed socks. This year, Shakespeare & Company welcomes longtime Company member David Joseph Hansen to play Sedaris’ less-than-merry autobiographical self, Crumpet the Elf.
The Santaland Diaries is the occasionally subversive, alarmingly clever, engagingly poignant, and always rib-tickling account of Mr. Sedaris’ time as a Christmas elf in the famous Macy’s Santaland. The essay on which the play is based propelled Sedaris into the national spotlight when it was first published, and is now a modern holiday classic. After applying for the position as a gag job, our hero is suddenly thrown into a world of tinsel, fake snow, Santas who are more naughty than nice, and all the cringe-worthy trappings of the Macy’s Santaland. Our reluctant protagonist guides us through the yuletide nightmare with a wryly satiric attitude, but even he may eventually find himself filled with holiday cheer. A true tale of redemption and good will, The Santaland Diaries is a hilarious depiction of what the modern holidays are all about.
The Santaland Diaries runs from November 30 through December 30 in S&Co.’s Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre. Press Opening is Saturday, December 1 at 7:30PM. Tickets are $15-$50, and S&Co. offers a wide range of discount options, including discounts for groups, students, senior citizens, military, teachers and our very popular 40% Berkshire Resident Discount. To view a complete schedule, receive a brochure, or inquire about discounts, please call the Box Office at (413) 637-3353 or visit www.Shakespeare.org.
Friday, November 30, 7:30pm (preview)
Saturday, December 1, 7:30pm (opening)
Sunday, December 2, 2:00pm
Friday, December 7, 7:30pm
Sat, December 8, 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, December 9, 2:00pm
Friday, December 14, 7:30pm
Saturday, December 15, 7:30pm
Sunday, December 16, 2:00pm
Friday, December 21, 7:30pm
Saturday, December 22, 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, December 23, 2:00pm
Wednesday, December 26, 7:30pm
Thursday, December 27, 7:30pm
Friday, December 28, 7:30pm
Saturday, December 29, 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, December 30, 2:00pm (closing)
Mary Verdi Brings Holiday Music to the Colonial Dec. 1, Red Lion Dec. 6, 13, 20.
Both the Colonial Theatre and the Red Lion Inn will be serving up holiday music with Mary Verdi. That’s her in the video at the top of the page. She appears at the Colonial for two performances on December 1. They are pretty wonderful to watch, and maybe even sing along with.
Even better make your way to the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge for a Holiday sing along with supper on three special nights this December. It’s called Christmas at the Inn with Mary Verdi. This performance will feature vocalist Mary Verdi, on December 6, 13, and 20, accompanied by local musicians in theBerkshires playing songs of the holiday season.
Cantilena Chamber Choir at Trinity Church in Lenox – December 2
The Cantilena Chamber Choir will present a concert “What Sweeter Music” of English Choral Music for Christmas and Advent by William Byrd, Gustav Holst, John Rutter and more. The performance will be held on Sunday, December 2th, at 3 p.m. at Trinity Church in Lenox. The concert is programmed around John Rutter’s famous Christmas hit What Sweeter Music. The concert begins with several Advent motets by the Renaissance composer William Byrd and the Ave Maria by Robert Parsons. Also on the program is Gustav Holst’s Christmas Day based on traditional carols for choir and organ that guarantees everyone’s favorite carol will be sung!
During the concert the audience will be invited to join the Choir in singing some of the most well loved carols of the Christmas season. Organists will be Anita Stuart and Gretchen Rueckheim. All tickets are $20 and children are admitted free. Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance through the Choir’s website www.cantilenachoir.org. Reservations: 518-791-0185 or email@example.com. Trinity Church is located at 88 Walker Street in Lenox.
The 2nd Annual Lenox Caroling Festival – December 7–9, 2012
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, December 7–9, 2012, the Town of Lenox will host the 2nd Annual Lenox Caroling Festival Weekend. The festival is a gala weekend filled with holiday events. The festival begins on Friday, and the celebration of holiday song begins on Saturday. Seven hours of holiday song and celebration at outdoor locations throughout the historic village of Lenox.
The caroling begins on Saturday at 10:30am. At 6:45pm, the daylong concert will culminate with a reception/singalong/awards ceremony at Shakespeare & Company in the Bernstein Theatre.
For more information, visit the Lenox Caroling Festival‘s website.
The Nutracker from Albany Berkshire Ballet at the Colonial Dec. 8 and 9
The Albany Berkshire Ballet (ABB) will bring its annual touring production of “The Nutcracker” to the Colonial Theatre. The ABB’s “Nutcracker” performances feature choreography by Artistic Director Madeline Cantarella Culpo, with lavish sets and scenery designed by theater and movie set designer Carl Sprague, and costumes designed by Rita Watson and Victile Donahue. Performances will spotlight area dance students alongside the ABB professional company. The Albany Berkshire Ballet has been delighting audiences with “The Nutcracker” for over 30 years.
December 9 – Cantatas from Close Encounters with Music
“Tragicomedia: A Baroque Holiday Celebration” is the second concert in the 2012–13 Close Encounters with Music season. This festive performance features a soprano and bass-baritone accompanied by rarely heard Baroque instruments such as the mandolin, lirone, chitarrone and viola de gamba. The program includes 17th- and early 18th-century cantatas by George Frideric Handel—whose compositions represent the pinnacle of the cantata form—as well as Barbara Strozzi, Francisco Guerau, Agostino Steffani and Carlo Arrigoni.
The 17th-century aesthetic style of dramatic contrast known as tragicomedia was the inspiration for the ensemble’s cofounders, musicians Stephen Stubbs and Erin Headley, who formed the group in 1987. Since then, Tragicomedia, under Stubbs’ direction, has explored every musical genre from lute song to fully staged Baroque opera, in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to Bach.
Thus, the drama and emotion of the Italian cantata takes center stage when the early-music ensemble Tragicomedia performs on Sunday, December 9, 2 PM at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. Tickets, $40 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $30 (Balcony), are available at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100; through Close Encounters With Music at 800-843-0778; or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: cewm.org
Berkshire Lyric Presents Concerts Dec. 8, 9, 29
First up, The Berkshire Singers, the teenage chorus of Berkshire Lyric, will be featured in a special concert at the Berkshire Museum on Saturday Dec. 8 at 11AM. The chorus is led by Joe Rose and will be performing as part of the museum’s annual Festival of Trees Family Day celebration. Admission is free with a paid admission to the museum.
Then its “Deck the Halls, The Christmas Concert” which will take place on Sunday Dec. 9 at 3PM at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in downtown Pittsfield. The 65 voice Berkshire Lyric Chorus and the 30 voice Blafield Children’s Chorus are conducted by Artistic Director Jack Brown and accompanied by Joe Rose. In keeping with the tradition of featuring local high school choruses at this festive holiday concert, they will be joined by The Monument Mountain High School Chorus and the Spartones, both directed by Julie Bickford. There will also be a special appearance by Gaudeamus, a select a cappella chorus of 10 young men from Simon’s Rock College in Great Barrington that specializes in early music. Tickets are $20 for adults and free for students and children. They may be purchased online at www.BerkshireLyricInfo.org or at the church before the concert.
Following Christmas, as part of the 50th Anniversary season, Berkshire Lyric will also present Handel’s Messiah as a community sing on Saturday Dec. 29 at 3PM at the First United Methodist Church in Pittsfield. The audience is invited to be the chorus. Vocal scores will be sold at the door. The concert will be conducted by Jack Brown with accompaniment on the church’s great Austin organ by Joe Rose. A professional string quartet will be augmented by local young string players. Four past winners of Berkshire Lyric’s Young Singers Competition will be the vocal soloists: Felicia Coppola-Pavao, Elaina Pullano, Miles Herr, and Timothy Passetto. Admission is by donation. The free will offering will be sponsored by the Pittsfield Area Council of Congregations, and all proceeds will directly benefit the Pittsfield Area Fuel Assistance Program.
A Christmas Carol at the Colonial Theatre Dec, 15-30
Revel in the joy and redemptive power of Christmas as told in the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the infamous miser who is reformed and shown the error of his ways by four spirits. Journey back to Victorian England and experience the classic story filled with terrific turns and infused with holiday music. Ticket Information: Tickets to A Christmas Carol are $25-$50. Contact the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street, Pittsfield by calling 413-997-4444. Tickets can also be bought online at www.berkshiretheatregroup.org
Saturday, December 15 at 7:30pm (Opening Night)
Sunday, December 16 at 2pm
Thursday, December 20 at 7:30pm
Friday, December 21 at 7:30pm
Saturday, December 22 at 2pm and 7:30pm
Sunday, December 23 at 2pm
Thursday, December 27 at 7:30pm
Friday, December 28 at 7:30pm
Saturday, December 29 at 2pm and 7:30pm
Sunday, December 30 at 2pm