Berkshire Theatre Group 2015 plans: Deathtrap, Bells are Ringing, McNally’s Clair de Lune

Karen Allen  will direct Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.

Karen Allen will direct Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.

The Berkshire Theatre Group (BTG) has announced its main offerings for 2015’s Summer Season Musical, the 10th Annual Community Theatre Production, The Fitzpatrick Main Stage productions in Stockbridge, and a medley of other performances to be presented in the summer of 2015.

BTG plans a second round of programming announcements, including The Unicorn Theatre’s Summer Season, in the next several weeks.

“Our 87th Season offers a mix of unforgettable musicals and classic, influential plays,” says Kate Maguire, Artistic Director/CEO for the Berkshire Theatre Group. “At the Colonial, they will stage the 1956 Comden and Green and Jule Styne “sweetheart musical” Bells Are Ringing. Ethan Heard is directing this romantic show, once again working with Kate Baldwin and Graham Rowat, as he did in last year’s A Little Night Music. For our 10thAnnual Community Theatre Production, the company will present the iconic Mary Poppins. As with most of their community productions, some 100 children and adults from the community will participate, some will even soar over the Colonial stage.

With its 87-year history of theatre classics, The Fitzpatrick Main Stage will host Ira Levin’s Tony Award winning play within a play  Deathtrap  (1978) as well as the bittersweet love story of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. Aaron Mark returns this year to direct Ira Levin’s cherished comedic mystery, Deathtrap. BTG Alum Karen Allen will direct Terrence McNally’s contemporary tale of middle aged lovers, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. (1987) “As a whole, the new season will illustrate the essence of theatre to allow the audience to feel moved to places they have not been familiar with, and to remind them of what lies deep in their hearts,” says the announcement.

Berkshire Theatre Group’s 2015 lineup is supplemented with chart-topping musical artists, acclaimed comedians and community events.

The Season holds an array of talented musical performances: legendary rock ‘n’ roller George Thorogood & The Destroyers, all-American band BoDeans, folk legend Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant: 50th Anniversary Tour, dynamic Celtic fiddler Natalie MacMaster and more to be announced at a later date.

For community events: during school vacation week, the Colonial offers, for ages 3 and up, Going to the Farm with Spot, and, for fans of illusions and magic of all ages, Bill Blagg’s 10 Illusions!.  For its 10th anniversary, The Jazz Ensembles’ of Mount Holyoke College’s The Big Broadcast!, featuring WWLP-TV meteorologist Brian Lapis as emcee, comes to the Colonial stage. This production is a benefit for Berkshire Theatre Group’s education program, BTG Plays!. For more information on the music and School Vacation events, go to www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org

For comedy: Tony and Grammy Award-nominated comedian, Robert Klein, will be hitting the Colonial stage on August 1.

Made in the Berkshires

To round out the season, as part of Made in the Berkshires, celebrating Berkshire women writers, Through The Looking Glass: Musings from the Pens of Berkshire Women Writers comes to The Unicorn Theatre Larry Vaber Stage. This event will include readings performed by Karen Allen, Lauren Ambrose, Amber Chand, Hilary Somers Deely, Kate Maguire, Corinna May and Barbara Sims.

“As always, when booking shows I’m constantly looking for talent that’s not only fresh and exciting, but that’s also affordable for the patron,” says Berkshire Theatre Group Programmer, Simon Shaw. “I’m beyond thrilled about the 2015 lineup, as well as the artists I am working to confirm later in the year!”

Tickets are now on sale. Summer season passes are available for purchase at $75 for a four-show preview pass, $95 for a six-show preview pass, $100 for a four-show pass, and $150 for a six-show pass.

BTGy is a youth outreach initiative for theatre-goers 25 years of age and younger to experience the joy and wonder of live theatre and the performing arts on our stages. Tickets to BTG’s summer theatre productions for ½ of a regular priced ticket and 10% off BTG’s presented shows (some restrictions apply). To join BTGy contact the BTG Ticket Office at 111 South Street, Pittsfield by calling 413-997-4444. Tickets for BTGy are subject to availability and proof of age.

Tickets may be purchased in person at the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street, Pittsfield or by calling (413) 997-4444 or online at www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org. The Ticket Office is open Monday-Friday 10am–5pm, Saturdays 10am–2pm or on any performance day from 10am until curtain. All plays, schedules, casting and prices are subject to change.

SUMMER SEASON 2015 OVERVIEW

BOSLevin

Deathtrap
by Ira Levin
directed by Aaron Mark

at The Fitzpatrick Main Stage, Stockbridge Campus
Previews: Wednesday, July 1 and Thursday, July 2
Press Opening/Opening Night: Friday, July 3 at 8pm
Talkback: Monday, July 6 after 7pm performance
Closing: Saturday, July 25 at 8pm
Tickets: Preview: $42
Tickets: $62
Sponsored by:  Blantyre, Country Curtains and The Red Lion Inn

Performance Dates
Wednesday, July 1 at 7pm (Preview)
Thursday, July 2 at 7pm (Preview)
Friday, July 3 at 8pm (Opening)
Saturday, July 4 at 2pm
Monday, July 6 at 7pm (Talkback)
Tuesday, July 7 at 7pm
Wednesday, July 8 at 7pm
Thursday, July 9 at 7pm
Friday, July 10 at 8pm
Saturday, July 11 at 2pm
Monday, July 13 at 7pm
Tuesday, July 14 at 7pm
Wednesday, July 15 at 7pm
Thursday, July 16 at 2pm and 7pm
Friday, July 17 at 8pm
Saturday, July 18 at 2pm and 8pm
Monday, July 20 at 7pm
Tuesday, July 21 at 7pm
Wednesday, July 22 at 7pm
Thursday, July 23 at 2pm and 7pm
Friday, July 24 at 8pm
Saturday, July 25 at 2pm and 8pm (Closing Night)
 
Recognized as the longest-running comedy thriller on Broadway, Deathtrap is a sidesplitting romp of a play within a play. Aaron Mark, who directed The Mystery of Irma Vep last year, directs Ira Levin’s treasured Tony Award-nominated play. This witty thriller tells the tale of defeated playwright, Sidney Bruhl, who would do almost anything to write a hit Broadway play. Former student, Clifford Anderson, tells Sidney that he’s written a suspense play with a seamless plot that’s sure to be Broadway-bound.  When Sidney lures Clifford into his colonial style home, adorned with eclectic antique weaponry, both men’s motives become unclear as unforeseen happenings unfold. Jaw-dropping hilarity ensues as the zany characters weave a web of mystery in two acts.
 
Deathtrap ran for four years on Broadway after opening in 1978, and it’s remained ubiquitous in theaters around the world,” says Aaron Mark. “It’s the play theatregoers think we know but shocks us every time. What struck me reading it again recently, though, is how eerily relevant it is prophetic, even—in our increasingly “success”—obsessed culture. Ira Levin (Rosemary’s Baby, The Stepford Wives) not only created the mother of all contemporary meta-thrillers when he created Deathtrap, he created a potent cautionary tale about greed. As one with “thrilleritis” (Levin’s term, not mine), myself, I couldn’t be more thrilled that The Fitzpatrick Main Stage is the frighteningly perfect setting for this ingenious puzzle of a ‘who’ll-do-it.'”

BOSBells

Bells Are Ringing
book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
music by Julie Styne
entire original production directed by Jerome Robbins
dance and musical numbers of original production staged by Jerome Robbins and Bob Fosse
produced on the Broadway Stage by The Theatre Guild
directed by Ethan Heard
featuring Kate Baldwin and Graham Rowat

at The Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield Campus
Previews:  Thursday, July 9 and Friday, July 10
Press Opening/Opening Night: Saturday, July 11 at 8pm
Talkback: Monday, July 13 after 7pm performance
Closing: Sunday, July 26 at 2pm
Tickets: Preview: $50
Tickets: A: $65 B: $50 C: $25
Sponsored by:  Blantyre, Country Curtains, The Red Lion Inn, Greylock Federal Credit Union and Greylock Insurance Agency
 
Performance Dates
Thursday, July 9 at 7pm (Preview)
Friday, July 10 at 8pm (Preview)
Saturday, July 11 at 8pm (Opening)
Sunday, July 12 at 2pm and 7pm
Monday, July 13 at 7pm (Talkback)
Tuesday, July 14 at 7pm
Thursday, July 16 at 2pm and 7pm
Friday, July 17 at 8pm
Saturday, July 18 at 2pm and 8pm
Sunday, July 19 at 2pm
Monday, July 20 at 7pm
Tuesday, July 21 at 7pm
Thursday, July 23 at 2pm and 7pm
Friday, July 24 at 8pm
Saturday, July 25 at 2pm and 8pm
Sunday, July 26 at 2pm (Closing)
 
The Tony Award-nominated musical that made Judy Holliday a star, Bells Are Ringing is a classic comedy with a sweet heart. Written by seven-time Tony Award-winners Betty Comden and Adolph Green (On The TownWonderful Town)Bells Are Ringing was originally directed by five-time Tony Award-winner Jerome Robbins (Gypsy, Fiddler on The Roof, West Side Story) and choreographed by Robbins and eight-time Tony Award-winner Bob Fosse (Chicago, Sweet CharityPippin). This fetching and farcical love story includes notable show tunes, “Long Before I Knew You,” “Just in Time,” and “The Party’s Over.”

Telephone service operator, Ella Peterson, played by Tony Award-nominated Kate Baldwin (A Little Night Music, Finian’s Rainbow) is not your typical phone operator. Using a variety of comical personae’s, Ella meddles with her clients’ lives as she takes and delivers their phone messages. Ella’s busybody ways trigger trouble when she falls for one of her customers, Jeff Moss, played by Kate Baldwin’s real life husband, Broadway and television actor, Graham Rowat (A Little Night Music). A hilarious mesh of mistaken identity and mishaps follow in this delightful musical directed by BTG Alum, Ethan Heard (A Little Night Music, Cat and The Canary)Bells Are Ringing is an irresistibly charming musical, bursting with breathtaking dance numbers.

“Like Comden and Green’s other beloved classics On The Town and Wonderful TownBells Are Ringing is a love letter to New York City—a wacky world of colorful characters, crazy coincidences, and dreams-come-true. It’s also a love story about a muse, her man, and all the other people she inspires,” Ethan Heard explains. “With some of the greatest songs from Broadway’s golden age including “Just in Time” and “The Party’s Over,” this is American musical comedy in its purest form.  Kate Baldwin and her husband Graham Rowat are experts with this genre—and each other!  Their chemistry is bound to infuse Ella and Jeff’s romance with fresh exuberance.” Heard directed both Kate Baldwin and Graham Rowat in last year’s celebrated A Little Night Music, which Playbill named one of “The Year’s Best: Playbill Contributors Choose Unforgettable Theatre Experiences of 2014,” and is sure to give Bells Are Ringing the same fresh and fashionable feel.

BOSMcNally


Frankie And Johnny In the Clair de Lune
by Terrence McNally
directed by Karen Allen

at The Fitzpatrick Main Stage, Stockbridge Campus
Previews:  Wednesday, July 29–Friday, July 31
Press Opening/Opening Night: Saturday, August 1 at 8pm
Talkback: Monday, August 3 at 7pm
Closing: Saturday, August 22 at 8pm
Tickets: Preview: $42
Tickets: $62
Sponsored by: Blantyre, Country Curtains and The Red Lion Inn
 
Performance Dates
Wednesday, July 29 at 7pm (Preview)
Thursday, July 30 at 7pm (Preview)
Friday, July 31 at 8pm (Preview)
Saturday, August 1 at 2pm and 8pm (Opening Night)
Monday, August 3 at 7pm (Talkback)
Tuesday, August 4 at 7pm
Wednesday, August 5 at 7pm
Thursday, August 6 at 7pm
Friday, August 7 at 8pm
Saturday, August 8 at 2pm and 8pm
Monday, August 10 at 7pm
Tuesday, August 11 at 7pm
Wednesday, August 12 at 7pm
Thursday, August 13 at 7pm
Friday, August 14 at 8pm
Saturday, August 15 at 2pm and 8pm
Monday, August 17 at 7pm
Tuesday, August 18 at 7pm
Wednesday, August 19 at 7pm
Thursday, August 20 at 7pm
Friday, August 21 at 8pm
Saturday, August 22 at 2pm and 8pm (Closing Night)

The bewildering journey of finding love in the modern world sets the premise for Terrence McNally’s (Master ClassLove! Valour! Compassion!) bittersweet comedy, Frankie And Johnny In the Clair de Lune. After a one-night rendezvous in Manhattan’s West Side, Johnny, a compulsive, starry-eyed, short-order cook, is convinced he has found his life companion in Frankie, a wisecracking waitress. Frankie’s poor history with men leaves her hesitant to commit, but as the night progresses, she lets her guard down and an unlikely romance begins to blossom. This contemporary love story will be directed by beloved BTG Alum Karen Allen (Moonchildren, Extremities).

“Just as she did with Berkshire Theatre Group’s Moonchildren and Extremities, Karen Allen has a passion to get Frankie and Johnny’s tender story on the stage,” says Artistic Director/CEO, Kate Maguire. “Audiences are going to be completely enthralled in this raw, realistic love story, and I think that’s what Frankie And Johnny In the Clair de Lune, is—we sit there and realize how naked we all feel when we’re in love. And that’s where the heart of the play lives.”

Karen Allen has been in acclaimed On and Off-Broadway productions such as, The Monday After the MiracleExtremities, and most recently, A Summer Day. Allen is an award-winning theatre and film actress and director, starring in countless renowned films including Raiders of the Lost ArkScroogedAnimal HouseThe Perfect Storm and The Glass Menagerie.
 
BOSPoppins

Mary Poppins
original music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman
book by Julian Fellowes
new songs and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe
co-created by Cameron Mackintosh
directed by Travis G. Daly
music direction by Mark Gionfriddo
choreography by Kathy Jo Grover/”Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” and “Step in
Time” choreography by Ilana Ransom Toeplitz
10th Annual Community Theatre Production
at The Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield Campus
Preview Performance: Thursday, August 13 at 7pm
Special Note: As a community production, there is no press night for Mary Poppins
Tickets: Adult A: $30, Child A: $20, Adult B: $25, Child B: $15
Sponsored by: Greylock Federal Credit Union, Greylock Insurance Agency, Lyon Aviation, Inc., Richard M. Ziter, M.D, The Berkshire Eagle
 
Performance Dates:
Thursday, August 13 at 7pm (Preview)
Friday, August 14 at 7pm (Opens)
Saturday, August 15 at 2pm and 7pm
Sunday, August 16 at 2pm
Monday, August 17 at 7pm
Thursday, August 20 at 7pm
Friday, August 21 at 7pm
Saturday, August 22 at 2pm and 7pm
Sunday, August 23 at 2pm (Closing)

Mary Poppins flies onto the Colonial stage for Berkshire Theatre Group’s 10th Annual Community Theatre Production. In this beloved musical, written by Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame, a practically perfect nanny teaches us“anything can happen if you let it.” For the third time in a BTG community production, actors will fly through The Colonial Theatre, the first two years ago in Peter Pan, the second in last year’s community production Seussical. This year’s 10th annual community production will feature over 100 talented Berkshire County natives tap dancing and chimney sweeping their way to your heart.

There is magic stirring in London, England at No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane, home to the troubled Banks family. George and Winifred Banks are frustrated and fed-up with their misbehaving children, Jane and Michael, who have once again sent a nanny running out the door. The seemingly endless search for a suitable caretaker comes to a halt when a nanny by the name of Mary Poppins appears at their door. Through whimsical lessons and unforgettable adventures, Mary Poppins shows Jane and Michael the magic of everyday life. Bert, an elusive renaissance gent, narrates this timeless tale that captivates audiences with its alluring story, beautiful dance numbers and unforgettable songs including, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “A Spoonful Of Sugar,” and many more!

This year marks the exciting 10th anniversary of Berkshire Theatre Group’s Annual Community Theatre Production.  For the past 10 years, BTG’s community production has brought together children and adults who have learned from each other all in the midst of collaboration and creativity.  “What could be better than watching Bert and Mary fly over the audience, with 100 children on stage for our 10th annual community production,” says Berkshire Theatre Group Artistic Director/CEO, Kate Maguire. “The iconic Mary Poppins represents love and sensibility—a perfect message to send to an audience of all ages. This enchanting production is filled with phenomenal dance numbers, giving the children the opportunity to show off their dancing chops.”


DIRECTOR BIOS: 

Karen Allen: returns to BTF having directed William Mastrisimone’s Extremities in 2013 and Michael Weller’s Moonchildren in 2011. Most recently, she won an Obie Award for directing the world premiere of Lucy Thurber’s new play Ashville at the Cherry Lane Theatre in NYC.  Her theatre roles On and Off Broadway have included, William Gibson’s The Monday After the Miracle, Extremities, The Glass Menagerie, Miss Julie, The Miracle Worker, The Country Girl, Beautiful Bodies, Temporary Help, Speaking in Tongues, and most recently, Jon Fosse’s A Summer Day.  In 1981, Karen came to the Berkshires and to BTF for the first time to play Gittel in William Gibson’s Two for the Seesaw. She has also worked at The Williamstown Theatre Festival (Tennessee Williams: A Celebration, The Royal Family, Glass Menagerie) and at Shakespeare and Co (As You Like It). Films include: Animal House, The Wanderers, A Small Circle of Friends, Shoot the Moon, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Starman, Until September, The Glass Menagerie, Scrooged, Malcolm X, King of the Hill, The Sandlot, Falling Sky, Poster Boy, The Perfect Storm, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and White Irish Drinkers and Bad Hurt, which will be released later this year. Karen is on the faculty of the theatre department at Bard College at Simon’s Rock where she began to work as a director with a production of Joan Ackermann’s The Batting Cage.  Karen is presently directing her first film which is an adaptation of Carson McCullers short story “A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud.”

Aaron Mark: is most recently the writer-director of Another Medea, starring Tom Hewitt, presented by All For One at The Wild Project. Other directing credits include: The Mystery of Irma Vep (Berkshire Theatre Festival), Ben Rimalower’s Patti Issues and Bad With Money (Duplex and tours) and Hedwig and the Angry Inch (BC/EFA at New World Stages). As a writer, his plays have been developed by New York Theatre Workshop, Labyrinth Theater Company, the Cherry Lane Theatre, Theater for the New City, the Blank Theatre, and American Theater Group. His independent feature films (as writer-director) are Commentary, Random Unrelated Projects, Zbornik Developing, and Do Not Duplicate (upcoming). He is a NYTW Usual Suspect and he does not have aaronmark.com because it belongs to a German gay porn star with the same name, so his website is aaronmark.info.

Travis G. Daly: BTG directing credits: Atlantis, Lost!, Seussical, Peter Pan, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Pinocchio, OLIVER!, Way Out West, The Wizard Of Oz, History’s Mysteries Revealed, Annie, The Great Beyond, Hansel & Gretel’s Grimm Tale. Co-directing credits: A Christmas Carol (2012-2014). 

Ethan Heard: directs plays, musicals, and opera. He is equally at home creating productions of new work, Shakespeare, Sondheim, and Monteverdi. BTG: A Little Night Music and The Cat and the Canary. Recent world premieres: Cady, Siegel and Welch’s Sisyphus (Experiments in Opera), Campbell and Michelson’s The Other Room (Inner Voices). Heartbeat Opera: Kafka-Fragments, The Fairy Queen, and The Seven Deadly Sins. Yale School of Drama: Sunday in the Park with GeorgeJulius Caesar, and Lottie in the Late Afternoon. Yale Cabaret (Artistic Director): Pierrot LunaireBasement Hades, and Trannequin. Yale Baroque Opera Project: Erismena, L’Orfeo, and Ardo, Ardo. Other: L’incoronazione di Poppea and The Producers (Princeton), The Gay Ivy (Dixon Place), and Pullman WA (Williamstown Workshop). Assisting: Nicholas Martin, Steve Cosson, and Mark Brokaw. Teaching: Princeton University and the O’Neill Theater Center. Founding Co-Artistic Director of Heartbeat Opera, Resident Director of Cantata Profana, and SDC member. ethanheard.com

 

CALENDAR OF 2015 PRESENTED SHOWS

Going to the Farm with Spot: The Colonial: Wednesday, February 18 at 2pm
Bill Blagg’s 10 Illusions!: The Colonial: Thursday, February 19 at 2pm
George Thorogood & The Destroyers: Badder Than Ever Tour: The Colonial: Tuesday, March 3 at 7:30pm
The Big Broadcast!: The Colonial: Friday, March 13 at 7pm
Through The Looking Glass: Musings from the Pens of Berkshire Women Writers: The Unicorn: Sunday, March 22 at 3pm
BoDeans:
 The Colonial: Thursday, April 16 at 7:30pm
Robert Klein: The Colonial: Saturday, August 1 at 8pm
Arlo Guthrie: Alice’s Restaurant: 50th Anniversary Tour: The Colonial: Fall 2015
Natalie MacMaster Visions from Cape Breton and Beyond: A Celtic Family Celebration:
 The Colonial: Saturday, November 7 at 8pm

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