Berkshire On Stage Critics Pick Their Favorites of the 2017 Season

The four critics who review for BerkshireOnStage.com – Gail M. Burns, Roseann Cane, Macey Levin, and Barbara Waldinger – have each listed their favorite regional theatre productions of the past calendar year.

Because for the most part we all see and review different shows, there was no sense trying to come up with a list of the “Best of the Year.” Instead we are sharing our individual picks for our favorite shows, performers, directors, choreographers, and designers.

Take a read and see who you agree with, then drop us a line and add your own. If we get enough responses we’ll share them here, anonymously, so that our readers get a broader picture of the regional theatre scene.

Favorite Play

GAIL BURNS: Broadway Bound at the Oldcastle Theatre Company

“There’s a reason why Neil Simon has been an award-winning playwright for the past half-century. This is a truly well-made play for which Oldcastle assembled an outstanding cast, deftly directed by Eric Peterson.”

ROSEANN CANE: The Clean House at the Williamstown Theatre Festival

“Playwright Sarah Ruhl created a transcendent examination of love in all its forms, brought to life by a smart, sensitive director and a superlative cast. A well-lived life, passion, and love are nothing if not messy, Ruhl tells us. I was gratified to hear during a talk-back after the show that Ruhl was involved with the creation of this production, even going so far as to make some small but stunning changes in the script, which had premiered at Yale Repertory Theatre in 2004, and Off-Broadway in 2006. (Playwrights are notoriously rigid about adjusting their works.) The collaborative spirit between playwright, director, cast, and crew was gloriously evident here.”

MACEY LEVIN: Lost Lake at Berkshire Theatre Group

“The dialogue is realistic and director Walker has created a tone and pace so that the audience feels it is eavesdropping on the lives of two people in pain. Both the intimate conversations and the pitch of Veronica’s and Hogan’s disagreements and arguments ring with honesty.”

BARBARA WALDINGER:  Every Brilliant Thing at the Chester Theatre Company

“…a highly imaginative, moving, interactive production.”

Favorite New Work

MACEY LEVIN: Every Brilliant Thing at the Chester Theatre Company

“Every Brilliant Thing defies theatre tradition…as it incorporates such taboos as audience participation, a one-man show and full house lights for the entire production.  However, all of these elements combine to create a humorously poignant narrative which addresses universal themes and challenges our preconceptions of what constitutes good story-telling.”

BARBARA WALDINGER: Every Brilliant Thing at the Chester Theatre Company

Favorite musical

GAIL BURNS: The Mystery of Edwin Drood at Hubbard Hall

“While Barrington Stage came through with its usual powerhouse musical productions this season, I have to pick this new chamber version of his Tony Award winning 1985 musical that Rupert Holmes created especially for Hubbard Hall. In fact, while the whole cast was top-notch, the Hall itself was the star of this production. Future productions will have to build a set that looks like an 1879 wooden opera house in upstate New York. Hubbard Hall is the real thing!”

ROSEANN CANE: L’elisir d’amore at Hubbard Hall and She Loves Me at Capital Rep

L’elisir d’amore: “With an ebullient and accomplished cast and a superb orchestra, the 1832Donizetti opera buffa was set in a 1950s nightclub, with some audience members seated at cabaret tables, enjoying wine and charcuterie. The rest of the audience was also in on the action, as cast members moved throughout the risers as well as the tables, singing and teasing patrons. Conductor Maria Sensi Sellner, was inspired and astonishingly versatile; her orchestra, nothing short of sensational. Stage Director Andrew Nienaber, executed his desire to bring the audience “up close,” and I’ve never had so much fun at the opera.”

She Loves Me: “Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill assembled a knockout cast for this romantic jewel box of a musical. A love story of two clerks in a Hungarian parfumerie, the performances were fresh, sweet, and exuberant, never falling into the easy trap of becoming predicable and treacly. This winning production was a delectable holiday treat, a much-needed reminder of the purpose, and the importance, of joy.”

MACEY LEVIN: Hello, Dolly! at the Mac-Haydn Theatre and Ragtime at Barrington Stage Company

Hello, Dolly!: “…after Monica M. Wemitt gives us a charmingly conniving Dolly with “I Put My Hand In,” the show flies with dazzling choreography by Sebastiani Romagnalo and sparkling staging by director John Saunders.”

Ragtime: The various scenes depict a broad panoply of American culture and history.  Celebrated personalities from the past – J.P Morgan, Henry Ford, Emma Goldman, Evelyn Nesbit, Booker T. Washington, Harry Houdini –  weave in and out of the plot as do historical moments.  Even if this weren’t a musical the story lines would be gripping.”

BARBARA WALDINGER:  Ragtime at Barrington Stage Company and Spamalot at the Mac-Haydn Theatre

Ragtime: “…a terrific reimagining of this work”

Spamalot: “…a real circus with non-stop energy to spare”

Favorite Solo Performance

ROSEANN CANE: Ed Dixon in Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose at Barrington Stage Company

At Barrington Stage, the formidably gifted Ed Dixon graced us with “Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose.” Dixon wrote this one-man show chronicling his long professional relationship and friendship with the great George Rose, from the 1970s until Rose’s murder in 1988. As I wrote, “[Dixon] is, at turns, riotously funny, frighteningly sad, and wildly eccentric, much as he describes his mentor. In this splendid salute to an old friend who would ultimately turn Dixon’s world inside out, it is a privilege to witness nothing less than a transformation of Ed Dixon as he finds his way to forgiving his old friend, and understanding the truth while treasuring all that was good in their relationship.

MACEY LEVIN: Joel Ripka in Every Brilliant Thing at the Chester Theatre Company

“Joel Ripka’s intuitive performance is seamless and mesmerizing.  He is so convincing that it is impossible to separate the real actor from the character he is playing  He makes this his story and the audience members are his memories.”

BARBARA WALDINGER: Joel Ripka in Every Brilliant Thing at the Chester Theatre Company and Frank Boyd  in The Holler Sessions at the Ancram Opera House

“These actors, alone on stage, can hold an audience in the palm of their hands”

Favorite Ensemble Performance

GAIL BURNS: Shipwrecked!... at Oldcastle Theatre Company

“What did John Hadden, David Joseph and Carla Woods NOT do during this whirlwind adventure of tall tales and harsh realities? This trio gave me some truly unforgettable moments of hilarity and wonder.”

ROSEANN CANE:  The Clean House at the Williamstown Theatre Festival

“I had the great fortune of seeing so much excellent ensemble work this year, and to me, that is the heart of all good theater. My favorite ensemble would be The Clean House, because not only were the director, cast, and design crew were remarkably in sync, but (as I mentioned earlier), playwright Sarah Ruhl took the very unusual step of changing her previously performed script to accommodate the Williamstown Theatre Festival production.”

MACEY LEVIN: Skeleton Crew at the Chester Theatre Company

“…the acting smacks of reality.  …All of them bring the ring of truth to their fears and aspirations that are tempered by the knowledge of their place in the hard and impersonal American job landscape.”

BARBARA WALDINGER: So many plays this season featured outstanding performers from top to bottom—these are among the best:

The Roommate at the Williamstown Theatre Festival

This at the Barrington Stage Company

Skeleton Crew at the Chester Theatre Company

The Last Wife, produced by WAM Theatre

Lost Lake at the Berkshire Theatre Group

Cymbeline at Shakespeare & Company

Favorite Actor in a Play

GAIL BURNS: David Turner in The Legend of Georgia McBride at the Dorset Theatre Festival

“While Oliver Wadsworth’s performance as Voltaire in WAM Theatre’s Emilie… and Tim Daly in Downstairs at the Dorset Theatre Festival really knocked my socks off, Turner whipped in and out of amazing drag ensembles, lip synched a wide variety of numbers, and played a character who was literally the soul of The Legend of Georgia McBride. And he wasn’t even playing the lead!”

ROSEANN CANE: Treat Williams in American Buffalo at the Dorset Theatre Festival

“Treat Williams, one of the three superlative actors in the Dorset Theatre Festival’s production of David Mamet’s American Buffalo, was mesmerizing as the volatile, conniving Teach. I chose not to mention in my review that he called for lines twice, something I’ve never seen before in professional theater, on opening night, yet! But he never lost his intense characterization, and for me to select him as a favorite despite those two moments…well, he was that good!”

MACEY LEVIN: Quentin Maré in Lost Lake at Berkshire Theatre Group

Freeman and Maré give life to these two people.  Their physical and facial reactions lend depth to their respective personalities and Auburn’s dialogue. …They work beautifully together and are continually in sync using their acting intuition and the craft of their art.”

BARBARA WALDINGER: Whether in a two character play or part of a large cast, these actors stood out in a crowded field…

Jeff McCarthy in Kunstler at Barrington Stage Company

Quentin Maré in Lost Lake at Berkshire Theatre Group

Oliver Wadsworth in Emilie... and John Hadden in The Last Wife, both produced by WAM Theatre

Favorite Actress in a Play

GAIL BURNS: Kim Stauffer in Emilie: La Marquise du Chatelet Defends her Life Tonight, produced by WAM Theatre

“This was my second time seeing Stauffer in the title role of this magical play by Lauren Gunderson, and she was just as funny, feisty, and touching this time round as she was in 2013. A wonderful actress and a regional treasure.”

ROSEANN CANE: Jayne Atkinson in The Clean House at the Williamstown Theatre Festival

“As Lane, Atkinson was brilliant as a woman who discovers that her insistence on order and cleanliness comes at a cost. Her nuanced yet life-altering evolution was a revelation to behold.”

BARBARA WALDINGER: Great to see such wonderful female roles inhabited by such talented actresses!

Nehaissaiu deGannes in The Last Wife and Kim Stauffer in Emilie..., produced by WAM Theatre

Lynnette R. Freeman in Lost Lake at the Berkshire Theatre Group

Roxanne Fay in The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds at the  Bridge Street Theatre

Favorite Actor Musical

GAIL BURNS: Darnell Abraham Ragtime at Barrington Stage Company

“Barrington Stage was wise to cast Abraham who has played Coalhouse before and brought experience, energy, and talent to this pivotal role.”

ROSEANN CANE: Michael McCorry Rose in She Loves Me at Capital Rep

“Rose fully realized the role of Georg Nowack as a proud, humble, sensitive, and ebullient lover. A triple threat, that man is as gifted an actor as he is a singer and dancer.”

MACEY LEVIN: Darnell Abraham Ragtime at Barrington Stage Company

The acting is uniformly exceptional. Darnell Abraham’s Coalhouse is determined to give Sarah (Zurin Villanueva) and his son all his love and the best possible life they can create together.  Warmth and determination flow out of him. The chemistry and intimacy in the scenes between the two are tangible.”

BARBARA WALDINGER: Darnell Abraham Ragtime at Barrington Stage Company

“Equally adept at acting and singing and gave the best speech at the Berkies—a well-deserved award”

Favorite Actress Musical

GAIL BURNS: Elizabeth Stanley in Ragtime at Barrington Stage Company

“A luminous performance that allowed the audience to clearly understand Mother’s flowering as a woman.”

ROSEANN CANE: Lindsay Ohse in L’elisir d’amore at Hubbard Hall

“…a fiery femme fatale with a stunning, sweeping soprano voice perfect for bel canto.”

MACEY LEVIN: Emily Kron Sweeney Todd at the Mac-Haydn Theatre

“Mrs. Lovett in the hands of Emily Kron is … a different take.  Here her gruesome plan to use Todd’s victims in her pies is almost joyous rather than forbidding.  Her energy and brightness almost makes her endearing… a frightful thought.”

BARBARA WALDINGER: Elizabeth Stanley in Ragtime at Barrington Stage Company

“—an elegant and moving performance”

Favorite Supporting Actor in a Play

GAIL BURNS: Jason Asprey in Broadway Bound at Oldcastle Theatre Company

“I have been watching Asprey perform in a variety of roles for two decades, and I have never seen him vanish so completely into a character. His Jack was roiling with self-hatred at the powerful urge within him for change at any cost.”

ROSEANN CANE: Tommy Schrider in Intimate Apparel at Shakespeare & Company

“As a pious Jewish Romanian immigrant, Schrider’s Mr. Marks had such poignance and unspoken passion that his portrayal stayed with me long after the play ended.”

MACEY LEVIN: Joey Collins At Home at the Zoo at the Berkshire Theatre Group and Mark H. Dold in This at Barrington Stage Company

Joey Collins: “The most psychotically damaged character is Jerry.  Collins plays against this by not shrieking or stomping using a quiet intensity to precipitate the conflict and striking ending.”

Mark H. Dold: “He is loved by his cohorts and his foibles are tolerated, but when he lets down his guard, in a beautifully realized scene with Jane in her darkened apartment, we feel the longing and sadness behind the cynical facade.”

BARBARA WALDINGER:  Superb performances—they were the ones to watch in these productions…

Carson Elrod in Taking Steps and Mark H. Dold in This at Barrington Stage Company

Joey Collins in At Home at the Zoo at the Berkshire Theatre Group

Favorite Supporting Actress in a Play

GAIL BURNS: Caitlin Clouthier in Baskerville at the Dorset Theatre Festival

“A stand-out in an outstanding trio of supporting actors, Clouthier had me rolling in the aisles and gasping at her ability to change clothes, accents, and characters in the blink of an eye.”

ROSEANN CANE: Tamara Hickey in The Tempest at Shakespeare & Company

“Hickey’s Ariel was sublime, with her arresting voice and effortless tree-climbing, she seemed weightless, diaphanous, otherworldly, neither human nor beast.”

BARBARA WALDINGER: Medina Senghore in Intimate Apparel at Shakespeare & Company 

Favorite Supporting Actor in a Musical

GAIL BURNS: Tim Garner in The Mystery of Edwin Drood at Hubbard Hall

“Garner played the most lovable of underdogs.”

ROSEANN CANE: Patrick McNally in L’elisir d’amore at Hubbard Hall

“…with his rich, expressive baritone McNally was a knockout as the chest-beating, pompous womanizer Belcore.” 

Favorite Supporting Actress in a Musical

GAIL BURNS: Ellen Harvey in Company and Anne L Nathan in Ragtime at Barrington Stage Company

“Havery brought down the house with ‘The Ladies Who Lunch.’ What a pro!”

“Nathan gave a powerful and amusing performance as the firebrand anarchist Emma Goldman.”

ROSEANN CANE: Tracy Jai Edwards in She Love Me at Capital Rep

“Edwards managed to be at once spirited, sizzling, and heartbreaking as Illona.”

MACEY LEVIN: Rachel Rhodes-Devey in Hello, Dolly! at the Mac-Haydn Theatre

 “…the wistful “Ribbons Down My Back” [is] sung beautifully by the milliner Irene Molloy (Rachel Rhodes-Devey).  Ms. Rhodes-Devey moves from the pensive song to a romantic character with fine comic underpinnings.”

BARBARA WALDINGER:  Madison Stratton in Spamalot at the Mac-Haydn Theatre

Favorite Director Play

GAIL BURNS: Stephen Brackett The Legend of Georgia McBride at the Dorset Theatre Festival

“When I first read this script I frankly thought this play was unstageable because the playwright called for such abrupt changes of scene and costumes, but Brackett and his team proved me wrong on every count.”

ROSEANN CANE: Rebecca Taichman The Clean House at the Williamstown Theatre Festival

“Taichman’s direction of The Clean House was simply outstanding.”

MACEY LEVIN: Rebecca Taichman The Clean House at the Williamstown Theatre Festival

“2017 Tony Award winning director of Indecent, Rebecca Taichman, captures the contrasting issues and emotional disparities of Ruhl’s play and runs her characters through this absurd comedy with verve and precision.”

BARBARA WALDINGER: These directors guided their casts to powerful performances and unified every aspect of these productions…

Louisa Proske This at Barrington Stage Company

Awoye Timpo  Skeleton Crew at the Chester Theatre Company

Daniel Elihu Kramer Every Brilliant Thing at the Chester Theatre Company

Patrick White John Bail’s In the Heat of the Night for Circle Theatre Players at the Sand Lake Center for the Arts 

Favorite Director Musical

GAIL BURNS: Trey Compton Godspell 2012 at the Theater Barn

“Yes, bigger names staged bigger shows this season, but it was so evident that Compton led his young ensemble cast to pour their whole hearts and souls into this outstanding production that I was deeply moved.”

ROSEANN CANE: Andrew Nienaber L’elisir d’amore at Hubbard Hall

“Stage Director Andrew Nienaber accomplished, by bringing the audience into the action, a feat I’ve never experienced in an opera. A great time was had by all!”

MACEY LEVIN: James Barry Million Dollar Quartet at the Berkshire Theatre Group, Joe Calarco Ragtime at Barrington Stage Company, and John Saunders Hello, Dolly! and Sweeney Todd at the Mac-Haydn Theatre

Million Dollar Quartet: “James Barry’s direction… hints of how each of their lives will play out in the world of fame, money and, of course, eventual self-destruction that seemed to plague so many of these musicians.  Little asides and scowls allude to the seeds of discontent, ambition and insecurity…”

Ragtime: “Calarco’s staging in concert with Shea Sullivan’s choreography is exhilarating.  The large cast is moved stylistically and efficiently creating dynamic stage pictures that entertain the audience’s eyes and emotions. Calarco and Sullivan’s adherence to the needs of the score and the story line bring a vitality and sensitivity to this enthralling production.”

Hello, Dolly!: “Saunders keeps the rapid pace of the show under control.  Each moment means something and contributes to the writers’ intentions.  He has maintained both a sense of comedy and a recognition of the dramatic subtext of the play.”

Sweeney Todd: “Saunders has used every inch of the small theatre to tell the story in tight and efficient staging by moving the cast smoothly into vivid theatrical stage pictures.  He follows the arc of the story and fulfills its dramatic emotional impact.”

BARBARA WALDINGER: These gentlemen brought such originality that I felt as though I was seeing these plays for the first time–

Joe Calarco Ragtime at Barrington Stage Company

Neal Kowalsky Spamalot at the Mac-Haydn Theatre

Favorite Choreographer

GAIL BURNS: Patrick McCullom The Legend of Georgia McBride at the Dorset Theatre Festival

“This isn’t a musical, but there was plenty of choreography, and it was fabulous.”

ROSEANN CANE: Freddy Ramirez She Loves Me at Capital Rep

“Kudos to Ramirez for his delightful and beautifully executed choreography.”

MACEY LEVIN: Sebastiani Romagnolo Sweeney Todd at the Mac-Haydn Theatre

“Enough cannot be said of choreographer Romagnolo’s work.  To move this huge number of dancers across the relatively small playing space while interacting with the principal characters is a model of vision and theatricality.”

BARBARA WALDINGER: Sebastiani Romagnolo Spamalot at the Mac-Haydn Theatre

“Romagnolo created knock-your-socks-off movement on a postage-stamp stage.”

Favorite Set Design

GAIL BURNS: Juliana von Haubrich Emilie… and The Last Wife, produced by WAM Theatre

“I am constantly in awe of what von Haubrich can do with a couple of flats and an armload of curtains. Whether she has a budget of $200 or $200 she always turns out a handsome, practical, and original set that furthers the plot and action. I was intrigued to see how she adapted her design for Emilie..., originally presented on the St. Germain Stage at Barrington Stage, to the much larger and very different configuration of the Tina Packer Playhouse at Shakespeare & Company.”

ROSEANN CANE: Riccardo Hernandez The Clean House at the Williamstown Theatre Festival

“Hernandez’s beautiful horizontal split set was a perfect fit.”

MACEY LEVIN: Brian Prather Ragtime at Barrington Stage Company

“Using nostalgia to transport the play into its chronological context,…scene designer Brian Prather have eschewed the elaborate sets of Broadway and established an atmospheric ‘American attic.’ ”

BARBARA WALDINGER:  These artists’ sets told the story of the plays–

Jason Sherwood Taking Steps and Brian Prather Ragtime at Barrington Stage Company

Brian Prather Some People Hear Thunder at Capital Rep

Dane Laffrey The Roommate at the Williamstown Theatre Festival

Matthew T. Teichner The Rocky Horror Show for the Town Players of Pittsfield at BCC

John Sowle The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds at the Bridge Street Theatre

Favorite Lighting Design

GAIL BURNS: Zach Blane The Legend of Georgia McBride at the Dorset Theatre Festival

“From the moment you walked into the theatre Blane’s lighting transported you to that sleazy bar in Panama Beach, Florida where most of the play is set.”

ROSEANN CANE: Stephen D. Ball The Wharton Stories at Shakespeare & Company

“Ball’s superbly designed lighting informed two very different one-act plays in ways both thrilling and graceful.”

MACEY LEVIN: David Weiner Where Storms are Born at Williamstown Theatre Festival

“The effectiveness of the set is enhanced by David Weiner’s lighting which casts shadows of the fire escape onto the walls surrounding the stage.  Stage pictures enhanced by the lighting evoke a sense of foreboding and of hidden emotions.” 

BARBARA WALDINGER: Gorgeous lighting effects that greatly enhanced their productions–

David Weiner Where Storms are Born at the Williamstown Theatre Festival

Cory Pattak Some People Hear Thunder at Capital Rep

Mike Baldassari Children of a Lesser God at the Berkshire Theatre Group

Favorite Costume Design

GAIL BURNS: Bobby Frederick Tilley The Legend of Georgia McBride at the Dorset Theatre Festival and Stella Schwartz The Last Wife, produced by WAM Theatre

Bobby Frederick Tilley: “The gowns! The wigs! The SHOES! I loved them all. And those were the men’s costumes…”

Stella Schwartz: “Schwartz’s modern take on Tudor garb was both beautiful to look at and practical in allowing the actors freedom of movement.”

ROSEANN CANE: Govane Lohbauer The Tempest at Shakespeare & Company

“Lohbauer ingeniously dressed the cast in an array of stunning garments, capturing at once the Victorian Nova Scotia setting and the enchantment of the play.”

MACEY LEVIN: Bethany Marx Hello, Dolly! at the Mac-Haydn Theatre

“There is a multitude of rich and historically correct costumes designed by Bethany Marks that bring color and vibrancy to the stage.  This is a gorgeous production to look at thanks to her.”

BARBARA WALDINGER: These two designers built a huge number of costumes, each showing tremendous originality–

Angela Carstensten Spamalot at the Mac-Haydn Theatre

Tyler Kinney Cymbeline at Shakespeare & Company

Favorite Sound Design

GAIL BURNS: Alexander Sovronsky The Last Wife produced by WAM Theatre, and  Ryan Rumery The Legend of Georgia McBride at the Dorset Theatre Festival

“Sovronsky composed and recorded an entire original score that perfectly set the tone for The Last Wife, a contemporary retelling of the marriage of King Henry VIII of England and his last wife, Katherine Parr. Rumery, on the other hand, built an entire sound track and coordinate it perfectly with the action of a big and busy spectacle. Both men proved themselves masters of their craft.”

ROSEANN CANE: Arshan Gailus The Tempest at Shakespeare & Company

“Sound design for an outdoor production presents a particular set of challenges, yet sound designer/composer Arshan Gailus graced The Tempest with haunting music and a cappella singing, and, most notably, ambient sounds that, in a neat bit of sorcery, accompanied the birds that flew over the Roman Garden Theatre.”

MACEY LEVIN: David Thomas The Birds at Barrington Stage Company

“David Thomas’s sound design has disquieting bird noises throughout the running of the play, many of which emanate from around the theatre creating a disquieting mood.”

BARBARA WALDINGER: These designers; work added immeasurably to the productions–

Scott Killian  Lost Lake  at the Berkshire Theatre Group

Matt Hubbs The Holler Sessions at the Ancram Opera House

Carmen Borgia The Official Adventures of Kieron and Jade at Bridge Street Theatre

Favorite Thing That Doesn’t Fit Into Any Other Category

GAIL BURNS: The Berkshire Theatre Awards, aka The Berkies

For myself and the other members of the Berkshiire Theatre Critics Association – J. Peter Bergman, Robert Bruyr, Macey Levin, Gloria Miller, Ed Sedarbaum, Robert Sugarman, and Sally Sugarman – mounting this awards ceremony for a second year was a true labor of love. For me it is the realization of a long-held dream, which I shared with my late colleague Larry Murray, to see theatre in this region recognized for its astonishing vitality, diversity, and excellence. Seeing so many arts leaders and director and performers and designers all together in one room just thrilled me. I can’t wait for next year!

ROSEANN CANE: The Music Man at the Sharon Playhouse

The Sharon Playhouse offered a production of The Music Man that director Morgan Green chose to contemporize, and while I applaud the concept of making theater relevant, I thought that, in this case, it undermined the production. (The controversy it generated was addressed in the New York Times.) However, I was stunned by the actor who played Harold Hill. Had Robert M. Johanson been in a traditional production of The Music Man, he would have faced a daunting challenge to begin with. Harold Hill, an already difficult role, is so closely identified with Robert Preston that I couldn’t imagine Johanson making the role his own. Well! Despite the distraction of cast members holding cellphones and Starbucks cups and other familiar 2017 props, despite some uneven casting, Johanson’s performance was wonderful. He was a thoroughly original, seductive, charismatic, feelingful Hill, a splendid dancer/singer/actor, and he was a joy to behold. Not all of the actors were as seasoned or gifted as Johanson, and it’s not possible for an actor to perform at his best if he’s not playing with his peers. I can only imagine how good he would be if he were performing in different circumstances.

MACEY LEVIN: The Mac-Haydn Theatre and the Bridge Street Theatre

“Given that this is summer stock theatre, the rehearsal period is very limited.  To reach the high quality of this production (Sweeney Todd) with the inherent limitations is testimony to the talents of all involved.  This is not a major regional production but it offers many of its own special artistic attributes.”

“Bridge Street Theatre has been in existence for four years and has built a reputation for presenting challenging plays, well-acted and well-directed.  They also present concerts and other theatre experiences.  For those who travel to the various far-flung theatres in the Berkshires, Bridge Street is well within traveling distance.  It is worth the time and the effort to get there…”

One thought on “Berkshire On Stage Critics Pick Their Favorites of the 2017 Season

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