Top honors for Outstanding Play Production went to the Company’s production of Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog
(Lenox, MA) – Shakespeare & Company is proud to have been honored with six Berkshire Theatre Critics Awards. At a ceremony held in Pittsfield last week, the Board of the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association presented 23 Berkshire Theatre Awards. This was the fourth year the awards have been presented to honor and celebrate the excellence and diversity of theatre in the greater Berkshire region.
The 2019 Awards celebrate the commitment of regional theatres presenting new and diverse work. Critics J. Peter Bergman and Macey Levin once again hosted the ceremony, which honored Shakespeare & Company in six categories, including Outstanding Production of a Play.
“We’re very grateful to the Berkie committee for the recognition of our work this past summer,” said Artistic Director Allyn Burrows. “And we’re honored to be among such superb theatre makers in this community!”
Long-time Company Members Elizabeth Aspenlieder and Diane Prusha both took home awards; Aspenlieder was named Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play for her work in Kenneth Longergan’s The Waverly Gallery, and Prusha was named Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play for her work in Lucy Kirkwoods The Children. Director and Company Member Regge Life received three honors for for Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog; Outstanding Direction of a Play, Outstanding Ensemble Performance, and Outstanding Production of a Play. The Company is honored that actors Deaon Griffin-Pressley and Bryce Michael Wood were recognized for their talents, and commends the Topdog/Underdog designers and crew.
“The award was so special and exciting to me,” said Life. “I was humbled by the honor of not only being named Best Director, but that the show topped in all categories where it was nominated. I think it says something really powerful about Allyn choosing this play to present to Shakespeare & Company audiences and to all of the Berkshires. This play is more important in today’s world – so bravo to everyone on the creative team along with everyone working so hard every day to bring impactful theater to the Berkshires.”
The distinguished Larry Murray Award for Community Outreach and Support through Theater went to Tina Packer, Founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company, for her decades of work bringing theatre and theatre education to the Berkshire community. The recipient of this award, named in honor of the late Larry Murray, Berkshire Theatre Critics Association Founder, is selected by the association’s Board each year. Packer sent in a special video message for the ceremony that spoke briefly about her joy at receiving this award and her long residence in the Berkshires.
“I am delighted to receive the Larry Murray Award for Community Outreach and Support,” said Packer. “It has been fantastic to live and work in the Berkshires for the past four decades, and I could not have been happier to share that time with my colleagues in the arts community— it’s been thrilling, stimulating and incredibly invigorating. I know Larry felt that same energy and synergy here, and it’s an honor to accept this award in his name.”
The ceremony also featured musical and Shakespearean performances by nominees David Joseph (Time Stands Still at Shakespeare & Company) and Gregory Boover (Twelfth Night at Shakespeare & Company), and musical selections by Monica M. Wemitt, Rachel Rhodes-Devey and Gabe Belyeu from the Mac-Haydn Theatre.
About Shakespeare & Company
Located in the beautiful Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company is one of the leading Shakespeare festivals of the world. Founded in 1978, the organization attracts over 40,000 patrons annually. The Company is also home to an internationally renowned Center for Actor Training and award-winning Education Program. More information is available at www.shakespeare.org.