PITTSFIELD -- Rick Springfield, pop-rock idol of the 1980s and soap opera star, is coming to Berkshire Theatre Group's Colonial Theatre all "stripped down." But while his March 26 concert is 3 1/2 months away, it's still not a moment too soon, say BTG CEO and artistic director Kate Maguire and programmer Simon Shaw.
"He's the most requested performer. People have been asking us to bring him here ever since we came to the Colonial [four years ago]," Maguire said during a late afternoon joint interview with Shaw in her office at the Colonial.
In announcing Springfield's concert -- along with other bookings at the Colonial over the coming months -- Maguire also said that BTG's summer musical at the Colonial will be Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music," starring Stockbridge vocalist and actress Maureen O'Flynn. Ethan Heard, who directed "The Cat and the Canary" at BTG's Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge this past summer, will direct. Previews begin June 30. Press opening is July 5. The show is scheduled to run through July 19.
Complete plans for BTG's summer theater season are expected to be announced sometime next month, Maguire said, adding only that the Sondheim musical is only one of several projects O'Flynn will be doing at BTG in 2014.
The Australia-born and Australia and England-raised Springfield became an audience sensation in 1981 playing Dr. Noah Drake on the ABC daytime drama, "General Hospital." Later that year, he hit the pop music scene big-time with his Grammy Award-winning single," Jessie's Girl." His other Top 20 hits include "Human Touch," "I've Done Everything For You," "Don't Talk to Strangers" and "Affair of the Heart."
"We've never been able to afford him," Shaw said, explaining why Springfield hasn't appeared at the Colonial.
What makes him affordable now, Shaw said, is his "Stripped Down" solo acoustic tour in which Springfield not only performs unplugged versions of his hits, but also discusses his life and career in a Q&A with the audience.
"I've seen his show," Shaw said. "He really gives quite a performance. It should be a great evening of fun."
Springfield headlines a BTG winter-spring season of music and comedy at the Colonial and its Garage venue in the lobby that includes performances by:
n Moody Blues singer, composer and lead guitarist Justin Hayward;
n Massachusetts-based indie folk quartet, Darlingside;
n comedienne Loni Love;
n comedian Colin Quinn in his 76-minute show, "Unconstitutional";
n and the touring show "SPANK! Harder," a sequel to "SPANK!" which played the Colonial last year.
Rounding out the schedule are DiNo-Light, a family show seen in NBC's "America's Got Talent"; Royal Berkshire Improv Group; and musicians from Boston Symphony Orchestra in a community chamber concert.
Tickets go on sale today to BTG members and pass holders and Monday to the general public. Ticket information is available at the Colonial box office at 111 South St.; by telephone at (413) 997-4444; or online at berkshiretheatregroup.org.
The emphasis on popular music and comedy, Shaw says, stems from the belief that "in the depths of winter, we need something to lighten our spirits. We were looking for good, fun, thoughtful shows."
Shaw and Maguire said they also were looking for shows that would appeal to young audiences.
Quinn, who brings his irreverent look at American history, "Unconstitutional," to the Colonial on President's Day weekend in February, is a veteran of "Saturday Night Live," MTV's "Remote Control" and Comedy Central's "Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn." He starred on Broadfway in "Long Story Short" directed by Jerry Seinfeld and will be returning to the HBO series, "Girls," in its upcoming season.
Loni Love is a regular panelist on E!'s "Chelsea Lately" and has appeared on a variety of television network and cable shows. Shaw describes Love as "a very funny up-and-coming African-American comedienne."
On the music side, Shaw characterizes The Moody Blues' Justin Hayward as "an iconic performer." His concert will include some of his own work as well as material from The Moody Blues.
Shaw said more events will be announced.
"We want to be able to take advantage of national tours that have holes in their schedules," he said.
"There is no science to booking a season. Every venue has its challenges. There is a reality to the fees we can pay and still make tickets affordable."