PITTSFIELD -- At a press conference held at Barrington Stage Company's Boyd-Quinson Mainstage, Artistic Director Julianne Boyd announced the theater's 20th Anniversary 2014 season of musicals and plays that will take place in downtown Pittsfield in the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage, St. Germain Stage and Youth Theatre in 2014.
Barrington Stage Company's Associate Artists Joshua Bergasse, Darren R. Cohen, Mark H. Dold, William Finn, Christopher Innvar, Renee Lutz, and Mark St. Germain all return to be part of the theater's 20th Anniversary Season.
"We want to continue to challenge ourselves and our audiences," said Artistic Director Julianne Boyd in a statement. "The overwhelmingly positive response to productions as diverse as On the Town, The Chosen and Southern Comfort last season shows all of us at BSC that our audiences are willing to respond to a wide range of programming, and we want to build on that for our 20th season. Shows such as Kiss Me, Kate, Breaking the Code, and the world premieres of Dancing Lessons and The Golem of Havana are a strong indication that we will continue to entertain, to enlighten, and to challenge ourselves and our audiences."
Another Openin', Another Show
Performances for the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage production season opener "Kiss Me, Kate" will run from June 11 through July 12.
Taking its inspiration from Shakespeare, "Kiss Me, Kate" recounts the backstage and onstage antics of two feuding couples during a touring production of "The Taming of the Shrew," with music and lyrics by Cole Porter and book by Sam and Bella Spewack: "Another Op'nin', Another Show," "So in Love," "Always True to You in My Fashion," "Too Darn Hot," and "Brush Up Your Shakespeare."
Cole Porter's most successful musical, the original production of Kiss Me, Kate opened on Broadway at the New Century Theatre on December 30, 1948 and ran for 1,077 performances, becoming the first musical to win the Tony Award for Best Musical. The production received its first Broadway revival in 1999, winning five Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival.
"Kiss Me, Kate" has a Berkshires connection to composer/lyricist Cole Porter, who in 1940 purchased "Buxton Hill" with his wife Linda in Williamstown.
The Man Who Knew Too Much
"Breaking the Code," Hugh Whitemore's biographical drama about the true story of WWII mathematician Alan Turing, stars BSC Associate Artist Mark H. Dold, directed by Joe Calarco, from July 17 through Aug. 2.
Breaking the Code is the life story of the famed mathematician and computer science pioneer Alan Turing, the primary designer of the Turing Machine, an early computer used to solve the German Enigma code during World War II -- a solution many believe was instrumental in the Allied victory. The title refers to both the solution of the Enigma code and Turing's open admission of his homosexuality, which at the time violated not only the codes of polite society but British law.
"Breaking the Code" starred Derek Jacobi on stage and screen in the role of Alan Turing.
On December 23, 2013, Turing was given a posthumous royal pardon by Queen Elizabeth II, addressing his 1952 conviction for gross indecency, following which he was given female hormones to suppress his sexual desires. He had been arrested after having an affair with a 19-year-old Manchester man. The conviction meant he lost his security clearance and had to stop the code-cracking work that had proved vital to the Allies in World War II. The pardon was granted under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy after a request by Justice Minister Chris Grayling.
Romantic Comedy by Mark St. Germain
Barrington Stage will present Mark St. Germain's world premiere comedy, "Dancing Lessons," directed by artistic director Julianne Boyd, with performances from Aug. 7 through Aug. 24.
"Dancing Lessons" stars John Cariani, who made his BSC debut as ‘Dogberry' in last summer's "Much Ado About Nothing." Cariani is also the playwright of the popular play "Almost, Maine" and is currently starring in the play's Off-Broadway revival.
"Dancing Lessons" centers on a young man with high-functioning autism (Asperger's syndrome) as he tries to navigate a relationship with a Broadway dancer now sidelined with injuries.
"Dancing Lessons" marks the ninth play by Associate Artist Mark St. Germain that BSC will produce, and the eighth world premiere of his work. Barrington Stage presented a staged reading of Dancing Lessons in September 2013 and will present a second staged reading in North Adams at MCLA on March 8.
Barrington Stage recently received a $10,000 Art Works Grant by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in support of BSC's world premiere, Dancing Lessons by Mark St. Germain.
During the run of Dancing Lessons, BSC will engage audiences through special discussions on Asperger's and Autism Spectrum conducted in partnership with community organizations such as the College Internship Program, whose main office is in Pittsfield.
Arthur Miller returns to Barrington Stage
"An Enemy of the People" will run on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage from Oct. 2 through Oct. 19.
Adapted by master playwright Arthur Miller from Henrik Ibsen's groundbreaking 1882 play, "An Enemy of the People" is a scathing indictment of a corrupt society and follows the story of one man's brave struggle to do the right thing in the face of extreme social intolerance.
This powerful drama explores the impact of polluted waters in a small town and the consequences to one man of uncovering the truth. Arthur Miller wrote his adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's classic play in response to the political climate fostered by McCarthyism in 1950 -- and it is still relevant today.
St. Germain Stage
Even Brilliant Minds Change
Barrington Stage opens the 2014 St. Germain Stage season with the Berkshire premiere of Sharr White's "The Other Place," directed by BSC Associate Artist Christopher Innvar, from May 21 to June 1.
In "The Other Place," Juliana Smithton is a successful neurologist whose life seems to be coming unhinged. Her husband has filed for divorce, her daughter has eloped with a much older man, and her own health is in jeopardy. But in this brilliantly crafted work, nothing is as it seems. Piece by piece, a mystery unfolds as fact blurs with fiction, past collides with present, and the elusive truth about Juliana boils to the surface.
A Special Day
Barrington Stage will present from June 18 to July 6 a daring theatrical experience that takes Ettore Scola's Academy Award nominated 1977 Italian film "A Special Da"y and recreates the love story between a mysterious man and an overworked housewife in the heyday of Italian fascism. Presented by Barrington Stage, "Working on A Special Day" is a production of The Play Company and Mexico City-based Por Piedad Teatro, and stars Ana Graham and Antonio Vega, who also direct.
Based on "Una Giornata Particolare" by Ettore Scola, Ruggero Maccari and adapted by Gigliola Fantoni; Translated by Danya Taymor, Ana Graham and Antonio Vega.
"Working on A Special Day is a new play" about a life-changing encounter between an overworked housewife and a mysterious bachelor on May 8, 1938 -- the day Rome celebrates Hitler's visit to Mussolini's Italy. A bittersweet drama unfolds within the charged political landscape of rising fascism in Rome.
From the Musical Theatre Lab
Barrington Stage Company's Musical Theatre Lab, under the leadership of William Finn, Artistic Producer, and Julianne Boyd, Artistic Director, kicks off its ninth season with its 10th world premiere musical, "The Golem of Havana," from July 17 through Aug. 9, with music by Salomon Lerner, lyrics by Len Schiff, with book and direction by Michel Hausmann.
The Golem of Havana tells the story of a Hungarian-Jewish family living in Batista's Havana on the brink of the Cuban Revolution. When their maid's son, a guerrilla fighter, is injured, they must choose between protecting him and guarding their fragile prosperity since immigrating to Cuba after World War II. The Golem of Havana weaves together the music and traditions of two worlds, asking questions about family, community, religion, and politics.
William Finn to Revisit Musical
Tony winners William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin (who wrote the award-winning "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," which was developed, workshopped and premiered at Barrington Stage) plan to revisit Finn's 1989 musical "Romance in Hard Times," with a new book by Sheinkin. The workshop production will be presented from Aug. 14-31 at the St. Germain Stage, directed by Joe Calarco.
"Romance in Hard Times" is set in a soup kitchen in the Depression. A pregnant woman refuses to give birth until she sees more hope in the world. Former socialites, unemployed actors, capitalists down on their luck, and Eleanor Roosevelt try to get through the Depression with some dignity intact. William Finn revisits his celebrated score, and along with his Spelling Bee collaborator, Rachel Sheinkin, reimagines the book for new hard times.
Barrington Stage Company's Youth Theatre summer 2014 production will be the Tony Award-winning musical "Hairspray JR.," presented July 23 through Aug. 10 at Berkshire Museum (39 South St.) in Pittsfield. Christine O'Grady returns to direct and choreograph, along with music director Sarah Brett England.
"Hairspray JR.," based on the John Waters film and Tony Award-winning stage musical, brings the popular songs "You Can't Stop the Beat" and "Good Morning Baltimore." Filled with energetic dance numbers and unique characters, Hairspray JR. is a show that celebrates diversity and will bring audiences to their feet with its positive message and off-beat sense of humor.
2014 Season Passes are now on sale. Single tickets will go on sale Monday, March 3. For information on shows, passes and tickets, call (413) 236-8888 or visitwww.barringtonstageco.org.