Thursday July 12, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Michelle Obama was the hot topic of conversation at the Colonial Theatre on Wednesday regarding the first lady's visit to the historic performing arts venue next month.

Theater officials said several people called seeking more details regarding Gov. Deval L. Patrick and his wife, Diane, hosting a reception for Mrs. Obama on Aug. 3, at the Colonial. On Tuesday, Patrick announced the 3 p.m. event, featuring a performance from James Taylor, is one of three political fundraisers Mrs. Obama would attend that Friday in Western Massachusetts on behalf of her husband.

All inquiries were referred to the Boston office of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, which is in charge of the gathering, according to Rebecca Brighenti, Colonial's director of marketing and public relations.

The cost is $150 per person, but campaign officials have yet to release details of how the tickets will be distributed.

Mrs. Obama coming to the Colonial was also the buzz among its staff on Wednesday, who said they were thrilled and honored to have her at the theater.

"This speaks volumes to the development of downtown Pitts field and how important the city is to the region and how important the Colonial is to the community," said Kate Maguire, CEO and Artistic Director of the Berkshire Theater Group, which operates the Colonial and Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge.

"The first lady is about educating our children and a sense of community," Maguire added, "and that's what the Colonial symbolizes."

Mrs. Obama is the second first lady to visit the Colonial Theatre in 14 years. Hillary Rodham Clinton came in 1998 to help jump-start, through the Save America's Treasure campaign, the Pittsfield landmark's $23 million renovation project.

Coincidentally, a former first lady will be center stage at the Berkshire Theatre Festival the weekend of Mrs. Obama's visit. On Aug. 4, the festival will stage a world premiere for "Edith," Kelly Masterson's play about the pressures on Edith Wilson when her husband, President Woodrow Wilson, suffers a stroke in October 1919, 14 months before he leaves The White House.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.



Berkshire bound ...

First lady Michelle Obama has scheduled a swing through Western Massachusetts on Aug. 3 to help raise money for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.

  • Luncheon at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield.
  • Reception, 3 p.m. at Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, hosted by Gov. Deval L. Patrick and wife, Diane.
  • Dinner and roundtable discussion at Patrick's home in Richmond.