PITTSFIELD -- While James Taylor continues his touring sabbatical, Kim Taylor is stepping up her theatrical work as part of the Colonial Theatre's fall season announced recently by Kate Maguire, artistic director and CEO of the five-stage Berkshire Theatre Group.
Well-known for her 33-year association with the Boston Symphony, currently as a trustee, Kim Taylor performed with her husband on his 1997 album, "Hourglass" and also on tour in the U.S., Europe and Asia as a backup singer and on occasional duets.
But, she said, as an English lit major at Smith College, she was drawn to Edith Wharton and toured The Mount in 1980 after it first opened in Lenox.
"I found myself, quite unbelievably, in Edith Wharton's somewhat dilapidated drawing room," Taylor recalled. "She was my favorite American author, and I think my favorite work, although it's so bleak, is ‘Ethan Frome.' "
Having portrayed Mrs. Cratchit in the BTG production of "A Christmas Carol" for two years, she became friendly with Maguire -- especially as the Taylors became "stage parents" while their twin sons, Henry and Rufus, now 12, took on roles in the Dickens classic.
"I think that's more nerve-wracking than actually acting," Taylor said.
Now, Maguire and BTG Programmer Simon Shaw have cast her for an early October production of "Mary and Edith: Musings by Women a Century Apart," celebrating the stories of Berkshire women writers.
Taylor's "audition" came last fall when Maguire asked her to perform a reading of Wharton's "Roman Fever," the author's final novel.
"As always in her writing, there is so much nuance, subtlety and pathos, but with such a deft touch," Taylor said. The story depicts two women vacationing with their daughters in Rome, where they had spent time as young girls.
As the two reminisce, they begin to realize that "the secrets they each hold about the past may not be as hidden as they thought," according to BTG's announcement. " ‘Roman Fever' " explores the power of love and deception, all the while set on a beautiful Italian terrace."
The offer of a role came as "wonderful news, if terrifying," said Taylor.
The two-part show includes "From Where I Sit," stories of her life written and read by Berkshire resident Mary Mott, and Eric Hill's adaptation of "Roman Fever," with Taylor and Maguire sharing the stage.
The 10-performance run extends from Oct. 4-20 at BTG's Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge; tickets go on sale Thursday.
"Being part of this production, besides being a great honor, brings together many threads in my life," said Taylor. She's far from a stage novice, having taken on roles during high school at the Albany (N.Y.) Academy's theater program.
Later on, Taylor portrayed a Mexican prostitute in Tennessee Williams's "Summer and Smoke" and also was cast as Madge in William Inge's "Picnic." Other roles followed in productions of "Cabaret," "Spoon River Anthology," "Harvey" and "Les Chaises" by Eugene Ionesco.
In recent years, cameo TV appearances with her husband included "The West Wing" and "Mr. Sunshine" as well as in Adam Sandler's film, "Funny People."
Taylor credits her mother and grandmother, both trained singers, for her early interest in performing popular standards by Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, the Gershwins and her favorite, Jerome Kern.
"I was lucky to grow up in such a musical household and also to attend a school that had such a great theater and music program," Taylor stated. "I had intended to major in theater in college but in the end, couldn't resist the allure of literature, including Edith Wharton."