Daylights: Puppets and revolutionary pageantry

Thursday July 26, 2012

Berkshire Theatre Group

Families will have a multitude of choices on their calendar this week to enjoy theater productions ideally suited to young audiences. At Edith Wharton's Gilded Age home, The Mount, the Berkshire Theatre Group has just opened its summer production of the timeless fairy tale "Pinocchio" on the outdoor stage in the Dell, a woodland clearing next to the historic stables on the Lenox estate.

Led by directors Gray Simons and Eric Hill, the Acting Ap prentice Company will bring to life Carlo Collodi's magical tale of the woodcarver Geppetto and the puppet who longs to be a real boy.

Follow Pinocchio's adventures as he gets caught up in the excitement of the fairground, learns the consequences of foolish behavior and dives deep into the perils of the ocean -- while discovering the lasting strength of friendship and a parent's love, with the help of the Blue Fairy.

Bring a lawn chair or blanket and come ready to be captivated by imaginative costumes, skilled puppetry and lively staging that will enchant children and grown-ups alike.

Performances will run through Aug. 11 at 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for children 16 and under. Information: www.berkshirethe, (413) 997-4444.

Barrington Stage Company

It is always a thrill for youngsters to see one of their favorite animated film musicals performed live. Disney's Academy Award-winning "Beauty and the Beast" was a huge success in movie theaters, creating a host of iconic characters, including Belle, the enchanted Beast, vain Gaston, caring Mrs. Potts and lovable little Chip. These and more will sing and dance across the stage at the Berkshire Museum auditorium in the latest production created by the teenage actors of Barrington Stage Company Youth Theatre, with director and choreographer Christine O'Grady -- now in her sixth season -- at the helm.

Kids will find themselves swept up in the action as the romantic, entertaining tale of loyalty and the power of love unfolds before them, complete with all the familiar songs, including the lively "Be Our Guest" and the uplifting title refrain "Beauty and the Beast."

Each year, dedicated young thespians from across Berkshire County, nearby New York and Vermont experience a taste of life on the professional stage as they work with theater personnel from Barrington Stage to present a fully staged and colorfully costumed musical with energetic choreography and memorable songs. Previous Youth Theatre productions have ranged from the Elvis tribute "All Shook Up" to "Seussical," based on the quirky characters of Dr. Seuss.

This is the first year the Youth Theatre will perform in the air-conditioned auditorium at the Berkshire Museum in downtown Pittsfield. Show times are 7 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 12. Tickets cost $10 for ages 18 and under, and $15 for adults; combined show and museum admission passes are also are available at $13 youth, $25 adults. Information: barrington, (413) 236-8888.

Join the citizens of Sandisfield in celebrating the 250th anniversary of the rural Berkshire County town with a weekend of events and activities for the whole family.

The fun will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at the Sandisfield Arts Center with a community theatrical production of "Rascals & Others" -- the "real story" of Sandisfield -- followed by a spectacular fireworks display.

A Country Fair on Saturday and Sunday will include a historic Colonial encampment by Ye Olde Lebanon Towne Militia, along with craft demonstrations, a pie-eating contest, and children's games such as sack and three-legged races.

Saturday's live entertainment will include the merry antics of Roger the Jester, the old-time Housatonic Philharmonic in the afternoon, and dancing in the evening to the rockabilly band Harm's Way at 7 p.m. after the Fire Department barbecue. On Sunday, the fair also will include the Olde Yankee Street Rods classic car show. For the full schedule, details and directions, visit


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