Fall theater preview: Season off to brisk start


With all the openings scheduled for next weekend you might think someone somewhere had declared the weekend of Sept. 27 the official start of the fall theater season. Consider: Barrington Stage Company, Shakespeare & Company, Town Players of Pittsfield, Capital Repertory Theatre, C-R Productions all swing into action.

Meanwhile, Tony Award-winning Hartford Stage in Hartford, Conn. is getting a jump on everyone with the official opening this weekend of its 50th anniversary season -- William Shakespeare's "Macbeth" in an intermissionless 70-minute version, and Marivaux' dark 18th century comedy, "La Dispute," running in rotating repertory through Nov. 10. The productions have been previewing since Sept. 12. "La Dispute" officially opens Saturday night; "Macbeth" officially opens WednesdayHartford Stage artistic director Darko Tresnjak is directing both productions, which also are sharing casts.

Hartford Stage wraps up the fall portion of its 2013-14 season with its own highly theatrical adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," Nov. 29-Dec. 28.

Back home in the Berkshires, the Theater Barn in New Lebanon, N.Y. finishes its 2013 season with the final performances tonight,

Saturday and Sunday of Larry Gelbart's comedy, "Better Late."

Meanwhile, Shakespeare & Company in Lenox begins previews Saturday of Rupert Holmes' sly thriller "Accomplice," in which, director Steihen Rothman assures us, nothing, absolutely nothing, is what it appears to be. Press opening is Sept. 28 in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, where the show is scheduled to run through Nov. 10.

Then, in December, the Bernstein will be converted into a radio studio for "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play," adapted from Frank Capra's iconic movie by Joe Landry. The show runs Dec. 6 through 29.

Shake & Co's Conservatory performs "Julius Caesar" Dec. 13 and 14 in the Tina Packer Playhouse.

Barrington Stage Company wraps up its 2013 season in downtown Pittsfield with Bruce Norris' Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, "Clybourne Park," which, in a fashion, begins where Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun" leaves off, as a white family in a white enclave in Chicago sell their home to a black family. Act Two is set 50 years later when a black family sells their home to a white family that seems to be interested in urban gentrification. A co=production with Dorset Theatre Festival in Vermont -- which presented this production in late August -- "Clybourne Park" begins previews on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage Thursday evening. Press opening is 3 p.m. Sept. 29. Directed Giovanna Sardelli's production runs through Oct. 13.

Barrington Stage's St. Germain Stage will be home in November to WAM Theatre's "Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatalet Defends Her Life," a new play by Lauren Gunderson. Nov. 7-24.

Next Friday evening, David Ives' dark comedy, "Venus in Fur," begins previewing at Capital Repertory Theatre in downtown Albany, N.Y. (press opening is Oct. 1). The play, which traces the decidedly offbeat encounter between an actress and the playwright-director for whom she is auditioning, runs through Oct. 27. Cap Rep's fall season includes its second New Play Summit, a weekend series of readings of plays-in-development, Nov, 2, 3 and 4, at the GE Theatre at Proctors in Schenectady, N.Y., followed Nov. 22-Dec. 22 with a new adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" by Patrick Barlow.

Oh, and if you didn't catch Chester Theatre Company's production of "An Iliad" this summer, you have a chance to make up by catching a free community performance Nov. 23 at 11 a.m. at Capital Rep on North Pearl Street.

Town Players of Pittsfield gets in on next weekend's action with the first in a series of fall play readings Sept. 29 with "Mr. Madoff Meets the Crawfish Queen" by Jamuna Yvette Sirker and Ernest Thompson's "The Constituent." Additional readings are scheduled for Oct. 27 (TBA), Nov. 24 (two plays by Irish playwrights), and Dec. 1 (Tom Mula's "Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol"). A fully mounted production of Ed Howard, Joe Sears and Gaston Williams' "A Tuna Christmas" is scheduled for Dec. 21 and 22. All performances are in the new Whitney Center for the Arts, 42 Wendell Ave. Town Players' big event for the fall is a cabaret performance, "Sing, Sing, Sing!" Nov. 8, 9 and 10, which will officially launch Town Players' permanent residency in its new home at the Whitney Center.

One more opening next weekend -- C-R Productions at the Cohoes (N.Y.) Music Hall begins its 11th season with "Les Miserables," scheduled to run through Oct. 13. C-R will present "Plaid Tidings," Dec. 5-15.

There is plenty of theater to go around after next weekend's flurry of openings.

Beginning Oct. 4, Berkshire Theatre Group presents "Mary and Edith: Musings by Women a Century Apart," featuring Mary Mott, Kate Maguire, Kim Taylor in an evening of readings of stories by Mott and by Edith Wharton in BTG's Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, where the show runs through Oct. 20.

Berkshire Theatre Group is devoting the weekend of Oct. 11 to the annual Made in the Berkshires, a weekend festival of homegrown theater, dance, spoken word and music. And, of course, if it's December at BTG that means Eric Hill's adaptation of "A Christmas Carol," Dec. 14-29.


Up in Bennington, Vt., Oldcastle Theatre Company presents a new play, "Sherlock Holmes -- Knight Gambit" by Paul Falzone, Oct. 4- 20. In November, Oldcastle will offer "Grandma Moses: An American Primitive" by Stephen L. Pouliot, Nov. 1-17.

Just over the Vermont state line in Cambridge, N.Y., Hubbard Hall Theatre Company begins its ambitious 2013-14 season Nov. 15 with Jean Giraudoux's 1938 play "Ondine," running through Dec. 8.

Further south in Ghent, N.Y., Ghent Playhouse opens its 2013-14 season Oct. 11 with Jerry Sterner's "Other People's Money," through Oct. 27, followed Nov. 29-Dec. 15 by the annual Panto.

"Other People's Money" also is on the fall slate of Aglet Theatre Company's 2013-14 season of staged play readings, Nov. 22 and 23. The season begins Oct. 4 and 5 with the gifted Deann Halper in Jessica Dickey's powerful "The Amish Project," Oct. 4 and 5, followed Oct. 18 and 19 by "Don Juan Comes Back From the War" by Odon von Horvath. These readings will all be at Bok Gallery in Sharon, Conn.

And to end where we began, in Hartford, Conn., funky TheaterWorks -- which just ended its 2012-13 season with a wrenching production of Donald Margulies' "Time Stands Still" -- opens its 2013-14 season Oct. 11 with Jeffrey Hatcher's "Mrs. Mannerley," about a tough, demanding etiquette teacher and a student who gives her a run for her money. The edgy comedy runs through Nov. 17.

See you on the aisle!


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