Richard Marx, Marc Cohn highlight Berkshire Theatre Group mix of music, family,comedy

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PITTSFIELD — Grammy award-winners Richard Marx and Marc Cohn are joining the previously announced John Mayall and The Wailerrs as part of Berkshire Theatre Group's 2016 winter-spring schedule of music, comedy and family events at its Colonial Theatre and The Garage in Pittsfield and the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge.

"One of the things that binds (all these artists) together," BTG programmer Simon Shaw said in an email, "is a commitment to their craft. Whether it be songwriting, mastery of an instrument, acting, clowning, comedy or puppetry, these artists are all excellent performers."

The Chicago-born-and-raised Marx (Colonial, Feb. 19) has had a distinguished career in popular music that spans three decades. In addition to hs own singles and albums, Marx has produced and/or written with and for Luther Vandross, Keith Urban, Jennifer Nettles, Sara Bareilles and Vince Gill, among others.

A singer, songwriter and pianist, Cohn (Colonial Feb. 25) burst into popularity in 1991 with his hit "Walking in Memphis." His self-titled 1991 debut album earned him a Grammy Award as Best New Artist.

Along with Mayall (Colonial, March 24) and The Wailers (Colonial, Feb. 14), Marx (Colonial, Feb. 19) and Cohn (Colonial, Feb. 25) highlight a programming block that is heavy on music and family-oriented events.

The music lineup includes the Wanda Houston Band (Jan. 30) as part of the Colonial's "On Stage" series which places the audience on stage with the performer(s); the progressive alternate band The Receiver with Columbus, Ohio brothers Casey and Jesse Cooper (The Garage, March 10); and, also in The Garage, Rev Tor Band's 5th Annual Dead of Winter Jam, honoring the music of The Grateful Dead (Jan. 21). Rev Tor — led by singer and lead guitarist Tor Krautter — returns to the Colonial two days later, on Jan. 23, as part of a Berkshires musicians tribute to Neil Young, produced and presented by Galaxy Entertainment. In addition to Rev Tor, the performers will include, among others, David Grover, Steve Ide, Rob Sanzone, Tom Filiaut and, from Northampton, Ray Mason.

For families, BTG is inaugurating the Transformer Children's Festival — a series of performances at The Colonial, the Colonial's Garage and the neighboring Berkshire Museum during school vacation week, Feb. 15-21. This festival within a festival is being offered as part of Pittsfield's annual 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival and includes programs by Germany's Theater Triebwerk ("Moby Dick"), a kids dance party, Light Wire Theatre's "Moon Mouse;" Mermaid Theatre's three-part "The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites," and Berkshire Theatre Group's own BTG Plays! with "Play Ball! Reflections on the Origins of Baseball."

This winter-spring slate also includes a benefit performance in April for Berkshire Festival of Women Writers — part of BTG's annual October Made in the Berkshires festival — at BTG's Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge. The program, "Through the Looking Glass: Musings From the Pens of Berkshire Women Writers," comprises readings from the writings of, among others, Edith Wharton, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Harriett Beecher Stowe, Frances Anne Kemble and Catharine Maria Sedgwick. Readers will include Corinna May, Kate Maguire, Barbara Sims, Hilary Somers Deely, Mary Mott and Amber Chand.

Rounding out the schedule are the return of Popovich Comedy Pet Theatre (Colonial, March 30) and The Garage's popular Laugh Lounge — four Wednesday evenings of stand-up comedy, hosted by Thomas Attiola Lewis (performers to be announced).

"I believe this slate of programming proves that (we) are a welcoming organization that aims to engage and entertain our audiences," Shaw said.

SEASON AT A GLANCE

• Rev Tor's 5th Annual Dead of Winter Jam: The Garage. 8 p.m. Jan. 21

• On the Stage Series — The Wanda Houston Band: The Colonial Theatre. 8 p.m. Jan. 30

• BTG Plays! On Tour — "Play Ball! Reflections on the Origins of Baseball": 11 a.m. Feb. 15 through 20. Berkshire Museum (part of "10x10"). Ticket information is available through the Berkshire Museum at (413) 443-7171 extension 360

• Kids Dance Party: The Garage. 11 a.m. Feb. 13 (part of "10x10")

• The Wailers: The Colonial. 8 p.m. Feb. 14 (part of "10x10")

• Light Wire Theatre's "Moon Mouse": The Colonial. 2 p.m. Feb. 16 (part of "10x10")

• Theater Triebwerk's "Moby Dick": The Colonial. 2 p.m. Feb. 17 (part of"10x10")

• "The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites": The Colonial. 2 p.m. Feb. 18 (part of "10x10")

• Richard Marx: The Colonial. 8 p.m. Feb. 19

• Marc Cohn: The Colonial. 8 p.m. Feb. 25

• The Receiver: The Garage. 8 p.m. March 10

• John Mayall: The Colonial. 8 p.m. March 24

• Popovich Comedy Pet Theatre: The Colonial. 7 p.m. March 30

• "Through the Looking Glass — Musings from the Pens of Berkshire Women Writers": The Unicorn Theatre (Stockbridge). 3 p.m. April 17

• Laugh Lounge: Four evenings of stand-up comedy, hosted by Thomas Attila Lewis. The Garage. Feb. 24, April 6, May 11, June 8

Tickets: Complete program and ticket information is available online at BerkshireTheatreGroup.org; by telephone at (413) 997-4444; or in person at the Colonial Theatre box office, 111 South St. in Pittsfield. Box office hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Frday; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. until curtain on any performance day.


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