The Berkshire Eagle
A digest of what's playing at theaters in and around the Berkshires based upon reviews by Berkshire Eagle theater critic Jeffrey Borak.
Capsules include publication date of review, closing date of production, performance schedule, and production's running time.
A denotes a highly recommended critic's choice.
BIG RIVER: The light definitely shines on this masterly, thoroughly ingratiating production of Roger Miller (music and lyrics) and William Hauptman's (book) tuneful and imaginative setting of Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" that doesn't shy away from Twain's penetrating satire and harder message about hypocrisy, bigotry and intolerance in American society (July 14). Through July 24. Evenings — Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30. Matinees — Thursday and Sunday at 2. (2 hours 16 minutes — including one intermission)
Oldcastle Theatre Company, 331 Main St., Bennington, Vt. Tickets — $37 (students $12). (802) 447-0564; oldcastletheatre.org
CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF: Rebecca Brooksher goes for broke and comes out on top in a sizzling, smartly crafted performance as the iconic Maggie, the cat, in this uneven production of Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about greed, lies, truth and deceit that all come to head on the 65th birthday of a Southern family patriarch who has some unfinished business to settle before he dies of stomach cancer. There also is outstanding work by Jenn Harris as Maggie's venal. ambitious, formidable sister-in-law, Mae, and Linda Gehringer as Maggie's much put-upon mother-in-law, Big Mama (July 2). Through July 16. Evenings — Thursday at 7; Friday and Saturday at 8. Matinee — Saturday at 2. (2 hours 48 minutes — including two intermissions)
Berkshire Theatre Group, Fitzpatrick Main Stage, 83 E. Main St., Stockbridge. Tickets — $62. (413) 997-4444; berkshiretheatregroup.org; at box office — Colonial Theatre, 111 South St., Pittsfield; Fitzpatrick Main Stage.
FIORELLO!: This 1960 Pulitzer Prize-musical about the life and career of reform, progressive New York immigration lawyer-turned-politician in the 10 years leading up to his election in 1933, as a Democrat/Republican Fusion candidate to the first of what would be three-successive terms as mayor of New York, is being revived by a spirited company of young actors led by a manic, physically and vocally eccentric title role performance by Austin Lombardi. The production is most alive in its musical numbers which are the strength of this otherwise shallow material (June 27). Through July 23. Evenings — Monday through Thursday at 7; Friday and Saturday at 8. (2 hours 26 minutes — (including one intermission)
Berkshire Theatre Group, Unicorn Theatre, 6 East St., Stockbridge. Tickets — $60. (413) 997-4444; berkshiretheatregroup.org; at box office — Colonial Theatre, 111 South St., Pittsfield; Fitzpatrick Main Stage, 83 E. Main St., Stockbridge.
KIMBERLY AKIMBO: David Lindsay-Abaire's charmingly offbeat play about the determination of a 16-year-old girl whose body is aging 4½ times faster than it should to discover the world before time runs out and despite all the obstacles around her — not the least of them a decidedly off-center family — is given a loving, compassionate production at the hands of director Rob Ruggiero and with actress Debra Jo Rupp whose remarkable performance as Kimberly holds the center of a tightly bound ensemble of actors who make smart and telling choices playing essentially decent people who cannot get out of their own way. Funny, tough, poignant, complex, unexpected, unsentimental and thoroughly rewarding. (June 25). Through July 16. Evenings — Thursday through Saturday at 7:30. Matinees — Thursday and Saturday at 3. (2 hours — including one intermission)
Barrington Stage Company, St. Germain Stage, 36 Linden St., Pittsfield. Tickets — $20-$69. (413) 236-8888; barringtonstageco.org; at the box office — Boyd-Quinson Mainstage, 30 Union St.
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS: A bit of Charles Dickens infuses director Ethan Heard's shrewdly crafted production of this charming, poignant musical about a low self-esteem clerk in a Skid Row flower shop who finds a world of possibilities — love, fame, money — when he strikes a Faustian bargain with an exotic bloodthirsty plant he has nurtured to horrifying life. This is a show with a lot of smarts and an awful lot of heart (July 13). Through July 23. Evenings — Monday through Thursday at 7; Friday and Saturday at 8. Matinees — Thursday and Saturday at 2. (2 hours — including one intermission)
Berkshire Theatre Group, The Colonial Theatre, 111 South St., Pittsfield. Tickets — $65-$25. (413) 997-4444; berkshiretheatregroup.org; at Colonial Theatre box office and Fitzpatrick Main Stage box office, 83 E. Main St., Stockbridge
THE ROSE TATTOO: Fresh, imaginative breezes blow through this production but it's not enough to save this clunky, excessive 1951 Tennessee Williams drama from itself. Marisa Tomei plays a seamstress in a Louisiana Gulf Coast town who has shut herself off from life following the death of her truck-driver husband. That all changes when she discovers, three years after his death, that he was unfaithful. At the same time, fate sends her hope for renewal in the form of a sincere, passionate truck driver (an irresistible Christopher Abbott) who is looking for someone to love who will love him in return. The production finds its heart in its second half scenes between Tomei's Serafina and Abbott's Alvaro as these two walk a delicate path before giving in to the inevitable (July 7). Through July 17. Evenings — Thursday at 7:30; Friday and Saturday at 8. Matinees — Thursday and Sunday at 2; Saturday at 3:30. (2 hours 19 minutes — including one intermission)
Williamstown Theatre Festival, Main Stage, '62 Center for Theatre and Dance, 1000 Main St. (Route 2), Williamstown. Tickets — $66. (413) 597-3400; wtfestival.org; at '62 Center box office
THE TAMING: William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" is the inspiration for Lauren Gunderson's wildly uneven, hit-and-miss contemporary political comedy about a Georgia beauty queen who is determined to restore the United States to the promise of its Founding Fathers by rewriting the Constitution. Her scheme involves kidnapping a Southern senator's top aide and a liberal blogger who is out to save a rare rodent from extinction. The performances are energetic, committed and off-the-top but only Tangela Large as the senator's aide manages to find a human element beneath all the noise and bluster and give resonant voice to the "we the people" the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they set out to create a more perfect union (June 9). In repertory through July 30. Selected evenings at 7:30 or 8:30 and afternoons at 3. (1 hour 28 minutes — no intermission).
Shakespeare & Company, Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, 70 Kemble St., Lenox. Tickets — $60-$20. (413) 637-3353; shakespeare.org; theater box office — 70 Kemble St.
TOWARDS ZERO: Awkward staging and a range of performances from unconvincing to uncertain and accomplished mark this generally unsatisfying production of a tidy Agatha Christie mystery about murder most foul at a seaside guest house (July 11). Through July 24. Evenings — Thursday through Saturday at 8. Matinees — Saturday at 4; Sunday at 2. (2 hours 21 minutes — including one intermission)
The Theater Barn, 654 Route 20, New Lebanon, N.Y. Tickets — $27, $22. (518) 794-8989; tbarn.org; at the theater box office
UGLY LIES THE BONE: A badly scarred, severely injured veteran of the war in Afghanistan returns to her Florida home after her third tour of duty to pick up the pieces of her life and heal from wounds that are not only physical but which also reach deep into the marrow of her emotional being in Lindsey Ferrentino's drama. Christianna Nelson gives a steady, if somewhat cautious, performance as the deeply scarred veteran, Jess, in a production that also feels cautious and nowhere near as courageous as its central character (June 30). In rotating repertory through Aug. 28. Selected evenings at 8:30 and afternoons at 3. (1 hour 32 minutes — no intermission)
Shakespeare & Company, 70 Kemble St., Lenox. Tickets — $20-$60. (413) 637-3353; shakespeare.org; at box office — 70 Kemble St.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.