WAM Theatre slates "Special" presentation at Unicorn


STOCKBRIDGE >> Berkshires-based WAM Theatre is co-producing a workshop production of "Special," created and performed by actress Rachel Siegel, this weekend at Berkshire Theatre Group's Unicorn Theatre, 6 East St.

Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

A portion of the proceeds from Saturday's performance will be donated to the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. A portion of the proceeds from the Friday and Sunday performances will be donated to Whole Children and Community Access to the Arts.

Based on personal experience and interviews with mothers of children with special needs, "Special" follows one woman's journey after she discovers she is pregnant with a child with Down syndrome.

WAM Advisory Board member Jayne Atkinson is directing.

"I did a lot of writing during my pregnancy with [our son with Down Syndrome], and knew that I would do something with it eventually," Siegel explains in a news release. "I wanted to broaden the story and interview other mothers, but I really didn't know any other parents of special needs children. Then I found this wonderful organization called Whole Children in Hadley, started by mothers who knew they needed this kind of group for their own children and for themselves. There I met wonderful women, wonderful mothers, who wanted to do the best for their children. And they agreed to be interviewed by me."

Siegel has performed widely in the Berkshires, New York, and abroad at venues such as Stageworks/Hudson); Shakespeare & Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Berkshire Theatre Festival. She trained at RADA in the UK and performed there at The New End Theatre, Birmingham Rep, and The Royal Court. Writing credits include "Von Trapp Family Inn" (premiered Boston Women in Comedy Festival 2013); "So Sing Already!" at the New End, London; and "I Heart Cory Booker" (WAM/MOPCO 24-hour Festival).

Atkinson has enjoyed a long and varied career as an actress, wife and mother. She has appeared in regional theater, off-Broadway, and Broadway, and counts two Drama Desk, an Outer Critics Circle and Tony nominations to her name. She is best known on television for her long-running roles in "24," "Criminal Minds" and the current Netflix original series "House of Cards." She runs Jadana Productions, which specializes in entertainment development.

Ticket information is available by calling (413) 997-4444 or online at wamtheatre.com/special/


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