1. The best of 2019:

The world was with us this summer on Berkshires stages this year; perhaps too much so. With the sobering, chilling, frightening reality of a Trump administration at war with American democracy, …

This summary of 2019's best productions and accomplishments by theatermakers is always fun to write. It also is a way of reflecting on the work done by our theaters over the course of a calendar year. 

2. "Norman Rockwell: Americans at Work" exhibit at Norman Rockwell Museum:

One of my rare ventures into the visual arts. This lovely exhibition surveyed America's workers across a wide spectrum in a way that only Norman Rockwell could. I loved writing this preview of an exhibition that was, to me, the art equivalent of Studs Terkel's landmark book, "Working."

3. Exit interview with Berkshire Music School director Tracy Wilson: 

PITTSFIELD — For Berkshire Music School executive director Tracy Wilson, it's all about the music. "Music is so deeply connected to the soul," she said during a recent interview in her office at the 80-year-old institution on Wendell Avenue. "If only people could find a way to make music, it would make them feel better."

Wilson reflected on her 17 years as director of the Berkshire Music School, her life in music, her future, and the school's place in the county's cultural landscape in a thoughtful, sensitive, warm manner.. She flew under the radar but her contributions -- and through her, the school's — were meaningful. No artifice about her, which is so refreshing. 

4. Take Five with Norton Owen:

Take Fives are among my favorite assignments. This one with Jacob's Pillow's director of preservation put one of the dance institution's important human resources front and center in a warm, personable, knowledgeable way. 

5. Review of Berkshire Theatre Group's outdoor production of "Holiday Memories."

Ten minutes into the opening night performance of "Holiday Memories" in the outdoor courtyard of BTG's Unicorn Theatre, it dawned on me "I am sitting here actually watching actors, live, in person, not virtual, performing a play." And as I wrapped my blanket closer against the chill of a late autumn evening, it felt exactly the right place to be. 

Jeffrey Borak can be reached at jborak@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6212.