PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Theatre Group is planning a holiday season of live, virtual and film events, highlighted Nov. 29 by the Sixth Annual Children's Holiday Extravaganza, a day-long event featuring entertainment filmed for local television at the Colonial Theatre; raffles, and gift bag giveaways.
The entertainment and raffles will start at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 29, and be featured on Access Pittsfield (Cable Channel 1301, which is available on all cable packages including basic); PCTV Select (a live television service, available as a channel on Roku and Apple TV, or online at Select.PittsfieldTV.org); October Facebook Live at Facebook.com/PittsfieldTV; or YouTube at Youtube.com/OnlyOnPCTV.
BTG's winter season gets underway 6:30 p.m. Nov. 20 in the Courtyard of the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge with the opening of a live production of Russell Vandenbroucke's stage adaptation of Truman Capote's "Holiday Memories," directed by Eric Hill. The show is scheduled to run weekends through Dec. 20.
Also on tap is a live steam event — "Hershey Felder as Claude Debussy: A Paris Love Story — Live From Florence." This BTG benefit is scheduled to be streamed 8 p.m. Nov. 22.
“During a time when families are feeling isolated and challenged, we strive to bring you programming that seems more important than ever, imagined in creative spaces, and in the spirit of the holiday season," Berkshire Theatre Group artistic director/CEO Kate Maguire said in a prepared statement. "If there’s one thing BTG stands for, it’s community."
Produced under strict COVID-19 precautionary guidelines established by Actors Equity Association, and state and local health authorities, "Holiday Memories" features in its cast David Adkins, Tim Jones, Corinna May, Daniel Garrity, and Isadora Wolfe. Eric Hill is directing. The production is scheduled to run Friday and Saturday evenings at 6:30, and Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 3 through Dec. 20.
Inspired by Truman Capote's autobiographical short story about his own experiences growing up in depression-era Alabama, the play recounts a friendship between two wayward souls, a precocious young boy, Buddy, and his adult cousin, Sook.
"'Holiday Memories' is a sweet and tender treasure of childhood recalled," Maguire said. "For our production, we will transform the beautiful barn in Stockbridge to rural Alabama in 1932 where a young Truman Capote and his dear and eccentric cousin Sook meet life with clear-eyed love and care. Two stories are told by an elder Capote looking back on Thanksgiving and Christmas in the midst of the depression.
"That the time and setting were so difficult is what makes the stories all the more beguiling and the heart of the characters beat so purely.
"Act 1 and 2 will each run about 30 minutes and in between audiences will be invited indoors for warm drinks and seasonal treats. Our barn will not only provide the setting, but will also allow a safe environment for distancing and ventilation during these challenging days."
According to Maguire, temperature scans and contactless ticket scanning will be done for patrons at their point of entry. Free-standing hand sanitizer stations will be placed at various locations throughout the space. Patrons will be required to wear masks. One-way traffic patterns will be enforced. Additional safeguards will also be in place.
SIXTH ANNUAL CHILDREN'S HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA
This event runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29. It can be viewed on PCTV, Facebook, or YouTube from 1 to 3 p.m. Gift bags can be picked up in the parking lot adjacent to the Colonial Theatre 10 a.m. to noon.
"This will be a hybrid model in order to reach more people than ever before from the safety and comfort of their homes," Maguire said.
The day-long event will feature entertainment, raffles, and gift bag giveaways to the first 400 reservations. Gift bags featuring a gift card, treats, "A Magic Tree House" book and more will be distributed via drive-through with a timed ticket starting at 10 a.m. and continuing until 12:30 p.m. and must be reserved in advance of the event.
According to BTG officials, all parties must be present to receive the gift bags and show their e-ticket reservation to attendants. Patrons will remain in their vehicles at all times. Masks must be worn. Bag assembly and distribution will follow strict safety guidelines.
“I am so pleased that Berkshire Theatre Group, our local businesses, and community members are committed to the Sixth Annual Children’s Holiday Extravaganza," said Kathy Amuso, chairperson of the event. "The Extravaganza provides a holiday experience for our children and their families that ... brings a smile to all. To be able to hold the Extravaganza in these challenging times is priceless.”
The Extravaganza lineup includes:
— Pre-recorded songs from the casts of "Godspell" and "Shrek the Musical"
— Live performances from many local artists including The Rev Tor Band singing holiday favorites
— A special performance from Kate Maguire and Dancers of the Berkshires
— A visit from Santa, Mrs. Claus and the Elves
"Holiday Extravaganza for years has enriched the season with outreach and pure artistic joy," Maguire said. "In a year, that presents severe challenges on so many levels, we persevere and continue this great tradition."
Reservations can be made by visiting berkshiretheatregroup.org or by calling the BTG Ticket Office at 413-997-4444. There will be a limit of four gift bags per household.
HERSHEY FELDER AS CLAUDE DEBUSSY
An actor, pianist, writer, director, composer, conductor, and producer, Felder has created and performed solo shows about composers Claude Debussy, George Gershwin (which he performed live at BTG's Colonial Theatre), Chopin, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Liszt, Leonard Bernstein, and Irving Berlin. He describes this Debussy show as "a very personal journey through the beloved city of Paris through the music of Claude Debussy … and how this music shaped a whole new world of color in sound."
Tickets are $55 per household, with 50 percent of proceeds benefiting BTG. Patrons will be able to stream on a smart TV, computer, smartphone or tablet. Once purchase is confirmed, patrons will receive a confirmation email, followed by a reminder email on Friday, Nov. 20, with a viewing link and instructions for viewing on different devices. Includes extended viewing access of the recording through Sunday, Nov. 29.
Tickets may be purchased on Eventbrite: eventbrite.com/e/hershey-felder-as-claude-debussy-in-a-paris-love-story-tickets-125422659551?aff=BERKSHIRETHEATREGROUP or online at BerkshireTheatreGroup.org.
Complete ticket and program information about BTG's winter season is available online at BerkshireTheatreGroup.org.