Barrington Stage Company, Mac-Haydn Theatre, Shakespeare & Company are tops with Berkshires theater critics

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PITTSFIELD — Mac-Haydn Theatre's production of "Ragtime" and Shakespeare & Company's production of Suzan-Lori Parks' "Topdog/Underdog," took home top honors Monday as Outstanding Musical Production and Outstanding Play Production, respectively, at the Fourth Annual Berkshire Theatre Critics Association's Berkshire Theatre Awards.

The ceremony was hosted by BTCA president J. Peter Bergman and BTCA board member Macey Levin at Zion Lutheran Church.

"The 2019 awards really display the commitment of regional theaters to presenting new and diverse work," the BTCA board said in a news release. "Women and minorities were well represented among the nominees and the winners in all categories."

The ceremony program featured musical and Shakespearean performances by nominees David Joseph and Greg Boover from Shakespeare & Company, and musical selections by Monica M. Wemitt, Rachel Rhodes-Devey and Gabe Belyeu from the Mac-Haydn Theatre.

John Saunders was named Outstanding Director of a Musical for his work on "Ragtime" at the Mac-Haydn, and Regge Life was named Outstanding Director of a Play for "Topdog/Underdog" at Shakespeare & Company.

Top acting honors went to Diane Prusha, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play, for her performance as Hazel in "The Children" at Shakespeare and Company; Rachel Rhodes-Devey, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical as Mother in "Ragtime" at Mac-Haydn Theatre; David Adkins, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play, as Martin in "The Goat, or, Who is Sylvia?" at Berkshire Theatre Group; and Mykal Kilgore, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical for his performance as The Witch in Barrington Stage Company's "Into the Woods."

Tara Franklin took home the award for Outstanding Solo Performance for "On the Exhale" at Chester Theatre Company.

The Larry Murray Award for Community Outreach and Support through Theater went to Tina Packer, founder of Shakespeare & Company, for her decades of work bringing theater and theater education to the Berkshire community. The recipient of this award, named in honor of the late Larry Murray, BTCA founder, is selected by the Board of the BTCA. Packer spoke briefly about her joy at receiving this special award and her long residence in the Berkshires.

All in all, Barrington Stage Company was the evening's top winner with a total of seven awards, followed in order by Mac-Haydn Theatre (Chatham, N.Y.) and Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, 5 each; and Berkshire Opera Festival (Great Barrington), Berkshire Theatre Group (Stockbridge/Pittsfield), Chester Theatre Company, Dorset (Vt.) Theatre Festival, Sharon (Conn.) Playhouse, and Williamstown Theatre Festival, one each.

The season for shows eligible for consideration for the 2019 Berkshire Theatre Critics' Awards began Oct. 1, 2018, and ended Sept. 30, 2019. The season included roughly 105 productions at more than three dozen venues in Western Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and Connecticut. Those venues are:

Albany Civic Theatre — Albany, N.Y.

Ancram Opera House— Ancram, N.Y.

Barrington Stage Company — Pittsfield

Berkshire Playwrights Lab — Great Barrington

Berkshire Theatre Group — Stockbridge and Pittsfield

Bridge Street Theatre — Catskill, N.Y.

Capital Repertory Theatre — Albany, N.Y.

Chester Theatre Company — Chester

Circle Theatre Players at Sand Lake Center for the Arts — Averill Park, N.Y.

Dorset Theatre Festival — Dorset, Vt.

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Ghent Playhouse — Ghent, N.Y.

GhostLit Repertory Theatre Company — Sheffield and Great Barrington

Hartford Stage — Hartford, Conn.

Hubbard Hall — Cambridge, N.Y.

Mac-Haydn Theatre — Chatham, N.Y.

Mixed Company — Great Barrington

Oldcastle Theatre Company — Bennington, Vt.

Schenectady Civic Players — Schenectady, N.Y.

Schenectady Light Opera/ SLOC Musical Theatre — Schenectady, NY)

Shakespeare & Company — Lenox

Sharon Playhouse — Sharon, Conn.

Taconic Stage — Copake, NY

The Theater Barn — New Lebanon, N.Y.

The Dorset Players — Dorset, Vt.

The Living Room — North Bennington, Vt.

The Town Players of Pittsfield — Pittsfield

The Whit — Pittsfield

Walking the dog Theater — Hudson. N.Y. and Ghent, N.Y.

WAM Theatre — Lenox

Weston Playhouse Theatre Company — Weston, Vt.

Williamstown Theatre Festival — Williamstown


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