Letter: Socially distant concert brings a bit of normalcy to Berkshire summer

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To the editor:

On Saturday evening, my wife and I attended the Naughton Family Concert, held outdoors under the big top behind the Colonial Theater.

A socially distanced concert or play is not an easy event to pull off, but Berkshire Theatre Group did just that. Each ticketed party presented themselves at the Colonial entrance — to log in (if contact tracing were subsequently required) and have their forehead temperature taken. Patrons and BTG workers all wore masks and each party was separated by a minimum of 6 feet, both moving through the theater's hallway and for seating. Half the restroom stalls, urinals and sinks were off-limits. The sound system within the tent was pristine and well-balanced for vocals over instruments. Each party was separated by at least six feet and an effort was made to preserve sightlines around tent poles.

For close to 90 minutes, James Naughton (father and two-time Tony award-winner), Greg Naughton (son and singer-songwriter), Kelli O'Hara (daughter-in-law and Tony award-winner) and Keira Naughton (daughter and actress) both entertained the audience of close to 100 and amused themselves with family barbs and in-jokes. They were supported by keyboard, drums, bass and guitar. The show started with a glorious version of James Taylor's "Shower the People." Different family combinations and permutations ensued. Father and son did a pair of Everly Brothers classics (Phil Everly's "When Will I Be Loved" and Felice and Boudeaux Bryant's "Wake Up Little Susie"). Greg and Keira each did solo compositions, including singing a love song, "Sparks," he penned shortly after meeting Kelli. James Naughton and Kelli O'Hara did a duet of the Frank Sinatra 1953 classic "Young at Heart" (Johnny Richards/Carolyn Leigh). Kelli O'Hara changed things up by singing a solo from "The King & I," but instead of one of the songs she sang as Anna, she sang a haunting version of "I Have Dreamed."

At several moments, the Naughtons thanked the audience for their support as they all craved the reactions and appreciation of a live audience, instead of singing to a computer screen via Zoom.

BTG admits that this concert was, in effect, a dry run for all concerned on their upcoming production of "Godspell."

My wife and I agreed that for a couple of hours life seemed a bit more like a normal summer in the Berkshires.

Steve Kurzban,

Williamstown

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