Berkshire Fest Awakes and Sings Beginning July 10

News   Berkshire Fest Awakes and Sings Beginning July 10 Dylan McDermott is no longer starring, but the Berkshire Theatre Festival production of Odets' Awake and Sing goes on. The play will begin performances July 10, open July 11 and run through July 28. Elina deSantos directs.

Dylan McDermott is no longer starring, but the Berkshire Theatre Festival production of Odets' Awake and Sing goes on. The play will begin performances July 10, open July 11 and run through July 28. Elina deSantos directs.

McDermott recently left that project. A spokesperson for the show said McDermott gave as his reason exhaustion after completing a season of filming for the television series "The Practice." Mark Feuerstein has taken his place in the lead role of in this story about a Jewish family living in the Bronx during the Depression and struggling with a world in which “life is printed on dollar bills.”

Alan Blumenfeld, John Cirigliano, Marilyn Fox, David Margulies, Josh Radnor, Shiva Rose, John Rothman and Thom Whaley are also in the cast. Elina deSantos also directed Awake And Sing! at the Odyssey, where it was the L.A. Times Critics Choice for nine months.

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The Mainstage season at the 2001 Berkshire Theatre Festival began on June 21 with a new production of Gilbert and Sullivan's classic comic operetta H.M.S. Pinafore. With Pinafore, James Warwick begins his reign in the Berkshires. He will direct the musical and will star in the season closer, a revival of My Fair Lady. Eric Hill will direct a cast which also features Maureen O'Flynn as Eliza Doolittle. Pinafore first opened in London in 1878. The comic show, one of Gilbert and Sullivan's most lasting achievements, concerns a collection of sailors and lovers, and takes on "romance and intrigue, the mystery of changelings, not to mention the notorious rigid class structure of 19th Century England." Other Gilbert & Sullivan operettas include Iolanthe, The Mikado, The Gondoliers and The Pirates Of Penzance.

The season on the smaller Unicorn Theatre began on June 14 with Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth.

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In other Fest news, The Smell of the Kill, a black comedy by Michele Lowe set to play the Berkshire Theatre Festival this summer, may eventually land in New York City. Christopher Ashley will direct Kate Finneran, Kristen Johnston and Claudia Shear star in the piece, which runs July 31-Aug. 11.

Ashley, speaking to Playbill On-Line at the Tony Nominees Luncheon at Manhattan's Marriott Marquis on May 16, said producers Mel Nugent and Elizabeth McCann have long been attached to the project and that if all goes well the plan is to move the show to Manhattan sometime in 2001.

In The Smell of the Kill, three wives plan revenge on their complacent, golf-loving husbands. Shear wrote and starred in Dirty Blonde, which played Broadway up until earlier this year. Johnston is well known from the sitcom "Third Rock From the Sun." He stage credits include The Skin of Our Teeth in Central Park. Finneran's many credits include Arms and the Man Off-Broadway and The Iceman Cometh on Broadway.

Christopher Ashley recently directed Off-Broadway's Newyorkers and The Rocky Horror Show on Broadway, for which he received his first Tony nomination. Future projects include David Lindsay-Abaire's Wonder of the World at Manhattan Theatre Club this fall.

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The Main Stage schedule runs as follows:

• Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore, directed by James Warwick, June 21-July 7 (opened June 22)
Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing, July 10-28 (opening July 11)
The Smell of the Kill by Michele Lowe, directed by Christopher Ashley, July 31-Aug. 11 (opening Aug. 1)
My Fair Lady, directed by Eric Hill, Aug. 14-Sept. 1 (opening Aug. 15)

The smaller Unicorn Theatre is featuring a revival of Kenneth Lonergan's comedy This Is Our Youth, directed by Oliver Butler (June 14-July 14); August Strindberg's A Dream Play, directed by Eric Hill (July 18-Aug. 4); and A Pound of Flesh by Michael Bolus (Aug. 8-18).

For more information, call (413) 298-3368, or consult www.berkshiretheatre.org.

—By Robert Simonson