Barrington Names 2013 Associate Artists; World Premiere of Southern Comfort Musical Receives $10,000 Grant
By Michael Gioia
Barrington Stage Company has named award-winning choreographer Joshua Bergasse, actors Gretchen Egolf and Jeff McCarthy, and award-winning director John Rando as new associate artists at BSC. All are part of Barrington Stage's 2013 season.
Bergasse ("Smash," "So You Think You Can Dance"), Egolf (Jackie, Ring Round the Moon), McCarthy (Chicago, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Urinetown, The Pirate Queen, Side Show) and Rando (Urinetown, A Christmas Story, The Wedding Singer, A Thousand Clowns) join former associate artists, including composer-lyricist William Finn, actor-director Christopher Innvar, playwright Mark St. Germain, music director Darren R. Cohen, actors Mark H. Dold and Debra Jo Rupp, and production stage manager Renee Lutz.
Associate artists, according to press notes, "are integral members of the BSC theatre family who have made extraordinary contributions to the theatre. They have helped the theatre accomplish its mission, both by collaborating on top-notch work at BSC and by fostering a close relationship with the community. Associate Artists are part of the artistic team and help by suggesting plays and musicals to be produced, by developing new work on both the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage and the St. Germain Stage and by consulting with the Artistic Director on various projects, both artistic and educational."
A statement from the company reads, "These four superlative artists have given Barrington Stage some of its most outstanding productions in past years. Each one will be in residence at BSC this summer and will play a major role in our 2013 season - we couldn't be luckier!"
McCarthy will star in BSC's Musical Theatre Lab world-premiere production of the musical Southern Comfort July 19-Aug. 10. The company received a $10,000 National Fund grant from the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) for the production.
Based on the 2001 award-winning Sundance documentary, Southern Comfort, directed by Thomas Caruso (associate director for Matilda), "is a celebration of a uniquely American family living openly, honestly and courageously," according to press notes.
Southern Comfort features book and lyrics by Dan Collins and music by Julianne Wick-Davis. This musical previously received a Project Development Grant in support of its time at CAP21, a Writers Residency Grant for its time at Playwrights Horizons and was presented in NAMT's 2012 Festival of New Musicals. Collins and Wick-Davis are also recipients of the 2012 Jonathan Larson Award for Southern Comfort, an award that honors emerging talent.
"Southern Comfort is an important and timely work that deals with a topic many people know little about: transgendering," said Julianne Boyd, Barrington Stage's artistic director, in a statement. "It is our hope that this beautifully written musical will create an open dialogue with our audiences."
In other BSC news, the company will present the American premiere of Bashir Lazhar by Evelyne de la Chenelière, in a translation by Morwyn Brebner, May 22-June 8 at BSC's St. Germain Stage.
Directed by Shakina Nayfack and starring Juri Henley-Cohn, Bashir Lazhar, according to press notes, "tells the story of a French-Algerian political refugee who is hurriedly hired as the teacher at an elementary school in Montreal for a class of distressed students. His unorthodox teaching methods draw him into surprisingly explosive territory. Timely and deeply moving, Bashir Lazhar explores the practical and emotional nuances of living in a multicultural society, the pain of loss and the power of imagination."
The design team includes Brett J. Banakis (set and costume design), Robert Brown (lighting design) and Anthony Mattana (sound design and original music). Paul Vella is production stage manager.
Barrington Stage Company is under the leadership of artistic director Julianne Boyd and managing director Tristan Wilson. For more information, call (413) 236-8888 or visit BarringtonStageCo.org.
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