Barrington 20th Anniversary Season to Include Mark St. Germain World Premiere, William Finn's Romance in Hard Times and More
By Michael Gioia
Barrington Stage Company artistic director Julianne Boyd announced Jan. 30 the theatre's 20th anniversary season of musicals and plays that will take place in downtown Pittsfield on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage, St. Germain Stage and the Youth Theatre venue in 2014.
"We want to continue to challenge ourselves and our audiences," said Boyd in a statement. "The overwhelmingly positive response to productions as diverse as On the Town, The Chosen and Southern Comfort last season shows all of us at BSC that our audiences are willing to respond to a wide range of programming, and we want to build on that for our 20th season. Shows such as Kiss Me, Kate, Breaking the Code, and the world premieres of Dancing Lessons and The Golem of Havana are a strong indication that we will continue to entertain, to enlighten, and to challenge ourselves and our audiences."
Kiss Me, Kate, featuring music and lyrics by Cole Porter and a book by Sam and Bella Spewack, will run June 11-July 12, with an official opening set for June 15. BSC associate artists Joshua Bergasse, Darren R. Cohen and Renee Lutz, who helmed last summer's On the Town, will return for Kiss Me, Kate. Bergasse ("Smash") will choreograph, with Cohen as musical director-conductor and Lutz as production stage manager.
Breaking the Code, Hugh Whitemore's biographical drama about the true story of WWII mathematician Alan Turing, will star BSC associate artist Mark H. Dold and be directed by Joe Calarco. Performances are July 17-Aug. 2, with a press opening July 20.
Breaking the Code, according to BSC, "is the life story of the famed mathematician and computer science pioneer Alan Turing, the primary designer of the Turing Machine, an early computer used to solve the German Enigma code during World War II, a solution many believe was instrumental in the Allied victory. The title refers to both the solution of the Enigma code and Turing's open admission to his homosexuality, which at the time violated not only the codes of polite society but British law."
The world premiere of Dancing Lessons, a romantic comedy by Mark St. Germain, will star John Cariani and be directed by Boyd. Performances run Aug. 7-24, with an official opening set for Aug. 13.
Dancing Lessons, the ninth play by associate artist St. Germain that BSC will produce, "centers on a young man with high-functioning autism (Asperger's syndrome) as he tries to navigate a relationship with a Broadway dancer, now sidelined with injuries," according to press notes.
Barrington Stage recently received a $10,000 Art Works Grant by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in support of Dancing Lessons. During the run, BSC will engage audiences through special discussions on Asperger's and Autism Spectrum conducted in partnership with community organizations such as the College Internship Program, whose main office is in Pittsfield, MA.
An Enemy of the People will run on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage Oct. 2-19, with an official opening set for Oct. 5.
Barrington Stage will open the 2014 St. Germain Stage season with the Berkshire premiere of Sharr White's The Other Place, directed by BSC associate artist Christopher Innvar, who starred in the Broadway production of White's The Snow Geese. Performances are May 21-June 14 at the St. Germain Stage, with a May 25 opening.
Working on A Special Day, a production of The Play Company and Mexico City-based Por Piedad Teatro, will feature Ana Graham and Antonio Vega, who will also direct. The theatrical experience, which takes Ettore Scola's Academy Award-nominated 1977 Italian film "A Special Day" and recreates the love story between a mysterious man and an overworked housewife in the heyday of Italian fascism, will run June 18-July 6, with an official opening set for June 22.
Working on A Special Day is based on "Una Giornata Particolare" by Ettore Scola, Ruggero Maccari and adapted by Gigliola Fantoni; and translated by Danya Taymor, Ana Graham and Antonio Vega. The play, according to BSC, is "about a life-changing encounter between an overworked housewife and a mysterious bachelor on May 8, 1938 – the day Rome celebrates Hitler's visit to Mussolini's Italy. A bittersweet drama unfolds within the charged political landscape of rising fascism in Rome."
Barrington Stage's Musical Theatre Lab, under the leadership of artistic producer William Finn and artistic director Boyd, will kick off its ninth season with its tenth world premiere musical, The Golem of Havana, July 17-Aug. 9 (with a July 23 opening). The Golem of Havana features music by Salomon Lerner, lyrics by Len Schiff and a book and direction by Michel Hausmann.
The Golem of Havana, according to BSC, "tells the story of a Hungarian-Jewish family living in Batista's Havana on the brink of the Cuban Revolution. When their maid’s son, a guerrilla fighter, is injured, they must choose between protecting him and guarding their fragile prosperity since immigrating to Cuba after World War II. The Golem of Havana weaves together the music and traditions of two worlds, asking questions about family, community, religion, and politics."
Tony winners Finn and Rachel Sheinkin (who penned the award-winning The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) will revisit Finn's 1989 musical Romance in Hard Times, with a new book by Sheinkin. The workshop production, directed by Joe Calarco, will be presented Aug. 14-31 at the St. Germain Stage.
Romance in Hard Times "is set in a soup kitchen in the Depression. A pregnant woman refuses to give birth until she sees more hope in the world. Former socialites, unemployed actors, capitalists down on their luck, and Eleanor Roosevelt try to get through the Depression with some dignity intact. William Finn revisits his celebrated score, and along with his Spelling Bee collaborator, Rachel Sheinkin, reimagines the book for new hard times."
BSC's Youth Theatre summer 2014 production will be Hairspray JR., to be presented July 23-Aug. 10 at Berkshire Museum (39 South Street) in Pittsfield, MA. Christine O'Grady will return to direct and choreograph, along with music director Sarah Brett England.
For more information, call (413) 236-8888 or visit BarringtonStageCo.org.
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