The 70th season for Stockbridge, MA's Berkshire Festival reaches its finale with two wildly different plays, both opening the same day, Aug. 12.
An Empty Plate in the Cafe Du Grand Boeuf (A Comic Tragedy in Seven Courses) is a wacky comedy by Michael Hollinger, staged by John Rando. This tribute to "the soul and spirit of the 60s" begins previews Aug. 11. (Cafe replaces another comedy, A Shot in the Dark.)
Sitting in Hollinger's Cafe are Don Lee Sparks, Jonathan Freeman (She Loves Me), Brian Reddy, Lynn Hawley, Bradford Cover and Nance Williamson. Designing the show are Rob Odorisio (set), David Murin (costumes) and Brian Nason (lighting), with projections by Elaine J. McCarthy.
Like Empty Plate, Charles Ludlam's farce, Secret Lives of the Sexists also runs Aug. 12-Sept. 5, this one opening Aug. 14 at the Unicorn Theatre. Mistaken identities and cross-dressing abound, with such characters as beauty parlor owner Madame Grossfinger and her husband, Phil Landers, causing the chaos. Eric Hill directs (replacing previously announced Steven Samuels, who co-produced the show's world premiere at Ridiculous Theatricals back in 1982). Starring are Leslie Bandle, Rob Grader, Richard Ruiz, Tom Story and Gin Hammond.
Eva Le Gallienne founded the Berkshire Festival in 1928 with The Cradle Song. The playhouse itself was built by Stanford White, initially as a gentlemen's club. It wasn't until the 1960s that the venue was named the Berkshire Theatre Festival. Among the luminaries appearing there over the years have been Buster Keaton, Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Thornton Wilder, Eli Wallach and Joanne Woodward. -- By David Lefkowitz