Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Summer Theatre 2015 - Berkshire Theatre Festival


In this snowy winter of ice dams and where to put the ever-increasing amounts of snow, let us look forward to the summer, when in one of the greatest of New England traditions, means summer theatre:

 Today, a look at the 2015 summer roster of the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge and Pittsfield, Massachusetts:

 

Bells Are Ringing

book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
music by Jule Styne
entire original production directed by Jerome Robbins
dance and musical numbers of original production staged by Jerome Robbins and Bob Fosse, produced on the Broadway Stage by The Theatre Guild


directed by Ethan Heard
featuring Kate Baldwin and Graham Rowat


at The Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield Thursday, July 9-Sunday, July 26


Telephone service operator, Ella Peterson, played by Tony Award-nominated Kate Baldwin (A Little Night Music, Finian's Rainbow) is not your typical phone operator. Using a variety of comical personae's, Ella meddles with her clients' lives as she takes and delivers their phone messages. Ella's busybody ways trigger trouble when she falls for one of her customers, Jeff Moss, played by Kate Baldwin's real life husband, Broadway and television actor, Graham Rowat (A Little Night Music). A hilarious mesh of mistaken identity and mishaps follow in this delightful musical directed by BTG Alum, Ethan Heard  (A Little Night Music, Cat and The Canary). Bells Are Ringing is an irresistibly charming musical, bursting with breathtaking dance numbers.

 

DEATH TRAP
by Ira Levin, directed by Aaron Mark

at The Fitzpatrick Main Stage, Stockbridge, Wednesday, July 1-Saturday, July 25
Recognized as the longest-running comedy thriller on Broadway, Deathtrap is a sidesplitting romp of a play within a play. Aaron Mark, who brilliantly directed The Mystery of Irma Vep last year, directs Ira Levin's treasured Tony Award-nominated play. This witty thriller tells the tale of defeated playwright, Sidney Bruhl, who would do almost anything to write a hit Broadway play. Former student, Clifford Anderson, tells Sidney that he's written a suspense play with a seamless plot that's sure to be Broadway-bound.  When Sidney lures Clifford into his colonial style home, adorned with eclectic antique weaponry, both men's motives become unclear as unforeseen happenings unfold. Jaw-dropping hilarity ensues as the zany characters weave a web of mystery in two acts.

Frankie and Johnnie in the Clair de Lune
by Terrence McNally, directed by Karen Allen

at The Fitzpatrick Main Stage, Stockbridge, Wednesday, July 29-Saturday, August 22
The bewildering journey of finding love in the modern world sets the premise for Terrence McNally's (Master ClassLove! Valour! Compassion!) bittersweet comedy, Frankie And Johnny In the Clair de Lune. After a one-night rendezvous in Manhattan's West Side, Johnny, a compulsive, starry-eyed, short-order cook, is convinced he has found his life companion in Frankie, a wisecracking waitress. Frankie's poor history with men leaves her hesitant to commit, but as the night progresses, she lets her guard down and an unlikely romance begins to blossom. This contemporary love story will be directed by beloved BTG Alum, Karen Allen (Moonchildren, Extremities).


 

Disney and Camera McIntosh’s

Mary Poppins 

a musical based on the stories of PL Travers and the Walt Disney film

 Directed by Travis G. Daly
at The Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield
Thursday, August 13-Sunday, August 23

There is magic stirring in London, England at No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane, home to the troubled Banks family. George and Winnifred Banks are frustrated and fed-up with their misbehaving children, Jane and Michael, who once again sent a nanny running out the door. The seemingly endless search for a suitable caretaker comes to a halt when a nanny by the name of Mary Poppins appears at their door. Through whimsical lessons and unforgettable adventures, Mary Poppins shows Jane and Michael the magic of everyday life. Bert, an elusive renaissance gent, narrates this timeless tale that captivates audiences with its alluring story, beautiful dance numbers and unforgettable songs including,
"Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” "A Spoonful Of Sugar,” and many more!

Call now to purchase tickets and/or passes:
(413)-997-4444
or visit www.berkshiretheatregroup.org 


 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.


For those who follow my Another Old Movie Blog regularly, you're aware that my year-long series on the career of Ann Blyth has evolved into a book, which will be published in June.

The book is to be called Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.  This to be a study of her career and will not delve too deeply into her personal life.   Much of it contains tweaked posts from my year-long 2014 series on Ann Blyth from this blog, but there is also a lot of new material: including chapters on her early radio work as a child, her experience in the Broadway play Watch on the Rhine, and her re-emergence for younger, newer fans of classic film as a one of the Hollywood greats (for this chapter, I have called upon the assistance of two bloggers to whom I am indebted for sharing their opinions, experiences and photos—Laura Grieve of Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings, and Janet Sullivan Cross of Sister Celluloid).  Also lending their input are fans who took the TCM Cruise last October where Ann was one of the celebrity guests.

The book will contain appendices of filmography, selected television appearances, radio appearances (with synopses of episodes), stage, discography, and for the print book, an index. The book will be as complete a resource for film fans and, especially fans of Ann Blyth’s career as I can make it. It is the first book written about her work, and I hope will be worthy of the subject.

My intention at this point is to publish the book on June 18th. To that end, I’ll be looking for some help in the pre-launch phase, so I’d like to invite any blogger—film blogger or book blogger, anyone who likes to read and blog—to participate in a blog tour. I’ll be looking for blogs to schedule publicity-oriented posts beginning Monday, June 1st. The last day will be June 17th. If anyone wants to pick a day, please let me know so I can coordinate with others. Think of it as a kind of blogathon. On your day, you can post a review of the book (I’ll have ARCs – advanced reading copies - available in PDF form which I’ll email to you that you can read on your computer), or you can do a Q&A with me, or I can just send you a 250-word excerpt of the book, or you can just post the cover and a link to the Amazon page, if you will. Just a little something to spread the word. I will be posting here every day from June 1st through the 18th and I’ll be linking to your blogs, pushing traffic to you.

Among those 17 bloggers who participate, I’ll throw your names in a hat and pick five winners who will receive a print book of Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. when it is published on the 18th. The rest will receive an eBook file in whichever format you choose: ePub, Mobi, or PDF (Note, the ARC copies will not have the index).

Also, I hope to have the book ready for pre-order on Amazon by April. (It will also be sold as an eBook and in paperback at a variety of other online merchants.)

For those of you with connections to book clubs, classic film societies, libraries, or bookstores, I will be available for speaking or book signing after the book is released, but will likely limit my geographic range to eastern New York and the New England states for the time being.

I’m looking forward to the year ahead and sharing it with you. More updates on the book (including the cover reveal) to come in weeks ahead. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Answers to New England Lingo Trivia

The answers to last weeks New England lingo trivia questions from Yankee Talk - A Dictionary of New England Expressions, compiled by Robert Hendrickson and published by Facts On File, Inc., 1996.....


afterclap  - This is described as an old term for some unexpected or unpleasantly surprising happening, and quotes Melville's use of the word in Moby Dick.  We might further define it as the unpleasant result of an action.

all smiles and johnnycake - An expression for happy.

Boston strong boy - This was famed boxer John L. Sullivan's nickname.

bulkhead - the cellar double hatch doors.

Downeaster - Someone from Maine, to be sure, but also a ship built in Maine, and also sometimes referring to any New Englander.

muckle - Nantucket term to fret, or to putter with.

Watch Night - an old term for New Year's Eve.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Yankee Lingo Trivia

A few fun trivia questions from Yankee Talk - A Dictionary of New England Expressions, compiled by Robert Hendrickson and published by Facts On File, Inc., 1996.


See if you can identify these words or expressions:


afterclap

all smiles and johnnycake

Boston strong boy

bulkhead

Downeaster

muckle

Watch Night


Answers next week.











Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cowboy Chuck and the Happy Rangers - Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts

It all takes place in a fictional town called Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts...



Well, no.  Chicopee Falls is a real place, but the radio station, WCFS in this sleepy burg is fictional.  Here is where happens a slice of World War II intrigue...and comedy.

This is, by the way, a two-act play I'm talking about, written by me and performed by people all over this great land (well, bits of this great land, anyway) who should know better, but don't.  If your community theatre, or college, or high school, or middle school drama club is looking for a swell comedy that takes place during a live radio adventure show (during World War II), or just looking for a comedy that takes place in Chicopee Falls...or just likes the name, Chicopee Falls (it has a ring to it), then this might just be the script for you. 

It's COWBOY CHUCK AND THE HAPPY RANGERS!

Here's a synopsis:

The time is December 1942, the setting is a radio station where "Cowboy Chuck and the Happy
Rangers," a children's adventure program featuring hero Cowboy Chuck, his best gal, his sidekick, the villain, and the announcer all wrapping up an episode. When the station manager informs them this locally-produced show is about to make its nationwide debut and Life magazine photographers are coming to do a story on them, they are thrilled, but not about having to wear the outrageous western costumes chosen for them.

Behind the scenes, however, trouble is brewing, as the actor playing the show's villain, who is actually an undercover FBI agent, discovers that the station owner is a Nazi sympathizer and the new script they are to perform coast-to-coast contains coded secrets on national security about to be broadcast to the enemy.  The confused cast, the bumbling sound effects man, the prim organist, the show's bickering husband-and-wife team of writers all work together in true bumbling, patriotic Cowboy Chuck and the Happy Rangers can-do fashion to foil the bad guys.


It's published by Brooklyn Publishers and you can get your script here.  No need to send in any box tops.





 
 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Model Railroad Show - West Springfield, Massachusetts


Trains are only part of the fun for the model railroad enthusiast.  The imaginative detail of the accessories to that little world -- buildings, people, autos all illustrating the busy lives in the tiny towns.  There's a lot to feast your eyes on when the model railroader melds his imaginings with yours.

This weekend is the annual Amherst Railway Society's Railroad Hobby Show held in West Springfield, Massachusetts on the grounds of the Eastern States Exposition.  An enormous show spread out through four buildings on the grounds, it is a feast for the eyes and a joy to the young at heart.  Over 25,000 people visit the event every year.  Huge train setups continually race around miles of track, and vendors fill the buildings with every imaginable facet of this hobby.  For more information, have a look the official website here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

One Horse Open Sleigh - Sturbridge, Massachusetts


 
 
Sleight rally at Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Massachusetts, 2011.