By Kim Ostellino
The sights and sounds of a live performance are hard to surpass, and few places can compete with the Berkshires. Our offerings include music, dance, performance art, and live theater in a wide variety of settings. Though there are performances scheduled throughout the year, the warmer months really bring our stages to life.
The Berkshire Theatre Group is one of the area’s largest theater organizations, encompassing historic theaters in Stockbridge as well as the splendid Colonial Theater in downtown Pittsfield. The spring season starts with Travis Daly directing the vibrant tale of Disney’s Aladdin in Aladdin, Jr., and continues with the character-themed play Shrek. Other productions include three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Albee’s The Goat or, Who is Sylvia? (recommended for adults only) at The Unicorn Theater in Stockbridge. In June, The Colonial brings to the stage Rock and Roll Man – the Alan Freed Story, a play with the music of the sixties, focused on the man who coined the phrase “rock and roll.”
In Lenox, Shakespeare & Company has a premier lineup for its 2019 season, highlighting some of Shakespeare’s finest works including The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Twelfth Night. Audiences are sure to be delighted with the fine cast of thespians and by the beautiful grounds of the Shakespeare & Company campus. In August, a sold-out workshop performance of Coriolanus is scheduled, starring the sensational talents of three-time Obie Award winner John Douglas Thompson and founder Tina Packer. As well as offering outstanding performances, Shakespeare & Company offers training for actors who are trying to hone their craft along with special celebrations for Shakespeare’s birthday and Independence Day.
Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield is celebrating its 25th anniversary this season, and they will be commemorating it with a gala honoring Artistic Director Julianne Boyd. Barrington Stage Company has transformed itself and its spaces throughout the years, but always presents quality plays and musicals. In 2004, their play The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee made it to Broadway, exposing the exceptional talents of the small theater company to the rest of the world. This year they will offer such plays as Into the Woods, American Underground, If I Forget, and more.
In northern Berkshire County, the world-renowned Williamstown Theater Festival invites screen actors to work on their skills in front of live audiences. The theater festival came to life during the 1950s with its late-night cabarets and continues to this day, attracting audiences and actors from around the world, with many returning again and again. In July, the festival presents Grand Horizons, with Mary Steenburgen and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and in August, Ghosts, starring Uma Thurman- plus so much more!
Also be sure to check out WAM Theatre, which has a philanthropic mission and donates a portion of the proceeds from its theatrical events to organizations that benefit women and girls. Their 2019 season, which will be their 10th anniversary, will feature the world premiere of Lady Randy.
With so much on stage here #intheberkshires, how can you resist? Book your tickets for a show at one of our many performing arts venues, head to the Berkshires, and be transported to another world!
Kim Ostellino is a freelance writer, devoted to bringing the best of the Berkshires to locals and visitors alike through her website, Berkshire Girl Online. She is an avid hiker and kayaker, who also loves to explore the cultural and historical sites of the Berkshires.