Monday, October 31, 2016

Friday, October 28, 2016

Westfield News Group Review: "Relativity"

My Westfield News Group review: Richard Dreyfuss is Albert Einstein in TheaterWork's "Relativity" in Hartford. http://thewestfieldnews.com/review-relativity-premieres-at-theaterworks

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Westfield News Group Arts Beat 1O/26/16

My Westfield News Group Arts Beat for 1O/26/16. Lots of music for late autumn. http://thewestfieldnews.com/arts-beat-146

My Westfield News Group Review: A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder at The Bushnell

My Westfield News Group review of "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" at The Bushnell. So original and LOL funny. http://thewestfieldnews.com/review-a-gentlemans-guide-to-love-and-murder-returns-to-hartford

Media Release: The Capitol Steps Return to Boston November 26

THE CAPITOL STEPS BRING “A ONCE IN A LIFETIME ELECTION SHOW” TO HARVARD ON NOVEMBER 26.

The Capitol Steps recap the 2016 presidential campaigns and their leading players Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in their new production, A Once in a Lifetime Election Show, which they’ll present at their annual Greater Boston Thanksgiving Weekend performances on Saturday, November 26 at 5PM and 8PM at Sanders Theatre in Memorial Hall on the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, MA.

The Capitol Steps have been a national institution for over 35 years, providing a unique blend of musical and political comedy and satire to audiences coast-to-coast.. Each show consists of tasteful lampooning guaranteed to leave both sides of the political spectrum laughing. The troupe started in 1981. Since then, they have appeared on The Today Show, Nightline, CBS Evening News and for many years in specials for NPR. 

According to The Capitol Steps co-founder Elaina Newport, “This election cycle has provided more material than all the other elections combined – and we’ve been around 35 years. It’s the equivalent of Anthony Weiner tweeting his underwear every day!   Things have been happening so fast, we’ve had to resort to texting joke updates to performers as they wait backstage to go on”.

Mike Thornton of the Mike Thornton Agency, who is producing the Cambridge performances, also performs with The Capitol Steps, and says the last few months have been filled with constant rehearsals and new material added almost nightly. “It's almost impossible to stay ahead of the buffoonery. One constantly relies on daily news for new snipppets”, says Thornton.

In A Once in a Lifetime Election Show, The Capitol Steps promise to put the "MOCK" in Democracy to showcase the craziest election you've ever seen.  If you've ever wanted to see Hillary Clinton belt a show tune, Donald Trump massacre a rock song, and Russian President Vladimir Putin shuffle-off a soft shoe, this might just be the show for you! Their supporting cast may include Anthony Weiner, and Pope Francis.

Tickets for both performances by The Capitol Steps are available at the Harvard Box-Office. Advance student discounts are on sale, subject to availability for both performances, and advance senior discounts, also subject to availability, are offered for the 8PM performance. Student rush tickets may be available at the door for both performances. For details:  617-496-2222 or https://www.boxoffice.harvard.edu

To preview some of the Capitol Steps materials, visit their website, www.capsteps.com, or find The Capitol Steps on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter (@capsteps)


-30-.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Westfield News Group Arts Beat 1O/19/16

My Westfield News Group Arts Beat 1O/19/16. From "War of The Worlds" to the Warsaw Philharmonic, there's plenty happening on area stages. http://thewestfieldnews.com/arts-beat-145

Media Release: New Gionfriddo Book "Good Night, Dear Hart, Good Night"



“GOOD NIGHT, DEAR HART, GOOD NIGHT”, THE NEW JEANNIE AND MARK GIONFRIDDO BOOK, PREMIERES ON NOVEMBER 16 AT A READING AND BOOKSIGNING AT THE ODYSSEY BOOKSHOP IN SOUTH HADLEY, MA

Good Night, Dear Hart, Good Night: the new historical non-fiction book by Jeannie and Mark Gionfriddo, will be released on the Epigraph imprint at a reading and booksigning at The Odyssey Book Shop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA on Wednesday, November 16 at 7PM.

When Jeannie Gionfriddo and her late husband Roy purchased their family home in Holyoke, MA in 1964, there was one seller’s condition: the tenant, Hart Lester Allen, in the adjoining apartment, had to have the right to live there as long as she wanted. As the Gionfriddos got to know Mrs. Allen, she shared her personal history.

Allen was the widow of Massachusetts Bank Commissioner Joseph C. Allen, who investigated and brought to justice the notorious criminal Charles Ponzi, whose “Ponzi Scheme” robbed many people of their life savings. Jeannie Gionfriddo, a columnist at the Holyoke Sun, began to chronicle Allen’s story. Her son, Mark, assisted with the research. But after a draft or two, they put the book aside. When Bernie Madoff’s financial crimes made headlines, the Gionfriddos revised Good Night Dear Hart Good Night, which is part back story of a bank commissioner taking on a powerful criminal, and part love story of the woman who supported him along the way, set in Western Massachusetts cities and towns including Holyoke and Springfield.

Mother and son Jeannie Gionfriddo and Mark Gionfriddo still live in the Holyoke house where Good Night, Dear Hart, Good Night takes place; she in the main house, and he in the apartment, where Hart Lester Allen once resided. Jeannie Gionfriddo has authored cook books and wrote the Holyoke Sun’s food columns. Mark Gionfriddo is a member of the music faculty at Mount Holyoke College, creator of The Big Broadcast, a recreation of a 1940’s radio show with the Jazz Ensembles at Mount Holyoke College, and a music director at The Berkshire Theatre Group, where he recently conducted Beauty and The Beast..

Copies of Good Night, Dear Hart, Good Night will be on sale at The Odyssey Book Shop in The Village Commons in South Hadley, MA. For details on the Gionfriddo book, visit www.markgionfriddo.com or visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/goodnightdearhart.

Good Night, Dear Hart, Good Night
by Jeannie Gionfriddo and Mark Gionfriddo
Epigraph Books
Hardcover: 978-1-944037-34-5
Paperback: 978-1-944037-33-8.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Westfield News Group Arts Beat 1O/12/16

My Westfield News Group Arts Beat 1O/12/16. Cats in hats in Springfield, jazz in Pittsfield, and a Broadway hit returns home to Hartford. http://thewestfieldnews.com/arts-beat-144

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Media Release: Berkshire Theatre Awards

I'm really honored to have been asked to be a nominator and a voter for the first Berkshire Theatre Awards. I'm among a select group of theatre and arts reporters in Western New England and Mew York to be asked. There are three of us who are based in the Pioneer Valley. I'm so honored that my work with the Westfield News Group is acknowledged, and even more thrilled that The Westfield News Group and its President Patrick Berry support the creative industries here in the region.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Berkshire Theatre Awards Program Announces Nominees

Berkshire County, MA [October 11, 2016] – In the last twelve months, more than 300,000 people attended a live theatre production in or around Berkshire County. With 75 stage productions employing hundreds of professionals, making theatre is an important cog in the area’s cultural economy. In fact, many consider the region a hot spot for Broadway bound shows, and a popular summer destination for theatre-goers from around the nation.The region’s theatre critics have joined together to create a new Berkshire Theatre Awards program to recognize the importance of their work.

The group announced today more than 120 nominations from which 25 winners will be selected. Participating in the Awards program are twenty arts journalists who will cast their final votes in the coming days, with the winners to be announced by the end of October. The project was organized by Larry Murray, and a working committee which includes Peter Bergman, Robert Bruyr, Gail M. Burns, Macey Levin, Gloria Miller, and Ed Sedarbaum. 

“Thanks to its exceptional resident theatre companies, the Berkshires have sent more than a dozen shows to Broadway in the past few years, while attracting the best people in show business to our region,” says Larry Murray. “Writers and composers like Theresa Rebeck (Seared, Seminar, Bad Dates, Mauritius) and William Finn (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Falsettos) have homes in the area where they create the drama and music we get to see on our stages before anyone else, while directors like John Rando (On the Town) and Scott Ellis (The Elephant Man) have successfully transferred the innovative work they first created here to Broadway.

There is a special Larry Murray Award, to be given to a person or theatre project that advances social, political or community issues. Receiving one of the nominations are the three Vermont theatre companies that teamed up to produce all three plays in Alan Ayckbourn’s The Norman Conquests last summer – the Dorset Theatre Festival, Northern Stage Company, and the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company – while Kristen van Ginhoven, Co-founder and Artistic Director of WAM Theatre, and Julianne Boyd Artistic Director of Barrington Stage, are the other two contenders for this inaugural special award.

Seven shows received more than five nominations each including 11 for The Pirates of Penzanceand eight for Broadway Bounty Hunter, both produced by Barrington Stage Company. Seven nominations were received for Or, and six for The Merchant of Venice at Shakespeare & Company. Also popular with five nominations each are The Rose Tattoo (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Little Shop of Horrors (Berkshire Theatre Group), and American Son (Barrington Stage).

Here are the categories and nominations:----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Outstanding Production of a Play - Large Theater:
     All My Sons (Weston Playhouse Theatre Company)
     American Son (Barrington Stage Company)
     Cat On a Hot Tin Roof (Berkshire Theatre Group
     Or, (Shakespeare & Company)
     The Rose Tattoo (Williamstown Theatre Festival)
     Tribes (Barrington Stage Company) 

Outstanding Production of a Play - Intimate Theatre:
     The Consul, The Tramp, and America's Sweetheart (Oldcastle Theatre Company)
     Constellations (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     Cost of Living (Williamstown Theatre Festival)
     Cry Havoc (Shakespeare & Company)
     The Homecoming (Berkshire Theatre Group) 

Outstanding Production of a Musical - Large Theatre:
     Little Shop of Horrors (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     Mamma Mia (Weston Playhouse Theatre Company)
     The Pirates of Penzance (Barrington Stage Company) 

Outstanding Production of a Musical - Intimate Theatre:
      Big River (Oldcastle Theatre Company)
      Broadway Bounty Hunter (Barrington Stage Company)
      Fiorello (Berkshire Theatre Group)
      Sister Act (Mac-Haydn Theatre) 

Outstanding Production of a New Play:
     American Son (Barrington Stage Company)
     And No More Shall We Part (Williamstown Theatre Festival)
     The Consul, The Tramp, and America's Sweetheart (Oldcastle Theatre Company)
     Cost of Living (Williamstown Theatre Festival)
      My Jane (Chester Theater Company)
     Or, (Shakespeare & Company)
     The Stone Witch (Berkshire Theatre Group) 

Outstanding Production of a New Musical:
     Broadway Bounty Hunter (Barrington Stage Company)
     Presto Change-O (Barrington Stage Company) 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor - Large Theatre:
     Christopher Abbott in The Rose Tattoo (Williamstown Theatre Festival)
     Joshua Castille in Tribes (Barrington Stage Company)
     Jonathan Epstein in The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare & Company)
     John Hadden in The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare & Company)
     Michael Hayden in American Son (Barrington Stage Company)
     Will Swenson in The Pirates of Penzance (Barrington Stage Company) 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor - Intimate Theatre:
     Joey Collins in The Homecoming (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     David Joseph in The Consul, The Tramp, and America's Sweetheart (Oldcastle Theatre Company)
     Alfred Molina in And No More Shall We Part (Williamstown Theatre Festival)
     Wendell Pierce in Cost of Living (Williamstown Theatre Festival)
     Stephan Wolfert in Cry Havoc (Shakespeare & Company) 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor - Large Theatre:
     Marinda Anderson in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill (Dorset Theatre Festival)
     Rebecca Brooksher in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     Tod Randolph in Or, (Shakespeare & Company)
     Molly Regan in All My Sons (Weston Playhouse Theatre Company)
     Marisa Tomei in The Rose Tattoo (Williamstown Theatre Festival)
     Tamara Tunie in American Son (Barrington Stage Company) 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor - Intimate Theatre:
     Kate Baldwin in Constellations (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     Tara Franklin in Sister Play (Chester Theatre Company)
     Annie Golden in Broadway Bounty Hunter (Barrington Stage Company)
     Jane Kaczmarek in And No More Shall We Part (Williamstown Theatre Festival)
     Maddie Jo Landers in The Taming (Shakespeare & Company)
     Christiana Nelson in Ugly Lies The Bone (Shakespeare & Company)
     Debra Jo Rupp in Kimberly Akimbo (Barrington Stage Company) 

Outstanding Supporting Performance by a Male Actor - Large Theatre:
     David Adkins in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     Alex Gibson in The Pirates of Penzance (Barrington Stage Company)
     John Hadden in The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare & Company)
     Andre Ware in American Son (Barrington Stage Company)

Outstanding Supporting Performance by a Male Actor - Intimate Theatre:
    Carson Elrod in The Chinese Room (Williamstown Theatre Festival)
     Jeff McCarthy in Broadway Bounty Hunter (Barrington Stage Company)
     Rylan Morsbach in The Homecoming (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     Scott Wattanabe in Broadway Bounty Hunter (Barrington Stage Company)
     Lenny Wolpe in Presto Change-O (Barrington Stage Company) 

Outstanding Supporting Performance by a Female Actor - Large Theatre:
    Kate Abbruzzese in The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare & Company)
    Jane Carr in The Pirates of Penzance (Barrington Stage Company)
    Nehassiu De Gannes in Or, (Shakespeare & Company)
    Deborah Rush in An American Daughter (Williamstown Theatre Festival)
    Scarlett Strallen in The Pirates of Penzance (Barrington Stage Company) 

Outstanding Supporting Performance by a Female Actor - Intimate Theatre:
     Jenni Barber in Presto Change-O (Barrington Stage Company)
     Chelsea Doren in Fiorello (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     Dana Harrison in Holy Laughter (WAM Theatre)
     Sue Jean Kim in The Chinese Room (Williamstown Theatre Festival)
     Katy Sullivan in Cost of Living (Williamstown Theatre Festival)

 Outstanding Direction of a Play - Large Theatre:
     Julianne Boyd for American Son (Barrington Stage Company)
     Jonathan Croy for The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare & Company)
     Trip Cullman for The Rose Tattoo (Williamstown Theatre Festival)
     Tina Packer for The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare & Company)
     Mary B. Robinson for All My Sons (Weston Playhouse Theatre Company)
     Alice Reagan for Or, (Shakespeare & Company)
     Jenn Thompson for Tribes (Barrington Stage Company)
     Evan Yianoulis for Table Manners (Dorset Theatre Festival) 

Outstanding Direction of a Play - Intimate Theatre:
     Jo Bonney for Cost of Living (Williamstown Theatre Festival)
     Gregg Edelman for Constellations (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     Eric Hill for The Homecoming (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     Louisa Proske for Peerless (Barrington Stage Company)
     Eric Tucker for Cry Havoc (Shakespeare & Company) 

Outstanding Direction of a Musical - Large Theatre:
     Tim Fort for Man of La Mancha (Weston Playhouse Theatre Company)
     Ethan Heard for Little Shop of Horrors (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     John Rando for The Pirates of Penzance (Barrington Stage Company) 

Outstanding Direction of a Musical - Intimate Theatre:
     Julianne Boyd for Broadway Bounty Hunter (Barrington Stage Company)
     Tim Howard for Big River (Oldcastle Theatre Company)
     John Saunders for Chicago (Mac-Haydn Theatre)
     Steve Stettler for Murder for Two (Weston Playhouse Theatre Company) 

Outstanding Choreography - Large Theatre:
     Joshua Bergasse for The Pirates of Penzance (Barrington Stage Company)
     Parker Esse for Little Shop of Horrors (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     Michael Raine for Mamma Mia (Weston Playhouse Theatre Company) 

Outstanding Choreography - Intimate Theatre:
     Maddie Apple for Sister Act (Mac-Haydn Theatre)
     Michael Callahan for Fiorello (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     Jeffrey Page for Broadway Bounty Hunter (Barrington Stage Company)
     Jenna Ware for The Emperor of The Moon (Shakespeare & Company) 

Outstanding Scenic Design for Play or Musical:
     David L. Arsenault for The Norman Conquests (Dorset, Weston, and Northern Stage)
     Beowulf Borritt for The Pirates of Penzance (Barrington Stage Company)
     Yael Pardess for The Stone Witch (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     Carl Sprague for Fiorello (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     Reid Thompson for Little Shop of Horrors (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     Mark Wendland for The Rose Tattoo (Williamstown Theatre Festival) 

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play or Musical:
     Shawn E. Boyle for The Stone Witch (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     Lara Dubin for The Mountaintop (Chester Theatre Company)
     Alan C. Edwards for Constellations (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     Michael Giannetti for Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill (Dorset Theatre Festival)
     Jason Lyons for The Pirates of Penzance (Barrington Stage Company)
     Matthew Miller for The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare & Company) 

Best Costume Design for a Play or Musical:
     Jess Goldstein for The Pirates of Penzance (Barrington Stage Company)
     Jimm Halliday for Into The Woods (Mac-Haydn Theatre)
     Tyler Kinney for The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare & Company)
     Govane Lohbauer for Or, (Shakespeare & Company)
     David Murin for Little Shop of Horrors (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     Bobby Frederick Tilley for Broadway Bounty Hunter (Barrington Stage Company) 

Outstanding Sound Design for Play or Musical:
     Toby Aliya for Tribes (Barrington Stage Company)
     Amy Altadonna for Or, & Ugly Lies The Bone (Shakespeare & Company)
     Ed Chapman for Mamma Mia (Weston Playhouse Theatre Company)
     Scott Killian for Constellations (Berkshire Theatre Group)
     Rider Q. Stanton for The Addams Family (Mac-Haydn Theatre)
     Corey Wheat for The 39 Steps (Oldcastle Theatre Company)

Larry Murray Award:
     1. Julianne Boyd, Barrington Stage Company, for her issue-related programming and community outreach.

     2. Kristen van Ginhoven, WAM Theatre, for combining meaningful theatre with charitable support of women's causes.

      3. The Producing Directors of the Dorset Theatre Festival, Weston Playhouse Theatre Company, and Northern Stage for their collaborative co-production of the three plays comprising 
 The Norman Conquests.

---###---

Media Release: Ballet Gliders by KAS

Our new client. Ballet Gliders by KAS

BALLET GLIDERS KEEP DANCERS ON THEIR TOES

The Ballet Glider by KAS, the new essential accessory for ballet dancers and those who use a ballet barre for their exercise regimens, is now available in several New York City dance shops and online, according to inventor Kathryn Sullivan, one of New York’s prominent ballet teachers, and a former professional dancer on both sides of the Atlantic.

“I created Ballet Gliders in 2012 to help my students during ballet barre exercises, since they help with sliding, and easing one’s hand grip”, says Sullivan, who adds that Ballet Gliders are practical, light enough to carry in a dance bag, and come in a variety of colors and patterns.

“Our Ballet Gliders are designed and hand-sewn in New York” notes Sullivan. ”Each ballet glider is 7” wide and 9 1/2” tall, when opened; and made of plush fleece. They can be machine-washed on a delicate cycle and line-dried. The Ballet Glider website features a video  demonstration of the Ballet Glider, along with the most popular styles, although many styles are available. For details: www.balletglider.com.

Sullivan added that all orders placed before December 10, 2016 will be delivered before Christmas.

Ballet Glider creator Kathryn Sullivan currently teaches ballet at STEPS on Broadway, the Peridance Capezio Center, and the Joffrey Contemporary Summer Intensive, as well as at Barnard College at Columbia University. She has taught ballet in New York City for over twenty-five years; and many of her students perform in major dance companies and on Broadway, or are now teachers .Sullivan was a professional ballet dancer for many years, performing with the Boston Ballet, Les Grands Ballet Canadiens, Connecticut Ballet, and Les Ballet de Nancy. 

Ballet Gliders are available in many major Manhattan dance shops, including Capezio at 1650 Broadway at West 51st Street, The Peridance Capezio Center at 126 East 13th Street; STEPS on Broadway Boutique at 2121 Broadway at West 74th Street; On Stage Dancewear at 197 Madison Avenue; and Sansha at 888,Eighth Avenue. Ballet Gliders are also available online at  www.balletglider.com. For further information, contact kas@balletglider.com.

-30-

Monday, October 10, 2016

Westfield News Group Review: "Camping with Henry and Tom" at Barrington Stage

My Westfield News Group review of "Camping with Henry and Tom" at Barrington Stage. Brilliant sets and lights are high points of this fine production. http://thewestfieldnews.com/review-camping-with-henry-and-tom-at-barrington-stage

Friday, October 7, 2016

Westfield News Group Review: "Chasing Rainbows" at Goodspeed

My Westfield News Group review of "Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz", the new musical about Judy Garland at Goodspeed. Ruby Rakos as Judy and Michael Wartella as Mickey Rooney sing and swing with pure pleasure. http://thewestfieldnews.com/review-goodspeed-premieres-chasing-rainbows-the-road-to-oz

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Westfield News Group Arts Beat 1O/5/16

My Westfield News Arts Beat for 1O/5/16. "The Piano Lesson" at Hartford Stage, Cats at the Springfield Museums and more. http://thewestfieldnews.com/arts-beat-143

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Take Magazine Review: The Bakelite Masterpiece

Take Magazine and BroawayStars.com both picked up my Westfield News Group review of The Bakelite Masterpiece, a co-production of Berkshire Theatre Group and WAM. https://thetakemagazine.com/review-premiere-bakelite-masterpiece-berkshire-theatre-group/

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Westfield News Group Review: The Bakelight Masterpiece

My Westfield News Group review of The Bakelite Masterpiece, the American premiere of Kate Cayley's taut drama co-produced by Berkshire Theatre Group and WAM. Extraordinary performances by David Adkins and Corinna May. http://thewestfieldnews.com/review-premiere-the-bakelite-masterpiece-at-berkshire-theatre-group