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Bits & Bytes: Railroad Street Youth Project awards scholarships; ‘Hamilton’s Women’ at Ventfort Hall; ‘Complementary Eloquence;’ Berkshire Theatre Awards

Railroad Street Youth Project's Railroad Street Youth Student Empowerment scholarship provides an opportunity for students to explore their after-high school options.

Railroad Street Youth Project awards inaugural RYSE scholarship

Sheila Francisco. Photo courtesy Railroad Street Youth Project

Great Barrington — Railroad Street Youth Project has announced that Sheila Franscicso will receive its inaugural Railroad Street Youth Student Empowerment scholarship. The scholarship will be presented to Francisco at RSYP’s annual culinary arts dinner Monday, Dec. 4, at 5:30 p.m. at Crissey Farm.

RSYE provides an opportunity for students to explore their after-high school options. Thirty students from Monument Mountain and Mount Everett regional high schools applied, and 10 were accepted into the weeklong program, which was held in July. Participants took part in a series of dynamic and youth-centered sessions on topics ranging from balancing tasks, goal setting, demystifying the Federal Student Aid application process, and productive financial behavior such as credit building, budgeting and saving.

Eva Letterton. Photo courtesy Railroad Street Youth Project

RSYP’s board of directors donated funds to award a two-year, $5,000 scholarship, for which youth were eligible to apply after successfully completing the program. A panel made up of staff and board members reviewed applications in a competitive process. Francisco was ultimately selected to be the first recipient of the RSYE scholarship, Eva Letterton was awarded a scholarship of $500 courtesy of the Boys from Brooklyn, and Isabel Haywood was selected for a “Recognition of Growth” award.

About her experience in the RYSE program, scholarship winner Francisco says, “I am experiencing a more confident me, determined to face what I fear. I am much happier and calmer now and especially more confident in myself as a student and person.” An incoming senior at MMRHS, Francisco plans to use the scholarship to attend Berkshire Community College before transferring to a four-year public institution.


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Ventfort Hall to present ‘Hamilton’s Women’

Leslie Goddard as Eliza Schuyler Hamilton. Photo courtesy Ventfort Hall

Lenox — Award-winning actress and historian Leslie Goddard, in costume, will appear as the love of Alexander Hamilton’s life, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, as well as Angelica Schuyler Church and Peggy Schuyler van Rensselaer in the living history program “Hamilton’s Women” Saturday, Nov. 11, at 3:30 p.m. at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. A Victorian tea will follow.

The three sisters were born into a famous New York family. Their father was Revolutionary War leader Maj. Gen. Philip Schuyler and their mother, Catherine van Rensselaer, came from one of New York’s wealthiest families. After Alexander Hamilton’s death at the famous duel with Aaron Burr, Elizabeth Hamilton became known as a philanthropist and protector of her husband’s legacy, while raising seven children. The Hamiltons’ eldest child, Philip, had died three years before in a duel with the same pistols.

Goddard has been presenting living history programs for over 10 years. She has appeared before audiences at museums, libraries, senior centers, clubs and other organizations. A former museum director, she is the author of two books on history, and continues her work as an author and public speaker.

Tickets are $35. Reservations are recommended due to limited seating. For information or reservations, contact Ventfort Hall at (413) 637-3206 or


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‘Complementary Eloquence – Words and Tones’ to be performed at Camphill Ghent

Inbal Segev and John McManus. Images courtesy Camphill Ghent

Chatham, N.Y. — The Concerts at Camphill Ghent chamber music series will present “Complementary Eloquence – Words and Tones” with cellist Inbal Segev and actor John McManus Saturday, Nov. 11, at 3 p.m.

Segev and McManus, along with pianist and series artistic director Gili Melamed-Lev, will present a program with poetry and prose intertwined with a cello suite by J.S. Bach, the Sonata in D minor by Shostakovich, three contrasting fantasy pieces by Schumann, a slow movement from a Chopin sonata and “Hungarian Rhapsody” by Popper.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, $10 for students and $55 for families. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Camphill Ghent at (518) 392-2760 or


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Berkshire Theatre Awards announces winners

Kristen van Ginhoven at the Berkshire Theatre Awards. Photo: Stephen Sorokoff

Pittsfield — The board of the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association presented the second annual Berkshire Theatre Awards Monday, Nov. 6, at a ceremony held at Barrington Stage Company.

Critics J. Peter Bergman and Macey Levin emceed the ceremony to a standing-room-only packed house. In addition to the awards, critics Charles Guiliano and Gail M. Burns gave a special tribute to the late Berkshire Theatre Association founder Larry Murray, who died in March. Kristen van Ginhoven presented a monologue titled “The Last Activist Standing.” The Larry Murray Award for Community Outreach and Support through Theater went to van Ginhoven and WAM Theatre for its donation of a portion of the box office proceeds of each of its major productions to a nonprofit organization that benefits women and girls.

The 2017 Berkshire Theatre Awards winners are:

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play: Jessica Hecht,The Clean House,” Williamstown Theatre Festival

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play: Joey Collins, “At Home At the Zoo,” Berkshire Theatre Group

Outstanding Scenic Design of a Play or Musical: Brian Prather, “Ragtime,” Barrington Stage Company

Darnell Abraham accepts his Berkshire Theatre Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical. Photo: Stephen Sorokoff

Outstanding Choreography: Sebastiani Romagnolo, “Hello, Dolly!,” Mac-Haydn Theatre

Outstanding Direction of a Musical: James Barry, “Million Dollar Quartet,” Berkshire Theatre Group

Outstanding Costume Design of a Play or Musical: Tyler Kinney, “Cymbeline,” Shakespeare & Company

Outstanding Solo Performance: Joel Ripka, “Every Brilliant Thing,” Chester Theatre Company

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical: Ellen Harvey, “Company,” Barrington Stage Company

Outstanding Lighting Design of a Play or Musical: David Weiner, “Where Storms Are Born,” Williamstown Theatre Festival

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical: Roe Hartrampf, “A Legendary Romance,” Williamstown Theatre Festival

Outstanding Direction of a Play: Eric Hill, “At Home At the Zoo,” Berkshire Theatre Group

Outstanding Sound Design of a Play or Musical: Scott Killian, “Lost Lake,” Berkshire Theatre Group

From left: Mac-Haydn Theatre artistic director John Saunders and ‘Hello, Dolly!’ associate producer Monica Wemitt accept the award for Outstanding Production of a Musical at the second annual Berkshire Theatre Awards as Berkshire Theatre Critics Association members Robert Bruyr, Sally Sugarman and Bob Sugarman look on. Photo: Stephen Sorokoff

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical: Emily Kron, “Sweeney Todd,” Mac-Haydn Theatre

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical: Darnell Abraham, “Ragtime,” Barrington Stage Company

Outstanding New Play or Musical: “Every Brilliant Thing” by Duncan Macmillan; Daniel Elihu Kramer, director; Chester Theatre Company, producer

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play: Lynnette R. Freeman, Lost Lake,” Berkshire Theatre Group

Outstanding Ensemble Performance: “Shipwrecked!…”, Oldcastle Theatre Company

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play: David Adkins, “At Home At the Zoo,” Berkshire Theatre Group

Outstanding Production of a Musical (Tie): “Company,” Barrington Stage Company; “Hello, Dolly!”, Mac-Haydn Theatre

Outstanding Production of a Play: “Lost Lake,” Berkshire Theatre Group



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