Wednesday, July 24, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

BITS & BYTES: Tom Chapin at The Guthrie Center; ‘The Thin Place’ at Chester Theatre; ‘A Body of Water’ at Shakespeare & Company; ‘Ulysses’ at Fisher Center; ‘Rock of Ages’ at The Sharon Playhouse; Pride at The Triplex; ‘It Happened One Night’ at The Mahaiwe; Rodney Jones and Owen Lewis at Chesterwood; ‘Berkshires Comedy Blitz!’ at The Williams Inn

In a career that spans six decades, 27 albums, and three Grammy awards, Tom Chapin has covered an incredible amount of creative ground.

The Guthrie Center presents Tom Chapin

Great Barrington— On Saturday, June 22nd from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., The Guthrie Center presents Tom Chapin.

In a career that spans six decades, 27 albums, and three Grammy Awards, Tom Chapin has covered an incredible amount of creative ground. In addition to his work as a recording artist, concert performer, storyteller and activist, he has performed on Broadway and worked extensively in television, radio, and film. As a music-maker, Chapin maintains two long and productive parallel careers, both as a respected contemporary folk artist and as a pioneer in the field of children’s music, including YouTube’s “Mornings with Papa Tom.”

In 1971, he began a five-year run as the host of the Emmy- and Peabody award-winning ABC-TV children’s series “Make A Wish.” Chapin and his songs were also featured in the seminal 1970 documentary film Blue Water, White Death, for which he spent six months sailing the Indian Ocean searching for great white sharks. He played the lead role in the hit Broadway musical “Pump Boys and Dinettes” and served as host of TV’s National Geographic Explorer. He’s also written and performed satirical topical songs for NPR’s Morning Edition, and had a cameo role as the Vice Presidential candidate in Jonathan Demme’s 2004 remake of “The Manchurian Candidate.”

Simon and Schuster has released three childrenʼs books based upon his songs, “This Pretty Planet,” “Library Song” (“The Library Book”,) and “The Backwards Birthday Party.” Chapin also serves as narrator of a series of children’s books, three of which won Grammy Awards in the Best Spoken Word Album for Children category. Chapin’s latest project is the 2023 Earth Day re-release of “This Pretty Planet,” the Grammy-nominated collection of environmental songs originally released in 2000.

The performance is on Saturday, June 22nd from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Guthrie Center at 2 Van Deusenville Road in Great Barrington. The doors open at 7 p.m. Beer, wine, and lite bites will be available for purchase. More information can be found online.

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Chester Theatre presents Lucas Hnath’s ‘The Thin Place’ starring Tara Franklin

Chester— Through June 30th, Chester Theatre presents Lucas Hnath’s “The Thin Place,” starring Tara Franklin, directed by Gabrielle Farrah.

Linda can communicate with the dead and if you believe, she can make you hear them, too— in the thin place, the fragile boundary between our world and the other one. With acuity and relentless curiosity, the theater is transformed into an intimate séance, crafting an unnerving testament to the power of the mind.

Chester Theatre presents Lucas Hnath’s ‘The Thin Place.’

Performances run through June 30th at Town Hall Theatre at 15 Middlefield Road in Chester. More information can be found online. 

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Shakespeare & Company presents Lee Blessing’s ‘A Body of Water’

Lenox— From June 21st through July 21st, Shakespeare & Company presents Lee Blessing’s “A Body of Water,” directed by James Warwick.

Moss and Avis, a sophisticated and successful couple, wake up one morning in an isolated summer house high above a picturesque body of water. The weather’s fine and the view is magnificent. There’s only one problem: neither of them can remember who they are.

Kevin O’Rourke and Bella Merlin in ‘A Body of Water.’ Courtesy Shakespeare and Co.

Performances run June 21st through July 21st in Shakespeare & Company’s outdoor Roman Garden Theatre at 70 Kemble Street in Lenox. More information can be found online. 

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Fisher Center presents Elevator Repair Service’s ‘Ulysses’

Annandale-On-Hudson, N.Y.— Through July 14th, Fisher Center presents the world premiere of Elevator Repair Service’s “Ulysses,” directed by John Collins.

James Joyce’s Ulysses has fascinated, perplexed, scandalized, and/or defeated readers for over a century. Joyce’s epic novel follows the wanderings of protagonist Leopold Bloom as he makes his way through Dublin on a single day, June 16, 1904. 

‘Ulysses.’ Photo by Marika Kent.

Seven performers sit down for a sober reading but soon find themselves guzzling pints, getting in brawls, and committing debaucheries as they careen on a fast-forward tour through Joyce’s funhouse of styles. With madcap antics and a densely layered sound design, 120 years after the novel’s events, Elevator Repair Service presents an eclectic sampling from Joyce’s life-affirming masterpiece.

Performances run through July 14th in the Fisher Center’s LUMA Theater on Manor Avenue in Annandale-On-Hudson, N.Y. More information can be found online.

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Sharon Playhouse presents five-time Tony Award®-nominated Broadway musical smash ‘Rock of Ages’

Sharon, Conn.— From June 21st through July 7th, The Sharon Playhouse presents five-time Tony Award®-nominated Broadway musical smash “Rock of Ages.”

‘Rock of Ages.’ Courtesy Sharon Playhouse.

“Rock of Ages” tells the story of a small-town girl, a city boy, and a rock ‘n’ roll romance on the Sunset Strip. When the bar where rock reigns supreme is set to be demolished, it’s up to these wannabe rockers and their band of friends to save the day… and the music.

The electric score features all your favorite ’80s rock anthems and power ballads, including “Every Rose has its Thorn,” “I Wanna Know What Love is,” “Here I Go Again,” “Don’t Stop Believin’,” and more, so get ready to rock and roll all night!

Performances run from June 21st through July 7th at The Sharon Playhouse at 49 Amenia Road in Sharon, Conn. This show is not suitable for young children. More information can be found online. 

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The Pride celebration continues at The Triplex Cinema

Great Barrington— On Saturday, June 29th, the Pride month celebration continues at The Triplex Cinema.

At 5 p.m., to open the evening, Berkshire Busk brings Drag Story Hour Berkshires to the Triplex patio for a program of outrageous and educational fun with drag queen Poppy DaBubbly.

At 6 p.m. in The Triplex lobby, Eric Schnall, the Tony Award-winning producer of the “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” revival on Broadway, will discuss his critically acclaimed new novel “I Make Envy on your Disco” with Scout House’s Bobby Huston, followed by a book signing.

Eric Schnall. Courtesy the Triplex.

Eric Schnall has worked on and off Broadway for more than 25 years as a producer and marketing director and is a Tony Award winner as co-producer of the recent Broadway revival of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Schnall has also written for Billboard and Revolution magazines, profiling DJs and musicians from around the world. His new novel “I Make Envy on Your Disco” was recently published to critical acclaim and won the prestigious Barbara DiBernard Prize in Fiction.

Great Barrington’s Bobby Houston has a long and storied career beginning with his performance as an actor of the character Bobby in Wes Craven’s “The Hills Have Eyes” series. His documentary film “Mighty Times: The Legacy of Rosa Parks” won an Emmy award and received an Academy Award nomination. His documentary “Mighty Times: The Children’s March” won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short in 2004.

At 8:30 p.m., following the book signing,The Triplex Cinema and Boondocks Film Society will present a special outdoor screening of John Cameron Mitchell’s cult classic “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” which tells the story of Hedwig, a queer East German rock singer, and her relationship with Tommy, a younger musician. The screening will take place behind Town Hall at 334 Main Street in Great Barrington. 

The events are on the evening on Saturday, June 29th at The Triplex Cinema at 70 Railroad Street in Great Barrington. They are free and open to the public. More information about the event can be found online. 

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The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center continues its 100 Years of Movies at the Mahaiwe celebration with a screening of ‘It Happened One Night’

Great Barrington— On Friday, June 21st at 7 p.m., The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center continues its 100 Years of Movies at the Mahaiwe celebration with a screening of ‘It Happened One Night,’ introduce by film director and educator Deborah Reinisch

Clark Gable stars opposite Claudette Colbert in this romantic comedy about a reporter’s hunt after a runaway heiress. Directed by Frank Capra, this film is the first of only three films to sweep all five major Academy Award categories, the “Big Five,” Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

‘It Happened One Night,’ Courtesy The Mahaiwe.

This event is part of the Mahaiwe’s 100 Years of Movies series. From the arrival of silent films at the dawn of the motion picture industry in 1914 to the addition of the Mahaiwe’s iconic movie marquee in 1930 and the movie legends and critics who have viewed private previews or appeared live on the stage, the Mahaiwe is rich with cinematic history. An early projectionist filed a film patent from the theater in 1914. Famed film critic Pauline Kael wrote reviews for The New Yorker across the street after watching from the seats of the Mahaiwe. And the theater today is a cornerstone venue for the Berkshire International Film Festival, founded in 2006, which brings movie luminaries to the Mahaiwe stage every year.

The screening is on Friday, June 21st at 7 p.m. at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center at 14 Castle Street in Great Barrington. More information can be found online. 

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Chesterwood presents poetry on the piazza with award-winning poets Rodney Jones and Owen Lewis

Stockbridge— On Saturday, June 22nd at 4:00 p.m., Chesterwood, the historic home, studio, and gardens of sculptor Daniel Chester French, presents a free poetry reading with award-winning poets Rodney Jones and Owen Lewis.

Rodney Jones, courtesy the author.

The work of 2024 Chesterwood Writer-in-Residence Rodney Jones (b. 1950 Alabama) frequently celebrates the relationships and events of the small, agrarian community he was born into, as well as preserves the kinds of vernacular speech he grew up hearing. Jones’s work is known for its investigation of place and memory, and its use of narrative, anecdote, and image. In books from his first celebrated debut, “The Story They Told Us of Light,” which was chosen by Elizabeth Bishop for the Associated Writing Programs Award series, to the Pulitzer-prize nominated “Elegy for the Southern Drawl” and “Salvation Blues,” which was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize, Jones has written narrative poems that are also philosophical meditations.

Owen Lewis, courtesy the author.

Owen Lewis is the author of three collections of poetry, “Field Light,” “Marriage Map,” and “Sometimes Full of Daylight,” and the chapbook “Best Man,” which received the 2016 Jean Pedrick Chapbook Prize of the New England Poetry Club.

The reading is on Saturday, June 22nd at 4:00 p.m. on the covered piazza. It will be followed by a Q&A and a reception. The event is free with a suggested donation. Reservations are recommended. More information can be found online. 

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The Williams Inn presents ‘Berkshires Comedy Blitz!’

Williamstown— On Saturday, June 22nd from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., The Williams Inn presents ‘Berkshires Comedy Blitz!’

The Williams Inn is pleased to be an official venue of the “Good Karma, North” Comedy Festival and proudly presents “Berkshires Comedy Blitz, Stars of Tomorrow!” Hosted by Comedy Central’s Frank Vignola, the lineup includes Raphael Aamir, Dana Charitonchick, Shawn Hennessy, Meghan Patenaude, and Mike Stanley. 

The Williams Inn.

The event is on Saturday, June 22nd from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at The Williams Inn on Spring Street in Williamstown. A buffet and cash bar will be available. More information can be found online.

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