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Free “How to Write a Press Release” workshop offered in June

Local journalist Lesley Ann Beck will lead a free seminar in crafting effective materials for communicating with the media

PITTSFIELD, MA, May 24, 2010—“How to Write a Press Release,” a workshop led by local journalist Lesley Ann Beck, will be given at 6 p.m. on Thursday evening, June 2, at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts at 28 Renne Avenue in downtown Pittsfield. Open to the public and free of charge, the session will last 90 minutes and include time for questions. Megan Whilden, Pittsfield’s Director of Cultural Development, will be the moderator.
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Acclaimed soprano Deborah Voigt performs splendid recital for Mahaiwe Gala

Reviewed by Lesley Ann Beck

[Great Barrington, Mass.] The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, an intimate theater with excellent acoustics, was put to ideal use Saturday night when internationally acclaimed dramatic soprano Deborah Voigt offered a splendid recital of songs from the classical canon as well as great American standards, all to mark the Mahaiwe’s 2011 Gala.
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NEA chairman Rocco Landesman speaks at Creative Communities Exchange in North Adams

By Lesley Ann Beck

“Artists need to act as a constituency,” said Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) during his remarks at the Creative Communities Exchange event held last week at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts.

The Creative Communities Exchange, a day-and-a-half of workshops and talks, engaged more than two hundred participants—artists and administrators representing a myriad of creative organizations—and culminated in a talk by Landesman. The conference, which was held Thursday and Friday at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, was a collaboration between New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) and Berkshire Creative, and attracted individuals from across New England. The event included thirty-two workshops presented by creative and cultural community leaders, designed to share successful strategies and useful tools, as well as networking opportunities.
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Actor/playwright Jim Brochu offers a compelling portrayal of Zero Mostel in Zero Hour at Barrington Stage Company

Reviewed by Lesley Ann Beck

Zero Hour opens to the strains of a klezmer tune as we see Zero Mostel (portrayed by actor Jim Brochu) at work in his studio; facing the canvas on the easel, he growls and barks at an unseen individual knocking at the door. And then Brochu turns to the audience, revealing his startling resemblance to Mostel, courtesy of a massive comb-over, bushy beard, and beetling brows over glaring eyes. He is talking to the reporter (who is never seen or heard) from the New York Times who has come to interview him. This is the framework that allows Mostel to reminisce, recounting his life story. Zero Hour, a one-man show about the iconic actor Zero Mostel, is now running at Barrington Stage Company’s Stage 2 in downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts, through June 5.
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Novelist Anne Easter Smith visits Chapters Bookstore in Pittsfield on Saturday

Novelist Anne Easter Smith will discuss her new book, Queen by Right, on Saturday, May 21, at 4 p.m. at Chapters Bookstore in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. A book signing will follow the talk.

Queen by Right, Smith’s fourth historic novel about fifteenth-century Britain and the royal Plantagenet family, tells the story of Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, who was the mother of two kings, Edward IV and Richard III. Smith’s three earlier novels were A Rose for the Crown, Daughter of York, and The King’s Grace.
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Acclaimed soprano Deborah Voigt to sing at the Mahaiwe Gala

Just a few days ago, opera star Deborah Voigt was singing the role of Brünnhilde in Wagner’s Die Walküre at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. But on Saturday, May 21, at 8, the acclaimed dramatic soprano will be in the Berkshires, giving a recital at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington to celebrate the theater’s annual gala. It’s a treat for opera enthusiasts: last Saturday’s live broadcast of her stellar performance as Brünnhilde was seen at the Mahaiwe by a sold-out crowd.

In Saturday’s recital at the Mahaiwe, Voigt will be accompanied by pianist Brian Zeger and will perform Broadway standards as well as opera selections.

Voigt is known for her roles in popular Italian operas, such as Tosca, Aida, and Amelia in Un ballo in maschera.
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Jim Brochu portrays theater legend Zero Mostel at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield

BSC’s Stage 2 season opens with award-winning one-man show Zero Hour

By Lesley Ann Beck

Actor Jim Brochu, who brings his award-winning one-man show about Zero Mostel to Barrington Stage Company (BSC) this week, remembers the day he first met Zero Mostel—it was May 13, 1962, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum had just opened on Broadway. Zero Mostel played the lead, of course, a role for which he won the Tony Award, and, said Brochu, in a recent telephone interview, “I’ve never seen anybody funnier in my life.”

Brochu went to see the show because a family friend, David Burns, was playing the role of Senex. Brochu was thirteen years old and enrolled in a military school at the time; he was wearing his uniform when he went backstage after the show to greet his friend.
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Folk music legend Tom Paxton performs at the Colonial

American folk music icon Tom Paxton will perform a solo acoustic concert at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on May 21 at 8. Paxton’s enduring career as a singer and songwriter has lasted for more than forty-five years, from … Continue reading

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Local authors pen novels, memoir

Reviewed by Lesley Ann Beck In her new literary thriller, A Stranger Like You (The Viking Press/Penguin Group), Elizabeth Brundage (whose two previous novels were set in Albany, N.Y., and Stockbridge, Mass.) gives us a gritty, authentic Los Angeles as … Continue reading

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Edith Wharton on Audio from Berkshire Media Artists offers three classic short stories

Reviewed by Lesley Ann Beck A society matron schemes to have her estranged husband appear at their daughter’s wedding; a socialite awaits the reviews of her first published novel with dread; and a woman shunned by society for being a … Continue reading

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