Author Archives: L. Beck

The BSO and a stellar cast of soloists deliver a superb performance of the opera Porgy and Bess

Tanglewood, Friday, August 26 The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, an opera in three acts by George Gershwin, Dubose and Dorothy Heyward, Ira Gershwin The Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bramwell Tovey and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus conducted by John Oliver … Continue reading

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Gil Shaham and Morgan Freeman illuminate Film Night at Tanglewood

Film Night at Tanglewood

August 20, 2011

Reviewed by Lesley Ann Beck

[LENOX, Mass.] Tanglewood was a marvelous place to be last Saturday evening, from the very pleasant late summer weather to John William’s highly entertaining Film Night performance with the Boston Pops Orchestra. While Williams and the Pops are reason enough to venture to the Shed on an August night, Saturday’s performance also boasted two wonderful guests: actor Morgan Freeman and violinist Gil Shaham. Freeman’s narration of a William Faulkner story was pure pleasure to hear and Shaham’s beautiful playing added depth and poignancy to the score of Schindler’s List.
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Barrington Stage presents The Game, an elegant, treacherous musical

The Game

A Barrington Stage Company presentation of a musical in two acts

Book and lyrics by Amy Powers and David Topchik; music by Megan Cavallari

Directed by Julianne Boyd

Music direction by Darren Cohen

Choreography by Daniel Pelzig

Cast in order of appearance:

Sarah Stevens as Cecile

Christianne Tisdale as Madame de Volanges

Rachel York as Marquise de Merteuil

Graham Rowat as Vicomte de Valmont

Amy Decker as Madame de Tourvel

Chris Peluso as Danceny

Joy Franz as Madame de Rosemonde

Taylor Anderson, Michael Hewitt, Stephen Horst, Analisa Leaming, Hannah Richter, Amanda Salvatore, and Michael Wessels as Ensemble

Reviewed by Lesley Ann Beck

The Game, a musical based on the eighteenth-century epistolary novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses, is a rich, elegant evocation of the excesses rife in the French aristocracy in the years before the French Revolution: the Marquise de Merteuil and her former lover the Vicomte de Valmont plot, manipulate, and scheme, but do it in sumptuous surroundings, within the framework of courtly etiquette, however duplicitous. Barrington Stage Company first presented the world premiere of The Game in 2003, and this summer’s gorgeously appointed, fascinating new production, skillfully directed by Julianne Boyd, does not disappoint.
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The world premiere of The Best of Enemies is must-see theater at Barrington Stage Company

The Best of Enemies

By Mark St. Germain

Directed by Julianne Boyd

Cast: John Bedford Lloyd as C.P. Ellis; Aisha Hinds as Ann Atwater; Clifton Duncan as Bill Riddick; and Susan Wands as Mary Ellis

Reviewed by Lesley Ann Beck

[Pittsfield, Mass.]—In 1971, when C.P. Ellis, a Ku Klux Klan member, and Ann Atwater, an African-American community activist, were asked to work together to help integrate the Durham, North Carolina, public schools, it was doubtful the two could be civil to each other, but in an extraordinary turn of events, they became lifelong friends. Mark St. Germain’s riveting new play, at the Barrington Stage Company Mainstage now through August 6, tells the true story of this remarkable relationship in an excellent production notable for the superb performances of Aisha Hinds and John Bedford Lloyd as Atwater and Ellis, under the creative and insightful direction of Julianne Boyd.
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The Hound of the Baskervilles is a howling success at Shakespeare & Company

The Hound of the Baskervilles

By Steven Canny and John Nicholson

Directed by Tony Simotes

Cast: Jonathan Croy, Josh Aaron McCabe, Ryan Winkles

Reviewed by Lesley Ann Beck

[Lenox, Mass.]—The new Shakespeare & Company production of The Hound of the Baskervilles, a wacky adaptation by Steven Canny and John Nicholson of the classic Sherlock Holmes story, is laugh-out-loud funny from beginning to end. A deft directing job by Tony Simotes and terrific performances from Jonathan Croy, Josh Aaron McCabe, and Ryan Winkles had the audience howling with laughter. The Hound of the Baskervilles plays in Founders’ Theatre through September 4.

The three actors—aided and abetted by clever costumes, inventive props, an assortment of accents, and an amazing amount of energy—play sixteen roles in the side-splittingly funny production.
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A.R. Gurney’s delightful comedy Sylvia, a play about man’s best friend, lights up the Main Stage at Berkshire Theatre Festival


By A.R. Gurney

Directed by Anders Cato

Cast: David Adkins as Greg; Walter Hudson as Tom/Phyllis/Leslie; Jurian Hughes as Kate; and Rachel Bay Jones as Sylvia

Reviewed by Lesley Ann Beck

[STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.]—In Sylvia, A. R. Gurney’s very funny play, Greg, a middle-aged businessman disenchanted with his job and somewhat adrift in life, finds a stray dog in the park—a dog named Sylvia who absolutely adores him, much to the consternation of his rather rigid wife Kate. The skilled cast, with spot-on direction by Anders Cato, tells the story of this unique threesome in an absolutely delightful production on the Main Stage at Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge; the show runs through July 30.
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The Boston Pops delivered a lively, entertaining afternoon of Broadway classics including a salute to Cole Porter

[LENOX, Mass.]—It was a glorious afternoon at Tanglewood, as the throngs of people gathered on the lawn (clustered under the spreading trees for welcome shade or soaking up the sunshine on picnic blankets) can attest. Conductor Keith Lockhart led the Boston Pops Orchestra in an entertaining and engaging program of music by American composers and songwriters with a distinct nod to Broadway, beginning with Richard Rodgers and including Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, and then, after the intermission, a vibrant salute to Cole Porter, with Broadway stars Jason Danieley and Kelli O’Hara providing spectacular vocals. Continue reading

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A classic novel is charmingly deconstructed in pride@prejudice at Chester Theatre Company


By Daniel Elihu Kramer

Directed by Ron Bashford

Cast: Aubrey Saverino, Jay Stratton, Gisela Chipe, Colin Ryan, and Michele Tauber

Reviewed by Lesley Ann Beck

Jane Austen’s beloved novel Pride and Prejudice is given a number of twenty-first century twists in pride@prejudice by Daniel Elihu Kramer, now delightfully on stage at the Chester Theatre Company through July 17. Five accomplished and appealing actors play more than thirty roles: most of the characters are familiar from the novel, but this version also has bloggers, scholars, commentators, and Jane Austen herself appearing from time to time.

Die-hard Austen fans will not be disappointed; this new play includes all the twists and turns of her original storyline, and newcomers to the plot will easily follow the romantic adventures of the Bennett sisters, helped by the witty asides and notes on the book delivered throughout the play.
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The Boston Pops salute Cole Porter in a Sunday afternoon concert featuring Broadway stars Kelli O’Hara and Jason Danieley

[LENOX, Mass.]—Perfect summer weather is in the forecast for the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s second weekend at Tanglewood, which promises to be a stellar one, from the Boston Pops Orchestra salute to the great songwriter Cole Porter to an all-Sibelius evening with the BSO to a pair of concerts of Ravel’s compositions for solo piano performed by Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Continue reading

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The BSO begins the Tanglewood season this weekend with a festive all-Italian program on Friday, Berlioz’s Requiem on Saturday, and guest violinist Joshua Bell on Sunday

[LENOX, Mass.]—Pack the
picnic basket and load up the lawn chairs, it’s time to resume those idyllic
evenings—and afternoons—on the lawn at Tanglewood. The Boston Symphony Orchestra, led by acclaimed conductor Charles Dutoit, and joined by the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, will open the orchestra’s 2011 Tanglewood season with an all-Italian program featuring works by Bellini, Verdi, Rossini, and Respighi, drawn from the operatic and symphonic repertoire, on Friday, July 8, at 8:30 p.m. in the Shed. Soprano Angela Meade, mezzo-soprano Kristine Jepson, tenor Roberto De Biasio, and bass James Morris will perform; the program includes opera excerpts from Act I of Bellini’s Norma, the trio from Act 3 of Verdi’s I Lombardi, Respighi’s resplendent Pines of Rome and Rossini’s famous Overture to William Tell. Continue reading

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