Visitors traveling through the Berkshire Hills this fall will have something more to look at than just the changing leaves. Three of the area’s major professional theater companies have scheduled productions of some of their most popular shows during October to provide alternatives to visitors, especially when the sun goes down.
Tied in with the approaching Halloween season, Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, MA, is offering a new production of “War of the Worlds,” based on the novel by H. G. Wells and inspired by Orson Welles’ famous crisis-causing radio adaptation from 1938. Directed by Shakespeare & Co’s Artistic Director Tony Simotes from Howard Koch’s original radio script, the work is presented as part of an accurate re-creation of a 30’s radio broadcast, complete with typical tunes, commercials, sound effects and sudden, unexpected news bulletins about strange goings-on in the small town of Grover’s Mills, New Jersey.
“War of the Worlds” runs through November 6 on S&C’s Elayne Bernstein Stage. There will be a performance on Halloween Eve, October 30 at 3 p.m. Tickets run from $16 to $49 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 413.637.3353 or online or by visiting the box office at 70 Kemble Street in Lenox.
Leaf peepers can also fill their evenings at the Barrington Stage in Pittsfield, MA, with the return of one of that company’s best-received plays of the season, “The Best of Enemies” by Mark St. Germain, the playwright also responsible for Barrington Stage’s successful “Freud’s Last Session,” which is now enjoying a popular open-ended run in New York City. Inspired by the book “The Best of Enemies” by Osha Gray Davidson, the play tells the true story of the friendship that develops between a female African-American civil rights activist and a leading figure in the Ku Klux Klan in Raleigh, North Carolina. Aisha Hinds and John Bedford Lloyd are returning to their acclaimed roles in this production, which runs from October 5 to 16 on the BSC Mainstage. Don Guillory joins the cast as Bill Riddick, the community organizer who sets the action in motion.
Directed by Artistic Director Julianne Boyd, this production has been hailed as “moving, riveting and powerful” by Berkshire on Stage as “the truly cosmic new play of the Berkshire season” by Berkshire Fine Arts. Tickets range in price from $15 to $40, with senior tickets for $25 at all matinees and youth 18 and under for $15 at all performances. To purchase tickets, call 413.236.8888, visit the box office at 30 Union Street in downtown Pittsfield or stop by the Barrington Stage website.
The Berkshire Theater Group, based in Stockbridge and Pittsfield, have two events that may interest theatergoing visitors to the Berkshire’s beauty this season. First, at its Berkshire Theatre Festival location in Stockbridge, the company has brought back its production of “Birthday Boy” a world premiere by Williamstown resident Chris Newbound, directed by Wes Grantom. The story of a man questioning his life as he approaches 40 in light of the expectations and difficulties of contemporary American life, TalkinBroadway says the play has “just a bit of an edge and enough humor to keep it, at times, light. The result is inviting, sustaining theater.” The fine cast members repeat their performances from the September run of this show.
Following the run of “Birthday Boy” which concludes on Sunday, October 16, the Berkshire Theare Festival opens its “Made in the Berkshires Festival of New Works,” a two-week presentation of plays, music, film, short stories and dance created by local Berkshire artists and performers. The performances are scheduled between the Colonial Theatre in downtown Pittsfield and the Unicorn Theater on the Berkshire Theater Festival’s Stockbridge campus. Tickets for each event are $15, with the exception of the Opening Night Performance and Party on October 14, which is $50. An all access pass to all events is $150 per person (or $100 per person for all events other than Opening Night).
Details on the exact schedule, which begins on October 14 and runs through Sunday, October23, can be found on the Berkshire Theater website, along with details on how to order tickets. More information can be obtained by calling 413.298.5576.
And just over the border from Williamstown, MA, in Bennington, Vermont, there is yet another professional summer theater company offering a fall production. Tthe renowned Oldcastle Theater Company is presenting Richard Greenberg’s “Night and Her Stars,” a dramedy about the quiz show scandals of the 1950’s through October 9. This production marks the theater company’s last in their long-time home in the Bennington Center for the Arts from which the company has been formally evicted. They are still looking for a new home for next season, but no decisions have yet been announced. For information and tickets, call 802.447.0564.
To keep up to date with Connecticut theatrical visits, please visit the Hartford Arts Examiner and subscribe for free to that page as well.