Parties & Openings
March 16 - Williamstown
WCMA Season Celebration
March 3 - Lenox
Andrew DeVries Benefit Party
Feb. 23 - Pittsfield
Real Art Party
Berkshire Playwrights Lab’s Annual Celebration of New Works
Bess Hochstein reports from Great Barrington.
Berkshire Playwrights Lab mixed things up a bit at the Mahaiwe on Saturday, June 9 during the kick-off to its fifth season; the traditional evening program of new works went multimedia. In place of the expected, gently self-mocking opening number by founders Joe Cacaci, Jim Frangione, Bob Jaffe, and Matthew Penn, there was a gently mocking video welcome by actor Joe Mantegna, followed by Cacaci’s film Food for Thought, starring Minnie Driver, Tony Shalhoub, and Meeghan Holaway. The evening proceeded with a series of short new plays, including Smith & Jones, by Kevin Christopher Snipes, with Andrea Cirie, Jay Thomas, and David Adkins, at left, in the cast, plus a new element: songs from plays rooted in the Graduate Musical Theatre Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, which will hold a writing intensive this summer in South Egremont. After Treat Williams delivered Richard Dresser’s sidesplitting monologue, Halftime, gala ticket holders reassembled for a party next door at Castle Street Café , in yet another departure from years past, when the festivities were held onstage at the Mahaiwe. Celebrants spilled into the street, enjoying the warm evening and good company.
NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program graduates Jennifer Stafford, lyricist, and Willem Oosthuysen, composer/pianist; arts programmer and booking agent Simon Shaw with John Whalan, who produced the event’s opening film, Food for Thought.
Mahaiwe general manager Karen Watkins with Castle Street Cafe’s Michael Ballon; Berskshire Playwrights Lab co-founder Joe Cacaci with Jess Jacobs.
Actor Deann Halper with singer Margo Seibert, who performed during the evening; actor Elizabeth Franz, who performed a monologue written for her by David Mamet, with playwright Tom Minter, represented in the evening by the short play Strawberry dwarfs and other lies.
Director Stephen Rothman with actor Elizabeth Aspenlieder, whom he will direct at Shakespeare & Company’s upcoming production, Parasite Drag, and who performed in the BPL benefit with Jay Thomas; actor Treat Williams with his daughter Ellie Williams and wife Pam Williams.
Brothers Dylan and Aidan Penn; Maddy Bennett, Rachel Flynn, and actor Jack Cutmore-Scott, who performed during the evening.