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Theater

Seeking Justice . . . Via Theater

Edward Bernstein is an engaging fellow: verbal, appealing, nice.
And a lawyer.
Retired.
He quit work at age 62.
“I wanted to play tennis.”
Fourteen years ago.
“I enjoyed being a lawyer very much. I made money at it, too.”
Enough money to quit Central Park West and settle in Lenox.
“But I retired earlier than I should,” he says. “I need to use my brain.”
So he wrote a play, “The Trial of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.”

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Theater on the Line

Theater: ‘A Chorus Line’

I must immediately confess that “A Chorus Line” has never been one of my favorite pieces of musical theater. It has always seemed a little narcissistic. If the performers do not breathe life into it, “A Chorus Line” is just a show about show people who tell us all about what it is like to be a show person.
That was not the case, however with “A Chorus Line” at Rhinebeck’s Performing Arts Center that brought these characters and their stories into vivid relief.
The company assembled by Up in One Productions brought deep meaning to what can seem, well, trite.

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Of Pique And Revenge And Loss

Theater: 'The Game'
compass@lakevillejournal.com

Betray a monster, wound it, and you have trouble.
Terrible trouble.
It’s the late 18th century, just a few years before revolutionaries will tear France apart. And aristocrats are behaving badly, most particularly the Marquise de Merteuil, widowed, happily, and living for the game. The game of plotting, getting even, destroying. And prevailing. In all things.
Her accomplice in these matters is Vicomte de Valmont, a user, a seducer and a plotter for the fun of it.

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‘The Game’ Returns

compass@lakevillejournal.com

“The Game,” that 18th-century tale of aristocrats’ intrigues and awful revenge, is returning to Barrington Stage Company. “It’s the most asked-for show we’ve ever done,” says Julianne Boyd, BSC’s artistic director.

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Playing To Win

Theater: 'Hairspray'
leong@lakevillejournal.com

What could be better tonic in this summer of our national discontent than TriArts’ revival of “Hairspray,” that bouncy, happy musical extolling all-American values: resilience, determination, fair play and victory for the underdog? When chunky Tracy Turnblad bounds about the stage exuding optimism, she’s like a cheerleader for the America we miss.

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Oh Nasty, Funny Hollywood

Theater: 'Four Dogs and a Bone'
leong@lakevillejournal.com

Berkshire Actors Theatre, a new group in Pittsfield, MA, has launched itself like a rocket with a terrific production of “Four Dogs and a Bone,” John Patrick Shanley’s acerbic look at Hollywood filmmaking and the self-centered, grasping, needy people behind it.
Really more sketch than fully fashioned play, “Dogs” doubtless recalls Shanley’s unhappy experience directing “Joe and the Volcano,” a film flop based on his own screenplay. (He had several years earlier won an Oscar for his “Moonstruck” screenplay.)

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Struggling To Find a Right Way

Theater: ‘The Best of Enemies’

The first speech in Mark St. Germain’s “The Best of Enemies” is repulsive. But don’t let that scare you away because this is an emotionally rewarding and affecting play fueled by four sterling performances.

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What Would Shakepeare Say — About Paris?

Theater: ‘As You Like It’

A purist’s skin would crawl at the liberties director Tony Simotes has taken with Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.”
But the glow of the acting shines through all the theatrical high jinx. It’s a joy.
Simotes has updated the play to 1920s Paris, a place of gaiety and ebullience, in which people strive to put The Great War behind them as the world slides toward the next horrific destruction to come.

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Watch for the Banana Peels

Theater: 'Godspell'

A couple of unexpected revelations underlie the Up in One company’s buoyant, weirdly nostalgic resurrection of “Godspell” at the Rhinebeck Performing Arts Center.
First: This clowny, high-comedy, slapstick troupe hearkens to 1971when artists didn’t take themselves so seriously.

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A New Gem, a Fine Classic

Theater: ‘Last Train to Nibroc’ & ‘The Wild Duck’ Marsden Epworth
compass@lakevillejournal.com

In the former home of a ballet school in Torrington, CT, barres still in place, a new theater company is giving us a lean and piercing production of Arlene Hutton’s “Last Train to Nibroc.”
“It’s crazy,” director Sean Harris told the full house last Thursday. “It is an act of bravery to start a theater company, especially in hard times.”
But new, often actor-driven, production companies are popping up in empty urban real estate all over the area. And this one, Fifth Letter Productions, has opened with a focused and stirring play for two characters.

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