Courtesy Williamstown Theatre Festival
Williamstown Theatre Festival
In more than a half-century of presenting plays in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, the Williamstown Theater Festival has attracted a number of top actors and writers, several of whose productions have moved on to Broadway or off-Broadway.
“We have very-high-caliber actors,” said Molly Barnett, a media spokeswoman for the festival. “And a lot of shows that eventually come to Broadway started at Williamstown.”
Barnett noted that among the actors appearing at this year’s festival, which runs June 26 to Aug. 19, will be Bradley Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, Blythe Danner, Kelli O’Hara, nominated for a 2012 Tony Award for best actress in a musical; and Emmy and Tony Award-winner Tyne Daly, who will appear in Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest,” which is being directed by David Hyde Pierce.
The modernistic ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance on the Williams College campus is the summer home of the festival.
In addition to “The Importance of Being Earnest,” the other plays on the Main Stage are “Far From Heaven” with O’Hara and “A Month in the Country,” a world-premiere translation of the Ivan Turgenev play.
In addition to “The Elephant Man,” plays in the Nikos are “The Blue Deep” with Danner, Neil Simon’s “Last of the Red Hot Lovers” and “Whaddabloodclot!!!”
The festival’s Free Theatre marks its 25th anniversary with “The Valley of Fear,” an adaptation of the novel by Arthur Conan Doyle, under the stars at Poker Flats Field.
Marking its 58th season this year, the Williamstown Theater Festival received a Tony Award in 2002 for outstanding regional theater.
— www.wtfestival.org —
Humana Festival of New American Plays
During a five-week period in late winter and early spring, much of the theater world focuses its attention on Actors Theatre in downtown Louisville, where as many as seven full-length plays are premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays.
“It is the first time these plays have been produced,” said Kirsty Gaukel, public relations manager for the highly respected Actors Theatre.
In addition to the full-length plays, the festival also has an intriguing debut of three 10-minute plays.
“What we put together is really diverse, in terms of aesthetics, playwrights and themes,” said Gaukel. “It runs the gamut.”
Gaukel said 75 percent of the plays go on to be produced at theaters around the country. Over the years, the festival has premiered the Pulitzer Prize-winning plays “Dinner With Friends,” “Crimes of the Heart” and “The Gin Game.”
The plays are fully produced by the Actor’s Theatre staff, including costume and set design, direction and casting. The productions run for five weekends in rotating repertory in Actors Theatre’s 633-seat Pamela Brown Auditorium, 318-seat Bingham Theatre and 159-seat Victor Jory Theatre.
Groups can arrange for special New Play Getaway packages that include discounted hotel rooms, play tickets, special gifts and events. Group bookings can be made through Sarah Peters, group sales manager.
“We are the longest running new play festival,” said Gaukel. “No one was doing them when we started.”
The 37th festival will be held Feb. 27-April 7.
— www.actorstheatre.org —