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You Are Who You Were

Theater: ‘Dr. Ruth, All the Way’

Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer is the four-foot-seven-inch dynamo who made “sex” a household word in America through her radio show, television and books.
The matter-of-fact handling of all topics sexual informed the country and removed the mystery that had cloaked sex matters at the time. Her story of profound adversity and triumph is the focus of Mark St. Germain’s new play “Dr. Ruth, All the Way,” now at Barrington Stage’s St. Germain Stage in Pittsfield, MA.

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A Raunchy and Entertaining Musical

Theater: ‘The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’

TriArts’ production, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” is rollicking, raucous and raunchy fun.
If the musical itself is forgettable, the singers and dancers here are not. Directed masterfully by John Simkins, TriArts’ artistic director, and given stomping, good, original choreography by MK Lawson, the cast of both young and older actors delivers a delightful summer diversion.

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Still Wrangling After All These Years

Theater: ‘1776’

It’s hard to imagine anyone writing a musical comedy about the wranglings of Congress in 2012. If someone can find a way to set John Boehner’s or Bernie Sanders’ words to music, more power to them, although I don’t think I’d want to go see it.
But the stakes were higher, and the characters more compelling, in 1776, and this musical, though occasionally hoary, still has the power to entertain and instruct.

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Awesome, Really

Theater: ‘Endurance’

A bare stage, tables, chairs, a file cabinet, three wastebaskets and four disciplined actors create an exciting and dynamic theater experience at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA. The 1914 voyage of the ship “Endurance” commanded by Sir Ernest Shackleton, from which the play takes its title, is ingeniously woven into the story of four men employed by an insurance company in present-day Hartford. Presented by the visiting Split Knuckle Theatre, the play evolved outside the normal creative process. There is no formal playwright and no director.

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Oh, the Pleasures Of Summer Stock

Theater: ‘Brigadoon’

Brigadoon is the mystical Scottish town that appears for one day every 100 years. Tommy Albright and his hunting partner Jeff Douglas discover it on one of those days and meet the beguiling Fiona MacLaren who tells them about the miracle that visited the town two centuries earlier. Tommy and Fiona fall deeply in love, with complications to follow and lots of memorable songs.

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Evil Happens

Theater: ‘Death and the Maiden’
compass@lakevillejournal.com

It’s a play that’s never the same, Ariel Dorfman’s “Death and the Maiden.” Yes, the characters are the same: There’s Paulina, a citizen of some South American country, likely Chile, who was tortured 15 years earlier by police seeking information on dissidents; and Gerardo, now her husband, a human rights lawyer she protected back then by not revealing his name; and, finally, the mysterious and — in this production at the New Stage Performing Arts Center in Pittsfield — elfin, Dr. Roberto Miranda, an odd figure rescuing Gerardo, who is stranded on a coastal road with a flat tire.

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A Complex A Complex Tale About Power and FaithTale About Power and Faith

Theater: ‘Doubt’
leong@lakevillejournal.com

How prescient John Patrick Shanley was in “Doubt,” his 2004 Pulitzer- and Tony-award winning play. He tackled the Roman Catholic Church’s problems with child sex abuse, racism, subjugation of women — here the nuns who teach in Church schools — and indeed the individual versus the establishment. Regularly, now, church officials are arrested, and some are convicted of abuse, while the Vatican plans new controls on American nuns, who are not demonstrating proper obedience to the male hierarchy.

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‘Fiddler’ Is Back, and Wonderful

Theater: ‘Fiddler on the Roof’

This show, “Fiddler on the Roof,” is a classic representation of American musical theater. That’s because it flawlessly combines the comedy and drama in Joseph Stein’s book with terrific musical numbers written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. And the director of the original production, Jerome Robbins, staged the show including its vibrant dance numbers.
This “Fiddler,” which includes Robbins’s original choreography, is receiving a superb production at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA. You will laugh, cry and most likely have a deep emotional experience.

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A Theater Duo Takes a Role In Aglet’s Upcoming Gala

Theater Matters
leong@lakevillejournal.com

Leigh Beery Tunick and Jonathan Tunick are in love with music, the theater and each other. Married, each for the first time, only a decade ago after 18 years of friendship, they are comfortable with each other and their lives.

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Taken in by Puppets

Theater: ‘Avenue Q’
compass@lakevillejournal.com

An interesting thing about the triple Tony-Award-winning “Avenue Q,” (Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book), a show largely peopled by puppets and first produced in 2002, is life has not changed much for young urbanites since then.
College used to guarantee work and status. No more. Now, all degrees promise is debt. Princeton (Luke Garrison), for one, wonders “What do you do with a B.A. in English?”

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