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“Streetcar,” Even Darker Than Usual

Theater: ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’

Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” is almost foolproof. But the production at Williamstown Theatre Festival weakens the dramatic power of this classic American play.

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When Ilene Met Irwin

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It all began at a dinner party in Salisbury. Gloria Miller asked Ilene Tetenbaum how she met her partner, Irwin Leff. “I advertised,” Tetenbaum said, two words that sparked a friendship, a collaboration and a play titled “Adjustment: A Gentle Comedy for Cynical Times” scheduled for a reading at the Berkshire Theater Festival, July 1.

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Lovely! Do It Again, and Again

Theater: Ibsen at Bard
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Was this the wrong room? People were running in circles, fists pumping, heads back, darting and dodging for space.
And against a glassy wall at Bard’s Gehry-built arts center, a small woman with long red hair watched, fist at mouth, the other hand holding a sheaf of papers to her chest.
No. This was the right room. Caitriona McLaughlin was preparing her actors to rehearse the first act of Ibsen’s “The Wild Duck.”
“Remember. Hold on to the relationships you have with each other,” she cried out. “And watch your energy level,” all said with sing-songy inflections.

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A Joyful, Sparkling Production

Theater: ‘Guys and Dolls’

Countless reasons explain why Frank Loesser’s “Guys and Dolls” is a classic of the American musical theater. The plot, the characters, the laughs and, oh yes, the terrific music. All of this is highlighted in Barrington Stage Company’s engaging and vibrant production.

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The Sound of Music Drowns out A Very Nasty Past

Theater: 'The Sound of Music'

Walter Kerr snappishly wrote of “The Sound of Music,” that “it suffers from little children.”
Indeed it does.
But those little children are drawing their every cousin, every uncle, every friend, every voice and tap and acting teacher, every parent and grandparent and every even modestly interested acquaintance of those above to Rhinebeck’s Performing Arts Center, filling the entire house for last Sunday’s matinee.

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Theater at Shakespeare & Company

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Elizabeth Aspenlieder plays one of three sisters convening for
their mother’s funeral in Shelagh Stepenson’s witty and dark play, “The Memory of Water.” This drama about secrets, old grievances and distorted memories opens June 16 and runs at Shakespeare & Company’s Elayne P. Bernstein through Sept. 4.
“A lot of unspoken feelings kept them from closeness,” director Kevin Coleman said of his characters after a recent rehearsal in Lenox. “A lot of pretending prevented them from speaking the truth.”

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Trouble in Armadillo Acres

Theater ‘The Great American Trailer Park Musical’
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It’s a hoot, “The Great American Trailer Park Musical,” perfectly in keeping with New Milford’s adventurous TheatreWorks.
But it’s risky.
Risky because a play about the residents of Armadillo Acres trailer park in northern Florida could look exploitive, like those TV shows that nudge frail people into telling us how base and absurd they can be.

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Rehearsing TriArts’ ‘42nd Street’

Theater
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“The Red Shoes,” 1948’s gorgeous, technicolor film about ballet, choice and tragedy inspired little girls to strap into toe shoes.
Not any more.
Now it’s the Broadway musical “A Chorus Line” that turns young people on to the power and glory of dancing on a stage.
Among those smitten by that musical about Broadway “gypsies” was Kate Vallee, dancer, Rockette member, teacher and, right now, choreographer for TriArts’ “42nd Street,” opening June 23 at the Sharon Playhouse.

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Irving Berlin & Us

Theater: ‘I Love a Piano’
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We admire Irving Berlin as a patriot, a booster of American style and wit, and as the writer of our most soaring anthem, “God Bless America.”
But the great music and songwriter saw our subversive side too. And we get a whiff of that in TriArts founders Michael Berkeley and Ray Roderick’s “I Love a Piano,” as three couples dance and sing their way through five decades marked by war, economic catastrophe and head-spinning change.

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Play It Again, Ray, At the Mac-Haydn

Theater Notes
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The Shook sisters have been onstage since Kelly was 3 and Karla, 4.
That’s when their mother took them to an audition for “Carousel” at the Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham, NY. In the 20 or so years since, they have totally abandoned the idea of making their livelihoods in any other way and have spent so much time performing that neither one can look at a camera without flashing the bright eyes and the big smile.

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