Barrington Stage Company has become the fastest growing arts venue in Berkshire County, attracting more than 52,000 patrons each year, and gaining national recognition for its superior quality productions and comprehensive educational programming.
Barrington Stage has produced several award-winning plays and musicals, beginning in its inaugural year with The Diary of Anne Frank, which won the Elliot Norton/Boston Theatre Critics Award. In its third year, BSC won two Elliot Norton/Boston Theatre Critics Awards and four Outer Critics Awards for its smash hit production of Cabaret, which moved to Boston and played an extended run at the Hasty Pudding Theatre. Several other BSC productions, including Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Mack and Mabel, South Pacific, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Follies, West Side Story, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, Freud’s Last Session, Sweeney Todd, Guys and Dolls, The Best of Enemies and All My Sons have been named among the top 10 productions of the year in many area newspapers — leading The Boston Globe to laud BSC as “one of the jewels in the state’s crown.”
In 2004, BSC developed and premiered William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin’s musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which took Broadway by storm in 2005, capturing two Tony Awards (for Best Book and Best Featured Actor), three Drama Desk Awards and numerous other awards.
In June 2013, BSC produced Leonard Bernstein and Comden and Green’s On the Town, directed by John Rando and choreographed by Joshua Bergasse. It received across-the-board rave reviews, with Ben Brantley of The New York Times writing, “Normally, I wouldn’t tell citizens of the five boroughs to drive three hours to be told that New York is a helluva town. But this enchanted vision of a city that was — and of course never was — is worth catching…” A Broadway production is planned for 2014.
Commitment to New Work and the Musical Theatre Lab
In the last 13 years, BSC has produced 18 world premieres. In addition to The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, other notable premieres include The Game (2003), a musical based on the novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses, which starred Christopher Innvar and Tony Award-winner Sara Ramirez and was hailed by audience and critics alike. Also in 2003, Ears on a Beatle by Mark St. Germain (starring Dan Lauria) opened on BSC’s Stage 2 and then moved to New York City where it ran Off-Broadway at the Daryl Roth Theatre (DR 2). In 2004, BSC produced Mark St. Germain’s The God Committee, which later moved Off-Broadway to the Lambs Theater.
In 2009, Mark St. Germain’s Freud’s Last Session, starring Mark H. Dold and Martin Rayner and directed by Tyler Marchant, was a tremendous success with both critics and audiences; it ran more than 10 weeks on BSC’s Stage 2, becoming the longest running play in BSC’s 15-year history. It later moved to New York where it played off-Broadway for more than two years. In 2011, BSC produced Mark St. Germain’s The Best of Enemies, starring Aisha Hinds and John Bedford Lloyd and directed by Julianne Boyd on the Mainstage. Its initial summer run was so successful that it was brought back in the fall for another sell-out run. And in 2012, BSC produced another St. Germain world premiere, Dr Ruth, All the Way, a play based on the life of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, starring Debra Jo Rupp and once again directed by Julianne Boyd on the newly named St. Germain Stage. Now entitled Becoming Dr. Ruth, it played at Hartford TheaterWorks in June/July 2013 and opened Off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre in October 2013.
BSC’s commitment to new work is also seen in the Musical Theatre Lab (MTL), overseen by Tony Award-winning composer/lyricist William Finn. MTL, created in 2006, is a place for young musical theater writers to develop their work on all levels: from staged readings to workshops to full productions. Since its creation, eight world premieres and four workshops have been produced. The critically acclaimed The Burnt Part Boys (2006), written by Nathan Tysen, Chris Miller and Marianne Elder, received a production at Playwrights Horizons in May/June 2010. Barry Wyner’s 2007 hit musical Calvin Berger received critical acclaim at the George Street Playhouse, and an Off-Broadway production is planned. See Rock City and Other Destinations by Adam Mathias and Brad Alexander was produced in 2008 and later played at the Transport Group in NYC. The Memory Show received critical acclaim in our 2010 season and was also seen at the Transport Group in NYC in spring 2013. The Black Suits by Joe Iconis & Robert Maddock received a workshop production at BSC in 2012 and received its world premiere at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles in fall 2013.
A Permanent Home
In July 2005, BSC purchased a 1912 vaudeville theatre in downtown Pittsfield. (In its first 11 years, BSC operated from rented space at the Consolati Performing Arts Center at Mount Everett High School in Sheffield). In January 2006, BSC began renovations and by June 2007, BSC opened its doors to a completely renovated 520-seat, state-of-the art theatre. The space is now known as the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage.
In the spring of 2012, BSC purchased the former V.F.W. building in Pittsfield, three blocks from the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage. The building, now called the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center in honor of the BSC patrons who made the purchase of the building possible, houses the St. Germain Stage (formerly Stage 2) and Mr. Finn’s Cabaret, a 99-seat cabaret space in the lower level of the building.
Together with other cultural institutions, BSC has become an integral part of downtown Pittsfield’s economic revitalization. In 2009 the Massachusetts Cultural Council presented a “Creative Community” Commonwealth Award to the City of Pittsfield in recognition of its efforts to boost the creative economy in Massachusetts.
For information on BSC’s many educational programs, including the award-winning Playwright Mentoring Project (2007 Coming up Taller Award given by the President’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities), Musical Theatre Apprenticeship Program, KidsAct!, Youth Theatre and other initiatives, please visit the Education section of our website.
BSC has worked hard to develop a local audience by establishing a strong community relationship with residents of Berkshire County and adjoining areas. BSC believes that the foundation for developing new audiences is services. BSC offers $15 tickets to youth ages 6-18 for all productions, excluding Saturday evening performances. In 2011, BSC launched a free membership program for patrons ages 18-35, offering $15 tickets to select Boyd-Quinson Mainstage, St. Germain Stage and Mr. Finn’s Cabaret shows. BSC continues its tradition of low priced previews ($15 and $20) for the first three performances of all Boyd-Quinson Mainstage and the first two performances of all St. Germain Stage shows. And in 2013, BSC made $20 tickets available at every performance at its Mainstage Season productions in Section C seating.
BSC is also very proud of having spearheaded the opening of a half-price ticket booth in Great Barrington, MA, in collaboration with the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, the Berkshire Visitors Bureau and many cultural organizations throughout Berkshire County. This is the first booth of its kind outside of a major city. BSC offers ½ TIX at the following locations from mid-June through Labor Day weekend: Barrington Stage Company Box Office (30 Union Street, Pittsfield), Lenox Visitors Center (at the Lenox Library, 18 Main St., Lenox), MASS MoCA (87 Marshall Street, North Adams) and Triplex Cinema (70 Railroad Street, Great Barrington). Patrons seeking information about daily performance availability and general ½ TIX information should call the ½ TIX Hotline at 413-743-1339 or visit www.berkshires.org – updated daily by 11am. Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis and all transactions are cash only. All tickets are subject to availability and all participants are subject to change.