William Finn revisits “Romance in Hard Times” with a new book by Rachel Sheinkin at Barrington Stage; Aug. 14-31

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
BSC Press Director Charlie Siedenburg, 551-655-0968

BARRINGTON STAGE COMPANY MUSICAL THEATRE LAB PRESENTS
TWO-TIME TONY WINNER WILLIAM FINN’S ACCLAIMED MUSICAL
ROMANCE IN HARD TIMES
IN A WORKSHOP PRODUCTION FEATURING NEW BOOK BY
SPELLING BEE COLLABORATOR AND TONY WINNER RACHEL SHEINKIN
DIRECTED BY JOE CALARCO
AUGUST 14-31

(PITTSFIELD, MA) Barrington Stage Company (BSC), the award-winning theatre in downtown Pittsfield, MA, under the leadership of Julianne Boyd, Artistic Director, and Tristan Wilson, Managing Director, presents the BSC Musical Theatre Lab new workshop production of two-time Tony winner William Finn’s acclaimed Romance in Hard Times, featuring a new book by Finn’s Spelling Bee collaborator, Tony winner Rachel Sheinkin.

Romance in Hard Times begins performances August 14 and will run through August 31 at the St. Germain Stage, located at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield.

Directed by Joe Calarco (BSC’s Kiss Me, Kate and Breaking the Code), with choreography by Josh Prince and musical direction by Jeff Tanski, the cast features David Benoit, Lance Fletke, Alan H. Green, Demond Green, Anne Kanengeiser, Theresa Kloos, Alix Korey, Andrea Leach, Michael Mandell, Christina Acosta Robinson, Aaron Serotsky and Matthew Gregory, Gabriel Elizabeth Kadian, Jordana McMahon, and Ross Yoder.

A soup kitchen in the Depression. A pregnant woman refuses to give birth until she sees more hope in the world. Former socialites, unemployed actors, capitalists down on their luck, and Eleanor Roosevelt try to get through the Depression with some dignity intact.

The design team of Romance in Hard Times includes Brian Prather (scenic design), Sara Jean Tosetti (costume design), Robert Brown (lighting design), and Patrick Calhoun (sound design).  Michael Andrew Rodgers is production stage manager.  Stephanie Yankwitt is the Blatt Center Producer.

William Finn revisits his celebrated score, and along with his Spelling Bee collaborator, Rachel Sheinkin, re-imagines the musical’s book for new hard times.  Finn penned Romance in Hard Times in 1989 at the Public Theater as part of Joseph Papp’s “musical laboratories” where it received two engagements in May/June and Nov/Dec.  David Warren directed a cast that featured Lillias White, Cleavant Derricks, Victor Trent Cook, Rufus Bonds Jr., James Stovall, Alix Korey.  White won a 1990 OBIE Award for her performance.  Alix Korey returns to the role of Zoe in this workshop production, a role she played off-Broadway at the Public.

Romance in Hard Times is sponsored by Sydelle and Lee Blatt and is also sponsored in part by Laurie and Martin Schwartz.  Romance in Hard Times is a production of the Musical Theatre Lab which is sponsored in part by Elayne Bernstein and Sol Schwartz & The Elayne P. Bernstein Foundation.

August 21. CONVERSATIONS WITH: The Process is the Thing (Part 2): Reimagining Romance in Hard Times. August 21 at 4pm. Free admission, general seating. St. Germain Stage the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield. How does an author go back and reimagine a work that was created 25 years ago? A conversation with composer/lyricist William Finn and bookwriter Rachel Sheinkin. Moderated by Artistic Director Julianne Boyd. While all Conversations with… events are free, reservations are highly recommended. All seating is general admission. Call the Box Office at 413-236-8888.

Join the cast for a Free Post-Show Discussion following the Tuesday, August 26 at 7:30pm performance of Romance in Hard Times at the St. Germain Stage at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield.

Performances of Romance in Hard Times will take place August 14-31 at Barrington Stage Company’s St. Germain Stage at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield.  Performances times are Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Saturday and Sunday at 3pm, (additional matinee on Thursday, August 28 at 3pm). Tickets start at $40. Low priced previews August 14-15 are $15. Youth ages 6-18, tickets $15 all performances (subject to availability). (413) 236-8888.

William Finn (Music and Lyrics/Artistic Producer of the Musical Theatre Lab) At BSC: Created, workshopped and premiered The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee which moved to Broadway and won two Tony Awards, 2004, second production 2008; Falsettos, 2003; Associate Artist. Under his mentorship, ten world premiere musicals and six workshops have been produced in BSC’s Musical Theatre Lab. He has written/composed In Trousers (L.A. Drama Critics Award), Falsettos (two Tony Awards: Best Book [with James Lapine] and Best Original Score), March of the Falsettos (Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Musical, L.A. Drama Critics Award), Falsettoland (two Drama Desk Awards and Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical), Romance in Hard Times (Public Theater), A New Brain (Lincoln Center/Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical) and Elegies: A Song Cycle (Lincoln Center). He graduated from Williams College, where he was awarded the Hutchinson Fellowship in Musical Composition, and currently teaches a weekly master class at NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. His most recent project was Little Miss Sunshine with James Lapine.

Rachel Sheinkin (Book) won the 2005 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.  Previous work at Barrington Stage Company: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (book) from winter workshop to high school cafeteria and back again for post-Broadway revival; Deborah Abramson’s Travels with My Discontent (contributing lyricist). Other regional productions include Striking 12 and Sleeping Beauty Wakes (both with scores by Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda of the band GrooveLily), Little House on the Prairie (music by Rachel Portman and lyrics by Donna Di Novelli), Blood Drive (music by Joel Derfner), and Serenade (music by Nils Olaf Dolven). Rachel teaches libretto writing at Yale School of Drama and NYU’s Tisch Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program. She’s very happy to be back at BSC collaborating with William Finn.

About Barrington Stage Company’s Musical Theatre Lab
The Musical Theatre Lab, created in 2006 and under the artistic leadership of William Finn and Julianne Boyd, 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, ten world premieres and six 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.

About Barrington Stage Company
Barrington Stage Company, a professional award-winning Equity regional theatre located in the heart of the Berkshires, in Pittsfield, MA, was co-founded in 1995 by Artistic Director Julianne Boyd. Barrington Stage’s mission is three-fold: to present top-notch, compelling work; to develop new plays and musicals; and to find fresh, bold ways to bringing new audiences into the theatre—especially young people. Barrington Stage garnered national attention in 2004 when it workshopped, and premiered William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin’s musical hit The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which later transferred to Broadway, where it won two Tony Awards. In 2009/2010 Barrington Stage produced the world premiere of Mark St. Germain’s Freud’s Last Session, which later moved Off-Broadway and played for two years. St. Germain’s Becoming Dr. Ruth (which premiered at BSC as Dr. Ruth, All the Way in 2012) played Off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre in fall 2013. Barrington Stage has been voted “Best Live Theatre” in 2011 and 2012 by The Berkshire Eagle readers and named “Best Theatre Company” in Metroland’s Best of the Capital Region.

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