Photo Flash: Tonya Pinkins and More at Shakespeare & Company's BROADWAY IN THE BERKSHIRES Gala
From the elegant cocktail reception, to the stunning performance, the sumptuous dinner and the extraordinary VIP after-party, Broadway in the Berkshires, Shakespeare & Company's Gala Celebration was a resounding hit! On July 9, Artistic Director Tony Simotes welcomed a full house at the Tina Packer Playhouse (formerly Founders' Theatre) and a multitude of Broadway, opera and dance artists for the spectacular one-night-only benefit performance. Proceeds from Broadway in the Berkshires will support the Company's wide-reaching and nationally-recognized Training and Education programs. Scroll down for photos from the concert!
Following the highly entertaining 90-minute musical and dance performance was a delicious dinner reception prepared by Michael Roller of Savory Harvest Catering. The VIP after-party, hosted by Stan Rosen at The Hampton Terrace Inn, featured delectable chocolates (donated by Joshua Needleman of Chocolate Springs) and champagne as well as an impromptu sing-along with Academy Award-winning composer Alan Menken who attended the event.
OBIE Award winning Company actor John Douglas Thompson (Mother Courage and Her Children, Satchmo at the Waldorf, Othello, RIII) served as the most eloquent Master of Ceremonies, hosting the show with his signature witty repartee. Other special guests in attendance included Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, State Representative Smitty Pignatelli, Alan Menken (composer of many beloved Disney and Broadway scores), and Nina and Tim Zagat (of the famed "Zagat Survey") to name a few.
"I am elated that Shakespeare & Company was able to host such a dazzling array of artists," says Artistic Director Tony Simotes. "Their commitment to their craft resulted in incredible performances full of laughter, music, and inspiring passion. This spectacular evening would not have been possible without the unshakeable and enduring support of our beloved patrons, overseers, friends, and family. I am especially thankful for the talent and charm of producer Deborah Grausman (currently in Master Class) who brought this extraordinary event to us. I am so proud of this company and all the individuals that have helped make this happen."
THE SKINNY: The support for last night's Broadway in the Berkshires was astounding: over 300 tickets were sold and upwards of 75 Shakespeare & Company artists and other special guests were also in attendance. The benefit raised $110, 000 ($6,100 of which during an exciting on-stage live auction that included two special packages).
1) Kinky Boots package (Two House Seats to the Tony Award winning hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots plus a three course dinner for two with wine pairings at the famed DB Bistro). This package went for a winning bid of $3600 by Robin Gerson Wong and husband Denis Wong, owners of the newly restored Seven Hills Inn in Lenox.
2) Blantyre Lunch with The Stars package (Lunch with Academy Award-winning Actress Olympia Dukakis, Obie Award and Lucille Lortel Award-Winner John Douglas Thompson, and Shakespeare & Company's Artistic Director Tony Simotes at Blantyre the Relais and Chateau in Lenox) which went for a winning bid of $2500.
Producer Deborah Grausman was delighted by the success of the evening. "I am genuinely thrilled with the response we received from the extraordinarily enthusiastic audience." said Grausman. "With such a talented group of Broadway stars and Shakespeare & Company artists, we were able to put together a show-stopping performance with only four hours of rehearsal. I am truly grateful for the generosity of everyone involved who pulled together to make Broadway in the Berkshires such an overwhelming success."
The cast performed a selection of some of Broadway's finest numbers with a trio live musicians including Music Director Jason Yarho on piano (Wicked), Cellist Owen Young of the BSO, and local percussionist, Chris Mattoon. The songs were orchestrated by Tod Rainey of Rainey Day Music and Theater and the script was provided by LA writer, John Matthew Riopelle. The performance was flawlessly staged by Director Sam Scalamoni, and keeping things running smoothly behind the scenes was Stage Manager Kat West and Assistant Director and Associate Producer, Amy Hume. The performances in order of appearance were: a rousing opening number with the entire company, Beauty and the Beast medley / Michael Marcotte, "Something's Coming" / Eleni Delopoulos and Ehren Remal together in a comedic medley / Nora Menken, "I Know Things Now / Forrest McClendon, "Go Back Home" / Deborah Grausman, "I Think I May Want to Remember Today" / Dana and Peter Mazurowski, "Mein Herr / Sarah Corey, "Breathe" / David Joseph, "Shiksa Goddess" / Leah Edwards and Dimitri Pittas, "Make Believe" / Dana Mazurowski, "Esmerelda" / Jonathan Rayson, "Way Ahead of My Time" / Tonya Pinkins, "Like It Was" / Lauren Jelencovich, "The Girl in 14G" / Adam Alexander, "Restless Heart" / Peter Mazurowski in an original solo choreography / Brian Charles Rooney, "Audition Medley" / Alec Donaldson and Deborah Grausman, "Tonight" / and a company closing number, "I've Got Rhythm."
On the technical side of the evening, the wonderful set design by Patrick Brennan of Shakespeare & Company included beautiful trees that were donated by Ward's Nursery, the sound design was done by Mike Pfeiffer of Shakespeare & Company and Day Mountain Sound and lighting design was done by Clara Patterson of Shakespeare & Company. Costume Director Govane Lohbauer was on hand to help all of the ladies tie their beautiful gowns that were donated by Tony Chojnowski of Casablanca in Lenox.
"One of the best nights I've had in the Berkshires since we've been up here," says Gerson Wong, owner of The Seven Hills Inn & Restaurant in Lenox, Mass. "What a wonderful treat for our guests and the community to be able to enjoy a top-notch star-studded evening with great food and entertainment."
Photo Credit: Enrico Spada
Welcome and introductions with Tony Simotes
Master of Ceremonies (John Douglas Thompason)
"Something's Coming" sung by Michael Marcotts
Comedic Medley (Eleni Delopoulos and Ehren Remal)
"I Know Things Now" (Nora Menken)
"Go Back Home" (Forrest McClendon)
"I Think I May Want to Remember Today" (Deborah Grausman)
"Mein Herr" (Dana and Peter Mazurowski)
"Breathe" (Sarah Corey)
"Shiksa Goddess" (David Joseph)
"Make Believe" (Leah Edwards and Dimitri Pittas)
"Esmerelda" (Dana Mazurowski)
"Like It Was" (Tonya Pinkins)
"Way Ahead of My Time" (Jonathan Rayson)
"The Girl in 14G" (Lauren Jelencovich)
"Restless Heart" (Adam Alexander)
An Original Solo by Peter Mazurowski
"Audition Medley" (Brian Charles Rooney)
"Tonight" (Deborah Grausman and Alec Donaldson)