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New Work to Take Center Stage in The Berkshires


New Work to Take Center Stage in The Berkshires

This spring, Barrington Public Theater-Southern Berkshire County's newest theater company focused on new work and local artistry-announces its inaugural production of the new play, Breakwater, written by the Barrington Public's Artistic Director Jim Frangione. The production is directed by local theater artist Kelly Galvin in the McConnell Theatre at Bard College at Simon's Rock, running from June 13 through June 23, 2019. Tickets are $25 and $30 and are available for purchase on Press previews are Thursday, June 13, Friday, June 14, and Saturday, June 15, 2019.

Helmed by Frangione, Deann Simmons Halper and Anne Undeland, Barrington Public Theater aims to recognize the many excellent playwrights, actors, directors and designers residing in the Berkshires and surrounding areas of northern Connecticut and upstate New York. The goal of the new company is to generate and foster creative and rigorous opportunity for local theater artists, while engaging the Berkshire's theatre-going public with new and contemporary readings, workshops, and fully-staged productions-all involving local talent with affordable ticket prices.

"I've been working with local playwrights for several years in South County, helping to create the Radius Festival and Berkshire Voices," said Frangione, former Co-Artistic Director of Berkshire Playwrights Lab. "My hope is that Barrington Public Theater will go a step further, giving area playwrights, actors and theater artists the opportunity to bring their work to full production. No other theater company in the Berkshires is solely focused on this aspect of the new work process, and no other company is dedicated to championing local artists. We're passionate about creating this opportunity."

Set in 1990 Cape Cod, Frangione's Breakwater is the story of Bobbi Herring, a combustible, twenty-eight year-old taxi driver struggling to overcome the deep wounds of her past and solve her life's biggest question. And then JFK suddenly appears in the backseat of her cab.

The cast of Breakwater includes area actors Leigh Strimbeck, Ryan Winkles, David Joseph, Anne Undeland, and newcomer to the Berkshire theater scene, Raya Malcolm.

"I could not be more excited for this new endeavor," said Halper, Executive Director for Barrington Public. "Jim's play is the perfect project to launch Barrington Public-it's funny and brilliant, and really showcases the talent of our community. Like Anne's Lady Randy, this play has been workshopped locally. We're thrilled to give it a home and a full production at the McConnell. We've also carefully selected a number of new plays to present in our Wet Ink Reading Series. Barrington Public has big plans for our local playwrights."

Barrington Public's inaugural first season will consist of a residency in June (2019) at the Daniel Arts Center on the campus of Bard College at Simon's Rock. As part of this residency, Barrington Public will present a reading series of new work in its new Wet Ink Reading Series: Dark Meat on a Funny Mind by Wesley Brown (June 4), There Are No Words by Andrew R. Reynolds (June 5), Bollywood 9/10 by Lonnie Carter (June 18), I'm Dying Up Here by Danny Klein (June 19). The Wet Ink readings are free to the public and will be at 7:00 p.m. in the Liebowitz Black Box Theatre in the Daniel Arts Center at Simon's Rock.

Kelly Galvin (Director - Breakwater) is the Director and Founder of the rig, a performance project that brings live performance to audiences that may have limited access to professional theater. This April, the rig toured its production of Pericles to shelters and assisted living communities in Massachusetts and the Hudson Valley. She will direct The Taming of the Shrew for Shakespeare & Company this summer and Native Gardens at Gloucester Stage this fall. She has been a company member with S&Co since 2008 where she has directed Love's Labor's Lost, The Clean House (reading), and served on the faculty of the Young Company Summer Conservatory. She served as Artistic Associate for WAM Theatre from 2012-2014, where she directed The Last Wife and readings of The Virgin Trial and Blue Stockings. Regionally, she has directed for Southwest Shakespeare, Boston Playwrights' Theatre, Berkshire Playwrights' Lab, The Theater at Woodshill, and the Boston University School of Theatre, and has assisted for the Guthrie, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Orlando Shakespeare, and Shakespeare & Company. Kelly received a Directing Fellowship with Asolo Repertory Theater and has completed Directing Internships with Arena Stage and the Huntington Theatre Company. She holds an MFA from Boston University and a BA from Wellesley College.


Jim Frangione (Artistic Director/Playwright) is an actor, director and playwright. His play Breakwater is the second in a trilogy of plays set on Cape Cod. Flight of the Monarch received a world-premiere production at Gloucester Stage Company in 2017. Frangione is a founder and former artistic director of Berkshire Playwrights Lab, and he most recently directed WAM Theatre's Lady Randy, now in production- starring Anne Undeland-through May 5th at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre at Shakespeare & Company.

Deann Simmons Halper (Executive Director/Actor) is an actor, director and producer. She has produced several New York and Regional productions including the OBIE-nominated Incommunicado and The Vagina Monologues. Halper has served on the boards of directors for Circle Rep, New York Stage and Film, TriArts' Sharon Playhouse, Barrington Stage Company and Berkshire Playwrights Lab, and she is currently on the board of directors for Space on Ryder Farm and Board of Visitors at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Most recently Halper has appeared in QWERTY at Mixed Company; Death and the Maiden at New Stage; Four Dogs and a Bone with Berkshire Actors Theatre; and The Attic, The Pearls and Three Fine Girls at WAM Theatre, among many others.

Anne Undeland (Artistic Associate/Playwright/Actor) is an active member of Berkshire Voices and Howl Playwrights out of Rhinebeck, NY where two of her 10-minute plays, The Sisterhood and Bob Dole for President, received public readings. Her short plays, The Kiss and Another Party of the Wood, were selected for BPL's 2018 and 2019 Radius Festivals, and The Kiss won best play at Writer's Voice Ten Minute Play Festival at the West Side Y in New York. Currently, Undeland is working on Touch, an evening of sketches featuring, in a quietly revolutionary way, a woman over 45 who drives the action and gets the bulk of the funny lines. Lady Randy, her first full-length play, just completed its run at WAM Theater.

Photo: Anne Undeland, Deann Simmons Halper, Jim Frangione (photo by Carol Bosco Baumann)

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