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Photo Flash: Shakespeare & Company Hosts BROADWAY IN THE BERKSHIRES Benefit

From the chic cocktail reception, to the spectacular performance, the lavish dinner and the elegant VIP after-party, Broadway in the Berkshires, Shakespeare & Company's Benefit Celebration was a smash hit! Monday evening Artistic Directors Ariel Bock and Jonathan Croy welcomed a full house at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington. Broadway actor and three-time Emmy Award- Winner Dick Cavett hosted the one-night-only Benefit Performance with verve and witty repartee, and even offered audiences a 60 second lesson in moonwalking. Proceeds from the event benefit the Company's wide-reaching and nationally recognized Training and Education programs.

During the show opening Mr. Croy, thanked "all the wonderful artists and musicians who generously donated their time and talents to bringing this show to the stage." He also celebrated "the extraordinary contributions" of Deborah Grausman, the Producer of Broadway in the Berkshires, and Board member, Susan Grausman, both of whom worked tirelessly to make the event the great success that it is." Ms.Bock also took a moment to acknowledge the Company's Board of Trustees for their support of the evening's event, and "their year-round leadership and steadfast dedication to our mission."

Following the highly entertaining 90-minute musical and dance performance was a delicious dinner reception prepared by Savory Harvest Catering. The VIP after-party, hosted by Jane Iredale at the newly renovated Iredale Mineral Cosmetics Headquarters, featured delectable chocolates donated by Chocolate Springs, prosecco donated by Spirited, and wonderful music by jazz pianist David Grausman.

"The Mahaiwe's exquisite stage made the stars of Broadway in the Berkshires feel at home in South County," said Managing Director Stephen Ball. "The event stretched into three local enterprises as well: Castle Street Cafe? provided a delicious lunch for the cast and crew, Castle & Main for a spectacular pre- show cocktail gathering and Jane Iredale Cosmetics for the dazzling VIP after-party with the performers."

Broadway in the Berkshires producer and Company member Deborah Grausman was delighted by the success of the evening, "I couldn't have been happier," she said, "what a thrill it was to work with Mr. Cavett and the supremely talented company of actors, brilliant musicians, and my first-rate creative team. The audience's overwhelmingly enthusiastic response was so gratifying to the performers, all of whom checked their egos at the door and focused their energy and talent on putting together a dazzling performance."

The illustrious benefit performance raised approximately $120K, nearly 400 tickets were sold and upwards of 75 Shakespeare & Company artists and other special guests were also in attendance. Tickets to Hamilton, Fun Home, Hand to God, Allegiance, and a subscription for two to Theatre For A New Audience's 2015-2016 season were auctioned as a part of the evening.

"The evening included the most talented and lovely group of people to spend the day with- it was an absolute pleasure," said Director Sam Scalamoni during the post-performance dinner.

The cast performed a selection of some of Broadway's finest numbers with a quartet of live musicians including Music Director Nate Patten (Beautiful, Silence the Musical, Elf), Owen Young, Cellist for the

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Dionne Jackson, Flutist for the Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra, local Percussionist, Dana De La Rosa from the band, Hack Monet. The songs were orchestrated by Tod Rainey of Rainey Day Music and Theater and the script was provided by writer Matthew Hardy (Ever Happily After, Flambe? Dreams, Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas), and Michael Lavine was the Music Consultant.

The performance was staged by Director Sam Scalamoni, and keeping things running behind the scenes was Stage Manager Kat West and her two Assistant Stage Managers, Heather Flemming and Kathleen Soltan. The star-studded line-up of Broadway performers included: Anne Brummel (Wicked), Charlotte Cohn (La Bohe?me, Coram Boy), Hannah DelMonte (Fiddler on the Roof), Ali Ewoldt (The King and I, Les Miserables), Betsy Hogg (Peter and the Starcatcher, Fiddler on the Roof) Russell Arden Koplin (Les Miserables, James Joyce's The Dead), Jonathan Rayson (Little Shop of Horrors, A Year With Frog and Toad), Eric Van Tielen (Les Miserables, A Tale of Two Cities). The cast also featured Deborah Grausman (Fiddler on the Roof-The North American Tour, Master Class at S&Co, The Club at BTG) and two other Shakespeare & Company actors, David Joseph (Henry V, Love's Labour's Lost) and Andy Talen (Julius Caesar, Mother Courage) along with New York Philharmonic and LA Opera performer Michael Marcotte, Lauren Jelencovich (Yanni's Featured Vocalist), Jason Weisinger (TMC Fellow, Boston Pops) and Berkshire natives Dancer/Choreographer, Ruslan Sprague (Ballet West, Albany Berkshire Ballet) and his dance partner, Giorgia Comeau (Albany Berkshire Ballet).

Adding to the night's excitement was a last-minute, surprise donation made by HGTV's The Property Brothers in an effort to help Shakespeare & Company reach their fundraising goals. In exchange for the $1000 donation, Broadway veterans Anne Brummel, Ali Ewoldt, and Eric Van Tielen helped The Property Brothers and William Shatner participate in completing a challenge for "Gishwhes," the largest international scavenger hunt. The challenge was to get Broadway actors to sing an improvised rendition of the Marriage Equality Ruling of The Supreme Court (as released by Justice Kennedy). There was even some audience participation as the crowd cheered "Go Team Shatner!" which was all recorded by video as part of the requirements for the generous donation.

Photos by Lisa Marie Goudey

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