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WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME to Open WAM Theatre's 2023 Season

WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME to Open WAM Theatre's 2023 Season

 Performances will run from May 18 to June 3 on the Larry Vaber Stage at the Unicorn Theater, Berkshire Theatre Group.

WAM Theatre's 2023 Season will open with the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-nominated play What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck (Grand Concourse, There Are No More Big Secrets, The Consultant), directed by WAM's Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director Kristen Van Ginhoven, and co-produced by Berkshire Theatre Group (BTG). Performances will run from May 18 to June 3 on the Larry Vaber Stage at the Unicorn Theater, Berkshire Theatre Group in Stockbridge, MA. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, December 2, and make great holiday gifts!

What the Constitution Means to Me is a boundary-breaking play that breathes new life into our Constitution and imagines how it will shape the next generation of Americans. Fifteen-year-old Heidi earned her college tuition by winning constitutional debate competitions across the United States. In this hilarious, hopeful, and achingly human play, Heidi resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women and the founding document that shaped their lives.

Addressing themes such as domestic abuse, reproductive rights, and immigration, WAM Theatre and Berkshire Theatre Group join forces to bring this timely and galvanizing play to Berkshire audiences. Both theatres are honored to be presenting the area premiere of a celebrated and timely play that the New York Times called "Brilliantly digressive, insistently personal"; Nation called "Funny, beguiling and emotionally vivid"; and Time Out New York raved is "A wildfire! Something every citizen must see. Heidi Schreck's play has tears on its cheeks and the torch of liberty in its fist."

What the Constitution Means to Me is the second co-production for WAM Theatre and Berkshire Theatre Group (the first being their 2016 production of The Bakelite Masterpiece), and both Artistic Directors expressed their excitement at the play and the collaboration.

Kate McGuire, Artistic Director and CEO of Berkshire Theatre Group stated: "We are so excited to present What the Constitution Means to Me and the most exciting part is collaborating with Kristen Van Ginhoven and WAM Theatre."

Kristen Van Ginhoven, who will direct the production, connected to the play as an activist and as a former speech and debate coach for the International High School in Brussels, Belgium. "As an artist, activist, and human, I find myself yearning for more collaboration, accountability, and engagement." van Ginhoven explained: "This play answers that call with humor, intelligence, and poignancy. I look forward to using my past experience as a speech and debate coach while having the privilege and joy of directing this co-production."

Due to its partial debate format, What the Constitution Means to Me speaks directly to our time, place, and audience, with no two performances being the same. As playwright Heidi Schreck explained in an interview with renowned playwright Tony Kushner: "The whole point of the play is that I don't control it. It's a civic act. We decide as a community how to move forward." WAM believes the play is a powerful reminder of the importance of political engagement and the vibrancy of live performance.

WAM Theatre and Berkshire Theatre Group are proud to offer equitable seating for this production and encourage patrons to select the ticket price that best fits their needs. Tickets range from $26-$96. WAM invites audience members to choose from one of the suggested price levels, while keeping in mind that the higher ticket price you are able to select, the more we will be able to donate to our recipients (who will be named in the New Year). WAM Theatre and BTG also offer group tickets (for groups of ten or more) and $5 for EBT card holders.

Tickets to the performances of What the Constitution Means to Me will be on sale Friday, December 2 at noon. To purchase tickets, visit wamtheatre.com or BerkshireTheatreGroup.org or contact the Colonial Theatre Ticket Office by calling 413-997-4444. For in person purchasing, the ticket office is open Tuesday through Sunday, 12pm-5pm, or on any performance day from 12pm until curtain. BTG's Pittsfield Campus is located at 111 South Street (The Colonial Theatre) in Pittsfield, MA.

For more information about the 2023 Season and WAM Theatre's programs, events, and artists, please visit wamtheatre.com.

Performance Details:


WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME
by Heidi Schreck
directed by Kristen Van Ginhoven
at The Unicorn Theatre
on the Larry Vaber Stage
Berkshire Theatre Group's Stockbridge Campus, 6 East Street, Stockbridge, MA.

Tickets $26-$96

For tickets call the box office at 413-997-4444 or for more information visit wamtheatre.com.

Performance Schedule

Thursday, May 18 at 7pm (Preview)
Friday, May 19 at 7pm (Preview)
Saturday, May 20 at 7pm (Preview)
Sunday, May 21 at 2pm (Opening/Press Night)

Thursday, May 25 at 7pm
Friday, May 26 at 7pm
Saturday, May 27 at 2pm
Saturday, May 27 at 7pm
Sunday, May 28 at 2pm

Thursday, June 1 at 7pm
Friday, June 2 at 7pm
Saturday, June 3 at 2pm
Saturday, June 3 at 7pm (Closing)

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT


Heidi Schreck (she/her) is a writer and performer living in Brooklyn. What the Constitution Means to Me was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist, won the Obie Award and New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best American Play, and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play. Heidi also received a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance of an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play. After an extended run on Broadway, What the Constitution Means to Me played a sold-out, limited run at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and was recorded and distributed by Amazon Prime. Other Playwriting: Heidi's other plays include Grand Concourse (Playwrights Horizons, Steppenwolf Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Lilly Award Winner), Creature (New Georges, Page 73), There Are No More Big Secrets (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), and The Consultant (Long Wharf Theatre). TV/Film Writing: Her screenwriting credits include Nurse Jackie and Billions. Heidi also wrote and co-executive produced the Joey Soloway Amazon series I Love Dick. She currently has three television projects in development with Hulu/Big Beach, Hulu/Working Title and Amazon/Annapurna. Acting: Heidi has performed at Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theatre (Shakespeare in the Park); MTC, Theater of a Two-Headed Calf, The Foundry, Clubbed Thumb, The Women's Project, The Roundabout, Williamstown, Berkeley Rep, Center Theatre Group, and with The Talking Band. Awards: What the Constitution Means to Me was named Best Play of the Year 2019 by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, TIME, Hollywood Reporter, New Yorker, Newsweek, BuzzFeed, Forbes, Washington Post, and Entertainment Weekly. NPR named it one of the "50 Great Pop Culture Moments" of 2019. Heidi was awarded Smithsonian magazine's 2019 American Ingenuity Award and she received the 2019 Benjamin Hadley Danks Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Kristen Van Ginhoven (she/her) is a dual Canadian/American citizen based in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. Kristen co-founded WAM Theatre in 2010 and serves as WAM's Producing Artistic Director. Selected WAM Theatre Directing Credits: ROE, Ann, The Bakelite Masterpiece, In Darfur (New England Premiere), Emilie (New England Premiere) Selected Theatre Credits Elsewhere: Ann (Arena Stage, Dallas Theatre Center), Disgraced, I and You (Chester Theatre), The Whale (Adirondack Theatre Festival), 10 Minute Play Festival (Barrington Stage Company) Selected Training: Dalhousie University (BA), Queen's University (BEd), Emerson College (MA). Membership/Affiliations: Member of the Berkshire Race Task Force and Inclusive Leadership Cohort; Mentor with Berkshire Business and Professional Women; Member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers; Member of the Lincoln Center Director's Lab; Participant in the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction at the Stratford Festival of Canada; Creative Inspiration: An artist, feminist, and highly sensitive person, she values healthy practices like meditating and walking, time affluence, and social connection. Awards/Proudest Achievement: Being honored by the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association (BTCA) with the prestigious Larry Murray Award, presented to a person or theatre project that advances social, political, or community issues in Berkshire County. Final Word: Talent is universal but opportunity is not. Here's to creating opportunity.

ABOUT BERKSHIRE THEATRE GROUP

The Colonial Theatre, founded in 1903, and Berkshire Theatre Festival, founded in 1928, are two of the oldest cultural organizations in the Berkshires. In 2010, under the leadership of Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire, the two organizations merged to form Berkshire Theatre Group (BTG). Berkshire Theatre Group's mission is to support wide ranging artistic exploration and acclaimed performances in theatre, dance, music and entertainment. Every year, BTG produces and presents performances to over 68,000 attendees and, through our Educational Program, serves over 11,000 Berkshire County school children annually. In July 2020, Berkshire Theatre was the first company in the United States to earn approval from Actors' Equity Association to produce a musical (Godspell) in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

ABOUT WAM THEATRE


WAM Theatre is a professional theatre company based in Berkshire County, MA, that operates at the intersection of arts and activism. WAM creates theatre for gender equity and has a vision of theatre as philanthropy.

In fulfillment of its philanthropic mission, WAM donates a portion of the proceeds from their Mainstage productions to carefully select beneficiaries. Since WAM's founding in 2010, they have donated more than $80,000 to 23 local and global organizations taking action for gender equity in areas such as girls education, teen pregnancy prevention, sexual trafficking awareness, midwife training, and more.

In addition to Mainstage productions and special events, WAM's activities include innovative community engagement programs and the Fresh Takes Play Reading Series. To date, WAM has provided paid work to more than 500 theatre artists, the majority of whom are female-identifying.

As a civic organization that embraces intersectional feminism (feminism that acknowledges how multiple forms of discrimination overlap), WAM understands that to address one piece of systemic discrimination means we have to address them all. This is on-going personal and professional work at WAM for the staff and board, detailed in their recently released accountability plan.

WAM Theatre has been widely recognized for having a positive impact on cultural and community development in the region. WAM is the recipient of the Creative Economy Standout Berkshire Trendsetter Award and previously, was named Outstanding Philanthropy Corporation of the Year by the Western MA Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Kristen Van Ginhoven, WAM's Producing Artistic Director, was honored by the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association (BTCA) with the prestigious Larry Murray Award, presented at the discretion of the BTCA Board to a person or theatre project that advances social, political, or community issues in Berkshire County.

For more information, visit www.wamtheatre.com



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