‘Ragtime’ and Sondheim’s ‘Company’ Top Barrington Stage 2017 Season

Jeff McCarthy will portray radical lawyer William Kunstler in “Kunstler”

(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) –  Tony Award-winning musicals “Ragtime” and “Company” top a rich season planned by Barrington Stage Company, which also includes plays by Alan Ayckbourn, Conor McPherson, and Melissa James Gibson, and “Kunstler,” a new play starring BSC veteran Jeff McCarthy as the self-described “radical lawyer” and civil-rights activist William Kunstler.

Several of the plays and musicals are best known as films, perhaps including “Ragtime,” with book by Terrence McNally, running on the mainstage from June 21-July 15; “Gas Light,” also known as “Angel Street,” the 1938 play by the British dramatist Patrick Hamilton that gave rise to the term “gaslighting” – which many say is what Donald Trump is doing to America – and which starred Vincent Price in its Broadway opening. The work is best known in its 1944 film version, called “Gaslight,” directed by George Cukor and starring Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotten, and 18-year-old Angela Lansbury in her screen debut (running October 4-22 on the mainstage); and “The Birds,” Conor McPherson’s stage adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s best known for its 1963 film version by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Tippi Hedren. “The Birds” runs June 15-July 8 and will be directed by Barrington Stage artistic director Julianne Boyd on the St. Germain Stage (BSC’s second stage).

Playwright Melissa James Gibson

Olivier and Tony Award winner Alan Ayckbourn’s rarely staged comedy, “Taking Steps,” will get a new production from Tony Award nominated director Sam Buntrock (Broadway’s “Sunday in the Park with George”), running on the mainstage July 20-August 5; and “This” by Obie Award-winner Melissa James Gibson (“House of Cards”) will be directed by Christopher Innvar, running on the St. Germain Stage August 3-27.

 

 

 

Barrington Stage Company’s detailed announcement follows:

The 2017 season at BSC will include Kunstler by Jefferson Award winner and Emmy Award nominee Jeffrey Sweet (Flyovers), directed by Meagen Fay (Second City in Chicago), and starring Jeff McCarthy (Broadway’s Chicago, BSC’s Broadway Bounty Hunter); a production of The Birds by Conor McPherson, directed by BSC Artistic Director Julianne Boyd (BSC’s Broadway Bounty Hunter, American Son); a new production of Ragtime, directed by Helen Hayes Award winner Joe Calarco (The Burnt Part Boys, Shakespeare’s R&J), with a book by Terrence McNally, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and music by Stephen Flaherty; and the laugh-out-loud but rarely staged comedy, Taking Steps, by Olivier and Tony Award winner Alan Ayckbourn (The Norman Conquests) in a new production from Tony Award nominated director Sam Buntrock (Broadway’s Sunday in the Park with George).

The 2017 season will continue with “This” by Obie Award winner Melissa James Gibson (“House of Cards”) and directed by Christopher Innvar (BSC’s The Other Place); Company, with a book by George Furth and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, choreographed by Jeffrey Page (BSC’s Broadway Bounty Hunter) and directed by Julianne Boyd, and Gaslight (Angel Street) by Patrick Hamilton.

“For our 2017 season, we are doing what Barrington does best – pairing exciting artists with great, timely pieces for audiences to experience them in a whole new light,” said BSC Artistic Director Julianne Boyd. “We’ll stage new productions of two landmark musicals of the 20th century, two laugh-out-loud comedies, two sensational thrillers, plus welcome back BSC veteran and Broadway star Jeff McCarthy, taking on the role of real-life activist William Kunstler.”

 

THE 2017 BSC SEASON INCLUDES:

 

KUNSTLER

By Jeffrey Sweet

Directed by Meagen Fay

Starring Jeff McCarthy

Previews begin May 18, 2017

Opens May 21, 2017

Runs through June 10, 2017

On the St. Germain Stage

 

Barrington Stage presents The Creative Place International/And Theatre Company production of Kunstler starring BSC veteran Jeff McCarthy as the self-described “radical lawyer” and civil rights activist, William Kunstler.  The colorful, perpetually rumpled defense lawyer whose best-known clients include the Chicago Seven, inmates involved in the Attica prison riots, and members of the American Indian Movement, makes a case for his often unconventional style, in this wise and revealing play.

 

THE BIRDS

By Conor McPherson

Directed by Julianne Boyd

Previews begin June 15, 2017

Opens June 18, 2017

Runs through July 8, 2017

On the St. Germain Stage

 

Inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s chilling short story and the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s legendary film, this suspense-filled adaptation by acclaimed Irish playwright Conor McPherson is an emotionally stirring, atmospheric thriller. Mysterious masses of birds have begun to attack at high tide, driving strangers Nat and Diane to take refuge in an isolated, abandoned cabin and to form a bond to survive their haunting new circumstance. Yet if two is company, three is a crowd, as the sudden arrival of a young woman with a mysterious background ruffles feathers and quickly threatens to destroy their so-called sanctuary.

 

RAGTIME

Book by Terrence McNally

Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens

Music by Stephen Flaherty

Based on the novel Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

Directed by Joe Calarco

Previews begin June 21, 2017

Opens June 24, 2017

Runs through July 15, 2017

On the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage

 

At the dawn of the 20th century when everything is changing…and anything is possible, Ragtime weaves together three distinctly American tales – a stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant and a daring young Harlem musician – united by their courage, compassion and their belief in obtaining the American Dream. Winner of Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Musical Score, this exhilarating, dazzling musical is a timeless celebration of the American Spirit.

 

TAKING STEPS

By Alan Ayckbourn

Directed by Sam Buntrock

Previews begin July 20, 2017

Opens July 23, 2017

Runs through August 5, 2017

On the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage

 

Taking Steps is a laugh out-loud, riotously funny comedy. Elizabeth, a former dancer, will do anything to escape the overbearing clutches of her rich husband, Roland, who is poised to buy a haunted house (a former brothel). The dithering, confused Kitty, briefly reunited with her monstrously boring husband, will go to extraordinary lengths to elude his sleep-inducing presence. Put into the mix an inarticulate solicitor and a builder who is a motorcycle maniac and you have one of Ayckbourn’s funniest, and most heartfelt, comedies.

 

THIS

By Melissa James Gibson

Directed by Christopher Innvar

Previews begin August 3, 2017

Opens August 6, 2017

Runs through August 27, 2017

On the St. Germain Stage

 

This captures the hilarious yet touching relationships of a circle of friends as they back their way into middle age. “Its confused but lovable characters are drawn with a fine focus and a piercing emotional depth; the dialogue sparkles with exchanges as truthful as they are clever.” (New York Times)

 

COMPANY

Book by George Furth

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Choreographed by Jeffrey Page

Directed by Julianne Boyd

Previews begin August 10, 2017

Opens August 13, 2017

Runs through September 2, 2017

On the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage

 

Winner of 6 Tony Awards, Stephen Sondheim’s groundbreaking musical is a brilliant ?and wildly funny look at relationships. Over a series of dinner parties, dates and conversations with his friends, the perennially single Bobby attempts to understand the pros and cons of marriage – and the meaning of the word “commitment.” A masterpiece by one of the greatest composers of our time.

 

GASLIGHT (ANGEL STREET)

By Patrick Hamilton

Directed by TBA

Previews begin October 4, 2017

Opens October 8, 2017

Runs through October 22, 2017

On the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage

 

gas·light noun

“A form of manipulation through persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying in an attempt to destabilize and delegitimize a target.”

 

Gaslight, also called Angel Street, and made into a movie starring Ingrid Bergman, is one of the greatest psychological thrillers of all times. It tells the story of Mr. Manningham, a suavely handsome man, who is slowly driving his gentle, devoted wife Bella to the brink of insanity with seemingly overwhelming kindness while sowing seeds of doubt, memory loss and misperceptions. The playwright has built and sustained some of the most brilliant, suspenseful sequences in modern theatre. A surprisingly timely play for 2017.

 

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One additional production for the St. Germain Stage will be announced shortly, along with casting, creative team and full performance schedules.

 

Single tickets for the 2017 season go on sale in March.

 

 

 

 

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