Shakespeare & Company Artistic Director Tony Simotes proudly welcomed a packed house at the benefit performance of Broadway in the Berkshires on Monday, August 15th at 6:00pm in the Company's Founders' Theatre. The event raised over $60,000, which will go towards Shakespeare & Company's internationally-acclaimed Education and Training Programs. Producer and Company member, Deborah Grausman (actor and founder of Berkshire Musical Theater Workshop) assembled an all-star cast and first-rate creative team for this spectacular, one-night event. Broadway's Chip Zien (Into the Woods-the original Baker, Les Miserables, The Country Girl, People in The Picture, Falsettos, Grand Hotel, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Boys from Syracuse, etc.) was the host. Director Sam Scalamoni (Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Lestat) and Music Director Paul Staroba (A L ittle Night Music, Next to Normal , Grey Gardens ) headed up the creative team.
An enthusiastic crowd of over 350 people enjoyed a wide range of songs and medleys from hit Broadway productions including "So In L ove" from Kiss Me Kate and "Impossible Dream" from Man of L a Mancha . The impressive event was followed by an elegant post-performance dinner reception in the Iredale L obby of the Bernstein Center for the Performing Arts. The dinner was catered by Michael Roller of Savory Harvest Catering in Pittsfield , MA and decadent desserts were generously donated by Haven Café & Bakery in Lenox, MA .
The illustrious cast of Broadway in the Berkshires featured Rachel de Benedet (Catch Me If You Can, The Addams Family, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Nine), Peter Mazurowski (currently starring as Billy in Billy Elliot), Kearran Giovanni (Catch Me If You Can,Finian's Rainbow, Guys and Dolls, Tarzan, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), Ryan L ink (Wonderland, Rent, Hair), Karmine Alers (Rent), Erik Liberman ( Lovemusik, Fiddler on the Roof--tour) Brian Charles Rooney (The Three Penny Opera, West Side Story--European tour), Adam Alexander (NYC Opera, City Center Encores!), Alexis Hightower (Rent--tour), Deborah Grausman (Fiddler on the Roof--tour) and Eleni Sophia (S&Co. Intern, Mame-tour). Rounding out the star-studded cast were Shakespeare & Company members Bill Barclay, Shawn Cody, Paul D'Agostino and David Joseph. Songs from the new musicals, The Water Dream, by Shawn Cody and Women of Athens by Eleni Sophia were also featured.
The talented msuicians headed up by Music Director and pianist Paul Staroba, were Owen Young, cellist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and local percussionist Chris Mattoon. Kat West (Altar Boyz, New York City Opera) stage-managed the performance. All of the actors, the creative team, the musicians, stage managers, and running crew generously donated their time and talents for this benefit. The gorgeous gowns that the women wore were donated by Casablanca in L enox , MA and a pair of tickets for the hottest new Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon, sold in a live auction for $1900!
"Simply a fantastic night!" says Artistic Director Tony Simotes . "Deborah and her team of talented performers pulled out all the stops to make this one of our most successful benefits to date. We were delighted to have this brilliant cast perform here at Shakespeare & Company. I am extraordinarily grateful to Deborah Grausman for assembling such an impressive group of artists. Shakespeare & Company is all about artistic excellence, and seeing such a talented group of actors donating their time to help support the next generation of actors who are coming up through our Education and Training Programs touches me deeply."
"I couldn't have been more thrilled with the event," says Actor/Producer, Deborah Grausman. "It went off without a hitch! We raised $60,000 ($10,000 more than our goal) and I am extremely grateful to our fantastic host, Chip Zien, our exceptional director, Sam Scalamoni, our talented Music Director, Paul Staroba and our invaluable stage manager, Kat West, who all helped me pull this brilliant performance together with only four hours of rehearsal. I also couldn't have done it without all of the support of the Shakespeare & Company production staff, the extraordinary cast, crew, and musicians who all donated their time. What a dream it was to work with the company of Broadway in the Berkshires; everyone checked their egos at the door (along with their umbrellas and rain slickers), and we were all focused on two things: creating a captivating and entertaining performance and raising money for Shakespeare & Company's Education and Training Programs. Mission accomplished!
Photo Credit: Kevin Sprague/Martin E. Rich
BWW Hi-Res Gallery - Original Version