While it may still be pre-season for most folks in the Berkshires, the GLBTQ community is about to enjoy the most exciting weekend of 2009. From June 4-7 both Great Barrington's Mahaiwe and Pittsfield's Colonial Theatres will host shows for lovers of camp, satire and just plain naughty fun.
They are Forbidden Broadway and Bjorn Again, the ABBA Tribute Show at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. and The Producers at the Colonial Theatre. Let's take them in chronological order.
The Producers actually arrives at the Colonial on Thursday, June 4 at 7:30 for four performances, including Friday at 8:00 and Saturday at 3:00 and 8:00. You can read a campy preview of this show on the Arts America Blog. There are some great looking cast pictures there, too.
On Friday, June 5 at 8:00, The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center will present Bjorn Again, the world's greatest ABBA tribute band. Bjorn Again is one of Australia’s greatest musical exports and the most successful tribute band of all time. They’re so successful that their longevity trumps that of the original ABBA and there are five Bjorn Again troupes performing around the world. Playing on the name of original ABBA member Bjorn Ulvaeus, Bjorn Again first performed their light-hearted send-up of ABBA at The Tote, a small pub in Melbourne in 1989.
Faithful to ABBA’s music and humorous in their portrayal of the original ABBA members, the group sings magnificently, dresses in campy mid-70s and early 80s garb, and speaks to one another and the audience in faux-Swedish accents. Long-time ABBA session musicians Rutger Sonofagunn (bass guitar) and Ola Drumkitt (drums) round out the group.
Then on Saturday, June 6 at 8:00 the pièce de résistance the ultimate vampy, campy send up of all things musical and theatrical, Forbidden Broadway. Despite its irreverent approach to Broadway, it has garnered a Tony itself.
Written and directed by Gerard Alessandrini and Phillip George, Forbidden Broadway shows no mercy to the best and worst show tunes, characters and plots from current productions. No one escapes the shows sharp wit, from Broadway actors and writers to composers, directors, choreographers, and producers. With its intoxicatingly funny lines and entertaining references to old favorites, the show is a pleasure for anyone who enjoys musical comedy—whether they are up on the latest Broadway shows or not.
Alessandrini has stated that he takes pleasure in spoofing serious and substantial shows like Spring Awakening (whose composer, Duncan Sheik, played The Mahaiwe last year) and the works of Stephen Sondheim.
The Mahaiwe is located in historic downtown Great Barrington, MA, at 14 Castle Street, across from Town Hall. Tickets are available for Bjorn Again and Forbidden Broadway, online at www.mahaiwe.org and through the Mahaiwe Box Office at 413-528-0100. Members of “Friends of the Mahaiwe” receive $5.00 discounts per ticket. Both shows are reserved seating: $45 ($40 for members) or $30 limited balcony. The Mahaiwe Box Office is open Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 6pm and three hours prior to all show times.
For The Producers, dates include: June 4 at 7:30PM, June 5th at 8PM and June 6th at 3PM and 8PM. Tickets for the performance are $25-45 and can be purchased in person at the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street Monday-Friday 10AM-5PM, performance Saturdays 10AM-2PM, by calling (413) 997-4444 or online at www.TheColonialTheatre.org.