Broadway in the Berkshires. A special benefit performance for Shakespeare & Company to aid their Education and Training Programs. by J. Peter Bergman
You can't see this show. It was a one-time only presentation on Monday, August 15 for people who paid a lot for their tickets. It was a fund-raising event. It was not sold-out. Still it raised well over $50,000 for the programs it was aimed at and that is a wonderful thing.
No less wonderful was the entertainment which began a bit after 6:00pm. Hosted by Tony-Award winning actor Chip Zien it included a number of Broadway babes, Broadway brawns and a Broadway baby. It also showcased some of Shakespeare and Company's finest young talents.
Nearly the best of the bunch, David Joseph, anchored a quartet of singers performing a number from a work-in-progress authored by yet another S&Co member Eleni Sophia, who also sang in the piece, "You Should Know." The song is from her play "Women of Athens" based on the play Lysistrata. Joseph's strong lyric baritone voice showcased the main melody brilliantly and gave the audience a late in the concert unexpected thrill.
Earlier in the show Peter Mazurowski, currently starring as Billy on Broadway in "Billy Elliot," danced a solo that was magnificently choreographed and stopped the show as he had to be fetched back to the stage for a second bow.
Deborah Grausman, who produced the event, also performed and her appearances were much cherished by the audience who seemed never to tire of her fine vocalizing
Some specially written material gave new meaning to "superfluous" but the solo performance of a lengthy Broadway medley, in the voices of the stars who performed those songs, by Brian Charles Rooney was a comic highlight, performed too early in the show.
Rachel De Benedet's solo, "So In Love" from Cole Porter's "Kiss Me Kate" was a mediocre moment, but Chip Zien's performance of the duet "No More" from "Into the Woods" (his Tony-winning performance) was a grand presentation.
In reality the entire company did well and these highlights are just some of the things you missed if you hadn't bought a ticket. Next time Shakespeare & Company has one of these benefits, bite the bullet and go. Fresh talent with verve, energy and ability is always something to be cherished, just like the programs the money raised to help are to be encouraged.