Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Former Neck of the Woods ~ part deux

Did you ever see that commercial for "I shudda had a V-8"? Yeah... the one where someone smacks the guy/gal on the forhead. Well, I had a V-8 moment last night while watching the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Jay was interviewing Kevin Bacon (You no doubt remember Kevin Bacon from such movies as Footloose, Tremors, Flatliners, Hollow Man, etc). Kevin and his brother also have a nice little rock band business.

So Jay says, "Where will you be performing?"
And Kevin says, "Next in Lincoln, Nebraska."
And Jay says, "And after that?"
And Kevin says, "PITTSFIELD, MASS."

And then I said, "Holy **** (something I could but won't print here)!!!"

And that was my V-8 moment!! Actually, that was my holy-crap-Pittsfield-really-is-on-the-map-moment.

I almost got up right then and there to write this, but I was really tired and it was after mid-night. But when I did final get up today, I started investigating this. I don't know why it shocked me so, I actually saw the Statler Brothers at the Boys Club waaay back a few years ago. And there is always Tangelwood in the summer and that draws a lot of 'names in the business.' So I figured the Bacon Brothers would be playing at one of the smaller venues on the Tanglewood Grounds. NOPE... again, I was wrong. Their website said at the Barrington Stage Company. OMG... where did that come from. I had never heard of that place. So back into the investigation.

Can I tell you how grateful I am for the WWW? Without this marvel, I would never have known how well downtown Pittsfield is surviving after the devastating hole in the economy left when G.E. pulled up stakes and went south.

Barrington Stage Company (BSC), founded in 1995, is a not-for-profit professional theatre company in the Berkshires (MA), with a three-fold mission: to produce top-notch, compelling work; to develop new plays and musicals; and to find fresh, bold ways of bringing new audiences into the theatre, especially young people.

However, for it's first eleven years BSC operated from rented space at the Consolati Performing Arts Center at Mount Everett High School in Sheffield (very much south of Pittsfield -- almost to the Connecticut border). In January 2006 BSC began renovations on a 1912 vaudeville theatre in downtown Pittsfield which BSC purchased in 2005. And by June, 2007, BSC opened its doors to a completely renovated 520 seat state-of-the art theatre. Now, there is the explanation as to why I didn't know about the Barrington Stage Company. I have been in California on and off since 2001 and permanently since 2004. Anyway, this 1912 theater was also at one time The Union Square Movie Theater where, as a mere child, I saw great films like West Side Story, The Apartment, and Flower Drum Song.

So... there is another little part of the former neck of my woods. Thanks for stopping by to visit.


  1. That Statler Brothers played in Pittsfield? Cool! I saw them in Warwick, Rhode Island years and years ago which wasn't a very big venue either but it was a good place to see them because it was so small.

    Now when someone comes to Norwich of any importance then I'll know we're on the map!

  2. BSC Rocks!!! I saw their performance of Spelling Bee Last summer!!! The ticket was only $5! I went on their Pay What You Can night... It is a promo they do for people 35 and under. They even threw a party after in the ally behind the theatre with drinks and music! I will be back again this year for sure! :)

  3. What a great profile of your former home town. This meme about surroundings is a good one and you just gave me an idea for next week. Thanks.

  4. carol, I love Kevin Bacon and have seen all (I think) of his films. I like his wife, Kyra Sedgewick too. :)

  5. Don't forget. Berrington Stage Co. was also at 'The Mount' (Edith Worton's Summer home and the center of an episode of 'Ghost Hunters' recently}. for about 3 or four years. And Pittsfield is home of the BEAUTIFUL Colonial Theatre, where many, many famous acts performed at in its hay days.

    The Colonial Theatre opened on September 28, 1903 with a production of the operetta Robin Hood by the Bostonians, a famed touring group. The house was sold out, and 1400 people attended.

    The Colonial soon became a regular stop for big-name entertainers, including:

    Maude Adams
    John and Ethel Barrymore
    Sarah Bernhardt (7 times)
    Eubie Blake (1925)
    George M. Cohan
    Max Fiedler and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1913)
    Ignace Jan Paderewski
    Anna Pavlova
    Sergei Rachmaninoff
    Will Rogers
    John Philip Sousa
    Ziegfeld Follies 1928 tour with a cast of 100, including the Rockettes

    In its latest reincarnation they have Broadway acts like;
    Mel Brooks' The Producers
    The Wedding Singer

    Classical Performances from Berkshire Symphony Orchestra and The Canadian Brass

    Family Shows like Seussucal The Musical
    Goodnight Moon & The Runaway Bunny (from the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia)

    And Pop & Rock artists like
    Herman's Hermits
    Gary Puckett
    Harry Chapin: A Celebration in Song
    Peter Yarrow with Bethany & Rufus
    Roger McGuinn & Tom Rush

    Unfortunatly... We {us Pittsfieldites) are still awaiting the return of Former First Lady, now Secretary of The State, Hillary Rodham Clinton to return to The Colonial. As first lady, she came to Pittsfield in great Pomp & Circumstance to kick off the renovation of this historic theatre. She said that she would return for its grand opening. Haven't seen her yet.

    Enough for now. Love ya mom.


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