Berkshire Theatre Group was created in 2010 by the merger of two of Berkshire County’s oldest cultural organizations, Berkshire Theatre Festival founded in 1928 in Stockbridge and The Colonial Theatre built in 1903 in Pittsfield. One of the largest and most exciting arts organizations in the area, BTG oversees the development, production and presentation of theatre, music and the performing arts.
Best of Massachusetts | 2017 Editors’ Choice Awards: BEST SUMMER STOCK, Yankee Magazine
In an area celebrated for top-notch regional theater, what sets this organization apart? Again and again, fans tout the highly personal experience that its stages offer. In Stockbridge, the Fitzpatrick Main Stage is an iconic 1928 venue that brings in classical productions and world premieres every summer, while the smaller Unicorn Theatre presents experimental and avant-garde work. In Pittsfield, the Colonial Theatre is the go-to for summer musicals.
2017 Berkshire Theatre Awards:
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play: Joey Collins – At Home At the Zoo
Outstanding Direction of a Musical: James Barry – Million Dollar Quartet
Outstanding Direction of a Play: Eric Hill – At Home At the Zoo
Outstanding Sound Design of a Play or Musical: Scott Killian – Lost Lake
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play: Lynnette R. Freeman – Lost Lake
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play: David Adkins – At Home At the Zoo
Outstanding Production of a Play: Lost Lake
Berkshire Family Focus
Favorite Place to See a Family-Friendly Theater Production: The Colonial Theatre
The Berkshire Eagle, Top 10 Productions of 2017
"At Home At the Zoo. Director Eric Hill and a truly remarkable cast — David Adkins, Tara Franklin, Joey Collins — got deeply under the skin of two Edward Albee companion pieces and challenged, provoked and unsettled audiences in ways in which you want theater to challenge, provoke and unsettle audiences."
"Children of a Lesser God. An emotionally and intellectually engaging revival of a rarely produced play that focuses on the relationship between a male teacher in a school for the deaf and a fiercely proud, outspoken, passionate female student — a housekeeper at the school — who challenges every notion the teacher has ever had about himself, about love, about his relationship not only with her but to his work."
The Berkshire Eagle, Outstanding Stage Storytellers of 2017
Noteworthy Performances: Joshua Jackson, Children of a Lesser God Stephen Spinella, Children of a Lesser God Lauren Ridloff, Children of a Lesser God Harriet Harris, Arsenic and Old Lace Lynette R. Freeman, Lost Lake Honorable Mentions: --"David Adkins and Joey Collins as two temperamentally different men whose lives are unalterably bound on a Sunday in New York in Berkshire Theatre Group's Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo (Zoo Story)
--"Tara Franklin as Ann in Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo It's been two years since Franklin caught the air with her breathtaking performance in Harold Pinter's The Homecoming at BTG's Unicorn Theatre. And so, again, this summer — again under Eric Hill's direction and again at the Unicorn — Franklin delivered yet another brilliantly executed performance that was as much about subtext and the left-unsaid as it was about the words that were spoken. Simply stunning."
--"Eric Hill for his astonishing work on Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo (Zoo Story). Tight, focused, resonant, complex; at times sublimely inscrutable. Theater!"
--"Kenny Leon, Director, Children of a Lesser God" --"James Barry, Musical Direction, Million Dollar Quartet" --"Mike Baldassari, Lighting Children of a Lesser God" --"Derek McLane, Scenic, Children of a Lesser God" --"Randall Parsons, Scenic, Lost Lake"
Berkshire On Stage: Favorites of 2017
“The dialogue is realistic and director Walker has created a tone and pace so that the audience feels it is eavesdropping on the lives of two people in pain. Both the intimate conversations and the pitch of Veronica’s and Hogan’s disagreements and arguments ring with honesty."
Favorite Ensemble Performance --Lost Lake
“Freeman and Maré give life to these two people. Their physical and facial reactions lend depth to their respective personalities and Auburn’s dialogue. …They work beautifully together and are continually in sync using their acting intuition and the craft of their art.”
Favorite Actor in a Play --Quentin Maré in Lost Lake
Favorite Actress in a Play --Lynnette R. Freeman in Lost Lake
Favorite Supporting Actor in a Play
--Joey Collins in At Home at the Zoo.
“The most psychotically damaged character is Jerry. Collins plays against this by not shrieking or stomping using a quiet intensity to precipitate the conflict and striking ending.”
Favorite Director Musical --James Barry, Million Dollar Quartet “James Barry’s direction… hints of how each of their lives will play out in the world of fame, money and, of course, eventual self-destruction that seemed to plague so many of these musicians. Little asides and scowls allude to the seeds of discontent, ambition and insecurity…”
Favorite Lighting Design
--Mike Baldassari, Children of a Lesser God
Favorite Sound Design --Scott Killian, Lost Lake
Awards and Accolades 2016
New York Times Critics' Pick
Fiorello! (off-Broadway run)
The Berkshire Eagle
Best Live Theatre 2016: Berkshire Theatre Group
The Best Of 2016: The Berkshire Record
Best Place to See Comedy: The Garage
Best North County Venue: The Colonial Theatre Best Actress in a musical: Kate Baldwin (Bells Are Ringing) Best Supporting Actor in a musical: James Ludwig (Bells Are Ringing)
Macaroni Kid Gold Daisy Awards
Best Live Theater 2016: The Colonial Theatre
Berkshire Family Focus
Favorite Place to See a Family-Friendly Theater Production: The Colonial Theatre
Outstanding Sound Design for Play or Musical: Scott Killian (Constellations)
The Westfield News Best of 2016
Honorable Mentions: Chelsea Groen, who as Dora in Berkshire Theatre Group’s Fiorello, turned “I Love A Cop” into a showstopper.
Outstanding Performances in a Play: Rebecca Brooksher sizzled as Maggie in the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof . Her Anna Christie in O’Neill’s play of the same name a few years ago was equally intense.
Rupak Ginn played Peter, the up-and-coming writer, opposite Judd Hirsch in The Stone Witch at Berkshire Theatre Group. A difficult role to play and a difficult role to be in, but he handled it admirably.
David Adkins played artist Han Van Meergeren,, who created a fake masterpiece in The Bakelite Masterpiece, a WAM and Berkshire Theatre Group co-production. Corinna May, Adkins’ real-life wife, played an investigator set to find out if Adkins’ character was telling the truth. Together, they were incendiary.
The Berkshire Eagle's Critics Pick of 2016:
"Constellations" "Little Shop of Horrors"
The Berkshire Eagle's The Critic's choice: Best picks for actors, actresses, design
"Alan Edwards' at-once cosmic and intimate set and lighting for "Constellations" (together with Scott Killian's evocative original music)"
Shawn E. Boyle, "The Stone Witch"
Lilly Fossner, "The Bakelite Masterpiece"
Julia von Haubach, "The Bakelite Masterpiece"
David Murin, "Little Shop of Horrors" Yael Pardess, "The Stone Witch" Reid Thompson, "Little Shop of Horrors"
"Yael Pardess and Rasdean Davonte Johnson for their work on the projections — Pardess, art content design; Johnson, design — for BTG's "The Stone Witch.""
Honorable Mentions: Actors
Graham Rowat, "Constellations"
David Adkins, "The Bakelite Masterpiece"
Stanley Bahorek, "Little Shop of Horrors"
James Ludwig, "Little Shop of Horrors"
"Kate Baldwin as Marianne in "Constellations" at BTG, a technically and emotionally challenging role shaped by invention, subtext, consummate ingenuity and revelation, and the biggest challenge facing us all — mortality"
Honorable mentions: Actress Rebecca Brooksher, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"
Corinna May, "The Bakelite Masterpiece"
Jenn Harris, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"
Linda Gehringer, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"
Lindsay Nicole Chambers, "Little Shop of Horrors"
Ethan Heard, "Little Shop of Horrors"
Gregg Edelman, "Constellations"
Kristen van Ginhoven, "The Bakelite Masterpiece"=
--"In the area of musical direction..also noteworthy, Rick Bertone, "Little Shop of Horrors"
--Among choreographers, honorable mentions—Parker Esse, "Little Shop of Horrors"
The Berkshire Eagle's Critic's Choice: Best concerts of the year
"The most intriguing show of the year was at the Colonial Theatre, where the amazing Havana Cuba All-Stars made their U.S. debut in October. The All-Stars were both entertaining and educational, as they presented a smooth blend of percussion, brass and superb harmonies to an enthusiastic audience.
Credit also goes to ex-Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley, who performed a thunderous solo show; local faves Bella's Bartok and Tor Krauter's stunning recreation of "The Last Waltz" concert by the Band featuring local performers."
Broadway World's "Top-Ten Plays and Musicals of 2016"
"Constellations - Berkshire Theatre Group: Kate Baldwin and Graham Rowat came to life over-and-over again inside NickPaynes's multiverse romantic drama."
Awards and Accolades 2015
The Berkshire Eagle's Best of 2015:
The Homecoming, “Berkshire Theatre Group’s production of Harold Pinter’s “The Homecoming,” 2015’s best production, according to the Berkshire Eagle critic Jeffrey Borak.” Bells Are Ringing, “With Kate Baldwin in the lead and her real-life husband Graham Rowatt turning a thankless role into someone with charm and dimension, director Ethan Heard tuned into the breezy charm and whimsy in this tuneful, slyly witty 1956 musical from Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green” Deathtrap
The Berkshire Eagle's Critics Pick of 2015: DIRECTOR: Eric Hill, The Homecoming
ACTORS: David Adkins, Thoreau, or Return to Walden Joey Collins, The Homecoming Graham Rowat, Bells Are Ringing Rocco Sisto, The Homecoming
ACTRESSES: Kate Baldwin, Bells Are Ringing Tara Franklin, The Homecoming Ariana Venturi, I Saw My Neighbor on the Train and I Didn't Even Smile
SPECIAL MENTIONS: Parker Esse, Bells Are Ringing (Choreography) Joel Fram, Bells Are Ringing (Musical Direction) Reid Thompson, The Homecoming (Set Designer) Solomon Weisbard, The Homecoming (Lighting Designer)
From The Berkshire Eagle, "The arts in 2015: A robust year for pop music in the Berkshires"
"The Colonial Theatre gave a gamut of strong pop performers, including a thunderous evening with Thorogood on a wintry February night. Lonesome George also provided one of the more unique moments of the past year by inviting your correspondent to the foot of the stage and confiscating his notebook. When I asked Thorogood how he expected me to remember his set for the review, he said, "Remember it? I'll make sure you never forget it!"
And he did.
Folkies got their fill at the Colonial as the timeless New Christy Minstrels and the Kingston Trio brought their sweet harmonies to Pittafield. And in December, The Weight, featuring former members of The Band, brought their folk-rock-blues menu to the Colonial and showed their audience what greatness was."
The Pittsfield Gazette'sThe Best Theatre of 2015
Bells are Ringing Deathtrap
The Westfield News Best of 2015
Best Direction of a Play: Eric Hill for The Homecoming Favorite Performance: Tara Franklin as Ruth in The Homecoming
Awards and Accolades 2014
"The Year's Best: Playbill Contributors Choose Unforgettable Theatre Experiences of 2014"
"My favorite production this year was A Little Night Music at the Berkshire Theatre Group. Boasting a starry cast including Gregg Edelman as Frederik Egerman, Phillipa Soo as Anne, the luminous husband-wife combo Kate Baldwin and Graham Rowat were pitch-perfect as the Count and Countess, this was the best production of the show I have ever seen, gorgeously directed by Ethan Heard. His handling of the final scene of Madame Armfeldt, played by Tony winner Penny Fuller, was hands down the best I have ever seen it staged. Remember his name, I think you will hear a lot about him in the future." - Playbill Staff
The Berkshire Eagle's 2014 "Year-End Review: Critic cites most accomplished individual stage work"
David Adkins, actor, Benefactors
Walter Wilson, actor, Benefactors
Kate Baldwin, actress, A Little Night Music
Penny Fuller, actress, A Little Night Music
Monique Barbee, actress, A Little Night Music
Emma Foley, actress, A Little Night Music
Corinna May, actress, Benefactors
Barbara Sims, actress, Benefactors
Ethan Heard, director, A Little Night Music
Eric Hill, director, Benefactors
BTG was named "Best Live Theatre" for Best of the Berkshires 2014
Awards and Accolades 2013
BTG was named “Best Live Theatre” for Best of the Berkshires 2013 and the 2013 “Berkshire Theater of the Year” by the Pittsfield Gazette. The Colonial Theatrewas picked as the “#1 Best Performance Space in the Berkshires” by Jiminy Peak magazine and one of the top ten winter destinations by Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.
Oklahoma! (directed by Eric Hill) was named one of the top five for Best Theatre 2013 by Metroland newspaper. Extremities (directed by Karen Allen)was named one of the top five in Best Theatre 2013 by The Berkshire Eagle newspaper. Anna Christie (directed by David Auburn)was selected for “Best Performance” for Rebecca Brooksher’s role as Anna Christopherson and Mary and Edith was hailed as a “Best Surprise” by The Westfield News newspaper.
BTG also received the “2013 American Graphic Design Award” for their 2013 Summer Season Poster from Graphic Design USA, an international graphic design organization.
BTG was selected from over 8,000 entries from across the nation, representing the highly selective 15 percent of excellence in design.
Awards and Accolades 2012
The Berkshire Eagle's 2012 Outstanding Stage Artists:
Eric Hill, director of A Chorus Line Gerry McIntyre, choreographer of A Chorus Line Steven Freeman, music director of A Chorus Line Michael Chybowski, lighting designer of A Chorus Line
A Chorus Line & Bettye LaVette Named Best Theatrical and Musical Events of 2012 by The Berkshire Eagle
Berkshire Theatre Group Named 2012 "Berkshire Theatre of the Year" by the Pittsfield Gazette
Berkshire Theatre Group's 2012 Production of Edith is Nominated for the American Theatre Critics Association's Annual ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award
Best Historical Attraction, The Colonial Theatre, Berkshire Eagle Reader's Choice, 2012
Best of the Berkshires
NETC Regional Award for Excellence in Theatre, 2012
Berkshire Theatre Group's Colonial Theatre is a recipient of the New England Theatre Conference’s 2012 NETC Regional Award for Excellence in Theatre. The NETC recognizes organizations that share in its common causes, which areto develop, expand and assist theatre activity in New England on the educational, community and professional levels,to study and preserve the theatre in its many aspects, to develop the highest possible standards, to foster, support and promote the educational aspects of theatre, and to encourage interchange and mutual aid, with close cooperation between our region and other state, regional and national theatre organizations, and with organizations in the other fine and applied arts. This is one of the first regional awards to a Berkshire County theatre in 30 years, since 1982. Berkshire Theatre Festival was a recipient of a regional award in the late ‘70s.
Awards and Accolades Previous to 2012
Society of American Travel Writers Phoenix Award Recipient, 2008
The Phoenix Award was created to give appropriate recognition for individuals or organizations actively involved in conservation, preservation, beautification and anti-pollution campaigns which further the growth and appeal of North American travel destinations.
Preservation Massachusetts Paul E. Tsongas Award Recipient, 2008
Recognizes exceptional efforts in promoting historical preservation across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Best Live Theater, Berkshire Eagle Reader’s Choice, 2007, 2008, 2009
Best of the Berkshires
7 Wonders of the Berkshires, Berkshire Eagle Contest, 2007
“In an area filled with wondrous attractions, Pittsfield’s handsomely restored, 104-year-old Colonial Theatre and Williamstown’s 51-year-old Clark Art Institute are the most wondrous. The two cultural institutions placed first and second, respectively.”
Best Venue (Showroom), Metroland
2008 Best of the Capital Region
“Just walking in to this impeccably restored and gilded-up-the-wazoo little theater is an event in itself. In a region blessed with a bunch of nicely restored theaters, nothing else really comes close to the Colonial in terms of a visceral jolt.”
Best Theater Restoration, Metroland
2007 Best of the Capital Region
“Go to see anything here, but leave ample time to have your breath quietly stolen as the meticulously restored theater transports you back to the 19th century in all of its architectural splendor, gilt elegance and artisans’ pride. From the original seating in the balcony to the sweeping embrace of the mezzanine and box seats to the exceptionally plush seating in the orchestra and the magnificent acoustics, sightlines, and proscenium, the labor of love begun by Robert Boland evokes tears of joy.”
NETC Regional Award for Excellence in Theatre awarded to Berkshire Theatre Festival, 1978.
The Fitzpatrick Main Stage was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
Berkshire Theatre Festival is a member of the National Trust.
The Colonial Theatre is one of America's finest turn-of-the-century theaters to survive intact!
Designed by the noted firm of theater architects, J. B. McElfatrick and son, the Colonial Theatre’s stage and audience chamber were a class above most playhouses of the day. McElfatrick designed hundreds of theaters throughout North America during the latter half of the 19th and first few years of the 20th centuries – upwards of 51 in New York City alone – but the Colonial is one of only a handful still standing.