Thursday, August 11, 2016

Off to Pittsfield for Kyle Dean Massey - and Pirates of Penzance

Pittsfield Mass is about 2 1/2 hours away by auto, and light years away by culture.  That is not to say they are behind the curve, but they are, instead, in an entirely different curve. Their downtown is quaint as hell, rebuilt - but seems a bit more "Disney Main Street USA" than actually used main street.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, but the rehab has missed big sections, and, unlike say Charleston SC - there isn't a big history to count on.

And yet I digress.
Production still (but not=e were the conductor is)
Pittsfield is also home to the Barrington Stage Company which, this month has presented Pirates of Penzance on stage.  Pirates of Penzance is my very favorite Operetta, granted one of the few I enjoy.  AND, this particular version is stuffed with New York actors whom I adore!

So I took Eddie to work yesterday and continued on my way to quaint (and distant) Pittsfield.

Now, knowing me, one might expect a tale of woe here.  But fear not, this is a tale of wonder.  Pirates was fantastic.  I sat in the 2nd row, next to the thrust stage where people often exited and entered. In particular Will Swenson (as the Pirate King) sneaked in at eye level and asked me to "shhh!".
Curtain call from MY seat (note were conductor is)
Everyone was fantastic.  It was the Joseph Papp version (the one with Kevin Kline, Rex Smith and Linda Ronstadt) and therefore extremely hammy and fun.

Will Swenson was wonderful - a bit more over the top that Kevin Kline (I KNOW) and tremendously fun.  Kyle Dean Massy was much more dream-boat than Rex Smith (Yes, Really!) with a better voice nicer arms and a lovely lovely behind in stretch material that had the seam up the middle.  Not that I noticed (baby HAS back). Apparently young Mr. Massy has also been in "Nashville" on TV for 2 seasons (as Kevin). Jane Carr was very much up to, yet not exceeded Angela Landsbury's performance.

The real surprise for me was Scarlett Strallen as Mable.  I saw her as Sibella in Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder (as did Ed and Susan). She is a bit bigger than most of her sisters, but what a voice. Perfectly suited to Mable.  She could belt them out without any problem and also act broadly as required at the same time.  She lifted Mr. Massy with her, because she was so fun and so broad, he had to step up or be swept away.

The first time I saw it was onstage at the Ahmanson Theater (in LA), were the original Joe Papp version was on tour. As is Los Angele's habit, they cast TV stars in the role, which was very adequate at the time, in fact I quite loved it. I saw Barry Bostwick as the Pirate King and Pam Dawber (Mindy of Mork and Same) as Mable.  And I loved it!

Watching some of my favorites* in the roles this time was fantastic.  And from the second row next to the thrust stage was freakin' magical!

*I have seen (and loved) Kyle Dean Massey in Next To Normal, Pippin and at a Christmas concert. I saw Will Swenson (nominated for a Tony) in Hair on Broadway and in Disaster!: The Musical; In Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder I saw both Jane Carr and Scarlett Strallen.

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