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Regge Life accepts his award for Outstanding Direction of a Play for 'Topdog/Underdog' at Shakespeare & Company, which also won Outstanding Production of a Play and Best Ensemble Production, at the Berkshire Theatre Awards. Photo by Peter Levine.

Mac-Haydn Theatre, Shakespeare Take Top Honors at Berkshire Theatre Awards

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Tara Franklin accepting the award for Outstanding Solo Performance for 'On the Exhale' at the Chester Theatre Company.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Theatre Critics Association presented the Berkshire Theatre Awards on Nov. 11, the fourth year the awards have been presented to honor and celebrate the excellence and diversity of theater in the greater Berkshire region.

The 2019 awards really display the commitment of regional theaters to presenting new and diverse work. Women and minorities were well-represented among the nominees and the winners in all categories. Nominees represented theaters in Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and Connecticut.

Critics J. Peter Bergman and Macey Levin once again hosted the ceremony, which saw top honors for Outstanding Play Production go to the Shakespeare & Company's production of Suzan-Lori Park's "Topdog/Underdog" and "Ragtime" take home the award for Outstanding Musical Production for the Mac-Haydn Theatre.

This year's ceremony featured musical and Shakespearean performances by nominees David Joseph ("Times Stands Still" at Shakespeare & Company) and Greg Boover ("Twelfth Night" at Shakepeare & Company), and musical selections by Monica M. Wemitt, Rachel Rhodes-Devey and Gabe Belyeu from the Mac-Haydn Theatre.

John Saunders was named Outstanding Director of a Musical for his work on "Ragtime" at the Mac-Haydn, and Regge Life was named Outstanding Director of a Play for "Topdog/Underdog" at Shakespeare & Company.

Tara Franklin took home the award for Outstanding Solo Performance for "On the Exhale," directed by Colette Robert and presented at the Chester Theatre Company.

The Larry Murray Award for Community Outreach and Support through Theater went to Tina Packer, founder of Shakespeare & Company, for her decades of work bringing theater and theater education to the Berkshire community. The recipient of this award, named in honor of the late Larry Murray, BTCA founder, is selected by the Board of the BTCA. Packer spoke briefly about her joy at receiving this special award and her long residence in the Berkshires.
 

The other 2019 Berkshire Theatre Awards are as follows:

* Outstanding Solo Performance:
Tara Franklin, "On The Exhale," Chester Theatre Company.

* Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical: Tie between Monica M. Wemitt, Carmen Bernstein, "Curtains," Mac-Haydn Theatre and Dorcas Leung, Little Red, "Into the Woods," Barrington Stage Company.

* Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play: Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Ellen, "The Waverly Gallery," Shakespeare & Company.

* Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical: Rob Brinkmann, Jud Fry, "Oklahoma!," Mac-Haydn Theatre.

* Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play: Robert Zuckerman, Lou Fischer, "If I Forget," Barrington Stage Company.
 
* Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical: Rachel Rhodes-Devey, Mother, "Ragtime," Mac-Haydn Theatre.

* Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical: Mykal Kilgore, Witch, "Into the Woods," Barrington Stage Company.



* Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play: Diane Prusha, Hazel, "The Children," Shakespeare and Company.

* Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play: David Adkins, Martin, "The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?," Berkshire Theatre Group.

* Outstanding Ensemble Performance: Tie between "Time Flies and Other Comedies," Barrington Stage Company and "Topdog/Underdog," Shakespeare & Company.

* Outstanding Scenic Design of a Play or Musical: Brian Prather, "Into the Woods," Barrington Stage Company.

* Outstanding Costume Design of a Play or Musical: Jen Caprio, "Into the Woods," Barrington Stage Company.

* Outstanding Lighting Design of a Play or Musical: Sherrice Mojgani, "Into the Woods," Barrington Stage Company.

* Outstanding Sound Design of a Play or Musical: Beth Lake, "Selling Kabul," Williamstown Theatre Festival.

* Outstanding Choreography: Justin Boccitto, "Crazy For You," Sharon Playhouse.

* Outstanding Direction of a Musical: John Saunders, "Ragtime," Mac-Haydn Theatre.

* Outstanding Direction of a Play: Regge Life, "Topdog/Underdog," Shakespeare & Company.

* Outstanding New Play: "Dig" by Theresa Rebeck, Dorset Theatre Festival.

* Outstanding Production of a Musical: "Ragtime," Mac-Haydn Theatre.

* Outstanding Production of a Play: "Topdog/Underdog," Shakespeare and Company.


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Pittsfield Holds Tree Lighting Ceremony

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff

City Council President Peter Marchetti welcomes the crowd. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The holiday season is officially on in Pittsfield with the annual tree lighting  Ceremony at Park Square.
 
Hundreds gathered at Park Square on Friday night to bring in the holiday season with song and cheer as they lit up the Park Square Christmas tree.
 
"On behalf of Mayor Tyer and the entire City Council, I want to welcome you to the tree lighting ceremony and wish you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays on behalf of the city," Council President Peter Marchetti said. "Tonight is a very special moment in the city."
 
Recreation Activities Coordinator Becky Manship thanked all who made the event possible especially the parks maintenance crew. 
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