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Hampton Terrace Innkeeper Blog: Deals and Things to Do in Lenox and the Berkshires

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Ventfort Hall: Gilded Age History Across Street from Hampton Terrace


Ventfort Hall Hampton Terrace is considered one of the "Berkshire Cottages" and its owners were part of the Lenox social scene for more than half a century. But Hampton Terrace was modest in scale to the mansions built by the Morgans, Vanderbilts, Westinghouses, et al. Many of those homes are so vast in scale that they have become destination resorts such as Cranwell, Wheatleigh, and Canyon Ranch. One such mansion has become the "Museum to the Gilded Age" and luckily it is located virtually across the street from us.

Susan and I attended a reception there last Friday evening to hear some exciting planned events and also learn of long-term goals for yet-unrestored portions of the mansion and the grounds.

Firstly, Ventfort Hall is unique among the restored "cottages" currently on tour (Naumkeag, The Mount, Chesterwood and others), in that it stays open during the winter, seven days per week. It only closes on a limited number of holidays. It also is a work in progress…..quite exciting to see the old, the new (perfectly replicated to blend with and match original detailing) and the "projected." I personally was on the board in the early part of the decade when work was still underway in the main hallway, porch, staircase and dining room. Since then, restoration has included the back porch, the billiard room, the west exterior wall and the library. Shortly, several rooms on the second floor will be open to the public.

And that is especially exciting because portions of a temporary exhibit Les Petites Dames de Mode will be moved to permanent display in two rooms on the second floor, along with some additions: Something Old, Something New: 200 Years of Berkshire Brides, a collection of historic wedding gowns, and replicas of the wedding dresses designed for two Presidents’ daughters and the Duchess of York’s wedding dress designed by John Burbidge.

There are lectures and special activities all up and down the calendar at Ventfort Hall. For a listing, To stay at the closest possible location to the museum, pick Hampton Terrace.

Visit Kripalu, Stay at Hampton Terrace in Lenox



Another example this weekend. A couple spent Saturday night here and attended an all-day session at Kripalu. Our Saturday night charge was $189 and included full breakfast. They had a private bath and a fireplace.

At breakfast we were talking, and they said they have been to Kripalu many times in the past, and have paid between $300 and $500/night for a private bedroom at Kripalu, which is not a king, does not have a fireplace, and is spartan in its comforts. They wondered why most people do not stay at local inns and pay the $50 day pass to go to Kripalu (which includes 3 meals). I told them that we do get a fair number of people who know they can do that, but most people do not know they have options.

Most of the people who stay here would have done the "standard" option, which is a dormitory room of at least six people with a bathroom at the end of the hall. That option is also more expensive than our $189 rooms.

So to attempt to attract more Kripalu guests to stay here, with a multiple night stay, we offer any queen/fireplace/Jacuzzi room for $140/night…..which means we are paying your $50 daily fee for you (which includes your meals). That $50 would normally be absorbed into your room rate at Kripalu, so we are paying it for you.

Hampton Terrace is located approximately one mile from Kripalu and is rated #1 in Lenox by Trip Advisor.

Good Coffee at a Lenox Bed and Breakfast, Barrington Coffee Roasters


Hawaiian Kauai Occasionally, it is important to stop the world for a moment just to take stock. What is important?

There are a million large and small details that go into running a bed and breakfast. You don’t want to know. But whittle away all the other stuff and it boils down to this: people want a good mattress and they want to smell great coffee in the morning. We took care of the mattresses when we bought the place. The numerous positive comments on our website and Trip Advisor support that decision.

So let’s talk about coffee. We have prepared breakfasts on more than 3,000 mornings for about 35,000 guests. We have had ample opportunity to get feedback on our coffee and we have ended up with Single Origin Hawaiian Kauai. It is imported and roasted locally by Barrington Coffee Roasters. You can tell it is great when you first snip open the air-tight bag. The aroma of the ground beans alone can overwhelm the room. Amazing. "Delicate and Refined" is the description on the bag. We make it strong.

Just like our Sealy Posturpedic mattresses, it is an investment. This coffee costs us about $20/pound….compared to about $7/pound for average grocery store brands. Over the years we have tried alternates. Consumer Reports likes "8 O’Clock" brand. It is much cheaper, but did not make the cut. Breakfast Blend from Dunkin Donuts is passable but not memorable. Starbuck’s tastes burned. We have gotten good feedback on Peet’s. Not as good as the Hawaiian.

Last Spring we were lucky to be able to spend a week in Kona, where the Kona Coffee is as plentiful as water. Literally free samples everywhere and hundreds of choices. It was great. So when we came back to Lenox we inquired with Barrington Coffee Roasters if they also imported Kona. They do. It is private reserve and they do not serve it in their local coffee shops but will roast it to order. Instead of $20/pound, it costs about $30. So we bought a 5 pound bag and alternated Kona and Kauai, querying our guests whether they could tell the difference. It was fun….kind of like a wine tasting event each morning. Bottom line, they liked both equally and could not identify one over the other. So Kauai it is. Why pay 5 times as much when you can pay 3 times as much?

But I make too big of a deal about the price. In context, the Hawaiian coffee costs us about a quarter a cup. Maxwell House might be a dime per cup. Our guests are paying between $175 and $345/night to stay at Hampton Terrace. Give the people some good coffee! Jeez. That is what I mean about boiling things down to what is important.

Ghost Hunters: Lenox, The Mount and Shakespeare & Company Featured Tonight


Ghost Hunters Tonight on SCI FI: Watch Shakespeare & Company Artists on "Ghost Hunters"

Turn on your TV or set your TiVo for SCI FI Channel’s popular "Ghost Hunters" tonight at 9/8c. Tonight, they uncover the mysteries of Shakespeare & Company’s former home, The Mount, during their Wednesday, March 25th broadcast at 9 PM EST. Company members Dennis Krausnick, Kevin Coleman and Elizabeth Aspenlieder were all interviewed for the show.

The Mount, former home of author, Edith Wharton, housed Shakespeare & Company for twenty years. They took over the abandoned mansion and based their growing theater company in its main rooms and surrounding acreage until renovations of the mansion itself were almost complete. They have moved since to a new property, and The Mount is now run by a not-for-profit that exists for its continued renovation and maintenance. Meanwhile, many stories have been collected over the years about this historic house, and no one better to tell them than Shakespearean actors.

Both Shakespeare & Company and The Mount are located in Lenox, Massachusetts, literally less than two minutes from Hampton Terrace Bed and Breakfast Inn. Both are worthy of a trip to the Berkshires, so consider Hampton Terrace as your home base while exploring what Lenox has to offer.

Tennis at Hampton Terrace in Lenox, A Berkshire Inn


tennis I try to blog daily about Hampton Terrace and sometimes I have to think about what I have not covered. Such was the case just now as I was staring out the window, thinking, "what a bright day!"

And then I noticed people on the tennis courts next door. That is the GREAT oversight on my Hampton Terrace website….the fact that we are litlerally paces from four brand new, always available (when not covered with snow) TENNIS COURTS. Recently rebuilt by the Town of Lenox, the town courts are in a beautiful setting, surrounded by grass and trees, and located behind the Lenox Community Center, which is two doors down. From our back parking lot, they are about 100 feet away. Rarely do I see anyone there, and the only time I can ever remember seeing them full is when the Lenox tennis team is practicing, which is usually during the weekdays, right after school.

Hampton Terrace, #1 ranked Bed and Breakfast in Lenox by Trip Advisor, and FREE TENNIS!

Hampton Terrace Featured in Blog

HT Logo New

Things are tough for many people and it would seem that travel is an unnecessary expense for some at this point. However, research is showing that the vast majority of people are still planning, and say they still need, a break from their normal routine. So most do not plan to cut back on the number of days they plan to spend on vacation. What has changed is WHERE they are going.

Deep discounts notwithstanding, destination resorts such as Las Vegas and Hawaii are down. Cruise ship revenue is WAY down, although the ships are continuing to fill and sail with deeply discounted packages. Some destinations are doing okay during this recession, however, and Hampton Terrace is an example of that. is the #1 directory on the Internet, featuring 7,000+ b&bs and inns, and on March 18th their blog went into this very subject. Hampton Terrace was featured.

In summary, we had our best January/February period ever….up 30% from 2008 and 50% compared to 2007. Our summer pre-bookings to this point are up 20% compared to 2008, and 40% compared to 2007.

My unresearched assumption is that people are staying closer to home. They are driving instead of flying. They are looking for value….which is a hallmark of an "inn" experience. In other words, you could pay $200 for a hotel room that is the same whether you are in Chicago or Atlanta….or pay $200 to stay in a historic home that is unique and hopefully memorable. Add the undeniable fact that Lenox and the Berkshires offer more activities, entertainment and outdoor possibilities than any region deserves to possess…all located within several hours of the entire Northeast population…..thus the probable reason for our uptick. Knock on wood.

To read the entire blog, CLICK HERE.

Room Upgrades at Hampton Terrace in Lenox


Main 3 Small Hampton Terrace in Lenox, Massachusetts, has been an inn since 1937 and we have owned it since 1999. Currently we have fourteen rooms in service. Five are original to the main house and have been upgraded twice since 1999. The six Wynnstay Cottage rooms were created in the 1897 carriage house in 2000, and the three king suites were built in 2005. So we have a wide assortment of room choices….unique for an older inn.

Most properties have older rooms and no other choices. Some of our guests, who want the public spaces to have the ambiance and historic character of an Gilded Age mansion, want their bedrooms to be modern. Others want a 110-year-old room with an antique claw-foot tub, thank you.

When we say modern, we do not mean plastic. Our modern bathrooms are all tile, have pedestal porcelin sinks without exception, and have Jacuzzis.

But our older rooms also need to be fresh. So we are now embarking on the third round of upgrades in all of our Main House rooms. Recently, we completed the Struthers Room, with all new paint and white trim. The curtains and throw pillows have been changed (vintage fabrics, of course) and small details attended to.

So whether you want modern amenities in your bedrooms, or 110-year-old rooms that are as fresh as we can make them….consider Hampton Terrace for your romantic getaway in the Berkshires.

Check our our off-season Romantic Weekend Special on our website, by clicking Hampton Terrace Home above.

Williamstown Theater Festival 2009 Season, Berkshire Stages


WTF WTF Announces 2009 Season!

by A.R. Gurney
directed by John Tillinger
July 1-12

Tony-nominee John Tillinger directs this timeless Gurney classic set in a large summer home on an island off the coast of Massachusetts. When an estranged brother’s return and a mother’s impending marriage recall painful memories of their father’s death, seething arguments reignite one family’s struggle with its tragic past and uncertain future.

by Sam Shepard
directed by Daniel Goldstein
July 15-26

Former Boris Sagal Directing Fellow Daniel Goldstein directs former Apprentice Nate Corddry and his real-life brother Rob Corddry as the squabbling siblings in this Pulitzer Prize-winning play. This modern classic is an explosive exploration of family rivalry as two very different brothers attempt to sell Hollywood their version of the great American Western.

by George Kelly
directed by Dylan Baker

Tony-nominated stage and screen actor Dylan Baker directs a cast including Becky Ann Baker and Marian Seldes in this side-splitting 1920s farce about a troupe of amateur actors rehearsing and performing a show-stopping new play–or trying to with all their might. Their stage is riddled with comedic drama, suspense, and good old-fashioned mayhem, similar to both Noises Off and Boeing Boeing.

by Simon Gray
directed by Maria Aitken
August 12-23

Tony-nominated director Maria Aitken directs a cast including Tony-nominee Mary Beth Hurt, Simon Jones, and Tony Award-winner Jefferson Mays in this charming and heart-felt 1960s comedy which follows an eccentric group of English teachers in Cambridge whose insatiable quest for knowledge has masqued their secret longings for passion, romance and true happiness.


by Jonathan Marc Sherman
directed by Nicholas Martin
July 8-19

"Are you ready?" The question looms over Jerry as the months tick by and his unborn son grows from the size of a peach to the size of, well, a baby. As the birth date creeps ever nearer, will the advice, encouragement and warnings of friends and family make Jerry more or less ready? The awe and terror of becoming a new parent shines through Sherman’s newest play as he examines whether one can ever truly be ready for parenthood. Nicholas Martin directs this world-premiere.

by Noah Haidle
directed by Justin Waldman
July 22-August 2

After 27 years on the same soap opera, Ada is starting to confuse her art and her life. But after so many years of acting, her art is her life. Haidle’s poignant comedy brings us the hilarity of day-time drama alongside the harsher, but often equally funny realities of life. Festival Artistic Associate Justin Waldman directs this world-premiere.

by Melinda Lopez
directed by Amanda Charlton
August 5-16

Caroline is down and out in New Jersey. She’s having a nervous breakdown, her career as an actress is dwindling and a peculiar stranger has made his presence known in her new apartment. Can she find a way to conquer it all? This funny and touching new play follows one woman’s whole-hearted attempt to accept the past and take hold of the future, despite the many surprises that might pop up along the way. Festival Artistic Associate Amanda Charlton directs this world-premiere.

Tickets will be available by mail order in April. Become a WTF Member now and get your season brochure and ticket order before anyone else! Visit our website for more information on becoming a Member today of Williamstown Theater Festival and Berkshire stages

Berkshire Theater: Barrington Stage Company Single Tickets on Sale


Carousel One of the premier theater presenters in the Berkshires, Barrington Stage, has announced their 2009 summer season and tickets are now on sale.

Barrington Stage Company’s Artistic Director, Julie Boyd is well known for tackling ambitious musicals, and this season does not disappoint. Their new, state-of-the-art theater on North Street in Pittsfield, is perfect for large productions and all seats are good.

This year’s line-up includes "Carousel," but also popular shows "Sleuth," and "Streetcar Named Desire." During the summer, BSC will also feature cabaret and experimental musical theater, with a series dedicated to exposing young emerging musical theater talent.

For tickets and information,

When considering a visit to the Bekshires, chose Hampton Terrace Bed and Breakfast Inn, #1 rated by Trip Advisor in Lenox from 30+ local inns. We feature fireplace and Jacuzzi rooms, full hot breakfast buffet, an outdoor heated pool, and a 30% mid-week discount during the summer theater season.

2009 Shakespeare & Company Season Announced, Berkshire Theater


othello070808.highlight.jpg Located just a short walk from us, one of the world’s best Shakespeare companies has announced its upcoming season.

In 2009, Othello received such critical praise, and was such a resounding box office succes that performances toward the end of the season were sold out. We are very pleased to see that S&Co. is reprising last year’s Othello…with the same lead cast. Their official announcement and list of shows:


“Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass is the most consistently pleasing summer-theatre Festival in America.” Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal.

“When Tina Packer talks, people listen. When Tina Packer acts, people watch. When Tina Packer directs, people flock. In other words, when Tina Packer does anything, it’s always worth our attention.” – Ed Siegel, theatre critic/journalist WBUR.

“Tina’s erudition, her courage, her determination, I have always admired. But more than anything, her love of Shakespeare has both moved and inspired me.” Olympia Dukakis.

Shakespeare & Company’s Artistic Director Tina Packer unveils her Final Performance Season: Play On! the 2009/2010 season is the biggest in over a decade, bringing back critically acclaimed hits and introducing some of the most provocative new works on the american stage

{Lenox, MA} —Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer describes Shakespeare & Company’s 2009-2010 season as “young, passionate, daring and joyful. This is life laid bare.” With a re-dedication to the powerful truths at the heart of Shakespeare’s work and the excitement sparked by a new theatre and production center, Shakespeare & Company’s 2009-2010 Performance Season reinforces its commitment to the core themes that have made it an invaluable part of the Berkshires community for 32 years. It will be the fullest and most diverse season yet presented at the Kemble Street campus, drawing from the depth of artistic and human resources stored safely in the Company’s bank of intellectual property. As the final season designed under the direct leadership of Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer, and deftly assisted by Associate Artistic Director Michael Hammond, it connects to the passions at the heart of the Company by celebrating some of S&Co.’s greatest recent artistic triumphs, while introducing a host of important new works.

Tickets for the 2009-2010 Season will go on sale the morning of Thursday, March 5. To receive a season brochure, purchase tickets and gift certificates, or inquire about discounts and further information, please contact the Shakespeare & Company Box Office at (413) 637-3353 or visit the website at or by e-mail

“Tough times call for great art, and for vibrant community building. This is when we need more than ever to stand up together and play on. Our season will bring together artists, friends, educators, and neighbors. And I hope we meet a lot of new friends, especially young ones, the curious kind who have never stepped through our door before. This is a place where special things happen, where you can leave the headlines at the door and reconnect to the good stuff. If you dare to be inspired, to change, to grow and reflect and know your world better, we’re here to make that happen,” says Packer, as she prepares for her 32nd and final season as S&Co.’s Artistic Director. “The opening line of Twelfth Night is ‘If music be the food of love, play on.’ That’s just what we intend to do. And we invite everyone to join in! ”

The season offers more Shakespeare than the Company has presented in over a decade, with the return of dynamic productions of two of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies bookending a fresh, new take on what some say is his most outrageous comedy. Audience favorites Hamlet and Othello return to Founders’ Theatre—with most of the original casts in place. The real-life family trio, Tina Packer, Jason Asprey, and Dennis Krausnick, will reprise their roles in Hamlet alongside Nigel Gore and many other returning actors, while John Douglas Thompson and Michael Hammond return in Othello.Packer is especially pleased to announce Twelfth Night as this year’s mainstage comedy, under the direction of Jonathan Croy (marking his mainstage directorial debut), with Kevin O’Donnell, the outrageous Parolles in last year’s All’s Well That Ends Well, playing Malvolio.

In the 2008/2009 season, ticket sales continued to surpass previous years. Sales presently stand at approximately $1,130,000, yielding the highest earnings ever in Shakespeare & Company’s 31-year history. Ticket sales increased about 3% and earned 7% more revenue from the previous season, and are up approximately 29% overall since 2005. Despite the challenging economy, the 2008-09 season saw an uptick in attendance, with the new Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre bringing in a total audience of about 11,000. The total number of tickets issued this year was 51,000, up from 49,000 in 2007. The season also ran longer than previous years, with another successful fall show and the addition of a winter show, Bad Dates which, remarkably, is still playing as of the date of the 2009-2010 season announcement. As always, tickets for the 2009-2010 season will remain reasonably priced to keep the transformative power of theatre accessible to all.

“This upcoming season reflects the essence of what we do at Shakespeare & Company. It reflects everything we’ve always been and always will be—it’s about fire in the belly and passion in the heart. It’s life laid bare—youthful, daring and joyful. There’s no economic downturn that can decrease the priceless savings of intellectual property we’ve been building up all these years,” says Packer.

Underscoring Packer’s commitment to bring Shakespeare to life in uncompromising but surprising ways, the upcoming season rolls out on May 21st with a special two-week run in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre of a vivid, high-energy production of Romeo and Juliet,capping off its five-month New England Tour of Shakespeare to young audiences across the Northeast. Under Croy’s direction, with original music by Company member Marc Scipione, this R&J goes directly to the heart of Packer’s desire to open the doors wider to a new generation of actors and audiences this season. And as summer builds, the Company will introduce an invigorating new program, the Lunch Box Shakespeare Series, presenting Measure for Measure in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, as performed by the best and the brightest of S&Co.’s young professional actor training program.

The season also offers a special program titled Pinter’s Mirror, honoring the taut short plays of Nobel Prize-winner and recently deceased Harold Pinter, with three celebrated one-act plays, Victoria Station, Family Voices and A Slight Ache,each of which is filled with dark humor. One of the greatest voices in modern theatre in the English speaking world, Pinter has inspired American writers from David Mamet to J.T. Rogers, a playwright whose White People is also on the roster this season. Pinter’s Mirror features Elizabeth Ingram and Malcolm Ingram, and will be directed by Normi Noel. Other provocative new works include the Pen Literary Award-winning Devil’s Advocate by Donald Freed, and The Dreamer Examines His Pillow,by the multiple award-winning John Patrick Shanley, starring John Douglas Thompson when not reprising his universally celebrated role as the title character in Othello.

The upcoming season will see Packer working closely with Tony Simotes to execute a smooth transition into his new role as Artistic Director. The director of the smash hit Othello, Simotes is a long-time Company actor, director, fight choreographer and Founding member of S&Co. His first job here was as Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed in the Company’s first season, at The Mount, in 1978. Packer sidesteps into the position of Founding Artistic Director during this time, enabling her to relinquish her day-to-day administrative and artistic responsibilities in order to devote her full efforts to the long-term vision of the Company, along with more time devoted to her own acting and writing.

Also on tap is the sure-to-be-crowd-pleasing Diva Series,three remarkable, one-woman shows playing for limited engagements. Annette Miller reprises her role as Golda Meir in Golda’s Balcony, a special dedication to William Gibson to celebrate his voice, tremendous body of work, courage and the inspiration he remains. Packer makes a special return engagement as the feisty and insightful titular character in Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine. The series also includes the devastatingly powerful new work The Actors Rehearse the Story of Charlotte Salomon, featuring newcomer Penny Kreitzer. These three plays are special events meant to focus attention on the Capital Campaign currently being conducted to complete the Production and Performing Arts Center, including the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre. “The Diva Series is about three feisty ladies, and it celebrates one beautifully committed woman, Elayne P. Bernstein,” says Packer.

The family-friendly Bankside Festival includes Irina Brook’s uproarious production of Toad of Toad Hall by A. A. Milne, adapted from Kenneth Grahame’s beloved novel The Wind in the Willows, at the Outdoor Rose Footprint Theatre, as well as a newly launched, increasingly dynamic and jam-packed Bankside Lecture Series; specially designed Preludes (before evening performances at Founders’); special musical events; the much-loved reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th; and other enhanced efforts to rally and celebrate the young people of the community. The always-popular Gala will be held amid the Berkshires’ autumn splendor, on October 10.

Following a jam-packed summer season, the year continues with an exciting fall show—a Tony Simotes-directed farcical take on the Sherlock Holmes story The Hound of the Baskervilles—plus a newly added holiday season production, Irina Brook’s direction of Cindy Bella (or the Glass Slipper), and a winter production of award-winning Les Liaisons Dangereuses directed by Tina Packer,featuring this season’s Bad Dates star Elizabeth Aspenlieder, a show that stretches S&Co.’s upcoming season all the way to mid-March of 2010.

As always, S&Co. will remain an active part of the community year-round—even during the rare times when there is no production onstage. The Education Program has expanded its Shakespeare in the Courts program to Great Barrington this year, adding to its work with delinquent youths in Pittsfield and North Adams, and will continue to offer in-school

Residencies from Lenox to Long Island; innovative teacher workshops; the ever-expanding New England Tour of Shakespeare; the prestigious, month-long National Institute for Teaching Shakespeare conducted by Education Program Director Kevin G. Coleman at Smith College in Northhampton, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities; plus the capstone annual extravaganza the Fall Festival of Shakespeare. The Training Program will offer an expanded roster of world class actor training programs, including a Master Teacher Series, a Summer Training Institute (featuring a robust group of 30-plus college-aged actors living and learning on S&Co.’s campus for six weeks), the Performance Intern Program for young professional actors, a series of Weekend Acting Intensives around the United States and Canada, the third year of The Conservatory at Shakespeare & Company this fall, and of course the signature Month-Long Acting Intensive from late December to January 2010. This announcement of the season comes shortly after S&Co. brought the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America’s (STAA) annual conference to the Northeast for the first time, bringing upwards of 150 of the world’s leading experts on Shakespeare performance to Lenox in the dead of winter.

“This community is something we’re a part of 365 days a year. We live here, we work here, we’ve got deep roots. Our important work doesn’t end when the leaves change, it’s what we do all year in the classrooms, in the rehearsal rooms, onstage and off—the invigorating and empowering examination of what it means to be alive,” says Packer, as she reflects on the past three decades as well as the current national climate. “The swings of the stock markets can’t affect the transformative power of language we’ve spent the last three decades exploring. So in response to the financial challenges that every major cultural organization is facing, we have chosen not to shrink back but to stand up and be counted.”

As part of this steadfastness to the Company’s core mission of discovery, dialogue and action in the face of the current economy, Packer is also promising an exciting roster of special guest appearances, lectures and explorations, such as a media-rich presentation by Susan Quinn, author of Furious Improvisation, a recent book about the WPA Federal Theatre Project; and a one-time only presentation called Revolutionary Moments, with actors recounting and replaying pivotal moments in history for people diverse as Thomas Jefferson and Nelson Mandela who were influenced by Shakespeare’s words. There will be special appearances by Aurea, a talented ensemble of actors and musicians presenting the words and images of Neruda and Lorca accompanied by chamber music. Throughout the summer, Resident Composer Bill Barlcay will periodically host an eclectic program of poetry slams and contemporary music in the lobby of the Bernstein Theatre after evening shows. Updates and info on new events will be available at

“We want everyone to feel especially welcome and intrigued by what’s happening here this year,” Packer says. “We will keep our prices affordable, because ticket prices should not be an obstacle to joining the fun. The doors are open to new ideas, new words, new music, and new audiences, and we want everyone to know: we are your Company, these are your stages, and this is our home, together.”

A streamlined design process and revamped workflow will create a simple and direct design aesthetic, reflecting the focus on the power of language. The new Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre will be put to the test, hosting a dozen productions with some shared sets and design elements, while the Company’s mainstage, Founders’ Theatre, will run three Shakespeare

plays and a slew of special events. Sets and costumes will be simple, sound and lighting designs uncomplicated, and an ethic of doing more with less will extend across the Company’s operations. (over)

More details on how this approach will be executed are to come. But there is no decrease in the asset that has always fueled the Company’s unmistakable aesthetic: the power of the spoken word, which can in this context only be magnified.

“This season reflects the challenges inherent in this economic climate, without turning an inch from S&Co.’s core mission,” says Managing Director Nicholas J. Puma Jr. “This simply is not the year to roll out extravagant productions. If we relied on whiz-bang special effects and design elements, we’d be in trouble. But no economic downturn can decrease the wealth of experience built up here over 32 years, or diminish the special experience people have when they visit here. Our talented artists and amazingly committed staff know the greatest challenge is just an opportunity to do something extraordinary. It’s a tall order, but it’s what we’re here to do. No one comes to S&Co., as a patron or as an employee, to settle for the norm. What Tina and this Company do best is theatre ‘outside the ordinary.’ ”

2009-2010 season



By William Shakespeare

Directed by Eleanor Holdridge

Cast includes Jason Asprey, Nigel Gore, Dennis Krausnick, Kevin O’Donnell, Tina Packer, Elizabeth Raetz, others TBA.

Founders’ Theatre: June 26 – August 28

“Directorial touches that light up Shakespeare’s lines like fireworks on a summer night….Outstanding.”

The Wall Street Journal

“Terrific fun to watch…truly exciting.”

The New York Times

In 2006, this innovative production of Shakespeare’s masterwork busted box office records while storming to vociferous critical acclaim in its limited run at Founders’ Theatre. In September 2008, it toured the country in a much-discussed production that played for thousands of theatre goers. Now, it returns home for a limited engagement featuring much of the original cast, including the family circle of Tina Packer as Queen Gertrude, her son Jason Asprey as Hamlet, and her husband (and Jason’s stepfather) Dennis Krausnick as Polonius, along with Nigel Gore as Claudius. If you missed it the first time, this is a priceless second chance; if you saw the original production, this is a chance to re-connect with the unforgettable magic of S&Co.’s only exploration of what many call the greatest play in the English language.


By William Shakespeare

Directed by Tony Simotes

Cast includes John Douglas Thompson and Michael Hammond, others TBA

Founders’ Theatre: July 3 – September 6

“Crisp and molten…fleet footed…forceful, beautiful…told so clearly you see it with fresh eyes”

The New York Times

“Lean, clean…terrific dash and elegance…cinematic in the best sense””

The Wall Street Journal

Othello was the talk of the Berkshires last summer, earning ecstatic critical acclaim while packing houses through a limited run in August and becoming the hottest ticket in town. The “mighty magic” of the play was too great to let it go away without offering another chance for those who were shut out the first time, as well as those who crave a chance to experience its power all over again. Featuring John Douglas Thompson in the title role and Michael Hammond as Iago, and again under the direction of incoming Artistic Director Tony Simotes, this acclaimed production puts the power of the word in the forefront.

twelfth night

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Jonathan Croy

Cast includes Kevin O’Donnell, others TBA

Founders’ Theatre: July 24 – September 5

“Laugh yourself into stitches.” Twelfth Night, 3.2

Some comedies are born great. Some achieve greatness. Some have greatness thrust upon them.

For the first time on its new property, S&Co. presents one of The Bard’s most outrageous comedies. Get your laughs back to back, tipsy- turvy, upside down, and all through the house in Shakespeare’s festive holiday of misrule, madness, switched identities, gender bending and comic fantasy. Enjoy the exploits of Feste the Clown, Sir Toby Belch, the conniving Malvolio, and a comic festival of misplaced love and, yes, happy endings.

Written in 1604, Twelfth Night unfolds in Illyria, a land of obsession, lusty clowns, and mistaken identity. The play opens with the love-sick Duke Orsino pining away for the unattainable Countess Olivia. Meanwhile, a shipwreck that separates a twin brother and sister (Viola and Sebastian) delivers young Viola onto Illyria’s shores. Thinking her brother dead and seeking employment with Orsino, Viola disguises herself as a man (Cesario) and promptly becomes Orsino’s servant. The only part she had not planned on was falling passionately in love with him…and the Countess falling just as hard for her.

diva Series (in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre):

Shirley Valentine, the actors rehearse the story of Charlotte Salomon, and Golda’s Balcony

A trio of special, limited engagement productions that demonstrate, celebrate and resonate the power of the female spirit and voice, and what one woman can accomplish when she commits. Here are the stories of Golda Meir, the lioness mother who commanded the world stage and built a free country; Shirley Valentine, the privately comical wife, mother and nobody/everybody anonymous who finds the spark in her heart to find herself all over again; and Charlotte Salomon, the vivacious, unbridled young artist who saw a form that no other artist before her dared to see or create and who passed it on to the world just before her life was taken by the Nazis.

These performances are dedicated to Elayne P. Bernstein, who knows the power of one woman’s spirit.

Shirley Valentine

By Willy Russell

Production assisted by Jenna Ware

Cast: Tina Packer

Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre: May 27 – 31, and September 11

“I used to be the mother. I used to be the wife. But now I’m Shirley Valentine again. Would you like to join me for a drink?” Shirley Valentine

Artistic Director Tina Packer reprises her role as Shirley Valentine, the irrepressible house wife who uncovers her independence and strength in this all-time audience favorite. Shirley Valentine warmed the hearts and tickled the funny bones of thousands of New England theatre goers when Packer performed the role at Shakespeare & Company to critical acclaim in 1991, and again in 1995 under the direction of Patrick Swanson. She had previously performed it in Boston several times in the 1980’s.

the actors rehearse the story of Charlotte Salomon

By David Bridel, Penny Kreitzer and Jonathan Rest

Directed by Jonathan Rest

Cast: Penny Kreitzer

Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre: June 3 – 14, and September 12 (over)

The Actors Rehearse the Story of Charlotte Salomontells the remarkable story of an astonishing artist who fled Nazi Germany to France in 1939, only to be apprehended by the Gestapo in occupied Vichy in 1943. In the interval, she created a

startling artistic oeuvre: 1325 notebook-sized gouache paintings, accompanied by textural narration and operatic musical

cues. She arranged 769 of them into scenes and acts and titled this epic Life or Theater? (Leben? Oder Theater?). At the age of 26, shortly before she was arrested by the Gestapo, Salomon gave her works to a trusted friend, saying, "Keep this safe. It is my whole life." Soon thereafter she was taken to Auschwitz, where she was murdered.

This provocative work is structured as a play-within-a-play, telling the true story of a group of actors who attempted to present Salomon’s story at the Jerusalem Festival in 1982. They struggle to present a truthful voice, in the face of the differing views of Charlotte’s stepmother Paula Lindberg, a famous opera singer at the time. As the story unfolds, Lindberg is forced to confront truths about herself, her relationship with her deceased stepdaughter, and the artist’s responsibility in the world. The Actors Rehearse the Story of Charlotte Salomonis based on actress Penny Kreitzer’s experience as a member of that troupe.

Golda’s Balcony

By William Gibson

Directed by Daniel Gidron

Cast: Annette Miller

Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre: June 17 – July 3, and September 13

This production of Golda’s Balcony is dedicated to our beloved friend and neighbor whose loss has been deeply felt within the Company and around the world. We celebrate and acknowledge the incredible depth and scope of Bill’s work, his life-long passion of story-telling and truths he has held, as if a mirror for all of us to be challenged and inspired by. William Gibson’s passionate portrayal of one of the most fascinating leaders of the 20th century was hailed by critics and audiences alike when it made its world premiere at Shakespeare & Company in 2002. While awaiting word from the White House and dreading a potential Doomsday scenario, Meir reflects on her life and the difficult personal and political decisions that have led her to office: from her first memories of her father, a carpenter, nailing boards against a door in Kiev to prevent a pogrom’s invasion, to her growing up and falling in love in Milwaukee; from her immigration to Palestine, to her struggle to prioritize family and Zionism; from the British Mandate (1914-1948) through the Second World War, to the establishment of Israel (1948); from Israel’s War of Independence through the 1956 Suez War and the 1967 Middle East War, to the horrors of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. "What is the price for survival,” Meir asks in the play. “What happens when idealism becomes power?"

also in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre:

romeo and juliet

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Jonathan Croy

Cast: Paul D’Agostino, Ben Brinton, Kaitlin Henderson, Alyssa Hughlett, Kelley Johnston, Sean Kazarian and Daniel Kurtz

Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre: May 21 – June 7

The company’s annual New England Tour of Shakespeare provides a feast of performance and workshop exploration for students throughout New England as well as New York. This year, we are turning the remarkably talented and versatile Tour personnel loose in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre for two weeks of performances open to the general public. What better way to kick off the summer than with an invigorating take on one of Shakespeare’s best-loved tragedies, presented by some of the Company’s up-and-coming actors?

This is a 90-minute production featuring a seven-member cast who take on multiple roles, placing the focus on a clear and powerful delivery of Shakespeare’s text. The production is modeled after Shakespeare’s own touring shows, which took to the countryside when the plague shook London and closed down the theatres.

Pinter’s Mirror: A slight ache, Family Voices, and Victoria Station

By Harold Pinter

Directed by Normi Noel

Cast include Elizabeth Ingram, Malcolm Ingram, and others TBA

Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre: June 11 – August 2

“Sometimes a writer has to smash the mirror – for it is on the other side of that mirror that the truth stares at us.” Harold Pinter

Three brilliant one-act plays commemorating and celebrating the incisive voice and darkly comedic insight of Harold Pinter, an artistic genius and treasure who passed away last year. Performed by Elizabeth and Malcolm Ingram, it’s a rare opportunity for audiences to see and hear two exceptionally trained and gifted actors put life into Pinter’s taut language, tense pauses and deeply clever sense of meaning behind the words we say and the conversations we never have.

Lunch Box Shakespeare:

measure for measure

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Dave Demke

Cast: S&Co.’s 2009 Performance Intern Program participants

Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre: July 10 – September 5

As it did when first performed at the start of 17th century, this tale can still, within a few minutes, engage an audience of every age. Perhaps there’s even more appreciation and recognition of character today than ever. Isabella, a naïve and inexperienced girl must choose between the death of her condemned brother Claudio or give up her virginity to Lord Angelo, a corrupt, minor politician who can commute the sentence. It sounds like a melodrama, or heavy-handed tragedy, but it was written as a thinly veiled comedy about hypocrisy, corruption and sex for trade in high places, which never go out of fashion or stop pleasing audiences. It’s even more laughable to contemporary audiences overly saturated by morality propositions imposed by prime-time TV and Hollywood cautionary tales.

devil’s advocate

Written by Donald Freed
Directed by Dee Evans
Cast includes Ignatious Anthony and Dennis Krausnick

Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre: July 30 – August 16

With the most powerful military force in the hemisphere waiting outside, a despot seeks asylum as he teeters on the brink of imprisonment, exile or death. He has a strange and shocking tale to tell, and devastating accusations to make. Will his confession be enough to bring absolution for a litany of terrible crimes—or perhaps place the blame onto someone else?

Shakespeare & Company presents the North American debut of Devil’s Advocate, the story of Manuel Noriega’s one night of asylum in the Vatican embassy before surrendering to the U.S. military waiting outside. It won the 2006 PEN Award for Drama. This two-hander features S&Co. Founder, Director of Training and actor, Dennis Krausnick, and the UK’s Mercury Theatre Company’s Associate Artist, Ignatious Anthony.

The Dreamer Examines His Pillow

By John Patrick Shanley

Directed by Tod Randolph

Cast includes John Douglas Thompson, and others TBA

Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre: August 7 – September 6

"…pungent, thought-provoking, original, poetic…and leading by stylized, fantasticated ways to genuinely startling illuminations." New York Magazine.

Donna has broken up with her boyfriend, but can’t let him go. Dad has lost Donna’s mother, and can’t paint anymore. When Donna drops by for the first time in a few years, the confrontation between father and daughter will open up complex, ancient questions about women and men, sex and truth, art and love, and forever alter the course of both their lives. Playwright Shanley’s work for stage, screen and television has been highly celebrated– (over)

he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the film Moonstruck, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play (among several other awards) for his 2005 play Doubt: A Parable. He has also been nominated for an Emmy, and his adaptation of his play for the motion picture Doubt was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

White People

By J.T. Rogers
Directed by Anna Brownsted

Cast includes Michael Hammond, and others TBA

Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre: August 21 – September 4

“White People is remarkable. The play seems less written than merely transcribed; there’s not one false turn of phrase in it.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer

What does it mean to be a white American? What does it mean for any American to live in a country that is not the one you were promised? White People is a controversial and darkly funny play about the lives of three ordinary Americans placed under the spotlight: Martin, a Brooklyn-born, high powered attorney for a white-shoe law firm in St. Louis, MO; Mara Lynn, a housewife and former homecoming queen in Fayetteville, NC; and Alan, a young professor struggling to find his way in New York City. Through heart-wrenching confessions, they wrestle with guilt, prejudice, and the price they and their children must pay for their actions. White People is a candid, brutally honest meditation on race and language in our culture.

the hound of the baskervilles

By Steven Canny and John Nicholson

Directed by Tony Simotes

Cast: TBA

Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre: September 26 – November 8

“Theatre doesn’t come much sillier.” The Daily Telegraph

“Simple seeming gags are transformed into theatrical gems.” The Observer

“I had to keep wiping my eyes at humour which was consistently of the loosen-your-belt variety.” Liverpool Daily Post

A hoot. A howl. This American premier finds Holmes and Watson connecting straight to the funny bone in an hilarious adaptation of the Conan Doyle classic. Performed by three actors playing multiple roles, with multiple accents and quick-change beards, in this ghostly story Sherlock finds the villain and gets belly laughs. Created as an audience treat, in the finest British beer hall tradition, it is sprinkled with visual and verbal gags, pratfalls and gaffs. Everyone will enjoy and laugh out loud and often at this hilarious spoof on Sherlock, Dr. Watson and the Victorian literary genre.

Cindy Bella (or the glass slipper)

By Irina Brook and Anna Brownsted

Directed by Irina Brook

Cast: TBA

Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre: December 3 – December 20

Cindy Bella (Or The Glass Slipper) is a magically updated spin on the classic folk tale Cinderella. It is a contemporary, urban, romantic fairytale of Cindy, a streetwise accordion player with an unconquerable love for music, singing and dancing, and the very handsome, cosmopolitan Prince who falls head over heels for her. Her hard-as-nails stepfather and outrageously wicked stepsisters try to stand in the way of their love, but a modern-day fairy Godmother shows up to help save Cindy’s dream. Cindy Bella (Or The Glass Slipper) was presented as a work-in-progress for two special performances last year, and now returns for its world premiere.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses

By Christopher Hampton

Adapted from the novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

Directed by Tina Packer

Cast includes Elizabeth Aspenlieder, others TBA

Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre: January 29—March 14

La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid" ("Revenge is a dish that is eaten cold")

Full of devious plotting, sexual intrigue and morally ambiguous motivations, Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) was ahead of its time as a novel in 1872 and still may be ahead of its time today. This rich and deviously delightful adaptation is like a decadent chocolate you just can’t resist.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) is adapted from the novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. Though de Laclos wrote under the patronage of France’s most powerful aristocrats (Marie Antoinette was said to be a big fan of the book), his morally ambiguous book was re-interpreted by some after the French Revolution as a subversive dig at the Ancien Regime. British playwright Christopher Hampton adapted it for the stage in 1986, causing a sensation and winning the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play. It was also nominated in 1987 for the Tony Award for Best Play, and in 2008 for the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.

Family friendly, Outdoor Bankside Festival

Around the grounds, the Banksyde Terrace, and in the tented, outdoor Rose Footprint Theatre: June 1 – September 6

In 1590 in Shakespeare’s London, the southern shore of the Thames River, called The Banksyde, was home to brigands,

brothels, rogue businesses, and an explosion of theatrical creativity not seen before or since. Londoners would cross the river to experience plays, contests, shows, and to participate in the creation of a new language and a new way of looking at the world. Join the festivities at the south end of the property and on the banks surrounding Founders’ Theatre, Founders’ Alley, and the Rose Footprint, where you’ll find poets, dancers, musicians, and capering clowns. Josie’s Place will be open before and after all performances, offering light fare and drinks for purchase. Picnickers are welcome on the grounds. The walking paths will be open at the north end of the property.

Toad of Toad Hall

By. A. A. Milne

Adapted from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Directed by Irina Brook

Cast: TBA

Rose Footprint Theatre: June 20—August 29

This delightful play excerpts the story of Mr. Toad from the beloved children’s classic, The Wind in the Willows. Focusing on Toad’s adventures in the book—including his imprisonment, excape, and daringly successful efforts to win back his home—this is a rollicking tale sure to delight old, young, and anyone in-between. It is performed in two parts, on alternating performance days, with both parts performed on Saturdays.

Word Play

By Dennis Krausnick

Director: TBA

Cast includes S&Co.’s 2009 Performance Internship Program participants

Outdoor Rose Footprint: August 13 – September 6

This world premier, written by Company Director of Training, actor, playwright and Founding member Dennis Krausnick, is an outrageous splash of Shakespeare. This fast-paced performance offers startling bits of some of Shakespeare’s silliest and startling insults with just the right dash of fact, folklore, and surprises thrown in. It is a virtual feast of language that is accessible, provocative, informative, poignant, and always engaging. Presented by the Company’s renowned Training Program, the show runs under one hour.

Shakespeare & Young Company

Founders’ Theatre: May 9, May 10

Outdoor Rose Footprint: August 19, August 21

From Romeo and Juliet to Hamlet, no writer has captured the desire, volatility and energy of adolescence better than

Shakespeare. In his words, youth lives eternally. For these two special days, join our Young Company actors aged 13-17 as they perform Shakespeare’s works with a fierce and fiery temperament to match his own; and deal with life themes that make teenage years so formative, individual and indelible–filled with unbridled passion for friendship, love, justice, and hope.

Studio Festival of Plays
Founders’ Theatre: September 7
A full day and night celebrating five different, compelling plays presented as readings or staged readings by Company artists. The annual festival introduces the next generation of great plays and performers. Several Studio scripts have successfully gone on to become full productions at S&Co., including last year’s The Goat Woman of Corivis County, and other popular titles such as Martha Mitchell Calling, No Background Music, Golda’s Balcony, The Scarlet Letter, A Tanglewood Tale, Wit and this season’s The Dreamer Examines His Pillow and White People.

The Declaration of Independence
Outdoor Rose Footprint: July 4, at 3pm

This is the Company’s traditional community reading of the document that heralded the birth of democracy in the New

World. With eloquence that Shakespeare might have envied, inspired by the philosophical thought springing directly from the intellectual ferment of the English Renaissance, the 18th century American colonist Thomas Jefferson penned a political statement as complex and controversial as history itself.


outdoors on the Prelude stage, on the Banksyde Terrace beside Founders’ Theatre at 6:45 pm

(Preludes run prior to all Founders’ Theatre evening shows beginning June 1)

Pre-show fun for the entire family to enjoy! Dances, combats, Shakespeare, song and other ten-minute surprises presented by our very own Company artists.

Tickets for the 2009-2010 Season go on sale the morning of Thursday, March 5. To receive a season brochure, purchase tickets and gift certificates, or inquire about discounts and further information, please contact the Shakespeare & Company Box Office at (413) 637-3353 or visit the website at or by e-mail

Rooms Still Available for James Taylor Weekend at a Lenox inn


6cb191505af1a742.jpg James Taylor is playing at Tanglewood on August 26-30, 2009. His annual visits are popular and unique….since he lives full-time in Lenox he goes out of his way to provide a memorable experience. Tickets have been on sale for several weeks now and most of our rooms are full.

He is playing four nights, and we typically have a 3-night weekend minimum. There is only one room left that will be subject to this minimum. The rest of the rooms are taken, but this minimum night requirement has left gaps in our schedule which will allow you to stay one or two nights, depending on your need.

Taylor’s first concert is Thursday night, August 27th. We have two rooms left and can accept that one night.

For those with Friday night tickets, we are limited to that one room with a 3-night minimum.

But we do have some rooms that we can book for Saturday and Sunday….or just Sunday. There are concerts both of those days, so I am sure this will help many of you who are coming on the weekend and cannot get up here until Saturday.

Hampton Terrace is the top-rated Lenox inn by Trip Advisor and is located in Lenox, less than a 2-block walk to all restaurants and shops. Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony, and site of the James Taylor concerts is about one mile away. Many people walk, but parking is plentiful and traffic flow is organized.

You will need to call us at 800-203-0656 to lock in rooms, as our on-line reservation program will not allow less than a three night stay.

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