PITTSFIELD -- WAM Theatre’s presents the world premiere production of "The Old Mezzo" by Berkshire-based playwright Susan Dworkin, Oct 12 to 28, at the Berkshire Museum, playing Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m.
The production will feature several actors from Berkshire County and the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts, the Capital Region of Upstate NY and beyond.
Eileen Schuyler of the Capital Region will play the title role of "Alyssa," the old mezzo. Schuyler has worked with professional theatres across the Capital Region and beyond including Stageworks/Hudson and Capital Repertory Theatre, most recently in their critically acclaimed production of "33 Variations."
Ryan Winkles of Berkshire County will play "Joe," one of Alyssa’s students. Winkles is familiar to Berkshire audiences for his many notable and wide-ranging roles at Shakespeare & Company, most recently as "Ferdinand" in "The Tempest."
Rylan Morsbach will play "Billy," another of Alyssa’s students. Morsbach is from the Pioneer Valley and wowed audiences in the summer of 2011 with his tour de force solo performance in Pauline Productions "Scaramouche Jones."
Alyssa’s other two master class students will be played by Erin Ouellette of the Capital Region, graduate of Shakespeare & Company’s Conservatory and recently seen at Hubbard Hall in "Amadeus," and
The Old Mezzo concerns the political awakening of a great opera singer. Alyssa, the old mezzo, is driven by the recent death of a famous conductor to teach a master class concerning the Politics of Singing. The class becomes a play within a play where we revisit important scenes from Alyssa’s past. She has assigned parts to four of her students and as the exercise unfolds, we see how Alyssa had to risk her fame and success to preserve the freedom that is so essential to the arts. By the end of the play, through a surprising connection to recent events, the importance of politics in art is revealed.
Tickets range from $15-$25.
In keeping with WAM’s double philanthropic mission, the beneficiary for the production will be Berkshire-based Shout Out Loud Productions, a non-profit helmed by Jeanet Ingalls that takes action to address sexual trafficking. Shout Out Loud will receive up to 25 percent of the box office proceeds.
Talkbacks and discounts
Shout Out Loud Productions and WAM Theatre will hold three talkback sessions following prefprmances of "The Old Mezzo," Sunday, Oct. 14 and 21 and Friday, Oct. 19.
Berkshire-based playwright Susan Dworkin, will be on hand for two talkbacks, Sunday, Oct. 14 and 21 following the 5 pm. .performance of The Old Mezzo.
Dworkin is best known for her books "The Viking in the Wheat Field" and "The Nazi Officer’s Wife," as well as her play "All Day Suckers." She was also a finalist for the Susan Blackburn Prize in 1980-1981 for her play Deli’s Fable. Dworkin was one of the original writers and editors at Ms. Magazine.
Jeanet Ingalls and Monika Pizzichemi of Shout Out Loud Productions, the beneficiary of this production, will be on hand Friday, Oct. 19 following the 8 p.m. performance for a talkback.
Ingalls, founder and president and Pizzichemi, secretary and still photographer will be present for the talkback, which will be facilitated by Kristen van Ginhoven, Artistic Director of WAM Theatre.
Shout Out Loud Productions is a not-for-profit organization, helmed by Ingalls, focused on raising the global awareness of sex trafficking, social accepted abuse and poverty in the lives of women and children. Their first project is a video diary documentary that will trace Jeanet’s early life in the Philippines.
Through interviews with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder experts and a trip back to the Philippines to speak to children who have been coerced into sex trafficking, the documentary will begin Shout Out Loud’s work to educate broadly about the pervasive reach of sex trafficking and its life long effects on those lucky enough to escape.
This talkback is in addition to the already announced Special Events which include talkbacks with the playwright as well as 2-for-1 deals with the Museum’s Sunday Noon Opera and Ballet offerings in the Little Cinema plus 20 percent restaurant discounts for pre- or post-performance fare are also all on offer.
The actors will also be on hand for the Oct. 14 and 21 talkbacks. Sunday Movie/Theatre deal
The Berkshire Museum and WAM Theatre have teamed up to offer a 2-for-1 Sunday deal for anyone wanting to take in an Opera or Ballet film at noon and the play performance at 5 p.m. Offer is available for all three Sunday’s at $30 total. Use with the code ‘2for1’ at the WAM website.
Sunday, Oct.14 at noon: Giacomo Rossini’s Opera "L’Italiana in Algeri."
Sunday, Oct. 21 at noon: La Scala Ballet with "L’altra Metà del Cielo (The Other Side of the Sky)."
Sunday, Oct. 28 at noon: Teatro Regio di Torino’s Ballet "Un Ballo in Maschera."
All followed by the 5 p.m. performance of WAM Theatre’s The Old Mezzo.
The following restaurants are offering 20-percent discounts for patrons of The Old Mezzo:
Mission Bar & Tapas, 438 North St.
Spice Dragon, 297 North St.
y-bar, 391 North St.
Simply bring proof of your ticket purchase to enjoy this pre- or post-performance discount. For tickets and more info: 800-838-3006, wamtheatre.com.