Brandeis collaborates with James Taylor in ‘A Christmas Carol’He’s seen fire and he’s seen rain. Now people are flocking to Pittsfield, Mass. to see five-time Grammy Award winner James Taylor as he takes the stage — and direction — from Eric Hill, Brandeis’ Louis, Francis and Jeffrey Sachar Professor of Creative Arts.
The Berkshire Theatre Group’s (BTG) annual community production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” adapted by Hill, and co-directed by E. Gray Simons III, opened at The Colonial Theatre on Dec. 17 and will run through Dec. 30. This is the sixth season that the group has been performing the show — and the first year in the 800-seat Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield. Proceeds benefit Berkshire Theatre Group’s Education Program.
"It's a thrill to direct James Taylor in his theatrical debut,” says Hill, who also plays the role of Scrooge in the production. “A Christmas Carol’ is a celebration and sharing of our common humanity on a community level. James brings his inherent charm and gentleness to bear in his portrayal of Bob Cratchit, a good and unpretentious man. To work with Kim Taylor, Rufus and Henry Taylor again only adds to the joy."
Kim Taylor is the wife of James Taylor, and Rufus and Henry are their 10-year-old twin sons.
The production also features performances by four Brandeis graduate theater students. They include: Sarah Elizabeth Bedard; Sam Gillam; Brandon Green and Eddie Shields. In addition, the play’s sound designer is J. Hagenbuckle, who earned his M.F.A. from Brandeis in 2008.
Elizabeth Terry, associate professor of the practice of theater arts, served as the dialect coach and Susan Dibble, the Barbara Sherman '54 and Malcolm L. Sherman Director of Theater Arts, did the movement for the Fezziwig Jig, a dance scene in the production.
There are a limited number of tickets for the show still available. They can be purchased by phone at (413) 997-4444 and in person at 111 South St., Pittsfield, and through James Taylor’s website.
This past summer Hill directed Berkshire Theatre Group’s production of "The Who’s Tommy," as well as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" at the Neil Ellenoff Stage at the Mount. Hill has also directed "Macbeth," "Endgame," "Faith Healer," "The Einstein Project," "Amadeus," "The Glass Menagerie," "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest" and "The Caretaker." Previous acting credits include "A Man for All Seasons," "Dimetos" and "The Father."
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