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Great Barrington Public Theater Kicks Off 2024 with a Conversation With Jeff Zinn

Great Barrington Public Theater kicks off 2024 with a conversation with Jeff Zinn on January 29, the first in a series of FREE lively, off-the-cuff talks with industry influencers. Theater guru Zinn, actor, director, author, podcaster, and founder of Wellfleet Harbor Actor’s Theater on Cape Cod, will talk about his acclaimed 20-part podcast, GURUS: The Story of Acting, from Stanislavsky to Succession and share his perspective on current trends in theater.

Great Barrington Public Theater (GBPT) develops and produces new plays with a focus on playwrights and theater artists living in and nearby the Berkshires of Western MA. Their “Conversations With” Series brings behind-the-scenes perspectives from professionals who work in theater now. We asked Jim Frangione, GBPT’s artistic director, a few questions about this January 26, 6pm, event.

author, director, podcaster Jeff Zinn in a brown suit with hands clasped
Jeff Zinn. Photo by Susan Carolyn Wilson.

Q & A with Jim Frangione

SJP. You launch the “Conversations With” series on January 29 here at Saint James Place! Tell us about the intent of this series of interviews.

Jim. The goal of our “Conversation With” series is to allow audience members to hear “inside views” from those who are working in the world of theater today. These are intended to be discussions with professionals who are making waves, but not necessarily from onstage—oftentimes from behind the scenes. It’s my belief that many are looking for additional information about theater and the process of creating theater—what one doesn’t read in a playbill, review, or even through other sources. With this intimate, personal series of events, GBPT is hoping to provide an exchange of ideas, and to respond to the kinds of questions about making theater that we have heard from our incredibly engaged audiences over the years.

SJP. This interview with Jeff Zinn sounds interesting. Can you share a bit about Mr. Zinn and his new, 20-part podcast, “Gurus: The Story of Acting, from Stanislavsky to Succession”? 

Jim. In addition to his podcast, GURUS: The Story of Acting, from Stanislavsky to Succession, Jeff Zinn is also the author of a terrific book for actors called, The Existential Actor: Life and Death, Onstage and Off.

As part of our conversation, Jeff will present some audio and visual snippets from the podcast to the audience and explore the foundations of theater and acting technique. The audience will hear stories from his interviews with theatrical luminaries, such as: Alfre Woodard, Cherry Jones, Alan Ruck, David Patrick Kelly, BD Wong, and many others. It should be a really fun discussion from a lifelong contributor the craft of creating theater.

GBPT Executive Director Deann Simmons Halper, Artistic Director Jim Frangione, and Managing Director, Tristan Wilson.

SJP. GBPT had a great season last year! Wonderful performances and events…AND you reached your $25,000 fundraising goal to access a matching gift bringing it to $50,000. What are you looking to do with those funds to support local artists and new work?

Jim. I’m happy to report that with this year’s fundraising appeal that just ended December 31st, 2023 we’ve already surpassed total raised in 2022. We have received donations from our many loyal supporters and patrons and new supporters for a total of $78,000 for our 2024 season! Those funds will go directly to paying local artists—lighting, scenic and sound designers, actors, directors, technicians, and staff members. We are also starting to commission area playwrights and, of course, those funds also help to support one of our signature programs, Berkshire Voices, that assists local playwrights in the development of their new work.

Thanks, Jim! 

This is a FREE live event, with a $10 suggested donation. Space is limited. Reservations can be made now by emailing [email protected]