BTF Staging Leonard Bernstein’s Glorious Comic Operetta "Candide"

Posted July 6, 2009

Stockbridge, MA – Next up on the Berkshire Theatre Festival’s Unicorn Stage, starting on July 7, is the splendid and unique American musical Candide. It is a comic operetta with music composed by Leonard Bernstein, based on Voltaire’s novella and featuring a book by Hugh Wheeler. It tells the story of a young man’s journey of self-discovery as he tries to find his place in a world that appears to be growing increasingly hostile. Candide is a simple young man in love with the lovely Cunégonde who holds the firm belief that he resides in the “Best of All Possible Worlds.” Once he and his love are separated, in order to reunite they must overcome a chain of bizarre situations. Alternately funny and poignant, Candide features some of the most recognizable music in the American canon.

Candide features the BTF Unicorn Company under the direction of Ralph Petillo. In the past, the Unicorn Company has presented well-loved musicals such as The Who’s Tommy and Assassins. The 2009 Unicorn Company includes Michael Brahce, Julia Broder, McCaela Donovan, Robert McFadyen, Samantha Richert, Ben Rosenblatt, Kyle Schaefer, Matt Stern, Julian Whitley, and Becky Webber. Members of this year’s Apprentice Company consisting of Elizabeth Ard, Rachel Copel, Devin Doyle, Melissa Dvozenja, Arne Gjelten, Anna Koehler, Miles C. Rice, Stephen G. Rowland, Maximilian Schadler, Melanie Siegel, and Jaclyn Walsh round out the cast.

Ralph Petillo was last seen in BTF’s A Christmas Carol as Charles Dickens and Oliver! as Fagin. This marks Ralph BTF directorial debut, though he has over sixty productions to his directing and acting credits. Ralph has written, directed and performed for Walt Disney World and Disney Productions. He co-founded and was resident director for Theatre on Park, Orlando’s first professional repertory theatre company. Some of his directing credits include: A Light Night Music, The Taming of the Shrew, Annie and Fiddler on the Roof.

The designers include: Erin E. Kiernan, Scenic Designer; Jessica Risser-Milne, Costume Designer; Jaime Davidson, Lighting Designer; and Janie Bullard; Sound Designer.

Candide will run from July 7 through August 15. The performance schedule will be Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm, Wednesday at 7pm, with matinees on Thursdays and Saturdays at 2pm. Tickets range from $15 to $44. Single tickets are now available for purchase online at or by contacting the Festival Box Office at (413) 298-5576.

Candide Music by Leonard Bernstein, Book adapted from Voltaire by Hugh Wheeler, Lyrics by Richard Wilbur
Additional lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and John LaTouche
Directed by Ralph Petillo
Previews: July 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Opening Night/Press Night: July 11
Closes: August 15
Plays the normal Unicorn Schedule; however the schedule on Thursday will feature a 2pm show and an 8pm show while Saturday will feature a 2pm show and an 8pm show.

About Berkshire Theatre Festival

Founded in 1928, Berkshire Theatre Festival is one of the oldest professional regional theatres in the United States and the longest-running cultural organization in the Berkshires. Now under the helm of Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire, BTF presents theatre that matters—world premieres, contemporary works, and classics that speak to who we are in our world today. The Main Stage (408 seats), cataloged by the National Register of Historic Places, was originally designed and built by Stanford White as the Stockbridge Casino in 1888. The mission of BTF’s second stage, the intimate Unicorn Theatre (122 seats), is to provide a home for emerging artists and new theatrical ideas. BTF’s education program, BTF PLAYS!, reaches over 10,000 children annually through school residencies, touring performances, and summer performance training and writing programs. During the summer months BTF opens its doors to over 50 administrative, acting, and technical interns and apprentices. For more information about Berkshire Theatre Festival, please visit

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