On these stages, actors and writers can take risks. A new musical can ache for a Polish woman who escapes Russia, between a World War and a revolution, and comes to Paris with little but a skill with paint and determination to rebuild.
From June to August, the ’62 Center at Williams College becomes the home of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, bringing classics like A Raisin in the Sun, world premieres and late-night cabarets.
It began in the winter of 1954, in the hands of Nikos Psacharopoulos, a professor of theater at Yale who also staged work at Circle-in-the-Square, the New York Pro Musica and City Opera. He ran the festival here for 33 years and drew in a core of nationally known actors — Blythe Danner, Olympia Dukakis, Kate Burton, Frank Langella, Christopher Reeve …
In its 65 years, WTF has sent productions to Broadway and Off-Broadway; in 2002 the festival won the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, and it continues to bring in acclaimed performers, from Uma Thurmond to Leslie Odom Jr.
And since Mandy Greenfield came in as artistic director in 2014, she has led a focus on new work — commissions, writers in residence and world premieres — and in 2018, Martyna Majok’s Cost of Living, developed here, won the Pulitzer Prize.