Dec
24
Mon
Ventfort Hall is closed Christmas Eve.
Dec 24 all-day

We are closed Christmas Eve.

Dec
25
Tue
Ventfort Hall is closed Christmas Day.
Dec 25 all-day

We are closed Christmas Day.

Dec
29
Sat
Marionette Show – “Little Red Riding Hood”
Dec 29 @ 3:00 pm

The popular puppeteer Carl Sprague will return to Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum in Lenox to charm all ages with the classic fairytale “Little Red Riding Hood” for two Christmas-week marionette performances.  The dates and times are Saturday, December 29th and Sunday, December 30th both at 3:00 pm. The audiences will have the opportunity to meet this wizard, who knows how to pull strings. Punch and cookies will be served.

Sprague, who has appeared annually at Ventfort Hall with his “behind the scenery” mastery, has been a puppeteer since childhood.  He inherited a collection of 60 antique Czech marionettes, each about eight inches tall that were assembled by his great-grandfather, Julius Hybler, with purchased heads and hand-made costumes.  Hybler’s legacy also includes two marionette theaters.

Also, Sprague has been a set designer for such motion pictures as “The Royal Tenenbaums” and Scorcese’s “The Age of Innocence,” as well as for theater productions including those of Shakespeare & Company.

Admission to the show is $15 per person; $7 for children 4-17 and free for 3 and under. Children must be accompanied by adults.  Reservations are strongly recommended as seating is limited. Please call us at 413-637-3206 for reservations.

Dec
30
Sun
Marionette Show – “Little Red Riding Hood”
Dec 30 @ 3:00 pm

The popular puppeteer Carl Sprague will return to Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum in Lenox to charm all ages with the classic fairytale “Little Red Riding Hood” for two Christmas-week marionette performances.  The dates and times are Saturday, December 29th and Sunday, December 30th both at 3:00 pm. The audiences will have the opportunity to meet this wizard, who knows how to pull strings. Punch and cookies will be served.

Sprague, who has appeared annually at Ventfort Hall with his “behind the scenery” mastery, has been a puppeteer since childhood.  He inherited a collection of 60 antique Czech marionettes, each about eight inches tall that were assembled by his great-grandfather, Julius Hybler, with purchased heads and hand-made costumes.  Hybler’s legacy also includes two marionette theaters.

Also, Sprague has been a set designer for such motion pictures as “The Royal Tenenbaums” and Scorcese’s “The Age of Innocence,” as well as for theater productions including those of Shakespeare & Company.

Admission to the show is $15 per person; $7 for children 4-17 and free for 3 and under. Children must be accompanied by adults.  Reservations are strongly recommended as seating is limited. Please call us at 413-637-3206 for reservations.

Jan
1
Tue
Ventfort Hall is closed New Year’s Day.
Jan 1 all-day

We are closed New Year’s Day.

Jan
12
Sat
Tea & Talk – “Crystal Products of the Frost King: Ice Harvesting in New England”
Jan 12 @ 3:30 pm

Dennis Picard, who has been demonstrating the ice harvesting trade for more than twenty years at museums and environmental education centers, will present a Tea & Talk on ice harvesting and the natural ice industry in New England. His presentation will be followed by a Victorian tea.

The commercial harvesting of ice from New England’s ponds and lakes for export began in the first decade of the 19th century.  By the end of that century ice harvesting was the 9th largest industry in the United States employing tens of thousands of workers in New England alone and producing hundreds of thousands of tons of block ice annually.

Picard is a frequent speaker on the ice industry for libraries, museums and universities. He will display some of his antique tools of that trade including several invented in Massachusetts.  He will share the interesting tale of this once massive enterprise that is now fading from our collective memory.  Picard also invites and guides would-be ice harvesters to try their hand at working with some of his antique implements, including a “pond saw” and the breaker bar.

Cost to attend is $26 with an advance reservation and for members and $32 the day of the event.  Reservations are highly recommended as seating is limited.  For information or reservations call Ventfort Hall at 413-637-3206.

Jan
19
Sat
CANCELLED – Murder Mystery Dinner Theater – “Happiness Is a Warm Gun,” Doors open at 5:00 pm. Program starts and first course served at 5:30 pm.
Jan 19 @ 5:00 pm

CANCELLED DUE TO PREDICTED SNOW & ICE STORM

The Comical Mystery Tour ensemble returns to the mansion with a new program and invites the public to join the fun on Saturday, January 19th. Doors open at 5:00 pm. Program starts and first course served at 5:30 pm.

Mrs. Kite has something people really want; a lost manuscript supposedly written by the Beatles that no one has ever seen before. One of her guests decides to eliminate the chance of competition by taking Kite out. Was it the rich mama’s boy, Desmond Dakota, or his not so bright girlfriend, Sadie? It couldn’t have been the arrogant museum collector Albert Lane, or could it? Maybe it was the Beatle’s fanatic Eleanor Rigby? Yes, that is her real name. She had it legally changed because of her love of the Beatles. Come along and help figure out who cut the middle person out of the bidding war.

In production since 1995, The Comical Mystery Tour has had over 50,000 audience members viewing and/or participating in their programs. The ensemble appears regularly at Ventfort Hall.

Cost to attend is $40 per person including a full course dinner. A cash bar is available for beer and wine. Reservations are required by Wednesday, Jan. 16th. Seating is limited.  For information or reservations call us at 413-637-3206.

Feb
1
Fri
Nejaime’s Wine Tasting
Feb 1 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Discover the wines of Oregon & Washington State with King Estate Winery, the largest Biodynamic vineyard in North America with Jeff Brooks of King Estate Winery.

Cost is $35 per person. For an extra $15 enjoy a private guided tour of Ventfort Hall starting at 4:30 p.m. For reservations call Nejaime’s at 413-637-2221

King Estate Winery, family owned and family farmed since its founding in 1991, is located in Eugene, Oregon, at the southern tip of Willamette Valley. At 1,033 acres, King Estate is the largest Demeter USA-certified Biodynamic® vineyard in the country. One of Oregon’s leading and iconic wineries, King Estate earned its international reputation with its exceptional King Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. In 2006 it introduced wines from the inland growing regions of Oregon and Washington under its North by Northwest label. King Estate was founded on the bedrock principles of family, stewardship and tradition. With a third generation of the King family active in the business, King Estate remains family owned and farmed, dedicated to the highest standards in winemaking.

*Jeff Brooks joined the King Estate Winery as Northeast Regional Manager in 2014. Brooks has had an extensive career in the wine and spirits industry in key account sales, market and distributor management, national accounts, international sales, and executive management. Jeff began his career in Washington, D.C. as a distributor wine consultant before joining Schieffelin & Co. in the Mid-Atlantic States. Additional sales positions in Metro New York and National Accounts followed. Brooks joined Kobrand Corporation in New England and was promoted to several management positions and became a member of the Executive Team in 2007. Most recently he served as Vice President, Northeast/Canada Group Manager for Kobrand. Jeff and his family reside in Sturbridge, MA.

Feb
16
Sat
SOLD OUT – Murder Mystery Dinner Theater – “Happiness Is a Warm Gun,” Doors open at 5:00 pm. Program starts and first course served at 5:30 pm.
Feb 16 @ 5:00 pm

SOLD OUT

The Comical Mystery Tour ensemble returns to the mansion with a new program and invites the public to join the fun on Saturday, January 19th. Doors open at 5:00 pm. Program starts and first course served at 5:30 pm.

Mrs. Kite has something people really want; a lost manuscript supposedly written by the Beatles that no one has ever seen before. One of her guests decides to eliminate the chance of competition by taking Kite out. Was it the rich mama’s boy, Desmond Dakota, or his not so bright girlfriend, Sadie? It couldn’t have been the arrogant museum collector Albert Lane, or could it? Maybe it was the Beatle’s fanatic Eleanor Rigby? Yes, that is her real name. She had it legally changed because of her love of the Beatles. Come along and help figure out who cut the middle person out of the bidding war.

In production since 1995, The Comical Mystery Tour has had over 50,000 audience members viewing and/or participating in their programs. The ensemble appears regularly at Ventfort Hall.

Cost to attend is $40 per person including a full course dinner. A cash bar is available for beer and wine. Reservations are required by Wednesday, Feb. 13th. Seating is limited.  For information or reservations call us at 413-637-3206.

Feb
23
Sat
Movie and Tea – Morgan O-Yuki: The Geisha of the Gilded Age
Feb 23 @ 3:30 pm

“Rich in drama,” according to Jeffrey Borak, arts editor of the Berkshire Eagle. “Playful and heartbreaking, fragile and indomitable” said one viewer of Morgan O-Yuki:  The Geisha of the Gilded Age, when the play had its world premiere on June 30, 2006 at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. The play was presented in cooperation with Shakespeare & Company.

In answer to the many requests and inquiries about the unusual story, Ventfort Hall will present the film made by Kevin Sprague, creative director and owner of Studio Two, during the opening performance thirteen years ago.   The film will be shown on Saturday, February 23 at 3:30 pm followed by a Victorian tea.

Morgan O-Yuki: The Geisha of the Gilded Age is based on a true story of a renowned Japanese Kyoto Geisha and her intriguing connection to Ventfort Hall’s history.  Written by playwright Natsuko Ohama as an original piece expressly for the 2006 production and for the 2013 revival, the title role was originally performed by actress Ikuko Ikari, who had studied at the HB Studio and the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute.  The one-woman show was directed by Shakespeare & Company’s Sarah Taylor. The set was created by theater and movie set designer Carl Sprague.

The Morgan O-Yuki story begins with the discovery of this little-known, at least in America, figure who, at the advent of the 20th century, entered into the lives of the Morgans, members of New York’s most prominent and wealthy elite.

Over several years of research, Ventfort Hall’s resident historian, the late Joan Olshansky, discovered these facts: George Denison Morgan, born in 1870, was the son of Ventfort Hall owners George Hale Morgan and Sarah Spencer Morgan, sister of financier J. Pierpont Morgan.

Soon after the death of Sarah in 1896, the New York newspapers announced the engagement of George Denison to Margaret Auchmuty Mackay, member of another prominent New York family, who also summered in Lenox.  Three weeks later, the engagement was called off because the press had gotten word that George was seeing another young lady on intimate terms.

We move ahead to 1902 when George arrives in Japan, where he spends time visiting the geisha houses.  Here he meets Yuki (“Snow Fragrance”) Kato.  George became infatuated with her and asked Yuki—many times–to marry him and she refused him each time.  When he was about to leave Japan, George left a self-addressed, stamped envelope with Yuki, hoping she would eventually change her mind.

Through all of this, Yuki was seeing a young Japanese law student, who, within a year, left her to marry the daughter of a wealthy Japanese family.  Yuki wrote George a letter and mailed it in the envelope he had left behind.  The couple married on January 21, 1904, in Yokohama.  Following tradition, he settled an allowance on her parents and bought Yuki out of her geisha contract for $20,000.

As soon as George brought his bride to New York to meet his family, the couple discovered that Yuki was not to be fully welcomed, except for his sister, Caroline.  Eventually, George and Yuki made Paris their permanent home.

There is evidence that George continued his philandering ways throughout the marriage.  Josefa Ruiz was suing him for a large sum of Morgan money in 1915, at the time of George’s death.  Alice Palmer listed herself in the New York City Directory as the “widow of George.”  Through these years, Yuki continued to receive funds from Caroline Morgan and from the lawyer hired to handle George’s estate.

Having lived in France for more than 30 years, Yuki returned to Japan in 1938 at a time when her native country was at war with China and before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.  During World War II, the Morgans could no longer send Yuki money and Caroline died in 1942.  Despite wartime deprivations, no income and ill health, Yuki adopted a daughter, Namie, who looked after her.

With the conclusion of the war in 1945, Yuki renewed her French interest in Catholicism, particularly St. Theresa, and became involved with the building of the Kinugasa Catholic Church in Kyoto.  In 1958 both Namie and Yuki, at age 76, were baptized, the latter taking the name of Theresa.  By this time the Morgans had revived their financial support of Yuki.  She died on May 18, 1963, and was buried in Kyoto as Theresa Yuki Morgan.

In 1951, her extraordinary life became the subject of a musical in Japan, later a biography, a novel, and finally, a play at Ventfort Hall, where George Denison Morgan once lived.

Cost to attend is $26 for advance reservations and $32 day of the event.  Reservations are highly recommended as attendance is limited.  For reservations call us at 413-637-3206.