Amy Lindner-Lesser is the Innkeeper and Proprietor of The Rookwood Inn in Lenox and is a WAM Season Sponsor. A native of Queens, NY, Amy went to school in Manhattan and did her undergraduate degree in sociology and languages at Georgetown University. While earning her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania she met her husband, Steve. They married in 1980 and spent nearly 20 years working in the fields of social work, adoption, and health care before moving from Philadelphia to the Berkshires in 1996 with their two daughters and buying The Rookwood Inn. Steve sadly passed away in 1999, but Amy has continued to keep the Inn a thriving business and is an active member of the community. A recent highlight of her life has been the birth of her first grandchild!
WAM Theatre: How did you learn about WAM Theatre and get involved with us?
Amy Lindner-Lesser: The Inn has been a season sponsor now for about three years, but I started attending WAM events before we started sponsoring. I love the mission of WAM, I love the pieces they pick to do, and the talent of everyone involved is just wonderful. I’m delighted to be able to support WAM. I think it is a great organization doing great things.
WAM: How did you come to live in the Berkshires and run The Rookwood Inn?
Amy: My late husband and I bought the Inn in October of 1996, which means I’m coming up on my 20th anniversary as an innkeeper! We had both grown up in New York City, but as children, long before we met each other, we both attended summer camps in Cummington, MA. Also my mother, a Smith graduate, was a founder of the American Dance Guild and she started a scholarship for dancers to attend Jacob’s Pillow, so we went there and to Tanglewood regularly. In fact my Mom is still alive and we still make a couple of trips a year to the Pillow. So coming to the Berkshires was a life-long dream. We enjoyed raising our two daughters here.
WAM: Happy 20th Anniversary! What a wonderful asset you’ve been to the Berkshires during that time. You very generously donate housing for our out-of-town artists at the Inn. You must enjoy the experience.
Amy: Theatre is one of the things I love best about the Berkshires. I grew up seeing shows on Broadway all the time – I remember I belonged to a theatre club in high school and we would get group tickets. So it is great fun to get to know the actors – to see them as themselves at breakfast and then on stage at night as a completely different person. And we have housed designers and playwrights as well, which has been fascinating. I am really looking forward to welcoming this year’s lighting designer, Lily Fossner, to the Inn.
WAM: What would you like to see WAM accomplish in the future?
Amy: In the near future I would love to see WAM mount two Main Stage productions per year, which I don’t think is a far-fetched goal. I find Kristen’s energy really infectious. She and I have talked about the Inn hosting mid-week workshops, which I think would be a great idea. I think you should spread your mission to other organizations so they can go and do great things too.
WAM: The Inn is such a beautiful building. Tell us a little bit about it.
Amy: The Rookwood Inn is a beautiful building in a beautiful location and I consider myself its steward. I think we have the best location in the Berkshires! We are half a block below the monument in Lenox, so we are out of the hustle and bustle, but an easy walk or drive to all the shops and restaurants in town. It is a little over a mile to Tanglewood and less than a mile from Shakespeare & Company. One reason I support WAM is that I feel it is important to keep culture alive here year round. The summer is our busy season, of course, but we have guests year round, and I have the most wonderful staff. I love that WAM presents most of its events during the other “quieter” months of the year. I personally try to enjoy as much Berkshire culture as possible!
Just as WAM strives to tell the stories of women and girls, I think of the Inn as a Grande Dame, with a history to be preserved and a story to tell. (You can read the full history of the Rookwood Inn HERE)