Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pioneer Valley Theatre News April 21, 2016

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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  April 21-May 11, 2016

Congrats to the Academy of Music for being named the Best Place to See Live Theatre. Join the Academy tonight to celebrate our 125th Anniversary! And congrats to the Majestic Theater and New Century Theatre for their second and third place wins.

Northampton Arts Council grant applications are now available, anytime through May 15th. Check out the listing below for more information and a link to the application. 

And Valley Gives Day is coming: Tuesday, May 3. Please consider a gift to help your favorite theatre company - or other Pioneer Valley non-profit. New Century Theatre is participating. And the Academy of Music. So is Serious Play! And Enchanted Circle. And Double Edge. And Eggtooth Productions. Is your company? Let me know and I'll link them next week. Any donation given between now and May 3 counts toward Valley Gives. Donate today!

The next issue will include events through May 18. Submit upcoming events via the link below or by emailing me before next Tuesday at midnight. Any questions, comments or feedback? Email me at

Submit Your Theatre Event
Arena Civic Theatre presents SPRING AWAKENING. Get your tickets today!
from Howlround
Radical Empathy, Embodied Pedagogy, and Climate Change Theatre
by Theresa May
From the article: 

Every historical moment has its theatre, but never has a time so desperately needed what theatre offers. Sociologists are studying the kinds of skills and sensibilities required if human beings are to avert the catastrophes of climate change that scientists predict. Skills like radical empathy, deep listening, collective embodied practice, and a sense of self-as-community—all central to theatre as a way of knowing—are essential to what climate sociologist Kari Norgaard calls the “revolution of our shared imagination.” “Imagination is power especially in a time of crisis,” she writes. We need to “imagine the reality of what is happening to the natural world…to imagine how those ecological changes are translating into social, political, and economic outcomes, and … to imagine how to change course. ” It’s time, Una Chaudhuri writes, to bring the “vast resources of live, embodied performance [to] the service of the… radical imagination called for by the perilous predicament” of climate change.

Have you read an interesting article about theatre recently? Send it to me!
The Academy of Music presents 
125 Years of Memories at the Academy of Music Theatre

April 21 at 6:30 PM
Academy of Music Theatre
274 Main St., Northampton, MA 01060

We invite you to join us as we celebrate “125 Years of Memories”, a benefit for the Academy of Music Theatre!

We have an incredible evening planned, beginning with cocktails and a silent auction that will draw items and packages from Pioneer Valley businesses and artists.

Once most of our guests have arrived, we’ll transition into the auditorium for a presentation of the Academy through the years. This program will provide guests with a moving history, capturing moments representative of each decade. To paint this picture, we will use short vignettes, movie and music clips, woven together with the help of a narrator.

Following the production, attendees will be invited onstage for the party, which will include locally sourced appetizers and a cash bar featuring craft beer and wine from Black Birch Vineyard.

Tickets and more information
The Country Players presents Neil Simon's hit Broadway comedy "God's Favorite"
April 21, and 22 at 7:00 p.m. 
April 23rd at 1:00 p.m.
Frontier Regional High School

For reservations, please call 413-768-9126.
For more information, please visit The County Players on Facebook. 

$10 for children under 12
$13 for student 13+ and those with valid student ID
$13 for 65+
$16 for Adult
Smith College Department of Theatre presents

by Katori Hall
directed by Nicole A. Watson
April 21, 22, 23 at 7:30 PM in Theatre 14

The Wall Street Journal calls Our Lady of Kibeho "The most important new play of the year.” Set in 1981, a village girl in Rwanda claims to see the Virgin Mary. Ostracized by her schoolmates and labeled disturbed, everyone refuses to believe, until the impossible starts happening again and again. Skepticism gives way to fear, faith, and fate, causing upheaval in the school community and beyond. The New York Times calls this play "Transfixing!... has the gripping intensity of a thriller!" 

$10 General, $5 Students and Seniors, FREE for Smith Students. Tickets available online or by calling 413-585-3220.

Created and directed by Ping Chong + Talvin Wilks
Produced in association with Ping Chong + Company
Rand Theater

4/21/16, 4/22/16 at 7:30
4/23/16 at 2:00 & at 7:30

What would visitors from another world think if they looked at the race history of the United States? In Collidescope 2.0: Adventures in Pre and Post Racial America, which runs at the UMass Amherst Department of Theater from April 14 to 23, an alien species attempts to make sense of a subject fraught with inherent misperceptions, ironies and contradictions. Taking an “alien” view of this aspect of human behavior, the gaze of Collidescope places these issues under a microscope. Traveling from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, exploring the Pre-Revolutionary War era when freedmen and slaves contemplated their rights in a soon-to-be independent nation, then back to the present day, this work creates a cubistic frame, revealing different angles from which to observe America’s troubled “peculiar” history and its on-going, violent consequences.

We will have post-show conversations on April 16 and April 20-23. Stay tuned for details about topics and guest respondents, and check our website for updates as the event approaches.

The HCC Theater Department presents
by Samuel D. Hunter

April 21-23 at 7:30 PM
April 23 at 2:00 PM
Leslie Phillips Theater

The play, directed by HCC theater professor Tim Cochran, tells the story of a 600-pound recluse, hiding away in his Idaho apartment, slowly eating himself to death. Desperate to reconnect with his long-estranged daughter, he reaches out to her, only to find a viciously sharp-tongued and wildly unhappy teen. Big-hearted and fiercely funny, The Whale tells the story of a man's last chance at redemption -- and of finding beauty in the most unexpected places.

The Thursday, April 21, performance will be ASL interpreted. 
$10 General Admission; $8 Students and Seniors; $5 HCC community members with ID. 
More information

The Majestic Theater presents BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO
April 21-May 22 
West Springfield

The musical, which features the music of Neil Sedaka, is set during Labor Day Weekend in 1960 and features Marge and her stagestruck best friend Lois, who arrive at Esther’s Paradise Resort in the Catskills. Marge has just been left at the altar, and has decided to turn what would have been her honeymoon into a vacation with Lois. Romantic schemes and entanglements involve the pair along with several other characters, including Del Delmonaco, the resort’s handsome singer, Gabe, a geekish handyman, Harvey, the Borscht Belt comic and the widowed Esther.

Cast members include Elizabeth Swan (Marge), Alexandra O’Halloran (Lois), Robbie Simpson (Del Delmonaco), Denise Walker (Esther) and Frank Aronson (Harvey). The play will be directed by the Majestic’s Producing Director Danny Eaton. Mitch Chakour is the music director, and set design is by Greg Trochlil.

Ticket for the play range from $25-$30 and are available by calling or visiting the box office during its hours of operation, which are Monday through Friday 10am – 5pm and Saturday 10am – 1pm.  More information
Greenfield Community College presents 
by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Tom Geha

April 22, 23 at 7:30pm
April 21 ARTSNIGHT at GCC at 5pm
Sloan Theater at Greenfield Community College

"If you’ve never experienced Sarah Ruhl’s work before — or if you’ve wondered what all the fuss over the lauded American playwright is about — Melancholy Play is a good place to start. This early whimsical, surrealistic, even absurdist somewhat in the mode of Eugene Ionesco. You worry that bad things happen to good people? Here really strange things happen to all people...Giddy as it is, Melancholy Play actually affords considerable psychological insight." - Dallas News

More information
Arena Civic Theatre Presents
Spring Awakening

Book by Steven Sater,
Lyrics by Duncan Sheik
Based on the play by Frank Wedekind
April 22, 23, 29 & 30 at 8:00 PM
April 24 & May 1 at 2:00 PM
The Ruth B. Smith Auditorium
at the Orange Town Hall
6 Prospect Street
Orange, MA 01364

Spring Awakening, the rock musical that took Broadway by storm, plays in the Ruth B. Smith Auditorium at the Orange Town Hall April 22 – May 1, 2016. A group of pubescent students navigate the anxieties of coming-of-age in a provincial world as their budding sexuality takes us from youthful lust to tragic consequences.

The ground breaking play fuses morality, sexuality, and rock and roll, and caused critics to exclaim that it awakened Broadway like no other musical. It won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical and was hailed by the New York Drama Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle as the Best Musical of the Year.

The ACT production is directed by Megan Healey, with musical direction by Ted Trobaugh and choreography by Sue Dresser. The cast includes: Chloe Castro-Santos as Wendla, Emme Grace Geryk as Martha, Hannah Trobaugh as Thea, Cassandra Clark as Anna, Laura Langman as Ilse, Bobby Hawes as Melchior, Tyler Conroy as Moritz, Nicholas Cummings as Hanschen, Collins Hilton as Ernst, Sean Sanford as Georg, AJ Krawczyk as Otto, Alana Martineau as Adult Women, and Joshua Aaron Mason as Adult Men.

Talkback sessions featuring members of the cast and production crew, as well as community members in the fields of mental health and education, will take place after both matinee performances, April 24th and May 1st.

Due to mature themes and language, this show is not recommended for young children.

Tickets $16 General Admission, $13 Seniors/Students and are available at the door or by calling to reserve at (413) 233-3368 or
The Springfield Armory presents Meet Lucy Stone
April 24 at 2:00 PM
1 Armory Square, Springfield (on campus of STCC)

The proverbial unsung heroine, Lucy Stone finally gets stage time in this performance by award-winning actress/storyteller Judith Black. From MA, Stone was a Civil War abolitionist and suffragette who made significant accomplishments. She called Frederick Douglass her friend, was the first woman in the country to keep her maiden name, and the first woman in MA who received a college degree.

Free performance. More information
online. The play take place on the final date of the Armory's special exhibit on the Civil War, in addition to the final day of School Vacation Week events.
Smith College Department of Theatre presents Two Studio Productions:

by Caryl Churchill

Directed by Kitty Lixin Lin
April 26 and 28 at 7:30 PM
Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre

This timely drama resulted from a trip to Romania. Developed with students from London's Central School of Drama, this is an incisive portrait of society in turmoil that focuses on two families to reveal what life is like under a totalitarian regime and what results when the regime collapses. The play's brief scenes are almost cinematic in their presentation of events as seen by ordinary people trying to live in peace.

by William Shakespearre

Directed by Samantha Biatch
April 27 and 29 at 7:30 PM
Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre


Tragedy, comedy, love, betrayal, disguised identities, redemption and reconciliation – all rolled up in one play. A WINTER’S TALE, written towards the end of Shakespeare’s career is a sweeping saga that spans sixteen years and possesses one of the Bard’s most famous stage directions, “Exit, pursued by bear.”

Both performances are free and open to the public, no reservations. 

Feast of Players presents a staged reading of

April 30 at 7:30 PM
Art Block, 4th floor, Greenfield

Join us for this rollicking trip into space as disillusioned techies Dan and Lee, abetted by neighbors Meg and Greg set off to escape the chaos of a disintegrating planet; perhaps find peace in a mythical Garden of Eden. But the Uncertainty Principle curves space time into unexpected realities.  Where is the Garden? Where is love safe? Elder and younger aliens received the transmission of their lives, meant to replace the Voyager space probe "Golden Disc" of 1977, light years hence. The disc was censored and couldn't show naked beings.  They'll fix that! Who are these Earthlings? It's a cosmic comedy.  Join us.

Donations accepted at the door. Talkback to follow performance.
TheatreTruck presents Commedia Grab Bag!
at the 14th Annual Community Renaissance Festival

May 1 between 11:00 and 4:00
The Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies, Amherst

TheatreTruck brings our spin to Commedia dell'Arte, merging the contemporary and the imaginative with this historical form of physical performance!

YOU decide what scenes -- from well-known playwrights (Moliere! Shakespeare! Goldoni!) and the minds of the actors themselves-- will be performed in this choose-your-own-adventure performance.

Catch our troupe performing this Commedia-collage on stage and roving (of course!) around the festival throughout the day.

Commedia Grab Bag!
Conceived & Directed by Brianna Sloane
Design by Elizabeth Pangburn
Starring Andrew Roberts, Glenn Proud & Linda Tardif

TheatreTruck is a Collaborative of interdisciplinary artists. We value a process of performance-making rooted in collaboration, community dialogue and sustainable methodology. And fun! We value fun!

Facebook event
here. See the full event schedule and more here.
Amherst College Department of Theatre presents Seven Devils and A French Nun
By Ron Bashford and Carine Montbertrand
Directed by Ron Bashford
May 6-7 at 8PM, May 8, 2PM,
Studio 3, Webster Hall
Admission is free
Reservations recommended 
(413) 542-2277
Professional actor and Bouffon-clown performer Carine Montbertrand teams up with director Ron Bashford to present their original one-woman show, Seven Devils and a French Nun. Admission is free, but seating is extremely limited and reservations are highly recommended.  

Seven Devils and a French Nun is based on the true story of Jeanne des Anges, the 17th-century hunchback nun who accused a renegade priest of possessing her with seven devils.   Multiple exorcisms, a burning, and a major miracle later, Jeanne became a living saint, captivating all of France during her lifetime.  Performing in the tradition of a Bouffon clown (a technique made famous by Sasha Baron Cohen’s “Borat” character), Carine Montbertrand portrays Jeanne and each of the devils who possessed her in a 75-minute bravura performance.  The show was co-created and co-written with director Ron Bashford through a two-year process of improvisation and research.   Seven Devils and a French Nun was first presented last summer in a workshop version at the Barn Arts Collective in Bass Harbor, Maine, and then again recently at Cloud City in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Before the Amherst run, Ms. Montbertrand will perform an excerpt of the show at Dixon Place in New York City.  Future plans include a run at the Stella Adler Studios in New York this summer, and an eventual tour of international festivals dedicated to presenting new work.

Lighting for show will be designed by Kathy Couch, the resident lighting designer at Amherst College.  The creation and presentation of Seven Devils and A French Nun has been supported by the H. Axel Schupf ’57 Fund for Intellectual Life, and the Theater and Dance Department at Amherst College.

For more information about Seven Devils and A French Nun and other arts events on the Amherst College campus, go to, and
The Majestic Theater presents The Majesters Improv Comedy
May 10 and June 7 at 7:00 PM
The Majestic Theatre, 131 Elm St. West Springfield, MA

An evening of musical improv comedy featuring the valley's best spontaneous comics.

Tickets for the Majesters shows will be $7 and sold at the door only the night of each show. The troupe takes suggestions and inspiration from audience members. Seating is general admission.

More info 
Valley Light Opera presents Auditions for RUDDIGORE

The Production Team invites you to audition for VLO’s 42nd annual Fall Production - Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore, to be staged at the fabulous, newly renovated Academy of Music in Northampton in November, 2016. 

Though not currently among the best-known of the G&S operettas, in its day Ruddigore was every bit as successful as the "Big Three". It is considered a favorite of many G&S aficionados due to its beautiful score, macabre plot , arguably the best patter song in the canon, and its potential for lively, creative staging , period costumes and high melodrama. Ruddigore also features the oft-imitated, show-stopping chorus of ghostly ancestors emerging from their portraits as the original walking dead! A classic story of curses, crime, flirtation, and madness, Ruddigore is a parody of Melodrama and Horror - two of the major literary and theatrical movements of their time. As always, Valley Light Opera productions feature a large cast, full orchestra, elaborate sets and lavish period costumes. 

Auditions schedule is as follows:
Location: Wesley United Methodist Church at 98 North Maple Street, Hadley
Saturday April 23 12 Noon -5PM Leads
Monday April 25 7-9PM Leads
Thursday April 28 7-9PM Leads and Chorus
Friday April 29 7-9PM Leads and Chorus

Stage Director: Ted Blaisdell:
Music Director: Aldo Fabrizi:
Coordinating Producer: Connie Cappelli:

Rehearsals are at Wesley in Hadley, start September 6th and run Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-9:30 and Sundays 5-9:00 (with potluck dinner coordinated by rotating cast member volunteers) 

Performances are over two weekends in early November preceded by a tech week, all at the Academy of Music in Northampton. 

A synopsis, character descriptions w/vocal ranges along with songs and/or dialogue readings to prepare may be downloaded as a pdf. This information is also available as a file posted to the VLO Members Facebook Group where you will also find the full rehearsal and performance schedule.

A copy of the vocal score for Ruddigore and a CD will be on reserve at the Jones Library in Amherst, and numbers from the score may be copied there. An on-line PDF vocal score is available from G & S Archives.

Valley Light Opera is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization based in Amherst, MA. Each year for over 40 years the VLO has produced lavish, fully-staged, orchestrated and costumed productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas - and occasionally other musical theater works. Rehearsals are typically in Hadley and performances at the Academy of Music in Northampton. Applicants who are unfamiliar with VLO are encouraged to explore our website at
The Northampton Arts Council has set a May 15th deadline for applications from organizations, schools and individuals for grants that support cultural activities in the community.
The online application form is now open and available here.
The application process will be online only. Please do not submit paper applications.

These grants can support a variety of artistic projects and activities in Northampton, Florence, and Leeds, including exhibits, writings, festivals, field trips, short-term artist residencies or performances in schools, workshops and lectures.

The Northampton Arts Council is a unique Local Cultural Council in that it offers a second round of grants every spring with money raised through annual events like Transperformance and the Four Sundays in February Series. 

Funds will be available in the following categories: Dance, Film/Video, Literature, Mixed Media, Music, Schools, Theater, and Visual Arts. Last spring, the Council awarded $15,000 to 23 recipients with grants ranging from $250-$1500. 

Projects must start no earlier than July 1, 2016, and must be completed by June 30, 2017. ArtsEZ grants are reimbursed to the recipient after the completion of the project.

More info here.
Real Live Theatre is looking for an actress aged 20 or older to play the Earl of Warwick in our all-female production of The Life and Death of Queen Margaret, a dynamic 'new' Shakespeare play co-adapted by Toby Bercovici and Dan Morbyrne and directed by Toby Bercovici. The piece begins rehearsals on May 21 and will rehearse two evenings and two weekend days per week in Sunderland and Easthampton, with actors being called to some but not all of those rehearsals. Performances are July 28-31 and August 5-6. We will also tour the show to Colby College in Waterville, Maine September 21-25. While the Summer production will not pay except in a profit split after expenses, the Fall tour promises $500 for the four days. For more information or to schedule an audition, contact Toby Bercovici,
Summer Internships and Apprenticeships with New Century Theatre
Season: May 31-August 6

New Century Theatre’s Internship Program is a full-time summer experience meant for motivated individuals who are looking to bridge the gap between their academic experience and a career in theatre. Our interns are vital members of this small professional theatre, working alongside a dedicated company of artists, administrators, technicians and designers. Interns will gain practical experience, knowledge and industry contacts. New Century Theatre encourages interns to learn the basics behind all areas of theatrical production by varying intern assignments throughout the ten-week program.

The apprenticeship program at New Century Theatre is a part-time summer program for local high school students. Apprentices may work backstage, assist in the creation of props and costumes, and run the light board for our NCT Kids productions. Apprentices interested in lighting, costumes and set design may also have the opportunity to help with our mainstage New Century Theatre shows.

More information and applications available online.
Phantom Sheep Prod. w/ J-Art presents
LaughCrafters: Comedy Improv Classes for Teens & Adults

Every Monday for 6 weeks 
Beginning April 25 at 7:00 PM
Springfield Jewish Community Center

The next 6 week session of this highly successful and fun class continues at the Springfield JCC!

Learn new theater games and exercises.
Sharpen Quick Thinking.
Build Confidence on and off stage
Improve acting and stage presence.
Unleash creativity and characters.
Relax and laugh (a lot).
All taught in a very fun, encouraging, and constructive atmosphere by experienced professionals. 

Tuition: Only $75.  

Sign Up Today!
or call 413-739-4715

Facebook event here
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