Thursday, September 8, 2016

Pioneer Valley Theatre News September 8, 2016

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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 September 8 - 28, 2016

Mark  your calendars - and go see a piece of Northampton theatre history on Tuesday at 5:45 PM. The 1913 Maurice Tuttle curtain at the Academy of Music will be revealed after the recent restoration. It's free to go look and definitely worth it. 

The next issue will include events through October 5. Submit upcoming events via the link below or by emailing me before Tuesday at midnight. Any questions, comments or feedback? Email me at

Submit Your Theatre Event
from The Atlantic
The Plight of the Overworked Nonprofit Employee

by Jonathan Timm
From the article: 

Earlier this year, at the encouragement of President Obama, the Department of Labor finalized the most significant update to the federal rules on overtime in decades. The new rules will more than double the salary threshold for guaranteed overtime pay, from about $23,000 to $47,476. Once the rules go into effect this December, millions of employees who make less than that will be guaranteed overtime pay under the law when they work more than 40 hours a week.

Have you read an interesting article about theatre recently? Send it to me!
The Majestic Theater presents MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET
by Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott
September 8-October 23

West Springfield, MA

Million Dollar Quartet” tells about the real-life events of Tuesday afternoon, December 4, 1956 at Sun Records' Memphis studio. Rockabilly star Carl Perkins was there working on a revamped version of the blues song “Matchbox,” when fellow Sun recording artists Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley drifted into the studio, and the quartet took part in a loose jam session that producer Sam Phillips had the foresight to record. A local reporter who was called and sat in headlined his newspaper article which ran the next day, “Million Dollar Quartet.”

Cast members include Jay Sefton (Sam Phillips), Colin Patrick Ryan (Elvis Presley), Corbin Mayer (Johnny Cash), Brian Michael Henry (Jerry Lee Lewis), Dan Whelton (Carl Perkins) and Kaytlyn Vandeloecht (Dyanne).

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. Stephen Petit is production stage manager, and associate stage manager is Aurora Ferraro.

For additional information, visit the website
Happier Valley Comedy presents the Happier Valley Comedy Show
September 10 at 8pm
Arts Block, Greenfield

Happier Valley Comedy Show Monthly comedy show featuring improv comedians The Ha-Ha's & Friends performing “The Fourth Wall“ where the audience becomes a character in the scene, plus special guests Julie Waggoner and Jenny Drescher. Saturday September 10th. Arts Block (289 Main St., Greenfield) at 8:00pm. (Doors open at 7pm.) Tickets $13 at the door and in advance online at For ticket information, call 413-774-0150, for show info email

Facebook event here.
Happier Valley Comedy presents More Improv, More Better After Show and Jam
September 10 at 10:00 PM
Arts Block, Greenfield

Open improv jam for everyone and anyone to play and watch improv games lead by Happier Valley Comedy friends. Plus a showcase set featuring an up-and-coming improv team. Saturday September 10th. Arts Block (289 Main St., Greenfield) at 10-11pm. (Directly following the Happier Valley Comedy Show.) Free show (one drink minimum.) For more info visit the website or email.

Facebook event here.
1913 Maurice Tuttle Curtain Reveal at the Academy of Music
See our newly conserved 1913 scenic curtain up close!

Academy of Music Theatre
September 13th
5:45-6:30 p.m.
Free, no reservations required

The Academy of Music Theatre will unveil an historic gem that has not been seen by the public in a century: a beautiful, antique, stage-spanning scenic curtain depicting a classic Northampton vista, which was rediscovered during our 2014 auditorium restoration. Newly conserved over the course of two weeks in early August, the Academy is thrilled to offer this piece of Northampton history back to the community. The painting will be displayed for the public to walk in and view on stage. We hope you can stop by!

Facebook event here.

Northampton Playwrights Lab presents PLAY BY PLAY
A.P.E. Gallery, 126 Main Street, Northampton
September 15, 16, 17,  22, 23, 24, 25

Seating is very limited. Please arrive early! $10 Suggested Donation.

Thurs Sept. 15 at 7:30: Harley Erdman, CROWSNEST, directed by Sheila Siragusa
Fri Sept. 16 at 7:30: Mojie Crigler, THE WINKLEMEYERS BET IT ALL, directed by Jennifer Onopa
Sat Sept. 17 at 7:30: Eric Henry Sanders, WHERE’S ANNIE?, directed by Gina Kaufmann

Thurs Sept 22 at 7:30: Meryl Cohn, NAKED WITH FRUIT, directed by Melissa Redwin
Fri Sept. 23 at 7:30: Meryl Cohn, NAKED WITH FRUIT, directed by Melissa Redwin
Sat Sept. 24 at 7:30: Leanna James Blackwell, GRIMM WOMEN, directed by the playwright
Sunday, Sep. 25 at 4 p.m: Tanyss Rhea Martula, HOTPOT, directed by Becca Greene-Van Horn, and MY LIFE IN ROCK ’N ROLL

The Plays
CROWSNEST by Harley Erdman
In an ecovillage somewhere up in the hills, Danny, a newcomer, arrives at a utopian community divided over its future direction. His friendship with two residents, Sarah and Carl, embroils him in passion, jealousy, secrets, and conspiracy. CROWSNEST explores the meanings of love, family, and community, in a corner of contemporary America where people striving for utopia put these terms to the extreme test. This will be the first-ever public performance of this brand-new play by Harley Erdman, a UMass theater professor known locally for his librettos for the operas THE GARDEN OF MARTYRS and THE SCARLET PROFESSOR.

THE WINKLEMEYERS BET IT ALL is the story of one man’s boom and bust during the first wave of big Internet money, and the price he pays for success that continues to elude him. This play, which was originally produced at an obscure, now-defunct theatre festival in New York City, is one of a number of works by Mojie Crigler, whose other plays have been seen at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Magic Theatre, New York Performance Works, and Carnegie Mellon University.

WHERE’S ANNIE? by Eric Henry Sanders
Where's Annie? Who's Annie? And what have Jack and Birdie done with her? In this dark comedy, Sarah Bitts returns home to confront her estranged grandparents, only to discover that the eccentric pair hides a past more frightening than she ever imagined. Caught in the couple’s alternately terrifying and bitterly humorous web of riddles, lies, and suspicion, Sarah fights her way to the truth and to her family’s redemption. Originally workshopped at the Lark Play Development Center in New York City, WHERE'S ANNIE? was developed in a reading with Frances Sternhagen at the Hudson Stage Company, where it also received its premiere production. This reading offers audiences a first glimpse at a substantially revised version of the play.

Can three people who share the loss of the same love come together to heal? NAKED WITH FRUIT is a comedy about grief and the quest for love and family. Isabel and Marilyn reconsider polyamory as they grieve the death of the secret third member of their intimate relationship. Isabel’s longing to connect inspires desperate measures, including befriending a Rabbi -- which leads to more secrets and betrayals. Through a tricky road to recovery, the loss of a shared love may turn out to be a powerful bond. An earlier version of Naked with Fruit was produced at the Provincetown Theater and was a Mass Cultural Council Finalist for playwriting.

GRIMM WOMEN by Leanna James Blackwell
A radical re-envisioning of three classic fairy tales, GRIMM WOMEN features a trio of women – a young runaway from a religious community, an adoptive mother living in urban public housing, and a globally successful business owner - telling their stories in a series of impassioned monologues. GRIMM WOMEN transforms the traditionally maligned witches, stepmothers, and spell-casting fairies of legend into living, breathing, 21st century women with a mission: to tell their side of the story for the first time. This will be the first-ever public performance of GRIMM WOMEN, the newest play by the director of Bay Path University’s MFA in Creative Nonfiction and the author of CURTAIN CALL, recently performed at the Berkshire Theatre Group; THE WENDY CHRONICLES; and NEW SOUL.

HOTPOT and MY LIFE IN ROCK ‘N’ ROLL Two pieces by Tanyss Rhea Martula
HOTPOT, a short play. Two mothers meet to talk about their teenage children and find themselves in a melange of tight spaces, awkwardness, and confusion as things heat up. An earlier version of the play was staged at Chicago Dramatists. MY LIFE IN ROCK ‘N’ ROLL, a solo performance piece in progress. A roller coaster ride through the highs of an unexpected late-in-life passion and the highs and lows of an unpredictable family. Performed by the playwright who will be showing the work she develops during the two-week PLAY BY PLAY residency at A.P.E. There will be a brief talk-back after ROCK ‘N’ ROLL.

Shelburne Falls Memorial Hall presents THE DIXIE SWIM CLUB
7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 16, 17, 23, and 24
2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18.  
Shelburne Falls Memorial Hall, 51 Bridge Street, Shelburne Falls, MA.

The Dixie Swim Club brings live theater back to historic Shelburne Falls Memorial Hall!

Written by Jesse Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten, The Dixie Swim Club celebrates with poignancy and a good deal of laughter the dynamics of women’s friendships -- college buddies, sisters, neighbors - and the long-lasting love, challenges and great girls’ weekends that are a part of those friendships. The five friends, former college swim team buddies, come together once a year at an Outer Banks beach cottage to talk, laugh, swim, relax, reminisce, comfort, confront, talk and laugh some more. Throughout the 50-some years they have been meeting at the cottage, they have been the glue for each other through all of life’s happiness and crises.

Reserve tickets by emailing or purchase at the door (cash/checks only).
Happier Valley Comedy presents the Happier Valley Comedy Show
September 17 at 4:00 PM
Eastworks Community Room

Happier FAMILY Comedy Show Monthly improv comedy show for the whole family. Best for 5-12 year olds and their adults. Saturday September 17th at 4pm.  Located at Eastworks' Community Room (Suite 160) 116 Pleasant Street, Easthampton. Tickets at the door or online: $10/Adults, $5/Kids (4 yrs and under free), $30/Family Max. For more info visit

Facebook event here. Buy your ticket(s) online here.
a site-specific theatrical journey with live music
9/22 @ 8:30PM, 9/23 @ 6:30 and 8:30PM; 9/24 @ 6:30 & 8:30pm
Swift River Valley Historical Society, 40 Elm Street in the village of North New Salem, just west of Rt. 202.

Live theater joins forces with the Pioneer Valley’s thriving independent music scene in this original immersive production, created by TheatreTruck Collaborator Emma Ayres. Immerse yourself in the currents of time in this story of the flooding of the Quabbin Reservoir. The water is rising.

Directed by Emma Ayres and Brianna Sloane with design by John Bechtold, Emily Taradash, C. Webster Marsh and Austin Federa.

TICKETS available at Brown Paper Tickets.
$20 in advance ($15 students/seniors in advance)

OR $25 cash only at the door if available ($20 students/seniors).

“Newspaper headlines read: 4 towns flooded, 2,500 people relocated, houses moved on the backs of trucks, 7,500 graves dug up and reburied on higher ground, memories drowned, and little know…”

THE WATER PROJECT (IMMERSIVE) submerges the audience in a dreamscape evoking the final week of the decision making-process: to flood or not to flood the Swift River Valley in service of providing clean water to rapidly growing Boston. The audience is invited to explore the story unfolding around them in this theatrical journey. Faced with imminent flooding, the Doubleday family confronts the end of life and home as they know it, while anxiety rises and rumors walk the halls.

On Facebook. This event involves going up and down stairs, and much of the performance is not wheelchair accessible. We wish it was.
Serious Play Theatre Ensemble presents The Red Guitar
Return from the Edinbugh Fringe
September 23 at 8:00 pm
Shea Theatre, Turner's Falls

Just returning from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival  with a five star review from the well respected Herald Scotland newspaper, and sold out audiences every night of the two and a half weeks the show premiered there, Serious Play Theatre presents John Sheldon's The Red Guitar: Return From The Fringe. John uses his virtuosity as a guitarist and storyteller to go beyond genres and styles, into the beating heart of music-the power of sound to transport and transform. Sharing the sounds that shaped a life.

Tickets online or call 800-838-3006
Arena Civic Theatre Presents
Disney’s Beauty & the Beast

Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman & Tim Rice
Book by Linda Woolverton
Directed by Dawn Mayo
Musical Direction by Ted Trobaugh
Choreography by Sue Dresser

Presented 9/23, 24, 30 & 10/1 at 7:30 PM and 9/25** & 10/2 at 2:00 PM
**Please note that the 9/25 matinee is a SENSORY FRIENDLY PERFORMANCE – this means that the lighting will not be as dark, the sound will not be as loud, and audience members are invited to meet the principal characters before the show to get to know them ahead of time. Audience movement and voices are understood and welcome**

The Ruth B. Smith Auditorium at the Orange Town Hall
6 Prospect Street
Orange, MA 01364

Tickets $16 General Admission, $13 Seniors/Students, $10 Children and are available at the door or by calling to reserve at (413) 233-4368 or online. Opening night all tickets are $8 and audiences members are invited to dress as their favorite Disney character.

Step into the enchanted world of Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, an international sensation that has played to over 35 million people worldwide in 13 countries. Based on the Academy-Award winning animated feature, this spectacular musical tells the story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity. Be Arena Civic Theatre’s guest for this beloved musical!

Facebook Event.

Eggtooth Productions, The Arts Block & 
Franklin Community Co-op offer

A new immersive adaptation of Shakespeare’s
The Winter’s Tale 

Directed & Designed by John Bechtold with Music by John Sheldon

Sept. 28-Oct. 1, 2016 at 7:30 pm with a 2 pm matinee on Oct. 2.
Explore the rich stories of The Winter’s Talethrough intuitive, instinctual, & imaginative ways, as we break the boundaries between the real & the imaginary across 5 floors of Arts Block in Greenfield, MA where the physical space is metamorphosed to transfix, transform, & transport audience members through their senses as they experience the action & environment.

The Winter’s Tale is one of jealousy, redemption, reunification, and the healing power of Time. Audience members enjoy a uniquely personal experience, with a cast of fine local actors including dancers, singers and guitar music by John Sheldon.

Costumes & Production co-design by Julia V. Whalen; Stage manager, Deb Banks McIntosh, Lights by Downright Productions with Troy David Mercier, Linda Tardif, Reynolds Whalen, Stephen Eldredge, Jack Golden, Atticus, Monte, & Enzo Belmonte, Marina Goldman, Richard Skoler, Andrew Plimpton, Ian Emerson, Fiona Herter, Lindel Hart, Katie Spurgin, Katherine Adler, Michayla Robertson-Pine, Emma Ayres, and John Sheldon. 

Tickets online.

The Academy of Music is hiring a Theatre Manager. Check out the listing for this full-time position at Northampton's historical theatre venue here

5 parade style size puppets (designed to either be worn or carried on 10 foot poles). These puppets are of endangered animals: eagle, salamander, puffin, sea turtle and quetzal. They have been part of Quaker processions, First Nights in Boston, Orange and Cushman. I recently feel that I no longer have the energy to tote them around and orchestrate such events.
The puppets have been well received wherever they have been. Several years ago I received a grant that was used to create boxes for each puppet so that they would be able to be stored properly and not be damaged.  I am interested in finding an individual that would welcome these creations and see that the puppets continue to be put to good use in the world, primarily in raising awareness of environmental issues.
I have created these puppets and used them in processions and discovered how to keep them without destruction. I believe they could fill another role in theater. I seek a creative individual who is willing to give the puppets a new home and put them to work. A picture is attached. You can contact me, Judi Campbell.
Smith College Department of Theatre presents

Sunday and Monday, September 11 and 12, 7-10 PM
Acting Studio 1, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts
122 Green St, Northampton

By Robert Harling, directed by Jennifer Sturley '17J
Performances October 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, 7:30 PM, Theatre 14

Auditions will be held Sunday and Monday, September 11 and 12, 7-10 PM in Acting Studio 1. Callbacks will be on Tuesday, September 13, 7-10 PM. Perusal scripts are available in Josten Library.

Roles for 6 actors. Five college and community members welcome. We welcome diversity and color inclusive casting.

For more information about these auditions, see the Facebook event or the website.


Black Cat Theater is preparing for our Fall production of Oliver! An open call for ensemble members will be held on Monday, September 12th, 6:00 pm at South Hadley High School Auditorium.  We are seeking both adults and youth (boys and girls 10 years old and up).

Interested applicants will be asked to sing in a group.

If you are unable to make it and are interested in being part of the show email or leave a message at 413-563-6023.
Amherst Leisure Services Community Theater presents Auditions for Shrek!

Thursday, September 15 from 6:00 pm to 9:15 pm; Friday, September 16 from 6:00 pm to 9:15 pm; Saturday, September 17 from 10:00 am to 12:15 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:15 pm; Sunday, September 18 from10:00 am to 12:15 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:15 pm

Bangs Community Center, 70 Boltwood Walk, Amherst

SHREK is coming in January! Join ALSCT and audition for this spectacular and splashy, extravagant and hysterical show. Nine performances in January, in beautiful Bowker auditorium, a full live orchestra and lavish sets, with audiences totaling over 5000 people--this is one of the premiere opportunities for actors in the greater Pioneer Valley. And remember--in the swamp are people of all shapes and sizes and colors and ages, and  many roles are non-specific in regard to age, gender, race, body type, etc. and  may be cast non-traditionally.
Auditions are open to everyone from ages 7 to 107! 
FOR AUDITION APPOINTMENTS, Call Amherst Leisure Services at 413-259-3065. QUESTIONS? See
Hampshire Regional High School in Westhampton is looking for a director for the annual spring musical this year - March 2017. We have a generous stipend to offer someone with experience (preferably) working with high school students. Our standards are high and the production team is strong. We can provide excellent support to the right candidate.

More information online.

Easthampton City Arts+ (ECA+) announces new online applications for the upcoming 2017 grant cycle. Applications are being accepted for programming in the arts, humanities and interpretive sciences for projects benefitting the residents of Easthampton. The deadline for applications is October 17, 2016. ECA+ has also scheduled a free Grant Writing Workshop on Sept. 14, 2016 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at 43 Main St., Easthampton 01027. Attendees will learn about guidelines, priorities, and the new online application process.

“Moving to online applications will make the process much easier for everyone, especially applicants,” said Christy Crutchfield, ECA+ Grants Committee Chair. “We can’t wait to fund innovative and engaging projects in 2017.” Online applications will be available on September 1, 2016, and ECA+ will also announce their funding allocation at that time.

Each year the ECA+ Grants Committee, a Local Cultural Council, selects projects that strengthen and diversify arts and culture in the community. Projects must occur during 2017 and priority will be given to proposals that utilize Easthampton spaces and resources. Applications, however, will not be denied solely on this funding priority and will be evaluated based on local guidelines and those outlined by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Funding for the ECA+ Grants Committee is provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). Previously funded projects Bear Fest (2009), Art in the Orchard (2012), REACH (2013) and Unbuttoned (2015) have received recognition as Gold Star recipients, exemplary projects reflecting the mission of MCC. For more information please see

Easthampton City Arts+, formed in 2005, enriches lives through the integration of arts, culture and community and promotes revitalization and protection of Easthampton’s cultural assets. ECA merged with the Easthampton Cultural Council & Art Walk Easthampton to form ECA+ in 2011. Easthampton City Arts+ is funded in-part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Happier Valley Comedy presents Zen  of Improv 1: Discovering the Joy and Ease of Improv
Beginning September 12
Hadley, MA

Would you like to play and laugh for two hours every week?
Do you want to get better at thinking on your feet?
Could you use some practice in mindfulness and staying in the moment? turning off your judgmental mind? being brave?
Would you like to become more confident speaking in public?
Wanna try out this improv thing that all the kids are raving about?
How about hanging out with some of the coolest, kindest people in the Valley?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, Zen of Improv 1 would be an ever so lovely way to spend a couple hours every week. Happier Valley Comedy's Founder and Head of Happiness Pam Victor offers this weekly class for adults who want to try something fun, rewarding, and, quite possibly, mind-expanding. You'll learn a very gentle, very easy approach to improv comedy in an incredibly positive and accepting atmosphere that will get you up on your feet and out of your head. Through exercises, improv games, and scenework, you'll practice the vital improvisation skills of paying attention acutely, accepting other peoples ideas, redefining and disempowering failure, staying in the moment, reacting honestly to the reality of the here and now, and much more. 

No experience necessary. Being funny is not required! You can do this. (Yes, we mean you.)

Want to stretch your wings for a couple hours every week and laugh yourself silly in in the process? The first step is saying, "Yes, and..."

This class meets SIX MONDAYS from 6:30 to 8:30pm in Hadley, MA.

Class Dates:
(If we need a make up class it will be on 11/7)

(Plan on getting there about 5-10 min. early to settle in so the class can start promptly.)

***Students are required to attend at least four of the six classes in order to graduate to the next level.***

For more class offerings visit this site.

Register online. IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO REGISTER ONLINE, you may call Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006 to register via phone. If that doesn't work for you, email Rich at to complete the process, old school-style.

(Small print: Please note that once you make your purchase, your place in the class is non-refundable unless we can get someone to fill your spot.)

Theater Improv for Children and Teens

Theater improvisation increases spontaneity, creativity and self-confidence. We work on tuning into one’s scene partners, creating bold characters and developing skits with each other. The students will have opportunities to perform in the community, for family and friends

Middle School Group~ Weds. 3:00-5:00
Elementary-Age Group~ Thurs. 3:30-5:00

10 week sessions starting Sept. 14
$195 for Weds and $185 for Thurs
At the Florence Civic Center (Next to the Lilly Library)

TO REGISTER CALL: Heidi Haas 584-5562
Or email at
Check out my website at

New Century Theatre Fall Acting Classes
Acting For Non-Actors
Scene Study Intensive
Classes Begin 
September 20 and 21, 2016

Cost for the eight-week course is $275. Classes will be held at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street.

To register, send an email to Sam Rush or call413-587-3933 to hold a spot. You can Click on this link to download the PDF information and registration form.

Acting for Non-Actors
Instructor, Sam Rush 

Ages 18 and up (or by instructor permission)  
Tuesdays, 5:15-7:15 p.m.  
September 20 - November 15 
(no class on October 11) 
The perfect course if you have never taken an acting class before but have always wanted to try or had a class once way back when and want to try again. With NCT Producing Director Sam Rush, you'll have a chance to explore your inner ham in a fun, relaxed and supportive environment. Using improvisation, text and original source material, you'll learn fundamental acting techniques that may just serve you the rest of your life - on stage or off.  

Scene Study Intensive
Instructor, Sam Rush 
Ages 18 and up (or by instructor permission) 
Wednesdays, 5:15-7:15 p.m. 
September 21 - November 16
(no class on October 5)
This class is for actors with previous experience and for students who have taken the Acting for Non-Actors course and wish to continue their study of the actor's craft. We'll start right away with scene study work and exercises that support the rehearsal process. 
Happier Valley Comedy presents Communication Through Laughter
Greenfield Community College
October 13 at 9:00 AM

We hear a lot but how much do we really listen? More often than not, issues at work are born out of moments of missed communication. Let's strengthen your listening and speaking muscle. This workshop uses easy-to-learn improv exercises to hone the all-important skills of paying attention acutely, listening without judgment, and saying what you really mean in order to make you a more effective communicator in the workplace. And we're doing it all in a fun, laughter-filled workshop with surprisingly powerful results.

Register here. This class is part of the Workforce Development Program at GCC. The class is $105.
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