Thursday, June 8, 2017

Pioneer Valley Theatre News June 8, 2017

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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June 8-28, 2017

Summer theatres are gearing up: lots of opportunities to volunteer your spare time to help keep great theatre alive in the valley. See the opportunities section below for details about working with New Century Theatre or Hampshire Shakespeare Theatre. If you'd prefer to be onstage, there are a number of auditions listed below as well!

The next issue will include events through July 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 Howlround
James and the Giant Peach: An Earthworm's Resistance to Normalize Difference
by Billy Flood
From the article: 

We are in trouble. As artists under this new administration, we will be facing drastic financial cuts to our livelihoods. With many theatres already doing co-productions to save money, it is devastating to look at the financial disinvestment in culture and arts that is headed our way. The new budget under the current administration plans to cut 973 million dollars from arts discretionary spending. The proposed Presidential budget, slashing arts funding in such a drastic fashion, sends a definite message that art and culture are not worthy of support. With the travel bans on Muslims, and LGBTQ protections for workers being revoked via executive order,  and the attorney general looking to dismantle the consent decrees on correcting racism in policing practices—what this amounts to is an attack on difference. A concerted effort to push those of us who are "other" (black, brown, red, yellow, female, LGBTQ+, gender non-conforming, seemingly anything other than white male heterosexual Christians) to the outside, and make us feel less than, excluded, and simply not wanted. The message is clear from the rallies where Trump encouraged his followers to attack a black woman. If you are other, you are not a part of "Making America Great Again.” What do we do as artists? 

Have you read an interesting article about theatre recently? Send it to me!
The Town of Conway’s 250th anniversary celebration, in association with Silverthorne Theater Company, kicks off June 9 and 10 with SIX BY SIX BY SIX – six short comedies interspersed with six musical and other acts, presented free of charge at the Conway Sportsman’s Club. 
Performances will be held on Friday and Saturday, June 9 and 10, at 7:30 pm, with a matinee at 2 pm on Saturday. The Conway Sportsman’s Club, located at 193 Elmer Road in Conway, built a full stage for the event. Admission is free for all, but advance reservations are recommended as seating is limited. Reserve space by calling 413-369-4301, or writing to
Audience members should come early to claim their seats & enjoy pre-play music, burgers, hotdogs, coffee, soft drinks, cookies and snacks. BYOB. The Sportsman’s Club is handicapped accessible with plenty of on-site parking. Get directions to the Club at 193 Elmer Road in Conway by calling 413-369-4301, or writing to

The roster of plays for each performance includes Mrs. Sorken, by Christopher Durang, directed by Rebecca Daniels of Turners Falls and featuring Carmela Lanza of Shelburne Falls. Brianna Sloane (Northampton) directs Best in Class by Worcester playwright Ann Marie Shea, with Valley actors Moe McElligot, Andrew Roberts, Linda Tardif, and Troy David Mercier.
Conway resident Michael Haley directs two shows: Best Daddy, by Shel Silverstein, with two first-time performers, Claire Conklin and Bud Ware, both of Conway. Claire is 14 years old and attends PVPA. Haley also directs the World Premiere of his own work, Betty Baker’s Buttermilk Biscuit Barn, or B-5, with a large cast of local actors including Ann Steinhauser, Mike Curry, Marvin Shedd, Lorraine Boyden, Joan Haley, Justus Conant, Chris Devine, John Reese, and Troy David Mercier.
David Rowland (Gill) directs Robert Anderson’s hilarious homage to loss of memory, I’m Herbert, in which he and fellow Gill resident Sheila Heffernon play Herbert and Muriel (at least they think that those are their names!) On Break at L.L. Bean, by Donetta Lavinia Grays, introduces us to Ali and Jerome, played by Tang Sauce and Olusanya Bey, under the direction of Hannah Simms of Hartford. 
Some of the Acts to be performed in between the plays will include Chris Devine, Tj Conroy of "TJ & The Peepers", Janet Ryan, Sugarloaf String Band, Rosie Caine & her Trine Cheile Irish group, Justus Conant, the Cripps Puppets, and others to be announced.
Construction of the stage was made possible through the generosity and volunteers of the Conway Sportsman’s Club and Conway’s 250th Committee. Silverthorne Theater Company, resident professional theater at Greenfield’s Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center (formerly The Arts Block) , recruited directors and actors, and provided technical and public relations assistance to the project.  STC’s John Iverson donated the lighting instruments. The festival is funded by the Town of Conway’s 250th Celebration.
For further information, contact Lucinda Kidder, 413-768-7514 (Silverthorne Theater) or Joan Haley, 413-369-4301 (Conway Festival Producer),
Stageloft Repertory Theater, 450A Main Street, Sturbridge MA presents THE PRODUCERS.  This hit Broadway musical sensation is based on the 1968 film with a Book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan and Music and Lyrics by Mel Brooks. 

Performances are June 9 through June 25, Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM, Sundays at 2PM. 

This production is directed by Kevin McGerigle, music direction by Leah Marley, choreography by Jackie McGerigle. Tickets are $18 adults, $16 seniors/students/military, $10 youth.  Groups rates available.  For tickets call 508-347-9005 or visit


THE PRODUCERS once again sets the standard for modern, outrageous, in-your-face humor and winner of twelve Tony Awards! A down-on-his-luck Broadway producer and his mild-mannered accountant come up with a scheme to produce the most notorious flop in history, thereby bilking their backers out of millions of dollars. Only one thing goes awry: the show is a smash hit! 

Starring David Leslie as Max Bialystock, Isaac Swanson as Leo Bloom, Robyn Spain as Ulla, Josh Raymond as Franz Liebkind, and John Leslie as Roger Debris, along with an ensemble that includes Grace Leslie, mother of David and John, THE PRODUCERS marks the first time mother and sons (all veteran performers) have appeared together onstage!

Happier Valley Comedy presents the Happier Valley Comedy Show 
Saturday, June 10th at 8pm at the 121 Club, Eastworks (116 Pleasant Street, Easthampton).

All-new monthly improv comedy show! This month features special guest The Majesters plus The Ha-Ha's perform "Shrink: Where Freud Meets Funny."  

Tickets: $13 at the door. For more info:
Happier Valley Comedy presents More Improv, More Better Jam & Showcase
Saturday, June 10th at 10pm at the 121 Club, Eastworks (116 Pleasant Street, Easthampton.)

Open improv jam for everyone and anyone to play and watch improv games, plus a showcase set featuring students from Happier Valley Comedy's Harold Two class.  Free show (one drink minimum). For more info:

The Majestic Theater has announced an encore performance of the musical “Million Dollar Quartet” which will run June 14-25 at the West Springfield venue.

The rock and roll musical, written by Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott, 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 on the session headlined his newspaper article which ran the next day, “Million Dollar Quartet.”

The play had a six-week run at the Majestic last fall to kick off the venue's 20th anniversary of live theater and is returning due to popular demand.  An audience favorite, "Million Dollar Quartet" was frequently sold out during that run and enthusiastic crowds rewarded the actors and musicians with a standing ovation at the end of each performance.

Majestic subscribers will be able to purchase tickets for a special price of $22. Otherwise, tickets for the play range from $25-$33 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. 

For additional information, visit the website
TheatreTruck Fundraiser Concert at the 1794 Meetinghouse
June 16 at 7:30 PM 
1794 Meetinghouse, 26 S Main St, New Salem, MA

Last fall, TheatreTruck's original production, The Water Project, drew over 300 audience members to New Salem for an immersive theater experience set to live music. This summer, the musicians of The Water Project come together for an evening of fabulous live performance in support of TheatreTruck.

Concert at 7:30pm Adults: $15 | 13-17: $10 | 0-12: free
BYO picnic with TheatreTruck artists at 6:00pm (wine available by donation)

The concert includes performances by Mamma's Marmalade
(Western-Mass new grass with old-time class), the devilishly infectious folk-pop of Northampton singer-songwriter 
Carrie Ferguson and folk ballads howled without apology from Emma June.

Proceeds from the evening benefit TheatreTruck and the upcoming original production, The Mill Project in Leeds, MA June 22-25!

Tickets here. 
Happier Valley Comedy presents the Happier FAMILY Comedy Show 
Saturday, June 17th at 4-5pm at the Community Room (Suite 160) Eastworks (116 Pleasant Street, Easthampton). 

Monthly family-friendly improv comedy show, best for 5-12 year olds and their adults. 

Tickets at the door: $10/Adults, $5/Kids, Free/3 yrs and under. For more info:

New Century Theatre presents a new staged reading series in June featuring two new plays by local authors. 

Our staged reading series will take place in the sanctuary space at First Churches.
The entrance is located on 129 Main Street, Northampton
The accessible entrance is located on Center Street.

by Eric Henry Sanders
directed by Gina Kaufmann
June 17 @ 7:30 PM and June 18 @ 2:00 PM

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 imagined. Originally workshopped at the Lark Play Development Center in New York City.

Tickets are $5 and available online or at the door. 

TheatreTruck presents THE MILL PROJECT:
an original new play exploring women's bodies in labor and resistance in the age of industrialization. 
June 22-25 at 7:30pm
Leeds Common across from the historic Nonotuck silk mill. 

The audience is invited to bring a blanket or chair and a picnic in the tradition of outdoor Summer theatre. 
This performance is recommended for ages 14 and up.  Parking is available in the Chartpak lot. 

The Mill Project deconstructs the historical record, re-membering & embodying women's experience of labor in the textile mills of 19th century New England through a performance-collage drawing on letters, newspapers, pamphlets and etiquette books. Woven in a tapestry of original music and movement, the play puts the mill girls of factory towns like Leeds and Lowell into relationship with the experience of American women today. The Mill Project invites the audience to place themselves in history while imagining our shared future. 

The Mill Project was conceived by TheatreTruck cofounders Brianna Sloane and Elizabeth Pangburn and created by Sloane and Pangburn with Emily MacLeod, Emma Ayres, Christine Stevens, Jayme Winell, Robyn Sutton- Fern├índez, Maya Lapping Rivera and Julia Read. 

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Northampton Arts Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and with support from the Leeds Civic Association and the Bement School.


In the event of heavy showers or storms, Rain Date Friday June 30.
Silverthorne Theater Company’s second Season production goes out on a limb (literally) with Aaron Posner’s brilliant comedy, Stupid F***ing Bird, opening June 22, in the Company’s new space on the fourth floor of The Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center (formerly The Arts Block) in downtown Greenfield.

Stupid F***ing Bird runs June 22, 23, 24, 29, 30 and July 1 with performances at 7:30 pm, and a 2 pm matinee on Saturday, July 1.  There will be a post-show talkback with the cast and dramaturg after the June 29 performance. The Hawks & Reed PAC is located at 289 Main Street on the Greenfield Common in the middle of the town’s Cultural District. It is air-conditioned and handicapped accessible. 

Tickets are $20 general admission, $18 for students or seniors (65+) and may be purchased online at Full information and tickets available at  NOTE: the production contains strong language.

Stupid F***ing Bird is rightly described as “a sort of adaptation of Chekhov’s classic play, The Seagull.” The familiar characters are there in all their tortured glory, even if the names are slightly modified. The themes of thwarted ambition and family conflict are played out in this thoroughly contemporary and achingly funny piece that leaves no doubt about the comedic genius of both Posner and his prototype. 

THE CAST: The talented cast of seven, under the direction of Toby Vera Bercovici, includes Myka Plunkett as the young, vulnerable aspiring actress Nina. Michael Greehan’s Con is an idealistic young playwright who seeks to overturn conventional theater with a radical new ‘authentic’ voice. Con’s mother, Emma Arkadina, played by Lisa Abend*, is a highly successful actress but represents all that Con despises about conventional theater. Michael Schurter is Emma’s lover, Trigorin, himself a well-known writer. (*Member, Actors’ Equity Association)

Con’s best friend Dev (played by Julian Findlay) is desperately in love with Mash (Linda Tardif), the household’s cook, who in turn is in love with Con who loves Nina.  Emma’s elder brother, Sorn, a doctor (played by Thom Griffin), takes the philosophical viewpoint of the passions and tensions that wrack this complex group of characters.
Hampshire Shakespeare presents
Hamlet by William Shakespeare

June 22, 24, 30. July 2, 13, 15, 21, 23. August 3 & 5 at 7:00 PM
Massachusetts Renaissance Center, Amherst MA
Directed by Ingrid Oslund

This contemporary production of William Shakespeare's Hamlet will use this classic text to explore the cycles of abuse at play within the story and how they manifest supernaturally. By employing immersive staging and utilizing the full potential of this outdoor space, this show will take the audience on a journey through the haunted halls of the decadent Danish court, examining the trials and tribulations of those who dwell there. From the traumatic effects of a murder that destroys a country to the behavior of the Prince himself, this play explores the affects of madness on both an intimate and political level.

Tickets available here.
Hampshire Shakespeare presents
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead 

June 23, 25, 29. July 1, 14, 16, 20, 22. August 4, & 6 at 7:00 PM
Massachusetts Renaissance Center, Amherst MA
Directed by Calvin Atkinson

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is playwright Tom Stoppard's philosophical-comedic reaction piece to Shakespeare's greatest work. Through the eyes of two of Hamlet's minor characters, we see the story from another angle as the politically powerful step on everyone beneath them. This contemporary staging will get up close and personal, inviting the audience to laugh and ponder with our heroes as they explore identity, truth, and what might really be rotten in the state of Denmark. 

Tickets available here.
June 23 and 24 at 7:30 PM
Hess Theatre at Deerfield Academy

Imagine. Imagine a living human gallery where Vincent Van Gogh becomes his own canvas. Imagine a pair of magical clowns guiding you through new dimensions of beauty as the regions’ finest dancers and choreographers tickle your perceptions. 

We invite you to enter Fine House, a gallery of moving installations, where fine art and fun house collide. Experience new concert dance from the region’s finest choreographers. The Dance Co-operative explores its theme, Perception, through varied lenses; to challenge and delight you. Come, enjoy this multifaceted adventure! 

The Dance Co-operative: Lori Holmes Clark, Christie Clovis, Hayley Descavich, Christina Maerlender, Verity Nichols, Rebecca Rideout, Stephanie A. Shumway, and Meg Van Dyck

Contributing Artists: Emma Ayres, Joe Dulude II, and Jack Golden

Tickets are $20 and $15 for senior/students available here.
New Century Theatre presents a stage reading of 
by Ellen Wittlinger

directed by Sam Rush
June 24 @ 7:30 PM and June 25 @ 2 PM
First Churches, Northampton
Our staged reading series will take place in the sanctuary space. 
The entrance is located on 129 Main Street, Northampton
The accessible entrance is located on Center Street.

Edie's husband has been dead for thirty years, and now, to the frustration of her two grown daughters, she's moved into the basement of her house where he apparently lives. This Thanksgiving, her children and grandchildren gather to sort out the accumulated rubbish of Edie's life and somewhere between dinner and dessert family mysteries are are revealed.

Tickets available online or at the door.
Intern or Apprentice with New Century Theatre
Seeking backstage crew, ASMs, board ops, costume assistants, set and lighting assistants, and many more opportinuties for our 2017 season. 

Performances are at PVPA in South Hadley and the Academy of Music in Northampton. Internships run June 20-August 20, and can be designed for the whole time or for select shows and dates.

Apprenticeships are for high school aged students, Internships are for college aged students and can also be tailored for community members of any age! 

For more information, see the description and applications on the website or send an email

Back Stage,  Run Crew, and Front of the House Volunteer Opportunities

Hampshire Shakespeare Company is seeking  volunteers interested in assisting in the production of  our 2017 summer season of “Shakespeare Under the Stars,” which will include productions of Hamletand Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead in repertory.  Opportunities are available as run crew, sound and light board operators, and costume and front of the house assistants. The positions start immediately and run through late-August.  Interested applicants should send an email stating their availability and interests to  Jessica Thompson, Producer, at
St. Michael's Players presents Auditions for Seussical the Musical
June  8
St. Michael's Parish Center, 53 Somers Road, East Longmeadow

Auditions for ages 7-12 at 6:00 PM
Teens/Adults at 7:00 PM
Audition applications can be found on the website, along with a song list, character descriptions and additional audition information. Please be prepared to sing a song from the show, and expect to learn a short group dance. A pianist will be available for accompaniment; no CDs please.
Callbacks will take place on Monday, June 12th

More information.
Black Cat Theater is preparing for their fall production of Nunsense II: The Second Coming directed by Dawn Larder with Dick Matteson as Music Director. This multi-generational show is open to all genders ages 10 and up. Auditions are scheduled as follows: 
Named roles only will be held on Monday, June 12th and Tuesday, June 13th at 6:00 pm in the Auditorium at South Hadley High School. Those wishing to audition for the adult or youth ensemble should come to auditions on Monday, June 19th at 6:00 pm, also at South Hadley High School.
Each named role will have a specific song they will be required to sing and there will also be short readings from the script. Those auditioning for the Ensemble may sing a Broadway song of their choice; a cappella is also acceptable. For character list and song list see, the Black Cat Facebook page or email
All candidates under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Applicants should bring a short write-up of previous theater experience with them.
Nunsense II is expected to be produced at South Hadley High School in mid-November. Rehearsals are primarily on Monday and Thursdayevenings (with occasional Wednesdays) starting September 11th.
SPECIAL FREE CLASS:   Audience members interested in acquiring special insight into STC’s production of Stupid F***ing Bird can take part in a FREE two-session enrichment experience led by Silverthorne Theater Company's dramaturg Josh Platt. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about this play’s link to Anton Chekhov’s masterpiece The Seagull and then to read The Seagull together as a group before attending a performance of SFB. 
The class will meet June 17 and 24 from 1-4 pm in The Green Fields Market meeting room (off the Mezzanine) 144 Main St, Greenfield. The group will have a special private conversation with director Toby Vera Bercovici after the July 1 matinee performance. Discount tickets will be available for class members at this or any other performance of SFB.

Support for this production is provided by The Valley Avdvocate/Preview, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and The Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center. Ms Abend’s performance is sponsored by Teddy Bear Pools.

Announcing a new Real Live Theatre Workshop:

FRIDAY JULY 14th 6:30-9:30pm
AND SATURDAY JULY 15th 10:00-5:00pm with a lunch break
AND SUNDAY July 16th 10:00-5:00pm with a lunch break; sharing at 3:00pm

In this workshop, theatre artists and RLT members Dan Morbyrne and Toby Bercovici (who recently collaborated on the “new” Shakespeare play The Life and Death of Queen Margaret) lead you through the process of deconstructing a classic text. Using Shakespeare’s King Lear, participants will spend three days engaging with exercises in improvisation, creative composition, gesture work, writing, moving, and more, to take apart and then put back together this dynamic text. The workshop will culminate in a sharing for family and friends.

Open to actors, writers, directors, dancers, and folks interested in expanding their creative repertoire. For ages 18 and up.

Location: North Star building, 45 Amherst Road, Sunderland, MA 01375

Cost: $150-$300 sliding scale, scholarships available

Email us at for more information or to reserve a spot!

More information here.
UMassTheater presents The Summer Theater and Performance Intensive
Beginning July 23, 2017 
UMass Theater, Fine Arts Center

Find your voice as an actor and as a theater artist!
Experience life on a college campus!
Find your voice as an actor and as a theater artist at UMass this summer!

From July 23 to August 5, the UMass Department of Theater will offer its first-ever Summer Theater and Performance Intensive, a 2-week theater-making course open to all high school students with a passion for performance, theater-making, and changing the world through theater. The intensive is designed for students with all levels of theater experience, since the nature of devised theater allows seasoned actors as well as novices to work at the level that challenges them creatively.

Participants in the intensive will devise (co-create) and mount a new theater piece that reflects their concerns, hopes and ideas about their communities and the world. All students will perform in the piece, which will be presented publicly at the close of the session. The students will become an ensemble through rehearsal, impassioned discussions, theater games, acting exercises, and the unifying process of creating a new work of theater.

The course will be taught by UMass Department of Theater faculty member Lena Cuomo and director Jen Onopa. Both Lena and Jen are committed to nurturing a new generation of theater practitioners and are incredibly excited to launch this new program.

“We are so excited to offer a program that will give each individual student a chance to develop their own essential and unique voice ,” said Cuomo.

In addition to the main theater program, members of the intensive will get a taste of college life. During their two weeks at UMass, students will live in UMass dorms, eat at the dining halls, and participate in optional evening social events and college prep sessions.

The Department of Theater welcomes students of all races, ethnic origins, abilities, sexual orientations, and gender identifications to apply.

Some need-based scholarships will be available to students who may not otherwise be able to afford the program tuition.

More information. 
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