Thursday, January 18, 2018

Pioneer Valley Theatre News January 18, 2018

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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 January 18 - February 7, 2018

I hope you got a snow day! If you've always wondered what the backstage of the Academy of Music looks like, this is your change.  There is a tour at noon today - it's for a small group, so make sure you get a reservation. 

This is the final weekend to catch Beauty and the Beast at Amherst Leisure Services and It Can't Happen Here at the Arena Civic Theatre. Also, Smith College presents a look into the wardrobe of two Elizabethan women this Sunday - a free presentation by The Tudor Tailor. 

The next issue will include events through February 14. 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
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from Howlround
A Play About a Neighborhood: Community and New Play Development in The Duchess of Stringtown
by Jordan Schwartz

From the article: 

What happens when you mix local history, a women’s prison, and new play development?

In 2015, Bryan Fonseca, producing director at the Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis, was awarded a two-year Transformational Impact Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis to help revitalize the Near Westside of Indianapolis. The fellowship supported the development of Discover Near West Indys, a separate initiative focusing on arts education and community events in the Near West neighborhoods. Comprised of four neighborhoods (Haughville, Hawthorne, We Care, and Stringtown), the Near West has always been one of the most diverse areas in Indianapolis. The fellowship is intended to use the arts to spur civic engagement and economic development in historically underserved areas of the city. As part of the Discover Near West Indys initiative, the Phoenix has spent the past nine months developing The Duchess of Stringtown which culminated in a full production this past December.

Have you read an interesting article about theatre recently? Send it to me!
Academy of Music History Tour
Thursday, January 18 at 12:00 pm

Did you know that a trap door was once cut into the stage at the Academy of Music in Northampton for Harry Houdini’s disappearing act? Or that Frankenstein’s monster himself, Boris Karloff, appeared at the 123-year-old theater? And, come see the recently discovered and conserved 1913 Tuttle scenic curtain to learn more during a history tour led by Academy Theater Manager Addie MacDonald will lead the tour with Technical Director Hugh Hall.

Free; reservations required. (413) 584-9032 ext. 105.

Amherst Leisure Services Community Theater (ALSCT) presents Beauty and the Beast
Thursday January 18 at 7:30pm, Friday January 19 at 7:30pm, Saturday January 20 at 1:00pm, Saturday January 20 at 7:30pm, Sunday January 21 at 1:00pm
Bowker Auditorium in Stockbridge Hall on the UMass Campus

Amherst Leisure Services Community Theater, now in its 25th year, brings Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the classic “tale as old as time” to Bowker Auditorium on the UMass Campus, Amherst, Massachusetts in January 2018! This full-scale, live production brings lavish sets and costumes, a full live orchestra, and a remarkable cast together in a gorgeous singing, dancing extravaganza! Great for the whole family--come be our guest!

The Majestic Theater presents Alabama Story by Kenneth Jones
January 18 through February 11
Majestic Theater, West Springfield

The play tells the true story of the State Librarian of Alabama, Emily Wheelock Reed, who was persecuted for protecting books in the south during the days of the Jim Crow laws. In 1959, Garth Williams, a well-known writer and illustrator, has just published a children's book entitled The Rabbit's Wedding, in which a black rabbit marries a white rabbit. State Senator E. W. Higgins is outraged, certain that the book promotes race-mixing, and mounts a crusade to have it removed from the shelves and banned.

Alabama Story has been hailed as a social justice drama that's “a vest-pocket cousin” to To Kill a Mockingbird. It has been described as a “love letter to reading,” and productions have garnered both critical praise and standing ovations wherever it's been produced.

Cast members include Cate Damon, Jack Grigoli, Rand Foerster, Melenie Flynn, Silk Johnson and Mark Dean. The play is directed by Sheila Siragusa and producing director is Danny Eaton. Set and lighting designer is Dan Rist and Dawn McKay is costume designer. Stephen Petit is production stage manager, and assistant production manager is Aurora Ferraro.

Ticket for the play range from $23-$30 and are now available by calling or visiting the box office during its hours of operation, which are Monday through Friday10am – 5pm and Saturday 10am – 1pm.
Arena Civic Theatre presents It Can't Happen Here -  A Staged Reading
January 18 at 7:00 PM, January 19 at 8:00 PM, January 20 at 2:00 Pm and 8:00 PM
1/18 &1/19- The Greenfield Gallery 231 Main St Greenfield, 1/20- The Boylston Room at Keystone Mill,122 Pleasant St, Easthampton

ACT will perform a staged Reading of It Can't Happen Here.
It Can't Happen Here is Sinclair Lewis' 1936 novel about the rise of fascism in America.  Set during the Great Depression and under the shadow of Huey Long, the story detailed events yet to play out across Europe with the outbreak of World War II.  Lewis explores political trends and social patterns that remain familiar -- and ominous -- today.  More of a call to action than an alarm, the novelist renders a chilling and prophetic world that remains timely and frighteningly relevant in this faithful adaptation commissioned in  2016 by Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

This is a fundraising event for Arena Civic Theatre.
Thursday's performance will have a talk back after reading.
All tickets $10

Tickets for Greenfield performances.
Tickets for Easthampton performances.
The Young Shakespeare Players-East
King Henry IV part 1

Performances at The Shea Theater, 73 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA

January 19, 2018 at 6pm
January 20 at 10:30am and 6pm
January 21 at 1pm

Cheerily, the Young Shakespeare Players-East announce their Fall/Winter production of King Henry IV, Part 1. This play is one of the best kept secrets in Shakespeare, one that many Bard- lovers count as their very favorite, particularly for its comedy and rich language, which includes many of the best insults to be found in his (or anyone else’s) writings. It’s a play perfectly suited to our time, the story of a young prince’s coming of age, trying to figure out what is (inherited or taken) power worth as he journeys through three distinct worlds and finds empathy for his kingdom’s disparate populations—be they perfidious politicians, overheated rebels, or raucously witty commoners.

With twenty-four youth actors drawn from across western Massachusetts and southern Vermont, YSP East will accomplish feats that few theater companies anywhere would believe is possible:
• An unabridged, unedited Shakespeare production
• Actors ages 8-18 who fully comprehend the language, including its double- and triple-entendres
• Three casts alternating roles across performance nights
• Nearly 100%-youth tech crews (who are also the actors in another cast)
• Free performances in an exquisitely restored architectural gem

The Young Shakespeare Players (YSP) East, a volunteer run non-profit theater program founded in 2012, invites young people ages 8-18 to perform full-length works of Shakespeare. It is the very first YSP chapter outside Madison, WI, and the proud recipient of the Bardie People’s Choice Award: Best Shakespeare Educational Program (K-12). Its motto, from Hamlet, is “the readiness is all.” At YSP East there are no auditions—all participants receive substantial speaking roles.

All ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. No reservations required. Doors open 20 minutes prior to each show.

Happier Valley Comedy presents the Happier FAMILY Comedy Show
January 20 at 3:00 PM 
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (125 W Bay Rd., Amherst)

Monthly family-friendly improv comedy show, best for 5-12 year olds and their adults. Tickets at the door: $10/Adults, $5/Kids, Free/4 yrs and under (Reduced admission for museum members).

More information.
Smith College Department of Theatre presents Tudor Tailor: As I Lie Dying

Sunday, January 21 at 3:00 PM
Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts

See inside the wardrobes of two Elizabethan women living in England in the 1570s and go through their garments to discover how very differently they live their lives. Barbara Bundock, a much-married merchant’s widow, and Margery Trollope, a soap and candlemaker, meet for a gossip and to enjoy their favorite conversation – the ailments they suffer and their imminent gathering to heaven, which they have discussed weekly for more years than either can remember. Each is blessed with clothes that represent their wealth and standing among their neighbors. They are competitively well-informed as to the relative value of their dress: the raw materials, where they come from, who made them and how they rival each other in quality and cost. But their clothes also carry a heavy burden of responsibility as tokens to be passed on to friends and family. Not only must they decide who is most deserving of their own garments, there are many items of their husbands’, which demonstrate their doings in more detail than is necessarily comfortable. Barbara and Margery assess which of their grasping friends and family may benefit from the best rather than the worst items on offer.

Join Jane and Ninya for this lively presentation and dressing demonstration which draws on the wealth of material gathered by The Tudor Tailor team since the publication of The Tudor Tailor ten years ago, and gives enjoyable insights into the exciting new content of their forthcoming book The Typical Tudor.

Free and open to the public.

Panopera, Pioneer Valley Ballet, and Eggtooth Productions present THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO
Friday, January 26 at 7:30 PM 
Sunday, January 28 at 2:00 PM
Academy of Music Theatre

Don't miss this opportunity to see a fully mounted production of one of the world's most beloved operas in one of the most beautiful opera houses in the country!

Panopera, in collaboration with Pioneer Valley Ballet, and Eggtooth Productions, presents The Marriage of Figaro, an 18th century version of an all-too-common tale with an all-too-uncommon ending: When a powerful man attempts to cross the line with a female employee, he doesn’t always meet his match. This time, he does.

Widely considered to be Mozart’s greatest opera, the Marriage of Figaro is famous for its depiction of an aristocrat outmaneuvered and thwarted by his underlings. The play by Beaumarchais on which the opera was based has occasionally been banned by the powerful. Come find out why!

Amherst College Musical presents Urinetown: The Musical
January 26, 27, and 28 at 7:30 PM
Powerhouse 10 East Drive Amherst College Amherst, MA 01002

The Amherst Musical presents the satirical musical comedy Urinetown as their 2018 production. With music and lyrics by Mark Hollmann and book by Greg Kotis, Urinetown narrates the tale of a group of young rebels banded together against an oppressive capitalist system. Performances will take place at Amherst College's Powerhouse (located next to the police station off of route 9) with 3 shows Friday through Sunday, January 26-28th. Directed by Megan Healey (Ghost Light Theater, Arena Civic Theatre) and with music direction by Anthony Ferreira (UMASS ’19 majoring in music composition). Choreography by Sue Dresser (The Country Players, Arena Civic Theatre, KDS) and stage management by Sophina Flores ’20 and Abby Douglas ’20.
Set in a world where a corporation has outlawed the use of private bathrooms and charges people to use public amenities, Urinetown raises questions on the nature of limited resources and unlimited wants and highlights a seemingly unsolvable problem that is arguably more relevant today than ever before. In the show, anyone found breaking the law against the use of private bathrooms is exiled to the mysterious and secretive Urinetown, never to be seen again. However, Bobby, a lowly janitor at Public Amenity #9, falls madly in love with corporate tycoon Cladwell’s sincere and well-intentioned daughter, Hope, and must sort out where his true beliefs lie. Constantly facing political corruption, Officer Lockstock’s brutal police force, and Caldwell B. Cladwell’s greedy corporate dominance, Bobby and the rebellion poor must fight for their freedom to consume the town’s water supply as they please. 
Winner of three Tony awards including Best Original Score in 2002, Urinetown also parodies musicals such as West Side Story, The Threepenny Opera, The Cradle Will Rock, and Les Misérables, and the Broadway musical itself as a form. Part of the proceeds of our production will go towards the international nonprofit foundation “Water for People” which helps people in rural parts of developing countries achieve greater access to drinkable and potable water and sanitation facilities.

Free for 5-College students and faculty (with ID) 
$15 for adults
$8 for seniors and kids 12 and under 
For ticket reservations, email 
Email us with any questions.
More information.
Pioneer Valley Theatre Companies
Is your theatre company missing? Email me!
Academy of Music Theatre

Arena Civic Theatre

Black Cat Theater

Chester Theatre Company

The Country Players

Eggtooth Productions

Exit 7 Players

Ghost Light Theater

Hampshire Shakespeare Company

Happier Valley Comedy

Ko Theater Works/Ko Festival of Performance

Majestic Theater
New Century Theatre

PaintBox Theatre

Pauline Productions

Real Live Theatre

Red Thread Theater

Serious Play Theatre Ensemble

Silverthorne Theater

Smith College Department of Theatre

St. Michael's Players


Westfield Theatre Group

Wilbraham United Players
Hampshire Shakespeare Company is currently seeking 2 Directors and a Fundraising Director for the 2018 Summer season of “Shakespeare Under the Stars,” which will include the adult productions of Othello and Twelfth Night and the Young Company production to follow. Please see the website for more information on how to apply!
Silverthorne Theatre Company seeks a set/lights designer for a spring production of Athol Fugard’s The Road to Mecca. Production dates are June 21-23 and 28-30, 2018. Silverthorne is the resident theatre company in the Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. The performance space on the 4th floor is relatively small [capacity approximately 100], and it has a nice, intimate feeling about it. Stipend involved. For further information or to express interest in the position, please contact Lucinda Kidder, producer, at, or Rebecca Daniels, director, at
Diverse performers sought for UMass Theater's stage adaptation of Infants of the Spring

Adapted by Ifa Bayeza from the 1932 novel by Wallace Thurman
Directed by Ifa Bayeza

Auditions Jan. 23 & 24, 6-10 p.m. in the Rand Theater
Callbacks Jan. 25, 6-10 p.m. in the Rand Theater.

Performers from all racial and ethnic backgrounds are sought to help the UMass Amherst Department of Theater bring to the stage its adapation of a classic book about the Harlem Renaissance and the Jazz Age. The department is not just seeking actors: singers and dancers are also invited to perform. You do not have to be a UMass student to be part of the show: Five College and community members are welcome to audition!
About the play:
Ifa Bayeza’s new adaptation of Wallace Thurman’s classic novel Infants of the Spring vividly examines the legendary Harlem Renaissance rom the inside out – a virtual portrait gallery of the major African American literary personalities of the Jazz Age. Infants of the Spring puts the entire New Negro Movement under indictment, challenging the power of art to create true social change and exposing the peril to the individual artist seeking to meet that expectation. A generation of writers blazed brilliantly and brazenly for an era and then, but for a few, became lost for decades. Set in 1929, Thurman’s prescient novel foresees the fall. Bayeza’s sensitive tragicomedy captures the jagged, fibrillating pulse of the era at its glorious end. An historic play based on real life, Infants of the Spring is a remarkably contemporary exploration of race, gender, sex, class, and gentrification.  
What to prepare:
Performers are asked to prepare two contrasting monologues.
Students without monologues prepared are encouraged to audition. All who audition should be prepared to read sides, tell a story, sing a song or participate in an improvisation movement exercise. 
Cast breakdown is as follows:
RAYMOND: a dark-skinned, urbane Harlem Renaissance author from the West Coast.
STEPHEN: a visiting graduate student from Denmark.
SAM: a white radical, son of a stockbroker and communist sympathizer.
COUNTESS NIJINSKY: a Jewish girl from the Bronx passing as Russian royalty.
PAUL: a strikingly handsome black, avant-garde painter.
EUSTACE: a pudgy, would-be concert singer, African American.
PELHAM: a slow-witted black youth originally from the deep South. 
BULL: a local Harlem longshoreman and amateur boxer.
JANET:  a pretty brown-skinned Harlem elevator operator.    
ALINE: Janet’s best friend, a very fair-skinned, white-looking Harlem shop girl.
EUPHORIA: Full-figured, landlady, a self-made woman of means, a realtor and policy queen.
LUCILLE: Raymond’s on again-off again girlfriend, a self-assured executive secretary.
BERNHARDT: A mysterious, over-the-hill Negro “actress.”
DR. PARKES: An elder Negro intellectual and race leader. 
Scripts for all productions can be accessed as read-only files.
Performers will be able to sign up for audition slots via Signupgenius; a link to the sign-up site will be posted on the UMass Theater audition page as soon as it is available.

A Shot of Theater is back and currently seeking WRITERS and DIRECTORS for our first set of revival performances taking place in our new Easthampton venue in March 2018. Scripts should be no longer than 15 minutes in performance length, written for 2-5 actors, have minimal set/costume/tech requirements, and relate to the theme of “THE RETURN.” Scripts are due on January 27th, sent to

Interested directors should send an e-mail with basic contact information, availability, and experience to the same address. Rehearsals will run independently through the month of February and will be performed every Thursday in March, with a tech/dress on the first Wednesday. 

A Shot of Theater is a low commitment theater opportunity for writers, local directors, and actors. We perform bare-bone style, original one-act plays within a cabaret setting every Thursday for a month, every three months. Previously performed at The Elevens in Northampton, we are excited to have found a new venue at 121 Club in Easthampton!

Ashfield Community Theater happily announces January auditions for our show in May, Sinclair Lewis’s “It Can’t Happen Here.”

The play is about the election of a fascist American president (Buzz Windrip), his ensuing crushing  of civil rights, and the underground rising against him by a  Vermont editor (Doremus Jessup) and his family and friends.

Josh Platt of Greenfield is directing.

Auditions will be held at the Belding Memorial Library, 344 Main St. (Route 112), in Ashfield from 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 28, and from 6 to 8 pm. on Monday, Jan. 29.

Auditioners may attend either audition.  They will work from the script: no preparation  or experience is necessary. Those unable to make these times can set up another audition by contacting Jackie Walsh at 413-625-9413 or

A large, diverse ensemble is needed, ages 20 and up.

The play runs May 18, 19, 20, 25 and 26 in Ashfield.  

The company also needs help on set design, set construction, lighting, publicity, hair and house managing.

For more info, contact Jackie Walsh at 413-625-9413 or

Smith College Department of Theatre presents Auditions for MEN ON BOATS by Jaclyn Backhaus, directed by Tara Franklin

Ten explorers. Four boats. One Grand Canyon. MEN ON BOATS is the true(ish) history of an 1869 expedition, when a one-armed captain and a crew of insane yet loyal volunteers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River.

Auditions are Sunday and Monday, January 28 and 29, 7-10 PM in Acting Studio 1. 

Callbacks will be Tuesday, January 30, 7-10 PM in Acting Studio 1. 

Roles for 10 women.

No appointment or preparation necessary. Perusal scripts are available in Josten Library. Sides from the script will be available at auditions. 

Five college and community members welcome. We welcome diversity and color inclusive casting.

Email with any questions. 

Auditions to be Held January 29 at West Springfield Theater

Auditions will be held on Monday, January 29 from 6:00 p.m. To 10:00 p.m. at the Majestic Theater in West Springfield, MA for roles in the play “Tight Pants.” The story features seven roles, all Latino characters in the play, which takes place in the Dominican Republic. All actors must be Latino and have stage experience. “Tight Pants,” written by Springfield resident Betel Arnold, may be staged at the Majestic Theater this summer.

Set in a humble village populated by spirited residents who know each others' lives, are supportive and passionate, the play takes place during the 1960's and 1970's. The young women of the village are taught early in life to wear tight pants to draw attention to themselves and attract suitors from wealthier countries who might whisk them away to more lucrative lives elsewhere. Arnold says that the play, her first, was based on her mother's life, and how she came to the United States. “It's a funny and heartwarming story of two fierce and very determined women and how their friendship affects the evolution of their attitudes towards the men that come in and out of their lives,” said Arnold.

Majestic Theater Producing Director Danny Eaton met Arnold last year when she enrolled in a playwrighting workshop he taught at the Springfield Museums. She had already begun writing the script by then, and brought it into the workshop to seek Eaton's guidance.

“What impressed me the most was Betel's dedication to her work,” said Eaton. “She wrote and edited it during the weeks of my workshop, then beyond. It's an interesting story, with well-crafted characters providing their insights. There's a terrific blend of drama, comedy and character study, which I think our Majestic audience would enjoy.

“When we opened the Majestic Theater more than twenty years ago,” Eaton continued, “our mission was to provide a professional venue in the Pioneer Valley for theater performers who wanted to have a life here and not have to travel – or move - to New York, Los Angeles or places in-between to find quality work opportunities. That same opportunity exists for playwrights, and the Theater Project is happy to be able to support Betel in bringing her work to the Majestic.”

“Tight Pants” has three male characters (ranging in ages from 20's to 60's) and four female characters (ranging in ages from 6 to nearly 60). Actors must call the theater at (413) 747-7797 to book an audition time slot and are requested to bring a current resume and head shot, if available. They should also arrive 15-20 minutes early to fill out paperwork.
Smith College Department of Theatre New Play Reading Series: HOW TO DATE A MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL
Written and directed by Lyssandra Norton MFA '18
Auditions are February 5 7-10PM in Acting Studio 1

Auditions for a super low-key staged reading at Smith. 1-3 rehearsals. Reading the script off a music stand. If you're looking for something low commitment stop by anytime between 7-10 in Studio 1 on February 5th at Smith in the theatre building.

Looking for actors of all kinds 18-35. 
Contact Lyssandra Norton with any questions.
Facebook event.
Happier Valley Comedy presents Improv for Scaredy Cats (and Non-Scaredy Cats Too!)
January 13 at 3:00-5:00 PM
33 Hawley Street, Northampton (NCA Downstairs Studio)

Have you ever watched improv and thought, "I could never do that!"? 
Have you ever watched improv and thought, "Hell, I could definitely do that!"?
Do you not give a flying fig about improv comedy but want to learn a new technique that will improve your theater training?
Are you curious about improv but you don't consider yourself a scaredy cat?    

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, "Improv for Scaredy Cats (And Non-Scaredy Cats Too!)" is the workshop for you. It's designed especially for folks who want to try something that might scare them. (It's cheaper than sky-diving and less likely for you to end up as road-pizza!) 

You'll learn a very gentle, very easy approach to improv comedy in an incredibly positive and accepting atmosphere in which the only way you can fail is by by failing to learn something new. We'll practice the vital improvisation skills, like: 
* listening carefully
* accepting other people's ideas 
* redefining and disempowering failure 
* staying in the moment
* reacting honestly to the reality of the here and now.

No experience necessary. Being funny is NOT required. 

Go ahead, register now before you chicken out or get distracted by a cute kitten video. (Kittens!) This workshop will be a wadzillion times less scary than you think. The only thing you have to lose is your opinion that you can't improvise...

More information.
New Century Theatre Producing Director Sam Rush will offer two courses beginning in early 2018. Classes will be held at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street in Northampton, MA.

To register, send an email to Sam Rush ( or call 413-587-3933 to hold a spot. You can click on this link to download a registration form.

Acting for Non-Actors
Instructor, Sam Rush  
Ages 18 and up (or by instructor permission)  
Tuesdays, 5:15-7:15 p.m.  
Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street 
February 13 through April 10 
(no class on March 13) 

Course Description:
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. 
Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street  
January 24 through April 4
(no class on February 21) 
Course Description: 
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.
J-ART in partnership with Phantom Sheep Productions presents Comedy Improv Classes- Adult & Teens (15+) Winter Session
Six Weeks starting Feb 5th at 7:00 PM
Springfield Jewish Community Center

6 Weeks Session.
Mondays 7-9PM Starting February 5th!

Open to the general public!
Adults & Teens 15+

Sharpen quick thinking!
Unleash creativity and characters!
Build confidence!
Enjoy the power of collaboration!
Improve acting and stage presence!
Relax and laugh! (a lot)!
Taught in a very fun, encouraging, and constructive atmosphere.
All levels welcomed and challenged at own pace.

Facebook event.
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