Thursday, November 21, 2019

Pioneer Valley Theatre News November 21, 2019

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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November 21 - December 11, 2019

So many good things in the next few weeks! Check out the listings and don't forget to scroll all the way down to see all the auditions and other opportunities. 

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

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Email me to reserve your dates.
from Howlround

The American Theatre Was Killing Me
by Amelia Parenteau and Lauren E. Turner

From the article: 

For those unfamiliar with the term “racialized trauma,” counselor Ayanna Molina of True Love Movement explains: “Trauma is hurtful, emotionally damaging situations that you cannot control. [With my clients], the racialized component is that [they] happen specifically because you are Black.” Racialized trauma happens because of the system of white supremacy we live in, which is detrimental, out of control, and disturbing socially, emotionally, behaviorally, and/or mentally. White supremacy culture, says Molina, makes it is very difficult to isolate this kind of trauma, since racism exists in every part of the system.

Have you read an interesting article about theatre recently? Send it to me!
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Local author Jared Eberlein’s powerful play, Fall with Me, rounds off Silverthorne’s 2019 new play reading series, Theater Thursdays . It will be read at 7 pm on Thursday, November 21 in the Franklin County Coop meeting space at 170 Main Street, Greenfield. The reading is free and open to the public.
Fall with Me tells the story of JJ Johnston, the once charismatic captain of the 369th Infantry Regiment (a.k.a. the Harlem Hellfighters, known for their distinct bravery) during World War I. Unlike many of his fellow black veterans during the early 1930s of the Great Depression, Johnson has steady employment as a steelworker. When less fortunate members of his army unit ask him to join them and thousands of veterans, known as the Bonus Army, to march on Washington DC to demand compensation for service promised to them in 1924 Johnson's choice between his job and family and the cause of justice for his fellow vets has tragic consequences.
Under the direction of Trenda Loftin, the cast of readers will include Bessie Jones, Shae Shae Quest, Tobias K. Davis and Tony Jones.  Loftin directed STC’s fall play reading, Campus Unrest, and recently staged What Our Voices Carry with the Voice from Inside women’s poetry project for formerly incarcerated and recovering women. She is a governing member of the Real Live Theater Company and is an art-integrated equity consultant.
Eberlein is a prolific playwright who currently heads the Theater Program at Northfield Mount Hermon School. He worked for nearly a decade as an actor in New York and regional theater before turning his focus to the page. He is the bookwriter and lyricist of The Facts of Life – The Musical (Pace University) and The Man in the Iron Mask (EAT, 13th Street Rep & The Jerry Orbach Theater, NYC) both collaborations with composer, David Mallamud. Jared’s play, Fall with Me, is the 2019 WINNER of Dayton Playhouse’s FutureFest. It was also chosen for the 2019 Garry Marshall Theater New Works Festival (Burbank, CA) and was a finalist for Capital Repertory Theatre’s Next Act! Summit 8 (Albany, NY).
An integral part of Silverthorne Theater Company’s mission is to promote the development of new work, especially by Western Massachusetts and New England playwrights. In 2018, we staged the world premieres of three new works, two of which were from such writers.
In 2019 we offer Theater Thursdays, a series of free rehearsed readings of new or new to us plays, followed by audience discussions. The purpose of the readings is to give a platform for new work to be heard, and when possible, to be able to give playwrights direct audience feedback.  It also gives Silverthorne a look at plays that we might consider fully producing in future seasons. These will be held in different locations in the region. Complete information for each reading may be found at
St. Michael's Players of East Longmeadow present Oliver!
 Thursday November 21 -Friday Nov 22 - Saturday November 23 at 7PM and Sunday Nov 24 at 2PM.
53 Somers Road, East Longmeadow

Consider yourself at home with St. Michael'sPlayers! Join us for an amazing production of the family favorite musical, Oliver!


The Majestic Theater's 23rd Season continues with “Forever Plaid,” a musical that runs October 24 through December 8, according to Producing Director Danny Eaton.

The play, by Stuart Ross, tells the tale of a semi-professional harmony group on their way to their first big gig at the Hilton airport cocktail bar, rehearsing their big finale, when they are slammed broadside by a school bus full of teenage girls on their way to witness the Beatles make their debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. While none of the girls are injured, the four harmony singers are killed instantly, but somehow manage to take the stage for one final gig. “Forever Plaid” is filled with great songs that audience members are sure to know and love, and has been described as “screamingly funny and entirely enchanting.”

The cast includes Tomm Knightlee (Smudge), Bryan Austermann (Jinx), Brian Michael Henry (Sparky), and Chris Coffey (Francis). The play is directed by Ben Ashley, and Mitch Chakour is the music director. Set design is by Greg Trochlil, Dawn McKay is costume designer and the lighting design is by Dan Rist. Doug Wallace is sound engineer, and Stephen Petit is production stage manager. The band includes Chakour, Cliff Schofer and Don Rovero.

Ticket prices range from $27 to $34 and can be purchased by calling the box office at (413) 747-7797 or visiting while the box office is open (Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm, and Saturday 10am – 1pm). Tickets for the other plays in the Majestic's 23rdSeason can also be purchased.
Wilbraham United Players present 1940's RADIO HOUR

November 22, 23 at 7:30pm; November 24 at 2:30pm

Wilbraham United Church Fellowship Hall, 500 Main Street, Wilbraham, MA 01095

Full of 1940s music, dancing and old-time sound effects, the play portrays the final holiday broadcast of the Mutual Manhattan Variety Cavalcade on the New York radio station WOV in December 1942. The harassed producer, the leading singer who is often drunk, the second banana who dreams of singing a ballad, the delivery boy who wants a chance in front of the mic, and the trumpet player who chooses a fighter plane over Glenn Miller. All of this wrapped up in holiday charm and nostalgia. It's a great way to kick off the holidays!

Tickets are now on sale through our website

Book by Walton Jones
Music by various composers

Music Direction by

Directed by

Facebook Event Page
Ja'Duke presents Annie

November 22 6:00pm, Nov. 23 6:00pm, Nov. 24 2:00pm
Ja'Duke Theater in Turners Falls 110 Industrial Blvd.  Turners Falls, MA


Academy of Music presents Pike St., Nilaja Sun’s highly praised sixth play, vividly brings to life a family on New York’s Lower East Side. As a storm approaches, Evelyn is trying to assure the safety of her teenage daughter, Candi, whose unidentified illness has immobilized her. Caring for Candi has forced Evelyn to quit her job as a subway conductor; still, she helps support both her philandering father and her brother, who has returned to New York from Afghanistan and suffers from PTSD. Just behind the grace and humor with which Evelyn manages to hold together her own life and those of the people who depend on her is the constant threat of both natural and man-made disasters.

Nilaja Sun is an actress, playwright, and teaching artist, who has had many roles in television and film. She is best known for No Child . . . (2006), her solo performance piece based on her experience as an arts educator in New York City schools, which won Obie and Lucille Lortel awards.

Age recommendation: 16+

“A resonant, highly timely melting-pot tale” – Washington Post

“Full of vivid life” – The New York Times


Show Date/ Time:
Saturday, November 23, 2019 at 7:30 pm
Doors at 7:00 pm

Ticket Prices:
$20 (plus additional fees)

Where/ How Tickets Can be Purchased:
Academy of Music Box Office Open Tuesday- Friday 3:00PM-6:00PM
Call: 413-584-9032 ext.105 (Service fees will apply with purchase)

Online Tickets 

The Happier Valley Championship! 
November 23th at 7:00 PM
Happier Valley Comedy Theater (1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley, MA) 
In this competitive comedy show, two teams of improvisers face off through scenes and games to see who can win the ultimate prize: an old trophy we found in someone's attic. Saturday, October 26th at 7pm at the Happier Valley Comedy Theater (1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley, on rte.9). Tickets: $13 online and at the door.
For more info:


Play reading series wraps up with programs at Dance Spree and Racial Justice Rising 

November 30, 2019 – 7:00 pm - Climate Change Theatre Action: Lighting the Way: 5 short plays about climate change read during Dance Spree Community Thanksgiving Potluck. Episcopal Church of St James & Andrew, 71 Federal St, downtown Greenfield. Suggested donation: $5-$10 plus potluck contribution. 

December 7, 2019 – 10:15 a.m. – Climate Change Theatre Action: Lighting the Way: 10 short plays about climate change plus songs about the earth by Musica Franklin's youth chorus, followed by a talk-back session. First Congregational Church, 43 Silver Street, Greenfield. Childcare available with reservation: Contact with number and ages of children. FREE.

5th Saturday FUNdrariser: All Star Show! 
November 30th at 7:00 PM
Happier Valley Comedy Theater (1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley, MA)

A special show featuring an all star cast of improvisers with all proceeds being donated to the Welcome Home Refugee Resettlement Program. Saturday, November 30th at 7pm at the Happier Valley Comedy Theater (1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley, on rte.9). Tickets: $13 online and at the door.
For more info:
Mr. Drag and Karl 
to the Shea Theatre,
71 Avenue A in Turners
for their annual holiday show
on December 6 and 7
at 7:30 both nights. 

Tickets are $20 at
and free for all children under 12. 

This is a family friendly drag show with a few jokes tucked in for adults, an entertainment filled with song, dance and story enjoyable for both children and adults.

Broadway makeup designer, and Emmy nominee, Joe Dulude had this to say about the show that is based upon the favorite Seussian tale about the Grinch, “We all know the tale of how a Grinch with bad intentions tried to steal Christmas from a town and how the town showed him that the holiday wasn’t about the material things but about spending time with each other.  In our version the Grinch has very good intentions,  however misguided.  He is sad to spend the holidays alone and takes Karl so that he can have someone to spend the holidays with.  He already has a big heart, he just needs to be shown that he is parter of a much larger family.”

As Katherine Adler pointed out, “There’s so much to learn from the traditional holiday format from the 30s and 40s. What we do with Mr. Drag and Karl is to distill the essence of the human spirit from those forms to create a modern interpretation that holds onto that earnestness and celebration of life in all it’s facets, eccentricity, sentimentality and nostalgia. We embrace the tears and the smiles with song, story and dance. The thing about my character, Karl is that he and other characters give voice and visibility to facets of ourselves that are often kept hidden and that we are a bit nervous to share. Karl has a sweet vulnerability and awkwardness that is totally endearing.” 

When asked where the idea to do a drag show came from, Joe replied, “Mr Drag and Karl started as an idea that both Kat and I had when hosting our first Holiday Spectacular.  We wanted to play off of famous entertainment duos like Laurel and Hardy, Penn and Teller, Burns and Allen.  I am also inspired by old vaudeville - that form of entertainment of taking the stage in a town and entertaining the masses.  Taking from Penn and Teller, we decided that Karl would be the quiet one and that Mr Drag would be the showy one.  Over time the characters have grown deeper and we have discovered a whole history to them that we couldn’t have imagined when we first started.  Mr Drag is not just an over the top performer who thinks he is the best in the world.  He has a heart and truly loves Karl and could not live without him - something we explore in Mr Drag and How the Grinch Stole Karl.  And Karl, often soft spoken, has grown to show these amazing beautiful emotional parts of himself.  He expresses himself in dance and through a myriad of facial expressions paying homage to such incredible performers as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.  He speaks loudly without speaking at all.

With Mr Drag and Karl, I want to firstly bring a form of positive entertainment.  Movies, shows, music have always been an escape for people.  Seeing and hearing these allows people a chance to enter a fantasy world for a little while, forget about what is happening outside and allow themselves a moment to embrace the joy that life could be.  With all of our shows, we strive to entertain the audience and make them smile.  But we also want to be able to inject a bit of reality into our shows.  Mr Drag’s stories are not just about making jokes and telling ridiculous fables but they also educate about history and present social and political views.  I want people to walk away with a smile on their face but with a question or thought in their mind.”

Featuring many local performers from Eggtooth Unstaged including Lindel Hart from Greenfield, Myka Plunkett from Northampton, Maureen McElligott from Northampton, Linda Tardif from Northampton, Jack Golden from Leyden, Monte, Enzo, and Atticus Belmonte from Turners Falls, Caitlin and Thomas Von Schmitt from Greenfield, Marina Goldman from Montague, Jane Williams from New Salem, Izzy Heltai from Northampton, Chris Rose from Northampton, Thatcher and Rebecca Beauregard, Reynolds Whalen, Tim Fisk, Katherine Adler and Joe Dulude II, all from Greenfield.
Darius Taylor presents Wrong Answer: Examining Stakeholder's Voices in High Stakes Testing

December 6th and 7th, 2019 at 7:00pm

New Africa House Theater, 180 Infirmary Way, UMass Amherst campus

What’s race got to do with high stakes testing?

What would you change about standardized testing to make it better for all?

Wrong Answer: Examining Stakeholder Voices in High Stakes Testing is a theater-based intervention that highlights the challenges with testing in the black and brown communities who all too often fall victim to detrimental outcomes for being at the lower end of the educational achievement gap.

Come out and join us in a multimodal theater experience and community conversation that reimagines current testing practices and develops action steps to incite equitable change in society.


Special Holiday Variety Show to Run December 11-22

West Springfield’s Majestic Theater will present its annual seasonal variety show, “Home For The Holidays,” December 11-22. 

The family-friendly show, featuring Pioneer Valley-based performers, has become a tradition at the theater for more than 10 years. Similar in style to nostalgic holiday specials of years past headlined by Andy Williams and Perry Como, “Home For The Holidays 2019” will be hosted by singer Ray Guillemette, Jr., who has headlined several previous "Home for the Holidays” shows and countless "A Ray of Elvis" sold-out shows at the Majestic.

Joining Ray onstage will be veteran Majestic performers including Ben Ashley, Myka Plunkett, Tomm Knightlee and Kait Rankins. Guest performers include Steven Sands, Brad Shepard, Kaytlyn Vandeloecht, Lori Efford, Autumn Marchetto and Rob Clark. 

Music Director Mitch Chakour will lead a band that also includes Tim Hosmer, Cliff Schofer and Don Rovero. The show will be directed by Sue Dziura

Tickets are $24 & $26 for adults, and $10 for children 10 and under, and are available by visiting or calling the Majestic Theater Box Office at (413) 747-7797 during its hours of operation (Monday – Friday 10am - 5pm, and Saturday 10am - 1pm).
Six Voices Coming to Light is a new and innovative holiday-season play that will be performed at the Northampton Center for the Arts on Saturday, December 14.  Its influences are diverse and rich: Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, Masters’ Spoon River, a poetry slam, and Advent.  The six equal roles, three female and three male, perform spoken-word songs that offer a fresh, seriocomic, and, above all, meaningful take on the holiday season.  With interspersed live music, klezmer and ballads, by Jim Armenti.  For one or two final roles to be cast this week, please contact
Be a part of a collaborative community theatre project! Looking for actors to play the lead character of a cowboy and sheriff from Denton, Texas in "My Life As a Cowboy"

About the project: This play was conceived by Mike O'Neil, a participant at Riverside Industries in Easthampton, a non-profit organization that supports people with disabilities through job training, arts, and education programs. Mike dreams of being a cowboy and with the help of a Riverside staff member Lyndzi Wildheart, he wrote “My Life As A Cowboy,” a fictional memoir of his imaginary life as Sherriff Buford Ewing, a trick shooter and leader of a down-and-out western town called Denton. Along with a team of other artists, a playwright, set builders, actors (professional and amateur), and Riverside participants we want to help Mike’s dream become a reality. 

We are building a life-sized set of Mike’s town (including the city hall and the Sherriff’s di facto office, the Sweetwater Saloon) and stage a play inspired by his story for a live audience. The team will perform the short play in a free, outdoor performance in Easthampton in late Spring 2020. 

Auditions for Buford will take place in November & December, exact times TBD. All levels of actors or any gender are encouraged to audition.
Interested? Please contact Amanda Herman at
Springfield JCC Auditions
December 1 at 2:00 PM
Springfield JCC: 1160 Dickinson St

Tony Award-winning writing team, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's, first produced show, Lucky Stiff, premiered Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons. Based on the novel, The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo by Michael Butterworth, Lucky Stiff is an offbeat, hilarious murder mystery farce, complete with mistaken identities, six million bucks in diamonds and a corpse in a wheelchair. The story revolves around an unassuming English shoe salesman who is forced to take the embalmed body of his recently murdered uncle on a vacation to Monte Carlo. Should he succeed in passing his uncle off as alive, Harry Witherspoon stands to inherit $6,000,000. If not, the money goes to the Universal Dog Home of Brooklyn... or else his uncle's gun-toting ex!

Facebook event.
Call For Director Proposals

Hampshire Shakespeare Company is getting ready to embark on our 31st season and we want you to join us!  We are accepting proposals for plays for our 2020 season of Shakespeare Under the Stars. This year, we are envisioning a summer of exciting shows, with at least one being family friendly. To that end, we are seeking proposals for the following shows:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Tempest
Much Ado About Nothing
Romeo & Juliet
Julius Caesar 
Love’s Labours’ Lost 
A Winter’s Tale 
At Hampshire Shakespeare Company, the director is the creator of the artistic vision of the production and the nexus of the collaborative process. We want a director who is passionate about their work, and passionate about being a part of our company!  While we have a short list of plays we’d like to see proposals for, you can submit a proposal for a show that is not listed above. We will read every proposal we receive, but keep in mind our goals for the season when drafting your proposal. 

What’s in a proposal? A proposal by any other name would smell as sweet.
What we want is to hear your vision for the show and why this play speaks to you. Just a few paragraphs will do. Have some drawings? We’ll look at those, too!

The Deadline for proposals is December 1st, with an interview process to follow for selected candidates. You can  send your proposal to While we are a community theatre, we do offer a small stipend to most staff. Please send any questions or concerns to the above email address as well.

More Information
Ghost Light Theater's Auditions for FUN HOME

Announcing Ghost Light Theater’s Auditions for Fun Home. 
Book & Lyrics by Lisa Kron. Music by Jeanine Tesori. Based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel.
Directed by Megan Healey
Music Direction by Jacob Nichols
Produced by Kimberly Overtree Karlin
Choreography by Susan Dresser

Auditions by appointment – sign up for an audition slot here

Monday December 2nd 6:30-9:00 at the Bangs Community Center (70 Boltwood Walk Amherst)
Wednesday December 4th 6:30-9:30 in Stage 2 at Gateway City Arts (92 Race Street Holyoke)
Callbacks (if necessary) by invitation only: Friday December 6th at 6:30 PM

Please fill out this audition form before your audition if possible.

Performances are May 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 & 9 at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke, MA.

Any questions should be directed to Megan Healey at

The Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home traces the coming-of-age of lesbian author Alison Bechdel, from her youth, to her years at Oberlin College, and finally to the present, where Alison, now grown, is struggling to write her own graphic autobiography. As Alison reflects on her past, she struggles to make sense of it, particularly her relationship with her father, Bruce, a closeted gay man and the owner of the family business -- the Bechdel Funeral Home (“fun” home, as it’s known to young Alison and her brothers, John and Christian). As she watches her father’s self-loathing consume him, Alison recognizes her own experience of discovering, and ultimately embracing, her identity. As Fun Home progresses, Alison is drawn deeper and deeper into her memories, finally entering into them, desperate (but unable) to reverse her father’s self-destruction. An unforgettable and groundbreaking musical, Fun Home explores the haunting pull of memory and the power it has to alternately destroy or shape, our identity.

**PLEASE NOTE** The Characters of Alison Bechdel, Small Alison, Christian Bechdel & John Bechdel have been cast. All other roles available.


Facebook Event Link
Black Cat Theater, Inc. is seeking actors/actresses for the spring production of Disney’s Frozen Jr. directed by Dawn Larder with Greg Williams as Music Director. Auditions are open to all genders ages 10 to 18. They will be held on Monday, December 2 and Thursday, December 5 at 6 pm in Kidder Hall, All Saints Church, 7 Woodbridge Street, South Hadley.
Each named role will have a specific song they will be asked to sing from the show and there will also be short readings from the script. Those auditioning for the Ensemble will also be asked to sing the beginning of For the First Time in Forever. All those auditioning will sing to recorded music accompaniment. For character list, sheet music, and audition backing music tracks see, or email
All candidates must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. All applicants should bring a short write-up of previous theater experience with them.
Disney’s Frozen Jr. is expected to be produced at South Hadley High School on April 2–5, 2020. Rehearsals are on Monday and Thursday evenings at 6pm starting January 6th.
If unavailable to be seen in person, please call 413-563-6023 or email
As a community theater, Black Cat Theater, Inc. is always looking for people who would enjoy working “behind the scenes,” assisting with costumes, props, set construction and painting, and other tasks associated with producing a show. If interested, please call 413-563-6023 or
(See for sheet music and audition backing music track.)
Anna -- Do You Want to Build a Snowman (sing measures 4-22)
Elsa-- Let It Go (sing measures 25-50)
Olaf -- In Summer (sing measures 6-23)
Hans -- Love is an Open Door (sing Hans' part measures 5-23)
Ensemble --  (Including the Housekeeper, Butler, Handmaiden, Cook, King Agnaar, 
Queen Iduna, Pabbie, Bulda, Kristoff, Sven and Oaken)
For the First Time in Forever (sing all parts measures 4-23)
The Play Reading Co-op is currently seeking submissions of full length plays from New England writers for a monthly, ongoing reading series. The mission of the co-op is simply for local theater makers to have a chance to get in a room together to work on high quality material for our own learning, enjoyment, and camaraderie. It's also a great way to learn about new works and writers. The reading is intended to be informal and without an audience other than other co-op “members” and potentially a friend or colleague(s) of the writer. If the writer is looking for a discussion or feedback afterward, we are happy to make space for that as well. We are ideally looking for plays with at least 2 female identifying roles.
Pioneer Valley Theatre Companies
Is your theatre company missing? Email me!
Academy of Music Theatre

Arena Civic Theatre

Black Cat Theater

Chester Theatre Company


Cold Spring Community Theatre

Drama Studio

Double Edge Theatre

Eggtooth Productions

Exit 7 Players

Franklin County Youth Theater

Ghost Light Theater

Greenfield Community College's Theater Department

Hampshire Shakespeare Company

Happier Valley Comedy

Ja'Duke Center for the Performing Arts

K and E Theater Group

Ko Theater Works/Ko Festival of Performance

Majestic Theater

New Century Theatre

No Theater
Northampton Community Arts Trust

Northampton Playwrights Lab

PaintBox Theatre


Pauline Productions

Real Live Theatre

Red Thread Theater

Royal Frog Ballet

Serious Play Theatre Ensemble

Shakespeare Stage

Shea Theater Arts Center

Silverthorne Theater

Smith College Department of Theatre

St. Michael's Players

Starlight's Youth Theatre, Inc.

Strident Theatre


Turbulent Times Theater

UMass Theatre Guild

Valley Light Opera

Westfield Theatre Group

Wilbraham United Players
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