Thursday, December 12, 2019

Pioneer Valley Theatre News December 12, 2019

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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December 12 - January 1, 2019

It's Nutcracker week - I've been busy! Come see a show!

The next issue will include events through January 8. 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
$5 per week for your poster and ticket link in top billing!
Email me to reserve your dates.
from Howlround

Connection, Influence, and Impact as a Playwright-in-Residence
by Carlos Murillo and Kira Obolensky

From the article: 

Carlos Murillo: You just finished your second residency term with Ten Thousand Things in Minneapolis, Minnesota, through the National Playwright Residency Program (NPRP), right?

Kira Obolensky: I finished it last December. I started a theatre class in a maximum-security prison as part of my residency, and I’m continuing to do that.

Have you read an interesting article about theatre recently? Send it to me!
Click to Access: Pioneer Valley Theatre Google Calendar
Click to Access: Pioneer Valley Theatre Personnel Spreadsheet
Smith College Department of Theatre presents 
New Play Reading Series: Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom

by Sylvia Plath
Directed by Hannah J. Simms
December 12 at 7:30 PM
Acting Studio 1, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts

The story - recently published for the first time in the Hudson Review and written while Plath was a student at Smith College - focuses on a young woman's mysterious journey by train.


December 12-22

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).
Pioneer Valley Ballet presents The Nutcracker
December 13 at 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM
December 14 at 1:00 PM and 4:30 PM
December 15 at 1:00 PM and 4:30 PM
Academy of Music, Northampton

Pioneer Valley Ballet begins its performance season each winter with The Nutcracker, onstage at the historic Academy of Music Theatre. This is our 41st annual production!

Join Clara as she battles the Rat King to save the Nutcracker Prince, and then travel to the enchanted Snow Forest and beautiful Kingdom of Sweets.

This treasured community event includes over 250 dancers from towns throughout Western Massachusetts, dancing alongside PVB's pre-professional students and guest artists from the Carolina Ballet and Festival Ballet.


Friday, December 13th at 4:00pm: Sensory and Family Safe Presentation

Now in its third year, this performance has lighting and sound accommodations for reduced sensory experiences. A narrator will assist the audience at the start of the performance. This show will run approximately 1 hour without an intermission.

Friday, December 13th at 7:00pm: Special Performance with Musical Guests

It's become a new tradition: We turn our Friday night performance into an evening packed with extra entertainment. You get a full Nutcracker performance along with special performances by the UMass Doo Wop Shop, and other fun treats sprinkled throughout. If you're looking for a date night performance, this is the one.

Saturday, December 14th & Sunday, December 15th at 1pm & 4:30pm: Our traditional full-length performances, approximately 2 hours in length with one intermission.

Sunday, December 15 from 12-12:30pm

Be Clara's special guest! Before she performs in the The Nutcracker, Clara will meet you and your child in the theater lobby and personally escort you up on stage into her living room. Your chid will hear the story of The Nutcracker, have the opportunity for a photo with Clara and even get Clara's autograph!

Add this special experience to your ticket to The Nutcracker — or purchase this as a stand-alone treat — and make the afternoon an extra special holiday experience. Limited to 25 children.

Tickets on sale through the Academy of Music Box Office




 For two years, the Holiday Season has seen the re-telling of the Dickens’ classic Christmas story in Silverthorne Theater Company’s 1930s radio adaptation of the familiar tale.  A Christmas Carol: A Radio Play, was a terrific hit in 2016 and 2018, and this year will once again be playing in three different Franklin County locations the weekend of December 13-15.  

Director John Reese and actor Michael Haley have revised the 2018 script that was adapted from a full-length version of the story. This hour-long 2018 version presents the recreation of a 1930s production being broadcast live from the radio studio and is performed without intermission.  It is complete with six actors in period costume, gathered around standing microphones and voicing multiple characters.  Haley anchors the performance as Scrooge, joined by Joan Haley, David Rowland, Kimberly Salditt-Poulin, Ann Steinhauser and John Reese, with Marvin Shedd providing narration. 

Sound effects genius John Iverson recreates the excitement of the early days of live sound production with an assortment of weird-looking and -sounding machines which he wields in full view of the audience during the course of the show. Period commercials spice up the station identification breaks!

As Reese says, “A Christmas Carol is a perfect theater piece for a holiday revival because it not only entertains an audience but it directly addresses the meaning of being human.  It engages and delights the youngest to the oldest member of an audience.”

Specifically designed to be family-friendly, A Christmas Carol: A Radio Play will be performed in three venues:

·      Friday,  December 13 at  7 pm in the Perch at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center (289 Main Street, Greenfield) 

·      Saturday, December 14 at 7 pm at Centennial House (94 Main St, Northfield – part of Northfield’s Special Day Celebration)

·      Sunday, December 15 at 4 pm at The Deerfield Inn (81 Old Main Street, Deerfield)

Tickets are $15 general admission; $10 for students/seniors. Tickets may be ordered online at or by calling 413-768-7514. Details at

Next year, Silverthorne plans to present a fully staged Holiday production in December as part of its regular 2020-2021 Season. Details will be forthcoming in January, 2020.

Four mini-comedies will be read at Arms Library in Shelburne Falls at 6:30 on Friday, Dec. 13.
All are welcome.
"I Can't Hear You When the Water is Running" by Robert Anderson is made up of four one-act comedies, written in 1967
"They are very funny and a welcome hiatus from all that's happening right now.  They have absolutely nothing to do with politics!" said Jackie Walsh, managing director of Footlights at the Falls, which has organized the reading with the Arms Library.

These short comedies are about an older man and woman competing for the title of "Least Demented," a middle-aged couple who can't agree about how much sex education their children need, another couple who can't agree whether it's time to replace their queen-sized bed with twin beds, and a playwright who's adamant that one of his actors should appear onstage naked.

This is the third in a series of plays read at the Arms this year.

Others were "The Ferryman" and "The Foreigner." Last year, the group read "A Christmas Carol."

The event is free.

Refreshments will be served.

All are welcome, regardless of experience.

"We've had an experienced actor drive up from Connecticut to read, people reading who have never, ever performed before, and many in between," said Walsh.  "This play is very funny and we are bound to be laughing a lot."

The Arms Library is at 60 Bridge St. in Shelburne Falls.

For more information, call Walsh at 413-625-9413.


The 35th annual Welcome Yule: A Midwinter Celebration returns to the Shea Theater for three performances December 13 through 15.

General Admission $15/ Seniors and Children $12. Children 4 & under are free. 

Rose Sheehan, Welcome Yule founding director, joins the company after a 20-year hiatus in collaboration with current artistic director Liz Smith and music director Kathryn Aubry-McAvoy to mount this year’s production.

Sheehan first conceived the idea for a mid-winter pageant that emphasized folk music and customs in 1985. For 15 years she served the company as artistic director. Sheehan shepherded its growth from a basement coffee house program to a full theatrical production that enjoyed many years at the Shea Theater. She is thrilled to return to direct the 35th anniversary show.

The program’s storyline centers on the wisdom of trees, the power of animals and the deep magic of music. An original song composed by Colin de la Barre served as the nexus for the story development. Sheehan’s son, de la Barre participated in Welcome Yule during his childhood throughout the 1990’s. In recent years de la Barre has performed as one half of the singing duo Meridian. He joins this year’s cast as a featured singer, debuting his composition.

Over the years Welcome Yule's audiences have been regaled with mirth, song, dance and good cheer. This year’s highlights will include rousing harmonies, lively dances, and the use of giant puppets throughout the show.

The Abbot’s Bromley Horn Dance, a staple of the annual pageant, will be performed by the Juggler Meadow Morris Men of Amherst, Massachusetts. The horns carried by the dancers are in fact a set of caribou antlers. Though the origins of this stately English folk dance are debated, one theory holds that it served as a ritual to ensure a plentiful deer herd in the year to come.

Another regular feature, a mummers’ play will also be included. The action of this comic folk drama centers on the death and subsequent revival of one of its characters. The speeches, delivered in rhyming couplets, are written for laughs and the puns are sure to elicit a groan or two.

Welcome Yule is produced and performed by an all volunteer cast and crew. It is a family friendly program suitable for all ages.

For more information contact

Written and Performed by Gabe Levey
In Collaboration with Lucy Shelby

Saturday, December 14th at 7pm
$10 in advance / $12 at the door
$8 student tickets
$5 seniors / military

Last summer Gabe had brain surgery, which left him with a whopping dose of Speech Aphasia. After that Gabe moved back to Northampton to recover. After that Gabe began writing short stories as part of his speech therapy. And now, after all of that, Gabe is going to read some of them out loud for the first time ever in front of mostly strangers and some friends and family. What could possibly go wrong?

Join us as we travel into the post-operative mind of a comic performer, his journey back to coherent speech and the birth of Completely Ridiculous Productions.

Reception to follow.

ARTIST LED WORKSHOP: Intro to The Fun of Failure!
The following day, Sunday December 15th, Gabe will run a 2 hour workshop focused on Games and the reclamation of each individuals ability to play with ease, wonder and reckless abandon. No experience required.

12-2pm in Eli’s Room at The Northampton Center for The Arts @ 33 Hawley Street.
$20 to be paid upon arrival.
Sign up after the show Saturday night, or on the day of!
And bring your program from Saturday night’s show for a $5 discount!!

A New Comic Drama for the Holidays!
Several “Voices” share their thoughts and feelings in twenty-eight spoken-word songs as they look to make their way through early winter and the holiday season—that is, as they try to make more sense of their lives and the life around them.  They seek a true coming to light.
Influenced by Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology, poetry slams, and traditional Advent, Coming to Light (it follows) is innovative.  It’s designed to be not only interactive, with audience on three sides and no fourth wall, but also immersive.  Members of the audience who are interested in taking part will be invited at different points to step on stage, take the place of one of the Voices, and read a song for that Voice, reflecting the poetry slam quality of the play.
Christmas will naturally be addressed in several songs, but the essence of the play is nonsectarian.  Non-Christian elements are incorporated, including the playing of klezmer music by Jim Armenti of the band Klezamir.  Some of Jim’s own ballads are featured as well.
Please join us in our progress through the holiday season!
ONE SHOW ONLY – Saturday, December 14, 7:30 pm in The Northampton Center for the Arts
$5 SENIORS/STUDENTS (age 13+ recommended)
Cash/Check at the Door
Online tickets
The Ha-Ha's & Friends! 
December 14th at 7:00 PM
Happier Valley Comedy Theater (1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley, MA) 
Local favorites since 2003, The Ha-Ha's perform in their monthly show for the LAST TIME! Saturday, December 14th 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:
Phantom Sheep Productions presents LaughCrafters Holiday Show

December 16 at 6:30 PM
Agawam Public Library

Celebrate the season with us and laugh off that holiday stress! In their annual tradition,local comedy troupe Phantom Sheep is performing a FREE show for all of you with lots of live improv and including a few new pre-recorded sketches.

Show begins at 6:30PM
Tell your friends! We'd love to see you there!

Facebook event.

Phantom Sheep also offers adult improv classes through Unity House Players in Springfield, MA. Next session starting early 2020. for more info and to register.
WHAT: RLT presents a sharing of in-process work from their new original piece When the Mind's Free

WHO: Real Live Theatre artists Toby Vera Bercovici (Director), Ezekiel Baskin (Stage Manager), Linda Tardif (Cordelia), and Myka Plunkett (Goneril), are joined by frequent RLT guest artist Annelise Nielsen (Regan/Choreographer), as well as by Liz Stanton (AEA, Lear), Carolyn Goelzer (AEA, Fool), and Abbie Killeen (AEA, Kent).

WHERE: The green room at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls

WHEN: Monday, December 16, 7pm

HOW MUCH: Suggested donation, sliding scale, $10-$25 


CONTACT: Toby or Ellen or Ezekiel at
SHORT EVENT DESCRIPTION: An intimate sharing of the work-in-progress and developmental process of When the Mind's Free, a collaboratively created contemporary adaptation of King Lear. Seating is extremely limited.

FULL PROJECT DESCRIPTION: RLT’s Toby Vera Bercovici launches a new work, devised in collaboration with a team of RLT members and guest artists. The working title of the piece is When the Mind’s Free. It lifts language, ideas, and story from Shakespeare’s King Lear and places them in a contemporary context, a day in the life of a family dealing with early-onset Alzheimer’s. 

When the Mind's Free explores the relationship of Sound to Time and Mortality: the big, free sounds we make when we are born and as we die, and the moments sound is stifled in between; sound as a radical, feminist act; sound as a means by which we leave our mark upon the world. The language in the piece will be contemporary and is emerging out of situation-based improvisations. The piece is process-driven as much as it is product-oriented, and is grounded in female collaboration. 

The sharing at the Shea on Dec. 16th is the first public sharing of this ongoing work since the initial developmental residency at the Dragon's Egg Studio in CT in June 2019, continued in a residency this December in Sunderland. The project will continue to develop in 2020.
Storytelling Standup Showcase
December 20th at 7:00 PM
Happier Valley Comedy Theater (1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley, MA)
Catch local talent trying out their new material hosted by the amazing Kelsey Flynn. Friday, December 20th at 7pm at the Happier Valley Comedy Theater (1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley, on rte.9). Tickets: $5 at the door.
For more info:
no theater presents A SKULL IN CONNEMARA by Martin McDonagh

December 20, 21, 27, 28, 2019, 8:00pm

A.P.E. Gallery, 126 Main Street, Northampton, MA

by Martin McDonagh
A dark comedy by the writer/director of the Academy Award winning film "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

4 nights only, December 20/21 and 27/28 at 8 pm

Performed by No Theater veterans Roy Faudree, Charles Holt, Jane Karakula and Tom Mahnken, the play takes place in McDonagh’s fictional rural West Ireland small town where people “smile at you ‘til you’re a mile away before they start talking behind your back."  

No Theater, the resident theater of A.P.E., takes its time working on its original scripts and productions of the published works of playwrights.  No Theater presented three separate local productions of Richard Maxwell's CAVEMAN over a period of three years before its New York run in 2013.  2018's google gogol was the result of members of the community reading several translations and adaptations of Nikolai Gogol's Ревизор (THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR) for a year.      

A SKULL IN CONNEMARA is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.
A SKULL IN CONNEMARA was first presented as a Druid Theatre Company and Royal Court Theatre co-production in Galway, Ireland and then in London in the summer of 1997.  "Mr. McDonagh's great strength is that he combines a love of traditional story-telling with the savage ironic humour of the modern generation....  In A SKULL IN CONNEMARA, a gravedigger, whose job is to disinter the bones of seven-year-old corpses and smash them to a pulp, is hotly suspected of killing his wife."  THE GUARDIAN

Based in Northampton, No Theater has been presenting their new original experimental works in Western Massachusetts and around the world since 1972, alongside innovative productions of plays by such diverse writers as Shakespeare, Chekhov, Čapek, Kroetz, Gogol, Williams, Albee, Berkman, Maceda, Mullin, McDonald, and Maxwell.  

House opens at 7:30pm.  Performance starts promptly at 8:00pm.  No late seating.  

Running time approximately 90 minutes.
Limited seating (20).  
Limited engagement, 4 performance only, Friday/Saturday, December 20/21 and 27/28, 2019.

Purchase tickets:

Shakespeare Stage presents 

After the Island

A sequel to William Shakespeare's The Tempest

by David Rowland

Directed by Julian Findlay

A Staged Reading


A.P.E @ Hawley 

FLEX Space 

33 Hawley Street


Dec. 20th at 7:30pm

Dec. 21st at 7:30pm

Tickets: $10 at the door. Cash/check/credit card accepted. 


The Happier FAMILY Comedy Show
December 21st at 3:00 PM
Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 W Bay Rd, Amherst, MA

Monthly family-friendly improv comedy show, great for 5-13 year olds and their adults. It's funny for the whole family! Saturday, December 21st at 3pm at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (125 W Bay Rd., Amherst). Tickets at the door: $10/Adults, $5/Kids, Free/4 yrs and under (Reduced admission for museum members).
For more info:
HVC Presents: Not In Charge! 
December 21st at 7:00 PM
Happier Valley Comedy Theater (1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley, MA) 
Join the talented group Not In Charge for a polished, fast-paced improv show inspired by true stories from the cast and audience! Saturday, December 21st 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:
The Happier Valley Championship! 
December 28th 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, December 28th 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:

Mount Holyoke College, Department of Theatre Arts
Jan 13
Looking for musical director for production of "Lizzie, the musical" at Mount Holyoke College.  March 5-8
Paid position.

We are looking for IMMEDIATE video submissions for the role of "MARK" the sensitive high pop tenor of the Altar Boyz.

Show dates are April 16-19, 2020 at Northampton Center for the Arts!

If interested PLEASE send a video submission to singing a song best showing off your high range in both chest voice and pop falsetto.  (If singing from the show, please look at the song "Epiphany")

Rehearsals will begin February 3, 2020. Deadline for submissions is December 21, 2020!

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
Want to know even more about events in the Pioneer Valley and beyond,
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Pioneer Valley Theatre Google Calendar
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