Thursday, May 14, 2020

Pioneer Valley Theatre News May 14, 2020

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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May 14 - June 3, 2020

I hope you are all safe and healthy and lucky enough to be feeling sick of being at home. I sure do miss my theatre families at Smith and at the Academy and at the ballet and everywhere else that has had a cancelled event this spring or summer. If you are looking at what might still be happening, Chris Rohmann made you a nice list. If you have anything to add, please make sure to send it to me so I can include it next week. 

It's a good time to brush up on some skills, too! Check out the scene study class led by Toby Vera Bercovici below. 

The next issue will include events through June 10. 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
Email to register - More details in the Classes section below!
$5 per week for your poster and ticket link in top billing!
Email me to reserve your dates.
from Howlround

On Art and Activism
by Israel Aloni

From the article: 

When the COVID-19 crisis hit the West, the phenomenon of the starving artist resurfaced. It was unavoidable, and reminders showed up everywhere. Observing it all was alarming and, perhaps, invaluable. The way in which we artists reacted—and the rapidity of it—exposed the enormity of the problem. Our response preceded any clear understanding of the magnitude of the situation we were entering. The financial impact had not yet kicked in; we were not desperate for edible food and it was not our physical bodies that suffered. The timing reinforced a crucial distinction of the source of our behavior: our hunger was for attention and visibility.

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

West Springfield's Majestic Theater, which was temporarily closed on March 14 in response to COVID-19 safety guidelines, will present a series of programs online. Subscribers and single ticket patrons that did not see “The Pitch,” the play that was in mid-run at the time of the shutdown, will have the opportunity to watch an archival video of the production between May 3-17. Information about the video's availability can be found at

The first Majestic Theater online program is a weekly series called “Behind the Curtain at the Majestic,” which will be broadcast live online beginning Sunday, May 3 at 2:00 p.m. on Producing Director Danny Eaton will interview different guests who have been involved in iconic productions at the theater over the past 23 years, taking viewers behind the scenes to learn what goes into creating their favorite plays. The first guest is actor Ben Ashley who played the title role in “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” in all four of the Majestic's presentations of the musical that opened the theater, under Eaton's direction, in March 1997. Ashley's other credits include “Blood Brothers,” “Brimstone,” “La Cage Aux Folles” and “Miss Saigon.” All subsequent “Behind the Curtain at the Majestic” shows will be live online on Sundays at 2:00 p.m. For the upcoming schedule of planned guests and the plays that will be discussed, please visit

Of course we don't know at this point when we'll re-open, but we embrace optimism in the face of this,” Eaton stated. “The audience is just as important to a play as the story and the performers, and we can't wait to welcome them back to the Majestic. In the meantime, we're looking forward to bringing some terrific new programming to them in the safety of their homes, and we extend our wishes for their good health.”
Happier Valley Comedy LIVE!
Every night except Sundays at 8pm until we can open our theater again!
Safety of your own home! (YouTube Live Stream)

Come to our virtual theater! Each night, Pam and Scott will check in about their day, share how they're staying healthy and happy through all this social isolation, and then improvise for you, sometimes joined by surprise guests! We can also talk with you through the chat box, so come hang out, give suggestions, and join the fun! It's our way of opening our theater each night to bring people together through laughter and community.

YouTube Channel
Arts events, concerts, and productions have been cancelled in cities across the nation due to the effects of COVID-19. Artists, musicians, and performers whose livelihoods are dependent on these events  are facing insurmountable loses.

Now is the time to give back to the artists and performers who contribute so much to the quality, vibrancy, and enjoyability of our lives and culture.

We are collecting donations to support artists in our community who have been directly impacted by this global heath crisis. The funds raised here will be distributed as relief grants to eligible artists and arts organizations.

We invite members of the community to donate to our artist relief fund via GoFundMe.
About the Movie:
Chickago is a feature-length, dark comedy motion picture written by Nora Kaye and Whitney Uland. It follows the journey of three twenty-somethings who attempt to cope with tragedy and disappointment by staging a local production of Chicago, the musical, in their hometown. It fails hilariously, forcing them to face their demons head on.

About me/ the creative team: 
Nora Kaye, who began her theatrical career doing plays at Northampton High School and New Century Theater, recently became an award-winning filmmaker and actor in the Entertainment industry with her writing partner Whitney Uland. Their original TV pilot, Hysterical Women, won awards and accolades at major film festivals around the nation, including Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival and Shonda Rhimes’ Seriesfest. Her work has screened internationally at the Cannes Film Festival.

In the last push for their fundraiser, any and all donations or support helps!

To learn more about the project and our production company (Changito Perrito Productions LLC is a development and production company that creates stories by women, for women. Dedicated to inclusion and diversity, we strive to make films and commercials that are as complex, honest, weird, funny, dark and intricate as the women who make them.):

If anyone has other questions Nora can also be reached at

The creative team is also interested in partnering with a local theater company for possible shooting location, co-production, and premiering the movie when it is done. Reach out to Nora for more information.

National Theatre Live YouTube Channel

Streaming will begin at 2 PM EST. 

May 14 ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’ by Inua Ellams. 

May 21 ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams, starring Gillian Anderson. 

May 28 ‘This House’ by James Graham. 

June 4 ‘Coriolanus’ by William Shakespeare, starring Tom Hiddleston.

New musicals available streaming on YouTube every Friday for 48 hours!
From the New England New Play Alliance:

Virtual Theatre and Podcasts

Boston Theatre Marathon presents
Marathon XXII Special Zoom Edition
now-May 17

Readings of ten-minute plays by New England playwrights presented in collaboration with New England theaters via Zoom. Audiences are encouraged to lend their support to area theatre companies and to the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund, which provides financial support to theaters and theatre artists in need. You need the free Zoom app to join. Use the links below to watch each performance. Click the "purchase tickets" button. The readings are free.

Black Jesus 
by Fabiola R. Decius
Sponsored by Company One Theatre
May 14, 12:00 noon

Room 221 
by Michael Towers
Sponsored by Forge Theater Company
May 15, 12:00 noon

The Wheelbarrow 
by Ron Radice
Sponsored by Imaginary Beasts
May 16, 12:00 noon

12 Days 
by John Kuntz
Sponsored by Acropolis Stage Company
May 17, 12:00 noon

The Wilbury Theatre Group presents
The Debt
by Tim Lenhert
May 15, 7:00 pm

A mob enforcer has to collect from a gambler who owes him money, but applying the muscle isn’t so straightforward in this time of social distancing. When the boss, “Big Neck,” gets on the call, things take an unexpected turn.  Stream 7:00 pm, May 15.

Silverthorne Theater Company presents
Days of

by Rich Orloff
streaming now-June 4

Rich Orloff adapted Days of Possibilities from letters and interviews with students who attended Oberlin College in Ohio. The play explores the journey of one college's response to the Vietnam War, from small and polite demonstrations in 1964 to the  campus-wide response in 1970 when National Guardsmen killed our unarmed students during a demonstration at Kent State University. Along the way, we meet the full spectrum of students, including the radical, the cautious, the conservative, and the chronically undecided. Stream now.

Boston Podcast Players presents
Episode 2.15: Brandon Crose, The Ordinary Epic
streaming now

This week we lead a band of intrepid adventurers on an expedition to make a fictional podcast series about a roleplaying group. Roll for initiative and may the D20 be with you. Stream now.

The IOTF: The International Online Theatre Festival is back! Join us from 15 April to 15 May in celebrating theatre-making from across the world.

Wherever you are, you will be able to see a range of work from global artists and companies, as well renowned filmmakers who have turned to theatre as a mode through which to explore process, craftsmanship and performativity.

This year’s festival features 25 productions from leading international companies including Reckless SleepersTR WarszawaStanislavsky Electrotheatre and the Schaub├╝hne.

Details here.

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Playwrights’ Center is taking action to connect people with their communities and create income streams for theater artists who are out of work. We're pleased to announce an entirely new, online Spring 2020 Season.

This spring, Playwrights' Center will feature regular weekly programming of new play readings; seminars, classes, and workshops taught by playwrights; two weekly feature articles written by playwrights; open conversations and panels with playwrights and theater practitioners; Member Open Play events, where writers read each other's plays aloud and respond with constructive feedback; New Plays On Campus sessions for educators and students interested in playwriting; Writing Room Lunch Breaks where playwrights can come together to work; and open office hours with Playwrights’ Center Artistic and Membership staff, giving people a chance to connect, ask questions, and discuss best practices.

The schedule and links to events

from UMass Arts Extension Services
New Funding Resources Available

Remember weeks ago when events hadn’t been canceled or postponed worldwide? Your arts program may have been at the top of your to-do list however today, we are all searching for new ways to keep our arts organizations afloat during this time of uncertainty. We are here for you!  Arts Extension Service has put together a list of resources that includes funding and grant opportunities for artists and arts organizations. In this rapidly changing landscape, check in often, as we update this list daily. 

If you are delving into the grant writing process for the first time or feel you need to refresh your skills, check out the Arts Extension Service's online Grantwriting for the Arts course offered this summer!  Class starts July 6, and registration is now open!

Updated list of Resources from the Valley Arts Newsletter:

Here is the most recent resources list:

Links from last few weeks:
More excellent resources for freelance artists

This article has links to great free online trainings for theatre technology

More Digital Arts and Culture Resources

List of Arts Resources During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Stay At Home Fest: Online Entertainment Calendar

Join the New Performing Artists Network, created by Seth Lepore

UMass Arts Extension Services List of Resources

Live Puppet Theatre Online - from the Jim Henson Foundation

Even More Things to Stream While Broadway Is Shut Down

So many free online theatre streaming listings here.

As part of "How We Are Responding" to the current health pandemic and the impact it's having on our beloved theatre community, we at TCG are extending complimentary postings of temporary / flexible / tele-commuting positions (artistic AND non-artistic) on ARTSEARCH®. 

This opportunity is open to ALL, in support of theatre-makers looking for immediate temporary work to alleviate the financial crisis that has resulted from the spread of the virus.
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.
Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts

We understand the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting nonprofits in many ways, including increased demand for their services, lost revenue due to closures and cancellations, as well as other challenges. We are happy to announce the COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley. With local businesses partnering to help raise over $1 million, this fund will provide flexible resources to organizations that are working with communities at the intersection of being most vulnerable to the virus and most impacted by inequity.
The Northampton Arts Council is now accepting performer applications for First Night Northampton 2021.

On Thursday December 31, 2020 the Northampton Arts Council will present the 36th annual community New Year’s Eve celebration and festival of performing arts. Since 1985, First Night Northampton has filled the Paradise City with a 12-hour family-friendly festival of the arts, culminating in a traditional ball-raising from the roof of the Hotel Northampton. Proceeds from First Night Northampton will benefit local artists and community arts activities. 

We look forward to receiving many proposals and to creating a diverse, exciting, family-friendly event. Complete and submit the application no later than August 31, 2020. Proposals are reviewed as they are received, so early applications are recommended. Please submit separate applications for each proposal. Proposals without support materials will not be reviewed. We will be notifying applicants at the end of September. To apply to perform at First Night Northampton please complete the online application which can be found here.

Contact: Steve Sanderson, Events Producer, 413-587-1247,

Photo Credit: Steven E Nanton



Saturdays from 1-2pm, starting May 9th

Completely Ridiculous Productions and The Northampton Center for the Arts would like to welcome you to the Pioneer Valley’s one and only Laughing Club!

In this weekly meetup we will gather together for an hour on zoom, introduce ourselves, warm up our bodies, have some fun and laugh ‘til it hurts.


Because we believe it is important to remind ourselves that it's ok to live in a happy body and laugh uproariously, especially in such crazy and chaotic times.

But seriously, Why?

Because laughter is a necessary survival skill, that's why.  Also, super serious people like Doctors, Ministers and Therapists all around the world say that laughter strengthens the immune system, purges toxins, burns calories, works as a natural anti-depressant and keeps us resilient, happy and healthy! Laughter is the Best Medicine after all - and it's FREE!! 

The PVLC is open to any and everyone, and just like going to the gym or taking a yoga class, there is nothing performative about it. However, a sense of humor will most certainly help - so be sure to bring yours along!

Each session is $15 suggested donation benefitting both the NCFA and Completely Ridiculous Productions. To sign up, please email

What in the what is Completely Ridiculous Productions?

CRP is a performance laboratory/training center dedicated to professional actor training, developing and producing new works of physical comedy, and strengthening each individual’s Empathic Vulnerability - the willingness to fully see and be seen by an other, while staying open to the possibility of being changed. For more information visit the website.

And who the heck is running this thing anyway?

Professional Laugher since birth, Gabe Levey is an actor/theatre maker who recently moved back to Northampton. In addition to running workshops and producing shows in the valley, Gabe teaches Physical Acting, Clown, Clown to Text and Shakespeare Performance at NYU, Tisch School of the Arts. Founding Artistic Director, Completely Ridiculous Productions. MFA, Yale School of Drama.





In this two-hour class (offered via the Zoom online meeting platform), Bercovici will work with just four actors on two different approaches to scene-work. The first scene will be grounded in given circumstances, actions and objectives, as well as in situation-based improvisation. The second scene will be approached with Michael Chekhov’s “psychological gesture,” a kinesthetic approach to scene analysis. There will be a group warm up, approximately 45 minutes of work per scene, and time at the end for questions. When not working, each pair of actors will observe the other pair.

Email us at to register.

Cost is $35 and your spot will be held upon successful registration and payment. We regret any inconvenience, but at this time we cannot accept cash or check payments. Payment can be made through our secure donation portal via PayPal or credit/debit card. Please note in the memo that your payment is for Toby’s Scene Study Masterclass.

A limited number of non-participatory observers are welcome! Please make a donation of any amount (no minimum/maximum!) and email us at to sign up for an observer spot.

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

Completely Ridiculous Productions

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

Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center

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 Department of 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,
including reviews, interviews, and previews?
Pioneer Valley Theatre Google Calendar
In the Spotlight, Inc.

Berkshire on Stage
ArtsBeat Radio and News Column
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