Thursday, July 9, 2020

Pioneer Valley Theatre News July 9, 2020


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Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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July 9 - 29, 2020

I f you haven't seen it yet, check out the latest from StageStruck - and many thanks to Chris Rohmann for the shout out!

There are some great local events coming up - make sure you read all the way to the end of the newsletter. Workshops by Phantom Sheep Productions, the Ko Festival of Performance, Joe Dulude II through Eggtooth Productions, and the Pioneer Valley Laughing Club - check them out. If you have something else you know of that is coming up, please send it my way!

The next issue will include events through August 5. Submit upcoming events via the link below or by emailing me before Tuesday at midnight. Any questions, comments or feedback? Email me at

Submit Your Theatre Event
$5 per week for your poster and ticket link in top billing!
Email me to reserve your dates.
from Howlround

We've Seen White American Theatre
by Betty Shamieh

From the article: 

The debt that is owed to the Black artists, thinkers, and intellectuals by we non-Black Americans of color is so immense and multilayered it cannot be quantified. They have given us the language of revolution, integrated all-white institutions, and modeled how to rise to the apex of power in America. Overwhelmingly, Black pioneers have embraced and accepted other people of color as allies, all while knowing they bear the brunt of both microaggressions in artistic spaces and the murderous violence necessary to keep a racist society in place. Especially when we keep our little mouths shut.

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 closed to the public in March due to COVID-19, is offering weekly online programs that feature popular Majestic entertainers being interviewed, as well as videos of favorite plays from previous seasons of the Majestic Children's Theater program, and an online talkback session about those plays.

Behind the Curtain,” the interview show hosted by the Majestic's Producing Director Danny Eaton, is streamed live on Thursday nights at 7:00 p.m. To see the show, as well as the children's theater presentations, visit “Behind the Curtain” features performers with a long history with the Majestic who share their experiences as actors, singers, directors and more with Eaton. The guests take questions from the audience during the live show which is one hour long. Past guests have included actor/singer Ben Ashley, musician Mitch Chakour and Elvis tribute artist Ray Guillemette, Jr. Upcoming guests include:
  • Thursday, July 9 – Director Zoya Kachadurian (“An Inspector Calls,” “Stones in His Pockets,” “Stick Fly”)
  • Thursday, July 16 – Actor/Singer Sue Dziura (“Home for the Holidays,” “The War and Walt Whipple,” “Next to Normal”)

Stephen Petit, director of the Majestic Children's Theater program, hosts “Majestic Children's Theater Online.” Each Wednesday, a video of a past performance is uploaded to, and the following Sunday, Petit and cast members from that play host a live talkback and Q & A session with viewers online. Here is a listing of upcoming shows:
  • Sunday, July 12 – “Charlotte's Web”
  • Sunday, July 19 – “Mulan”
  • Sunday, July 26 – “The Velveteen Rabbit”
  • Sunday, August 2 – “Through the Looking Glass...and What Alice Found There”
  • Sunday, August 9 – “Aesop's (Oh So Slightly Updated) Fables”

All “Behind the Curtain” and “Majestic Children's Theater Online” episodes are archived and available for viewing anytime at  There is no cost to view these shows, but donations are encouraged.
Happier Valley Comedy's Improv for Black Lives FUNdraiser
July 11 at 8:00 PM

Improv For Black Lives: An HVC Fundraiser Show
Remote Event via Zoom
Suggested ticket price: $15

100% of your ticket price to benefit

Join some of your favorite HVC Mainstage Cast Members (we've missed you!) in a completely improvised, short form comedy show for CHANGE! We'll use your suggestions and participation to create the funny right on the spot. Help us use our powers for good!

Featuring Maddy Benjamin, Scott Braidman, Kelsey Flynn, Kate Jopson, Pam Victor, Julie Waggoner, and Jim Young!
Piti Theatre Releases Four Digital Pieces with the Toronto Fringe Collective:
Local Teen Podcasts Up First, July 1 - 3
Piti Theatre Company, an international touring troupe based in Shelburne Falls, has been busy re-inventing their theatre work in a digital format given COVID-19. One example of this new approach will be on offer through the Toronto Fringe Collective, an online festival that grew out of the cancellation of the Toronto Fringe Festival where Piti had planned to offer their pro-pollinator production "To Bee or Not to Bee" as part of the Fringe's KidsFest. Piti's pieces are part of a collection of digital work made by 50+ theatre companies from around the world and premiering from July 1 – 12 at The Festival is operating on a "pay what you can" model where patrons can "tip" the artists.
July 7 – 9: Sammy and "Le Grand Buffet": Making up Problems is a video from the world of Piti's solo clown performance which encourages all ages to create (and solve!) their own physical comedy "problems" using common objects found around the house.
July 10 – 12: Hawaii 5G: This is the first episode of a new Piti podcast series geared for ages 16+ inspired by the television series Hawaii Five-0 and the nationwide roll-out of 5G wireless infrastructure with no safety testing. The solo show culminating a year's worth of podcasts will premiere at the Ko Festival of Performance in Amherst next summer.
More about all of these performances at Teens interested in registering for Valley Playwright Mentoring can go to
Double Edge is dreaming and planning 6 FEET APART, ALL TOGETHER, a Summer Spectacle for the time of COVID-19. The spectacle is inspired by and drawing from the rich history and favorite moments of our past performances, as well as looking toward a future including an ode to nature and our living culture. The entire main site of DE’s Farm would allow for limited audiences to spread out on a reflective and invigorating walk through scenes in the air, in the labyrinth, by the stream, in the arbor, and in the garden. Visitors will interact with the land, visual installation, and small scenes from the past, as well as a look toward what we are creating together for the future. 6 FEET APART, ALL TOGETHER will be performed in rounds to allow for less than ten people per group, and will take place at the end of July and a few weeks in August.

Box office opens June 15.
K and E Theater Group Presents Local Spotlight Series this Summer!

K and E Theater Group is excited to present its LOCAL SPOTLIGHT SERIES on Facebook, IGTV and YouTube celebrating Pioneer Valley’s theater artists. KETG Artistic Director Eddie Zitka hosts the summer series streaming online every Tuesday and Friday starting on May 26th and through the rest of the summer!

Stay tuned and check out our lineup by liking us on Facebook and Instagram, and subscribing to our YouTube channel! See you in the spotlight!

Berkshire Theatre Group (BTG) and Kate Maguire (Artistic Director, CEO) is excited and proud to announce they will be producing Godspell this summer – the first musical in the United States to be approved by Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The show will be presented outdoors in an open-air tent adjacent to The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, and is scheduled to run August 6 through September 4. Tickets will be available for purchase Tuesday, July 7 at 12pm. Casting for Godspell is also announced below.

BTG Board of Trustees Co-President Lee Perlman said, “We could not bear the thought of a Berkshire summer without live theater to support our community, so we jumped through every hoop to create a safe way to make this happen. I hope our production gives hope to the tens of thousands of theatre professionals who are on the sidelines this summer. Theater is unstoppable and will be back!”

Maguire said, “Godspell got the green light after establishing a strict protocol to protect the health and safety of the audience, the performers and others involved in the show. We have been working daily and in the true spirit of care and collaboration with Actors’ Equity Association for the past several weeks.”

Maguire continued, “Guided by Executive Director of Actors’ Equity Association Mary McColl and her extraordinary team, I have learned much about how to lead a theatre in the new world. Our industry, which has been devastated by this global pandemic, will be served by their seriousness, data driven wisdom, and profound understanding of the need for artists to rebuild. I am so proud that Berkshire Theatre Group, in its 92nd season will be authorized and granted the responsibility to produce the musical Godspell.”

After careful consideration with the local and state government, Mayor Linda Tyer of Pittsfield and Actors’ Equity Association, BTG relocated Godspell from its original site at The Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge to outside under a tent at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield.

Executive Director of Actors’ Equity Association Mary McColl said “Equity staff around the country have been collaborating daily with producers on health and safety questions and now we can reveal the results of that work. Every production is different and will be evaluated on a case by case basis focusing on the safety of our members. We will continue to collaborate on safety plans where the epidemic is under control and where employers can maintain a safe work environment for their employees.”

BTG has outlined procedures and protocols in a manner that is consistent with current Actors’ Equity Association and state and local mandated health and safety guidelines. Temperature scans will be done for patrons at their point of entry. No-contact scanning stations for tickets will be placed at point of entry, spaced at least 6 feet from the temperature scan. Free-standing hand sanitizer stations will be placed at various locations throughout the space. Patrons will be required to wear masks. One way traffic patterns will be enforced with arrows and 6 foot markers on the floor, as well as lines down the center of hallways, to and from the tent, restrooms and concessions. The restrooms will have entrance and exits that are separate and one way. Every other stall, urinal and sink will be marked not usable. A doctor/nurse will be on duty for all performances. Additional safeguards will also be in place.

They’re Playing Our Song, originally slated at The Unicorn Theatre in August, will move into summer 2021. Letters to the President, slated for Labor Day weekend, is cancelled. All patrons with tickets will be contacted to make arrangements. An update about the fall season will be announced in the next few weeks.

Tickets may be purchased in person at the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street, Pittsfield, online at, by calling (413) 997-4444, or on any performance day from 10am until curtain. The ticket office is open Monday–Saturday from 10am–2pm. All plays, schedules, casting and prices are subject to change.

National Theatre Live YouTube Channel

Streaming will begin at 2 PM EST. 

The Deep Blue Sea

Terence Rattigan’s devastating masterpiece contains one of the greatest female roles in contemporary drama, played by Helen McCrory.

Streaming from 7pm on 9 July, until 7pm on 16 July.


Lucian Msamati plays Salieri in Peter Shaffer’s iconic play, directed by Michael Longhurst with live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia.

Streaming from 7pm Thursday 16 July until 23 July.

Dear Shakespeareans and Friends,

Despite COVID, Community Shakespeare has been going strong and saw its membership increase this past semester, which is terrific. Some of you have asked how you can help me and this program; it is easy, tell your friends, who will in turn, invite their friends. 

COVID is still around us, and UMass is on lockdown for July and August. We will, therefore, continue meeting on Zoom. If it becomes safe to meet in person, I will let you know immediately. We are long overdue for our potluck!

If you do not have Zoom yet and want to participate in the summer program offerings, please email and I can help you.

If you would like to participate sporadically to the classes, or for shorter periods during class time, please do so. I understand that Zoom can be hard on the eyes, etc. Know that you are always welcome to join and be with us.

The following is the (unofficial) Summer Program Community Shakespeare 2020:

The Kinney Center will send the official program soon.

Community Shakespeare's summer program is different from the fall and spring offerings in that it focuses on the theater and its performance i.e., stage direction, actors, audience reception, music, and costumes.

July 2020

By popular demand:

1) Shakespeare Aloud
Days: Monday July 6, 13, 20, 27
Time: 5 pm to 6:30 pm
Play: Much Ado About Nothing

Are you ready to take on the Shakespearean role of your dreams?  Join us in Shakespeare Aloud. Each participant will take on a character and read the parts. Readings for each character will rotate amongst the members. Short presentations will be offered on topics related to the play. 

2) Shakespeare in Translation
Days: Wednesday July 8, 15, 22, 29
Time: 5 pm to 6:30 pm
Play: Beaucoup de bruit pour rien 
Are you curious about how Shakespeare sounds in another language? How his puns and wits carry over from English to French? The impact of Shakespeare's text in other countries? Enjoy the Bard in French and explore the beauty of his language in translation. 
Bilingual edition translated by Jean Michel D├ęprats 
Bilingual conversation as needed. 
All levels of French welcome. 

August 2020

New offering: Shakespeare and Films
Days: Monday August 3, 10,17, 24. 
Time: 5pm to 6:30 pm

Play: Othello
Three productions of Othello with special features: 
Orson Welles' Othello (1952)
Laurence Olivier's Othello (1965)
Othello with Laurence Fishburne, Irene Jacob, and Kenneth Branagh. Director Oliver Parker (1995)
Join us in watching productions of Othello as a whole and in parts. Discussion of the play will focus on the actors and their role in addition to audience reception. There will also be an exploration of specific topics along the way such as politics and race, with short presentations. 
Following up on its highly successful Theater Thursday play reading series last year, Silverthorne Theater Company will take advantage of the use of online streaming to bring three new plays to the Valley and beyond this summer through the 2020 Theater Thursday Play Reading Series. All three plays in this year’s series will be streamed free to Silverthorne’s Facebook page and will feature live discussions with the playwrights following the readings. The series is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council through the generous support of the Greenfield, Hadley and Buckland Cultural Councils.

On Thursday, July 16, the second Theater Thursday play will be read as a co-production with the Chester Theatre Company and will be directed by CTC’s Danial Elihu Kramer. Northampton playwright Darcy Bruce’s Soldier Poet is a prize-winning piece that was premiered by Theatre Prometheus in 2017 at the Anacostia Arts Center in Washington D.C.  The play centers on a gripping and timely story. In Aleppo two American Army Rangers rescue an injured Syrian woman about to give birth. At a nearby hospital, a neonatal nurse with an unwavering sense of duty struggles to save the lives of infants as her hospital is bombed.

The final 2020 Theater Thursday play, which streams on Thursday, August 20, is written by Northampton playwright, James McLindon – Distant Music.  Penney Hulten directs this complex piece set in January 2000. On a snowy night in an Irish pub in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Connor, Maeve and Dev meet, each agonizing over an irrevocably life-changing decision. The three fight over religion and beer, whether truth exists at all, the differences between the Irish and Irish-Americans, the many failings (according to Dev) of the latter, and, finally, the capacity of stout to explain, metaphorically and metaphysically, most of life. The play, winner of numerous awards, has been produced across the country and is published by Dramatic Publishing. The playwright will join in for a live post-show talk about the play.
From the New England New Play Alliance:

Virtual Theatre and Podcasts


The Actors Studio of Newburyport presents
Seeing Eye

by Nick Malakhow
directed by Creston Rice
July 11, 10am

Overwhelmed by the world of hook up apps and dating profiles, Jason, who is blind, goes looking for love in person at a gay bar. While smoking outside, he strikes up a conversation with the charming and self-deprecating Robbie. Despite the protestations of his overprotective and anxious sister, Jordan, Jason initiates a whirlwind romance with Robbie that tests whether both men are ready to be fully seen by someone else. A recording will be available after the livestream/Zoom event. Stream at the following link on 7/11 or after: Stream here.

Huntington Theatre Company presents
Dream Boston

Streaming Now


Dream Boston asks local playwrights to imagine their favorite locations, landmarks, and friends in a future Boston, when we can once again meet and thrive in our city. These micro-plays take place at locations such as the MIT Great Dome on the 4th of July while the sounds of the “1812 Overture” float in the background, at the Boston Public Library where a librarian and library patron debate the ethics of reserving a book, and a not-so-perfect first date on the edge of the Boston Common.

By the Rude Bridge
by Melinda Lopez
directed by Rebecca Bradshaw

by Kate Snodgrass
directed by Caley Chase

Stream here.

Arlekin Players presents
State vs Natasha Banina
based on Natasha’s Dream
by Yaroslava Pulinovich
directed by Igor Golyak
July 12, 8pm

In State vs Natasha Banina, a girl tells the story of her life in a small-town orphanage, and her desire to be free; to fly away and break from her vicious existence. From the inside of a "ZOOM" court room, she will make twists and turns through her unique appeal to audience as the jurors, letting them into her world, where she dreams about love, family, acceptance, adjusting, and her future. Ultimately the two worlds collide and you decide her fate. RSVP here.


Theatre@First presents
a Firstworks reading:
Changing Lanes
by Maggie Kearnan and Taylor Buehler
directed by Elizabeth Ross 
streaming until July 31

Sam, a young drama teacher at a Catholic high school, is grappling with student-teacher boundaries in his new position. When personal tragedy brings his world to a halt, he turns to his students and mentors to reassess and recover. Stream the play.


Playing on Air presents
Christmas Breaks
by Patrick Gabridge

In Christmas Breaks by Patrick Gabridge, a young man surprises his girlfriend with some curve ball gifts. Stream the podcast.

Unbound Visual Arts presents
New Narratives: Reclaiming Asian Identity Through Story
Submit by July 12

Through a series of public programming and other cultural offerings, we hope to help demystify some of the stigmas associated with Asian and Asian-American culture and encourage a greater sense of belonging within the various Asian and Asian American communities and its place within the larger Boston-area community. We invite Boston-area Asian storytellers to submit work by Sunday, July 12 via the official application on the Unbound Visual Arts website. Submit here.

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.

Playwrights' Center offering classes and online events. 

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.
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.

Phantom Sheep Productions, in partnership with Unity House Players
LaughCrafters: Connections

Meets every Monday online

Join us for our weekly jam to play short form improv games together! Keep your brains in shape, meet new people, laugh, and stay connected!

Recommended for adults and teens 15+  All levels welcome!

Facebook event

The event is free. Donations are accepted.
Registration is required.
KoFest presents
July 23-26 + Aug. 2 & 9, 2020
plus a 30 min one-on-one with the instructor
Contemplative Practice for Writers
This world is begging us to find new ways of being together, being in the world, being creative, being with ourselves, and deep introspection. In this online workshop, you will learn contemplative practices of body, energy and mind, and how to integrate them with writing prompts structured to undo restrictive habits of writing and thinking. Together, these new habits can become a daily practice of access to the stillness and silence that is home to your wild and... 
Being Self
with Joe Dulude II - email  to register
Being self is a unique online camp experience for LGBTQ+ kids ages 15-18 that runs from August 10-14, 2020 from 1:00-4:00 pm at a cost of $100.
Each day will be a 2-3 hour session involving theatre, self-discovery and artistic activities.  The goal of the camp is to help young people discover who they are in this moment and who they would like to become.
All activities lead to a final video project where campers will record a documentary of who they are.  These videos will be edited together into a short film which will be shown on Eggtooth Productions website.
The camp will be led by Joe Dulude II, himself a member of the LGBTQ+ community.  Joe has worked the last 8 years as a Program Director for Camp Highlight and has developed several workshops on identity.
Joe Dulude II is probably best known for his Broadway, Off-Broadway and West End makeup designs on such productions as Wicked, Beetlejuice, Spongebob Squarepants the Musical, Torch Song, Sunday in the Park with George, Anastasia, Sweet Charity, Holiday Inn, Allegiance, Dr. Zhivago, On the Town, If/Then, Beautiful, The Wedding Singer, Grease!, Follies, Jekyll & Hyde and many more.
Joe is also a fine artist, showing work in NYC and his current home in western MA, performing artist  and drag queen, having created the  character of Mr Drag with his good friend Kat playing his associate, Karl.



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.

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
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Berkshire on Stage
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