Welcome to the 300th edition of the Pioneer Valley Theatre News! This is the 300th consecutive week of the newsletter - perhaps it's time to share it with a friend? Help every theatre with an event or audition or class listed below get more eyes on the amazing work they are doing with one quick share. Thank you for supporting local theatre!
The next issue will include events through March 31. Submit upcoming events via the link below or by emailing me before Tuesday at midnight. Any questions, comments or feedback? Email me at email@example.com
Meropi Peponides: You are part of a shared leadership model at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, acting as co–artistic director with three others. How did you come to be part of this to begin with?
Yury Urnov: Blanka Zizka, now one of the co–artistic directors, led the Wilma for thirty-eight years. She wasn’t the founder—two women founded it two years earlier. But then Blanka and her husband Jiri, both immigrants from Czechoslovakia, came and took over.
About two years ago, Blanka came up with the idea of shared leadership. I was in Siberia at this moment—I’m Russian-American, so I freelanced in both countries for years. At 4:00 in the morning, I’m in the city of Krasnoyarsk, and Blanka is calling me and telling me, “We came up with this structure, how do you feel about participating?” I said, “Very exciting. Yes!”
Have you read an interesting article about theatre recently? Send it to me! firstname.lastname@example.org
From the New England New Play Alliance:
Virtual Theatre and Podcast
Mirrorbox Theatre presents
a virtual reading of A Picture of Two Boys
by Nick Malakhow
directed by Curtis M. Jackson
Markey and Pete are unlikely friends, the studious Markey with dreams of college and a life beyond the southeastern PA countryside, and the volatile Pete with drunkenly crafted fantasies about being the next Kurt Cobain. Brought together by their shared feelings of alienation in their mostly white and more than vaguely racist little town an hour and a half from Philly, the boys’ relationship fractures when Markey announces to Pete he’s hoping to graduate early and get out of the styx ASAP. We see these two boys first at that critical juncture, and then almost ten years later after they are reunited in the wake of a startling event that dredges up a connected trauma from their past.
Thank you for being part of our Digital Dionysia Festival! Creatives and audience members from all across the globe connected live online to participate in this festival of original works. The feedback was loud and clear: you want more! So, as much "one night only" has a great ring to it - we wanted to give everyone the opportunity to watch, share, and experience the Festival again; this time, in a new format.
The productions have been divided into six thematic "playlists" that will be released on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the beginning of March. Each $15 playlist will be available for purchase for one week, for you to view at your convenience. Buy one or buy six. It's up to you. Here's the opportunity for you, your friends, and family to have the encore you've all been waiting for.
In conjunction with the launch of our new website, http://thirdcitizentheatre.org (!!!), you can purchase and watch our original content on your time.
The Making of Medea’s Medea: a Mockumentary Play
by Chas Belov
Tickets: $15 per event, use links above to purchase tickets for each date.
HE (LITTLE) BIG BROADCAST! STREAMS FROM MOUNT HOLYOKE MARCH 6.
South Hadley, MA: The Jazz Ensembles of Mount Holyoke College present the 16th edition of The Big Broadcast! on Saturday, March 6 at 2PM & 7:30PM, in a free streaming version of what would have appeared on the stage of Chapin Auditorium on the Mount Holyoke College campus in South Hadley, MA. Now titled The (Little) Big Broadcast, it’s a one-hour tribute to the 1940's radio show, created by and directed by Mark Gionfriddo, featuring the Mount Holyoke College Big Band, Vocal Jazz, and Chamber Jazz Ensembles performing well-known tunes from the swing era and the American songbook. WWLP-TV meteorologist Brian Lapis is emcee “Fred Kelley” for his 14th consecutive season.
Mount Holyoke College music faculty member Mark Gionfriddo originally created The Big Broadcast! for a small cabaret group he directed, and incorporated it into the concert season at Mount Holyoke College. It has since been designated as a Signature Event at the college.
The (Little) Big Broadcast!, according to Gionfriddo, is reconfigured for challenging times. “We’ve got a series of songs from the golden age of radio, along with some radio commercials of the day. We’re featuring the Glenn Miller version of “Little Brown Jug”, two Cole Porter hits--”You Do Something To Me” and “Night and Day”; Bobby Troup’s “Route 66” as performed by Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters; “My Funny Valentine” from Rodgers and Hart’s Babes in Arms, and "Star Eyes", a tune made famous by Helen O’Connell and Jimmy Dorsey.
Mark Gionfriddo, creator and director (and “Matt Morgan”) of The (Little) Big Broadcast! is well-known to area concertgoers as a piano soloist, coach/accompanist, composer/arranger, conductor and music director. A versatile musician, Mark’s knowledge of diverse repertoire includes classical, jazz, rock, and popular music. Mark has been based at Mount Holyoke College since 1986 where he is Coordinator of Piano Studies for the Department of Music as well as Director and Founder of the Jazz Ensembles. In addition, Mark is Catholic Music Director and conducts the Abbey Chapel Singers for the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.
In 2000, Mark accompanied Garrison Keillor on the Chapin Auditorium stage in a New England Public Radio benefit show, and he conducted the MHC Big Band in 2006 during two episodes of the popular NPR public radio quiz show "Says You!" During the summer, Mark was resident music director for Berkshire Theatre Group for their productions of Peter Pan, Seussical the Musical, Mary Poppins, Beauty and The Beast, A Christmas Carol, The Music Man, Tarzan, Shrek the Musical, and the Neil Ellenoff Musical Mondays series. Mark's production of A Class Act also appeared off-Broadway at the Robert Moss Theatre.
Mark has recently reunited with the internationally renowned Young@Heart Chorus as pianist and arranger, a post he originally held from 1992-1998. He is also co-author of Good Night, Dear Hart, Good Night, a book about Holyoke's Hart-Lester H. Allen and the Ponzi scandal, on the Epigraph imprint.
Brian Lapis ("Fred Kelley") joined the 22News Storm Team in 1996. He got his start in broadcasting at the age of 15 at radio station WILI, in his hometown of Willimantic, CT. He's worked as a radio on-air talent for stations in Hartford, CT; Philadelphia, PA; Syracuse, NY; and Providence, RI. Brian has a Bachelor's degree in Television Radio Film Management from Syracuse University. In addition, he holds a certificate in Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University. This is his 14th season as WJAZ announcer and emcee “Fred Kelley”. In 2013, the National Weather Association named Brian “Broadcaster of the Year".
Brian loves performing as “Fred Kelley”. “The combination of the opportunity for me to perform, the creative energy of the students and Mark Gionfriddo, and the great music makes this far and away my favorite event of the year," he said. "As a 'student of broadcasting’, I am one who appreciates the Golden Age of Radio and just how hugely popular these variety shows were in their day. I’d like to believe that if I were around back in the 1940s, I would have a gig like Fred Kelley’s."
Performance sponsors confirmed to date of The (Little) Big Broadcast! are: Mount Holyoke College, and WWLP-22News & The CW Springfield.
Tickets are free for both streamings of The (Little) Big Broadcast!. Advance reservations are required.
The Writer's Imagination
6 - 7 P.M.
Some of us look at a piece of paper and it is blank; others of us look at the landscape of a blank page and are inspired to create. For close to a year, our individual and collective imaginations have been fed by solitude, by injustice, and by the recognition that our communities of neighbors and friends are both vulnerable and resilient. How do we make sense of it? How do those who are inspired become inspired and use the power of imagination to connect us with ideas, with each other, and with the community to effect change?
“The Writer’s Imagination” features current Poet Laureate of Easthampton, poet/translator María José Giménez, former Poet Laureate of Northampton, poet/author Lesléa Newman, and award-winning author and co-owner of Book Moon, Kelly Link, in conversation with poet/translator Michael Favala Goldman. Join this conversation about identifying sources of personal inspiration, and how these authors have found ways to transform that inspiration into works that don’t just move us but resonate.
Tickets are $25 per household / $60 for three events (through March 7)
CitySpace offers reparations pricing with reduced or free tickets available for BIPOC. TICKETS
Leonora Carrington and the Theatre: Susan Aberth and Double Edge
March 7 at 3pm
On March 7th at 3pm, we will livestream a conversation between DE Artistic Director Stacy Klein and renowned Surrealist scholar Dr. Susan L. Aberth, Edith C. Blum Professor of Art History and Visual Culture at Bard College, with visual references of Carrington's artwork and our performance Leonora, la maga y la maestra. Aberth's books Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy and Art (Lund Humphries) and the recently published The Tarot of Leonora Carrington (Fulgur Press) are profoundly influential on DE's work into the world of Leonora Carrington.
This event is a special treat to our audience in preparation for the broadcast and online world premiere streaming of Leonora, la maga y la maestra on March 14 at 8 pm for PEAK HD in partnership with ALL ARTS. You can watch the conversation live on HowlRound TV or on Double Edge's Facebook page on March 7 at 3 pm.
UMass Theater presents Women in Theatrical Design:
Anita Yavich, Jane Shaw, Jane Cox and Mimi Lien on Theater Design Today
March 8, 10:10-11:10: Sound Designer Jane Shaw
March 16, 1-2 p.m.: Lighting Designer Jane Cox
March 30, 1-2 p.m.: Scenic Designer Mimi Lien
Free and open to the community; registration is encouraged but not required through the Fine Arts Center Box Office.
In a series of Zoom conversations that will be free and open to a national audience, UMass Theater presents four brilliant practitioners of theatrical design who will share their thoughts on their work and how they experience their field as women.
Sound Designer Jane Shaw (March 8), Lighting Designer Jane Cox (March 16), and Scenic Designer Mimi Lien (March 30) will talk about their art and practice, how they have found ways to assert their voice in a male-dominated sphere, and how they view the economics of making a career in their field. The conversations will be moderated by the designers' counterpart faculty members in theater, Yao Chen, Amy Altadonna, Penny Remsen, and Anya Klepikov. Registration for the conversations is encouraged but not required through the Fine Arts Center Box Office: https://fac.umass.edu/Online/article/TheaterDepartment
In private meetings, each designer will also conduct portfolio reviews and offer career advice to the department's MFA design students.
With the exception of costume design, theater design and technical fields are dominated by men — one recent study shows that in Off-Broadway theaters, more than two-thirds of set, lighting, projection, and sound design hires from 2010-2015 were men. This series is made possible with support from Women for UMass Amherst (WFUM), a network of alumni that promotes the advancement of campus programs that provide access, support, and opportunity for UMass Amherst students, with preference to those projects that positively impact UMass Amherst women and their respective communities.
“Our guests will help give our students additional tools and impetus for challenging the sexism and bias out there,” said Theater Chair Harley Erdman. “The message is important for students of all genders who will be working in these male-heavy fields. We are thankful to WFUM for jumpstarting this idea and generously supporting it.”
More about our guests: Jane Shaw, Sound Designer and Composer
For over twenty years, Ms. Shaw has designed and composed for theater, dance, and audio drama. Theatrical work in New York includes designs at Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, Mint Theater, Theatre for a New Audience, National Black Theatre, Repertorio Español, New York Theatre Workshop, Cherry Lane, and the COOP. Regional work includes projects with Hartford Stage, A.R.T., Old Globe, Mark Taper Forum, Two River Theater, Asolo, Williamstown Theatre Festival, ACT, and Northern Stage. Awards: Drama Desk, Connecticut Critics Circle, Henry Award, Bessie Award, Meet the Composer Grant, NEA-TCG Career Development Grant recipient, nominations for Lortel and Elliot Norton awards. Proud Member of USA 829 and TSDCA (Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association, co-Secretary). Training: Harvard University, Yale School of Drama.
Jane Cox, Lighting Designer
Jane Cox is a lighting designer for theater, opera, dance and music. Designs in 2019 included The Marriage of Figaro at San Francisco Opera; Fefu and her Friends at Theater for a New Audience in NYC, directed by Princeton alumna Lileana Blain-Cruz; King Lear with Glenda Jackson on Broadway, directed by Sam Gold; a new musical adaptation of Secret Life of Bees (the design was nominated for a Drama Desk Award 2020); The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui, directed by fellow faculty member John Doyle; a theatrical adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates book Between The World and Me, directed by Kamilah Forbes and a revival of True West on Broadway, directed by British director James McDonald. Jane has been nominated for two Tony awards, for her work on Jitney (2017) and on Machinal (2014), four Drama Desk awards, and three Lortel awards, and in 2013, was awarded the Henry Hewes Design Award for her work on The Flick. Jane has been a company member of the Monica Bill Barnes Dance Company for twenty years is Director of the Princeton University Program in Theater.
Mimi Lien, Scenic Design
Mimi Lien is a designer of sets/environments for theater, dance, and opera. In 2015, she was named a MacArthur Fellow, the first set designer ever to achieve this distinction. Selected work includes Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 (Broadway, TONY Award, Lortel Award, 2013 Hewes Design Award), John (Signature Theatre, 2016 Hewes Design Award), Appropriate (Mark Taper Forum, LA Drama Critics Circle Award), Preludes, The Oldest Boy (Lincoln Center), An Octoroon (Soho Rep/TFANA, Drama Desk and Lortel nominations), Black Mountain Songs (BAM Next Wave). Her stage designs have been exhibited in the Prague Quadrennial in 2011 and 2015, and her sculptures were featured in the exhibition, LANDSCAPES OF QUARANTINE, at the Storefront for Art and Architecture. Mimi Lien received a B.A. in Architecture from Yale University (1997) and an M.F.A. in Stage Design from New York University (2003). She is a company member of Pig Iron Theatre Company and co-founder of the performance space JACK.
Please join us for the Mount Holyoke College Film Media Theater Department's final production of the 2021-21 Season.
Naomi Iizuka's Language of Angels, directed by Michael Ofori, March 10-14, 2021.
While partying with her friends in the deep dark meandering caves of a rural North Carolina town, Celie disappears. What ensues is an investigation of the fate of the friends who outlive her. Naomi Iizuka's eerie play is an exploration of love, loss, memory, guilt, mortality and the intricate web of agency, accountability and fate.
Save the date
Smith College Department of Theatre New Play Reading Series presents
Acting School by Kathleen Tolan
directed by Cate Boram
Thursday, March 11 at 7:30 PM
“Why act? The world is falling apart.” Based on Olympia Dukakis’ acting classes at NYU in the 60s, Acting School follows Olympia and her six students in the East Village against the backdrop of the Black Power Movement and the Vietnam War. Her intense training methods push the students to face the fears of being human and confront masked truths; working through scenes from powerful plays, including Arthur Miller’s View from the Bridge, LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman, Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, and more.
Free and open to the public. Registration coming soon.
Online Play Reading of LETTERS TO KAMALA Opens WAM 2021 Season
Available for Streaming March 14-21
WAM Theatre begins its 12th season with an Online Fresh Takes Play Reading of LETTERS TO KAMALA by Rachel Lynett, directed by Nicole Brewer, which will be available to stream from Sunday, March 14 to Sunday, March 21. Tickets are on sale now.
In the tense lead up to the 2020 presidential election, playwright Rachel Lynett conjures three female American political leaders of the past to share their wisdom, perspective, and wry humor with VP candidate Kamala Harris.
Playwright Rachel Lynett explained that following Harris’s nomination for Vice President: “I wanted to write a play that explored pride mixed in with caution, a play that questioned our cultural obsession with firsts but also made room for understanding the weight that being "first'' carries. Who were the other firsts? What sacrifices did they have to make to get there and what can we ultimately never compromise on?"
Director Nicole Brewer echoed this sentiment saying: “"VP Harris has an impressive record filled with many firsts and what I appreciate about Lynett's play is the central question of success at what cost and where does she go from here?”
Missing from our history books, our current Vice President is challenged and cheered on by three powerful women on whose shoulders she stands: Charlotta Bass (Shannon Lamb), the first Black woman candidate for vice president, Charlene Mitchell (Torie Wiggins), the first Black woman to run for president, and Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink (Lilli Hokama), the first woman of color to be elected to the House of Representatives, first Asian-American woman to run in Congress and the first Asian-American to run for president.
All three actors are making their WAM debut. Lilli Hokama, who Berkshire audiences may remember from I and You at Chester Theatre, will be playing Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink. Lilli has appeared in The Wolves at Lincoln Center Theatre, Little Women at the Dallas Theatre Center, and Amadeus at the Folger Theatre, where she will be returning post-pandemic to appear in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Shannon Lamb, who will be playing Charlotta Bass, has performed as an actor and singer on stages across the country, from Arkansas Repertory Theatre to the Huntington Theatre in Boston. She sang the National Anthem at Madison Square Garden and played various roles in The Dave Chappelle Show on Comedy Central. And Torie Wiggins, who is playing Charlene Mitchell, is an actor, director, voiceover artist, playwright and professor. In addition to performing on many regional theatre stages, she has co-adapted and performed a one-woman show, Your Negro Tour Guide, at various venues across the country.
The next Online Fresh Takes Play Reading of THE LIGHT by Loy A. Webb, directed by Colette Robert, will be available for streaming April 25-May 2. A surprise proposal gift puts the future of Genesis and Rashad's relationship at risk when they are forced to confront a devastating secret from the past. The Light is a 70-minute, real-time rollercoaster ride of laughter, romance, and despair that uncovers how the power of radical love can be a healing beacon of light.
Tickets for LETTERS TO KAMALA and THE LIGHT are on sale now. Audiences can book a ticket to the virtual readings and view anytime during the week. WAM aims to make both readings as accessible as possible, while maintaining our commitment to providing artists opportunities that are equitable. Therefore, we invite patrons to pick their own ticket price, ranging from $15-$50. For more information or to reserve your tickets today, visit WAM online at wamtheatre.com or call 413.274.8122.
For tickets and more information about the 2021 Season and WAM Theatre’s programs, events, and artists, please visit www.WAMTheatre.com.
Leonora, la maga y la maestra
The PEAK HD/ALL ARTS broadcast and online premiere streaming on
March 14, 2021 at 8pm
Our recorded performance of Leonora, la maga y la maestra for PEAK HD in partnership with ALL ARTS has arrived!!! This is an online event that is open and free to all, as well as a televised event in the New York tri-state area only. After the premiere, the performance will be available on the All Arts website for the next 3 years.
Double Edge took part in a multi-camera 4K shoot which was captured in high definition at Peak Performances at Montclair State University on the Alexander Kasser Theater stage.
Sunday, March 14 at 8pm: catch the online broadcast premiere of Leonora, la maga y la maestrahere.
Tune in on TV in the New York tri-state area only: Channels: Optimum 144, Verizon Fios SD 497/HD 498, Comcast 958/1156, Spectrum 1276, and Digital Antenna 21.4 Airing Dates and Times: March 14 8:00 pm & 11:00 pm; March 15 2:00 am; March 16 8:30 am, 1:30 pm & 6:30 pm; March 17 9:30 pm; March 18 12:30 am & 3:30 am; March 19 8:00 pm; March 20 12:30 am.
Find out how to watch ALL ARTS on your TV, smartphone, tablet, Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV here.
Want to receive a reminder about the broadcast? Sign up for free on Eventbrite to get a reminder 1 hour before the broadcast airs on March 14 at 8pm, and join our watch party!
The Smith College Theatre Department presents a digital production of Julius Caesar premiering live on YouTube on the Ides of March, Monday, March 15 at 7:30PM. Ellen W. Kaplan directs William Shakespeare’s tragedy about the early days of the collapse of the Roman Empire through the lens of America’s current political moment. Actors were filmed over Zoom and edited into digital scenescapes with animation and original music to create a multi-layered, fully designed production featuring the work of over 50 students. The public is invited to attend the free, live premiere by registering at https://juliuscaesar-smith.eventbrite.com.
“Why do Julius Caesar now?” Director Ellen Kaplan asks rhetorically, “Because it speaks to us now, in this precarious moment. Our imperfect democracy sees its levers degraded and its norms subverted by those who grasp for power. Things we take for granted–elections, rule of law, respect of difference, freedom of speech–are used against us.” Kaplan chose Julius Caesar for the 2020-21 season last year before the pandemic. It was supposed to start the Fall season with performances in October just ahead of the election. Rather than abandon the idea with the closing of campus and the shift to remote learning, she decided to reimagine the production as a digital theatre piece. She developed a course for Smith’s winter-term to teach digital theatre and explore the relevance of Julius Caesar today. Close to 60 students enrolled or participated as an extracurricular activity.
In order to mount a complicated production in six weeks, teams of students shared directing, design, production, and editing responsibilities. Ed Check, faculty in set design, created a digital set, utilizing detailed storyboards to convey the visual elements of the production which were realized during the Zoom recordings and in post-production with scenic backgrounds and animation. Working with student designers, faculty advisors and staff sent lights, microphones, costumes, and props to actors around the country. Bi-weekly production meetings, Google Drive, and Stage Manager Madison VanDeurzen ’22 kept the remote teams on track and unified.
What no one in the production could foresee were the stunning and historic events following the election of Joseph Biden to the presidency. The January 6 storming of the capital occurred during the first week of shooting. The uncontrollable mob in Shakespeare’s Rome presaged the angry Trump supporters who turned to violence in D.C. Students watched American democracy stumble and found new relevance in Shakespeare’s text and sharper motivation for their portrayal of the 400-year-old play. Kaplan challenged her students to consider the questions: What predicates the death of a democracy? How do we know if the political structures that we take for granted might be crumbling? And, what might the death of the Roman republic tell us about our present situation?
Kaplan hopes the work will resonate with audience members as it has with the class. “In Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare interrogates the tensions between tyranny, oligarchy, democracy and "mob rule”. Perhaps he can help us see where we are and what might be coming.”
At a Glance:
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
Live Premiere March 15 at 7:30PM
To register: https://juliuscaesar-smith.eventbrite.com
Art and Life in the Making: In Conversation with artists Silas Kopf and Nora Valdez
6 -7 P.M.
Take a (virtual) studio tour with two virtuoso artists. From storytelling to an exploration of finely crafted artistry, these award-winning artists reconnect and discuss their artistic journeys and how their paths coincided in Western Massachusetts. Join this live, online discussion with Nora Valdez, an international award-winning sculptor from Argentina, and Silas Kopf, a masterful and award-winning furniture maker specializing in the art of marquetry, to learn how their perspectives on transforming materials like stone and wood into masterful creations inform insights into nature, change and community engagement.
Tickets are $25 per household / $60 for three events (through March 7)
CitySpace offers reparations pricing with reduced or free tickets available for BIPOC. TICKETS
You’re invited to Scarlet Sock Foundation’s Virtual Third Annual Gala!
Sunday March 21 2021; 7:00-8:00 PM EST
We missed being together last year and want to update you on all the great work your support made possible during the last two years. Scarlet Sock Foundation had a banner first year funding social justice theater programming that made a difference across the Pioneer Valley. Then, despite a year that made live, in-person theater impossible, we were still able to foster curiosity, self-confidence and inclusion for students in the performing arts. That's what social justice theater is all about!
Come join us to celebrate our inaugural grant recipients and see excerpts from some of them including The Performance Project, WAM Theatre and Enchanted Circle Theater. We will also be highlighting 2020’s recipients including Serious Play! and The Drama Studio in Springfield.
Scarlet Sock Foundation was founded in memory of Laura DiPillo who passionately believed that all people deserve to be included and heard. That is why we support social justice theater, which aims to raise awareness about social issues through the performing arts.
During the program, which is free to attend, you’ll be invited to make a donation to Scarlet Sock Foundation.
The Living Presence of Our History: Part III Healing and Reparations Through the Land Back Movement:
A Conversation on Indigenous Land Tenure, Stewardship, and Access
March 21 at 1 pm
In 2020, Ohketeau, a recently established Ashfield-based Center for Indigenous Culture, and Double Edge Theatre co-produced The Living Presence of Our History on August 2 and September 13. On March 21 at 1 pm, we willbroadcast Part III on HowlRound TV, Double Edge's Facebook as well as Ohketeau's Facebook page. Prior broadcasts can be viewed here:
UMass Theater's Visionary Futures speculates on what it takes to make a more just world
Visionary Futures: Science Fiction Theater for Social Justice Movements
March 24 and April 1, 7:30 pm: Gender Experience TM by M. Sloth Levine
March 25 and April 2, 7:30 pm: Unity by Phaedra Scott
March 26 and 31, 7:30 pm: Beyond Reform by Jaymes Sanchez
What kind of future do you envision? The trio of visionary playwrights that have been commissioned by the UMass Theater department offer a glimpse of the futures they envision in Visionary Futures: Science Fiction Theater for Social Justice Movements series.
Starting March 24, audiences can see one, two, or all three of the works that comprise this series: Unity, by Phaedra Scott; Beyond Reform, by Jaymes Sanchez, and Gender Experience TM, by M. Sloth Levine.
Creator Josh Glenn-Kayden, a third-year MFA directing candidate, encourages you to join us in envisioning the intersection of science fiction and activism. Inspired by “Octavia’s Brood,” a short story anthology named for writer Octavia Butler that explores the connection between radical speculative fiction and movements for social change, this project sits at the intersection of theater and activism. Three professional playwrights — Phaedra Scott (Good Hair), M. Sloth Levine (whose Interrobangers was a popular Play Lab entry last spring), and Jaymes Sanchez (The Cucuy Will Find You) — have each written a 30-minute play and have been paired with activists (TreaAndrea Russworm, Finn Lefevre, and Eli Plenk, respectively) whose work intersects with the content of the play. These teams met regularly throughout the writing process to create plays that speculate on how societies may reimagine concepts like gender, justice, and identity in the future. (Visit our website to read bios of the artists as well as updates about our activtists, cast, and play titles.)
“I think there's something inherently hopeful about Visionary Futures,” says Tatiana Godfrey, dramaturg for the project. “Both the activist and the playwright are asking the same question, 'What does a more just world look like?'”
Glenn-Kayden and Godfrey are also asking these questions, building a new, inclusive process of play creation. This integrative experience allows the activists to be involved in the writing process and trajectory of the play, rather than being brought in to consult afterward.
“We're creating a new model of collaboration that includes more voices in the generative process and are excited to develop plays that are imaginative and forward thinking while still having roots in the activism work of our present moment,” says Glenn-Kayden.
Each performance in March and April is a fully digital production, with virtual aspects designed by Streaming Producer Leanna Keyes.
Visionary Futures: Science Fiction Theater for Social Justice Movements will be livestreamed to YouTube. Join us as we embark on this imaginative journey into envisioning a new world.
CASTING NOTICE: Play Incubation Collective, an emerging hub of new play creation based in Western Mass, is developing Darcy Parker Bruce's four-play Piedmont Plays Cycle beginning now through August. The development process will culminate in a COVID-friendly presentation of each of the four plays (either in their entirety or a collection of scenes) in August as well as a community dialogue around some of the themes of the cycle. Developmental rehearsals will be held (virtually) for 4 days each month between March and July for 2.5 hours at a time, with extra rehearsals plus performances in August to take place in person if it is safe to do so at the time. Not all actors will be called for each rehearsal. All artists involved will receive a stipend for their work. Equity and non-Equity actors welcome. Please send a headshot/picture and resume as well as a virtual sample of your work (this can be any existing video footage or even a monologue recorded on a phone) to Rachel F. Hirsch at email@example.com by February 26th. Feel free to reach out to Rachel with any questions.
Seeking skilled and experienced actors preferably located in Western Massachusetts, though within a 3 hour drive of Northampton would also be acceptable, who ideally have some experience and interest in working on plays in development. This is a long-term development project, and is only one example of the work we do. PIC will continue with shorter term development projects from February-August and beyond, and ideally the actors chosen for these roles would be interested in continuing to work with PIC beyond this cycle.
BEN, 40’s (for 4th play in the cycle, Oh Captain! My Captain!) -a gender non-binary or gender-queer actor. Ben is Emily's child, raised by Emily and Jonah, and named for their best friend Frances Benjamin Franklin. Ben is on a search for Jonah (Ben's adoptive father) after his disappearance. This actor must be comfortable playing characters of any gender, as they will also portray an array of other characters of varying gender identities and expressions besides Ben throughout the play. Oh Captain! My Captain! will be written over the course of our development process. Actors of all races and ethnicities are welcome and encouraged to submit for this role.
SAMIR, 40’s (for 4th play in the cycle Oh Captain! My Captain!) -a male-identifying actor who is of Middle Eastern descent. Samir is from Syria, but has spent nearly his entire life in the small Connecticut town of Piedmont and is Ben's adoptive sibling. As with Ben, this actor will also portray an array of other characters of varying gender identities and expressions, and must be comfortable moving between the variety of characters involved.
**CONNOR, 30’s (for the 1st and 3rd plays in the cycle, Soldier Poet and Kingdom of Ghosts) -a male-identifying BIPOC actor. Connor is a US Army Ranger from Alabama, with a very strong southern accent and a jovial personality. Ideally, the actor portraying this character would have a large build fit for a US Army Ranger, but this is not required.
**There is an actor in consideration for this role already, but we are seeking possible alternates.
*Please note these plays touch on themes of abuse, drug addiction, people experiencing poverty and homelessness, queer youth, war and veterans, refugees, and dealing with loss. Actors involved must be comfortable exploring these themes.
K and E Theater Group HELLO AGAIN Auditions - Still Seeking Three Roles
Virtual Auditions End March 6, 2021 at 11:59 PM
K and E Theater Group is casting our September 2021 Production HELLO AGAIN
Auditions for THREE roles to be held by video submission. Callbacks, if necessary, to be held over Zoom.
This is a non-equity production and no housing will be available. A small stipend will be provided at the end of the production.
Please prepare a song that shows off your acting and vocal range that will be uploaded onto the Audition Form. Additionally, please submit a headshot and resume.
AUDITION FORM AND MATERIAL SUBMISSION FOR HELLO AGAIN VIRTUAL AUDITIONS at https://forms.gle/kzmubihN7Y9VuXWKA
Submission Deadline: March 6, 2021 at 11:59 PM
Seeking strong dramatic actors that move with exceptional voices and strong musicianship skills to play a number of roles in varying types. Three roles are available.
• The Soldier – Male / Age 18-30. Afraid of dying; uses the war to get sex; doubles as 1980s music video singer. Baritone.
• The Young Wife – Female / Age 20-35. Bored, repressed, sexually unfulfilled; doubles as 1940s swing dancer. Mezzo.
• The Husband – Male / Age 20-45. 1950s husband; closeted; doubles as 1940s swing singer. Baritone.
All characters will be put into choreographed sexual situations. MUST BE ABLE TO DANCE. Please be aware the show contains adult themes. Simulated intercourse is involved. We at K and E Theater Group take safety and comfortability very seriously and will be talking with all actors involved about comfortability and situations.
First rehearsal: July 2021
Tech dates: September 5-8, 2021
First Performance: Thursday, September 9, 2021
Closing Performance: Sunday, September 12, 2021
LIVE Performances at Northampton Center for the Arts, 33 Hawley Street, Northampton, MA
COVID Postponement Dates: March 24-27, 2022
Director: Eddie Zitka
Musical Director: TBA
Book, Music & Lyrics: Michael John LaChiusa
Visit KETG.org for more information.
Hiring: Stage Manager, Choreographer, Set Designer, and Costume Designer
Apply: Designers, please send us your resume and portfolio. Choreographers, please send your resume and choreography reel. Applications must be sent to Scanticriverproductions@gmail.com
Description: Scantic River Productions, a brand new theatre company based out of NYC, is looking for designers in Western, MA. We are looking for local designers for a brand new musical, Brothers Wright, opening at an outdoor venue in the Springfield area at the end of July.
Brothers Wright tells the story of the infamous Wright Brothers, and their journey to flight. Written by the company’s artistic director, Colby Herchel, the story takes us into the lives of not only the geniuses who achieved the impossible, but the humble community of Kitty Hawk, NC who helped the physicists on the way. Through old american folk music, our story is filled with determination, community, and joy.
This brand new musical is still in development stages. This run will be our second production of Brothers Wright, our first being in 2019 in NYC. The show has undergone more rewrites, and we are looking to develop this production further by including puppetry and more.
There are some concepts that Colby has decided he would like to keep from our first run, but we are very open to new ideas. We would love to hire designers who bring a new eye and perspective to this production, but can also work with concepts that were already discovered in the first run.
Covid Regulations: Most rehearsals and meetings will be held via zoom. As of now, the outdoor venue is booked, and we are scheduled to begin working in person July 17th-August 1st. All actors, designers, and personnel apart of the show must be covid tested before going into in person rehearsals, as of now.
For more information about Brothers Wright and Scantic River productions, you can visit the following below.
Instagram: @brotherswrightmuscial and @scanticriverproductions
SEEKING TO ASSEMBLE LIST OF ARTIST(S)TO HIRE ASAP
WHO SPECIALIZES IN WOODWORK, CARVING, CREATING WOODEN STRUCTURES; SET DESIGN
** GRANT PENDING
Person hired would ...
be given the specs (your own creativity encouraged)
purchase the wood, nails, etc.
have all expenses paid (appx 3k)
labor/artists paid (only paid outside of box, so paint required)
structure to be situated outdoors, able to withstand all weather (within reason)
sound base, on grass or concrete
3 sided with back door latch
7' high appx x 7' wide
design approval by entity that pays the bills
from Springfield or nearby (must be in MA)
outside would be painted with designs by other artists
no rush, appx year to finish
essentially an attractive box that fits 2 people
rustic, not necessarily attractive, nothing high-end
can have a small team of workers, but you would be the lead
kind of like the front of a building in western movies, yet stands on 3 sides
Example: Ticket booth at the Big E, painted on the outside with some theme, to fit 2 people.
Tall dog house, decorated (don't laugh),
Certainly, email me any questions.
The Language of the Body.Meditation. Movement. Monologues.
Using the work of Jerzy Grotowski as a launching pad, this class will provide an opportunity to move with and through whatever is going on for you in this ongoing moment of upheaval. Based in mindfulness practice we’ll explore how emotions and experiences live in the body and investigate how they can be released via physical forms and language.
Thursday nights from 6-9pm EST, starting March 4th
6 weeks. $445.
Open to 8 students.
Ato Blankson-Wood (he/him/his) is an actor, theatre-maker, and educator based in Los Angeles.
Broadway: Slave Play (Tony Award nomination), Hair and Lysistrata Jones. Off-Broadway: The Rolling Stone at Lincoln Center Theater (Drama League Award nomination), Slave Play at NYTW (Lortel Award nomination), The Total Bent at The Public (Drama League and Lortel Award nominations), The Public Works’ Twelfth Night and As You Like It, Transfers at MCC, Antigone in Ferguson at the Harlem Stage, The Foundry Theatre’s O, Earth, and Iphigenia in Aulis at CSC. Film/TV: Worth, BlacKkKlansman, The Kindergarten Teacher, Detroit, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, “When They See Us” (Netflix), “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon), “She’s Gotta Have It” (Netflix), and “The Good Fight” (CBS).
Ato is on the faculty of the Playwrights Horizons Theater School, a member of The Actors Center, and a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Yale School of Drama.
Happier Valley Comedy
Self-Care Through Joy: The 30-Day Happiness Experiment March 6 at 11:00 AM
This online 30-day program provides simple, game-changing self-care and happiness practices and the support to make them a lifelong habit.
First, you attend a fun, engaging interactive presentation where you experience all eleven of the evidence-based Self-Care & Happiness Habits. Then you pick 1-2 Self-Care & Happiness Habits to do every day for 30 days. We're talking a commitment of about 1-10 minutes each day. Just for 30 days.
The 30-Day Happiness Experiment is remote and completely customizable, so you choose the Self-Care & Happiness Habits, time commitment, schedule,
accountability aids, and connection style that works best for you. Safe, easy, self-directed, introvert- and extrovert-friendly. And FUN!
The path to comedy in song is through the truth of the circumstances, the stakes of the moment, and the playful risk-taking of the actor. In this masterclass, Anne Tofflemire, who teaches singing at the Yale School of Drama, will encourage each student to change with the changes, connecting to their appetite for character, their innate musicality, and the power of the lyrics. Find freedom and play within musical structure and unleash your funny bone. This class includes a group warm-up and individual coaching sessions that will leave you more confident in your singing and comedic ability.
Special note about Double Edge's Residency Mentorship:You may now choose to apply for the whole program or in one of the two sections. In the first section of this program from March 15-April 26, you will focus on your own creative path of artistic inquiry and work creation. In the program's second half from April 28-June 13, you will engage in a Double Edge performance process for Howling at the Moon.
K and E Theater Group School's In Session: Spring Edition with K and E Theater Group
Mondays, Tuesday & Wednesdays, March 22-April 21, 2021
School’s Back in Session this month with K and E Theater Group! We’re excited to bring back our interactive, fun, online theater classes for all abilities this spring!
Our classes this spring include Writing for the Theater, Musical Theater Dance for Beginners, Physical & Vocal Acting Techniques, and our new addition, Intermediate Musical Theater Dance!
With small class sizes, our professional teaching artists will provide one-on-one attention to allow our participants feel confident in their skills and share their work and achievements with others!
All of our classes take place on Zoom. The class sessions and series offerings are held Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays beginning March 22 through April 21, 2021.
For more information and to register for your class sessions, visit ketg.ticketleap.com!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!
Twelve students. Six weeks. Five days a week. Three and a half hours a day. Over 100 hours of laughter, failure, tears, beauty, triumph, wonder and play!
Applications are accessible via the link below and will be accepted on a rolling basis until 11:59pm EST on March 21st.
Dear friends, we here at Completely Ridiculous Productions are thrilledto share that we’ve expanded our offerings for the spring conservatory program! We have added an Anti-Racist Theatre course; a Wellness Practice, with Annie Piper; Guest Speakers and Master Classes led by working actors in tv/film and theatre like Molly Bernard(7 years as Lauren on Younger; Transparent; Chicago Med; Sully) and Mamoudou Athie (Emmy nominee for Oh, Jerome No; Uncorked; Black Box; Jurassic World: Dominion); and more - all in addition to our continued focus on Scene Study, Movement, Play, and the work of BIMPOC playwrights.
At the end of the 6 weeks, Completely Ridiculous students will walk away with industry contacts, a more enthusiastic and curious body, a larger capacity to dream and dream big, and a greater comfort with spontaneity, freedom and play. Students will also gain a deeper understanding of who they are as unique, individual artists and what they bring to an ensemble, as well as a whole new set of skills to apply to their career and/or ongoing education.