Thursday, December 1, 2022

Pioneer Valley Theatre News December 1, 2022

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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December 1 - 21, 2022

Wow, December already? Isn't it still 2020? If you need something completely new to do tonight, come hear the first full draft of Return to Abya Yala by Aria "Lune" Acevedo at El Mercado in Holyoke. This play is the result of nine months of development process with Play Incubation Collective. Focusing on identity within the Indigenous community, Return to Abya Yala takes place in Santos, an imagined San Antonio of the future. Come support new plays!

This week on the StageStruck column, Chris Rohmann features Much Ado on NT Live at Amherst Cinema - Dec. 1 and 17.

The next issue will include events from December 8 - December 28. 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.
Click to Access: Pioneer Valley Theatre Google Calendar
Click to Access: Pioneer Valley Theatre Personnel Spreadsheet
from Howlround

Dealing with the Feels: Demystifying Emotions in Acting Classes with Emotional Intelligence
by Janet Neely

From the article: 

“Very little” was the response to the question, “What role do you feel emotions play in teaching acting?” The respondent was a male acting professor teaching at a public university in the Northeast. Through my research on the utilization of emotions in college acting training, I discovered that there are many valid reasons why acting teachers are not talking about emotions in their acting classes. What I have heard over and over again is acting teachers are afraid that if they talk about emotions students will “play” emotions while performing. Most commonly, however, is the fact that both students and faculty do not feel equipped to discuss emotions.

Have you read an interesting article about theatre recently? Send it to me!
Play Incubation Collective
Return to Abya Yala Culminating Presentation


Registration is now open for our final Reading and Reception for this year's Residency: Return to Abya Yala by Aria "Lune" Acevedo. We hope you will join us for this powerful new play.

Focusing on identity within the Indigenous community, Return to Abya Yala takes place in Santos, an imagined San Antonio of the future. It follows the journey of Xo- a detribalized young woman. Xo seeks reconnection to roots lost from centuries of colonization and generational trauma. To the settler’s eye, this future may look like an apocalyptic dystopia, but for Xo and her Indigenous community, could it be the time to finally regain stewardship of the land and heal?

December 1st at 7pm

El Mercado Hall in Holyoke, Nueva Esperanza

413 Main St. Holyoke

$10 suggested donation.

Learn More and Reserve Your Ticket
“Mother Tongue” is an original multilingual physical theater performance created by Springfield-based First Generation Ensemble.“Mother Tongue”  is inspired by events and stories from Congo/Tanzania, Bhutan/Nepal, South Sudan, Holyoke, and Springfield. The performance weaves together movement, music, dance, and stories in Arabic, Swahili, Nepali, and English. The 90 minute piece incorporates the themes of culture, language, diaspora, identity, and the school to prison pipeline, among others. Appropriate for ages 12 and up.

For tickets: 
For more information: 
West Springfield’s Majestic Theater continues its 25th Season with the premiere production of Love, Milly & Murray, a new comedy about old love, written by T. Emerson.  The play, which runs October 27 through December 4, features Milly and Murray, who have been married for 57 years.  Their well-practiced routines, revolving around constant medical appointments, banter and barbs, are the stuff of true love, especially as the pair are shown celebrating their anniversary.  While anxiously awaiting a doctor’s telephone call, they replay their lives, telling stories from the past, and revealing a perfectly imperfect love story.
Danny Eaton is producing director, while Sheila Siragusa is directing the play.  Associate Producing Director/Stage Manager is Sue Dziura, and Stephen Petit is production stage manager.  The set was designed by Greg Trochlil, Dawn McKay is costume designer, and Daniel Rist is lighting designer.  Cast members are J. T. Waite (Murray) and Julie Nelson (Milly).  Understudies are Frank Aronson (Murray) and Linda Storms (Milly).
Ticket prices range from $29 - $35 and can be obtained by visiting or calling the box office at (413) 747-7797 during hours of operation (Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
Audience members are required to wear a mask while in the building unless actively eating or drinking in the café.  Doors to the theater will open one hour before the start of a show, which is also when the café opens.  For more information, visit
Happier Valley Comedy
The Understudies: An Improvised Musical
December 3 at 7:00 PM
Happier Valley Comedy Theater (1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley, MA)

Be part of the fun as these brave improvisers and their trusty musician create an entire musical from scratch. First Saturday of every month at 7pm at the Happier Valley Comedy Theater (1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley, on rte.9). Tickets: $13 online and at the door.

More information.
West Springfield’s Majestic Theater will present its annual seasonal variety show, “Home for The Holidays,” December 8-22. 
The family-friendly show, featuring Pioneer Valley-based performers, has become a tradition at the theater for more than a dozen years.  Similar in style to nostalgic holiday specials of years past headlined by Andy Williams and Perry Como, “Home for The Holidays 2019” will be co-hosted by singer Ray Guillemette, Jr., who has headlined countless "A Ray of Elvis" sold-out shows at the Majestic, and Ben Ashley, a Majestic favorite who has performed in several hit shows including “Mamma Mia” and “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.”
Joining Ray and Ben onstage will be veteran Majestic performers including Myka Plunkett, Kait Rankins, Tully Russell, Vivienne Damon, Caelie Scott Flanagan, Michael Graham Morales, Alexandra O’Halloran, plus guest appearances from The Grinch and Santa Claus.  The show will be directed by Stephen Petit, and Mitch Chakour is the music director/arranger.
Tickets are $28 & $26 for adults, and $10 for children 10 and under, and are available by visiting or calling the Majestic Theater Box Office at (413) 747-7797 during its hours of operation (Monday – Friday 10am - 5pm, and Saturday 10am - 1pm). 
Other upcoming Majestic holiday-themed shows include: “Holiday Stress Relief,” a night of improv comedy with The Majesters on Monday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m.  General admission seating is $15 at the door the night of the show.
For additional information, visit
Happier Valley Comedy
2nd Saturdays Presents: Longform Improvisation
December 10 at 7:00 PM
Happier Valley Comedy Theater (1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley, MA)

A cast of experienced improvisers dive into a variety of formats based on audience suggestions. Second Saturday of every month at 7pm at the Happier Valley Comedy Theater (1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley, on rte.9). Tickets: $13 online and at the door.

More information.
K and E Theater Group Presents BELIEVE - A HOLIDAY CELEBRATION
With a concept by David Cavallin, Ken Comia, Melissa Dupont, David Webber and Eddie Zitka, celebrate the season with a K and E Theater Group take on "festivating" the holidays in this new annual tradition.
Let us transport you to our K and E Theater Group holiday party where our eight performers will harmonize and pay homage to traditional and contemporary holiday music! Be filled with the spirit of the holidays! 
Our production of BELIEVE - A HOLIDAY CELEBRATION features David Cavallin, Melissa Dupont, Christopher Marcus, Nicole Newell, Kathy Renaud, Tina Sparkle, Chris Webber, and David Webber. David Cavallin serves as music director and arranger. K and E Theater Group Artistic Director Eddie Zitka directs.

Tickets are general admission for $22.00. There is no reserved seating. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit
** Face coverings that cover the nose and mouth will be required for entrance and while seated at the Northampton Center for the Arts.
Happier Valley Comedy
HVC's Fun Fridays: Storytelling Standup Showcase
December 16 at 5:30 PM
Happier Valley Comedy's Next Door Lounge (1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley, MA)

Watch Happier Valley Comedy talent try out their latest material, laugh together, raise a glass, and support up-and-coming standup comedians. Doors open at 5:30. Showcase starts at 7pm.

More information.
Silverthorne Theater Company, Inc.
Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley

December 17, 3:00 PM
Deerfield Inn, 81 Old Main Street, Deerfield

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley offers an imaginative and playful sequel to the action of Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice. Silverthorne Theater actors will portray the familiar characters in a special fundraiser reading of the play at The Deerfield Inn, 81 Old Main Street, Deerfield, on Saturday, December 17, at 3:00 pm.

Tickets for this staged, costumed reading are available at  Full details are available at Silverthorne’s website under Special Events. STC co-founder Lucinda Kidder directs this special presentation. Proceeds go to support Silverthorne’s 2022-23 season.

The event is sponsored by Champney’s Restaurant & Tavern. Patrons are encouraged to make reservations for lunch or dinner before or after the reading at 413-774-5587. Holiday beverages will be available before the reading and during intermission.

Happier Valley Comedy
Happier Family Comedy Show
December 17 at 3:00 PM
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (125 W. Bay Rd, Amherst, MA)

A high-energy interactive improv comedy show, perfect for 5-13 year olds and their adults. Third Saturday of every month at 3pm at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (125 W. Bay Rd. Amherst). Tickets: $5/child, $10/adult, 4 and under/free.

More information.

A.P.E., in partnership with Alexandra Ripp, presents a return engagement of

A THOUSAND WAYS (Part Three): An Assembly by 600 Highwaymen

“Just when you thought you might be getting a little cynical about the theater…think about 600 HIGHWAYMEN.”  – The New Yorker


December 17th, 6pm and 8pm 
A.P.E.’ Gallery, 126 Main St.
Northampton, Massachusetts

After six sold out shows, we are thrilled to be able to bring back this unique theater experience from one of the world’s most acclaimed theater companies, co-produced by Alexandra Ripp.  Obie Award-winning 600 HIGHWAYMEN present A Thousand Ways (Part Three): An Assembly. The final experience of their triptych of encounters between strangers is an intimate reckoning—of how small we are in the face of awesome natural forces, and of our mutual dependence. AN ASSEMBLY tasks an audience of 16 strangers to reconstruct an evocative story of perseverance and ruin. This unique theatrical event tests the ways we arrange ourselves after so much time apart.

A THOUSAND WAYS is a triptych of performances that explore the line between strangeness and kinship, distance and proximity, and how the most intimate assembly can become profoundly radical. Each installment of the series plumbs the essence of performance, bringing people together in the creation of a moving live experience.


Saturday, December 17th • 6pm and 8pm 
Only 16 tickets per performance
Tickets: $15-50 sliding scale; $5 students
(no one turned away for lack of funds)
Masks are required for attendance to the performance
visit for more information
Tickets available via Eventbrite link

Notes on the performance:

For ages 13 and up. Audience members will be asked to read aloud. No more than 2 tickets/order.

600 Highwaymen (Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone), “standard bearers of contemporary theater-making” (Le Monde), who have “quietly been shaking up American theatre since 2009” (The Guardian), have been making live art that, through a variety of radical approaches, illuminates the inherent poignancy of people coming together. Their productions exist at the intersection of theater, dance, contemporary performance, and civic encounter. Their work has been seen at Centre Pompidou (Paris), The Public Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, Walker Art Center, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, Dublin Theatre Festival, Onassis Cultural Centre (Greece), Bristol Old Vic (UK), Salzburg Festival and Theaterspektakel (Switzerland). They are recipients of an Obie Award, Switzerland’s ZKB Patronize Prize, and their work has been nominated for two Bessie Awards, a Drama League Award, and Austria’s Nestroy Prize. In 2016, Abigail and Michael were named artist fellows by the New York Foundation for the Arts and are currently Associate Artists of IN SITU, the European platform for artistic creation in public space.

A Thousand Ways
Written & created by Abigail Browde & Michael Silverstone
Executive Producer: Thomas O. Kriegsmann / ArKtype
Dramaturg & Project Design: Andrew Kircher
Line Producer: Sami Pyne

This production was commissioned by The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, Stanford Live at Stanford University, The Public Theater, and Festival Theaterformen. Part Three: An Assembly was developed through a residency partnership with the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Original support for the production was provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia.

Happier Valley Comedy
HVC Presents: Not In Charge!
December 17 at 7:00 PM
Happier Valley Comedy Theater (1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley, MA)

Join the talented group Not In Charge for a fast-paced improv show inspired by true stories from the cast! Third Saturday of every month at 7pm at the Happier Valley Comedy Theater (1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley, on rte.9). Tickets: $13 online and at the door.

More information.

When Wes, a young fashion designer from 2017, buys an abandoned building in the French Quarter of New Orleans, he finds himself transported to the UpStairs Lounge, a vibrant seventies gay bar. As this forgotten community comes to life, Wes embarks on an exhilarating journey of self-exploration that spans two generations of queer history. This smash Off Broadway hit features a gritty, glam rock score and a tight-knit ensemble of unforgettable characters. The View UpStairs asks what has been gained and lost in the fight for equality, and how the past can help guide all of us through an uncertain future.

Audition Date and Time
Sunday, December 4, 2022
6:00 – 10:00 PM

Callbacks Date and Time
Sunday, December 11, 2022
6:00 – 10:00 PM

Location – Audition and Callbacks
First Congregational Church of Southampton
212 College Highway
Southampton, MA 01073

SEEKING Strong actors and singers to play featured and ensemble roles in our production.
**THE ROLES OF Patrick and Henri ARE CAST.**

Wes: 20-something fashion designer from the current day; self-consciously hip, prematurely jaded, and perpetually anxious; Wes wears a fabulous facade, but deep-down harbors real insecurities and dissatisfaction with his life; has never experienced real tragedy or love. Character engages in simulated drug use and sexual content, must be OK with same-sex kissing. Ages 20-30; Vocal Range: pop tenor/bari-tenor.
Buddy: The resident piano player of the UpStairs Lounge; charismatic, but also very temperamental and somewhat bitter; loves the attention he commands within the community, but also resents being stuck in it; dreams of one day being a big star but knows it will never happen; closeted, with a wife. Ages 30-50; Vocal Range: tenor/bari-tenor.
Willie: Black; holdover from another era of gay life with a more camp sensibility; might know all the secrets of the universe, might be in the early stages of dementia. Ages 30-50; Vocal Range: tenor.
Freddy: Latino/Hispanic; a construction worker by day, Freddy also doubles as the drag queen Aurora Whorealis by night; big personality, energetic, and bright; a close friend to Willie and on good terms with everyone else in the bar. Character engages in sexual content, must be OK with same-sex kissing. Ages 20-35; Vocal Range: high tenor or belt with falsetto.
Inez/Realtor: Latina/Hispanic; Inez is Freddy's mother and also occasionally a mother to the other men in the UpStairs Lounge; born in Puerto Rico, she moved her family to America when Freddy was still young; lovable, warm, and supportive, Inez assists with her son's drag performances; as realtor, she is smarmy, fake, smiles too much, etc. Ages 40-70; Vocal range: soprano.
Richard: Priest of the Metropolitan Community Church; perhaps more conservative than other patrons in the bar, but level-headed and warm. Ages 40-50. Vocal Range: tenor.
Dale: Sensitive and more radical in his sexual politics; a raw nerve and someone who's experienced a good deal of hardship at society's hand. Ages 20-40. Vocal Range: tenor.
Cop: In the past the cop is corrupt, homophobic, and violent; in the present, the cop is still stern, but has a sense of humor, and seems to be in service of justice. Ages 30-50.

Please prepare a pop/rock song in the style of the show that shows off your acting and vocal range. Please bring your book in case we need to hear additional material. If you have a headshot and resume please bring it. A small stipend will be provided at the end of production.

Please sign up for your time at to secure your in-person audition. K and E Theater Group will email you back confirming a 5-minute time slot for you.
If you have any questions, please email

Director: Eddie Zitka
Music Director: Benjamin Maniscalchi
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Max Vernon

1st Rehearsal begins April 2023
Run: June 22-25, 2023 (5 Performance Weekend)
Performances at Northampton Center for the Arts, 33 Hawley Street, Northampton, Massachusetts

 If submitting video auditions and you are called back, you MUST BE AVAILABLE for in-person callbacks


Now in its 3rd decade of promoting performing arts in the Pioneer Valley, In the Spotlight seeks 3 additional writers with backgrounds in theatre, musical theatre, classical music, and contemporary/ethnic music. In the Spotlight began as a free monthly newspaper in 50 cities in MA running 15 years, onto Bravo-on-the-Air weekly radio interview program, then to the Web. The following are basic rules for reviews, previews, feature stories, and interviews.

Qualifications: Know your subject matter, strict attention to deadlines, represent In the Spotlight in a professional manner, write well although getting out the word in a timely manner may have to supersede placing of a comma correctly.

Unfortunately, none of us are paid. Your compensation includes your byline, 2 free tix to each show that you review/preview, and the good feeling that you are helping the arts and patrons of the arts in our community.

The Process
1) As editor, I assign plays/music/dance/etc. to writers who know these particular genres.  2) If you have interest in an upcoming production and wish to review, let me know. However, avoid any conflict of interest.  3) DEADLINES: crucial! If you review an event that runs one weekend only, the review must be sent to me by the next morning/early afternoon so it can be posted immediately.  4) If the run of the show is two or more days, please send the review to me within 2 days.   5) In addition to myself, reviews will be checked by our website manager.  6) VERY IMPORTANT: spell the names of people correctly and consistency.  7) Once the review is sent to me, barring something that is unforgivable, the piece will not be returned to the writer and/or the venue covered in the review. This has been standard newswriting for decades.  8) Note the heading format on past reviews and use that as your guide.  9) If at all possible, provide a photo and cutline. 10) You have the right to refuse to write about something/someone. I only ask that tell me up front so I can assign someone else.  11) Never take it upon yourself to give the tix to a person who you know and ask them to write for you.

1) If you are sick, broke a leg, bad weather, call me. Can't reach me? Call the venue to sell your tix.
2) NEVER tell the reader the end or climax of the show. Writers do this! What are they thinking?  
3) NEVER say anything negative about children. If the kid performers aren't good, simply omit them.
4) YOU CAN be critical, not brutally honest about community productions. Never attach any one person. 
5) ONLY one space after each form of punctuation ending a sentence; this is correct newspaper format.
6) No plagiarism allowed. If you use a quote, then give proper credit where credit is due.

Contact me with questions or send 2 writing samples. We seek diversity in age, race, color; we want a variety of perspectives.
Shera Cohen, In the Spotlight, Inc. 

Dear Edwina Jr

Audition Registration

is now open!

Register Now

What is the show?

The performance is for "Dear Edwina Jr." and more information can be found at:

When are auditions?

The auditions will be held on January 5th, 2023 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM.

When are the performances?

There will be two performances. They will be on Thursday, March 9th and Friday, March 10th at 6:30 PM.

What's the rehearsal schedule?

Rehearsals will take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at The Academy of Music from 5:00 to 7:00 PM starting January 10th.

Who can participate?

All children ages 9 to 16 years old are welcome! No experience required!

What if I have more questions?

Please contact Education Director Kyle Lawrence with any questions. He can be reached at

Submit your workshop, class, audition, performance, or any other theatre opportunity here!
Pioneer Valley Theatre Companies
Academy of Music Theatre

Amherst Community Theater

Arena Civic Theatre

A.C.T. Youth Theatre

Black Cat Theater

Chester Theatre Company


Cold Spring Community Theatre

Completely Ridiculous Productions

Drama Studio

Double Edge Theatre

Eggtooth Productions

Exit 7 Players

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

Mount Holyoke College Rooke Theatre

No Theater

Northampton Community Arts Trust

Northampton Playwrights Lab
PaintBox Theatre


Pauline Productions

Performance Project

Phantom Sheep Players

Play Incubation Collective

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

Theater Between Addresses


Turbulent Times Theater

UMass Department of Theater

UMass Theatre Guild

Unity House Players

Valley Light Opera

Ware Community Theatre

Westfield Theatre Group

Wilbraham United Players

World and Eye
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 TV/Radio and News Column
Local Theater Critic Max Hartshorne
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