Thursday, December 8, 2022

Pioneer Valley Theatre News December 8, 2022

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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December 8 - 28, 2022

It's Nutcracker week! The Academy of Music is full of candy canes, gingerbreads, flowers, snowflakes, and tiny reindeer! We open on Friday and have six shows in three days! Welcome the holiday season with the ballet! 

Other holiday cheer in the StageStruck column this week - Chris Rohmann shares a preview of "Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley" at both Silverthorne Theatre and Shakespeare and Company next weekend.

The next issue will include events from December 15 - January 4. 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

Announcing the 2023 LTC Designer and Director Colaboratorio!
by Latinx Theatre Commons

From the article: 

The Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) announces the 2023 LTC Designer and Director Colaboratorio, happening from 28 June - 2 July 2023 in Portland, OR. The event will be hosted by Centro Cultural, Northwest Children’s Theatre, and Artists Repertory Theatre.

Colaboratorio is a five-day series of learning opportunities designed to encourage authentic creative expressions and collaboration between Latinx designers and directors. This event will foster alternative communication models for production teams, challenging the typical director-driven model.

Have you read an interesting article about theatre recently? Send it to me!
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

Pioneer Valley Ballet Presents

The Nutcracker

Sensory Safe December 9th at 4pm, 50th Anniversary Special December 9th at 7:00pm, Weekend Performances December 10th and 11th at 1pm and 4:30pm

Pioneer Valley Ballet is offering Student Rush Tickets for $15.00 ($19.68 after fees) for the Sunday, December 11th showing at 4:30pm! Purchase your tickets at the door and show your student ID for this special discount.

Celebrating its 50th year, Pioneer Valley Ballet presents The Nutcracker, an annual favorite at The Academy of Music. Each year, PVB’s Nutcracker is reinvented by Artistic Directors Maryanne Kodzis and Thomas Vacanti, celebrating the history of the company and the tradition of Clara’s magical story. In addition to our own PVB dancers and members of the local community, this year’s performance will feature guest artists from Carolina Ballet for the first time since 2019. Join us as we celebrate 50 years of Pioneer Valley Ballet! The Friday, December 9th show at 4pm will be a Sensory Safe performance!

The Friday, December 9 performance at 7:00pm will be a holiday celebration in honor of PVB’s 50th anniversary. Doors open at 6:15pm and entertainment starts at 6:30pm by the UMass Amherst Doo Wop Shop. Also join us for a photo slide show of PVB’s history and a pre-talk about PVB’s past, present and future by Co-Artistic Director Thomas Vacanti. Supporters of PVB and the arts won’t want to miss this special opportunity to be a part of the celebration. The Academy of Music will also offer wine and beer for purchase during this special performance.

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.
Phantom Sheep Productions
LaughCrafters: Holiday Show
December 16 at 7:30 PM
Unity House Players, 245 Porter Lake Dr. Springfield, MA

Annual free community show featuring sketch comedy along with plenty of live unscripted scenes created on the spot, each with a custom holiday twist celebrating and satirizing the season with the unique Phantom Sheep brand of parody and silliness.

Facebook Event
More info: FB/IG @phntmsheep
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.


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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