Thursday, December 28, 2023

Pioneer Valley Theatre News December 28, 2023

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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 December 28, 2023 - January 17, 2024

I hope you had a marvelous Christmas - or at least a relaxing couple of days off - and Happy New Year to everyone! 

Max Hartshorne previews Easthampton Theater Company's 2024 production of Torch Song here.

The next issue will include events from January 4 - 24. 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
Easthampton Theater Company presents Harvey Fiertein's Torch Song
Jan 26, 27, 28, Feb 2, 3, 4 in the Blue Room, Old Town Hall in Easthampton

Tickets Available Here
$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

New Year's Highlights from the Commons
by Howlround Theatre Commons

From the article

As the end of 2023 approaches, the HowlRound team has been reflecting on the year behind us. For the theatre community, it was a time of tumult, turnover, “the field is in crisis” essays, show cancellations due to illness, and budgetary shortfalls. Creative producer Julia Schachnik offered a response: “If our field is on fire, [we] want to be water.” Julia’s words were borrowed from an essay by Kristin Idaszak, who found them in Theatre Do Polet’s Be Water, My Friend—a lineage of inspiration that puts the power of listening and horizontal connection on full display.

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



Oscar Wilde’s Victorian Masterpiece Described as a “Trivial Comedy for Serious People”

The Majestic Theater will present Oscar Wilde’s Victorian masterpiece about marriage, morality and mistaken identity, The Importance of Being Earnest, from January 4 through February 11 at the West Springfield venue. 

Described as a “trivial comedy for serious people,” the story follows two gentlemen, Jack and Algernon, each with a hidden double life that comically leads to confusion and hijinks.  When Algernon discovers that Jack has been posing as a man named Ernest to escape from his “excessively boring” life in the country, Algernon promptly travels from his London flat to Jack’s country estate to pose as the fictional character himself.  Confusion and hilarity reign as each man meets and falls in love with a proper young lady and along the way must confront the formidable Lady Bracknell all in the name of romance and revelry.

Danny Eaton is producing director, Sue Dziura is associate producing director, and Rand Foerster will direct the play.  Cast members include Rylan Morsbach, Alexandra O’Halloran, Lisa Abend, Peter Evangelista, Caelie Scott Flanagan, Peter Hicks, Krista Lucas, Tom Dahl, Jack Grigoli, Myka Plunkett, and Stephanie Craven.  Stephen Petit is production stage manager, associate production manager is Aurora Ferraro, and Michael Lounsbury is set designer.  Dan Rist is lighting designer, and costumer designer is Dawn McKay.

Tickets are now being sold for The Importance of Being Earnest, and all remaining plays in the Majestic’s current 2023-2024 Season, and range from $31 - $37.  Box office hours are Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm, and Saturday 10am-1pm.   The wearing of face masks in the theater is optional.

Doors to the theater will open one hour before the start of a show, which is also when the cafĂ© opens.  For more information, visit

Kick off the New Year with PIC’s 5 Year Anniversary celebration! Get to know PIC community members, hear about our programming for 2024, get a sneak peek into some of the works-in-progress we will be supporting in the year ahead, and contribute your voice to the future of PIC. We look forward to celebrating and gathering with you on January 7th from 6-8pm at Progression Brewery, 9 Pearl St. Northampton. See you there!
The Academy of Music Theatre presents, Tony Award-winning playwright Lisa Kron’s poignant, funny, complex, and uplifting play, 2.5 Minute Ride over three weekends: January 19, 20, 26, 27, and February 3 and 4, 2024. The play is directed by Mary Beth Brooker and performed by Allie Wittner.

In 2.5 Minute Ride, Tony Award-winning playwright Lisa Kron invites her audience on a roller coaster ride through the family album. Rising and falling between high hilarity and deep disquiet, Kron demonstrates with disarming simplicity that humor and horror can share the same human moment.

The play switches back and forth between a daughter’s journey to Auschwitz with her septuagenarian father, a Holocaust survivor; her Michigan family’s annual pilgrimage to a Sandusky, Ohio, amusement park; and her brother’s marriage to his internet bride.

By moving seamlessly between these three diverse recounting, Kron creates a complex and at times startling meditation on how human beings make sense of tragedy, grief, and everyday life.

Director Mary Beth Brooker makes and performs work for theater, video and installation, and writes plays and short fiction. Her local work as a director and dramaturg includes spoken word movement works at the APE/Workroom, New Play Readings Series, Smith College, and School for Contemporary Dance and Thought.

Actor Allie Wittner performed in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston. Past projects include “The Donkey Show” (American Repertory Theatre) and “Charlie Boyd” (SheLosAngeles Theater Festival best ensemble winner). As a playwright, they were awarded a residency through the Play Incubation Collective for their show, “The Consort.”

Seating is limited. Tickets are available at the Academy Box Office, Tuesday – Friday, 3-6pm, at or by phone at 413.584.9032 x105. There will be a talk back on January 27 th in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day with Rabbi Riqi Kosovske of Beit Ahavah Reform Synagogue of Greater Northampton, Mary Beth Brooker, and Allie Wittner.
Easthampton Theater Company
Harvey Fiertein's Torch Song

Jan 26, 27, Feb 2, 3 at 7:30PM, Jan 28, Feb 4 at 2PM
Blue Room, Old Town Hall, 43 Main Street, Easthampton, MA 01027

The life of Arnold Beckoff, a torch song-singing, Jewish drag queen living in New York City, is dramatized over the span of the late 1970s and 1980s. Told with a likable, human voice and considerable humor, Torch Song follows Arnold’s odyssey to find happiness in New York. All he wants is a husband, a child, and a pair of bunny slippers that fit, but a visit from his overbearing mother reminds him that he needs one thing more: respect. ETC's performance of Torch Song also features live music by a torch-song singing drag performer.

Directed Jason Rose-Langston
Produced by Jason Rose-Langston and Michael O. Budnick

Arnold: Patric Madden
Ed: Jay Torres
Laurel: Kim Tobin
Alan: David DiRocco
David: Devin Dumas
Ma: Rona Leventhal
The Lady: Pedro Serrazina

Production Team: Eva Husson-Stockhamer, Veronica Klakotskiy, Deb Jacobson, Manny Morales, Matt O'Reilly and Frank Croke

Torch Song Trilogy premiered at La Mama ETC over the course of two years from February 1978 - October 1979. The play transferred to Broadway in June 1982. The three-act trilogy won the 1983 Tony Award for best play. Easthampton Theater Company is presenting Harvey Fierstein's 2017 two act adaptation, which premiered off-Broadway at the Tony Kieser Theatre in a Second Stage Theater Production and transferred to Broadway in November 1, 2018 at the Hayes Theater. The production was nominated for two Tony awards including best revival. This production restores the live, torch-song singing drag performer "Lady Blues" featured in the original production of the Trilogy.
The Drama Studio
Sign up for Open House! Invite a friend!
January 3 at 6:00 PM
The Drama Studio, 41 Oakland St., Springfield Mass.

The Drama Studio is hosting an Open House on Wednesday, January 3rd, at 6pm for ages 9-18

If you know anyone that you think would be interested in Acting or The Drama Studio, come try a free Acting Class!

We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Shakespeare & Company’s Theater Program for High School Students Returns in 2024

Applications are being accepted and auditions are being scheduled now for Shakespeare & Company’s Spring Young Company, a 10-week theater program designed for high school students who are looking to begin or continue their actor training.

Auditions for the 2024 session of Spring Young Company will be held Friday, January 5 from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., and Saturday, January 6, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Each interested Spring Young Company participant must submit an application to audition for the program, slated to run from February 27 through May 3, 2024 with performances on May 4 and 5, 2024.

Led by Shakespeare & Company Education Artists, accepted participants actively engage in voice, movement, text, scene work, and more, using Shakespeare’s plays and poetry as the foundation. Classes will meet twice a week, and tuition is $700; limited financial aid is available, and applications for financial aid are due at auditions. 

For more information regarding the audition process, email

For more information regarding tuition, and financial aid, or to set up a payment plan, please email Education Programs Manager Meg Marchione at

We're looking for a booking agent and/or tour coordinator to help us plan a local and regional tour of First Generation Ensemble’s Mother Tongue, a 90 minute multilingual physical theater piece. (info below). We have funding for a position averaging 20 hrs a month. 

We’ve received a grant from the NEA specifically to tour Mother Tongue, and although we have extensive experience performing in our area (Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties), we need to hire someone with experience who can help to broaden the reach our of tour to other states. 

We hope to find someone who can jump in asap and begin to connect with venues, reach out to new presenting partners, and developing our tour schedule for 2023-2024.  As a starting point, we already have a list of potential venues, some with already existing relationships and connections. 

The Performance Project’s First Generation is a multilingual physical theater ensemble based in Springfield Massachusetts. Members participate in artistic and leadership training, community building, social justice dialogues, and intergenerational mentoring. First Generation  creates multilingual physical theater performances inspired by their own life experiences,  and the experiences of their families and communities. Their work touches upon themes such as diaspora, language, culture, xenophobia, transphobia, hypermasculinity, racism, the power of youth voice, liberation, and revolution. 

$35/hr, approximately 80-100 hours of work
CONNECTING WITH VENUES: (some known / some new) 
REGION: Within 8 hrs drive 
VENUES: theaters, colleges, community venues, high schools, social justice conferences, festivals, corporate events (if only!) 
FEES FOR PERFORMANCES: to be negotiated 
The Performance Project, based in Springfield MA, is seeking a Lighting Designer/Board OP, Sound Op and Stage Manager for a local and regional tour of First Generation Ensemble’s Mother Tongue, a 90 minute multilingual physical theater piece. We’ve received a grant from the NEA specifically to tour Mother Tongue, and although we have experience performing in our area (Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin Massachusetts counties), this will be our first time touring to other areas in MA and nearby states.  

We currently have two professionals (lights/sound) who know the show and have been running lights and sound, however they will not be available for all  performance dates, so we are looking for people to learn the show and take some of the performances. We do not have a stage manager and are looking to full that position. 
Contact: Julie Lichtenberg and
Fig Lefevre

Mother Tongue is a devised multilingual physical theater piece created by the Performance Project’s First Generation Ensemble. The piece is inspired by the experiences of First Generation ensemble members, their families and communities who are from Congo/Tanzania, Bhutan/Nepal, South Sudan/Darfur, Holyoke, and Springfield, Massachusetts. The 90 minute performance weaves together movement, music, dance, and stories in Arabic, Swahili, Nepali, and English. The piece incorporates themes of language, culture, identity, diaspora, hypermasculinity, xenophobia, transphobia, racism, the school to prison pipeline and revolution.  


The Center for Actor Training at Shakespeare & Company will hold its 43rd session of its Month-long Intensive for mid-career actors at its Lenox campus from January 3 through 29.

For six days a week, morning to night, participants immerse themselves in voice, movement, text analysis, exploration of the actor/audience relationship, sonnet work, scene work, clown, stage fight, and in-depth discussions about the function of theater and the role of the actor in today’s world.

Director of the Center for Actor Training Sheila Bandyopadhyay said the Intensive offers training in classical text that can easily be applied to all forms of acting. 

“The Month-long is a unique opportunity for actors to concentrate on their craft in a supportive and courageous community of artists,” she said. “Alumni of the Month-long routinely find that our training is transformative for their work and is applicable to contemporary as well as classical acting.”

Complete applications are accepted on a rolling basis until the Intensive is filled, however an  early payment discount of $500 is offered until Saturday, Sept. 30. 

A limited number of scholarships are available for People of the Global Majority/BIPOC artists through the Dennis Krausnick Fellowship Fund; scholarship applications are due Sunday, Oct. 1.

Tuition costs include double-occupancy housing and all meals. Housing is located on the Shakespeare & Company campus; a limited number of single rooms may be available for an additional fee of $750. The campus is fully, COVID-19 vaccinated, including full-time employees, seasonal staff, artists, volunteers, and program participants. To ensure the health of the Shakespeare & Company community, all Center for Actor Training participants must be vaccinated against COVID-19 including the latest booster shot. Masks may be required for certain classes and events. As conditions of the global pandemic are ever-evolving, these guidelines are subject to change and will be updated accordingly. 

For more information, including regarding the topics covered during the Intensive, contact

Happier Valley Comedy
Improv for Scaredy Cats
January 13 at 12:00 PM
Happier Valley Comedy, 1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley

Does the idea of performing in front of people scare the dickens out of you?
Have you ever watched improv and thought, "I could never do that!"?
Have you ever watched improv and thought, "Heck, I could definitely do that!"?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, "Improv for Scaredy Cats (and Non-Scaredy Cats Too!)" is the workshop for you. It's designed especially for the improv newbies, improv-curious, and anyone who wants to step outside their comfort zone.

Once you get started, you'll soon see it's not that scary after all. Head of Happiness Pam Victor leads you through a very gentle, easy approach to improv comedy in a positive and accepting atmosphere where failure is disempowered. (At HVC, we believe it's only a mistake if you don't learn from it. We also believe that everyone can improvise!)
Our main focus is to have as much joy and ease as humanly possible in two hours!

No experience necessary. Being funny is NOT required. The only requirement is a willingness to learn something new and have as much fun as possible.
The Drama Studio
Sign up for Intro to Acting 101
January 20, 2024

The Drama Studio is a one-of-a-kind community where young people have the opportunity to grow as artists, leaders, and individuals. We are thrilled to announce that we are now offering a variety of in-person acting classes with a unique conservatory style program for students aged 9-18.

Our Intro to Acting 101 program provides an excellent foundation where our students will learn fundamental acting techniques while building confidence in front of an audience.
Actors WorkOut
Scene Studies Class
February 19 at 6:00 PM - 8 Mondays through April 8
Bombyx Center for Arts and Equity, 130 Pine Street, Northampton, MA. 01062

This class is designed to free the actor's creative spirit and to nurture innovation, openness and courage.  It is the arena where the most dynamic growth happens for actors.  While scene study is the focus of this class, it is always with an eye to the growth and development of the individual artist. Participation is limited to 16 students.
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

Easthampton Theater Company

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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