Thursday, February 23, 2023

Pioneer Valley Theatre News February 23, 2023

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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February 23 - March 15, 2023

CitySpace in Easthampton is working on raising funds for phase two of the renovation project to begin - this phase involves adding an elevator, accessible entryway, and restoration of the historic stained glass windows. We're hoping to begin this work this April, but still have funds to raise to make it possible. Learn more about the project here. If you are interested in this project, come take a tour of the second floor and see this incredible space, and make a donation - the valley could use a 350-seat flexible theatre space! Let's make it happen!

The next issue will include events from March 2 - 22. 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

Disability Creativity in Opera
by Marianna Mott Newirth and Gregory Moomjy

From the article: 

Be Careful What You Say, It Might Come True Someday

Back in 2015 when opera folk gathered unmasked in small rooms to discuss their unique and exquisite art form, there was an auspicious meeting at the National Opera Center of a musicologist in a wheelchair and a non-disabled librettist. The man, who has Cerebral Palsy, loved opera from a very early age. The woman, non-disabled, grew up in theatre and had recently responded to the call to write librettos. Both were exploring how to break into the industry. She was new to opera and he, though a fixture at nearly every opening night of any opera being performed around New York City, never thought he could pursue a job in opera because of his limited mobility. No one considered him a viable candidate until he met her. Marianna’s first question to Greg was, “What do you want to do in opera?” and Greg’s immediate response was “I want to run an opera company.” “Cool!” Marianna said, and we became friends.

Have you read an interesting article about theatre recently? Send it to me!
A classic American drama takes center stage at the Majestic Theater when The Glass Menagerie is presented February 23 through April 2.  Tennessee Williams’ play about family and the fragility of memory is part of the Majestic’s 25th Anniversary Season of theater and live performances at the West Springfield venue.
The Glass Menagerie tells the tale of Amanda Wingfield, the faded Southern Belle, who is desperate to marry off ailing daughter Laura, and worries about wayward son Tom.  Saddled with the obligations left to him by his absent father, Tom, who also acts as the play’s narrator, arranges for an acquaintance, a gentleman caller, to pay a visit to Laura and sets off not only her own, but her mother’s hopes for a romantic future.  This memorable play is set in St. Louis during the Great Depression and is widely considered to be one of the most significant plays of the 20th century.
Danny Eaton is producing director, while Rand Foerster is directing the play.  Associate Producing Director/Stage Manager is Sue Dziura, and Stephen Petit is production manager.  Aurora Ferraro is associate production manager, and Josiah Durham is technical director/set designer.  Dawn McKay is costume designer, and Daniel Rist is lighting designer.  Scenic Artist is Bev Stevens Browne.
Cast members include Robbie Simpson (Tom), Cate Damon (Amanda), Abigail Milnor-Sweetser (Laura), Tosh Foerster (Jim) and Ann-Marie Messbauer (Musician).  Understudies include Chris Rojas (Tom/Jim), Myka Plunkett (Amanda) and Caelie Scott Flanagan (Laura).
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
The classic board game is brought to life in Clue! Six guests are invited to a dinner party thrown by an anonymous host. They are given aliases--Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, Professor Plum, and Miss Scarlet. Though discouraged from revealing personal information, it is soon discovered that all of them have fallen victim to the same blackmailer, their very host of the evening. Each is presented with a weapon and an option: pay their extortionist double, or kill the innocent butler. What follows is a madcap, slapstick evening full of murder, mystery, and laughs as they seek to puzzle out the culprit amongst criminals.

February 24-26, 2023

Purchase tickets: or 413-583-4301
Exit 7 Theater
37 Chestnut Street
Ludlow, MA 01056

Cast List:
Wadsworth: Joe Lessard
Yvette/Scarlet US: Lila Oren-Dahan
Peacock: Mary Marcil-Labbe
Scarlet: Hannah Labreche
White: Isabella Bonavita
Mustard: Ryan Bird
Plum: John Woytowicz
Green: Joshua Prouser
Cook/Peacock US: Taylor Raucher
Boddy/Wadsworth US: John Scully
Motorist/Clue Player/Green US: Devin Dumas
Unexpected Cop/Mustard US: Andy Price
Telegram Girl/Clue Player/Yvette US: Grace Peltier
Clue Player/Plum US: Eric Macksoud
Clue Player/White US: Jami Wilson
Chief of Police: Bruce Torrey
Directed by Krystle Bernier
Stage Managed by Zack Kingsley
Produced by Adam Malmborg and Chris Climo

My H8 Letter to the Gr8 American Theatre by Diana Oh
February 24, 25, March 2, 3, 4 at 7:30 PM
Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre 122 Green Street, Northampton, MA. 

The Smith College Department of Theatre presents My H8 Letter to the Gr8 American Theatre by Diana Oh ’08 in Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre on February 24, 25, March 2, 3, 4 at 7:30 pm. NYC Queer Icon, Contemporary Artist and Musician Diana “Zaza” Oh returns to Smith to direct their new play-extravaganza that satirizes the Great American Theatre—the galas, diversity panels, white leads—using humor, A List of Things, music, and flamingos. My H8 Letter is a call for evolution crossed with a Queer dance club inspired by a kindergarten classroom hiding behind a stage reading. There is a "before" and an "after" My H8 Letter to the Gr8 American Theatre, and liberation is on the other side of it.

Tickets online at
General Admission: Adults $10, Students/Seniors 65+: $5 FREE for Smith Students

A Persian myth we can connect to: UMass Theater's Aurash is a story about an ordinary person's heroism
February 24, 25 and March 1, 2, 3, 4 at 7:30 p.m.
February 25 at 2:00 p.m.
The Curtain Theater, Bromery Center for the Arts
$15 general admission, $5 students and seniors 

Aurash is a Persian story of an ordinary person in an extraordinary situation, who found the spirit to carry out a heroic act that changed a country's future. In the months since Iranian director Behnam Alibakhshi proposed it for the 22-23 UMass Theater season, it has become ever more shatteringly relevant as a tribute to the courageous women and men fighting for freedom in his home country.
This stage version of Aurash, presented Feb. 24-March 4, is an hour-long immersion in a foundational Persian myth. Graduate student Alibakhshi has created a production that draws richly on the theater and storytelling traditions he grew up with and blended them with western theater forms. Audience members will see a set and costumes that reflect color palettes common to Iran; they'll hear Persian music as they enter the space, and they'll see actors moving in ritualized ways.
The story of Aurash the Archer (sometimes spelled Arash) began as an oral tradition in Persia (now known as Iran) and was written down over 1000 years ago. After a long and bloody war, an archer was charged with shooting an arrow that would determine the future boundaries of Persia, bringing a peaceful and prosperous age to the country. In the original telling he was a noble, but in this adaptation by Bahram Beyza’ie, one of Iran's leading playwrights, he is an ordinary man of modest background.
Alibakhshi has cast a woman as one of the actors who portrays Aurash, something he had considered even before the current protests began. Woman have been a part of protests in the country for a long time, he noted, despite pushback from the regime and the tremendous risk to themselves and their loved ones. "I think they are the bravest women in the world," Alibakshi said.
Iran has a long and rich cultural history. Alibakhshi noted that ancient Persian documents contain some of the first discussions of human rights. He is critical of the current government. 
"Where are those cultural values right now?" he asked. The myth of Aurash "is reminding people of a glorious past that we have lost."
Alibakhshi hopes audience members — and not just those from Iran — see something to inspire them in the story of this ordinary person who finds the spirit to act heroically.
Purchase your tickets now!
Tickets are available through the Fine Arts Center box office

Monday, February 27th
HCC's MGM Culinary Arts Institute
164 Race St Holyoke, MA
FREE TO ATTEND, but we appreciate advance sign ups. 

As always, our scheduled presenters will be followed by an open mic. We welcome and encourage you to bring something to share.  
Learn more and register to attend at
The Department of Film Media Theater at Mount Holyoke College is delighted to announce our third season production, Ike Holter’s Exit Strategy. At once funny, angry, warm, and sad, this timely and poignant drama deals with an inner-city public school on the brink of extinction. The fictional Chicago-based Tumbldn High School is severely underfunded and undermined. The impending closure thrusts its vice principal, teachers, and a student into a battle to save their beloved institution. Will the bonds forged in this battle be enough to rescue their school from extinction?

“...Holter's beautifully written piece crackles with energy and passion - it hearkens back to those early British plays by Harold Brenton and David Hare in the way it combines issues and politics with emotion and personality.” - Stage Raw.

Directed by Michael Ofori. Exit Strategy runs from March 2-5, 2023.

Thursday, March 2 at 7:30 pm
Friday, March 3 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, March 5 at 2:00 pm

Rooke Theater at Mount Holyoke College
Lower Lake Road, South Hadley, MA 01075

Ticket prices:  
$10 general admission, $8 students
This joyful drama about Esther, a Black seamstress whose patrons range from wealthy white women to prostitutes, is set in New York in 1905. While receiving beautiful letters from a handsome Caribbean man named George, Esther’s heart is drawn to the Hasidic shopkeeper from whom she buys cloth—and from there, Esther's stable life begins to unravel. Directed by Boston-based guest artist Jasmine Brooks.  Featuring Tahmie Der as Esther, the cast is rounded out by seasoned Valley actors Kyle Boatwright, Colby Chandler, Alika Hope*, Gabriel Levey, and Linda Tardif.

March 10 – 18, 2023

Evening shows 7:30 pm

Matinees 3:00 pm

at Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center

289 Main Street, Greenfield, MA

Tickets on sale

JaDuke Theater
25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

3/10/23 at 7:00pm, 3/11/23 @ 7pm; 3/12/23 @ 2pm
JaDuke Theater, 110 Industrial Boulevard, Turners Falls, MA 01376

An eclectic group of six mid-pubescents vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming "ding" of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves a champion! At least the losers get a juice box.

Tickets and more information. 
Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts
Capacity Grant for Individual Artists

February 20th until April 7th

CALLING ARTISTS NEW TO VALLEYCREATES! Designed with the support of our ValleyCreates Community Advisors, the Capacity Grant (formerly known as the ValleyCreates Working Capital Grant) is a capacity-building and sustainability initiative for artists who currently live or have studio space in Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties in Massachusetts.

This program pairs a $2,000 grant with coaching, workshops, and artist community-building. The Capacity Grant program has been designed so that each artist determines what they need from a broad array of opportunities.

Interested? Apply Today!

Interested in performing at a Play Incubation Salon this year?

We are seeking artists who are interested in sharing 10 minutes or less of a work in progress that has the potential to spark civic dialogue, and for which they desire feedback/input from an audience primarily comprised of other artists. Use this link to our salon submission form where, in addition to sharing information about what you’d like to present, you will be prompted to submit the questions they would like to pose to the audience in advance. The audience will be guided through 10 minutes of feedback where they aim to only answer and address the questions that the presenting artists has asked. There is more detailed information about this on the salon registration page. You can access a video with more details about the salon, as well as a link to the registration form for info about feedback, at If you’d like to view a sample salon, you can do so here!

What can you share in 10 minutes? Here are some examples:
2-3 new songs
1-3 poems
A chapter or partial chapter of a novel
A monologue
A 10 minute scene from a play
A 10 minute scene from a video piece
A dance piece or a 10 minute portion of a dance piece
Important News about Upcoming Renovations and Building Use at 33 Hawley Street

As many of you know, the Northampton Community Arts Trust (the organization that owns, develops and maintains 33 Hawley) was awarded a federal earmark in 2022 that will allow the Trust to add to the capabilities of this already outstanding community art space. This round of renovations will provide 33 Hawley with a brand new art gallery, a finished lobby with an upgraded box office area and a concessions stand, a proper green room and dressing rooms downstairs, and more! 

The construction is scheduled to begin in March 2023. The building will be closed (no one but construction staff allowed onsite) Mondays thru Fridays from 7:30am-3:30pm. The Northampton Center for the Arts will continue to program the Flex, Eli's Room, and Carole's Dance Studio M-F after 4pm on weekdays and all day on weekends. This arrangement is currently scheduled to continue through the end of August 2023. A.P.E.'s Workroom will be closed for renovations until 2024. Keep an eye out for programming from The School for Contemporary Dance and Thought, the company-in-residence at A.P.E. Northampton Open Media (NOM) will close its location at 33 Hawley Street to the public from March 1, 2023 through December 1, 2023. NOM will keep public hours at its home location inside the same building as Northampton High School at 380 Elm St., Northampton, at the rear of the building.

Starting in September 2023, and continuing for a few months, 33 Hawley will be completely shut down until renovations are completed. There will be no spaces to rent or any on-site programming from September 2023 until work is finished. We are all hopeful and expecting that the building will be fully open for business again in January 2024. At that point, we look forward to many more years of uninterrupted artistic programming with and for our community!

Registration opens on Monday, February 6th for

PIC Kids Summer!

At PIC Kids Summer, young artists (ages 7-11) will go on an adventure through the creative process as they explore theater, movement, and music. Each week follows a different theme, and all weeks will culminate in a sharing of the young artists' original work on Fridays at 2:30.

We are pleased to announce that we've added an additional week! 

JULY 17-21       Make 'Em Laugh

JULY 24-28      Growl and Groove

JULY 31-AUG 4   Soundscapes and Sorcery

AUGUST 7-11     Five Day Play

9am-3pm each day 


Bombyx Center for Arts and Equity, 130 Pine St, Florence​

Registration opens Monday, February 6th!
Learn more.

By popular demand, WAM Theatre is thrilled to announce the return of its acclaimed Elder and Teen Ensembles. This Spring,  WAM invites Berkshire-based women over 65 and teens ages 13-18 to join the company on a  journey of empowerment through creativity, teamwork, and devised theatre. WAM’s Elder Ensemble launched with a Meet & Greet in December; WAM is currently accepting applications for its 2023 Teen Ensemble now through March 10.

WAM Elder Ensemble
Devised Theatre and Creative Collaboration for Women over 65 years
Led by WAM Teaching Artists Kaia Jackson and Co-facilitator TBC
March 14 - April 25, 2023
At The WAM Theatre Creative Hub, 55 Main Street, Lenox, MA

WAM Teen Ensemble 
A paid theatre workshop for young people aged 13-18
Led by WAM Teaching Artists Kaia Jackson and Maizy Scarpa.
April 18-21, 2023
at The WAM Theatre Hub, 55 Main Street, Lenox, MA
Apply online at:
Application deadline: March 10, 2023

Tuesdays | 3-5pm PST / 6-8pm EST / 11-1am GMT | February 28th - April 5th | On Zoom | Open to 8 Participants

Sundays | 11-1pm PST / 2-4pm EST / 7-9pm GMT | March 5th - April 9th | On Zoom | Open to 8 Participants


A Very Special Writing Class (or Claire’s Writing Cult), is a playful and challenging class with weekly exercises and writing prompts — that run the gamut from surreal to straightforward, very deep to very dumb — will encourage you to get out of your head, delve into your unconscious, and develop your authentic voice, leading to vulnerable, funny, fierce, strange, and surprising work. Each week, we’ll subvert elements of memoir, theater, fiction, and other genres to help inspire creativity, with a curriculum that’s designed for artists of all kinds: writers, comedians, performers, filmmakers, visual artists, and non-artists interested in exploring creative expression. Dropouts, shut-ins and people picked last in gym class are welcome!*

*Jocks, geniuses and the well-adjusted are also welcome. This is an inclusive class.

Sign Up!
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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