This is the 400th issue of the Pioneer Valley Theatre News! Thanks to everyone who is reading regularly and submitting your events! Theatre doesn't happen without you.
The next issue will include events from February 9 - March 1. 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
One evening at bedtime, my twelve-year-old grandson asked me, “Nana, are you happy with your life up to now?” I was taken aback by his question. Did he sense something in me? Some disappointment or dissatisfaction? It took me a few beats to muster up a response. Finally, I said, “Well, yes... and no.”
Let me explain.
Have you read an interesting article about theatre recently? Send it to me! firstname.lastname@example.org
Smith College Department of Theatre
New Play Reading Series Flash Play Festival
with new scripts by Celine Alexander, Ulla Collins Axelson, Giselle Greenberg, Maisy Hoffman, Reina Makimura, and Katie Wilson
Thursday, February 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Acting Studio 1
Free! Masks welcome!
NATIVE GARDENS IN BLOOM AT MAJESTIC THEATER
FEBRUARY 2 -12
West Springfield’s Majestic Theater continues its 25th Season with Native Gardens, a contemporary comedy by Karen Zacarias. The play, which runs January 5 through February 12, looks at how next door neighbors in an affluent neighborhood in Washington, DC hash out border disputes and cultural misunderstandings. The timely comedy focuses on Frank and Virginia Butely, residents of a lush home who fill their time with dinner parties and tending to Frank’s prize-winning garden. When lawyer Pablo Del Valle and his pregnant wife Tania move into the fixer-upper next door, they challenge the status quo by cultivating a “native garden,” planting only vegetation indigenous to the area, and threatening Frank’s annual entry to the Potomac Horticultural Society’s neighborhood garden contest.
Danny Eaton is producing director, while James Warwick is directing the play. Associate Producing Director/Stage manager is Sue Dziura, and Stephen Petit is production stage manager. Aurora Ferraro is associate production manager, and Josiah Durham is technical director. The set was designed by Greg Trochlil, Dawn McKay is costume designer, and Daniel Rist is lighting designer.
Cast members include J. T. Waite (Frank), Ellen Barry (Virginia), Peter Evangelista (Pablo) and Sara Linares (Tania). They are joined by Tina Sparkle, Michael Morales and Mikey Perez.
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 www.majestictheater.com
Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School
"Once Upon a Mattress"
February 3 at 7:00pm,
02/04/23 @ 7:00pm, 02/05/23 @ 2:00pm; snowdate 02/05/23 @ 7:00pm
PVPA 15 Mulligan Drive, South Hadley, MA 01075
The Queen had declared that no couples could marry until her son, the Prince, found a bride. Princesses came from far and wide to win the hand of the prince, but none could pass the tests given to them by the Queen. That is, until the “shy” swamp princess, Winnifred the Woebegone, showed up!
Join us in PVPA's Main Stage Theater for this fabulous musical spin on the Princess and the Pea!
Tickets at the door or at pvpa.org as follows:
ONCE UPON A MATTRESS is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals. www.concordtheatricals.com.
Music by MARY RODGERS
Lyrics by MARSHALL BARER
Book by JAY THOMPSON, DEAN FULLER, and MARSHALL BARER
#gettotheshea on Saturday, February 4th, for Charley’s Tropical Bar & Chess Club: a pop-up & immersive experience from Eggtooth Productions
Entrance is any time between 7:00 and 9:00 and the experience lasts until 10:00 PM
Welcome to Charley’s - a cozy, one-night-only escape from your present-day cares. Featuring an evening of beer, wine, and tropical non-alcoholic drinks, dreamy music, cozy meetings over chess games - and, for the adventurous - an unexpected journey into the mind of its owner.
Charley, the friendly but quiet founder, hopes you’ll join him for tropical drinks in his retro bar, highlighted with chess boards and invitations to meet others over a casual game. It’s in a time before cell phones, so enjoy the escape from those objects, too, for the night.
if you wish, you may spend their evening around the bar and its many offerings. But for those that are out for a little adventure, a puzzle lives in the space that, when solved, sends you on a special escapade that connects you more closely to Charley.
**Please not that offerings outside of the bar area ask audience to traverse dark spaces and stairways. Strobe lights and suspenseful sound appear in spaces outside of the bar area. Please reach out with any questions. **
The Northeast Regional Tour of Shakespeare Returns to the Berkshires on February 11
Shakespeare & Company will stage a special, Valentine's presentation of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m., featuring the cast of the Northeast Regional Tour of Shakespeare and directed by Kevin G. Coleman.
I'll Be Thine, Valentine: Romeo & Juliet will be staged at the Tina Packer Playhouse at Shakespeare & Company’s Lenox, Mass. campus, featuring Travis Ascione, Cameron Davis, Ptah Garvin, JoJo McDonald, Stephanie Neuerburg, Savanna Padilla, and Naire Poole, with costume design by Shakespeare & Company Costume Director Govane Lohbauer and production design by Devon Drohan.
Tickets range from $25 to $35, and $12.50 for students; for more information, visit shakespeare.org, or call the Box Office at (413) 637-3353.
This production is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.
A New Music Comedy
February 11th at 7:30pm and February 12th at 2pm
Venue: A.P.E. Ltd. Gallery, Northampton MA, 126 Main St, Northampton, MA 01060
Tickets: Sliding scale $10-$25 and can be purchased at the door. No one turned away for lack of funds.
A.P.E. and Serious Play Theatre Ensemble invite you to come see a work-in-progress showing of PLANT, a new two-person musical where the actors play each character at the exact same time. PLANT is being developed as part of the LAB at A.P.E., a 10-month long residency and mentorship program for emerging theater makers. From the creators of PLANT: It is a dark and twisted tale of a young boy who has lost contact with his mother and is forced to live underground, abandoning the regime of his authoritarian father. While trying to follow his mother’s footsteps into conscious oblivion, he finds solace in his new stepsister. While unraveling the mystery of his parents' past, the boy must master a forgotten magic to share with the world in order to save it.
Isabelle Bushue is a Chinese-American actor, dancer and singer-songwriter. Performance credits include American Players Theater, Children’s Theater of Madison, Western Washington University and Fairhaven Summer Repertory. Isabelle is vocalist and co-lyricist in the band Pennies for Breakfast. Isabelle has acted in award winning short films and was nominated twice for her performance in Caprice. As a singer-songwriter, Isabelle has composed music for productions in Seattle and NY and has released two EPs of her music on SoundCloud.
Jackson Pelz comes from a family of musicians in the mountains of North Carolina, spending the majority of his middle and high school years either rehearsing and playing gigs with rock bands in the area or acting in shows at the Flat Rock Playhouse. Beginning to learn guitar when he was ten, he learned bits here and there from his dad and uncles up until he became his own teacher when he went off to college for theater. Jackson’s interests span theater, songwriting, philosophy, and evolutionary biology. He is a member of the improvisational band Pennies for Breakfast. He is now living in New York City.
The LAB at A.P.E. is a program for artists of all disciplines in different phases of their making processes. This year, a collaboration between A.P.E. and Serious Play Theatre Ensemble, the LAB has focused on emerging theater makers. Additional 2022-23 LAB artists are Marcia Gomes (Amherst), Kandra Dunan Herman-Parks (Burlington) who will both be in residence at A.P.E. in mid-February and Marina Zurita (NYC/Brazil) in residence at A.P.E in April.
Available Potential Enterprises, Ltd. (A.P.E.) exists to support contemporary artists working in all disciplines, by preserving and supporting the spaces in which they create, perform and exhibit their work. http://www.apearts.org; 413.586.5553
Serious Play Theatre Ensemble works toward reshaping society's conversations around prominent social issues through the art of ensemble theatre. We are committed to collaborating with artists who create new performance work that attracts audiences back to the power of the live moment. www.seriousplay.org
Northampton Center for the Arts and Play Incubation Collective
2023 Youth Performance Festival February 11 at 7:00 PM, February 12 at 2:00 PM
Northampton Center for the Arts, 33 Hawley St.
The 2023 Youth Performance Festival (YPF), a collaboration between Play Incubation Collective and the Northampton Center for the Arts at 33 Hawley, is a FREE opportunity for youth artists ages 8-18 to create original performance pieces under the guidance of mentor artists in the fields of music, dance, theater, poetry/spoken word, and video. YPF centers the creative agency of young artists, and is committed to supporting them as they discover their own creative processes. YPF is proud to be in its 4th year of bringing together an intergenerational arts community. This year’s festival will feature the work of 35 youth artists, from towns all throughout the Valley, who have worked with a talented team of mentor artists over 6 weekends to develop their original work. We welcome all community members to join us for this celebratory arts festival.
William Simpson Fine Arts Series
"When I Put On Your Glove" Sandglass Theater's Shoshana Bass
February 15, 7:00 PM
Fuller Arts Center, Springfield College Campus
SANDGLASS THEATER’s piece about belonging, memory and inter-generational dialogue, “When I Put On Your Glove” is a puppetry, dance and spoken narrative piece that explores a daughter’s relationship to her father’s work building upon a premise that puppets are containers of memory. In it, a daughter explores what it means for her to slip into her father’s art – and not just the form, but the actual pieces. This work addresses universal questions of belonging, childhood, fear of loss, death and the complicated nature of navigating generational artistic legacy. The passing of these puppets into new hands marks a pivotal moment of generational transition for Sandglass Theater. It is an engagement with what legacy means in the field of puppetry; how an art form endures and transforms as it is handed to the next generation; meeting the voice of the past with the voice of the present, and singing it into the future. For ages 14 and up.
When I Put On Your Glove is supported in part by an award from the Vermont Arts Council.
Silverthorne Theater Company, Inc.
The Building, by Betel Arnold, a new play reading
February 16 at 7:30 PM
The Divine Theatre, 92 Race Street, Holyoke MA 01040
Silverthorne Theater Company presents a staged reading of Northampton playwright Betel Arnold’s newest play, The Building. Directed by Kyle Boatwright, the reading will take place at 7:30pm on Thursday, February 16th, 2023 at the Divine Theater at Gateway City Arts as part of Silverthorne’s free Theater Thursdays reading series, with a talkback to follow.
Tickets are free, and Silverthorne welcomes donations so that we can continue making our work accessible to all.
The Building follows lifelong Brooklyn resident Agnes as she attempts to get her granddaughter Catalina out of their apartment building and off to a renowned fashion design program in France to further her education. When Agnes discovers that Catalina has been secretly dating the son of a notorious drug dealer, Agnes becomes all the more desperate, enlisting the help of her friends and eventually squaring off with the building’s landlord—who turns out to be much more than he appears.
Shakespeare & Company has announced a new, free lecture series: Behind the Curtain, launching Saturday, Feb. 18, and hosted by Shakespearean scholar Ann Berman.
Berman, who currently serves as Vice President of Shakespeare & Company’s Volunteer Company, holds a Master of Arts in Shakespeare Studies from King’s College, London through a program partnered with Shakespeare’s Globe. She will lead the series, often with directors, cast members, design-team members, or others joining as guest speakers, examining various themes surrounding Shakespeare’s works as well as other titles to be presented during the 2023 Season.
The inaugural Behind the Curtain lecture will be held Saturday, Feb. 18, at 10:30 a.m. at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre’s Jane Iredale Lobby, focusing on Romeo and Juliet, with an emphasis on how costume design can influence audience response. Shakespeare & Company Costume Director Govane Lohbauer will be the talk’s featured guest.
The series continues on Saturday, March 4 with a discussion of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to be staged at Shakespeare & Company from August 1 through September 10; Saturday, March 18, exploring the topic of Shakespeare and Jealousy, and Saturday, April 1, tracing the historical source material that informed The Contention: Henry VI, Part II.
All Behind the Curtain talks are free, but reservations are required. For more information or to reserve a ticket, visit shakespeare.org.
About Shakespeare & Company
Shakespeare & Company was founded in 1978 by Tina Packer. Located in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, the Company offers performance, education, and actor-training opportunities year-round, and attracts more than 40,000 patrons annually with a core of more than 150 artists.
About Ann Berman
Ann Berman holds a Master of Arts in Shakespeare Studies from King’s College, London, through a program that partnered with Shakespeare’s Globe. She also holds a Master's of Education in Special Education from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Binghamton. Prior to relocating to Berkshire County, she served as a longtime volunteer with the Actors’ Shakespeare Project in Boston, and taught Shakespeare’s plays at the Life-long Learning at Regis College program (LLARC), in tandem with what play ASP was performing at the time. Now a resident of Lee, Mass., Berman is also an active member of The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College (OLLI).
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
131 Elm St
West Springfield, MA 01089
Theater Lighting technician needed. Part time. Must be skilled in hanging and focusing theatrical lighting and is comfortable in a Genie personnel lift. Knowledge of Theatrical LED Fixtures preferred but not necessary. Hourly pay depending on skill level and experience. Must be available on Sunday nights with some daytime work also needed.
Footlights at the Falls Community Theater
Dancing at Lughnasa
February 4 and 5, 3:30-5:30 PM, Callbacks February 7, 6-8 PM
Arms Library in Shelburne Falls
Footlights at the Falls Community Theater is happy to announce auditions for Dancing at Lughnasa, by dramatist Brian Friel, for an April 2023 production in Shelburne Falls.
Dancing at Lughnasa, set in the north of Ireland in August 1936 in the fictional town of Ballybeg, is a memory play told from the point of view of the adult Michael Evans, the narrator. Michael recounts the late summer days in his aunts' cottage, when he was seven years old, and when love and happiness briefly seems possible for the five Mundy sisters (Maggie, Chris, Agnes, Rose, and Kate) and their frail elder brother, Jack, who has returned from a life as a missionary in Africa. However, as the summer ends, and Lughnasa arrives, the sadness and economic privations under which the family will suffer are made known.
Roles open for 5 women and 2 men. Experienced and new actors are welcome. Auditions will be at the Arms Library in Shelburne Falls from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on both Saturday, Feb. 4, and Sunday, Feb. 5. (Alternate date in case of bad weather will be 6 to 8 pm on Monday, Feb. 6). Callbacks, if necessary, will happen on Tuesday, Feb. 7 from 6 to 8 pm.
Auditioners are encouraged to arrive as close to the start time as possible and stay for as long as possible. Auditions will include dancing as a group. The dance steps will be taught at the auditions. Please don’t let that scare you away! These are very basic steps and are easy to learn.
Auditioners will be asked to read several roles/scenes with other actors. Audition monologues of 3 minutes or less are also welcome but not required. Accents are not required.
Performances will be April 21, 22, 23, 28 and 29 in Shelburne Falls. Rehearsals begin in early February. Please bring a list of all time conflicts you may have during the rehearsal period. All auditioners must be 17 or older.
"Grants from local Massachusetts Cultural Council towns are helping fund the show."
Greenfield Community College
Auditions for THE MINUTES by Tracy Letts
Sloan Theater at Greenfield Community College
Auditions for THE MINUTES at GCC Theater Mon, Feb 6 & Tue, Feb 7 at 3:30pm, with Callbacks Wed, Feb 8 at 3:30pm.
No experience needed for actors or backstage crew.
Fresh from Broadway and 2022 Tony Award nominee for Best Play…
A comedy by Tracy Letts
Directed by Tom Geha
Described as a “scathing new comedy about small-town politics and real-world power, from the author of August: Osage County, exposes the ugliness behind some of our most closely-held American narratives while asking each of us what we would do to keep from becoming history’s losers.” – Concord Theatricals
City Council Meeting in the fictional town of Big Cherry
AUDITIONS: LA RUTA
by Isaac Gómez
directed by Monica Lopez Orozco
To the U.S.-owned factories in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, La Ruta is just a bus. But to the hundreds of women who live, work and often disappear along the route, it’s so much more than that. Inspired by real testimonies, and using live music to evoke factory work and protest marches, La Ruta is a visceral unearthing of secrets buried in the desert and a celebration of the Mexican women who stand resiliently in the wake of loss.
Auditions: Tuesday, February 7, 7-9pm in Acting Studio 1.
Begin February 26. We typically rehearse 5 days per week (Sunday through Thursday)
April 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 at 7:30 PM in Theatre 14
All of the characters in this play are Mexican. We are seeking all Latina identified actors of any age.
YOLI - a mother, 40s
MARISELA - a mother, 40s
IVONNE - a friend, 26
BRENDA - a daughter, 16
ZAIDE - a maquila worker, 40s
DESAMAYA - a singer/musician who is both timeless and ageless
WOMEN OF JUÁREZ - women who fill the world of Juárez, all ages
Auditioners are encouraged to be familiar with the text. If you are a strong singer and/or instrument player, please prepare a short, 32 bar cut of a song (roughly 1:15-1:30 minutes ) to bring into your audition. Genres to consider; folk, traditional (and/or regional) songs specific to any Latin American country, and blues. Perusal scripts available at Josten Library.
UMass Theater to hold auditions for Into the Woods Feb. 12-14!
This spring, UMass will take on one of most beloved musicals of all time, INTO THE WOODS. Our production will draw inspiration from American folk art to bring to life the world of Cinderella, Jack, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and all their fellow fairy tale figures. In doing so, we hope to bring forward the idea that "if you know what you want, then you go and you find it and you get it" is exactly how you get giants in your midst, whereas realizing that "people make mistakes" and that you must "fight for their mistakes, honor their mistakes" is a way to make the next journey into the woods a little easier.
Who: All community members and non-majors who sing are welcome. Audition for the role you prefer, regardless of your gender or that of the character (vocal range will be a consideration)
When & Where
Feb. 12, 1-6 p.m.
Feb. 13 and 14, 6-10 p.m.
Callbacks are scheduled for Feb. 15 and 16, 6-10 p.m.
Bromery Center for the Arts, The Rand Theater Stage. Please come to the Green Room first for paperwork and instructions. Sign up for a slot on the SignUpGenius page Please note that rehearsals begin February 21. There are no rehearsals over spring break. PERFORMANCES ARE APRIL 28-MAY 6
How to Prepare
Auditioners should prepare any number of the following solos listed below. In order to be considered for a role, you must prepare the solo associated with that role (in other words, if you are interested in multiple roles, you should prepare multiple solos). You may prepare as many solos as you wish, regardless of your gender or that of the character (vocal range will be a consideration). We may ask actors to sing solos they have not prepared as well, if they are willing. No monologue preparation is necessary, and we will not be hearing actors perform any songs besides the excerpts listed below.
Character descriptions and synopses for INTO THE WOODS are readily available online, and while we know that there are many versions of this musical available to watch, we encourage you to find your own version of the character to present. Be inspired by the versions you've seen, but don't try to recreate them. Audition Song Exerpts (click here to access the folder):
Agony (both Princes)
Baker's Reprise (Narrator, Baker, Mysterious Man)
Giants in the Sky (Jack, Wolf)
Hello Little Girl (Wolf, Jack)
I Know Things Now (Little Red)
Last Midnight (Witch, Jack's Mom, Cinderella's Mom)
Steps of the Palace (Cinderella, Rapunzel, Stepsisters)
Moments in the Woods (Baker's Wife, Cinderella's Stepmother)
UMass Theater seeks a multiracial, multicultural ensemble for a new performance piece
UMass Theater is looking for performers who are interested in creating a new work that explores how the artistic and spiritual traditions of the African Diaspora can restore balance in contemporary society. We are creating a multiracial and multicultural ensemble of folks who love theater, storytelling, music, poetry, and movement and encourage all local performers to audition to be part of Many Patterns, One Cloth!
MANY PATTERNS, ONE CLOTH
Directed by Professor Iya Judyie Al-Bilali, dramaturgy by Dr. Priscilla Maria Page
AUDITIONS: Feb. 13 and 14, 6-10
Callbacks are Feb. 15 & 16, 6-10 p.m.
Bromery Center for the Arts, Room 204/203
Rehearsals start Feb. 21, and performances run March 30, 31, and April 1
This multi-faceted performance piece draws its inspiration across time and place to explore how the artistic and spiritual traditions of the African Diaspora can restore balance in contemporary society. Utilizing Jazz Aesthetics, as defined by Omi Osun/Joni L. Jones and others, Professors Al-Bilali and Page, are building a creative team that will meld storytelling, poetry, music, and dance as a spiritual offering to Oshun and the divine feminine.
How to Prepare:
We are seeking a multiracial/multicultural ensemble for this piece that will include storytelling, music, poetry, and movement related to Afro-diasporic cultural expression. Members of this ensemble will have skills in the following areas: improvisation, physical theater, music, movement/dance, and singing. An understanding of devised theater and an openness to collaborative process are welcome. Please come prepared with a 1-2 minute monologue that best shows us who you are. Actors will be asked to improvise and to move at the auditions.
You do not need to be a theater major to audition!