Thursday, July 13, 2023

Pioneer Valley Theatre News July 13, 2023

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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July 13 - August 2, 2023

This is the closing weekend of Guards at the Taj at Chester Theatre - and if there are still tickets left, you can use code STARS or click this link for discounted tickets on certain evening performances. See this moving, dramatic piece for just $30!

The next issue will include events from July 20-August 9. 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
Chester Theatre Company presents Guards at the Taj
July 6-16
Tickets and More Information
WAM Theatre's 2023 Fresh Takes Play Reading Series
Sunday, July 16 @ 2pm at The Mount, Lenox
Tickets and More Information
$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

Cornerstone Theater Company Brings Larissa FastHorse’s Wicoun Home
by Robert Hubbard

From the article: 

After a winding drive through the pristine wilderness of Custer State Park, a helpful attendant in a Cornerstone Theater polo shirt directed me away from the Black Hills Playhouse’s imposing main door, where I thought I was heading, toward a nearby picnic area. Nestled on the grass next to covered tables sat a small, temporary playing space that evoked a festival. A triptych of hand-painted backdrops hung from tentpoles, fluttering audibly on the gusts of the mountain wind. Members of the production team, including MacArthur Fellow and Broadway playwright Larissa FastHorse, hospitably if anxiously mingled with the small yet mighty arriving audience. You see, in twenty minutes, the world premiere of FastHorse’s newest play, Wicoun, would fittingly find its public voice within this sacred grounds of a South Dakota state park ironically named after notoriously incompetent Army cavalry commander but reverently known by the Lakota people as Paha Sapa.

Have you read an interesting article about theatre recently? Send it to me!
JH Theater Matters Productions
Frances Perkins: A Woman's Work
July 13 at 6:00 PM
Laurel Park Tabernacle, Northampton, MA.  

A one woman Chautauqua presentation of Frances Perkins, first woman Secretary of Labor, and author of New Deal Politics, including Social Security, 40 hour work week, child labor laws, and more.  First 50 minutes are a presentation of her life, followed by audience Q and A with Ms. Perkins (portrayed by Jarice Hanson).

Free - Donations accepted.
Available Potential Enterprises, Ltd.
by No Theater
July 13-22, 2023, 8:00pm
A.P.E., 126 Main Street, Northampton, MA 01060

No Theater celebrates its 50th anniversary this summer with performances of its most recent production LET GO.  Based in Northampton MA, No Theater performs its original works around the world, and locally alongside productions of plays by such diverse writers as Shakespeare, Chekhov, Čapek, Gogol, Williams, Kroetz, Albee, and Martin McDonagh.

“The best-kept secret in experimental theater”  (National Public Radio)

LET GO, a short, adult comedy about love, death and a pile of papers, is performed by No Theater veterans Roy Faudree and Jane Karakula with video by Nick Verdi. No Theater presented 6 workshop showings of LET GO last summer.

On-Line Ticket Reservations for No Theater’s LET GO are available on Eventbrite:
Chester Theatre Company presents Guards at the Taj
Written by Rajiv Joseph

July 13-16

Two friends stand guard at the site of one of the most stunning buildings the world has ever seen, the Taj Mahal. They protect it with their lives, yet they are forbidden from looking upon its beauty. But there is an ugly side to nearly everything. Perfection comes at a price, and those in power decide who pays and at what cost.

Reena Dutt makes her CTC directing debut. The production will star Ruchir Khazanchi and Abuzar Farrukh. Scenery will be designed by Travis GeorgeJames McNamara is slated to design lights. Costumes will be designed by Oona Natesun, and Sound will be designed by Naveen BhatiaKerry Schultz Kent returns to stage manage.

“An enlightening evening of theatre, sucking the audience in at every turn.” (Broadway World)

If you have questions or concerns about the content of this production, please visit this page for details.

Off Peak arrives at Great Barrington Public Theater. Brenda Withers’ buoyant comedy, directed by James Warwick, stars Peggy Pharr Wilson and Kevin O’Rourke as long-lost lovers, bumping into each other on a stalled Metro North train.

Off Peak playing July 6-23rd, in the McConnell Theater, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, is a tried-and-true comedy reminiscent of Noel Coward or Nora Ephron, with the spark of Dorothy Parker, by award-winning playwright Brenda Withers. It premiered in 2022 at the venerable Hudson Stage Company, Armonk NY to unanimous delight before moving on to a short run at 59E59 St. Theaters, NYC where it gained more positive notice. The New Yorker called it “sly, smart, often very funny… Withers’ script provides an abundance of emotional and intellectual twists and turns.”, and The New York Times said it’s “so close to life that you expect a conductor to come in at any second.”
GB Public gives audiences another chance to take in this charming, disarming new comedy that plays especially funny for anyone who travels on Hudson Valley trains.
Sarita and Martin split seventeen years ago. Everything has changed, except their irresistible attraction to each other, and the big question, ‘what if?’.
When they find themselves caught together out-of-the-blue on the same train just as it grinds to a dreaded, stuck-on-the-tracks delay, so begins a serendipitous reconnection and reconciliation of a lifetime, the one so many former lovers wish for, so they could end it right, once and for all, without falling for the other’s tricks again. Their delay on the rails becomes a poignant, rich comedy that must arrive at lovers’ resolution before the train rolls on again.
Brenda Withers is a gifted writer for screen and stage. The GB Public’s production of Off Peak pairs Peggy Pharr Wilson and Kevin O’Rourke, two of the Berkshires’ finest comic actors with well-known stage and screen actor James Warwick directing, who says, “Their lives have altered course, as has their relationship. They find themselves revealing their conflicted feelings about their past, about their present and with great humor and compassion, discover reconciliation and forgiveness. It’s a heartwarming story told with personal insight about two richly created, recognizable people.”

Off Peak runs July 13-July 23, Thurs.- Sat., 7:30pm, Sat. and Sun., 3pm, in the McConnell Mainstage Theater, Daniel Arts Center, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 84 Alford Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230. More information can be found on the GBPT website and on Facebook. Tickets to performances are affordable to all, between $25 and $50, and are available on the website and by phone 413-372-1980, or
Play Incubation Collective Summer Salon!
Make-It Springfield
286 Bridge Street, Springfield
July 14th from 6-8pm
Doors open at 5:45

We are excited to partner with Make-It Springfield to share works-in-progress by Playwright Julie Linden, Filmmaker Patricia Montoya, and Springfield's own The Performance Project Next Gen Ensemble.

Got a song, poem, scene, or something else you'd like to share? We will reserve time for 3-5 attendees to share a 5 minute work-in-progress of your own!

The Salons are always free to attend, but donations are welcome and reserving your ticket in advance is encouraged!

Click to Learn More and Sign Up to Attend
WAM Theatre's 2023 Fresh Takes Play Reading Festival is in residence at The Mount (Edith Wharton's Home) in Lenox MA.
The readings on three consecutive Sundays in July all begin at 2pm are followed by a conversation with the artists.

hollow roots by Christina Anderson and directed by Trenda Loftin (Real Live Theatre) is a poetic story of one Black woman's racialized identity in America.  Written at the beginning of the Obama administration by a playwright that Pulitzer-Prize winner Paul Vogel lauded as: "without a doubt, one of our most significant and prescient writers... Christina Anderson's plays grab me by the throat, wound my memory, and change the way I walk through the world." Presented on Sunday July 16 at 2pm at The Mount, Lenox.

Port of Entry by Pioneer Valley based playwright Talya Kingston and directed by Amy Brentano is a dramatic look into the back offices of HomeLand Security on the day that the "Muslim Ban" came into effect at the beginning of the Trump Administration. The reading of this new draft will feature Lama El Homaïssi (The Piedmont Plays), Veronica Cooper and Pioneer Valley actor/director Julian Findlay. Presented on Sunday July 23 at 2pm at The Mount, Lenox.

In Her Bones by Jessica Kahkoska and directed by Estefania Fadul is an ensemble play set in a gas station in the middle of a snow storm in rural Colorado. A multi-generational Latinx family explores their hidden Jewish roots.  The ensemble includes: Lori Vega, Jorge Luna, Christine Anthony, Ross Griffin and UMass Amherst Theater grad Sandra Seoane-Seri. Presented on Sunday July 30 at 2pm at The Mount, Lenox.

More information and tickets can be found

The Poet & the Sleuth:
Vladimir Mayakovsky, meet Sherlock Holmes  

The world premiere of Hope I Die Before I Get Old: The Last Case of Sherlock Holmes will take place at the Blue Room in Easthampton’s CitySpace on Friday, July 21. It will run for six performances at 8 pm (July 21, 22, 23 (3 pm matinee), 27, 28, 29). 

Hope I Die Before I Get Old finds Sherlock Holmes in Moscow to investigate the puzzling death in April 1930 of the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. The bard of the Russian revolution has just shot himself through the heart. It’s not a question of whodunnit, but why? Although the Soviet authorities are counting on Holmes to answer that question, only Mayakovsky himself can really solve the mystery. Resurrected and forced to relive his life backwards, the poet delves into his past—aided by two mysterious women—to figure out why he ultimately pulled the trigger. 

Written and performed by John Feffer, Hope I Die Before I Get Old juxtaposes the famous detective and infamous poet in a historical thriller that probes the mysteries of creativity and political collaboration. At a time when so many eyes are focused on Russia and its war in Ukraine, this new one-man show captures the dilemmas facing Russian artists today. The show also features Jarice Hanson and Hero Marguerite in video cameos. It’s directed by Chris Rohmann and stage-managed by Nikki Beck. 

Buy tickets here.

A Pilot Program of A.P.E

In 2024, A.P.E is piloting a space and curation cooperative model as a means of stewarding access to the Workroom at 33 Hawley. Artists, creators, and artist groups are invited to ‘buy-in’ to this time-based share structure, through which the responsibility for tending to, enlivening, and activating the Workroom will be distributed amongst the shareholders.

In creating the Workroom Cooperative, we are led by a commitment to artistic inquiry and the creation of new work, as well as by A.P.E.’s mission to steward space for artists in ways that reduce economic pressures which can encumber the creative process. 

The Workroom Cooperative creates a space where a diverse group of artists:

  • engage with a range of creative endeavors within all stages of the creative process (rehearsals, residencies, performances, festivals, etc)

  • explore curatorial ideas

  • share responsibility for care and upkeep of the space

  • can teach classes and workshops 

  • cultivate rich dialogue, exchange, and reciprocal support of artists’ work

  • honor time and space for process, including fallow periods 

With multiple artists/companies designing what occurs in the Workroom, this model can expand the scope and reach of the artistic practices that happen there and ground the Workroom’s identity in the community as a space for process, performance, and inquiry. Co-ops have been shown to help arts thrive. We are excited to join this growing movement.

Please visit A.P.E.'s website HERE for more details.
Accepting applications now thru August 14th.
In this hilarious and outlandish story, the lives of six teenagers from a Canadian chamber choir are cut short in a freak accident aboard a roller coaster. When they awake in limbo, a mechanical fortune teller invites each to tell a story to win a prize like no other — the chance to return to life.
This popular musical is a funny, moving look at what makes a life well-lived!
Book, Music and Lyrics by Brooke Maxwell and Jacob Richmond
Audition Date and Time
Sunday, July 23, 2023 / 6:00 – 10:00 PM

Callbacks Date and Time
Saturday, July 29, 2023 / 2:00 – 6:00 PM

Location - Auditions and Callbacks
First Congregational Church of Southampton
212 College Highway
Southampton, MA 01073

To perform, all performers and production team members must be fully vaccinated, and have at least received one booster against COVID-19.
Please prepare a pop/rock song in the style of the show that shows off your acting and vocal range. For the role of THE AMAZING KARNAK, please prepare a two-minute comedic monologue, you will not be asked to sing.
If you have a headshot and resume please bring it. A small stipend will be provided at the end of production. If you have any questions, please email
SEEKING Strong actors, singers and movers to play featured roles in our production.
**THE ROLES OF Ocean O’Connell Rosenberg and Mischa Bachinski ARE CAST.**

• The Amazing Karnak: Male-identifying, ages 30-50. A mechanical fortune-telling machine. A deep rumbling baritone voice, with a steady, measured, calm inflection that exudes gravitas but it is never pushed to comedic extremes. There is never any archness in the voice. Non-singing.
• Noel Gruber: Male-identifying, 18+ to play late teens. The only gay kid in Uranium. Never had a relationship. Obsessed by French New Wave cinema, he has fantasies of dying a tragic death, like a French prostitute. Intellectual, biting wit, but he doesn’t have enough hindsight or life experience to make him a snarky bitch. Tenor, with a great falsetto. Sings in the style of a French chanteuse.
• Ricky Potts: Male-identifying, 18+ to play late teens. Through trauma has become mute. He discovers at the beginning of the play that in this strange purgatory, he has regained all of these abilities. He reveals a secret inner life in which he accesses Rockstar superpowers of charisma – think Prince or Bowie. Baritone rock voice. Basic accordion and/or tumbling a plus.
• Constance Blackwood: Female -identifying, 18+ to play late teens. Comic chops, a big heart and a delightfully goofy and soulful way of seeing the world’s bittersweet wonder. Will do anything for Ocean’s friendship and allows herself to be used as a doormat. Self-deprecating, lots of pain under the pleaser façade. Dubbed “the nicest girl in town,” a title she secretly despises. Alto belt, with a rock edge.
• Jane Doe: Female-identifying, 18+ to play late teens. A mystery. Possibly the new girl at school who no one had gotten to know yet. She was decapitated in the accident, and no one claimed her body. Even though she isn’t headless in the piece (but often carries around a headless doll), the trauma of the accident leaves her discombobulated and removed. It’s like she’s learning the world anew, with some weird references from a past life. Classically trained soprano with a flexible coloratura upper range, and some grit and meat in the lower register. 
First rehearsal - December 11, 2023
Show run - March 14-17, 2024 (Five performances) at Northampton Center for the Arts, Northampton, MA

Director: Eddie Zitka
Music Director: Bill Martin

Please visit and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok!

The Northampton Arts Council is now accepting performer applications for First Night Northampton 2024

On Sunday, December 31, 2023, the Northampton Arts Council will present the 38th annual community New Year’s Eve celebration and festival of performing arts. Since 1985, First Night Northampton has filled our Paradise City with a 12-hour family-friendly festival of the arts, culminating in a traditional ball-raising from the roof of the Hotel Northampton. Proceeds from First Night Northampton will benefit local artists and community arts activities.

We look forward to receiving many proposals and creating a diverse, exciting, family-friendly event. The deadline to apply is August 31, 2023. Proposals are reviewed as they are received, so early applications are recommended. Please submit separate applications for each proposal. Proposals without support materials will not be reviewed. We will be notifying applicants at the end of October. To apply to perform at First Night Northampton 2024, please complete the online application, which can be found at Check out the First Night Northampton 2023 playlist on YouTube.


Monthly “Puppetry Percolator” workshop series to begin at The LAVA Center
every 4th Thursday, 5–8 p.m.; begins Thursday, June 22, 5–8 p.m
The LAVA Center, 324 Main St., Greenfield
More information

The LAVA Center’s Puppetry Percolator, on the 4th Thursday of each month, is an informal exploration of the worldwide art of puppetry. Drop in to examine puppetry’s history and evolution as an art, play with different forms, and workshop simple puppets and performance.

This event series is appropriate for teens and adults. Let’s have some fun! Facilitated by Jovonna Van Pelt, former director of Puppet Showplace Theatre. Donations are welcome.

We Just Want to Dance with You!
Join the K and E Theater Group Summer Drop-In Dance Studio
Join Eddie Zitka, Artistic Director of K and E Theater Group, two times a week this summer learning musical dance choreography and feel more confident in your movement at your next audition! Studio begins July 18 through September 7!

Classes available for beginners and intermediate/advanced people!

In the BEGINNER session on Tuesdays

- Isolation warm-ups
- Acting-based dancing exercises across the floor
- A musical theater combination that will change weekly 

In the INTERMEDIATE/ADVANCED session on Thursdays

- Warm-up across the floor
- A more complicated and technical musical theater combination that will change weekly
- Combinations will be taught similar to an audition setting

Classes available for beginners on Tuesdays and intermediate/advanced people on Thursdays from 7-8 PM in Southampton, MA at the First Congregational Church of Southampton, 212 College Highway. All class sessions are $10 and must be paid for at the door with cash or check.

Check out for more information and to sign up for your session! Each week's sign up will open the Monday prior.

Shakespeare & Company has announced its series of Merry Wanderers’ Guided Tours, hosted in July and August at Shakespeare & Company. 

General Manager Steve Ball (with dog Willie) leads a two-hour walk through the Company’s stages, artists’ rehearsal studios, costume and prop shops, weapons armory, and more. meeting with some of the artisans involved in creating theater at Shakespeare & Company along the way.

The Summer Season’s Merry Wanderers’ Guided Tours will meet in the lobby of the Tina Packer Playhouse. The first Merry Wanderers’ Guided Tour will be held Thursday, July 6, at 10:30 a.m., followed by:

  • Thursday, July 13, at 10:30 a.m. 

  • Thursday, July 20, at 10:30 a.m. 

  • Thursday, July 27, at 10:30 a.m. 

  • Thursday, August 8, at 10:30 a.m. 

  • Thursday, August 10, at 10:30 a.m. 

  • Thursday, August 17, at 10:30 a.m. 

  • Thursday, August 24, at 10:30 a.m. 

  • Thursday, August 31, at 10:30 a.m. 

Each Merry Wanderers’ Guided Tour will admit a maximum of 30 patrons, with tickets costing $15 for adults and $8 for students. Tickets can be reserved at For more information, call the Box Office at (413) 637-3353, or email

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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