Thursday, August 17, 2023

Pioneer Valley Theatre News August 17, 2023

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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August 17 - September 6, 2023

Circle Mirror Transformation (and the whole season) closes this weekend at Chester - read a review of this production here and get your tickets, if it's not sold out! Tickets are also going fast for Pulling at the Roots at Historic Northampton - get them soon if you are hoping to attend.

The next issue will include events from August 24 - September 13. 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 Circle Mirror Transformation
August 10 - 20
Tickets and More Information
Amherst Community Theatre Auditions for Seussical!
September 15-17
Sign Up 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

For Working Actors Teaching Their Craft in College, Those Who Can Do, Teach
by Gregory Jones and Adrianne Krstansky

From the article: 

I was lucky enough to meet Adrianne Krstansky in a regional production of John Patrick Shanley’s Danny and the Deep Blue Sea in 2005. We’ve remained close ever since, validating each other’s show-business anxieties as only fellow working actors can. When she’s not performing (most recently in The Art of Burning by Kate Snodgrass at Huntington Theatre and Hartford Stage), Adrianne is the Louis, Frances, and Jeffrey Sachar Chair in Creative Arts, Professor of Theater Arts at Brandeis University. She just won the Ronald and Deborah Rainer Distinguished Teaching Service Award in the Humanities and Creative Arts for “innovative teaching and extraordinary records of engaging, motivating, and inspiring students.”

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

Chester Theatre Company (CTC) is proud to present Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker, performed at Chester Town Hall Theatre, 15 Middlefield Road, Chester, MA, from August 10-20.

In this work by Pulitzer Prize winner, MacArthur fellow, and Amherst native Annie Baker, five very different people come together in a Vermont community center for a theatre workshop. Their games and exercises teach them more about themselves and each other than they do about acting.

CTC welcomes back Joel Ripka and newly appointed Co-Producing Artistic Director Tara Franklin alongside newcomers Corinna May, Hero Marguerite, and Alex Draper. Ripka’s previous CTC credits include The Night Alive, The Aliens, and Every Brilliant Thing (for which Ripka was awarded a Berkie). Franklin was last seen in To The Moon and Back, Tiny Beautiful Things, and On The Exhale. May is no stranger to the Berkshires, having worked with Berkshire Theatre Group, WAM, and Shakespeare & Co. Marguerite has previously performed in productions with the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Pan Opera, Smith College and UMass Amherst. Alongside extensive experience in stage, film, and television, Draper currently serves as co-Artistic Director for Dogteam Theatre Project at Middlebury College.

We are also delighted to welcome Daniel Elihu Kramer back to Chester as Director. Alongside his long tenure as CTC’s former Producing Artistic Director, audiences will know his directing work, including last year’s Pride@Prejudice, written and directed by Kramer. He is a recent recipient of the Larry Murray Award awarded by the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association for his leadership of the company.

The artistic and design team for the show includes returning artists Lara Dubin (CTC Resident Lighting Designer), Nathan Leigh, and Christina Beam (Costume Designer). We also welcome back Meg Lydon once more this summer as Stage Manager, and Juliana Von Haubrich as Set Designer.

Performance Information

All performances will take place at the Historic Town Hall Theatre, 15 Middlefield Road, Chester, Wednesday through Sunday. Check for specific dates and times.

Individual ticket prices are $52.50. Chester and Middlefield residents, members of the military and their families, ConnectorCare enrollees, and those holding EBT/SNAP cards may purchase discounted tickets by calling the box office. Student Rush $10 tickets are available day of show. Single tickets and subscriptions are available at the door, online at, or by calling the box office at (413).354.7771. Box office phone hours are 11am-3pm, Tuesday through Friday.

Most performances will be mask optional but encouraged. Two matinee performances of Circle Mirror Transformation will require everyone in the audience to be fully masked: Thursday, August 10th at 2pm, and Saturday, August 19th at 2pm. 

For further information, visit

Elliot Norton Award-winning actor Annette Miller returns to Shakespeare & Company August 5 through August 20, reprising the role of Golda Meir in Golda’s Balcony alongside the original director, Daniel Gidron.

Golda’s Balcony, the inspiring true story of Golda Meir – Russian immigrant, American school teacher, and fourth Prime Minister of Israel – will be staged at Shakespeare & Company’s Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre. Additional performances have recently been added on Thursday, August 10, and Thursday, August 17, for a total of 10 performances.

The world premiere of Golda’s Balcony was produced 20 years ago at Shakespeare & Company, featuring Miller, and went on to become the longest-running one-woman show in Broadway history. Miller earned the Elliot Norton Award and IRNE Award for Outstanding Actress in a Solo Performance for her performance.

Miller and Gidron are joined by Shakespeare & Company Set Designer Patrick Brennan and Costume Designer Govane Lohbauer.

Generously sponsored by Jerry and Honie Berko, Golda’s Balcony will be shown at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre with tickets ranging from $22 to $72; preview performances are $10 less and student tickets are $22. To purchase tickets, visit, or call the Box Office at (413) 637-3353.

Casting has been announced for August Wilson’s Fences at Shakespeare & Company, directed by Christopher V. Edwards and staged through August 27 at the Tina Packer Playhouse.

A moving study of emotional depth and the human condition, August Wilson’s Fences follows the story of Troy Maxson – a working-class Black man struggling to provide for his family. His past includes the low of a prison sentence and the high of a promising career with the Negro Baseball League, but it’s Troy’s unrealized dream to play for Major League Baseball that fills his days with resentment and regret.

August Wilson’s Fences, winner of both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play in 1987, is set in the 1950s and is part of the playwright’s acclaimed American Century Cycle.

Generously sponsored by Natalie and Howard Shawn, August Wilson’s Fences will be shown at the Tina Packer Playhouse with tickets ranging from $22 to $72; preview performances are $10 less and student tickets are $22. To purchase tickets, via, or call the Box Office at (413) 637-3353.

“Off the Shelf” play reading series to take place at The LAVA Center
Saturdays at 1 p.m.: August 19, August 26 and September 2
The LAVA Center, 324 Main St., Greenfield 

The LAVA Center is proud to present “Off the Shelf,” a play reading series of new classic plays, that will take place on Saturdays afternoons: August 12, 19, 26 and September 2 at 1 p.m.

The plays encompass a range of international, professional plays from the 1960s through the 1990s, and will be read by local actors.

There is an optional, $5–10 suggested donation for each performance, to help The LAVA Center cover royalty and production costs.

The schedule:

Saturday, Aug. 19, 1 p.m.: True West by Sam Shepard
Sam Shepard’s plays are known for their bleak, poetic, surrealist elements, black comedy and rootless characters living on the outskirts of American society. True West, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1983, is about the sibling rivalry between two estranged brothers who have reconnected. It is also an exploration of how we live and succeed (or don’t) in a demanding, dehumanizing society: Which brother is more “in touch” with life, the one who’s been living on the desert, essentially off the grid, or the one who watches the news and drives the freeway every day — and which one is more satisfied with his life?

Saturday, Aug. 26, 1 p.m.: Spinning into Butter by Rebecca Gilman
Rebecca Gilman is a playwright from Alabama whose plays deal with contemporary societal issues. She is best known for Spinning into Butter, which was named one of the best plays of 1999 by Time and became the third-most-produced play of the 2000–’01 season in the country. A searing, comic expose of political correctness at a small Vermont college, the play continues to provoke heated conversations about racism in America today.

Saturday, Sept. 2, 1 p.m.: Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! by Dario Fo
Dario Fo’s modern classic, translated variously as We Won’t Pay, We Won’t Pay!, Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay!, and Low Pay, Don’t Pay! was first produced in 1974. A slapstick comedy with unabashed political tones, overtones and undertones, the play features housewives who are caught up in the action when women of their city protesting high grocery prices take what they want from the store shelves. In their efforts to hide their transgressions, they convince their husbands that the groceries being hidden under their clothes are pregnancies. Like a mashup of “The Honeymooners,” “I Love Lucy,” and Bernie Sanders on the Senate floor, the play delivers laughs and serious commentary on the wealth gap. That it is nearly 50 years old and still so relevant should give us all something to contemplate, even as we enjoy the classic antics.

The Harlot Queens Show and Album Release Party!
August 19 at 8:00 PM
CitySpace, Easthampton, MA

It's time for our album release party!  Join us on Saturday, August 19, from 8:00 to 11:00, for an evening of performances by The Harlot Queens, games, snacks, a cash bar, party favors, a photo booth, and more!  We'll be singing all of the songs from our album, Does a Bawdy Good, plus a whole lot of other Ren Faire faves!

Please be aware that this event is 16+ only.  Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a caretaker.

We recommend buying tickets in advance so that we make sure to have enough snacks and party favors for all you lovely people!

More information.
The Shea Theater and Eggtooth Productions present Charley’s Tropical Bar & Chess Club: a pop-up cocktail bar, chess club & immersive experience on Saturday, August 19th at the Shea Theater from 7-10 PM. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door:

Said John Bechtold, the creator of the piece, "Welcome to Charley’s - a cozy, one-night-only escape from your present-day cares.  Join us as Charley invites you into an evening of tropical cocktails and mocktails, dreamy music, cozy meetings over chess games - and, for the adventurous - an unexpected theatrical journey into the mind of its owner.  

With a bar menu crafted by expert mixologist Sam Perry, Charley's has something for everyone - top-shelf drinks, cozy corners, and a vibrant social scene.  Charley's exists in a time before cell phones, so enjoy the escape from those objects, too, for the night, as you make new friends, be that over a chess board or a Mai Tai - or both! 

If you wish, you may spend your evening around the bar or in a long game of chess (beginners and experts alike are welcome).  But for those that are out for a little adventure, a puzzle lies hidden in the space that, when solved, sends you on a special escapade that connects you more closely to Charley."
Historic Northampton presents Pulling at the Roots
Three Plays About Northampton History produced by Plays in Place

August 24 - September 3, 2023
Staged in the recently restored historic barn and on the grounds of Historic Northampton

Commissioned by Historic Northampton and produced by Plays In Place, Pulling at the Roots is a series of three site-specific plays that move the audience through three centuries of Northampton history.

Set in the 1670s, Circling Suspicion by playwright Talya Kingston, brings us into the home and mind of Mary Bliss Parsons as she struggles with accusations of witchcraft.  The play features Christine Stevens, Bill Stewart and Linda Tardif.

Rose by Jasmine Rochelle Goodspeed, explores a moment in 1750 between famous minister Jonathan Edwards and Rose, who is enslaved by Edwards, as they face being forced to leave Northampton.  The play features Tahmie Der and Matt Haas.

Finally, The Optimist's Razor by Patrick Gabridge, shows abolitionists David and Lydia Maria Child in 1842 as they confront a situation that threatens their careers and marriage.  The play features Myka Plunkett and Gabriel Levey.

The dramas of Pulling at the Roots examine two important historical themes: the meaning of home and women's search for autonomy. The goal of these plays is to breathe life and humanity into the historic narrative.
The company consists of 15 local professional theatre artists and is led by director Brianna Sloane (The Emily Dickinson Project, The Mill Project, The Water Project). The acting ensemble features Tahmie Der, Matt Haas, Gabriel Levey, Myka Plunkett, Christine Stevens, Bill Stewart, and Linda Tardif. Costume design is by Christina Beam. Sound consultation is by Amy Altadonna and lighting consultation is by John Bechtold. Stage management is by Nikki Beck and Gabriel CiFuentes.
Content Advisory: The plays contain themes of child loss and slavery and are recommended for adult audiences.
All three short plays are included in each performance, followed by a conversation with the playwrights.

Tickets and more information. 
JaDuke Theater
The Little Mermaid and A Christmas Story Audtions
August 27 and 28 at 6:00 PM
JaDuke Theater, 110 Industrial Boulevard, Turners Falls, MA 01376

Audition for our two upcoming shows at JaDuke Theater; The Little Mermaid or A Christmas Carol.

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.

Amherst Community Theater
SEUSSICAL Auditions!
September 15 and 15 at 6:00 PM
Bangs Community Center, Amherst

Amherst Community Theater announces auditions for Seussical! Sept. 15-17, 2023, callbacks 9/18, Bangs Community Center, Amherst. Appointments: go to (contact Producer for alternative dates to Rosh Hashana). Dr. Seuss’s whimsical brilliance comes to life in this musical extravaganza! With lavish sets and costumes and a full orchestra, this show will transport audiences of all ages with its unforgettable characters and heartwarming story of loyalty and acceptance. Nine performances, January 2024 at the 600-seat Bowker Auditorium, UMass. Calling actors, singers, and dancers ages 7-107! More information, including character descriptions and audition music, posted 8/1: or contact

Facebook event

Technical Director
Iolanthe production
Valley Light Opera
Starting Sept. 6, 2023

Technical Director needed to supervise set build for Valley Light Opera's fall production of the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera, Iolanthe.

Duties include:
Scheduling crew meetings one or twice a week till set is completed.
Working with set designer to design the set.
Instructing volunteers on basic carpentry jobs.
Supervising volunteers as they work on the set.
Supervising the transportation of the set to the Academy of Music for performance.
Supervising set strike on November 12.

Schedule: We rehearse Sunday, Monday and Wednesday eves starting September 6 till dress rehearsal on or about November 1. You do not need to attend rehearsals. You will build the set in a separate rented space during this period. Historically, our tech director scheduled building times on Saturdays, 9:00-3:00 and Tuesday evenings so that cast and crew members could be free to volunteer their building skills.

Performances are November 3, 4, 5, and 10, 11, and 12 at the Academy of Music, Northampton.

Honorarium: There is a modest honorarium of $350 for the period, and of course all materials and rentals are paid by VLO. 

If interested: please apply to Jill Franks, Assistant Director. 
Phone (with texting): 931-920-0368.

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. 

  • 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
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