Thursday, September 21, 2023

Pioneer Valley Theatre News September 21, 2023

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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September 21 - October 11, 2023

This week: Bright Star at the Majestic, Lunar Ecplise in the Berkshires, or the Happier Valley Championship! Lots of opportunities for work below as well. 

The next issue will include events from September 28 - October 18. 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
by Mary Amanda McNeil, Samora Pinderhughs, Storme Webber

From the article

Samora Pinderhughs, Storme Webber, and Mary Amanda McNeil consider the ways that kinship and solidarity across broader collectives can coexist and mutually enrich one another through intentional practice; as they parse these connections, they identify the ways that solidarity, kinship, and restoring the past are intertwined in their lived experiences and work. Samora Pinderhughs is a musician, multidisciplinary artist, abolitionist, and the creator of The Healing Project. An enrolled member pf the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Mary Amanda McNeil is an assistant professor in the Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora at Tufts University. Storme Webber is a two-spirit Sugpiaq/Black poet and interdisciplinary artist whose work incorporates text, performance, altar, and altar installation— among other genres and media— to engage with liminal identities, survivance, and decolonization. This conversation is a contribution to the Black and Indigenous Futures series, which reflects on Black and Indigenous shared leadership, solidarity, kinship, identity, and artistic practice.

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


Season-Opener Features Music by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell

West Springfield’s Majestic Theater will launch its 26th season this Thursday, September 7 with the opening night of Bright Star, a musical featuring a bluegrass score by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell.  The play will run through October 15.

Directed by the Majestic’s Associate Producing Director Sue Dziura, Bright Star is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is a tale of love, loss and redemption set in the 1920s and 1940s American South.  Literary editor Alice Murphy meets a young soldier just home from World War II, and he awakens her longing for the child she once lost.  Haunted by their connection, Alice sets out on a journey to understand her past.  What she finds has the power to transform both of their lives. 

The cast includes Chelsie Nectow, Michael Graham Morales, Emery Henderson, Michael Devito, Megan Mistretta, Parker Fisher, Christine Voytko, Gene Choquette, Ramsey Kurdi, Rob Clark and Max Weinberg.  Production stage manager is Stephen Petit, Aurora Ferraro is associate producing manager, and Josiah Durham is technical director. 

Subscriptions to the five-play 2023-2024 season will be accepted through October 15, but single tickets are now being sold to all five plays over the phone or in person at the box office.  Prices for single tickets for the plays 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, but any patron feeling symptoms that may be related to COVID are requested not to attend their scheduled performance.  They may contact the box office at the Majestic Theater at (413) 747-7797 to reschedule their performance date or a full ticket refund will be provided.

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

New work by Pulitzer Prize-winner Donald Margulies features

Karen Allen and Reed Birney

New dates have been announced for Shakespeare & Company’s World Premiere  of Lunar Eclipse by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies, starring Karen Allen and Reed Birney, and directed by James Warwick. Staged September 15 through October 22 at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, five, new Thursday evening performances have been added through the course of the run:

  • Thursday, September 21 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 28 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 5 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 12 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 19 at 7:30 p.m.

On a summer night, in the middle of a field on their midwest farm, a long-married couple sits on folding chairs to observe the seven stages of a lunar eclipse. While watching the celestial phenomenon unfold, the two sip bourbon and reflect on land and legacy, on children and dogs, and the accelerating passage of time. Lunar Eclipse is a new work by Margulies (Dinner With Friends, Time Stands Still, Collected Stories).

Generously sponsored by Deb and Bill Ryan, Lunar Eclipse will be staged indoors at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre on the Shakespeare & Company grounds. Tickets range from $22 for students to $62, and are available at or by calling the Box Office at (413) 637-3353.

The Happier Valley Championship Show
September 23 at 7:00 PM
The 4th Saturday of every month at 7pm
Happier Valley Comedy, 1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley

The Happier Valley Championship!
In this competitive comedy show, two teams of improvisers face off through scenes and games to see who can win the ultimate prize: your laughter! Fourth Saturday of every month at 7pm at the Happier Valley Comedy Theater (1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley, on rte.9). Tickets: $15 online and at the door.

More information

Registration Now Open for PIC Kids Fall Fest

We are pleased to share that registration is now officially open for PIC Kids Fall Fest- an all-ages weekend empowering creativity!

Saturday September 30th, 2-3pm Park Hill Orchard

All Ages Salon: a sharing of new original works created and performed by youth and adult artists in an iconic outdoor setting. Free to attend.

Rain date: October 1st, 10-11am

Sunday October 1st, 2-5pm Bombyx Center for Arts and Equity

Build Your World: a sneak peek of new inclusive kids’ TV show, All Together Now! by Sunny Allis, followed by hands-on arts workshops. Presented in collaboration with High Five Books and Sunny Allis. $10/person

Learn more about our artists, collaborators, and the awesome workshops offered, and REGISTER TO ATTEND by clicking here

Learn More and Register
Happier Valley Comedy Presents Scripted/ Unscripted
September 30 at 7:00 PM
Happier Valley Comedy, 1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley

A thrilling mashup of theater and improv!
One scripted actor sticking to their lines. One improviser with no idea what scene they're in. One unique, messy, beautifully wild ride! Come see one of our all-time audience favorite shows, be surprised and delighted by the artful chaos, and support a local nonprofit at the same time! Inspired by the original show Gravid Water.
Tickets: $15 online or at the door.

More information
Ja'Duke Theater
God of Carnage

10/13 at 7pm, 10/15 at 2pm, 10/20 and 10/21 at 7pm, 10/22 at 2pm
Ja'Duke Performing Arts Center, Industrial Blvd, Turners Falls MA

God of Carnage was a Tony Award winner for best play in 2009. Two eleven-year-olds get into a skirmish on the playground. One hits the other with a stick and knocks out two teeth. Our play begins as the parents of the boys meet for the first time to discuss the incident and come up with some sort of resolution. What could possibly go wrong? Except everything.

(No hamsters were harmed in the production of this play. We think.)

Happier Valley Comedy
Open Auditions at Happier Valley Comedy
September 23 at 11:00 AM
Happier Valley Comedy, 1 Mille Valley Rd, Hadley

Do you have experience making it all up on the spot? Come play on our stage! We strive to make our auditions full of joy and not tied to results. You'll step onstage with a random group of other players and be given simple prompts for scenes and games. The audience will be a supportive crowd of your fellow auditioners. We're all rooting for each other! Come see how we make the Happy Valley HAPPIER!
Off Book Antics Auditions
September 27 at 5:00 PM
Bombyx Center for Arts and Equity
We're looking for passionate actors ages 14-18 to audition for our teen theatre company!
Holyoke Community College seeks a Videographer and a Costume Designer for its fall production of A Bright New Boise

Costume Designer will be responsible for procuring all costume pieces and conducting fittings prior to the start of tech. Designer will be responsible for cleaning sorting and returning any rental items at the conclusion of the run. Performance dates November 16-19. Flat fee $800 Email Resume / portfolio to

Videographer: will be responsible for filming original content, as well as procuring stock footage, and programing video cues in Qlab during tech process. Flat fee $1200. Email resume / portfolio to
The Performance Project, a non-profit arts organization based in Springfield MA, is seeking a Booking Agent and/or Tour Coordinator to help plan a local and regional tour of First Generation Ensemble’s Mother Tongue, a 90 minute multilingual physical theater piece. We have funding for a position averaging 20 hours 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 Massachusetts counties), we need to hire someone with experience who can help to broaden the reach of our tour to other areas in MA and other nearby states.  

We hope to find someone who can jump in ASAP and begin to connect with venues, reach out to new presenting partners, and develop 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. 

Contact: Julie Lichtenburg and
Gayle Hudson

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.
The Majestic Theater
Searching for a Tech. Director

The Theater Project, inc., dba Majestic Theater, located in West Springfield, Massachusetts is seeking an immediate hire for a Theater Carpenter / Technical Director.

The Majestic is a year-round 229 seat professional theater operating under and SPT6 contract with Actors Equity Association. We produce a five play subscription season September to June, in July and August a three production Children’s Theater, and musical concerts over the Summer. More at:

This is a full time position which requires a number of years of hands-on experience in live theater and a skill set that includes carpentry, welding, and rigging. The Technical Director should also be versed in both stage lighting and sound design.

They are responsible for maintaining the scene shop in good working order with a focus always on safety. Additionally, from time to time, there may be repair and/or maintenance projects at the theater itself for which the TD is responsible.

Interested candidates should send an email to Business Manager, Regina Diemand with cover letter and current professional resume.

Real Live Theatre seeks a grant writer and/or co-producer for our Summer 2024 premier of When The Mind’s Free, an original dance-theatre piece which lifts language, ideas, and story from Shakespeare’s King Lear and places them in a contemporary context, that of a lesbian family dealing with the early onset Alzheimer’s of their matriarch and the opioid addiction of their  youngest daughter.  

We are looking for someone with grant-writing/producing experience who has a particular interest in supporting projects relating to one or more of the following: theatre, dance, LGBTQ  issues, community engagement, Alzheimer’s education, and opioid addiction education. 

The ideal candidate:
-is connected to a variety of funding sources
-is willing to think both in and out of the box about creative funding and presenting opportunities
-has excellent communication skills
-enjoys being part of a team, while also working independently
-will find personal fulfillment in being actively involved in bringing this project to life

The language in the piece is mainly contemporary and has emerged out of improvisations  outlined and shaped by the director and performed by the ensemble, as well as in consultation  with memory care organizations, caretakers, families, and individuals dealing with memory loss. In When The Mind’s Free, the epic arc of King Lear is condensed into one day in the life of this  family. Scenes of caregiving, some of which blossom into imaginative play, others of which devolve into frustration and tears, are interspersed with dances which take the audience outside of that repetitive reality, into the inner thoughts and emotions of the characters. 

We are guided in our work not only by our study of the text of King Lear, but also by these big questions: What does it mean to have accurate memories, and why do we need them? Separated from our memories, who are we? Can we maintain intimate relationships without shared memories? How can the Buddhist principle of non-attachment help us in caring for those with memory loss and those who struggle with addiction? And finally, how do we bring levity and  light into our darkest hours?

A core component of this project is direct community engagement; each performance of the  piece will be accompanied by a facilitated space for discussion. We hope to give audience members time to reflect on their experiences of caregiving and being cared for, to share stories  and resonances, and to connect with local resources and with one another. From our own experiences, we know how lonely caregiving can be, and we hope to provide space to foster community connectedness. 

Part-time; contract terms negotiable. Salary $30-$50 per hour commensurate with experience. Please send a letter of interest and resume to
WAM Theatre Invites Artists and Community Members to Free “Devised Theater” Workshops

Introduction to Devised Theatre with Priscilla Kane Hellweg
Saturday September 23rd, 1:30-4pm
In-person at the WAM Hub in downtown Lenox

Priscilla will guide the group through devised theatre exercises to share ideas and together imagine a better tomorrow.  We will draw upon our collective ideas, hopes, experiences, and practices to create a distilled performance of theater, dance, and rhythm as a final sharing, just for us!

“Telling stories is the way we all connect with each other; you can fall in love with a fellow human in an instant,” said Teaching Artist Priscilla Miller. “I think teaching is like that; people in a room together get a chance to feel our collective humanity. We're all here to tell some story that's burning a hole in our pocket, and at some point or another, we're all scared or stuck, but we persist. I respect the desire in all of us to create. I'm thrilled to partner with WAM. The work and the mission of this company are aligned with social justice and storytelling.” 

Devising Theatre Online with Nicole Orabona
Saturday, September 30, 2023, 2-4pm
On-line over zoom

Curious about expanding your artistic practice and connecting digitally with a greater sphere of collaborators? Using improvisation and collaboration, participants in this workshop will explore the process of creating art and connecting using digital platforms. While this workshop will be taught through the lens of theater, creative artists of other disciplines––as well as anyone ready to discover their creativity––are welcome and encouraged to participate. 

“As a theatre maker and activist, I am such a huge fan of WAMs mission and absolutely chuffed to present this workshop!” says Teaching Artist Nicole Orabona. “My theatre practice thrives in a collaborative environment. During the early isolating days of the pandemic, I was lucky enough to find ways to make art virtually that could fill me with the same satisfaction of rolling around on the floor in a studio. I'm excited to share these practices with the WAMily!”

Community Story Circle with Maizy Scarpa
Saturday October 7, 2023, 2-4pm
In-person at the WAM Hub in downtown Lenox

This third workshop (not currently open for public enrollment) invites participants to give voice to challenges, dreams, fears and desires present in their communities today. Through a story exchange facilitated by WAM Director of Community Engagement Maizy Scarpa, Community Story Circle aims to create a space where we imagine—and begin to build—a future where WAM more fully meets the needs and aspirations of our neighbors, in an ever-changing world. What do you need to feel welcomed? And what do you hope to find once you’re here? 

“As long as humans have had fire to gather around, we’ve met in circles to unpack our fears and dreams through storytelling. This is a powerful act; in the process we combat isolation, understand ourselves and our neighbors better, and build community. Sharing stories, real or imagined, is also a crucial step towards creating intentional and positive change.”

Free to all participants. Donations to WAM Theatre’s Community Engagement programs welcome. Visit asap to reserve your spot or to learn more
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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