For two decades, New Century Theatre has provoked thoughtful postshow discussions with a mix of new works and fresh renditions of familiar classics. "Distracted," a new play by acclaimed playwright and screenwriter, Lisa Loomer, follows the parents, teachers, and doctors of a rambunctious 9-year-old boy as they try to determine whether he has ADHD. By turns hilarious and poignant, the action unfolds within Smith College's Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, a performance hall built in 1964 and recently renovated to add modern comforts and chase Banquo's ghost from the wings.
Under the direction of Rose and Charles Flachs, who have choreographed more than 50 ballets and danced the lead parts in Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and more, the Massachusetts Academy of Ballet sends dancing students twirling toward a mastery of graceful pirouettes and elegant grand jetés. Expert instructors lead students through classes founded on the world-class techniques of the Russian syllabus, encouraging artistry and creativity while students hone essential techniques. With a spacious, contemporary studio, the academy brandishes sprung floors for soft landings and for comfortably performing the post-modern "napping" position. Go online to check out the class schedule.
Voted the best place to see live theater in the Valley Advocate's 2011 readers' poll, the Majestic Theater envelops audiences in compelling stagings starring local thespians. In the midst of the Majestic's summer season, Two by Two juxtaposes the dramatic and comedic sides of Massachusetts playwright Steve Henderson by showing a pair of his enthralling one-act plays back-to-back. Theater-goers get a peek at the ins and outs of the fictional Morse brothers' complex relationship in Morse Code—a case study of universal truths about fraternity, such as the fact that it's more entertaining for others when siblings argue in public. The Gravedigger's Gift riffs on two grave-digging characters from Shakespeare's Hamlet, extracting comedy from the dour business of burying the deceased.
The Conservatory instructs students of all ages and skill levels in ballet, pointe, modern,contemporary, jazz, tap, acrobatics, musical theater and hip-hop style dance, in a state-of-the-art facility in East Longmeadow Massachusetts. Students may choose a pre-professional, competitive, or recreational course of study.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the cha-cha. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and foxtrot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba.
The community-oriented Shakespeare & Co. presents high-quality theatrical meditations on life, politics, and elf employment while upholding the art-loving, humanistic tenets of Elizabethan theater. Based on the popular David Sedaris essay of the same name and adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello, The SantaLand Diaries chronicles one man’s achingly amusing struggle playing Crumpet the Elf at Macy’s during a single holiday season. Presented in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, the show combines wry comedic storytelling with a yuletide setting that charmingly evokes years of bygone Santa visits and threats of coal-lump showers. Peter Davenport, a 2009 IRNE nominee, plays protagonist Crumpet the Elf as he struggles through bouts of hilariously irksome Christmastime retail drudgery. Elves, though docile by nature, are prone to outbursts of adult-related content, so this show is not recommended for children ages 13 and younger.