Nov 102016

Interactive theatre is the calling card of History Alive, Inc. productions, most notably Cry Innocent which you may have seen during Halloween in Salem, but also with a relatively newer production called Goodnight, Captain White. This comedy murder mystery will have its final performances of the winter season Nov. 18-20 at the historical Hawthorne Hotel.

gncw-castIt’s 1830. “All friends and well wishers are invited to attend” the retirement party of Captain Joseph White’s favorite ship, the Caroline. But this magnanimous invitation lures a host of enemies and ill-wishers into the perfect opportunity to murder the rich, old captain.  Allegiances twist and turn. Foibles are exposed, depravities revealed.

Then it is up to the audience (that means YOU) and an under cover Daniel Webster to figure out who-dunnit and how. The creators of Cry Innocent give Salem— as odd as this sounds, but you have to be there— a crime to laugh about.

Those who love Salem history and also a good laugh will have this one more weekend to take in Goodnight, Captain White before History Alive, Inc. puts the play to bed for a long winter’s nap.

That’s correct. We said history. This tale is based upon the real-life murder of Capt. Joseph White, a 19th century shipmaster and trader from Salem, MA,

Performances of the interactive who-dunit will be in the library of the historic Hawthorne Hotel, November 18th, 19th and 20th . Shows are at 7:30pm on Friday and Saturday and 5:30pm on Sunday.

“We’ve had so much fun with a great, sold-out run this year, including a fund raiser for the Saltonstall School’s play ground and an immersive weekend at the gorgeous Jeremiah Lee Mansion in Marblehead,” Kristina Wacome Stevick, History Alive, Inc’s artistic director reflected. “But we’re developing a new piece, a world premier, and we want to turn our attention there for the winter.”

But what would hibernation be without a big meal beforehand? Therefore, from this late November run, $10 from each ticket will be donated to the Salem Pantry, which serves Salem’s children who struggle with food insecurity.

The November shows of Goodnight, Captain White will also feature a new performer in the ensemble, improv. comedian Zach Reynolds from Portsmouth, NH.

“Preparing for Captain White has been a high-energy, collaborative process,” he explains. “The whole cast is hilarious, and with Sarah Mann’s direction we’ve been able to make the ingenious script come to life in surprising and side-splitting ways. I’ve loved getting to know my character, Frank, and discovering how such an apparently dimwitted guy can have a duplicitous, conniving dark side.”

The play will resurface once in late June as part of Cry Innocent’s 25th anniversary celebration, a festival which will highlight the spin-off projects and new work forged by Cry Innocent ensemble members past and present. It will then travel to Edinburgh, Scotland and the South Shore where there are additional historical connections to the story.

Tickets for the shows of Goodnight, Captain White, by Mark Stevick can be purchased at

Nov 042015

HamletMurder, betrayal, grief, political intrigue, revenge. Sounds like any number of series currently on TV. In fact these are the powerful elements of William Shakespeare’s tragic piece Hamlet, being staged by the Salem Theatre, Nov. 5-21 – the final performance in the black box theatre at 90 Lafayette Street before the company moves to a shiny new space in February.

Directed by Caroline Watson-Felt, Salem Theatre describes Hamlet as  “one of Shakespeare’s most beautiful, thoughtful, and sad tragedies. It is the story of a young man who discovers and loses himself all at the same time. We are our own worst enemies when we cannot reconcile loss, love, anger, and the dark corners of our own mind.”

Hamlet as a play is also interesting in that the obsession that will darken Hamlet’s life when we meet him actually takes place before the play even starts. His father the King of Denmark has passed away, his mother has rather quickly remarried to his father’s brother, and as you can well guess “something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

This plot line is furthered along by the appearance of a ghost claiming to be the father, further claiming that his brother did indeed kill him. A ghost? Perfect for post-Halloween Salem MA audiences.

Speaking of audiences, this will be the last production mounted for audiences at the 90 Lafayette Street locale.  Salem Theatre will be setting up stage at a new space in Shetland Park in 2016.

Hamlet STBut for now performances will take place on Nov. 5-7, 12-14, and 19-21 at 7:30pm, with additional shows at 3pm on Nov 8 and 15.

Student Night performance of Hamlet will be Sunday, Nov. 15 at 3pm, with all student tickets reduced down to $5 with student ID.

LGBT Night will be Tuesday Nov. 20 at 7:30pm. Get $5 off the price of tickets for that performance by using the discount code LGBTHAMLET.

Tickets are otherwise $12-25 online and $15-30 at the door. Purchase online through

To be or not to be… obsessed with revenge — if you were in Hamlet’s shoes, would you make the same choices?

(Hamlet Artwork /Photo courtesy of Dan DeRosato)

Mar 312015

Community is a key element both on-stage and off in the current production of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night  by the Salem Theatre. Running now through April 12th, it is a story of a community upended by a shipwreck and how those involved take to comedy and music to solve their dilemmas. And as a city almost entirely surrounded by the sea, Salem provides extra backdrop. But the Salem Theatre is also providing a community initiative: for every sold out performance (as last Saturday’s was) it will provide a performance to a local school, free of charge.

12th  NightWho says Shakespeare can’t be relevant in the 21st century?

If you are not familiar with the play, it focuses on the hilarious and wild chaos caused by twins, Viola and Sebastian, displaced by the shipwreck. Salem Theatre’s production is directed by Artistic Director Matthew Gray who has stated that while parts of songs are used in many of Shakespeare’s other plays, those in Twelfth Night  are sung in their entirety, thus contributing to the story.

The set is sparse, a few benches, a few props, a piano. There is sadness, comedy, and Shakespearean characters defined by their circumstances, all confined to a space that might seem like the hull of a 17th century ship.

Cast members include Salem residents and returning to the Salem Theatre stage Caroline Watson-Felt, Chris Martel and Ariane Grosse; members of Salem’s classical theatre troupe, Upstart Crows Diana Dunlap and Keith Trickett; and Rachel MacAskill, Zachary Reardon, Francis Norton and Christopher Noran.

Performances are on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 3 pm. Key dates to note:

  • Thursday, April 2: Student Night – $5 tickets available for all students
  • Thursday, April 9: LGTB Night – Discount Tickets offered.

Salem Theatre will also update daily the seating capacity for each show; if you want to see Twelfth Night and are open on the date, you might consider booking a near sell-out night to help activate the community initiative for school children.

Additional details are available at Performances are held at 90 Lafayette Street.

(Photo courtesy CMB Photography)

Jul 092014


Ten minutes to see a play. No, not 10 minutes to get there. We are talking about a play from start to finish, enter stage right to exit stage left. And not just one play, the Salem Theatre Company is producing seven such plays with its popular Moments of Play (MoP) festival of original ten-minute plays, Wednesday, July 9 through Sunday, July 13.

What makes these productions even more admirable is that the words come from New England playwrights. Over 200 plays are submitted each year. The festival also features directorial and STC acting debuts alongside STC “regulars.”

The seven 10-Minute Plays to be performed this year are:

Zeno’s Arrow by David Susman of Saco, ME,
The Accidents of Bread by William Orem of Newton, MA,
Baby, It’s Cold Outside! by Jeana Hackman Grady of Rockport, MA,
Crooked Fork by Jonathan Yukich of Hamden, CT,
Just Your Imagination by Lesley Anne Moreau of Allston, MA,
Triumphs of the Heart (Sphere) by Cassie Seinuk of Somerville, MA,
Video Death Chat by Libby Schap of Chelsea, MA

But that’s not the entire package of the Festival. On Saturday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m., three nationally recognized playwrights will gather on the STC stage to discuss and review the seven plays presented this year. The public is invited to this free event featuring Richard Dresser, Ronan Noone and Kate Snodgrass.

The seven selected plays for the Eighth Annual Play Festival will be presented Wednesday through Friday at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday & Sunday at 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available online at The STC Theater is located 90 Lafayette Street in downtown Salem.

May 282014

New logoTake note of that first word. Salem celebrates not just Art but the Arts with our upcoming festival, set for June 6-8, throughout our Downtown District.

More than 5000 people have regularly attended this annual event which serves to showcase more than 80 visual and performing artists. You will see many artists, as well as sculptors, musicians, singers, actors and more.

Friday, June 6th

6pm – 9pm, Old Town Hall
Old Town Hall Juried Gallery

6pm – 7:30pm, Old Town Hall Downstairs
Molly Pinto Madigan, Folk Music

7:30pm – 9pm, Old Town Hall Upstairs
Lois Lane and the Daily Planets, Soul and R&B

Saturday, June 7th

11am – 6pm, Old Town Hall
Juried Art Exhibit

11am – 6pm, Front Street & Artists’ Row
Art-Making Activities

IMG_423611am – 6pm, Festival Area
Street Fair

11:45am – 12pm, Artists’ Row
Beatnik Voices, Spoken Word Poetry

12pm – 12:45pm, Derby Square
Amy Spillert, Folk Music

12:45pm – 1pm, Artists’ Row
Beatnik Voices, Spoken Word Poetry

1pm – 1:45pm, Derby Square
Machine 475, Electronic Music

1:45pm – 2:05pm, Artists’ Row
The Upstart Crows Of Salem,Theatre

2:05pm – 2:50pm, Derby Square
Jeff Michaels, Music Performance

2:40pm – 3pm, Artists’ Row
Josh Bates, Classic Rock Guitar Performance

3pm – 3:20pm, Front Street
Arbella Drum & Bugle Corps, Marching Band & Color Guard

3:20pm – 4pm, Derby Square
On Point Ensemble, Rock Music

3:20pm – 3:50pm, Artists’ Row
North Shore YMCA Theatre Company, Youth Theatre

3:55pm – 4:15pm, Old Town Hall Upstairs
Aurora Borealis Dance Company, Modern Dance

3:55pm – 4:15pm, Artists’ Row
Chase the Ghost, Indie/Digital Rock Music

4pm – 5pm, Derby Square
Dark Follies, Vaudeville Variety Show

4:45pm – 5:15 pm, Artists’ Row
The Avant Guardians, Live Art with Music

5:15pm – 6pm, Derby Square
Dave Bailin, Soul/Rock Music

Sunday, June 8th

11:45am – 12pm, Artists’ Row
Chalk: A Play, Theatre

12pm – 12:45pm, Derby Square
Witch City Bellydance, Bellydance

12:45pm – 1pm, Artists’ Row
Chalk: A Play, Theatre

1pm – 1:45pm, Derby Square
Ponyfish, Acoustic Trio

1:45pm – 2pm, Artists’ Row
Chalk: A Play, Theatre

2pm – 2:45pm, Derby Square
Bobby Spellman’s Underground Society Band, Jazz Music

2:45pm – 3:30pm, Artists’ Row
History Alive!, Historical Theatre/Staged Reading

3pm – 3:45pm, Derby Square, TBD

3:45pm – 4:05pm, Derby Square
Siren of the Circle, Hoop Dance

4:05pm – 4:50pm, Derby Square
The Holdouts, Acoustic Duo

4:50pm – 5:10pm, Artists Row
Only Human: A Musical, Musical Theatre

5:10pm – 6pm, Derby Square
Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion, Surf Rock Music