Theatre at the Mount

Theatre at the Mount Jeff Boisseau and LG Karyn Polito

Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Theatre at the Mount Technical Director Jeff Boisseau during the June 23 reception.

Mount Wachusett Community College’s Theatre at the Mount is the recipient of a $49,600 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund to update its sound system.

The Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, administered through a partnership between MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, fosters the growth of the creative economy by supporting building projects in the nonprofit arts, humanities and sciences. This new round of funding includes 68 capital grants totaling $8.9 million and 23 planning grants totaling more than $400,000. Grants range from $7,000 to $300,000 and are matched from private of other public sources.

The grant, which will be matched by MWCC, will be used to replace the theater’s aging analog sound system. The updated digital sound system will improve the audience experience, particularly for patrons who require hearing assistance or other special needs.

“Making high quality theater affordable and accessible for everyone is our highest priority,” said Professor Gail Steele, director of Theatre at the Mount. “This grant will allow us to make major strides in achieving our goal.”

The award was announced during a reception in Worcester on Thursday, June 23 with Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. Jeff Boisseau, technical director and set designer, and Joseph Stiso, vice president of planning, development and institutional research, accepted the award on behalf of the college.

“Our administration is proud to support these capital investments in the creative economy,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “The rich history of our cities and towns is an important draw for out-of-state visitors, and these grants will help direct private investments into these projects.”

Now entering its 40th year, Theatre at the Mount is in the midst of a makeover, including a new lobby, box office and ADA improvements as part of a $41 million addition and renovation project to the Gardner campus.

“We’re very grateful to receive this grant,” Boisseau said. “We’re hoping to have these new features installed before we reopen later this year.”

Located in the college’s Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center, Theatre at the Mount serves the community as a premier regional theater presenting high quality entertainment at affordable prices. TAM’s season consists of five full-scale musicals and plays, a spring children’s show and a fall touring production performed at local elementary schools. Additionally, TAM offers summer drama programs for children and teens and sponsors the annual TAMY Awards program, which celebrates excellence in high school musicals.

In a statement earlier this month, Gov. Charlie Baker noted the new investments will drive tourism and benefit residents and visitors for years to come. Since 2007, CFF has invested nearly $92 million in the state’s creative sector for projects in more than 130 cities and towns.

“We thank Governor Baker and his administration for its continued support of this vital source of creative capital,” said Anita Walker, executive director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

The grants are highly competitive. In this round of funding, the state received 146 applications seeking nearly $25 million for projects with total development costs of more than $200 million. Steele, Boisseau and Grant Writer/Development Specialist Moira Adams are the lead investigators for the project. In 2013, Theatre at the Mount received a $30,000 CFF grant to replace its lighting system.

Upcoming Theatre at the Mount productions include Almost, Maine on June 24, 25 and 26, and Hairspray on Aug. 12, 13, 19, 20 and 21. Due to current construction, these performances will take place at Oakmont Regional High School in Ashburnham. For more information, visit or contact the box office at 978-630-9388.


Mount Wachusett Community College’s Theatre at the Mount opens its spring 2016 season with the Tony Award winning musical, Cabaret. Performances are February 26 and 27, and March 4 and 5 at 8 p.m.; and March 6 at 2 p.m. This production will take place at Gardner High School, as renovations to the theatre continues.

Step into the dark and decadent Kit Kat Club where excitement is high and inhibitions are low as cabaret singer Sally Bowles and her American lover play out their romance while the Nazi party rises to power in Germany. This award-winning musical features classic Kander and Ebb songs like “Maybe This Time,” “Money,” and of course, “Cabaret.”

Tickets are $22 for evening performances, $17 for the matinee and $15 for students and may be purchased at the TAM box office at 978 630-9388 or online at

Gail Steele

Professor Gail Steele

Professor Gail Steele, director of Theatre at the Mount, not only will be recognized with a community service award during the House of Peace and Education’s annual Celebrating Women event, she’ll also share the stage with one of the country’s greatest performers, Rita Moreno.

The Grammy, Tony, Emmy, and Oscar winning performer will headline the annual event to raise awareness of women’s issues and funding for House of Peace & Education, Inc., a non-profit serving women and children in North Central Massachusetts. This year’s event will take place on Thursday, May 21, at Great Wolf Lodge of New England in Fitchburg.

Under Professor Steele’s supervision TAM has received local, regional, and national acclaim. In her 38-year career, over 2,500 individuals have appeared in TAM productions and over 8,000 have participated in summer drama and choir programs. Many have gone on to pursue their own careers in theatre after literally growing up at Theatre at the Mount. In addition to her work at TAM, Professor Steele has shared her expertise and been active in many organizations throughout the community.

HOPE empowers women and children by providing employment and educational skills, and nurturing self esteem, so they can to transition into independence. Because HOPE is a no-fees organization, it must raise considerable funds each year to continue its many services.

This year’s event begins at 5:30 p.m. and consists of cocktail hour with cash bar, dinner, a performance by Boston’s Divas with a Twist, presentation of awards, and finally Rita Moreno’s inspirational story through spoken word and song. Tickets are available in advance only: online at, by calling 978-632-0400, or stopping in at the HOPEful Boutique at 33 Parker Street in Gardner.

In addition to the HOPE Celebrating Women Award, in April, Professor Steele received the Community Leadership Award from the ARC of Opportunity of North Central Massachusetts for her leadership and creativity in launching a sensory-friendly theatre performance for families who support children with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities or on the autism spectrum.

Get our your dictionaries! The Tony Award winning musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, one of Broadway’s most buzzed about hits, opens on May 1 at Theatre at the Mount.

The musical comedy follows six young people in the throes of puberty, who are overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, as they learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser. At each performance, four audience volunteers are selected and invited on stage to participate in the Bee, making each performance unique.

The cast features Liz Vettese (Marcy Park), Chris Casello (Chip Tolentino), Ryann Brown (Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre), Lynne Dumais (Olive Ostrovsky), Kyle Carlson (Mitch Mahoney), Doug Dame (Leaf Coneybear), Christiaan Stone (Vice-Principal Douglas Panch), Marcus Provost (William Barfee), Kate Sheridan (Rona Lisa Perretti).

Performances are May 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. and May 3 at 2 p.m.. Tickets are available by calling the Theatre at the Mount Box Office at 978-630-9388 or online at


ScoundrelsMount Wachusett Community College’s Theatre at the Mount kicks off its 2015 season with the scamming, scheming, double-crossing hit Broadway musical, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels beginning February 27.

Based on the popular 1988 MGM film starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels centers on two con men living on the French Riviera – the suave and sophisticated Lawrence Jameson, who makes his lavish living by talking rich ladies out of their money; and a small-time crook named Freddy Benson, who, more humbly, swindles women by waking their compassion with fabricated stories about his grandmother’s failing health.

After meeting on a train, they unsuccessfully attempt to work together only to find that this small French town isn’t big enough for the two of them. So they make a bet: the first one to swindle $50,000 from a young heiress triumphs and the other must leave town. What follows are a series of schemes, masquerades and double-crosses in which nothing may ever be exactly what it seems.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels opened on Broadway in 2005 to rave reviews. Clive Barnes raved in The New York Post, “A knockout punch to Broadway’s funny bone! One of the liveliest, funniest, best-performed musicals in years. Super-smart and superior in every way.”  In the The Wall Street Journal, Terry Teachout proclaimed, “I know funny when I see it, and this show is a perfect hoot!  A big hit.”

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was awarded 11 Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical. The show features a book by Jeffrey Lane and music and lyrics by David Yazbek (The Full Monty).

Theatre at the Mount’s cast will be led by David Allen Prescott as Lawrence Jameson and Doug Dame as Freddy Benson, both residents of Fitchburg. The show also features Gardner resident Kaara McHugh as Christine Colgate, Trish Aponte of Clinton as Muriel Eubanks, Michael Celularo as Andre Thibault and Rachael Rossi as Jolene Oakes.

The ensemble includes Elizabeth Vetesse, Hailee Martin, Hayley Blackmer, Jessica Tomer, Jillian Whitney, Lisa Tierney, Michelle Heffner, Shani Farrell, Susie Shepardson, Bryan Landgren, Joel LeBlanc, Keith Wolosz, Stephen Allain, Nick Marques and Nick Landry.

Performances are February 27, 28, March 6, 7 at 8 p.m. and March 8 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at the Theatre at the Mount Box office, by phone at 978-630-9388 or online at

– Gail Steele


survivor 2015 group

President Daniel Asquino, left, and team mates compete with other peformers to raise funds for the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster.

Theatre at the Mount’s January 23 production of Survivor, the Musical culminated with the naming of Jillian Whitney as “Sole Survivor.” Whitney, who is a Theatre at the Mount performer and hails from Rindge, NH, competed against 23 other performers and  local business leaders  to see who could “out-sing, out-perform, and out-shine” in a full evening of musical theatre challenges.

Singing, dancing, acting, puzzles and trivia were all part of the competition in which Whitney was the last performer standing.

Survivor, the Musical raised funds for The Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster with support from many area businesses and individual sponsors.


Survivor BGCFL benefit 2014

Participants in last year’s Survivor: The Musical benefit performance helped raise $50,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. On Friday, Jan. 23, prominent local leaders will take to the stage at MWCC’s Theatre at the Mount to support the club.

Twenty contestants, two tribes, but only one “Survivor.” Local celebrities will try to “out sing, out perform and out shine” the competition in Survivor, the Musical, an upcoming Theatre at the Mount production to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster.Tickets are now on sale for the event, which will take place at Mount Wachusett Community College on Friday, Jan. 23. Following upon the success of last year’s event, MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino, BGCFL Executive Director Donata Martin and business and community leaders will appear as featured contestants.

Performers will compete in this take-off on the popular TV reality show. Singing, dancing, acting, puzzles, trivia, and the dreaded “tribal council” will provide a full evening of non-stop fun. Survivor, the Musical is conceived and hosted by Theatre at the Mount veteran Chris Casello.

“We are delighted to once again offer this fun evening of entertainment to benefit the children served by the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “Survivor the Musical, featuring well-known members of our community, promises to be an evening of exceptional entertainment for a worthy cause. Having received the support of this national organization as a child, I know first-hand that the opportunities and experiences are transformative.”

Since 2001, the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster has worked in youth development with young people ages 8 to 18 from many economic, social and family circumstances.

“We are grateful for the community’s generosity and ongoing support of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster and its many fine programs, and to Mount Wachusett Community College in particular for serving as our primary sponsor and host of this event,” said Justin Gelinas, president of the Club’s Board of Directors. “The collective efforts of individuals, corporations and organizations help us fulfill the Club’s mission of inspiring and enabling young people to realize their full potential.”

Tickets to the dinner and theatre performance are $100 per person, and tables of eight or 10 are available. For reservations and sponsorship opportunities, contact Patty Fields at 978-534-8358, ext. 17 or email Dinner and theatre tickets may also be purchased through MWCC by contacting Lois Cox at 978-630-9101 or Dinner reservations are requested by Friday, Jan. 16. Tickets to attend only the performance are $20 and are available through the Theatre at the Mount box office at 978-630-9388 or online at



Theater at the Mount and The Arc of Opportunity will offer a sensory-friendly performance of “Annie” for individuals with sensory-input disorders, autism, developmental, cognitive and physical disabilities, and their families.

The customized production continues a weeklong slate of performances and will take place Saturday, Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. at MWCC’s theatre, which offers convenient accessibility and seating for those in wheelchairs. The musical tells the rags-to-riches story of young Annie’s journey from New York orphanage to the luxurious home of billionaire businessman Oliver Warbucks.

In a welcoming and stress-free environment, attendees will benefit from lower levels of sound and lighting, the freedom to talk and leave their seats, and extra support from sufficiently trained staff and actors.

TAM and The Arc will also provide social stories and plot summaries to prepare attendees for the performance; listening devices available on a first-come, first-served basis; and a designated quiet room.

“This sensory-friendly performance is an opportunity for families to go to the theatre without anxiety or fear of judgment,” said The Arc President and CEO Mary Heafy. Theatre at the Mount Director Gail Steele adds, “Many parents struggle to find events like this one and we are so proud to offer it here at Theatre at the Mount.  In “Annie,” Daddy Warbucks takes the orphan Annie into his home, opening the door to opportunities she never imagined. We hope that this performance opens the doors to the magic of live theatre for families who face the challenges of autism, sensory processing disorders and other cognitive and developmental issues.”

“Annie” will star 12-year-old honor student Mary Mahoney of Leominster. The evil Miss Hannigan will be played by Athol’s Julie Capone-Smith. The cast will also feature Jeff Garber as Oliver Warbucks, Cassie Blanchette as Grace Farrell, Keith Wolosz as Rooster, Joyce Baldwin as Lily St Regis, Robert Thomas as F.D.R. and Dash Riprock Twiss as Sandy.

Tickets for this performance can be purchased for $10 at Financial aid and printed copies of the social story are available through The Arc at 978-343-6662 extension1023. To download the social story, visit


“Godspell,” originally performed in 1976 as Theatre at the Mount’s first musical, will be one of four productions during the 2015 season.

Mount Wachusett Community College’s Theatre at the Mount will offer a full slate of four productions during the 2015 season.

Based on the popular 1988 film, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” kicks off the 2015 TAM season. Two shameless con men and a hapless American heiress are locked in an uproarious dance of disguise, deception and deceit against the luxurious backdrop of the French Riviera. With $50,000 and territorial rights going to the winner, all bets are off as masochistic German doctors are impersonated, live goldfish are eaten, and “love sneaks in” unwittingly on even the cleverest of cons. But who ends up conning whom? Performances of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” are Feb. 27 and 28, as well as March 6 and 7, at 8 p.m. and March 8 at 2 p.m.

Take out your dictionaries when “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” opens in May. This six-time, Tony-nominated musical tells the story of five quirky kids vying for 1st prize, bragging rights, and most importantly, a trip to the National Spelling Bee Championship. The misfit contestants are joined by 3 or 4 guest spellers from the audience as they learn that a spelling bee is one place where they can stand out and fit in at the same time, win or lose. Can you spell i-r-r-e-s-i-s-t-i-b-l-e? Show dates for Spelling Bee are May 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. and May 3 at 2 p.m.

Theatre at the Mount will reprise the very first musical ever performed on the TAM stage in 1976, with a new production of the musical “Godspell.” Stories of the Bible are brought to life through mime, music, song and dance in a brand-new, up-to-date musical circus. Enjoy all the good gifts in this exuberant, rocking, rolling and riveting musical. Come sing about love! Performances of “Godspell” are Oct. 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 18 at 2 p.m.

Kris Kringle takes on the cynics among us in a heart-warming musical adaptation of the classic holiday film, “The Miracle on 34th Street.” In his inimitable style, Meredith Wilson (The Music Man) tells the story of a charming, white-bearded gentleman who claims to be the “real Santa Claus.” Filled with humor, spectacle and great songs like “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” the show reminds us that miracles really do happen. Share the holiday spirit when Miracle on 34th Street takes the stage on Nov. 27 and 28, as well as Dec. 4 and 5, at 8 p.m. and Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 at 2 p.m.

Season Tickets for all 4 shows are only $60.00 and are on sale now. To purchase tickets or request a season brochure, call the Theatre at the Mount box office at 978 630-9388. Tickets may also be purchased online at



“Leapin’ Lizards!” “Annie,” one of the best-loved family musicals of all times, opens at Theatre at the Mount on Thanksgiving weekend. Show dates are Nov. 28, 29, Dec. 5, 6 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 30 and Dec. 7 at 2 p.m.

Inspired by the famous comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” which first ran in the New York News in 1924, “Annie” made its Broadway debut in April 1977 and played 2,377 performances before closing in 1983. The show won seven Tony Awards, including for Best Musical, Best Book (Thomas Meehan), Best Original Score (music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin), and Best Choreography. This heart-warming musical is the rags-to-riches story of plucky young Annie’s journey from the hard-knock New York orphanage to the luxurious home of billionaire businessman Oliver Warbucks. “Annie” boasts one of Broadway’s most memorable scores, including “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “Easy Street” and the legendary “Tomorrow,” fantastically visual choreography, a side-splittingly funny script and, of course, the adorable dog Sandy.

“Annie” will star 12-year-old honor student Mary Mahoney of Leominster. Mary was selected from more than 100 girls who auditioned for parts in Theatre at the Mount’s production. The evil Miss Hannigan will be played by Athol’s Julie Capone-Smith. The cast will also feature Jeff Garber as Oliver Warbuckss, Cassie Blanchette as Grace Farrell, Keith Wolosz as Rooster, Joyce Baldwin as Lily St Regis, Robert Thomas as F.D.R., and Dash Riprock Twiss as Sandy.

Tickets for “Annie” are $20 for evenings; $15 for matinees; and, $10 for students ages 16 and under. Call the Theatre at the Mount Box Office at 978-630-9388 or purchase tickets online at