Holiday happenings – even in October

Posted on October 6, 2020 by

 “How come they’re pushing Christmas when we haven’t even had Halloween?” 

 It’s the common complaint we hear each fall.

  But this year, with pandemic and election pandemonium raging, few seem to mind giving the holidays a jump start. 

   Merrimack Repertory in Lowell is the leader of the pack, presenting a live reading on Zoom of “The Rise and Fall of Holly Fudge” as part of its MRT’s First Look series on Thursday, October 22 at 7 p.m. That even beats by a day the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas Countdown that starts on October 23.

  Written by Trista Baldwin, the winsome new comedy is about Carol Sprague, a white single mom who makes award-winning black and white fudge. She serves it every holiday and gifts it to her co-workers. But with her Black daughter’s girlfriend crashing Christmas, her neighbor’s new-found love of confectionary and the protests erupting on her front lawn, Carol finds it tough to make this the most wonderful time of the year. 

  Baldwin, an MRT commissioned playwright this season, calls herself “a textual surrealist — the simple and recognizable suddenly bends and transforms into something heightened and spiritual.” 

  Praising Baldwin, artistic director Courtney Sale said, “Trista’s work always delivers. She crafts characters with guts, nuance and glorious fallibility. Her stories make you laugh, think and want to do better for humankind.” 

 Sale hosts the free event and is “delighted that we get to spend time in this new play, set at the holidays, and share an early iteration with MRT audiences.” 

  It’s free, but you must RSVP at

  If you can’t attend the Zoom reading, you’ll be able to access it on the MRT website,,  October 23-25.

  Theatre at the Mount, at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, will soon have tickets on sale for “Winter Wonderettes,” a livestream event over Thanksgiving weekend, November 27-29. 

  The seasonal celebration finds the girls entertaining at the annual Harper’s Hardware Holiday Party. When Santa goes missing, they use their talents and creative ingenuity to save the fun. The show features great ‘60s versions of holiday classics from “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” and “Jingle Bell Rock” to “Run, Rudolph, Run” and “Winter Wonderland.” The marvelous show is an energetic, glittering holiday package and fun for all ages. Call 978-630-9388 or email for info.

In the wings

HALLOWEEN AT HANOVER’S NEW REP: Hanover Theatre has launched The Hanover Theatre Repertory in the new BrickBox Theater at the Jean McDonough Arts Center in downtown Worcester. Its mission is to engage, entertain and energize audiences with dynamic events, made in and for, the new theater. It will focus on classics, modern classics and classic-inspired works. Its first venture is “Edgar Allan Poe Double Header,” being presented Thursdays-Sundays through October 25. The Poe show makes the new theatre the first in Massachusetts to be approved by Actors Equity Association to host an indoor event. Audiences of 20 or less will be entertained in the hour-long performance of his “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Cask of Amontillado,” directed and performed by the Rep’s artistic director Olivia D’Ambrosio Scanlon. Book a private performance on the Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday of your choice in the BrickBox Theater or at your residence. Seated cabaret-style and staged as a séance, you’ll conjure the narrators of Poe’s stories to “visit” through the medium of a single live performer. The Rep will pre-set your table with bubbly and dark chocolates to add to the evening. It’s $2500 to book a performance — and you can invite up to 19 guests to join you at the BrickBox. Home performances are arranged case-by-case to ensure absolute safety of audience and performer. Call Lisa Condit at 508-471-1767 or email her at to discuss performance availability. For info on the new rep, visit

MORE HAUNTINGS: Littleton’s Cannon Theatre isn’t doing it live, but it’s getting into the Halloween spirit virtually with “The Haunting Hour,” October 23-31. Featured readings include Poe’s “The Black Cat” and Oscar Wilde’s “The Canterville Ghost.” The cost is $10, individual; $15, family for the live stream performances. Visit for tickets.

MORE LIVESTREAMS: More arts organizations are getting on the live-stream bandwagon as the pandemic continues. Boston Ballet presents it first ever virtual season with BB@yourhome. Subscribe to all six virtual performances for $180. Visit for details… History At Play continues its live-stream performances of dynamic historical female personalities with Kathryn Woods solo “A Woman Ain’t I, A Depiction of Sojourner Truth” on Friday, October 9 at 7:30 p.m. $10-$25 pay-what-you-can via Pay-Per-HAP on Facebook.Nancye Tuttle’s email address is

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