MRT & UML pop ‘The Pill’ in virtual reading

Posted on February 2, 2021 by

It’s a well-known fact that The Pill was a life-changer for mid-20th century women, giving them an easy, inexpensive way to prevent getting pregnant. But what about the risks that went in to its creation? 

  Playwright Tom Horan explores those hazards in his play “The Pill,” and Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) and UMass Lowell present a free live reading of it on Zoom on Friday, February 12 at 7:30 p.m. MRT artistic director Courtney Sale will direct, and a post-show discussion will follow.

  “In the early 1950s,” notes a description of the play on MRT’s website, “Margaret Sanger is at the end of a career as an activist for women’s rights. Yet throughout it all, she had never been able to achieve her secret hope of creating a ‘magic tablet’ that would be cheap, easy and allow a woman to turn off and on her ability to have a child.” 

  In the play, Sanger tries one more time to achieve that dream. She gets Katherine McCormick, a former suffragist and wealthy widow, to finance the project. And she forms a tentative alliance with Goodwin Pincus, a disgraced hormone scientist, and John Rock, a Roman Catholic gynecologist, whose reluctant participation gives the project a “sheen of acceptability.” 

  Together, they try to “navigate a problem that seems scientifically impractical and financially unfeasible.” 

  For more info, contact MRT’s box office at 978-654-4678. Free but please register at

  Also at MRT, patrons can help support the theatre by purchasing a video on demand ticket to Pasadena Playhouse’s “You I Like: A Musical Celebration of Jerry Herman.” A portion of each ticket purchased through February 9 benefits MRT. Herman is composer of blockbuster musicals “Mame,” “La Cage aux Folles” and “Hello, Dolly!” Here’s the link to the show

Purchase an on-demand ticket by February 9 and a portion of proceeds is donated to MRT.

In the wings

PANDEMIC TOGETHERNESS: Cannon Theatre steps up to the plate and has a play in its line-up that’s pandemic perfection. Auditions are underway for “The Last Five Years,” a musical by Jason Robert Brown, directed by Shawn Cannon, with tech/video/sound production by Bret Bahe and Dan Tang. The call is out for men and women of any age and currently in a pandemic bubble together to audition in pairs for the show. They’ve set those guidelines so that cast members can be filmed in-studio and shot together for at least one scene. The actual show will be broadcast the last two weekends in April. Email the director at for audition info.

COMEDY TONIGHT: Enjoy yucks on Valentine’s Day at a couple of recently announced virtual comedy shows. Hanover Theatre and Conservatory in Worcester presents Livestream: Comedy Night at the BrickBox, featuring four favorite New England stand-up comedians livestreamed direct from the new BrickBox Theater at the Jean McDonough Arts Center. Featured are Jimmy Cash, Kathie Farris, Sam Ike and Tony V. Event opens at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. It’s an 18-plus show, may contain adult humor and not appropriate for kids. Tickets $20. Visit or call 877-571-7469…Don’t forget the “Saving Our Jobs Virtual Comedy Festival” on Valentine’s Day from 3 p.m.-midnight. Hosted by Spectra Venue Management, which manages the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, there will be constant live comedy on all day. Tickets are $20 to watch live or $40 to watch live and re-watch. Also, for ages 18-plus. Tickets at

Taking place on February 14 in a virtual setting.

Nancye Tuttle’s email is

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