Thursday, December 7, 2017

Calendar Listings: The Big Broadcast!

DATELINE: December 8, 2017


The Jazz Ensembles of Mount Holyoke College

The 13th Edition

Saturday, March 3, 2018
2PM and 7:30PM
Chapin Auditorium
Mount Holyoke College
Route 116
South Hadley, MA 01075

The Jazz Ensembles of Mount Holyoke College's 13th annual presentation of a live 1940’s radio broadcast created and directed by Mark Gionfriddo (onstage as “Matt Morgan”) with WWLP-22News meteorologist Brian Lapis as emcee “Fred Kelley". Under Gionfriddo’s direction, the Mount Holyoke Big Band, Vocal Jazz, and Chamber Jazz Ensembles perform well-known tunes from the swing era, including music by Bing Crosby, the Andrews Sisters, Benny Goodman, and Spike Jones, as well as a Centennial Salute to Ella Fitzgerald.

Sponsors (to date) include Mount Holyoke College, WWLP-22News & The CW Springfield, The Republican powering MassLive and El Pueblo Latino.

Tickets are general admission. $25.00 premium front and center seating. $20.00 regular seating. $10.00 seniors in advance; $15.00 seniors at door. and $10.00 students. Tickets are available at the UMASS Fine Arts Center Box Office in Amherst; at the Odyssey Bookshop, Village Commons, South Hadley; and at the door (subject to availability).  For phone orders: 413-545-2511 or 1-800-999-UMASS. Online ticket purchases will be available through the UMass Fine Arts Center.

For information on The Jazz Ensembles of Mount Holyoke College:

Snow date is Sunday, March 4.


Westfield News Group ArtsBeat 12/7/17: Arts Year in Review Part I

Part I of my 3-part Westfield News Group Best of the Arts 2017. Some of the innovators: Kristen Van Ginhoven and WAM Theatre; Matt Bertuzzi and Kevin Rhodes for the Springfield Symphony Real Time Concert Notes; Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and Berkshire Theatre Group’s Travis Daly.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Westfield News Group Review: The Color Purple at The Bushnell

My Westfield News Group review of The Color Purple at The Bushnell. Powerful storytelling and distinctive staging.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

My December Succeeding in Small Business Column

My December column for Succeeding in Small Business. Event planning advice from three colleagues: Suzanne Hendery of Renown Health, Howard Sienkiewicz o Zasco Productions, an Julia Bradley Farmer from Northfield Mount Hermon School.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Westfield News Group Reviews: A Christmas Carol and Christmas On The Rocks

My Westfield News Group reviews of two holiday traditions: A Christmas Carol at Hartford Stage has a new "Scrooge". At TheaterWorks, Christmas on The Rocks has a new playlet by Jacques Lamarre.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Media Release: Howard Sienkieciwz Named VP/General Manager of Zasco Productions


Chicopee, MA: Zasco Productions, LLC, the Massachusetts event planners and production company, has hired Springfield native and Southampton resident Howard Sienkiewicz as their new Vice President and General Manager, according to Zasco Founder and President/Owner Michael W. Zaskey. Sienkiewicz returns to Western Massachusetts, after having spent two decades as Technical Director for the international event planner and production company Ellen Michaels Presents.

“We’re so pleased that Howard Sienkiewicz agreed to return to Western Massachusetts to join the Zasco team,” said Zaskey.. His experience working globally in theatres, concert halls, convention centers, hotels, and non-traditional venues will help Zasco Productions and our other brand, Big Video Screen, to enhance the level of service we provide our customers throughout the region”.

Howard Sienkiewicz began his career in Springfield, MA as Production Stage Manager of The Springfield Symphony Orchestra, coordinating production for their classical and pop music series, operas and dance programs at Springfield Symphony Hall, at The Summer Pops at Stanley Park, The Berkshire Choral Festival, and the Springfield Symphony New England Tours, under the auspices of New England Presentors. He became Technical Director for Springfield Civic Center and Symphony Hall, and General Manager for Snow Sound, as well as owner of HCS Productions. At Ellen Michaels Presents, he travelled the globe working on events for CA Technologies, Oracle, and Intuit and many others. 

“Years ago”, says Sienkiewicz, “When Michael has getting Zasco started, we had crossed paths while I worked at Springfield Symphony Hall. Years later, when I needed a company to support a large corporate event in Boston, I was given his name. He and the company really impressed me. Going forward, I would use Zasco Productions for all our shows in the Northeast. I even brought them to Las Vegas, Chicago and North Carolina to support various shows. When I decided to get off the road Michael offered me this position and I am thrilled to be returning to my hometown and have the opportunity to work with a great company like Zasco locally and nationally.”

Zasco Productions LLC, a Massachusetts-based owner-operated company for over 25 years, provides fully-integrated, turn-key creative and technical production solutions for corporate, educational, non-profit, theatrical, entertainment, and broadcast events   For details:  Zasco also owns Big Video Screen.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Calendar Listings: The Capitol Steps Spring Break Tour

DATELINE: December 1, 2017


The Mike Thornton Agency presents

2018 Spring Break Tour

Friday, April 20, 2018 at 7:30PM
The Academy of Music Theatre
274 Main Street, Northampton, MA 01060

Tickets now on sale at The Academy of Music Box-Office
413-584-9032 ext. 105 or
Sponsored by New England Public Radio and WGBY Public Television.

Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 8PM
The Warner Theatre
68 Main Street, Torrington, CT 06790

Tickets now on sale at The Warner Theatre Box-Office
860-489-7180 or

The Capitol Steps have been a national institution for over 35 years, providing a unique blend of musical and political comedy and satire to audiences coast-to-coast.. Each show consists of tasteful lampooning guaranteed to leave both sides of the political spectrum laughing. The troupe started in 1981. Since then, they have appeared on “The Today Show,” “Nightline,” “CBS Evening News” and for many years in specials for NPR. 

The Washington Post calls The Capitol Steps: “An oasis of good-natured ribbing in a fiercely partisan world”. 

Larry King of CNN said of The Capitol Steps: "They're the best. There's no one like them, no one in their league." 

Former President George H. W. Bush said of The Capitol Steps “"The Capitol Steps make it easier to leave public life." : 

The Capitol Steps political musical comedy troupe works overtime to capture the new administrations’ antics in satire and song. And since The Capitol Steps find their laughs in materials ripped from today’s and tomorrow’s headlines you never know whether Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, or Kim Jong-un might appear from Mar-A-Lago or The White House.

To preview some of the Capitol Steps materials, visit their website,, or find The Capitol Steps on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter (@capsteps)