Sunday, June 26, 2016

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Westfield News Group Arts Beat 6/25/16

My Westfield News Group Arts Beat 6/25/16. Bye Bye Birdie at Goodspeed and more.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Media Release: Kurn Hattin Teachers Retire


WESTMINSTER, VT ― With a combined 76 years of service between them, two of Kurn Hattin Homes for Children’s most beloved teachers retired this month as the school year came to a close. Teachers Mary Kay Pfadenhauer and Ann Hadley were recognized at a surprise Retirement Celebration which included the children, staff, friends, and the educators’ families. “If I could write a script for a perfect retirement send off, this would be it! I wouldn’t change a thing,” Mary Kay Pfadenhauer said exuberantly. Pfadenhauer, who just completed a nearly forty-three year teaching career, started working at Kurn Hattin Homes in 1974. Mary Kay later taught nearly every grade level in the school, and a variety of subjects. “I started out teaching reading, then 7th and 8th Grade sciences; but Kindergarten through Second Grade, that’s my calling,” she said with a smile.

For teacher Ann Hadley, who started out as a full-time 5th Grade teacher at Kurn Hattin in 1983, it was the fulfillment of a long-held ambition. Ann was born and raised in Bellows Falls, and attended Castleton College. Her father was a teacher and a coach, and she remembers always wanting to teach others, as well. “We played school, as children. I put my brother at a desk and played the teacher. I got to boss him around.” She explained that she enjoys working with children in the 4th and 5thgrades because they are “still young enough to be read to, and are more uninhibited. They are creative in that way of being imaginative, making up stories, and drawing.” Both Mary Kay and Ann reflected on the special bond with their co-workers, describing them as caring and supportive of one another, as well as the children.

The teachers were honored with thoughtful, light-hearted speeches and anecdotes about their body of work and individual teaching styles by Principal Noah Noyes, their co-workers, and the students. Executive Director Steve Harrison read a list of significant historical and pop culture events that occurred the year that each started at the school. Alumni of the school sent in their thanks and best wishes; and their quotes were read aloud to the tearful crowd. Ann said with some amazement, “It is unbelievable to hear from those kids about the first day that they walked into your room, and to realize that you had such an impact.” The two were then presented with gifts, cards, and a special goodbye concert by the youngest members of the Children’s Chorus. Mary Kay summarized, “It’s like that old saying, When you do what you love, you never work a day in your life.”

Since 1894, Kurn Hattin Homes for Children has helped thousands of at-risk children and their families by offering a safe home and quality education in a nurturing environment. Kurn Hattin transforms the lives of children and their families


Westfield News Group Review: American Son at Barrington Stage

My Westfield News Group review of American Son world premiere at Barrington Stage.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Westfield News Group Arts Beat 6/20/16

My Westfield News Arts Beat for 6/20/16. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Berkshire Theatre Group, new play at Chester Theatre, and more.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Westfield News Group Arts Beat 6/13/16

My Westfield News Group Arts Beat for 6/13/16. Music and politics onstage with The Capitol Steps at Cranwell, "Fiorello" at Berkshire Theatre Group; Peter and the Starcatcher at CT Rep and more.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Media Release: Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative's Posh Picnic


The Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative (BFMC) presents its third annual Posh Picnic at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA on Sunday, July 24th from 12:00 noon – 2:30pm. This unique event raises funds for BFMC’s educational initiatives, which include workforce development courses and college workshops that teach the skills necessary to work in the film industry. As Executive Director Diane Pearlman explains, “In order to grow our industry in western Massachusetts, we need to have a trained workforce. As more productions come to the region, we want them to hire people in our local community. Creating these jobs helps to support the creative economy of our region.”

The Posh Picnic at Tanglewood includes a delicious gourmet catered picnic lunch on the lawn, an eclectic silent auction, and Shed seating for the matinee performance of The Boston Symphony Orchestra with Juanjo Mena conducting Ginastera, Mozart and Beethoven featuring Veronica Eberle, violin.  Special thanks to BFMC’s major sponsor, Tanglewood, for hosting and catering the event. A Bloody Mary bar will feature vodka from sponsor, Berkshire Mountain Distillers.  The picnic is also being sponsored by Vitec Videocom provider of premium branded products and services to the Broadcast and Photographic markets.

This year, the Posh Picnic at Tanglewood will honor award winning actor, director and writer, Karen Allen.  A Berkshire resident and BFMC Advisory Board member, Allen’s film credits include: Animal House, Star Man, the Indiana Jones Films, The Sandlot, The Perfect Storm, and most recently, A Year By the Sea. Allen is also directing her first short film in the Berkshires this spring based on the Carson McCullers’ short story, “A Tree A Rock A Cloud.” The production has cast many local actors and is using many local professionals on the crew.  BFMC is proud to honor Karen Allen’s achievements and her commitment to the film and media industry in western Massachusetts.

Tickets for the Posh Picnic at Tanglewood, priced at $140.00 per person, are available through the Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative. For details: call 413-528.4223 or visit

Since 2009, the Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative (BFMC) has created educational, workforce and production opportunities in Western Massachusetts as a creative economic engine for the region. BFMC offers networking events for industry professionals, develops educational and workforce enrichment courses, acts as a resource for visiting productions, creates jobs within our communities in the film and media industry and provides an on-line production guide and locations database as a resource for filmmakers. BFMC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Media Release: Kurn Hattin Receives Charity Navigator Rating

Media Release
June 6, 2016

Kurn Hattin Earns Charity Navigator 4-Star Rating 

Westminster, VT– New England Kurn Hattin Homes was recently awarded a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator.  The 4-star rating is a result of Kurn Hattin Homes’ maintaining sound fiscal management practices and a commitment to accountability and transparency in its efforts of transforming children and their families forever. This is Kurn Hattin Homes’ second consecutive year receiving the 4-star rating.

Since 2002, using objective, data-driven analysis, Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a 4-star rating. In 2011, Charity Navigator added 17 metrics, focused on governance and ethical practices as well as measures of openness, to its ratings methodology.  These “Accountability & Transparency” metrics, which account for 50 percent of a charity’s overall rating, reveal which charities have “best practices” that minimize the chance of unethical activities and whether they freely share basic information about their organization with their donors and other stakeholders.

“New England Kurn Hattin Homes’ coveted 4-star rating puts it in a very select group of high-performing charities,” according to Michael Thatcher, President & CEO of Charity Navigator. “Out of the thousands of nonprofits Charity Navigator evaluates, only one out of four earns 4 stars–a rating that demands rigor, responsibility, and commitment to openness.  Kurn Hattin’s supporters should feel confident that their hard-earned dollars are being used efficiently and responsibly when they acquire such a high rating.”

“Our mission to transform the lives of children and their families forever is almost solely dependent on the generosity of our private donors and therefore can only be accomplished if our supporters trust that we are using their contributions wisely,” said Steve Harrison, Kurn Hattin’s Executive Director.  “We rely on their commitment to our work, and this Charity Navigator 4-Star rating helps to ensure donors’ faith in the integrity of our efforts on behalf of children from difficult home situations.”

Since 1894, Kurn Hattin Homes for Children has helped thousands of at-risk children and their families by offering a safe home and quality education in a nurturing environment. Kurn Hattin transforms the lives of children and their families forever. For information on Kurn Hattin:

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review: Anastasia at Hartford Stage

My Westfield News Group review of Anastasia at Hartford Stage. I will never forget seeing this production.