Marblehead Little Theatre to Present New Musical LETTERS FROM WAR

by BWW News Desk Dec. 16, 2017  


Following the success of its sold-out run at Salem Theatre Company in 2015, LETTERS FROM WAR will return to the stage at Marblehead Little Theatre (MLT) in an expanded form from January 26 through February 3, 2018.

Winner of 3 BroadwayWorld Awards including Best Drama, this all-new American musical tells the story of Mae, an aging grandmother battling the advanced stages of Alzheimer's Disease in rural Mississippi. After years of living with her adult daughter Lily, the time has come for Mae to receive professional care at a nearby nursing home. But when granddaughter Madison finds a mysterious box of letters, she must race against the clock to uncover the truth of her family's past before her grandmother's memories fade for forever. Along with the help of an empathetic stranger, these multigenerational women embark on a mind-bending journey as they rediscover the meaning of love, loss and the strength of family.

MLT's production of LETTERS FROM WAR will star Boston storyteller VALERIE STEPHENS as Mae, ASHA HIRSI as Lily, ALLEN YANNONE as Clayton, ARIEL SARGENT as Young Lily, and GARY AMES as Kent, with ELAINY MATA returning to the role of Madison/Young Mae, for which she earned the BroadwayWorld Best Actress Award. The ensemble will consist of vocalists/instrumentalists BECKY JO ROLAND, CAITLYN JONES, and DANA SHERIDAN.

The creative team for LETTERS FROM WAR includes duo Nate Bertone (Writer/Director) and CONOR KEELAN (Music Director/Arrangements/Orchestrations) who met while working on Broadway's A BRONX TALE, along with MELISSA MODIFER (Original Music).

The production team features Nate Bertone (Set Design), JEAN KIM (Costume Design), CASEY ROLAND (Stage Management), MEREDITH FEIN (Stage Management), with MATTHEW ERIKSEN (Assistant Direction/Marketing). LETTERS FROM WAR is produced by JANET NEELY and JULIE SCHOENTHAL.

Tickets are priced at $15-$25. Performances are January 26 through February 3, including matinee and evening performances at 2pm and 7pm respectively. For tickets and more information, please visit

PRODUCER - TL;DR at The Tank

Alison Lea Bender and Courtney Daniels star in THELMA LOUISE; DYKE REMIX in PRIDEFEST 2017 @ THE TANK

NEW YORK CITY - "TL;DR: Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix" is a parody sequel, queer rock musical that asks the question "why do strong female characters always gotta die?" and turns the death as freedom narrative for women on its head. It starts mid-air in a Thunderbird convertible suspended over the Grand Canyon. Starring ALISON LEA BENDER (Academia Nuts NYMF) and COURTNEY DANIELS (Shrek; National Tour) as T and L, TL;DR is backed by a band of badass gender diverse rockstars. Loud and proud, TL;DR resists the idea that queer/lesbian narratives have to live in subtext and defies the "bury your gays" trope by giving our heroines the ending they deserve. TL;DR takes on the patriarchy, the gaytriarchy, and anything else standing in the way of T and L's love.

TL;DR has a book and lyrics by ELLAROSE CHARY and music and lyrics by BRANDON JAMES GWINN (Dramatist Guild Fellows, Ars Nova Uncharted Residents, Feinstein's/54 Below). The production is directed by SASH BISCHOFF (BWAY The Visit, On The Town, How to Succeed) and musically directed by ELLEN WINTER. The production features Scenic Design by ANN BEYERSDORFER and is managed by CHRISTINE J. COLONNA. The band features SAM KASETA (Bass), WES RUIZ (Drums), and JULIET GARRETT (Guitar). NATE BERTONE produces the production.

This show is being produced as part of The Tank's annual PrideFest 2017! Over the course of two weeks, The Tank is opening the floor to a wide variety of performances and discussions surrounding the topics of sexuality, gender, and equality. The works presented will celebrate this community, address challenges that are still faced as we strive for equal civil rights, and evoke or give way to new ideas and perceptions on how we define ourselves, individually, within our own community, and in the global community at large. Whether through unity or discordance, these performances and discussions, workshops and forums, ought to shed light on the dynamic individuals and groups who make up the vibrant LGBTQIAP community.

For tickets and more information, visit Performances are July 6, 2017, 9:30 p.m., July 7, 2017, 7 p.m., July 14, 2017, 7 p.m., and July 15, 2017, 9:30 p.m.

Production Assistant on LITTLE DANCER Lab - Ahrens & Flaherty

  Little Dancer     (Paul Kolnik)

Little Dancer (Paul Kolnik)

In an exclusive interview with earlier this year, the Tony-winning songwriting team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flahertyrevealed that their new musical Little Dancer, based on the life and work of Edgar Degas, was now in the hands of commercial producers.

A new Equity audition notice revealed those producers to be Rodney Rigby and Anita Waxman, who are planning a September 26-October 21 developmental lab of the musical in New York City.

Little Dancer, directed and choreographed by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman, had its world premiere at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in 2014.

The writing team passed on a potential West Coast run last year in order to do rewrites and revisions on the piece.

“It could have been at the Ahmanson, it could have been at La Jolla. But we’re taking a slightly different track,” Ahrens said previously. “We felt that because we have rewrites to do, the money that would have taken to scale the show a different way would be better spent to develop it. We have commercial producers.”

A March 28 industry reading featured a newly revised draft of the show. Participants included a number of cast members from the original Kennedy Center production, including New York City Ballet principal dancer Tiler Peck, Rebecca LukerKaren Ziemba, Kyle Harris and Michael X. Martin.

Here’s how the show is billed: “Part fact, part fiction, Little Dancer is inspired by the obscure fourteen-year-old ballerina who posed for the famed Degas sculpture, ‘Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen.’ The show is set in the glamorous and lurid world of the Paris Opera Ballet, and follows Marie Van Goethem as she struggles to keep her place in the ballet corps, torn by her family’s poverty, her mother’s irresponsibility, the demands of Degas and the lure of wealthy men. Ultimately, this is the story of a girl on the verge of womanhood who inadvertently becomes the most famous dancer in the world.”

Ahrens and Flaherty are also at work on their new stage adaptation of Anastasia, which is playing a pre-Broadway tryout at Hartford Stage. It is expected to arrive on Broadway during the 2016-17 season.

Directing ENTANGLED - New England Premiere


Nate Bertone and Salem Theatre Company present

The New England Premiere of


A Play by Leah Miles

September 21, 2016 – October 1, 2016

Salem, MA – Nate Bertone and Salem Theatre Company will produce the New England premiere of Leah Miles’ play ENTANGLED. Following the success of last season’s Letters From War, Nate Bertone will return to direct the production. ENTANGLED starts performances on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 and plays thru Sunday, October 1, 2016 at Salem Theatre Company, located at Shetland Park, 35 Congress Street, 3rd Floor, Salem MA.

“Over the past two years, I have been itching to produce ENTANGLED with Leah Miles,” said Producer/Director Nate Bertone. “I vividly remember reading Entangled for the first time one evening in London, England. This piece of writing was so haunting, so riveting, and so psychologically thrilling, that I couldn’t sleep that evening. I needed to begin work bringing this play to America. I will not stop until audiences experience the sheer power of Leah’s words.”

In ENTANGLED, as in life, our darkest secrets always find their way to the light. Sometimes this light disarms them, diffusing their potency. And sometimes the light catches the cracks and the dirty corners, breathing life back into those dormant memories. And no matter how much we try to rewrite history, the truth always finds a way to muscle through the lies. Two best friends, Ian and Scott along with Hillary, the woman Ian loves, find themselves trapped in an impossible predicament: un-knowing what they know. And so, on a stormy new year’s eve on the secluded Peaks Island in Maine, our characters find themselves trapped by the snow and the avalanche of horrible realities they’ve been trying to hide from one another over the years. Everyone’s secrets are revealed. No one is safe from blame. And someone will not make it off the island alive.

Leah Miles is a playwright, composer, and Teaching Artist based out of Brooklyn, New York. She holds a BA in Psychology from Salem State University and an MFA from the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at New York University’s Tisch School Of The Arts. She is a member of ASCAP, Dramatists Guild Of America, The Directory of Contemporary Musical Theatre Writers, NOMTI (Boston, MA), and Three Act Theatre Company. Ms. Miles' produced works include Entangled (workshopped at Three Act Theatre, NY), Sunday Roaster Chicken (Ugly Rhino Productions, NY), Bronx Zoo (MuSE, NY), and Providence: A Musical Comedy (Write Act Eastside, NY). Her most recent work, Touching Loss (in collaboration with Clare Cook Dance Theater and composer Paul Castles), premiered in April of 2016 at the Acadiana Center For The Arts in Louisiana. As a Teaching Artist, Leah has worked for multiple years with ArtsConnection, The Metropolitan Opera Guild and The Brooklyn Youth Chorus. She is the 2016 recipient of ArtsConnection Linda LeRoy Janklow Teaching Artist Award for her ongoing work with ArtsConnection's Spectrum Musical Theater Program at P94M Spectrum Schools for Autism in New York.

Nate Bertone hails from Salem, Massachusetts and holds a BFA in Drama from Carnegie Mellon University. Nate lives in New York City where he works as a director, playwright, and designer. In the last year, his work has been seen on the North Shore with his play Letters From War last season (BWW Best Drama), Shrek: The Musical, and Sister Act at North Shore Music Theatre.

The production team and casting will be announced soon.

Tickets for ENTANGLED are priced from $15 - $22. Performances are September 21, 2016- October 1, 2016. The show previews on Wednesday September 21st at 8pm with an official opening on Thursday, September 22nd at 8pm. Thursday – Saturday at 8pm. Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3pm. Visit, for advanced tickets. Salem Theatre Company is located at Shetland Park, 35 Congress Street, 3rd Floor, Salem MA.