North Hall Arts Festival announces upcoming shows

Date: 8/27/2015

HUNTINGTON – James Emery and Mitch Giannunzio will take the stage in the second David Mamet play presented by the North Hall Arts Festival this season.

Directed by Kenneth Tigar, The Duck Variations will take place in the performance space at the historic North Hall in Huntington.

Dates for the four performances are Aug. 28, 8 p.m.; Aug. 29, 2 and 8 p.m.; and August 30, 2 p.m.

North Hall is located at 40 Searle Road, off Route 66. Admission is $15 at the door, with free admission for all students. The hall is wheelchair-accessible and air-conditioned. A reception with refreshments will be held in the art gallery now showing watercolors by Steve Hamlin of Huntington.

The Actors’ Equity production is made possible by a grant from the Fowler Fund of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and by the Westfield News and the Daily Hampshire Gazette. The arts councils of Blandford, Huntington, Montgomery, and Worthington have provided additional support.

“Mamet is by far one of the finest and most influential American playwrights of this, or any, era,” Tigar said. “He has a profound gift for creating memorable characters and    situations while keeping us laughing at the same time.”

Mamet wrote the screenplay for the movie The Untouchables.

The Duck Variations, Tigar said, is “a sweet-mouthed comedy, full of charm and hilarity as two men on a park bench watch the world go by – and explain its mysterious workings. It is about the nature of friendship and its limitations. And, of course, ducks.”

Kenneth Tigar, a recipient of a Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Award, has appeared in Barney Miller and the Lethal Weapon movies, The Good Wife and The Avengers. He can be seen on both the Amazon series Alpha House with John Goodman and the Netflix series House of Cards with Kevin Spacey.

James Emery has performed at North Hall and in nineteen productions with Northampton's New Century Theatre as well as The Theater Project at the Majestic in West Springfield. He also works with Andrea Hairston and Northampton's Chrysalis Theatre and with Priscilla Kane Hellweg and Holyoke's Enchanted Circle Theater.

Mitch Giannunzio’s play “Last Tag” was made into a Sweepsweeks CBS-TV movie, “Falling For You,” starring Jenny Garth. His play “A Smaller Place” was made into a feature film, “The Hiding Place,” starring Kim Hunter and Timothy Bottoms. His most recently appeared in the movies “Perfect Stranger” and ”Burn After Reading,” and in the Tennessee Williams play “I Can't Imagine Tomorrow.”

The North Hall Arts Festival will also present the Old Country Road Band on Sept. 13 at 2 p.m. on the stage of Historic North Hall.

Ron Jackson on rhythm guitar leads the vocals. Band members joining Jackson are Dan Pilachowski on flat-picking guitar, Peter McLean on dobro, Mark Leveille on mandolin and vocals, and Dave Helman on stand-up bass.

The band, says Jackson, is dedicated to “true” vintage country music with songs from the 1950s and 1960s.

“We take folks back to the golden era of country music, the original hits,” he added.

The group has performed widely in local venues and for fund-raisers such as the Annual Rays of Hope Walk in Springfield. The concert will feature classics by Hank Williams, Webb Pierce, and Carl Smith and others, along with bluegrass.

A reception with refreshments will be held in the art gallery featuring the work of watercolorist Steve Hamlin.

This event and others in the festival series is made possible by support from the Westfield News, the Daily Hampshire Gazette, and the arts councils of Blandford, Huntington, Montgomery, and Worthington.

For further information about the North Hall Arts Festival, visit, contact North Hall at 667-5543, or visit “Historic North Hall” is on Facebook.