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PAGE 6 POST-GAZETTE, DECEMBER 16, 2016 New England Premiere of Hand to God at the SpeakEasy Stage Described as "Sesame Street meets The Exorcist" by the New Yorker, HAND TO GOD tells the story of an awkward Texas teen named Jason, who spends his afternoons at his local church, practicing for the Christian Puppet Ministry run by his widowed mother. All hell literally breaks loose, however, when Jason's puppet Tyrone takes on a shocking and dangerously irreverent personality all its own. Nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Play, HAND TO GOD explores the startlingly fragile nature of faKh, morality, and the ties that bind. Luke the young protagonist in his play, HAND TO GOD playwright Robert Askins grew up in a small Texas town, lost his dad at a relatively young age, and even participated in the Christian Puppet Ministry which his mother ran at the local Lutheran church. He didn't start writing plays until he got to Baylor University, which is where he met playwrights Romulus Linney and Horton Foote. These celebrated writers encouraged Mr. Askins and provided a connection to New York's Ensemble Studio Theatre, which is where, in 201 i, HAND TO GODhad its premiere. In addition to his Tony nomination for HAND TO GOD, Mr. Askins has received two EST/Sloan grants, the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award, and an Arch and Bruce Davis Award for Playwriting. Norton Award-winner David R. Gammons will direct HAND TO GOD for SpeakEasy. The cast for this New England Premiere pro- duction is Marianna Bassham, Josephine Elwood, Eliott Purcell, Dario Sanchez, and Lewis D. Wheeler. HAND TO GODwill run for five weeks, from January 6th through February 4, 2017, in the Virginia Wimberly Theatre in the Stan- ford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston's South End. For tickets or more information, call the box office at 617-933- 8600, or visit www.Speak.EasyStage.com. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf to Play at The Lyric Stage Steven Birkhimer and Paula Plum The Lyric Stage has announced the cast for Edward Albee's clas- sic play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfset to run from January 1st through February 12th. Directed by Scott Edmiston, whose My Fair Lady at the Lyric was named among "The Best Theatre of 2015" by the Wall Street Journal, the very strong cast is lead by Steven Barkhimer (Warrior Class) playing George. He will be joined by the award- winning Paula Plum as Martha. Erica Spyres (Company) and Dan Whelton (One Man, Two Guvnors) will play Honey and Nick. The Lyric Stage is located at 140 Clarendon Street, Boston. For ticket information, you may call 617-585-5678, or visit www. lyricstage, com. Murphy... As I See It Tis the season to be jolly! East Boston looks like Las Vegas this time of year with all the Christmas decorations and lights. There is one busi- ness worth mentioning that stands out. It's the tiny hidden treasure in Day Square. Elite Donut, who despite knowing displaying sidewalk decorations is risky business, has a good size, fully decorated, lit Christ- mas tree adorning their front walk. Adding to the glitz, Elite's Christmas window includes an animated Mr. and Mrs. Santa and an old-fashioned moving merry-go-round. If you look up, a large lit Snowman and Santa appear on the roof. Elite has managed to bring the spirit of Christmas to life! Orient Heights held its annual Christmas Tree Lighting last Sunday, sponsored by Joe Ruggiero of.Ruggiero Funeral Home. Mayor Marty Walsh, State Representative Adrian Madaro, Boston City Councilor, Sal LaMattina, and State Senator Joe Boncore joined the festivities. The high- lights of the evening were the Central Catholic Choir who gave an outstanding musical performance, and the Chamber of Commerce Holiday Parade. Refreshments were served along with holiday cheer. Everyone appeared to be socializing and having a good time! ... The Eastie Elves annual fundralser held last week was another gala event. It was founded by former State Senator Anthony Petruccelli, who was presented the "Junior Lombardi Memo- rial Award" during the evening. Impressing the crowd again and adding to the wonder of Christmas was the Central Catholic Choir whose music and singing was a true delight. A huge round of applause for Bobby Casaletto, Vice Principal of Central Catholic, whose lead- ership of the Choir has made them truly outstanding. It was State Representative Adrian Madaro's first year running Eastie Elves Fundraiser. Elected officials joined the party, talking to constituents... Other Christ- mas events coming up: Seniors Coordinator, Cassy Martarano is holding her annual Senior Christmas Bingo Party at the Barnes School December 20th. Besides refreshments, everyone gets a gift card. Sounds like seniors will be having a good time! ... Mayor of Revere, Brian Arrigo, may be finally honoring a promise of a new playground made by former Mayor Dan Rizzo. Arrigo has said he will come up with funds to build a new playground for the Lincoln School children. ... Till next time The Fifth Annual Christmas Concert Sponsored by The Consulate General of ltaly by Bennett Molinari and Richard Molinari "What a lovely evening." Sim- ple words spoken by an at- tendee that well describe the Fifth Annual Christmas Concert sponsored by The Consulate General of Italy that took place on December 9th at Sacred Heart Church in the historic North End. The concert, held in collaboration with Com.It.Es. and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, showcased 20 students of the Conservatory singing Ital- ian songs and arias. The Concert opened at 6:30 pm with a blessing by Father Claude Scrima, O.F.M., Paro- chial Vicar of Saint Leonard Parish. The Italian Consul General, Nicola De Santis, fol- lowed with a greeting to the near capacity audience and words of admiration for the tal- ented singers who were about to perform. Patty Thorn, from the Boston Conservatory, who accompanied the evening's performers at the Baby Grand piano, then addressed the audi- ence, giving an overview of the program. She then announced that three surprise guests from Italy would be performing at the end of the program. The freshman students per- formed arias from the 16th through the 20th centuries. The singers performed beautifully, and all with an understand- ing of the technique needed to properly interpret the mu- sic. Singing, in the order of their performance, were: Hagar Adam, Carolina Alvarez, Sam Bailey, Jordan Beaver, Hannah Bentivegna, Katherine Eckard, Anne Fanelli, Leah Lozada, Daniel Lugo, Campbell Mann, Lauren Marlow, Samantha Martinez, Christian Ohlensech- laeger, Amy Onyonyi, Lauren Virginia Pernas, Anthony Ra- nas, Izaya Taylor, Felix Aguilar Tomlinson, and Annika Vlock. Completing the evening were the performances of the guest artists from Italy. The performance was staged in the sanctuary of Sacred Heart's upper church. Wreaths with tiny white Christmas lights hung midway down each of the nine stained glass windows, which were also symbolically candle lit with lanterns. The wonderful acoustics of the church contributed immensely to the beauty of the evening. Also contributing to the success of the concert were Sara Delvecchio,. Assistant Consul, and Walter Valeri, head of Italian language studies at the Boston Conservatory. We look forward to next year's concert! The Boston Conservatory and the Berklee School of Music merged in 2016. The combined institution, now known as the Boston Conservatory at Berk- lee, creates possibly the most all-embracing schools for per- forming arts and related careers in the country. On December 17th, the Annual Saint Leonard Parish Christmas Concert and Party will take place at 6:00 pm at Sacred Heart Church. Tickets are currently on sale at the Par- ish Office and gift shop. Tickets can be purchased the evening of the concert. Coffee and cake will be served immediately after the concert at adjacent Saint John Hall on Sun Court Street. Real Estate Matt@o Gallo Appraisals Sales & Rentals 376 North Street * Boston, MA 02113 (617) 523-2100 Fax (617) 523-3530