Carmela Lanza-Weil and Rebecca Daniels Take the Reins at Silverthorne Theater

Silverthorne Theater Company (STC), now entering its seventh season of producing professional theater in the northern Pioneer Valley, announces the appointment of Carmela Lanza-Weil and Rebecca Daniels as the company’s new co-artistic producing directors.

Lucinda Kidder, the founder of the company and current producer, is retiring.

Both Lanza-Weil and Daniels have decades of experience producing theater and have served STC for several years already, as board members, working artists, and informal consultants.

“Carmela and Rebecca have deep experience with Silverthorne, with professional theater, and with the community we serve. We are fortunate to have them agree to take the reins and we are excited about their vision for the future,” said Mary Kay Mattiace, Board President.

Lanza-Weil and Daniels met in Portland, Oregon in 1990 at Artists Repertory Theater. After working together there, they both moved on to other theaters and parts of the country and, unbeknownst to the other, both moved to the Pioneer Valley in 2014, where they reconnected. With Kidder handling marketing and promotion, they co-produced the last three productions of STC’s 2019 season. Daniels has served as Literary Manager since March, managing all aspects of STC’s Theater Thursdays and its play selection committee. Lanza-Weil joined the STC board last fall and took on treasurer responsibilities in February.

At the recent end-of-year party and celebration of Kidder’s retirement, the co-producers announced some of their short-term plans for the company, including:

  • Continuing to build on and expand the vision of producing excellent, intimate, adventurous, and thought-provoking theater;
  • Increasing collaborations with local playwrights;
  • Expanding STC’s audiences;
  • Increasing opportunities for women artists, staff, and technicians;
  • Introducing new programs; and
  • Building the company’s budget in order to improve production values, increase artists’ compensation, and hire professional staff.

Since its founding, STC has maintained a strong commitment to paying artists. Lanza-Weil and Daniels will seek to increase compensation across the organization in an effort to fully professionalize all areas.

In the fall of 2020, Silverthorne will shift to a fall–spring schedule. Silverthorne’s board made this decision in early 2019 as it realized the original summer theater model had slowly been shifting to a more traditional Fall–Spring season in response to market demands.

Between now and then, STC will offer robust transitional programming in the first half of 2020 including:

  • A fundraising performance on Valentines’ Day 2020 (with chocolate and roses);
  • Continuing the popular Theater Thursday reading series of new plays;
  • Producing the first “Short & Sweet Festival Of New Plays” in the Spring; and
  • The announcement of the 2020 season.

MORE ABOUT THE SHORT & SWEET FESTIVAL:  The title of the project refers to the length of plays–SHORT in that each play is, approximately, 10 minutes in length–and SWEET, in that each play offers a tantalizing tiny story.

A call for plays was sent out in May of this year and by July; over 700 submissions from almost 400 playwrights came in from across the country. The play selection committee read all 700+ plays selecting their top 20 for inclusion in the spring festival. The first two weekends will feature ten of the plays each weekend; the third weekend’s program will be the audience’s most popular selections from the first two weekends determined through surveys at each performance.

MORE ABOUT THE 2020-21 SEASON:

Silverthorne’s current plan is to continue to produce four productions (as in the 2019 season), and to increase to eight performances over three weeks, instead of the current two-week runs. “We conducted a survey during The Fantasticks and found that word-of-mouth really is our best advertising. In order to capitalize on that finding, we’ll add a third weekend and offer two matinees instead of one,” said Lanza-Weil.

The line-up for next season will (tentatively) feature a regional premiere; a fully produced family-friendly holiday show; a musical or other crowd-pleaser (possibly a reimagined classic); and a new play (ideally from a local author).

Daniels and Lanza-Weil also seek to invigorate the board of directors, add working committees, and cultivate a robust volunteer base to augment the current small but enthusiastic crew that serve as ushers, event support, and box office assistants.

ABOUT LANZA-WEIL:  Carmela Lanza-Weil produces theater and other events, directs, acts, and creates new work based on challenging human issues.

Since moving to the Pioneer Valley in 2014, she directed “Aiden’s Gift” for Silverthorne, the “Shad Ladder Radio Hour,” and Little Shop of Horrors at Mohawk HS. She also works with Jonathan Mirin (Piti Theater). Most recently, she directed The Fantasticks, for STC in June.

Lanza-Weil also led the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association for three years and currently works with the Medical Reserve Corps, an emergency preparedness organization.

Prior to relocating to Massachusetts, she founded and ran Bump in the Road Theatre; directed the theater program at Concordia University (Portland, OR); and directed theater education programs at Portland Opera, Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, and Everyman Theater (Baltimore).

Lanza-Weil has directing and acting credits with a variety of companies across the country including Portland Center Stage, Artists Repertory, Portland Repertory Theater, Stark Raving Theater, MediaRites, Bump In the Road, and Portland Opera (Portland, OR); Everyman Theater and Red Door Productions (Baltimore); La Mama and Westbank Theater (NYC); and Weathervane Theater (NH).

She holds an MFA in Theater from Towson University’s program for self-generative artists, where she worked with a variety of people including Lee Breuer, Rinde Eckert, and Tim Miller.

Lanza-Weil also holds a BS in Business and Marketing, summa cum laude, from Concordia University (Portland) and graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She is a former member of Actors Equity, is a member of SAG/AFTRA; her website is Carmelalanza.com

ABOUT DANIELS: Rebecca Daniels has many years of both professional and academic theatre experience as an actor, director, and playwright/adapter. After over a decade in 40+ roles as an actor, she turned to directing in the early 1980s.

She was a founder and producing director for Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, Oregon, directing nearly half their shows during her eight-year tenure there and returning as a guest artist for several years thereafter. She also directed in nearly all the other major Portland theatre companies before returning to grad school for both an MFA [1988] and Ph.D. [1992] in directing.

She worked as a professor of theatre [acting, directing, playwriting] at St. Lawrence University from 1992 until her retirement in 2015, directing regularly on their main stage and working as a guest director for several universities and small professional theatres in the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast.

She is the author of the books, Women Stage Directors Speak [McFarland, 1996] and Keeping the Light on for Ike (Sunbury Press, 2019); her website is rebecca-daniels.com.

She has been associated with Silverthorne since moving to the Pioneer Valley in 2014, served for the past four years on their season selection committee, and she directed Two Rooms in July 2016 and The Road to Mecca in June 2018. She became STC’s Literary Manager in March of 2019 and one of the company’s co-producers in May of 2019.

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