Saturday, February 27, 2016

LET'S LAUGH TODAY in Franklin is on Wednesday, March 2nd

Moved from Monday to Wednesdays
Let's Laugh Today in Franklin has now moved to the first Wednesday of each month (except this April when it will be the second Wednesday).  
Experience the health benefits of joyful laughter on Wednesday, March 2nd from 7:30pm to 8:30pm at the Meetinghouse of the First Universalist Society in Franklin, 262 Chestnut Street, Franklin. 
Laughter Yoga is a unique and playful practice that does not rely on humor, jokes or comedy. It will have you smiling frequently and laughing heartily. Any age and any level of physical ability can participate in this uplifting experience! You can sit or stand. 
a laugh is ...
New laughers are always welcomed! $5 donation to the church, $10 maximum per family.

Please bring your water bottle because laughing is dehydrating.
Led by Certified Laughter Yoga Teachers, Linda and Bill Hamaker. If you have any questions, just call them at 508-660-2223 or e-mail 
Interested in an entire weekend of laughing, networking, learning, and inspiration on March 12th and 13th? Interested in a lifetime certification that is internationally recognized? See

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Kenny Hadley Big Band - Jazz Brunch - March 6

Drummer Kenny Hadley is Franklin Performing Arts Company’s go-to guy for live music. The company, now celebrating a milestone 25th anniversary, showcases professional musicians for all mainstage productions and presents an ambitious schedule of music series events at THE BLACK BOX, FPAC’s new home and performance venue. Hadley’s relationship with FPAC goes back to 1995 when the drummer played the debut production of ’Tis the Season!, FPAC’s original holiday musical.

The company’s orchestra contractor since the mid-2000s, Hadley now hires for six FPAC productions annually. At THE BLACK BOX this season, Hadley has played performances ranging from The Addams Family musical and Cabaret Series dates to a reunion gig with the R and B band Soul Kitchen and a Jazz Series presentation with his own critically acclaimed Kenny Hadley Big Band.

“I’ve met so many people over the years – guys that play all the theaters downtown and tour with major acts,” says Hadley, of the musicians he brings to Franklin. “They get what we’re trying to do at THE BLACK BOX. It’s good work with a good vibe – very cool, very hip. The level of musicianship is really high so they know that when they come down here they’re going to be playing with a really great band.”

THE BLACK BOX grew out of an office building in the heart of downtown Franklin. The project blew out the facility’s second floor to create a two-story, flexible space with 360-degree catwalk. When Tony Award winner Beth Leavel headlined the venue’s grand opening celebration in September 2014, Hadley recalls being thrilled with the acoustics. “It’s a unique, great-sounding room,” notes Hadley. “I’ve since played it in so many configurations – in every corner of the building, top and bottom, and in different genres and situations. The clarity is amazing. It has a live quality, like you get in a good concert hall but with a different shape and size. A lot of places try to manufacture that, but this has it naturally.”

FPAC received a $220,000 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund (MCFF) in 2015 to support capital improvements at THE BLACK BOX, including sound and lighting systems, second-floor accessibility and a marquee. The award, the largest granted by the MCFF to a MetroWest arts organization during that funding cycle, affirmed the venue’s potential for transformative and cultural impact in the region.

“I think it’s a gem at a time when live music venues are falling by the wayside,” notes Hadley. “This place has come out and accomplished so much in so short a time. And we just keep tweaking to make it better and better.” The inaugural season at THE BLACK BOX doubled FPAC’s production schedule and launched Jazz, Cabaret, Children’s, Local Artists, New England Artists, and Summer Concert Series, establishing the venue as a suburban hub for great music. This second year has already welcomed a new Classical Series, which opened in November with violinist Irina Fainkichen and pianist Irina Kotlyar.
Kenny Hadley's Big Band at THE BLACK BOX
Kenny Hadley's BIg Band at THE BLACK BOX
Hadley sees only positives in FPAC’s commitment to live music as a defining element of company productions and as a key focus in the venue’s programming. “THE BLACK BOX was a game changer in terms of opportunity,” he says. “Things were swingin’ before THE BLACK BOX, but this kicks it up a notch in terms of what we can do.” Youth development in the arts is another core component of FPAC’s mission, and Hadley views THE BLACK BOX as influential to students’ growth as artists and audience members.

“You can learn so much and find inspiration,” he says about hearing live music. “What better way to get them excited about this stuff.” Hadley was 14 when he first heard Buddy Rich’s band play live at Lennie’s-on-the-Turnpike in Peabody. He caught Duke Ellington at The Boston Globe Jazz Festival. “It was the tail end of that era. I saw Basie ten, fifteen times. I saw Kenton, Maynard.”

Hadley formed his own big band at 23 and has grown that 16-piece juggernaut to showcase a renowned rotation of some 45 or 50 players – masterful musicians with performance ties to Big Band legends Woody Herman, Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Rich and more.

The Kenny Hadley Big Band will headline a jazz brunch at THE BLACK BOX on Sunday, March 6 at 11:30 a.m. For tickets to the Kenny Hadley Big Band Brunch or for more information about FPAC’s season and other presented events at THE BLACK BOX, visit or call (508) 528-3370.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

THE BLACK BOX set the stage for the 5th Annual Culinary Cabaret

The Franklin Performing Arts Company (FPAC) presents Culinary Cabaret 2016 on Friday, March 4, from 7-11 p.m. at THE BLACK BOX, 15 West Central Street, in downtown Franklin. The annual food and wine event showcases the culinary and performing arts, featuring masterful dishes and gourmet specialties. The evening also includes a culinary-themed silent auction and entertainment by the ACME Jazz Quartet and the international touring ensemble Electric Youth.

Celebrating Culinary Cabaret’s 5th anniversary, FPAC is pleased to collaborate with exceptional area chefs and restaurants, including Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, a Culinary Cabaret founding partner. Davio’s Executive Chef Paul King served up prime beef short rib and butternut squash purée garnished with crispy leeks in 2014 and fresh Maine lobster cake over a spicy slaw topped with a black olive aioli in 2015. The signature event’s 2016 reprise will once again pair food and art of outstanding and creative caliber and showcase an impressive roster of vendors to present an innovative evening of inspired cuisine.
Culinary Cabaret 2015 in THE BLACK BOX
Culinary Cabaret 2015 in THE BLACK BOX

Savor fine wines, craft beer, and delicious appetizers, desserts and dishes from Café Assisi, Genji Sushi, Jalapeno’s Mexican Grill, J and L Catering, Twist Bakery, 3 Restaurant, The Curry House and more. Pour Richard’s Wine and Spirits will partner restaurant stations with representatives from vineyards and distributors, who will pour wines specifically chosen to complement the chef-prepared specialties. Reflecting Pour Richard’s “Never Drink Ordinary” motto, beverages will feature small producers, high quality and eclectic selection.

Tickets for Culinary Cabaret are $75 and are fully inclusive of the evening’s food, wine, beer and entertainment. Event proceeds support Electric Youth’s 2016 European concert tour, featuring a July 4th performance for U.S. troops stationed at Aviano Air Force Base. For more information, visit Tickets may be purchased online at or by phone at 508-528-3370.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Broadway in Franklin to feature Jenn Colella and Michael James Scott

Franklin Performing Arts Company (FPAC) presents Broadway In Franklin: A Weekend with the Stars on February 26-28, featuring Broadway headliners Jenn Colella and Michael James Scott in a Broadway Revue of show-stopping numbers from the Great White Way. 

Bringing the magic of 42nd Street to Boston's MetroWest suburbs, the Broadway Revue will be presented at 3 p.m. on Sunday, February 28, at THE BLACK BOX, FPAC’s theater, music, and event venue, located at 15 West Central Street in downtown Franklin. The show also features appearances by musical theater students and by Electric Youth. Participation in the weekend’s master classes and Broadway Revue is open to students in grades 8-12, with all abilities welcome. 
Electric Youth 2016
Electric Youth 2016

Electric Youth (EY), a dynamic ensemble of talented singer-dancers trained at the Franklin School for the Performing Arts, will kick off the weekend with a 7:30 p.m. show on Friday evening, February 26, at THE BLACK BOX. Backed by an eight-piece band of Boston musicians who’ve performed with music legends Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Diana Ross and many others, Electric Youth delivers high-energy music, including fully choreographed hits by Adele, Beyonce, The Black Crowes, Queen, Sugarland, Stevie Wonder and more. 

Guest artists Jenn Colella and Michael James Scott will lead a series of musical theater master classes at the Franklin School for the Performing Arts (FSPA) on Saturday, February 27, that will include dance workshops and coaching on song interpretation and performance skills. Rehearsals for Sunday’s revue will round out the weekend programming with the Broadway performers. For more information, including participation fee and schedule, visit or call (508) 528-3370. 
Jenn Colella
Jenn Colella

Jenn Colella’s Broadway credits include Urban Cowboy (Sissy, Outer Critics Circle Award nomination), High Fidelity (Laura), Chaplin (Hedda Hopper) and If/Then (Anne) opposite LaChanze and Idina Menzel. Regionally she was featured as Daisy Hilton in Sideshow at the Kennedy Center, Peter Pan in Peter Pan at the Sondheim Performing Arts Center, and Georgie in The Full Monty at Paper Mill Playhouse with Elaine Stritch. 

Off-Broadway credits include Beebo Brinker Chronicles (opposite Marin Ireland), Lucky Guy (opposite Kyle Dean Massey) and the revival of Closer Than Ever. Television appearances include guest-starring roles on Cashmere Mafia (ABC), Rescue Me (FX), Can You Tell (Oxygen), All My Children (ABC), The Good Wife (CBS) and Elementary (CBS). Colella starred opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the indie film Uncertainty. 

Michael James Scott
Michael James Scott
Michael James Scott originated and is currently playing the role of Minstrel in the Broadway sensation Something Rotten! He also originated the part of Doctor Gotswana in Broadway’s The Book of Mormon and was the standby for the Genie in Aladdin. 

Additional Broadway credits include Mamma Mia! (Eddie), All Shook Up, The Pirate Queen, Tarzan, Hair and Elf – The Musical. National Tours include Fosse (Male Leading Performer) and Mamma Mia! (Sky). Michael James Scott appeared Off-Broadway in Here’s to the Public with Donna McKechnie and in London’s West End revival of Hair. 

Proceeds from Broadway In Franklin weekend support Electric Youth’s 2016 European summer concert tour and EY’s mission to give back through musical performance, education and ambassadorship. 

To purchase tickets for Friday’s Electric Youth show or Sunday’s Broadway Revue, call (508) 528-3370 or visit

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Franklin School for the Performing Arts presents GREASE

Franklin School for the Performing Arts (FSPA) presents an all-student production of the hit musical GREASE this Saturday, February 6, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Performances will be staged at THE BLACK BOX, 15 West Central Street, in downtown Franklin. 

The powerhouse Broadway musical, with book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, became a Hollywood movie classic starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. With iconic characters, '50s pop culture, and electrifying rock 'n roll style, the original high school musical includes high energy dance numbers and the hit songs “We Go Together,” “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin'” and “Born to Hand Jive.” 

Performances are this Saturday, February 6, at THE BLACK BOX in downtown Franklin
Performances are Saturday, February 6, at THE BLACK BOX 
The production features FSPA students in all levels of musical theater as the memorable teens of Rydell High, including greaser Danny, girl-next-door Sandy, the T-Birds and Pink Ladies. FSPA’s production of GREASE is directed by Raye Lynn Mercer, with music direction by Hallie Wetzell. 

Featured cast members include Brian Barrett (Eugene) of Foxborough; Jason Barney (Roger), Julia Buccella (Patty Simcox, evening), Brooke Collins (Rizzo, afternoon), Kendra Dombroski (Sandy, evening), Aaron Frongillo (Danny), Collin Hancock (Vince Fontaine), Jocelyn Jones (Miss Lynch), Catherine LeClair (Frenchy, afternoon), Akira Ontsuka (Kenickie), Deanna Rivera (Jan, evening), Katharine Waples (Marty, afternoon), Caitlin Woodcock (Jan, afternoon), and Melissa Wyner (Cha-Cha, afternoon) of Franklin; Caroline Merten (Cha-Cha, evening) and Joey Soares (Sonny) of Hopedale; Sam Evans (Johnny Casino) and Colie Vancura (Sandy, afternoon) of Medfield; Maddy Williams (Frenchy, evening) of Medway; Katie Gray (Marty, evening) of Milford; Nicholas Steiner (T-Bird) of Millis; Mairead Nee (Patty Simcox, afternoon) and Griffin Wilkins (Doody) of Walpole; and Jenna McDermott (Rizzo, evening) of Wrentham. 

GREASE is one of several FSPA all-student productions that will be staged at THE BLACK BOX from February through May. Others include the plays Metamorphosis and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves; the ballets Class Concert, Graduation Ball and Western Revelries; and a program of Opera Scenes and Arias. 

Tickets are $24 for adults and $20 for students and seniors. For more information, call (508) 528-8668. To purchase tickets, visit GREASE is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.