Carol Carpenter’s SWEET, SWEET SPIRIT in Northampton, Massachusetts

Debra J’Anthony, the executive director of the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, Massachusetts, has just sent me a press release about an upcoming production of Carol Carpenter’s wonderful and timely play, Sweet, Sweet Spirit. What’s nifty is that this production arose directly from Indie Theater Now: Debra purchased the play a year ago on our site, liked it, and then got in touch with Carol to arrange for a production. I love when this happens.

If you’re in the Northampton area later this month, you should definitely try to check the show out. Carol’s play is terrific!

Here’s the press release:

The Academy of Music Theatre will mount a new work by playwright Carol Carpenter, entitled Sweet, Sweet Spirit on March 24th and 25th at 7:30 p.m.  The play, on its surface, addresses gay bashing and child abuse within a West Texas conservative family whose gay teenage son is beaten into a coma by his father. Carpenter takes her audience deeper into an exploration of a family struggling with their own fear and heart.  The son, Tyler, who is described as “different,” but not referred to by his family members as gay, affects each of the members of this Southern Christian family in disparate ways. For Tyler’s dad, there is rage and  recrimination. For his mom, Suzanne, reflected in her light-hearted relationship with Tyler – an opportunity to escape and a chance for self-discovery. For his aunt, a measurement of her obligations against her personal priorities. His grandmother battles with an ever-changing world with resistance and fear.

Carol Carpenter describes herself as “raised Southern Baptist, came out of the closet at 18, and grew up in the trans-Pecos oil and ranching plains of New Mexico – where the Bible Belt, the Mexican border, the oil business, the West Texas cowboy, and the poor collide to form a landscape of conflict.” This is the world that Carpenter writes.

The play has found relevancy in today’s shifting environment. “I feel so connected to Carpenter’s play,” states director Sheila Siragusa. “It sets up these immeasurably high stakes for all the characters, who possess wildly differing world views. Then she demands that they see one another, with all of their differences, so they can make a world in which their boy can survive. It’s pretty timely.”

As Cheryl King of Indie Theater Now shares in her review, “Carol Carpenter has written a moving and relevant story that illustrates the love and forgiveness that are possible when people can agree on what’s important.”

Sweet, Sweet Spirit is directed by Sheila Siragusa with a cast that includes Jaris Hanson, Jay Sefton, Stephanie Carlson, Lindel Hart, Melenie Freedom Flynn, and Tommy Harte.

The play was premiered in New York City at the 14th Street Y to rave reviews and an extended run. It will be on the Academy stage for one weekend only. Tickets are available at the Academy Box Office 3-6pm, Tuesday-Friday or online at www.aomtheatre.com.