Category Archives: Town Hall Theater

Julia Alvarez in converation with Carolyn Kuebler


Alma Cruz, the celebrated writer at the heart of The Cemetery of Untold Stories, doesn’t want to end up like her friend, a novelist who fought so long and hard to finish a book that it threatened her sanity. So when Alma inherits a small plot of land in the Dominican Republic, her homeland, she has the beautiful idea of turning it into a place to bury her untold stories—literally. She creates a graveyard for the manuscript drafts and the characters whose lives she tried and failed to bring to life and who still haunt her.

Alma wants her characters to rest in peace. But they have other ideas and soon begin to defy their author: they talk back to her and talk to one another behind her back, rewriting and revising themselves. Filomena, a local woman hired as the groundskeeper, becomes a sympathetic listener to the secret tales unspooled by Alma’s characters. Among them, Bienvenida, dictator Rafael Trujillo’s abandoned wife who was erased from the official history, and Manuel Cruz, a doctor who fought in the Dominican underground and escaped to the United States.

The Cemetery of Untold Stories asks: Whose stories get to be told, and whose buried? Finally, Alma finds the meaning she and her characters yearn for in the everlasting vitality of stories. Julia Alvarez reminds us that the stories of our lives are never truly finished, even at the end.

About Julia:

Julia Alvarez left the Dominican Republic for the United States in 1960 at the age of ten. She is the author of six novels, three books of nonfiction, three collections of poetry, and eleven books for children and young adults. She has taught and mentored writers in schools and communities across America and, until her retirement in 2016, was a writer in residence at Middlebury College. Her work has garnered wide recognition, including a Latina Leader Award in Literature from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, the Woman of the Year by Latina magazine, and inclusion in the New York Public Library’s program “The Hand of the Poet: Original Manuscripts by 100 Masters, from John Donne to Julia Alvarez.” In the Time of the Butterflies, with over one million copies in print, was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for its national Big Read program, and in 2013 President Obama awarded Alvarez the National Medal of Arts in recognition of her extraordinary storytelling.

Julia will appear on stage in conversation with Carolyn Kuebler, editor of the literary journal based in Middlebury, New England Review. Kuebler’s debut novel, Liquid, Fragile, Perishable will go on sale May 7.

Producer: MCTV

Up For Discussion: Reimagining Stories, Translation and Adaptation with Michael Katz & Chris Keathley


Join us for quarterly talks with local experts and participate in roundtable conversations in a convivial atmosphere over light snacks and with a beverage (cash bar). Conceived by VBS owner Becky Dayton as a way for Middlebury College and other professional communities to come together with townspeople of all walks of life to share ideas, Up for Discussion has, thanks to the hard work of Town Hall Theater’s executive director Lisa Mitchell, been underwritten by Vermont Humanities.

Former Dean of the Middlebury Language Schools and Professor Emeritus of Russian and east European studies Michael Katz joins Professor of Film and Media Culture Chris Keathley to discuss “Reimagine Stories: Translation and Adaptation.”

Thanks to a grant from Vermont Humanities, Vermont Book Shop and Town Hall Theater present a new, free, quarterly series designed to spark community conversation. “Up for Discussion” features local experts in their fields, many of whom are Middlebury College professors, sharing timely topics that span literature, art, film, and contemporary issues.

Producer: MCTV

Robert Frost – Sixteen Poems to Learn by Heart


Once, during a public reading, Robert Frost was asked why he so frequently recited his poems from memory. “If they won’t stick to me,” he replied, “I won’t stick to them.” On Friday, March 29, Town Hall Theater and The Vermont Book Shop honor Robert Frost’s 150th birthday with a celebratory literary event that pays homage to Frost’s greatest work. The evening showcases “Robert Frost – Sixteen Poems to Learn by Heart,” a new keepsake edition of Frost’s greatest works curated by acclaimed poet and biographer Jay Parini.

“The goal of this little book is to encourage readers to slow down—to listen to Frost’s words and phrases, to locate their deepest rhythms, and hear the tune of each poem as it unfolds,” Parini writes in his introduction. To share the poetry’s resonance with an audience, Middlebury College Associate Professor of Theatre Michole Biancosino directs 16 community members, including Alex Draper, Vanessa Dunleavy, Naja Irvin-Conyers, Peyton Mader, Madison Middleton, Mark Saltveit, Phineas Knowles, and Jeremy Holm, in the presentation of each poem live on THT’s stage.

“Audiences will get to experience these poems performed aloud, and then have the gift of hearing Jay’s vast trove of stories about Robert Frost interspersed throughout the evening,” Biancosino said.

The event includes a Q&A session with author Jay Parini, which provides a glimpse into the book’s accompanying commentaries on one of our most beloved and enduring poets. “Memorizing a poem can teach us much about a poem’s structure and argument, and about the resonance of particular words. And best of all, memorization makes a poem part of our inner lives,” Parini said.

Producer: MCTV

Samirah Evans and Her Handsome Devils | Town Hall Theater


Recorded Friday, October 13 at Town Hall Theater in Middlebury, Vermont Samirah Evans is a celebrated performer and recording artist known for her dynamic and soulful approach to music, especially in the jazz and blues genres. She enjoyed a 15-year run as a featured vocalist at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and has played with jazz legends including James Brown, B.B. King, Dr. John, Aaron and Charles Neville, Terence Blanchard, and many more. Evans is an Artist Associate in Jazz Voice at Williams College. She and her husband relocated to Vermont following Hurricane Katrina. Evan’s Handsome Devils include Conor Meehan, Matt Dwonszyk, Michael Zsoldos and Miro Sprague.

Producer: Town Hall Theater

The Grift 5/12/23


The Grift is a popular club, wedding, and event-band based in the Champlain Valley of Vermont. Their sound defies easy categorization, blending booty-shaking grooves and improvisation with radio-friendly hooks, witty lyrics, and tight vocal harmonies. Grift shows are energetic and original, with band members swapping instruments and occasionally playing two at a time. Their deep catalog of original music blends roots-rock and pop and jam.

The Grift was formed by two Middlebury College grads Clint Bierman and Jeff Vallone in 1999, and since then has performed 2,300+ shows in 25 states and four countries. The current lineup of The Grift have been together for almost 20 years with Peter joining in 2003.

Producer: MCTV