Chester, MA – Chester Theatre Company (CTC) is proud to present its season closer Tiny Beautiful Things, Nia Vardalos’s adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s “Dear Sugar” advice column at Hancock Shaker Village, 1843 W. Housatonic St., Pittsfield, MA. Performances run August 18-29.

The original production, co-conceived by Marshall HeymanThomas Kail, and Vardalos, premiered in 2016 at The Public Theater and starred Vardalos in the leading role. It was directed by Kail, known to many theatregoers as the director of the hit musical Hamilton.

The CTC production is led by Producing Artistic Director Daniel Elihu Kramer, and stars Berkshire native Tara Franklin as “Sugar.” James BarryCandace Barrett Birk and Taavon Gamble appear as the letter writers who contact “Sugar” seeking advice.

“This play could fit into any season at Chester Theatre Company,” said Franklin. “It captures the beauty of language and storytelling in an unconventional format. But in the midst of an isolating global pandemic, during which we have grappled with so many unknowns, Tiny Beautiful Things seems right on time for us.  One of the most powerful reminders in this play is how, when you offer help and kindness to others, you open up something in yourself that you may not have known existed. That is a gift.”

Franklin, who is also the company’s Associate Artistic Director and Director of Education, has appeared in many Berkshire-area productions, including CTC’s On the Exhale (for which she won a Berkshire Theatre Critics’ Award)Bar Mitzvah Boy, and Sister Play. She has also appeared in several productions at Berkshire Theatre Group, and she serves on the faculty at Smith College. Franklin is joined in this production by her husband, actor James Barry. Barry starred in CTC’s season opener, Title and Deed, and has also appeared in Sister Play, The Night Alive, and The Aliens. He is the award-winning director of BTG’s production of Working, and he has played Carl Perkins in Million Dollar Quartet hundreds of times in regional productions. 

Candace Barrett Birk and Taavon Gamble are both making their CTC debuts. Birk and her husband, Raye Birk (who starred in 2019’s Curve of Departure), moved to the area a few years ago from Minneapolis. She has appeared at many regional theatres, including Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Ashland, OR), American Conservatory Theatre (San Francisco, CA) and the Guthrie Theater (Minneapolis, MN).

Gamble is an actor/director/choreographer who has performed or staged productions at Trinity Rep, Greater Boston Stage Company, North Shore Music Theatre, and others. He received an IRNE Award for Leading Actor for his work in Kiss of the Spider Woman at Lyric Stage Company in Boston.

The artistic and design team also includes Lara Dubin (Lighting Designer), Juliana von Haubrich (Scenic Designer), Nathan Leigh (Sound Designer), Charles Schoonmaker (Costume Designer), Leslie Sears (Stage Manager) and Keri Schultz (Assistant Stage Manager).

Individual ticket prices are $47.50 and are available at the door or by calling the box office. Chester and Middlefield residents and those holding EBT cards may purchase $10 tickets, and members of the military and their families may purchase $15 tickets. Student Rush $10 tickets are available day of show in person or on the phone. Tickets may be purchased online at, or by calling 413.354.7771. Special rates for groups of 10 or more are available.

About Chester Theatre Company Chester Theatre Company, an award-winning professional theatre company located between the Berkshires and the Pioneer Valley, and convenient to both, is known for presenting high quality, contemporary productions with top-notch actors, directors, and designers from across the country since 1990.
Founded by a former Artistic Director of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, Vincent Dowling, CTC normally produces its thought-provoking works in the intimate setting of the Town Hall Theatre in Chester, MA, but operations have shifted to Hancock Shaker Village for the 2021 season. For further information, please email, or visit

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