Party Time 2018!

Christmass.jpgThe hall was decked!

City Hall that is!


The 2018 City Hall Holiday Open House welcomed a crowd of hundreds to 375 Merrimack St on Tuesday, December 12th.  Guests enjoyed food from Nennie’s Cafe, music from the Lowell Council on Aging’s Senior Choir, and of course, the magical entertainment of Henri the Magnificent!  And once again Santa Claus was in the house, courtesy of the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce!


Vice Mayor Vesna Nuon and Mayor Samaras


The Nuon Family w/ Santa


Jen Myers of CBA and Councilor Karen Cirillo


Senior Center Chorus


Kids Watching On


Sara Khun, Sovanna Pouv, Roberto Dei, Jim Wilde, Bora Chiemruom,  Boran Yi


Thavy Huot of CMAA


Long Lines for Santa!




Jackson and Braden and Santa


Councilor John Leahy


Audience for Henri the Magnificent



Councilor Cirillo as Henri’s assistant


Henri the Magnificent



Jen Myers and Sovanna Pouv



Vesna Nuon, Celeste Bernardo, Yun-Ju Choi



Vice Mayor Vesna Nuon in the Holiday Spirit





Lowell is Zoned for Opportunity


On Wednesday, December 12th, over 330 municipal leaders, state officials, economic development professionals, investors, developers and other stakeholders came to UMass Lowell’s Inn & Conference Center to learn more about the new Opportunity Zones program created by Congress and implemented by the Office of Housing and Economic Development in Massachusetts.


Among those to welcome the guests to Lowell were Mayor William Samaras, City Manager Eileen Donoghue, and Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney. The event was hosted by Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Jay Ash. 


“In Lowell, we know all about the importance of Public-Private Partnerships.” Mayor Samaras noted during his opening remarks, “This is a great opportunity for investors to help encourage development and improvement in some areas that need a little more help.  We are happy that the governor has chosen to recognize the needs of some of our neighborhoods. ”


The Opportunity Zone program provides a federal tax incentive for taxpayers who reinvest unrealized capital gains into ‘Opportunity Funds,’ which are specialized investment vehicles dedicated to investing in designated zones. Massachusetts has 138 Opportunity Zones, located in 79 communities in all regions of the state.

The conference featured experts in tax law, commercial real estate, housing, public policy and investing. Participants engaged in panel discussions, working groups, informal networking and a question and answer session hosted by Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. The Administration also unveiled new resources, including an online map of the 138 Opportunity Zones, enhanced with community information provided by the municipalities.

There are five (5) U.S. Treasury designated Opportunity Zones in Lowell. They are located in several neighborhoods, including parts of the Highlands, Acre, Back Central and Downtown.

“Massachusetts has 138 Opportunity Zones, from Pittsfield to Provincetown,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash in a press release by the Baker-Polito administration  “Today, we took the next step in advancing the program through a large-scale, active dialogue with a broad range of stakeholders – municipal leaders, investors, developers and others – with a focus on how this new program could spur additional growth across the state.”

Of the 138 designated tracts, 32 are located in the 10 communities with the lowest median family income (MFI) in the state. 48% of the tracts are in “Gateway Cities,” which are municipalities with a population between 35,000 and 250,000, with median household income and rate of educational attainment of bachelor’s degree or greater below the state average. Rural communities make up 18% of the communities with designated tracts.

To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, visit

City Hall Holiday Open House! 12/11/18


Please join Mayor William Samaras, City Manager Eileen Donoghue, and the entire City of Lowell at the 2018 Lowell City Hall Holiday Open House.  The annual tradition returns with an evening of food, entertainment, and general holiday cheer!

The party begins at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday December 11th.  To help get into the mood, here are a few photos from City Hall receptions held in years past.


2017 City Hall Holiday Open House Highlights included the public unveiling of Edward Kennedy’s mayoral portrait.

An annual favorite of the City Hall Reception is of course: Henri the Magnificent! 


There will be music…


…and food…

And most of all, great company!



Oh yeah..and the Big Guy will be in the house too:  Santa Claus!

So please stop by tomorrow for the festivities!

For even more photos check out the Original Room 50 Blog’s coverage of Mayor Patrick Murphy’s Holiday receptions in 2012 and 2013


Preserving Stories of the Local SE Asian Community


For many in the Southeast Asian community, there is a culture of silence regarding the trauma suffered during the period of war and genocide.  For that reason and many others, it is important that the experiences of the first wave of Southeast Asian refugees to Lowell be recorded and shared with the younger generations.  The Southeast Asian Digital Archive (SEADA) project at UMass Lowell is an exciting new resource to make sure these stories are preserved.


Sue Kim and Phitsamay Uy interviewed by LTC

On Tuesday, December 4th, UMass Lowell officially launched SEADA with a reception in the mezzanine of O’Leary Library.

The Southeast Asian Digital Archive is a community-based archive documenting the diverse histories of Southeast Asian Americans in the Lowell, Mass., region. This project is a partnership between the UMass Lowell Center for Asian American Studies, the UMass Lowell Libraries, and Southeast Asian American communities.

Founded in 2017, the SEADA seeks to be build a lasting, user-friendly online resource for community members, researchers, students, teachers, and others. The materials in the collections deal with a wide range of issues, including refugee resettlement, political participation, cultural preservation, and community development.

The project came about thanks to a $239,000 grant from the National Endowment for Humanities in 2017 written by Professors Sue Kim and Phitsamay Uy, co-directors of UMass Lowell’s Center for Asian American Studies.  An additional $28,000 Creative Economy Fund grant from the UMass president’s office will help make the archive publicly accessible, especially to students, through lessons, teacher trainings, community workshops and an updated exhibit at the Lowell National Historical Park.

A professional archivist, Mee Xiong was hired to lead the effort in digitizing and organizing thousands of documents, videos, audio files, newspapers, posters and photos so that they are searchable online and free to the public. The community-based project also incorporated support from students, library staff, a community advisory board and Southeast Asian and refugee organizations.

Several speakers from the university, city, and the local community also participated in the program to celebrate the launch of the new web-based site, including  Chancellor Jacquie Moloney, Provost Michael Vayda, Mayor William Samaras, Vice Mayor Vesna Nuon, and Angkor Dance Troupe co-founder Tim Thou.


Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney

Chancellor Moloney served as director of the Indochinese Refugees Foundation for a year in the 1980s, where she helped newcomers to Lowell find housing, food, clothing, school placements, health care and translators.


Mayor William Samaras

Mayor Samaras also spoke of his experience working at Lowell High School under then-headmaster Peter S. Stamas while the first wave of Southeast Asian refugees arrived in the city.


City Councilor Vesna Nuon

Lowell City Council vice mayor, Vesna Nuon spoke about his own experience as a refugee in stressing the importance of this project.

One of the major collections within SEADA is the archives of the Angkor Dance Troupe, featuring photos and documents from their thirty plus years in Lowell.


Angkor Dance Troupe co-founder Tim Thou

Tim Thou, who founded the troupe spoke about a conversation he had with City Historian Emeritus Mehmed Ali a few years back about digitizing the three decades’ worth of files which had been stored at his home.  Now those files are all preserved as part of the SEADA.  Several dancers and staff from the troupe were in attendance for the launch event.


Emaly Horn and Tim Thou

The archive itself is a living and ongoing project that will continue to be updated as more materials are digitized.


Chrisna Khuon and Professor Bob Forrant

Members of the project’s advisory board include Linda Chan Flynn, Lowell Community Health Center, Sheila Kirschbaum, Director, Tsongas Industrial History Center, Pon Nokham, Attorney at Law, Sovanna Pouv, Executive Director, Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association, Laurel Racine, Chief of Cultural Resources at Lowell National Historical Park, Sopheap Theam, producer of “Lost Child: Sayon’s Journey”, and Blong Xiong, former Vice President of the Lao Mutual Assistance Association.


Advisory Board and Project Leaders

For more on the launch event please visit these articles by UMass Lowell, the Lowell Sun,  and view this video courtesy of LTC Lowell. More photos from the event can be found below:

The Mayors Rock Again


The Second Annual Mayor’s Holiday Fest for Homeless Youth was a rockin’ success with initial estimates placing the funds raised at over $16,000 for Homeless Youth in the City of Lowell.

Once again crowds numbering in the hundreds packed Olympia’s Zorba Music Hall.  This year’s performance slate featured sixteen musical acts and the party went on and on late into the chilly November night.


Ed Kennedy, Rick Lalime, Karen Frederick, Amanda Mallardo, Mayor Bill Samaras

By beating the 2017 totals, Mayor Samaras met the challenge of his predecessor, former Mayor Edward Kennedy who oversaw the launch of the Mayor’s Holiday Fest last year.  Now the question is can the mayor beat his own mark and achieve the goal of raising even more funds when the event returns in 2019.

Look below for some photos and a video from a fun-filled evening at the Zorba Room:


A musical fest for a worthy cause



Mayor Samaras is the first to admit his musical tastes may not particularly be in line with his predecessor’s.  But when it comes to raising funds for a good cause, the mayor is more than willing to trade in his Perry Como tunes for some local Rock ‘N Roll.

Tuesday November 27th is 2018’s Giving Tuesday.  And in what is a new Giving Tuesday tradition, Lowell will descend upon Olympia’s Zorba Music Hall for the 2nd Annual Mayor’s Holiday Fest for Homeless Youth.  The event will be raising funds for the Mayor’s Fund for Homeless Youth at Community Teamwork.

The event originated with former Mayor (and now State Senator-elect) Edward Kennedy’s trips to Somerville for the Annual Boston Calvcade for Homeless.  Mayor Kennedy and his friends frequented the event at the legendary Johnny D’s before deciding in 2017 to import the format to Lowell’s local music scene.


“I’ve never been shy about stealing a good idea” Kennedy joked on an interview with WCAP to promote the event.

Many of those friends and fellow music fans joined together with others to create a volunteer event committee which has planned the event over the past two years.  The 2018 committee members include Jon Geer, Joe Graham, Frank Heslin, John Heslin, Bob Hoey, Rick Lalime, Connie Martin, Jack McWilliams, James Ostis,  Julia Ripa,  Judy Saba , and Arty Tingas.


Back: William “Bill” Samaras, Jen Myers, Vanna Howard, James Ostis, Joe Boyle, Corey Belanger; Front: Vesna Nuon, Karen Cirillo

Similarly to Somerville’s event, the charity of choice was targeted on serving the area’s homeless population–with Lowell’s event specifically focused on the problem of Youth Homelessness.

After researching local non-profits, the committee chose to partner with Community Teamwork Incorporated who deliver vital direct services to help folks find and sustain safe, affordable, decent housing.


School Committee member Connie Martin with a surprise rendition of Santa Baby

It is the focus on young people with housing issues that is most near and dear to the heart of Mayor Samaras, who knew of the struggles some students at Lowell High School faced with homelessness.

The 2017 inaugural event featured thirteen musical acts including a local headliner Gary Hoey, brother of Lowell School Committee member, Bob Hoey. The event raised $11,000 that was donated to Community Teamwork for their efforts as the lead agency for the Merrimack Valley Youth Consortium that works to prevent youth homelessness. This program has been working with teens to help them reunite with their families, or find safe affordable housing on their own. In many cases it is simply a matter of helping a young person with a security deposit or to clear up past debts that can save them from spending years couch surfing, sleeping in their cars or in places not fit for human habitation.


The Mayors at CTI’s Housing Summit in June 2018

On June 18th, CTI hosted a Youth Housing Summit at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center. At that event, former Mayor Kennedy challenged his successor Mayor Samaras to beat the total that was raised in 2017.  With the help of several generous sponsors, the 2nd Annual Mayor’s Holiday Fest for Homeless Youth looks set to reach that mark.

This year’s show features even more local musical acts playing a combination of their own original music and festive holiday classics.  The confirmed performers include Marcia J. Macres and friends, Kevin Wall, Whisky Duo , Bradley Copper Kettle and FriendsNico Rivers and The Black Grass, Funrazrs, Emily DesmondBlindspotPeter LavenderTake Two –  Mike Gacek and Mike PoulinSIMPLICITY – Mickey Kanan of Blackheart , John Powhida, Love Train, Dan Styklunas of Downbeat 5 and George Bisson

Tickets are on sale online and will be available at the door.  Doors Open for the 2nd Annual Mayor’s Holiday Fest for Homeless Youth at 6:00 p.m.

On The Road (but would prefer tracks)


What do Jack Kerouac‘s semi-autobiographically journey in On The Road and at least some of the modern riders of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority have in common?

Both are traveling in 1940’s transportation technology.

OnTheRoadOn November 16th, former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis drove that point home by traveling from Mattapan through Boston to Lowell in a 1949 Hudson, believed to be the same model as featured in Kerouac’s novel. Of course while Kerouac traveled across country in the 50’s, Dukakis’s road trip was taking place over 60 years later.

The symbolism was clear.  Automobile drivers would never opt for 1940’s era transportation methods, why should T riders be saddled with such outdated options?

In recent years, Governor Dukakis has been championing the completion of the long-planned North-South Rail Link. Earlier this year, he spoke at a Lowell Town Hall meeting hosted by Mayor William Samaras about the importance of the project and the benefits it would bring to Lowell.

The antique car belongs to best-selling author and transportation enthusiast Dan McNichol, who is also a member of the North South Rail Link working group–and no, the Kerouac connection was not a coincidence. McNichol counts the Lowell-born author among his favorites.

In addition to supporting the NSRL, the publicity campaign on November 16th had a broader basic message: the importance of investing in Massachusetts’s transit infrastructure.


Governor Dukakis interviewed by WCAP’s Jack Baldwin

The afternoon drive culminated with a trip to Merrimack Repertory Theatre where radio station WCAP (a prominent local supporter of the Rail Link) was hosting a remote location broadcast.


Governor Dukakis meets MRT executive director Bonnie Butkas

NSRL advocates have said the mid-November visit won’t be the last time that the group visits Lowell to talk about the project.  So keep your eyes peeled for the next time a 1949 Hudson makes its way through the city.

A Night (in Angkor) To Remember

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CMAA Executive Director Sovanna Pouv

The Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association of Greater Lowell celebrated its 34th Anniversary with its annual gala at Sompao Meas Restaurant Hall on November 3rd, 2018.   This year’s gala was themed “A Night in Angkor” in celebration of ancient Khmer culture and traditions.

Over the past year, CMAA has been moving forward with several new initiatives while continuing to provide a vast array of services such as citizenship assistance, onsite translation services, and financial and educational workshops. The organization has also implemented a strategic plan with programs focused on civic education, youth empowerment and leadership development.

Highlights of CMAA’s 2018 include building a new community garden with Mill City Grows, Co-hosting a citizenship workshop with Project Citizenship , Partnering with the Brush Art Gallery on an exhibit for Asian American Heritage Month, Helping launch a new Pay for Success Workforce Development Program, and its annual role in events such as Cambodian New Year and the Cambodian Flag raising at Lowell City Hall


Mayor Samaras introduces Lt. Governor Karyn Polito

Mayor William Samaras, who has been a board member of the CMAA since 2014 was among the city, state, and officials in attendance at the event which also included Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and retiring U.S. Congresswoman Niki Tsongas.


Edward Kennedy, Vesna Nuon, Niki Tsongas, Mayor Samaras, James Mabry

Also in attendance were many candidates for office including U.S. congressional candidate for the Massachusetts 3rd district Lori Trahan and Democratic State Senate nominee Edward Kennedy, both of whom were elected the following Tuesday.


The night marked a transition of leadership as Vichtcha Kong was named the new president of the CMAA board, following the two year stint of Virak Uy.  A Lowell native, Vee has been on the CMAA board for several years and served as the co-chair of the Gala event.


As tradition, CMAA also honors different community organizational partners.  This year’s honorees were the Monorom Family Support Program run by the organization and funded by the Department of Developmental Services.  This programs creates safe spaces for families who have members with disabilities and promotes inclusion.

CMAA also honored another long-time community leader and friend to the organization, Vanna Howard, with the community hero award.

Vanna has been an aide for Congresswoman Tsongas since 2008, specializing in immigration, US and foreign visas, US passports and inter-country adoption issues.

Congresswoman Tsongas even surprised Vanna with a congressional citation.

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Congresswoman Tsongas congratulates Vanna Howard

Many more photos from the event can be found at the CMAA’s website: 

3 Ribbon Cuttings Are Better Than One!

DSC_0965.jpgIn what is surely a great sign for the economic development in the City of Lowell, Mayor Samaras had to triple up on the ribbon cuttings recently.  On October 24th, 2018, StitchDX, POWAudio and TerraCorps, three neighbors on the fourth floor of the Offices of the Boott Mills all celebrated their respective new homes with a special ribbon cutting ceremony.  Each of the groups (two businesses and one nonprofit) chose to host the ribbon cutting together in order to celebrate their common optimism for the future.



StitchDX was created with the belief that when your team and tools work together, they will be more successful. Whether a customer needs an intranet solution or digital marketing tools, the dedicated team at StitchDX stay focused on creating integrated digital strategies for small and medium-sized businesses. Together, the pieces form a total digital experience that meets their customers’ strategic goals and grows their businesses.

POW Audio believes that music is the language that breaks barriers and connects us. So we revolutionized speaker design and made a technology worthy of sound’s transformative power. Through innovative designs and unconventional uses of simple physics, POW creates amazing listening experiences that anyone can take with them anywhere, anytime.

TerraCorps is a  501(c)3 organization focused on leadership development and capacity-building . We work at the intersection of the land trust and urban agriculture movements to create a future where land is the foundation of health and well-being for ALL people in EVERY community.  Through our work, we aim to prepare and mobilize emerging leaders to help communities gain access to and conserve land for people and nature.  We were originally founded in 2010 by Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust in Athol MA. Today,  TerraCorps is in the process of spinning off from Mount Grace to continue its work as an independent non-profit with headquarters in Lowell.


Happy 40th to MRT!


Vintage sign on display for MRT’s 40th Birthday

On October 23rd, 1979, Merrimack Valley residents were treated to a production of The Passion of Dracula at University of Lowell’s Mahoney Hall.  The production was the first presented by a brand new entity called Merrimack Regional Theatre (now Merrimack Repertory Theatre).

As the dedication of performers, staff, volunteers, donors, and audiences over the next 40 years and 263 plays have shown, the world’s most famous vampire was far from the only passionate one in Lowell’s theater community.


On October 23rd, 2018, Mayor William Samaras hosted a reception at Lowell City Hall in honor of MRT’s 40th birthday, celebrating the theatre’s unique contribution in providing entertainment, education, and an artistic home to more than 2 million Merrimack Valley residents over the last 40 years.

“We are gathered here to celebrate the 40th anniversary of MRT, and that truly is a wonderful thing,” Mayor Samaras said, “it took a lot of hard work and dedication to get to this point.”


Nancy Donahue

In appreciation, the mayor officially proclaimed October 23rd as “Merrimack Repertory Theatre Day” in the City of Lowell.  The proclamation was presented to Nancy Donahue, the first president of MRT’s board and the theatre’s most steadfast champion over the past four decades.

As MRT details in their history, Mrs. Donahue was instrumental along with Lowell resident Barbara Abrahamian, director Mark Kaufman and actor John Briggs–a trio that had formed the “Committee for Legitimate Theatre in Lowell” back in 1978.  In February 1979, MRT was formally incorporated leading up to its debut performance later that fall.

The ensuing years have seen the theater reach numerous milestones and accomplishments, including moving into its current home, Lowell Memorial Auditorium’s Liberty Hall in 1983.



Patrick Murphy

In 2012, the company underwent a $750,000 renovation. The lobby was refurbished, and an accessible modern box office was completed, closing the decades-old basement ticket booth. The theatre reopened as the Sage Bank Lobby and the Enterprise Bank Box Office in the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre. The post-renovation grand opening featuring then Mayor Patrick Murphy and City Manager Bernie Lynch drew a crowd numbering over 200 and was covered in the original Room 50 Blog.


MRT’s Grand Reopening, September 2012 (photo: Jen Myers)

Over the years, MRT has seen its share of great leaders both artistically and in the front office.  Kaufman and Briggs served as the company’s first artistic directors from 1979-1982.  They were succeeded by Dan Schay (1982-1989) and David Kent (1989-2001).  Charles Towers served as MRT’s artistic director for nearly 15 years beginning in 2001. Current artistic director  Sean Daniels began at MRT in 2015.  Bonnie Butkas became MRT’s executive director in 2017, following Elizabeth Kegley.


Sean (and Vivien) Daniels and Bonnie Butkas, October 23, 2018

One of the hallmarks of MRT these past 40 years has been the theatre’s collaborative involvement in the Lowell community. The rise of the theater coincided with the city’s renaissance and served as one of the first major additions to Lowell’s status as a artistic hub in the region.

One such example of community engagement came in 2014 with the east coast premiere of  Michael Golamco’s award-winning Year Zero about the Cambodian-American experience.  That production was paired with several workshops, panel discussions, and film screenings and a partnership with Angkor Dance Troupe, which began a three year residency at the theater immediately following Year Zero’s run.


Cast of MRT’s Year Zero (2014): Michael Rosete, Daniel Velasco, Juliette Hing-Lee, Arthur Keng


Elizabeth Kegley speaks on Opening Night of ADT’s Nostalgic Khmer Civilization, October 2014


Ploy-Soy Dance performed at Nostalgic Khmer Civilization, Merrimack Repertory Theatre

Recent years have seen other new forms of outreach including the innovative audience immersion program, The Cohort Club, which offers members of the local community unprecedented access to the creative process from start to finish.

The Patriot Program is MRT’s unique approach to establishing a network of artists associated with the theatre. The program is designed to benefit playwrights, directors, actors, designers, and others from across the theatre field, as well as enhance MRT’s network of collaborators.

The company has also hosted Young Company, the youth program which allows students in middle and high school to tell their own stories through theatre. The one-of-a-kind program for middle and high school students starts with a two-week summer session working with leading theatre artists from around the country, then continues through the following spring with invaluable access to the inner workings of professional theatre at MRT.

Earlier this year, MRT honored their former board president, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas  at the group’s 39th Anniversary Gala.


Councilor Milinazzo

October 23rd’s reception featured a brief speaking program by Mayor Samaras and City Councilor/former Mayor Jim Milinazzo, a longtime supporter and former board member of the organization.

“You can go anywhere, really in the northeast part of the country, and certainly in New England, and people know about the Merrimack Repertory Theatre,” Councilor Milinazzo remarked, “it is really important to have that quality of production here in the fourth largest city in the Commonwealth.”

Mayor Samaras then handed over the podium to the evening’s honoree, Mrs. Donahue, who was quick to share the credit,”Its due to all of you people here today who have been involved for so many years. As Jim says it was 40 years ago and we were all young and crazy and didn’t quite know what we were doing–but having a lot of fun–and a lot of stress, but we’ve made it 40 years.”


She continued “I can’t thank enough the thousands of people who it has taken to keep this thing going for over 40 years. It’s not easy, it takes money, it takes effort, it takes persistence, there’s a lot of tears and a lot of laughter.  But overall, its worth it in the end.”


The reception concluded with the presentation of the proclamation to Nancy Donahue.


MRT’s representatives were also introduced in the council chamber at the start of that evening’s city council meeting.


Peter Martin at Lowell High School (The Haunted Life promotion artwork)

The 40th Birthday celebration at City Hall is just one of many events celebrating MRT’s 40th season of productions.  This season will feature seven shows including the world premiere adaptation of Jack Kerouac‘s lost novel “The Haunted Life,” a coming-of-age story set in Lowell of college student Peter Martin and his relationship with his conservative father.

The season kicked off with Native Gardens, which ran from September 12 to October 7th, and was Written by Karen Zacarias and directed by Giovanna Sardelli.   The birthday celebration in the midst of the comedic Murder for Two‘s run from October 17th to November 11th.


Murder for Two (2018) book & music by Joe Kinosian; book & lyrics by Kellen Blair

Upcoming shows this season are:

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, by Lauren Gunderson & Margot Melcon Nov. 28-Dec. 23

Slow Food, world premiere by Wendy Macleod Jan. 9-Feb. 3

The Heath, world premiere by Lauren Gunderson Feb. 13-March 10

The Haunted Life, world premiere by Jack Kerouac, adapted by Sean Daniels March 20-April 14

Cry It Outby Molly Smith Metzler April 24-May 19

For more information on Merrimack Repertory Theatre and its 40th anniversary season, visit