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NECC Brings “Tiny Beautiful Things” to the Outdoor Stage

Submitted by on October 6, 2021 – 4:37 pm

Gwynethe Glickman stars as Sugar in NECC’s production of “Tiny Beautiful Things”, Nov. 4-7, outside on the Haverhill Campus.

The Northern Essex Community College Performing Arts and Communication Department will bring “Tiny Beautiful Things”, a play based on a book by best-selling author Cheryl Strayed and adapted for the stage by actor, director, producer and screenwriter Nia Vardalos, to the Merrimack Valley, with outside socially-distanced performances on its Haverhill Campus, November 4, 6, and 7.

The performances will be held at 4 p.m. on the 4th and at 2 p.m. on the 6th and 7th. There will be a special invitation-only performance on November 5 at 4 pm to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the college’s Haverhill Campus and the 60th anniversary of the college.

For two years, before she became a best-selling author in 2012, Cheryl Strayed was an advice columnist, responding anonymously to troubled readers as “Dear Sugar”, published on the Rumpus website.

“Tiny Beautiful Things” features (left to right) Remani Lizana, Natalie Scott, Gwynethe Glickman, and Zaida Buzan.

Soon after the popularity of her book “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” (2012), she published a second book “Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar” (2012), a collection of her advice columns.

The second book, in turn, became a play, which was adapted for the stage by Vardalos, best known for starring in and writing the romantic comedy film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, and premiered in New York in 2016.

Northern Essex Professor Brianne Beatrice, who is directing the performance, says this is a play for our times. “Some of the letters are heartbreaking, while others are funny. We all learn from and rejoice collectively in our power to push through the trauma and persevere.”

Starring as Sugar is Gwynethe Glickman, a liberal arts major from Newbury, MA, who is a two-time Kennedy Center award winner.  Writing from home, anonymously, her Sugar digs deep into her own experiences as she shares advice with three letter writers, performed by Zaida Buzan, a liberal arts graduate from Brookfield; Remani Lizana of Springfield; and Natalie Scott, a liberal arts graduate from Groveland.

Topics explored include jealousy, work relationships, incest, infidelity, miscarriage, and physical abuse.

“While many of the discussions are dark, the play as a whole is uplifting,” says Beatrice. “It’s a story of triumph not defeat, and you will be laughing out loud at times.”

Remani Lizana and Gwynethe Glickman perform in “Tiny Beautiful Things”.

Because of the adult content, this show is recommended for ages 18-plus.

The show will be held in a grassy knoll in front of the library on the college’s Haverhill Campus, 100 Elliott St, Haverhill, MA. Hot chocolate, hot cider, and cider donuts will be available and there will be a limited number of heaters. In case of inclement weather, the performance will be held in the theater on the top floor of the Spurk Building on the Haverhill Campus, 100 Elliott St.

Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door (cash only)

Northern Essex Community College has campuses in both Haverhill and Lawrence. It offers approximately 60 associate degree and certificate programs as well as hundreds of noncredit courses designed for personal enrichment and career growth.  Each year, 6,000 students are enrolled in credit associate degree and certificate programs on the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses; and another 2,000 take noncredit workforce development and community education classes on campus, and at businesses and community sites across the Merrimack Valley.  For more information, visit the website at or call 978-556-3700.