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NECC Theater Presents “Lighten Up”

Submitted by on April 19, 2022 – 5:08 pm
actor throwing hands in the air while actress crouches next to him, looking up admiringly

Starring in “Lighten Up” will be two Northern Essex alumni, Michael Zuccola of Haverhill, MA, now a professional actor, and Zaida Buzan of Charlestown, MA.

Haverhill, MA (April 21, 2022)-Prepare to laugh at Northern Essex Community College’s Spring Theater production, “Lighten Up”, a seven-vignette play written by New York City comic Peter Zachari, that will be performed May 5 through 8 on an outdoor stage on the Haverhill Campus.

Starring in the performance will be two Northern Essex alumni, Michael Zuccola of Haverhill, MA, now a professional actor, and Zaida Buzan of Charlestown, MA.

They will be supported by a cast of talented Northern Essex students, including Nicole Affannato, Haverhill MA; Olivia Barberian, Salem, NH; Joanne Callahan, Haverhill MA; Gwynnethe Glickman, Newbury, MA; Jessica Newey, Middlebourogh, MA; and Brayden Toth, Newbury MA.

Northern Essex Professor Brianne Beatrice, who is directing the performance, describes it as a series of comedic vignettes exploring themes such as religion, love, negativity, sexual orientation, and more. “Peter likes to poke fun at the human experience,” she says. “His message is that we all need to ‘lighten up’.”

Set in the 1980’s, each vignette is a separate story introducing a new group of characters.

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

The production will be held at 4 pm on May 5 and 6 and at 2 pm on May 7 and 8. The May 8 performance will be a special Mother’s Day performance.

The show will be staged in the quad near the “B” building on the college’s Haverhill Campus, 100 Elliott St, Haverhill, MA. 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.

Samantha Wheatley is artistic associate director of the production.

Tickets are $15 ($10 for seniors and students) and can be purchased in advance or at the door (cash only)

For additional information, email Professor Brianne Beatrice at

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.