Review of 'Belle of Amherst,' performed live in Ojai Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 21-23

5 21 BelleBanner Ad 2021 Live Online 1024x502By Donna Mac Bride

Special to the Ojai Valley News

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) of Amherst, Massachusetts, was one of many early American premiere poets. The play is a rare look into history and poetry.

Anna Kotula of Ojai plays the lead in this one-woman play with the insight and sensitivity needed. Apparently, Dickinson was reclusive and had social anxiety disorder. But she's played sharp, sassy with intellect and directness.

Her custom dress and three-room decor are typical of the day. Director Steve Grumette gives us more than a window into the mid-1800s. Kotula talks directly to us the entire play, so we're engaged.

There is reduced seating with masks or online streaming. The Ojai Art Center, 113 S. Montgomery St., needs you as it reopens. It is vital to our community.

How to watch the play:’“The Belle of Amherst,” by William Luce, will again be performed live on stage at the Ojai Art Center Theater May 21 to 23, with reduced seating. It will also be available for in-home viewing on May 28 to 30.

The live performance featuring Anna Kotula as Emily Dickinson will be Friday, May 21, and Saturday, May 22, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, May 23, at 2 p.m. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. for evening performances and 1:15 p.m. for  Sunday performance. 

To order tickets, visit  or call 805-640-8797. Tickets are sold in advance. Tickets are $22 for general admission and $19 for Art Center members.





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