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Buzz Briefs - 02/22/12

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The Comedy Hour holds its second annual WERU benefit show

BREWER - Is cabin fever beginning to take its toll on you? Are the trials and tribulations of excessive darkness getting you down?

Help is on the way!

On March 9, from 7 to 9 p.m., The Comedy Hour will hold its second annual WERU Benefit LIVE Radio Show at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer. Prepare for a night of hilarity in the dark of winter.

The Comedy Hour hosts John Greenman and Arthur Morison will welcome a great line-up of talent, guaranteed to cure what ails you. And it's all to benefit WERU-FM, Community Radio.

'This is a golden opportunity for WERU to raise some much-needed funding while at the same time give back to the community some much-needed, therapeutic relief from cabin fever,'' said host John Greenman. 'The talents are donating their time, the Next Generation Theatre is giving us a good deal and kids under 12 get in freealthough we're suggesting parents use their discretion since this is an evening' event (nudge, nudge).'

'If your kids get our jokes, that's not our fault. Personally, I blame the Internet.' Morison added.

On hand for the fun, which will be recorded for later air, will be singer/songwriter David Dodson ('Kiss My Butt State'), and comedians Johnny Ater, Steve Robbins, Zach Robbins, Tuck Tucker and "Flash."

Admission is $10; children 12 and under attend free. For more information, contact WERU at 469-6600 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The Met's 'Ernani' simulcasts at The Grand

ELLSWORTH - The New York Metropolitan Opera's series of live opera simulcasts continue their 2011-12 season at The Grand with Angela Meade in Giuseppe Verdi's thrilling early gem 'Ernani,' on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 12:55 p.m. with a running time of three hours, 49 minutes and two intermissions.

When Angela Meade (this year's recipient of the Beverly Sills Artist Award for young singers) takes the Met stage this February as Elvira in Verdi's 'Ernani' (based on a play by Victor Hugo), the circumstances will bear little resemblance to the last time she sang the role here. That was back in 2008, when the young soprano stepped in at the last minute for an ailing Sondra Radvanovsky. At the time, she was a neophyte who had had virtually no rehearsal time and barely met her co-stars. Now she's not only headlining the revival, opposite tenor Marcello Giordani (Ernani) and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Don Carlo), she'll also make her live in HD movie-theater debut in the production. "I love to play strong characters, and I love that Elvira is not this weeping willow in the corner," Meade says of revisiting the role of her debut. "She's defiant and she knows what she wants, and she's not willing to just take whatever is handed to her on a plate. I really love her music, her aria especiallywhich you come in and sing right off the bat. It's a great way to start the evening."

Joining Meade, Giordani and Hvorostovsky in bringing 'Ernani' to life is veteran bass Ferruccio Furlanetto as Silva. Pier-Luigi Samaritani recreates his landmark 1983 production, last seen in 2007-2008 with the costumes and lighting are by Peter J. Hall and Gil Wechsler. Peter McClintock stages the production with Marco Armiliato conducting.

Tickets are $26 for adults, $24 for seniors and $17 for students, with all seats reserved. Call The Grand box office for tickets, or purchase online at www.grandonline.org.

A full schedule can be found online at www.grandonline.org. Or find The Grand on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Grand-Auditorium/112755987339.

'Kung Fu Panda 2' attacks The Grand for a family vacation matinee

ELLSWORTH - The Grand presents the animated sequel 'Kung Fu Panda 2' as a family vacation matinee for only a dollar Monday, Feb. 20 through Friday, Feb. 24 at 1 p.m.

The sequel to the 2008 animated action-comedy, 'Kung Fu Panda 2' continues the journey of Po the Panda (Jack Black) aka The Dragon Warrior. This time out, Po and his friends The Furious Five must fight to stop Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) from conquering China with a deadly new weapon. With Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu and David Cross.

Please note each show is a special vacation matinee admission of $1. This presentation is sponsored by Morton's Moo, Homemade Ice Cream Parlor.

For more information or to reserve tickets, please call the box office at 207-667-9500 or visit The Grand Auditorium website at www.grandonline.org or follow The Grand on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Grand-Auditorium/112755987339.

Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Maine presents both 'Trial by Jury' and a G&S Musicale at The Grand

ELLSWORTH - The Grand is excited to announce a new production from The Gilbert & Sullivan Society Of Maine: the classic 'Trial by Jury' as well as a 'G&S Musicale' on Friday, Feb. 24, Saturday, Feb. 25 and Saturday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. with matinees at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26 and Sunday, March 4!

Now in their 36th year, GSSME's Dede Johnson directs 'Trial by Jury,' W. S. Gilbert & Arthur Sullivan's second collaboration that proved so successful it launched the famous series of 13 collaborative works between Gilbert and Sullivan that came to be known as the Savoy Operas. The genesis of 'Trial by Jury' began in 1868, when librettist W.S. Gilbert wrote a single-page illustrated comic piece for the magazine 'Fun' entitled 'Trial by Jury: An Operetta.' Drawing on Gilbert's training and brief practice as a barrister, it detailed a "breach of promise" trial going awry, in the process spoofing the law, lawyers and the legal system. (In the Victorian era, a man could be required to pay compensation should he fail to marry a woman to whom he was engaged.) The outline of this story was followed in the later opera, and two of its numbers appeared in nearly their final form in 'Fun.'

In addition to this classic one-act operetta, GSSME will also be presenting a Musicale composed of an exuberant, beautiful, touching, hilarious, lively, original show written by directors Dede Johnson and John Haskell. Featuring selected pieces from nearly all of the G&S productions, the Musicale includes dancing, costumes, solos, duets, choral numbers, starring many present and former principal soloists. This will be a show to remember!

Please note tickets are $17 for general admission and $14 for seniors and youth (12 and under).

For more information or to reserve tickets, please call the box office at 207-667-9500, visit The Grand Auditorium website at www.grandonline.org or follow The Grand on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Grand-Auditorium/112755987339.

Higher Forms of Art high school art exhibition on view March 2 through 10

HALLOWELL - In celebration of Youth Art Month, the Kennebec Valley Art Association will present an exhibition of artwork by students from seven area high schools, including Cony, Gardiner, Hall-Dale, Kents Hill, Maranancook, Monmouth and Readfield. The exhibition will be on view March 2 through 10, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Harlow Gallery at 160 Water Street in Hallowell.

The public is invited to join students and faculty at the opening reception on Friday, March 2 from 5 to 8 p.m. New this year, at 6:30 p.m. young poets are invited to participate in a Poetry Power Hour. Bring your favorite poetry to share, your own original poetry to read aloud, it's up to you - free verse, spoken word, we'll even try some texted verse!

2012 marks the sixth annual exhibition of artwork by area high school students. Higher Forms of Art is meant give young artists an opportunity to show their work in a professional space, and to get a taste of what goes into organizing a professional art exhibit. The students will participate in hanging the exhibition and planning and organizing the opening night. They will also provide food and entertainment for the opening.

Higher Forms of Art will be followed by Young at Art, a showcase of artwork by Central Maine students in grades K-8, on view at the Harlow Gallery March 16 through 31. Please join the Kennebec Valley Art Association in celebrating the work and talent of the youngest artists in our community at the Harlow Gallery in March.

PTC to present popular musical comedy 'I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change'

BANGOR - Penobscot Theatre Company has decided to postpone presenting the musical 'Xanadu' at the end of this season and will produce the beloved musical comedy, "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change' instead.

PTC's new Artistic Director Bari Newport explained, "Given the state of the economy and the theatre's ongoing mission of creating and presenting theatrical work at its very best, 'I Love You' is a much better offering for the end of this season. I am confident our audiences will not only agree, but will come back again and again. We regret the change in our schedule and will honor all subscription and ticket transfers. We intend to produce a concert version of 'Xanadu' at our gala event on June 30."

'I Love You' is a musical joyride through the phases of love, from the first stages of romance to marriage, parenthood and beyond. This witty revue about love and relationships exposes everything you've secretly thought about romance but were afraid to admit! Marvelously tuneful and funny, it played 5,003 performances off Broadway and in over 400 cities worldwide.

'I Love You' will feature local favorites Dominick Varney ('Boeing, Boeing'), Christie Robinson ('Little Shop of Horrors'), Brianne Beck ('The Marvelous Wonderettes') and Ben Layman ('The Plaids'). Nathan Halvorson will direct.

Find show times and purchase tickets at The Penobscot Theatre box office, online at PenobscotTheatre.org or call the box office at 207-942-3333. Discounts for children, college students, veterans and seniors.

See you at the theatre!

Illustrator and art teacher Rebekah Raye to present 'The Art of Illustration' during special workshop and book signing

AUGUSTA - The Friends of the Maine State Museum launches its annual series of talks and programs, Highlights at the Maine State Museum, with a workshop and book signing at the Maine State Museum in Augusta by award-winning Maine illustrator and art teacher Rebekah Raye, on Saturday, Feb. 25. The presentation is free of charge and begins at 11 a.m.

The illustrator of two children's books, The Very Best Bed and Thanks to the Animals, Raye has been sharing her gift of art with students of all ages for years. Through sharing and demonstrating what she loves, she emphasizes, she can show how ideas become reality and how students of any ability can express themselves through art.

During her workshop The Art of Illustration, Raye will show examples of art she created when she was young. She will also discuss her two children's books and explain the step by step process of creating illustrations for a story. Participants in the workshop will then be encouraged to create their own story characters using the materials provided.

A resident of East Blue Hill, Raye has a BA in art education from the University of Maine and has been teaching in studio workshops for the last 25 years. When she isn't illustrating stories or creating bird and animal paintings and sculpture, Raye devotes her time as an art teacher to adults and children, sharing her love for her art and inspiring others to find their own special creativity.

Rebekah Raye's workshop at the museum is the first in the Friends of the Maine State Museum's 2012 winter/spring series of special programs and lectures. The series is sponsored by the Friends and The Bank of Maine.

The Maine State Museum is located in Augusta in the State House Complex off State Street. For more information, call (207) 287-2301 or visit the museum's website at www.mainestatemuseum.org.

Wyld Blue Yonder performs at the Feb. 25 Bluegrass Special

ORONO On Feb. 25, Wyld Blue Yonder will perform at the Bluegrass Special in the Keith Anderson Community House on Bennoch Road at 7 p.m. WBY is a wonderful young band from Palermo. You may remember seeing them as children at the bluegrass festivals, jamming and learning to play. They grew into a great group that will give you a polished, professional evening of fantastic bluegrass. Freshly Cut Grass opens the show. Admission at the door is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for students and military with ID. Contact Bill "BT" Thibodeau for more info at 207-949-0868.

Wyld Blue Yonder features Ken Pottle on guitar, bass, and vocals. Ken played the electric bass for years and converted his talent to a bass fiddle. He is a brilliant soundman, has a sharp ear for music, and is quickly making himself known as a solid vocalist as well.

Hallee Pottle offers lead and harmony vocals, and plays mandolin. Hallee was first introduced to the mandolin at the age of nine, and has since performed in various bluegrass bands, including Into The Blue, a group of 13+ talented youngsters. Hallee has mastered many other instruments and developed a true passion for bluegrass music.

Rachael Keyes also sings lead and harmony vocals as well as playing guitar and bass. Rachael began doodling on her father's guitar during the summer of 2008, and has now picked up several stringed instruments, including the mandolin, DADGAD guitar and ukulele; she is also proving to be a natural at the bass fiddle. In 2009, "Richie" also became known for her solid singing voice and a fantastic ability to harmonize.

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