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Talk back to Maine playwright John Cariani

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STONINGTON - Opera House Arts at the Stonington Opera House is proud to announce that Maine's most acclaimed playwright and actor John Cariani will be featured in conversation with national cultural journalist and 'The Writer' editor Alicia Anstead following the Saturday, Feb. 9 7 p.m. production of his newly revised play, 'Last Gas.'

'John is one of the most interesting people I know, and I can't wait to talk with him again,' said Anstead.

'Last Gas,' directed by Opera House Arts' Artistic Director Judith Jerome, is set at Paradis' Gas Station and Convenient store in Maine's Aroostook County. A romantic comedy that explores the perils and pleasures of rural life, 'Last Gas' leaves audiences with a sense of what it's like  to live 10 hours north of Fenway Park, as well as with a hopeful window into loves lost and found - and the unexpected ways we sometimes find to 'get back to happy.'

Playwright and actor John Cariani is originally from Presque Isle. Last Gas premiered at Portland Stage in 2010 and appears at the Opera House as a new revision. In 2010 Cariani's first play, 'Almost, Maine,' surpassed Shakespeare to become the most produced play of all time. It was originally produced at Portland Stage before moving to off Broadway. The Wall Street Journal named it one of the 10 best plays of the 2004-05 regional theater season, and it has been produced by more than 300 theaters all over the world. Cariani is perhaps best known as a film and television actor, and particularly for his roles as technicians in the popular series 'Law and Order' and 'Numb3rs.'

Alicia Anstead is a national arts and culture reporter, editor, consultant and educator. She is currently the editor of 'The Writer' magazine. She also teaches journalism at Harvard Extension School, oversees the Harvard Arts Beat blog for the Office for the Arts and is the voice of Harvard arts on Twitter. An award-winning writer, Alicia was the inaugural Arts and Culture Fellow at Harvard's Nieman Foundation for Journalism, and is also a National Arts Journalism fellow with the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University and the National Endowment for the Arts Cultural Editor Program at Duke University. She has collaborated with Opera House Arts since 2008, creating the role of 'critic in residence' at the theater and is a member of OHA's Artistic Advisory Board.

The full production schedule and tickets are available at www.operahousearts.org or by calling the Stonington Opera House at (207) 367-2788. General admission tickets are $20, with fixed income, student and group discounts available. Premium reserved tickets in the first several rows are available for $25. Additionally, Opera House Arts is offering discounted weekend travel packages, including pre-theater dinner and lodging, in collaboration with Kyra Alex and Lily's House, Boyce's Motel and The Inn on the Harbor. Packages start as low as $120 per person. Please call (207) 367-2788 for reservations and details.

Kyra Alex and Lily's House is offering a special, limited seating, three-course meal before the show on Saturday, Feb. 9. Those wishing to participate in the dinner must first purchase a premium reserved ticket to the show, and make reservations through the Opera House office.

Opera House Arts (OHA) celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the Stonington Opera House, on the National Register of Historic Places, in 2012. OHA is a nonprofit, small professional theater which operates programming out of several locations, including a concert series from the newly-restored, 1870 Burnt Cove Church, and is noted for its original productions and artist commissions, including 'Burt Dow, Deep Water Man.'

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