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The Gracie goes for the gusto

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A wide variety of offerings populate theater's debut season

BANGOR The Gracie Theatre has announced the lineup for its inaugural 2012-2013 season.

The theatre, located on the campus of Husson University in Bangor, will be bringing four different touring performances to the Gracie stage this season. In addition, the Gracie will be offering a classical music series as well as a number of other events both live and filmed.

'Our mission here at the Gracie is to reach out to the community and introduce them to Husson University and the New England School of Communications,' said Jeri Misler, Managing Director of the Gracie. 'We also get to offer some good to the community in terms of art and culture.

'It's a space that is intimate while still offering state-of-the-art tech that can really showcase performances.'

The first offering of the season kicks off on Saturday, September 22 with 'Second City for President.' This show features the world-renowned Chicago-based Second City improv comedy group as they offer up a satirical skewering of the political process just in time for the 2012 presidential election. Don't worry about agendas, though: 'SC4P' promises to run on a strictly 'pro-comedy' platform.

'This show will feature equal laughter aimed at both sides of the aisle,' said Misler. 'It's the perfect timing for a politically-themed revue; they'll have some fun and we can all laugh at the process.'

Next up is Grammy and Tony Award-winning singer Jennifer Holliday. Her concert, coming Friday, November 16, promises to be a wonderful kickoff to the holiday season - Holliday for the holidays, if you will. The soulful singer, perhaps best known for her showstopping turn in the original production of 'Dreamgirls' on Broadway, will bring her powerful vocal stylings to Bangor.

'I'm really looking forward to this show,' Misler said. '[Holliday] is going to come in here and just blow the roof off the place. The acoustics in this intimate space will be fantastic as opposed to a larger hall.'

An off-Broadway sensation is next on the docket. 'Potted Potter,' billed as 'the unauthorized Harry Potter experience,' is coming to the Gracie for two shows on January 27. The two-man tour de force distills all seven Harry Potter books down to 70 minutes. The show, created by UK parodists Dan and Jeff, had a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has gone on to huge success all over the world.

'This is a show that will work really well here,' said Misler. 'The space is small enough to allow them to really connect with the audience. [Dan and Jeff] are really popular on the BBC and have done a number of other parodies; what they do is a lot like the Reduced Shakespeare Company.'

The final touring show of this inaugural season is the musical 'Deer Camp The Musical.' On March 2, this raucous comedy about four men and their annual trip 'upta camp' will grace the Gracie. Of particular note is the fact that the show stars the 'Darryl brothers' from the 1980s sitcom 'Newhart.' That's right Larry's brother Darryl and his other brother Darryl will be in the house. Wellin the camp, anyway.

'This show is touring out of Minnesota,' Misler said. 'I was searching for a musical that was a little bit different, a show that might attract more men to the audience, and this one caught my attention. It's a chance to see some very accomplished actors touring a show and having a lot of fun while they do it.'

In addition, the Gracie is offering a Classical Music Series throughout the year. In September, cellist Sebastian Baverstam will perform. In October, jazz pianist Dan Tepler will bring his 'Goldberg Variations/Variations to Bangor, offering a performance of Bach's famed 'Goldberg Variations' while creating a dialogue with the master by interspersing his own improvisations throughout. And in April, Christopher O'Reilly, pianist and host of NPR's 'Over The Top,' will perform some of his classical interpretations of songs by rock and pop icons such as Radiohead, REM, Pink Floyd and Nirvana among others.

All in all, it looks like an impressive debut from Bangor's newest performance house.

For more information about any of these productions, as well as other upcoming events at the Gracie Theatre, visit their website at gracietheatre.com.

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