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Winterport Open Stage audience to select next show

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Patrons to vote on first show of group's 20th season

WINTERPORT Next fall, Winterport Open Stage will be entering its 20th season. As part of that celebration, they are using their spring production of the musical 'Nunsense' to offer its loyal audience an opportunity to make its voice heard.

'Nunsense' with book and lyrics by Dan Goggin - will be running from April 19 through 28 at the Samuel L. Wagner Middle School in Winterport. The cast, rich with local favorites, includes Heather Astbury-Libby, Brianne Beck, Tina Burns, Elena DiSiervo Burns and Kari Stowe. The show is helmed by director and choreographer Dominick Varney, with musical direction by Phil Burns.

As part of the show, WOS is asking patrons to help choose the production that will open their anniversary season.

'We're using this audience to help determine the first show of our 20th season,' said Varney. 'People will be given a ballot during the show. They can turn it in that night or vote online. The board is committed to presenting whatever show the audience picks.'

To that end, the WOS board has selected six shows from throughout the organization's long history. Each of these shows is a past favorite. The list includes Daniel Sullivan's 'Inspecting Carol' (presented in 1996); Neil Simon's 'The Odd Couple (Female Version)' (1997); A.R. Gurney's 'Sylvia' (1998); Peter Shaffer's 'Black Comedy' (2000); Gurney's 'The Dining Room' (2001); and David Lindsay-Abaire's 'Fuddy Meers' (2002). For good measure, they have also included 'Nunsense II: The Second Coming,' the sequel to the current production.

'We looked back at the past 19 seasons; we were looking to redo shows from the past,' Varney said. '[The only criteria was] no shows from the past five years. We really just wanted to make sure that whatever the selection was, it was a show that everyone wanted to do.'

For the selection process, board members were asked to bring in a list of past favorites from the lengthy history of WOS. These lists were combined and gradually whittled down until they came up with a list of potential productions that everyone was enthusiastic about.

'This is the first time we've done anything like this,' said Varney. 'We've gotten 20 years of support from our audiences; we really wanted to give them a chance to participate in the process.'

What we have here is just one more example of how thoroughly Winterport Open Stage embodies the many wonderfully positive aspects of community theater. They really do embrace their community wholeheartedly, exemplifying the spirit of what this sort of organization should always be about. 

You'll have six chances to go see 'Nunsense.' Not only will you get to enjoy a fun-filled night at the theater, but you can also contribute to steering a first-rate group into the future. It's not the sort of opportunity that comes around every day; if you're a lover of local theater, you should do your best to take part.

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