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BANGOR – A former Penobscot Theatre Company stalwart has returned to Bangor to bring a long-beloved theatrical experience to life on the Bangor Opera House stage.

Former PTC artistic director Scott R.C. Levy has made his way back to the Queen City to direct a production of “Shear Madness,” adapted from a 1963 German murder mystery by Paul Portner by Marilyn Abrams and Bruce Jordan. The madcap and improvisational comedy is one of the longest running nonmusical plays in the world, having been running nonstop in Boston since January of 1980. The PTC production is scheduled to run from June 14 through July 8.

Once again, summer’s arrival is upon us. The weather is warming up and the days are approaching their greatest length. People near and far are going to descend on our state’s beaches, mountains and forests; people are going to swim and hike and boat and generally experience the outdoors in a fashion that one can only achieve in Maine.

But there are other summertime perks, too.

For those who love live theater, there are loads of options. Companies near and far are bringing exciting work to stages all over the region; no matter where you might be, there’s a good chance that you’ve got some excellent theater happening nearby.

Some of these companies are stalwarts of the scene, having been around for decades. Others are relative newcomers, bringing a new energy to the proceedings. Bangor, Belfast, Bar Harbor – they’ve all got something for you; Orono and Ellsworth and Stonington too.

It’s well worth your time to experience some of what our area’s summer stages have to offer. Here’s a look at just some of what’s to come.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018 14:13

ImprovAcadia: 15 years of fun

Written by Allen Adams

BAR HARBOR - Improvisational comedy is one of the ultimate high-wire acts in the entertainment realm. Watching as a group of quick-thinking, quicker-witted actors strive to generate engaging performances on the fly can be both exhilarating and exhausting when improv is good, it can be very good, but when it’s bad? It’s BAD.

However, when it comes to the work being done by ImprovAcadia, a short-form improv theater just beginning its 15th season at 15 Cottage Street in Bar Harbor, you’ll never have to worry about the latter. This is a group that is inevitably powered by speed and smarts, bringing some of the best improv you’re likely to see anywhere right into our own backyard.

“A book is a dream you hold in your hands.” – Neil Gaiman

PBS is underway on its quest to determine America’s favorite book.

“The Great American Read” is a months-long TV series airing on PBS. It’s an effort to celebrate and explore the joy of reading by way of an expert-curated list of American’s best-loved novels. It’s about how and why these beloved works were created … and why we feel the connections to them we do.

Journey keyboardist and songwriter Jonathan Cain says the perfect opening for his long-awaited memoir, “Don’t Stop Believin’: The Man, the Band, and the Song that Inspired Generations” (Zondervan/Harper Collins), arrived when his band received a richly deserved, long overdue accolade in April 2017.

“The opening is the most important part of a memoir,” Cain told me during an interview for BIG 104 FM and The Maine Edge. “Those first three chapters are so important for setting the stage. Once Journey was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I had my opening. I’m glad that I had that experience because I don’t think it would have been the same book without it.”

A band that had achieved mega-success more than a quarter-century before the Rock Hall induction, Journey had been continually snubbed by the nominating committee – that is until they appeared on an online fan vote ballot. Journey’s loyal and passionate audience – the same one responsible for the sale of nearly 50 million of the band’s albums in the U.S. - responded overwhelmingly.

“Don’t Stop Believin’” is a revealing, inspiring and fast-moving account of Cain’s life in and out of music.

Tuesday, 08 May 2018 14:49

All Roads Music Festival returns to Belfast

Written by Allen Adams

BELFAST – A multitude of Maine’s musical roads are converging once again.

The All Roads Music Festival is returning to Belfast on May 19, bringing one of the biggest collections of Maine musical talent into one place for one jam-packed day of celebration. Spread across five different stages in four different venues, All Roads is playing host to some two dozen bands and individual artists, all devoted to putting what our state’s music scene has to offer.

There will be music from across all genres – whatever you like, you’re almost certainly going to be able to find it on one festival stage or another. In addition, All Roads is playing host to the always-wildly-successful Maine Songwriters Circle, where half-a-dozen talented songwriters get together and share a little of their collected collective wisdom, and a panel discussion on Maine women in music.

For tickets, a full schedule or more information about the festival, visit the All Roads website at www.allroadsmusicfest.org.

Tuesday, 01 May 2018 16:02

Summer movies: 18 for 2018

Written by Allen Adams

We begin this annual tradition as we always do, which is with the caveat that it seems a bit silly to be writing a summer movie preview so far in advance of summer.

Still, Hollywood has extended the season, turning the beginning of May into our summer starting point, so if we’re going to catalog the blockbusters, then it has to be from here.

Although if we’re going to be real about it, the biggest movie of the year has already happened – “Avengers: Infinity War” just had the biggest box office opening since, well … ever. And hey – you can check out my review right in this very edition.

But while the biggest may have already landed, there’s still plenty to be excited about.

2018 has plenty of what we’ve come to expect from blockbuster season -  a bunch of sequels and a handful of remake/reboot-type offerings and some superheroes, along with some animated fare and a smattering of comedies. It’s not like we don’t know how it works.

Honestly, there’s a LOT of what we’ve seen before. But hey – familiarity isn’t always a bad thing. Let’s have a look at what the summer of 2018 has to offer.

(Please note: this not a list of the 18 best films, but rather an attempt at a representative sample of what’s coming. There are movies that I expect to love that aren’t here and movies I expect to loathe that are. Still, it looks like there’s something for everyone.)

Tuesday, 24 April 2018 15:53

“Pandemonium!” with The Crown Vics!

Written by Mike Dow

It’s a typical Saturday night outside a busy music venue in a town somewhere in northern New England. If you close your eyes, you hear a disparate conglomeration of sound. The blast of a distant car horn mingles with typical night-sounds of crickets, shuffling feet and brief snatches of barely-heard conversations coming from inside.

We’re past the halfway point of National Poetry Month, but there’s still plenty of time to celebrate the art of verse. Specifically, the poetic voices of the State of Maine.

National Poetry Month began back in 1996; 2018 marks the 22nd year of the celebration. Introduced by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. Every year, more and more events spring up like April flowers to perpetuate the celebratory nature of NPD.

For our part here at The Maine Edge, we’d like to offer up a brief look at the roster of poets who have held the position of Poet Laureate for the state of Maine, including excerpts from a past conversation with Stuart Kestenbaum, our current Poet Laureate.

North Carolina-based Steep Canyon Rangers have established themselves as one of America’s preeminent bluegrass bands and they’ve done it through a combination of shared vision, a love for the form and a persistent drive to evolve.

The Grammy-winning sextet, known for their ability to tailor a show for any type of venue, says they’re ready to present their “performing arts” face when they grace the stage of Orono’s Collins Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, April 21.

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