Admin

BANGOR – One of the region’s most steadfast and beloved cultural institutions is gearing up to get back onstage.

Penobscot Theatre Company is on the verge of getting back to live, in-person theatre. The company announced their upcoming season with a virtual town hall event last month, but now that we’re approaching that first opening night, it seemed appropriate to do a full-on season preview.

While PTC did a wonderful job of finding ways to pivot into the digital realm last season, crafting a thoughtful and high-quality season in “Digitus Theatrum” that found ways to maneuver around the multitude of obstacles raised by the circumstances of the pandemic, there’s no question that they – and theatre lovers in Bangor and beyond – are eager to take their seats at the Bangor Opera House and be transported by the special magic of live performance.

This new season marks the company’s 48th, if you can believe it. For nearly half a century, Penobscot Theatre Company has been a cultural cornerstone for the region, the northeasternmost professional theatre company in the United States. It is a foundational piece of our area’s creative fabric, one of the many incredible organizations that bring the arts to life in this place that we call home.

There’s a lot of great stuff coming. From a beloved holiday classic to a Maine playwright’s premiere, from a pair of one-woman shows to a romantic two-hander to a big, bold musical, PTC has put together a collection of offerings that will feature something for just about every theatregoer out there.

And there have been changes in the organization as well, the biggest being the ascension of Tricia A. Hobbs, longtime PTC staff member, to the position of Acting Artistic Director of the company following the departure of previous Artistic Director Bari Newport earlier this year. Hobbs has worn numerous hats during her time at PTC – she has worked as a scenic designer and director, as well as serving as production manager and technical director. Her hands-on experience with so many facets of the theatrical experience make her a worthy choice to steer the ship during this turbulent time.

Now, this is a much later kickoff to the season than we usually see from PTC, with the first show opening in mid-November rather than early September. Rather than rush the process, the team opted to take careful steps as they moved forward, taking into account still-shifting situations. That said, these folks are definitely ready to get back to it.

So what should people expect? I spoke to Hobbs and PTC Executive Director Jen Shepard about what the upcoming season will hold – both in terms of what audiences will see and how they will experience it.

Published in Cover Story
Monday, 24 May 2021 15:31

Bari Newport bids goodbye to Bangor

BANGOR – One of the Bangor area’s artistic stalwarts is saying goodbye.

Bari Newport, longtime artistic director of Penobscot Theatre Company, is moving on after nine seasons at the PTC helm. She will be continuing her artistic journey at GableStage in Miami, Florida, assuming the mantle of producing artistic director at the company.

Over the course of her tenure at PTC, Newport has been at the forefront of the steady growth of the region’s creative culture. The company has long been a foundational piece of the artistic fabric of the area; under her stewardship, the already outsized presence of the company continued to grow.

The company has thrived under her leadership. She was a major part of the ongoing effort to renovate the interior of the Bangor Opera House, updating the space in ways beneficial to both comfort and aesthetics. It was also on her watch that the company purchased and renovated the former firehouse that would become the combination scene/costume shop known colloquially as “the Theatre Factory.”

And of course, there’s the work itself.

Putting together a cohesive season for a regional theatre is no small task, but Newport has assembled some excellent ones during her time here. Finding the balance between artistic challenge and aesthetic spectacle, she was able to build seasons that provided broad appeal for audiences and broad opportunities for actors both near and far.

(In the interest of full disclosure, this is probably where we should note that the writer of this piece has a longstanding relationship with Penobscot Theatre Company and with Bari Newport. I could sit here and tell you that I’m going to remain unbiased, but that would be a lie. PTC is an important place to me and Bari is my friend; this story will reflect both of those truths.)

Published in Cover Story

BANGOR/ATLANTA – A lovely tale of one woman’s life as reflected through a poetic namesake is currently available from Penobscot Theatre Company.

“Je Ne Suis Pas Evangeline” (or, “I Am Not Evangeline”) is the latest and last installment in PTC’s ongoing Digitus Theatrum season. It’s a collaborative effort with the Atlanta-based Théâtre du Rêve, a company devoted to bringing the French language and Francophone culture to the American stage. Single household streaming tickets are available at the PTC website at www.penobscottheatre.org; the show runs through May 9.

Inspired by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1847 poem “Evangeline, a Tale of Acadie,” which tells the tale of a young Acadian woman who dedicates her life to tracking down her lost love following the tragic displacement of the Acadian people at the hands of the British in the mid-18th century, “Je Ne Suis Pas Evangeline” is an exploration of the nature of identity, both in terms of our perception of ourselves and the perception the world has of us.

Performed in both English and French, it’s driven by a tour de force performance courtesy of Carolyn Cook, the founder and artistic director of Théâtre du Rêve, along with a handful of quietly compelling reenactments.

Published in Style

BANGOR – A hilarious whodunit is coming your way courtesy of Penobscot Theatre Company!

PTC continues their innovative and industrious response to the current circumstances with their presentation of “Who Killed Zolan Mize?” The latest entry in the theatre’s ongoing Digitus Theatrum mainstage season, it’s an interactive murder mystery that will be livestreaming beginning on March 11 and running through April 3. To purchase a link or to find more information, visit the PTC website at wwws.penobscottheatre.org or call the box office at 942-3333.

The show is the brainchild of Rachel and Brendan Powers, a married pair of Florida-based actors who are likely familiar to area audiences; both have graced the Bangor Opera House stage in recent years – Rachel in the theatre’s 2018 production of Lindsey Ferrentino’s “Ugly Lies the Bone” and Brendan in both Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” (2014) and Tracy Letts’s “August: Osage County” (2015).

“Who Killed Zolan Mize?” lets audiences engage in the fun as they watch a pair of detectives question six quirky suspects. Viewers are invited to share ideas and observations with their fellow detectives along the way in the “Clues Journal,” as well as joining into a series of in-home scavenger hunts. Once all the evidence is in, audience members share their thoughts on the case with the detectives and a vote is held. The suspect with the most votes wins (or loses, I suppose, depending on your perspective).

Following each performance will be a post-show talkback. This is a chance for audiences to ask Rachel and Brendan any questions they may have, both about the show and about the pair’s own experiences in the theatre and screen acting industries.

(A personal note: having worked with both Rachel and Brendan on shows in the past, I can vouch for the fact that they are not only talented and tremendously knowledgeable, but also among the kindest, most genuine folks you’re ever likely to find. If you see the show, stick around – you’ll enjoy what they have to say, whatever that winds up being.)

Published in Cover Story

BANGOR – Penobscot Theatre Company is going to the dogs.

As part of the theatre’s ongoing Digitus Theatrum season, PTC is presenting “The Dog Operas,” a series of three streaming performances set to roll out over the coming weeks. These pieces are the result of a lengthy canine/human collaboration, a multi-species team-up the likes of which the theatre world has never seen.

The first dog opera – “The Barker of Seville” – premiered on March 2. Subsequent operas – “Tosca the Ball” and “Dog Giovanni” – will become available on April 6 and May 4, respectively. Household tickets for all three “pupperas” are $40; the rate for PTC subscribers is $35. These tickets can be purchased through the PTC website at www.penobscottheatre.org or by calling the box office at 942-3333.

I should probably introduce myself. My name is Stella. I’m a Carolina dog whose age is none of your beeswax. My dad Allen is the editor of The Maine Edge. He knew that he wanted something special for this story, but he wasn’t sure what to do. Typical human, right? I let him try to work it out for himself for a while, but when it became clear how clueless he was, I finally gave him a nudge.

Now, this isn’t my usual beat. My primary gig has been working with my dad on the ongoing football picks feature “Kibbles & Picks” – I haven’t really done much in the way of arts coverage, but I figured if my dad can manage it, how hard can it be?

Of course, dog reporting is considerably different than human reporting. Humans need to have all these face-to-face conversations and spend all kinds of time staring at glowing rectangles. Not us canines – I just went for a walk and sent a couple of pee-mails. Word spreads pretty quickly in the doggie community, so it was just a matter of hours before I got some responses – some via howl, others simply through pee-mail responses (although someone – I’m not going to say who – did a pee-ply all that was just a nightmare to sift through).

Published in Buzz

BANGOR - A little rocket science keeps theatre alive. 

Penobscot Theatre Company continues to innovate to fulfill its artistic mission in the face of the pandemic. “Flyin’ Solo,” the latest offering in the company’s “Digitus Theatrum” 47th season, combines original works and technical know-how to make possible a live-to-your-home production.  

Published in Style

BANGOR – A Dickensian classic has been given a whole new look courtesy of a collaboration between Penobscot Theatre Company and Atlanta’s The Object Group.

“A Christmas Carol” is part of PTC’s Digitus Theatrum season, a filmed experience that features iconic local actor Ken Stack not just reprising his beloved portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge, but voicing all of the characters in the Dickens original via his own adaptation of the story. All this is brought to life via the stylized, intricate puppets and puppetry of The Object Group as directed by Michael Haverty.

It’s a visually striking production, with a unique aesthetic that renders it quite unlike any other version of “A Christmas Carol” that you’ve seen. It balances the traditional tone of the story with explorations of both the spookiness and silliness inherent to the tale. A household link – viewable as many times as you like – can be purchased by going to PTC’s website at www.penobscottheatre.org or by contacting the box office at 942-3333.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 16 December 2020 13:30

‘Deck the Balls’ with wows of folly

BANGOR – As part of their holiday bill of fare, Penobscot Theatre Company is offering an adults-only show inspired by a seasonal classic.

PTC is working in tandem with Bar Harbor’s ImprovAcadia to present “Deck the Balls,” an interactive online improv performance inspired by the beloved Frank Capra film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” as part of their Digitus Theatrum season. IA’s owners and co-founders Jen Shepard and Larrance Fingerhut are joined by longtime IA performer Mike Shreeman for a full improv comedy show built on the foundation provided by the film. The show runs through December 27; tickets and more information are available at the PTC website (www.penobscottheatre.org) or by calling the box office at 942-3333.

It’s important to note that this show is created live and in the moment every night. This is not a recorded performance; each night, Jen, Larrance and Mike create a brand-new comedy show, one driven by different ideas, different characters … different everything. The only things that remain the same are the performers and the fundamental inspiration. The rest is up to them … and you.

Published in Style

BANGOR – Penobscot Theatre’s latest production is something quite different, a phantasmagoric feast … for the ears.

The first production as part of Digitus Theatrum, PTC’s all-digital season, is “Ghost Postcards from Maine,” an original audio experience featuring five new tales of terror from Maine writers and brought to life by some of your PTC favorites. The streaming show is available through November 8 and is available at www.penobscottheatre.org or by contacting their box office at 942-3333.

The theatre commissioned five writers – Travis Baker, Sam Collier, Carrie Jones, Michael Kimball and Robin Clifford Wood – to create new stories inspired by some of Maine’s ghostly legends. These stories run the thematic and stylistic gamut, each lending a unique perspective on some of our state’s scariest stories. Some will likely be familiar, while others will be new to you, but regardless, the end product here is an audio experience unlike anything you’ve ever heard, a ghoulishly good time for this Halloween season.

Published in Buzz

BANGOR – Adapt. Adapt. Adapt.

That’s what so many performing arts organizations have had to do over the past few months. The pandemic has completely upended the model, leaving thousands of people scrambling to figure out how to go forward in this new landscape.

And that’s what Penobscot Theatre has done: Adapt.

PTC has officially announced their 47th season. Titled “Digitus Theatrum,” the 2020-21 slate was shared with the public by Producing Artistic Director Bari Newport via a virtual town hall event held Aug. 17. It is the most unique schedule in the history of the company, a collection of online offerings that are unlike anything many theatregoers have ever seen.

From a haunted audio adventure to a holiday puppet extravaganza, from a homegrown collection of solo works to an avant-garde theatrical adventure, Digitus Theatrum isn’t the theatre to which we are accustomed. It is something different, a collection of ideas that is somehow both pragmatic and ambitious.

PTC will be offering a variety of subscriptions and a wealth of programming for audiences of all ages over the course of the season, with their mainstage bill of fare enhanced by a variety of new and different kinds of creative entertainment. For information about ticket and subscription options, contact the PTC box office at 942-3333 or visit the theatre’s website at www.penobscottheatre.org.

Published in Cover Story
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Next > End >>
Page 1 of 9

Advertisements

The Maine Edge. All rights reserved. Privacy policy. Terms & Conditions.

Website CMS and Development by Links Online Marketing, LLC, Bangor Maine