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Tuesday, 18 June 2019 19:19

Take a chance on PTC - ‘Mamma Mia!’

BANGOR – There’s a whole lot of fun in the sun happening at the Bangor Opera House these days, a wealth of dreams and dancing queens.

Penobscot Theatre Company’s latest production – the final one of their 46th season – is the musical “Mamma Mia!” It’s a jukebox musical built on the tremendous catalog of 1970s Swedish pop supergroup ABBA, with book by Catherine Johnson. This production – directed and choreographed by Amiee Turner, with music direction by Phil Burns – runs through July 14 at the Bangor Opera House.

It’s the story of a young woman on the verge of getting married who is hoping to get a better sense of who she herself is by learning more about her history – specifically, who her father is, something her free-spirited and hard-working mother never told her. It’s about how powerful love can be … and what it means to allow yourself to feel it, no matter how much time may have passed.

It’s a lovely (albeit a tough thin) story, but the real highlights are the singing and the dancing – and as far as those are concerned, PTC’s production is pure dynamite. It is one of the biggest, brightest shows to grace this stage in some time, shiny and sweet and downright spectacular.

Published in Style
Wednesday, 08 May 2019 11:34

Family tries – ‘I Remember Mama’

BANGOR – A classic story about family life in the early 20th century is playing out on stage here in Bangor.

Bangor Community Theatre is presenting John van Druten’s “I Remember Mama” at the Bangor Grange Hall. Directed by Irene Dennis, the production runs through May 12.

Adapted from the book “Mama’s Bank Account” by Kathryn Forbes, it’s the story of the Hanson family living in San Francisco in the year 1910. Viewed through the eyes of one of the younger Hansons – one of the family’s first generation of native Americans – it’s a tale of the tight embrace of family ties, of what it means to have and to want, of the American Dream.

Published in Style
Wednesday, 10 April 2019 12:47

Follow the yellow brick road to Ellsworth

ELLSWORTH - There's no place like the Grand. There's no place like the Grand. There's no place like the Grand.

The Grand is bringing the land of Oz to downtown Ellsworth with their production of the musical version of “The Wizard of Oz,” with book by Thomas Meehan and music and lyrics by Charles Strouse. The beloved classic will be running through April 14. For tickets and/or more information, you can visit The Grand’s website at www.grandonline.org or call (207) 667-9500.

There are a handful of classic tales that are almost universally beloved; “The Wizard of Oz” likely resides near the very top of that list. The film version of the story is iconic, but not everyone has had a chance to experience that magic live and in person. Thanks to the folks at the Grand, you can do just that.

And you’ll definitely have some fun if you do.

Published in Style

BANGOR – An unforgettable tale of pathos and pain, humor and heart, is gracing the Ten Bucks Theatre stage.

“The Elephant Man,” written by Bernard Pomerance and directed by Julie Arnold Lisnet, is running at the new Ten Bucks space located in the Bangor Mall. Performances of the show run through April 7.

It’s based on the true story of John Merrick, a man living in London in the Victorian Era who was afflicted with a malady that resulted in drastic deformation of his body. Despite bleak beginnings, Merrick eventually encountered a benefactor that allowed him to experience life beyond the limitations imposed upon him by his disorder.

It’s a tragic tale, to be sure, but one that also features moments of uplift and hope. Through keen curiosity and relentless gentleness, Merrick manages to find a home – a home where he is finally able to be spoken to, rather than gaped at.

Published in Style
Wednesday, 16 January 2019 14:13

Wake up Maggie – ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’

ORONO – A classic of the American stage from one of the 20th century’s greatest playwrights is currently in Orono – a sultry Southern night to warm audiences caught in the grip of a bracing Maine January.

The Orono-based True North Theatre is presenting the Tennessee Williams masterpiece “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” at the Cyrus Pavilion Theater on the University of Maine campus. Directed by TNT artistic director Angela Bonacasa, the show runs through January 20.

This piece – a personal favorite of Williams that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1955 – is a magnificent deconstruction of a Southern family in crisis. Insularity and infighting, fault-finding and favoritism – audiences bear witness to it all as some of the most iconic characters in American theater history crawl and sprawl across the stage.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 19 December 2018 13:43

Cheer and loathing in Santaland

BANGOR – You’ve heard about the good elf. Now, it’s time to check out the bad elf. His name is Crumpet and he is more snark than sugar.

Penobscot Theatre Company is presenting the one-man show “The Santaland Diaries,” written by David Sedaris, at the Bangor Arts Exchange. The show – starring Dominick Varney – runs through Dec. 30 at BAE; for tickets or more info, you can contact the PTC box office at 942-3333.

It ain’t easy being holly jolly. Perhaps the Christmas season is starting to wear on you. Maybe you’ve had your fill of joyfulness and cheer and all that other Yuletide stuff. If so, then taking a trip with Crumpet to Santaland might be just the thing for you.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 12 December 2018 16:17

PTC’s latest brimming with ‘Elf’-confidence

BANGOR – There’s a new elf in town – and good luck keeping him on a shelf.

Penobscot Theatre Company’s latest holiday production is “Elf: The Musical,” based on the Will Ferrell film of the same name, with book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin, lyrics by Chad Beguelin and music by Matthew Sklar. This production, directed and choregraphed by Ethan Paulini with music direction by Larrance Fingerhut, runs at the Bangor Opera House through December 30.

It’s a madcap romp that follows a young man who ventures forth on a journey to find out who he really is, leaving behind an idyllic life at the North Pole to track down his father and discover just where he might fit in the wider world. It is a journey for which he is both utterly ill-equipped and uniquely well-suited – figuratively and literally.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 12 December 2018 16:07

Celebrating a Christmas classic’s return

BANGOR – A beloved holiday classic returned to the Bangor stage recently.

Ten Bucks Theatre Company presented a staged reading of the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol” at the Bangor Arts Exchange December 7-9.

There’s no need for synopsis here; everyone is familiar with the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the spirits that helped turn him from a hard-hearted miser into a man with goodwill toward all his fellow man. It’s one of the most beloved Christmas stories in the literary canon.

As a rule, I don’t review performances such as this one, shows that are already fully in the rearview mirror before we go to print. But in this particular case, I'm making an exception. The reason?

Ken Stack.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 05 December 2018 14:48

Season’s greetings from area stages

If your holiday tradition involves taking in a show, you’re in luck – performances abound.

Area performing arts groups are bringing a wealth of holiday shows to local stages over the coming weeks. From longstanding traditions to fun new experiences to beloved classics, all manner of Yuletide fun will be treading the boards. No matter what kind of showgoing experience you’re looking for this season, you’ll be able to find it.

Published in Happenings
Wednesday, 14 November 2018 12:34

‘The Curious Savage’ a satisfying surprise

ORONO – There are some curious goings-on currently afoot at the University of Maine.

UMaine’s School of Performing Arts is presenting John Patrick’s classic 1950 comedy “The Curious Savage.” The production, directed by Julie Arnold Lisnet, is taking place at Hauck Auditorium on the University of Maine campus; the show runs through November 18.

The show tells the story of a widowed woman whose deceased husband placed a lot of money in her care – money that her unpleasant stepchildren would like to get their hands on. They’re willing to go so far as to have her committed, but what they don’t count on is the strength and smarts of their stepmother – or the help she might find in unexpected places.

Published in Style
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