The Good Theater launches its sixteenth season with a beautifully produced, bittersweet, wise, and winsome play by Laura Eason, Sex with Strangers. Despite its suggestive title, the two-character drama is not a steamy expos of passion, but rather a thoughtful exploration of the complicated world of modern relationships, the conflicting demands of attraction and affection with career and creative identity.Photo Flash: BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON at Madhouse Theatre September 26, 2017
Mad Horse Theatre in South Portland opened its 2017-2018 with another edgy, brilliant production that speaks to the company's reputation for crafting the unusual and provocative with consummate skill. That they had already programmed the 2009 Off-Broadway hit, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson before the tragic and untimely death on September 9th of its composer-lyricist Michael Friedman, only added impact to a production that is angry, powerful, funny, and hugely contemporaneous.BWW Review: Lady Day and Her Demons September 23, 2017
Portland Stage opens its 44th season with an intense production of Lanie Robertson's exploration of the tortured inner life of songstress Billie Holiday, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill. Essentially a ninety-minute dramatic monologue, the play with music is a virtuoso vehicle for the singer-actress in the title role. Portland Stage's attractive, expressive production captures all the pathos of Holliday's life, as well as the incomparable beauty of her music making.BWW Video Flash: Theatre Miniatures # 5 Charis Leos August 28, 2017
Actress, singer, comedienne extraordinaire Charis Leos has performed over one hundred roles on more than twenty-eight leading regional theaters across America. Known as a brilliant and endearing character actress with a powerful voice, she has made a name for herself in major roles like Rose in Gypsy, Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, Jolene in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Louise in Always Patsy Cline, and countless more parts that speak to her versatility and charisma. While Leos performs all over the country, Maine holds a special place in her heart.BWW Review: MSMT Closes Its Season with Another First August 23, 2017
Just when you thought the excitement of the Maine State Music Theatre season was drawing inevitably to a close, the company delivered one last smashing surprise of an evening: its first free concert on the Brunswick Mall. Playing to a huge crowd that spanned some four blocks of the town green on a perfect late summer evening, MSMT performed a program of highlights from its 2017 repertoire. Partnering with the Brunswick Downtown Association and receiving generous funding from the Maine Arts Commission, the company launched yet another of its many outreach projects designed to bring Broadway to Brunswick.BWW Review: A Place More Magical Than Dreams: MSMT's ALICE IN WONDERLAND Captivates Young and Old August 21, 2017
In the opening scene of Marc Robin and Curt Dale Clark's Alice in Wonderland, Alice sings of her notion of Wonderland - 'a place where nonsense fills the air, a place more magical than dreams' - and in MSMT's Theatre for Young Audiences' original musical version of this classic, witty nonsense is deliciously blended with flights of imagination to create the perfect fantasy that speaks to audiences of all ages.BWW Review: As Time Goes By: THE ALL NIGHT STRUT Revives Music and Memories August 19, 2017
The memories are in the music, and Maine State Music Theatre and Portland Stage's latest co-production struts, sizzles smiles, and sparkles with energy and latent emotion. Classy, funny, lively, touching, vocally and instrumentally beautiful, this tightly constructed revue, The All Night Strut, offers a journey to an era where the world was in turmoil, time moved more slowly, hearts were worn on sleeves, and swing was the thing. Performed in a stylish production with a quartet of stunning soloists and a trio of fine musicians, this soundtrack of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s tells its story in song and dance and offers theatre-goers a wholly satisfying and warmly memorable experience.Photo Coverage: First Look at THE ALL NIGHT STRUT in Portland August 17, 2017
"Newsies is a hit wherever you take it; it had a highly successful Broadway run and national tour and now in these first regional productions, it is the kind of show that brings people from all over to see it again and again. It reaches so many people with its great music and dance and inspiring story. It's a brilliant piece of theatre, and I am honored to be a part of it."Video: THE ALL NIGHT STRUT in Portland August 16, 2017
Maine State Music Theatre and Portland Stage have joined forces for the second year to present a co-production at Portland Stage of THE ALL NIGHT STRUT. This classy, swinging, moving soundtrack of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s offers a nostalgic step back into time with beloved songs of the Depression, WWII, and post war America,performed by Curt Dale Clark, Missy Dowse, Bryant Martin, and Esther Stilwell. Ed Reichert at the piano leads the band in this lively, warm, funny, and musically memorable evening.BWW Review: The Taffetas Sing the Soundtrack of a Sweeter, Kinder Time August 14, 2017
One of the many missions of theatre is to entertain, to provide a fantasy escape from the often harsh realities of our contemporary world, and given the horrifying headlines of late, the delightful confection that is The Taffetas offers a welcome retreat into nostalgia for an era that was - at least as we remember it - surely sweeter, simpler, gentler. Rick Lewis' revue imagines a quartet of winsome, homespun singing sisters from Muncie, Indiana, who take the audience on a musical journey through the 'fabulous fifties' at the same time that they offer a glimpse into the lives and dreams of four young women of the era. The result is a polished, stylish, tongue-in-cheek romp that leaves the audience joyful, amused, and more than a little envious of a time gone by.BWW Review: RAGTIME Explodes in Rhythm and Rhyme August 14, 2017
In a bold, beautiful, and powerful production of Ragtime, the Ogunquit Playhouse gives its audience a compelling reminder that, as E. I. Doctorow once said, 'history is the present.' The 1996 musical with book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, and lyrics by Lyn Ahrens resonates perhaps even more strongly today than it did then with its raw grappling with the issues of race, prejudice, hope and violence and the struggle to define and achieve the American dream. Set in the volatile melting pot of pre- World War I America with its booming industrialization, the influx of vast waves of immigrants, and the social norms challenged by tenuous race relations, Ragtime weaves together the stories of three very different families as each seeks to find his place in the American tapestry.BWW Review: NEWSIES Grabs Headlines at MSMT August 11, 2017
In a season that continues to top itself, one show after the other, Maine State Music Theatre's fourth and final main stage production of Disney's Newsies is an epic accomplishment for the company and one that firmly establishes it as one of the finest regional theatres in the country. As one of only three companies to get the regional rights to this mega Broadway hit, MSMT has mounted a thrilling, large scale production that is an electrifying, heart wrenching, and profoundly uplifting theatrical experience that will leave you in what Artistic Director Curt Dale Clark has called a state of ecstatic exhaustion.BWW Interview: When the Fun Was the Music: MSMT and Portland Stage's Co-Production of THE ALL NIGHT STRUT August 9, 2017
"The All Night Strut will transport you to a time when life was happier, and the fun was the music. This show will prove that it is still about the music. The audience will go nuts for the production; they will eat it alive and want more and more of it."
Curt Dale Clark knows from whence he speaks. The actor, director, author, and Artistic Director of Maine State Music Theatre has had the benefit of performing this songbook of the1930s,1940s, and 1950s in four prior productions, and he is confident that Maine audiences are going to love the production. "It is similar to The Irish," he says of last year's award-winning, sold-out collaboration, Frank McCourt's play The Irish and How They Got That Way, "in that the footprint exists for the show. Different actors populate it each time, but the end result is always the same. It is a huge hit!"BWW Interview: A Woman Standing Up in a Man's World: Kate Fahrner in NEWSIES August 7, 2017
She a woman standing up in a man's world, and she won't take no for an answer, Kate Farhner says admiringly of her current role in Maine State Music Theatre's new production of Disney's Newsies. Katherine is one of the principal storytellers in the show, and [as a writer], she is unique because she is a woman modeling herself after a man.
The actress who created a sensation last season as Eva Peron returns to the Pickard Theater to work once again with director/choreographer Marc Robin and her Evita co-star Matt Farcher. Farhner recounts how she came to be cast as the young journalist, Katherine Plumber, who becomes involved with strike leader, Jack Kelly, and helps the newsboys win their objectives. I had gone in to audition for Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls, and Marc Robin asked me if I knew Katherine's song Watch What Happens. I didn't, but I prepared it and sang it for them at the callback. When Matt walked in, I knew this was going to be a dream to play this part. We didn't get to interact much in Evita, but we do as Katherine and Jack, and there is a little more of ourselves in these roles.BWW Interview: From Argentina to the Streets Of New York: Matt Farcher Returns to MSMT August 5, 2017
'It has been a very cool year for me!' Matt Farcher exclaims, as he reminisces about the last twelve months since he made his Maine State Music Theatre debut as Che Guevara in Evita last summer. The actor, who will star as Jack Kelly in the upcoming production of Disney's Newsies that begins performances at Brunswick's Pickard Theater August 9, has had a very busy and artistically stimulating year - 'working back to back shows for most of the time' - appearing as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast and in his role debut as Jack Kelly at the Fulton Theatre in Lancaster, PA.Photo Coverage: MSMT's The Who's TOMMY August 1, 2017
Midway through the first act of The Who's Tommy, the young protagonist invites his mates and listeners to ride together on his amazing journey. And truly, Maine State Music Theatre's production of the Pete Townshend/DesMcAnuff musical, seen for two performances only at the Pickard Theater July 31 offers its audience just that - a riveting, often raw, perennially relevant, piercingly beautiful account of a boy's painful but ultimately uplifting journey through the darker side of human experience and into the light.
The rarely staged 1992 musical version based on the 1969 concept album and rock opera with its sung-through score, narrative told largely in dance, and its sometimes disturbing material poses significant challenges to any company, but MSMT once again proves its artistic mettle. Under the inspired direction of Curt Dale Clark, with the complex choreography of Raymond Marc Dumont and the rousing musical direction of Patrick Fanning, this company of young artists marshals its considerable talents to tackle the ambitious project with energy, passion, and complete professionalism.BWW Review: Tension-Filled, Tempestuous OTHELLO at TAM July 31, 2017
In a spare, tautly sculpted performance of Shakespeare's classic tragedy of deceit and jealousy, The Theater at Monmouth's offers a gripping, tension-filled and tempestuous account of Shakespeare's Othello. Staged in simple contemporary dress with a strong cast, the production bears witness to the timelessness of the tale.