"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.BWW Interview: We Go Together: GREASE Ensemble Discusses Challenges and Camaraderie July 28, 2017
'We are all there for each other,' Kevin Nietzel asserts, affirming the bond that is making Maine State Music Theatre's Grease so electric.
'It is very rewarding,' adds Neil Starkenberg, MSMT's Danny Zuko.
Co-star Chelsea Williams, who plays Sandy to Starkenberg's Danny, continues the thought: 'Neil and I have had conversations about how we could do this show for a really long time. It is so much fun, and I think that must be obvious to the audience. The energy is so palpable that it is a special joy to work that hard every night. Everyone is having the time of his life!'
These three actors together with principals Gerrianne Perez (Rizzo), Charis Leos (Miss Lynch), Costume Designer Travis M. Grant, and MSMT Artistic Director Curt Dale Clark all joined BWW's Maine editor Carla Maria Verdino-Sullwold for the third panel discussion in the theatre's Peek Behind the Curtain series held each summer at Curtis Memorial Library. In an especially lively and far-ranging conversation that highlighted not only the challenges but also the camaraderie of this ensemble, the panel and capacity audience explored the history, characters, and production process for MSMT's summer mega hit.BWW Review: Electrifying Joy Ride, GREASE Rocks MSMT Stage July 21, 2017
Rock'n roll, teen rebellion, a collection of quirky, lovable characters, and a musical score seared into the American cultural fabric - all these come together in a breathless and breathtaking joy ride that pulsates with electrifying energy in Maine State Music Theatre's third main stage show, Grease. The Jim Jacobs/Warren Casey musical, which reminisces nostalgically about the joyful, naughty, unforgettable days of senior year in mythical Rydell High in 1959, has seen numerous permutations since its original production as an edgy, raunchy musical play called Vaseline in 1971, to its Broadway debut in 1972 and through various film versions including the iconic 1978 movie starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Here in its Broadway version, amplified with a number of the favorite songs from the movie, MSMT has created a high-flying confection that is a valentine to a simpler era with just the right sparks of sass and sweetness that combine for an irresistibly engaging evening that is sure to prove the summer theatre scene's mega hit.BWW Interview: 'I Feel Most Myself When I Am Acting': A Conversation with GREASE's Chelsea Williams July 18, 2017
'I think other people first recognized that I was geared to being a performer. I didn't necessarily recognize that myself, but when I performed in my first musical in high school, I suddenly said to myself 'Nothing else makes me feel like this. I felt these amazing vibrations between me and the audience and me and the rest of the people on stage; I felt connected to the world - more like my true self myself that I had ever felt before, and that's how I knew.'
Chelsea Williams is talking about discovering her vocation as an actress and the creative journey which has taken her to the nation's leading theatres. This July and August the Windham, Maine, native returns to her home state to play Sandy in Maine State Music Theatre's production of Grease, which begins its run at the Pickard Theater on July 19. Williams made her MSMT debut last summer as Sophie in MSMT's blockbuster hit, Mamma Mia!, reprising the role that constituted her big career breakthrough. Like Mamma Mia!, Grease is blessed with an unforgettable score and a story that is both endearing and totally joyous, and the new MSMT production in which Williams stars promises to be the mega hit of the company's summer season.BWW Interview: A Reputation to Protect: Neil Starkenberg Stars as MSMT's Danny Zuko July 16, 2017
'I imagine that Danny is the youngest in a family of boys, and he feels he has to live up to the name Zuko at Rydell High. In the movie he says 'I've got a reputation to protect,' and I think that goes a long way to explaining his behavior.'
Neil Starkenberg is commenting on his role debut in Maine State Music Theatre's upcoming production of Grease, which begins a run at the Pickard Theater on July 19. For the twenty-eight year-old actor, the iconic part of the fifties greaser, Danny Zuko, is a dream come true, and Starkenberg has spent a great deal of time preparing for the part.BWW Review: BLUEBERRIES, BROADWAY, AND BRIAN: Storytelling at Its Best July 14, 2017
'There have been so many musical threads throughout my life ever since I was a little guy. Music was something I did early on. I would listen to my dad, who had a beautiful voice, sing, and together we would listen to his vinyl record collection. I was always drawn to music written before I was born. There is something about the vulnerability, the universality, and the craft of earlier music that has always attracted me.'
The speaker is Peter Oyloe who is touring with The Hank Band, his concert recreation of the music of the legendary folk/country western singer. Oyloe and the band's most recent gig was to open Maine State Music Theatre's 2017 Monday concert series with two virtually sold out performances of Hank Williams' music at Brunswick's Pickard Theater on July 10th. In conversation with Broadway World in the panoramic setting of a private reception in the band's honor on scenic Mere Point, Oyloe seems exceptionally soft spoken, but a few hours later when he takes the stage as Hank Williams, he transforms himself into the powerhouse singer Williams was. It is a role that has changed his life, Oyloe says, and a connection that now runs deeply as one of the primary threads in his own musical tapestry.BWW Review: Sprightly and Sparkling Moliere's LEARNED LADIES at TAM July 8, 2017
Four hundred and forty-five years later French playwright Moliere still bubbles with joyous, effervescent, sometimes mordant wit, and it is just this sparkle that Theater at Monmouth's new production of The Learned Ladies serves up in generous, exuberant fashion in an elegantly translated (uncredited), briskly performed, hugely witty comedy of manners about the affectations of a group of philosophy-loving women and the gender politics of their world.BWW Interview: Finding Authenticity in Runyonland July 6, 2017
'It's a warhorse and has been a guaranteed sellout since 1950, but that doesn't mean a production doesn't need a little spark. DJ [Salisbury] did exactly what I asked him to do,' says Maine State Music Theatre's Artistic Director Curt Dale Clark. 'I asked him not to reinvent the wheel, but to tweak the show with some new nuances.' Clark is talking about MSMT's new production of Guys and Dolls which opened last week to glowing reviews.
Clark was part of the popular MSMT community series, PEEK BEHIND THE CURTAIN panel that also featured Guys and Dolls stars, James Beaman (Nathan Detroit), Kristen Hahn (Sarah Brown), and Stephen Mark Lukas (Sky Masterson), as well as Props Master Elizabeth Frino. Moderated by Broadway World's Maine editor Carla Maria Verdino-Sullwold, the participants at the capacity-crowd event discussed the making of this exciting new production in Midcoast Maine.