"I really love the character of Stephanie Mangano and can identify with her," says Saturday Night Fever star Alexandra Matteo, who will reprise the role for the fourth time this week in Maine State Music Theatre's new production which opens July 18th at the Pickard Theater in Brunswick. "I am Italian-American," says Matteo. My mom grew up in Queens and my dad in the Bronx, and I have talked with them about what New York City was like at that time. There was a great deal of anger and territorialism. Working class immigrant families had fought so hard to build a life that they were resistant to anyone else's coming into their community to take that away from them. While there was a great deal of crime and violence, when you understand the mind set, the characters become more sympathetic."BWW Interview: Jacob Tischler: Creating a Conversation July 15, 2018
"This show is a boot camp in and of itself!" declares Jacob Tischler.
Tischler is referring to his role as Tony Manero in Maine State Music Theatre's production of Saturday Night Fever, which begins its run at the Pickard on July 18th, and he is speaking to Broadway World about the colorful creative path that has brought him to this point in his career.BWW Interview: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Panel Explores Fairytale Magic July 13, 2018
"Beauty and the Beast is the essence of that Disney magic! It brings people together and it is such a joyful experience!" Actress Lexi Rabadi plays Belle in Maine State Music Theatre's new blockbuster production of the Disney classic which closes its run July 14th. She and fellow cast members Darick Pead (the Beast) and Matthew Ragas (Gaston), together with MSMT Managing Director Stephanie Dupal are talking with Broadway World's Carla Maria Verdino-Sullwold about the experience of creating this timeless fairytale on stage. The panel discussion, the second in the annual Peek behind the Curtain Series at the Curtis Memorial Library drew a full house, as audience members and patrons listened to the group explore the factors they believe make this show a classic and make this particular production a work of incredible enchantment.BWW Interview: Tyler Micoleau: Bringing Broadway to Brunswick and Back July 9, 2018
Tyler Micoleau wanders among the cast portraits at Maine State Music Theatre's 22 Elm Street offices and studios, murmuring in quiet amazement, as he surveys the years with their colorful productions leading up to the present. He wonders aloud about how is it possible to mount such large-scale productions on the Pickard stage? For the Tony award-winning lighting designer of The Band's Visit, this is a special homecoming for it was in Brunswick at Bowdoin College and Maine State Music Theatre that his theatre career began.BWW Review: MSMT'S Opulent BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Offers Pure Enchantment June 29, 2018
With what is arguably the largest production in Maine State Music Theatre's history, the company brings a level of opulence, sophistication, and magic to the Pickard stage that makes this production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast a fitting jewel in the Diamond Jubilee Crown. It is no secret that the company has used every single ounce of its resources (and overcome a number of unforeseen obstacles along the way) to create this magnificent production, but the result has been entirely worth the effort. This beloved fairytale dazzlingly comes to life in all its heartfelt beauty.BWW Interview: Darick Pead: The Struggle, the Journey, the Narrative June 26, 2018
I love telling stories; it doesn't matter what the form is. I like the struggle, the journey, the narrative, says actor Darick Pead. Pead, who is about to open in Maine State Music Theatre's Beauty and the Beast in the title role of the Beast, has enjoyed a fascinating personal journey of his own in pursuing his dream of becoming an actor.
Born and raised in Utah in a large Mormon family he was the seventh child among ten Pead says, Except for doing my Mormon mission in Pennsylvania for two years, I had never been outside the state of Utah until I was twenty-seven. Pead remembers that I always enjoyed theatre, and I would go to watch my older siblings in school plays and think what fun that must be. Then in fifth grade my teacher suggested that I should try out for Wizard of Oz. I wanted to play Toto and get to bark onstage, and I was super disappointed when I was cast as the Scarecrow . But that was the start of it all.BWW Interview: Oh, What a Beautiful Feeling: Stephen Mark Lukas and Taylor Quick in Ogunquit's OKLAHOMA June 25, 2018
'There is something so simple, so wholesome about the story and the characters. When Curly made his entrance on opening night at the St. James Theatre in 1943 and sang 'Oh, what a beautiful morning,' the whole audience took a huge sigh of relief. There in the midst of war was a breath of optimism and that beautiful music.'
And, indeed, when the speaker, actor Stephen Mark Lukas makes the same entrance seventy-five years later on the stage of the Ogunquit Playhouse in the company's new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic Oklahoma, the entire audience reacts in exactly same way. With a smile as expansive as the territory and a voice as luminous as the bright morning about which he sings, Lukas establishes immediate affection and rapport for the character of Curly, as does his co-star, the lovely, radiant Taylor Quick.BWW Interview: Pounding the Pavement with Positivity: A Conversation with Lexi Rabadi June 24, 2018
"As an actress I believe in pounding the pavement with positivity. One of my biggest things is knowing that I am a whole person with family, friends, and interests. Theatre is a passion and a life style, but it is one piece of the pie. My job is to make sure all the other pieces of the pie are just as delicious. So I keep a home for myself, surrounded by loved ones; yoga is a big thing for me in maintaining mental clarity and spiritual health, and I am a vegan because I feel that is a kinder way to eat. It may sound corny, but if you put out positive vibrations, they will come back to you."BWW Review: Celebrating Irving Berlin: MSMT Launches Concert Series with I LOVE A PIANO June 19, 2018
MSMT's all-singing, all-dancing tribute to Irving Berlin, I Love a Piano, blew the Pickard Theater audience away at two Monday performances with its steady stream of classic hit tunes, its high energy choreography, and the dazzling virtuosity of its youthful cast. This was an afternoon and evening to sit back and revel in the rich history of American popular music and to celebrate a composer whose work provided the soundtrack for the American experience for almost seventy years.
It is exciting to watch MSMT's cast of young professionals perform this material with so much connection and commitment. Though this is the music of past generations, the eleven-person ensemble of remarkable triple threat actors brings it vibrantly to life for a contemporary audience, affirming the truism that longevity is what makes great music.BWW Interview: Wearing the Mantle of Rock n' Roll Legends June 16, 2018
There is a moment in Robin and Clark's musical version of Cinderella when the scullery maid screws up her courage and hurls a self-affirmation back to her abusive stepmother and sisters, saying, "No! I've always done everything you asked and now it is time for me to do something for myself!" The audience young and old erupts into spontaneous applause for this very contemporary heroine. Though Marc Robin and Curt Dale Clark's musical is more than twenty-five years old, it speaks with a freshness and an appeal that are as lasting as the fairy tale itself, and Maine State Music Theatre's most recent production captures all the delightfulness and the darkness of the story and serves it up with customary flair.BWW Interview: Scott Moreau: It All Began in Brunswick June 11, 2018
For actor Scott Moreau, playing Johnny Cash in the opening production of Maine State Music Theatre's 60th anniversary season is a very special homecoming. The Maine native who grew up in Litchfield says this is the fifth time he will have done the Million Dollar Quartet in Maine (previously in Portland and Bangor on the national tour and twice in Ogunquit), but that "Brunswick is much different!"BWW Interview: Scott Moreau - It All Began in Brunswick June 11, 2018
For actor Scott Moreau, playing Johnny Cash in the opening production of Maine State Music Theatre's 60th anniversary season is a very special homecoming. The Maine native who grew up in Litchfield says this is the fifth time he will have done the Million Dollar Quartet in Maine (previously in Portland and Bangor on the national tour and twice in Ogunquit), but that "Brunswick is much different!"BWW Review: The Revolution of Rock n' Roll: MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Ignites MSMT Stage June 8, 2018
When Rock n' Roll burst onto the scene in the late 1950s, it brought with it a veritable revolution in American popular music. Seen by some as 'the Devil's music,' by others as a passing fad, this vibrant, electric sound proved itself a lasting phenomenon. So perhaps it is fitting that more than sixty years later a musical celebrating four of the greatest legends of early rock should open Maine State Music Theatre's 60th anniversary season. And what an opening this is!
Million Dollar Quartet explodes onto the Pickard stage with the energy of a mega concert and the intensity of a high-stakes drama. It is a tale that is at once about the music itself and the men who made it, about dreams and determination, about stumbling and success. In a dazzling production directed by Hunter Foster, MSMT scores the perfect kickoff to its own milestone season.BWW Interview: Telling a Great Story: A Conversation with Hunter Foster June 5, 2018
'When I was growing up, I wanted to be a writer, a novelist, and that's what eventually drew me into acting and then directing and writing for the stage. It was always about storytelling.' Hunter Foster is reminiscing about the aspirations that led him to seek a life in the theatre. The award-winning actor, director, writer is taking a short break from rehearsal at Maine State Music Theatre, where he is about to open his twelfth production of Million Dollar Quartet on June 7th.BWW Review: Shakespeare on the Kennebec Presents Ambitious, Uncut Production of 'The Scottish Play' June 3, 2018
John Willey's Bath, Maine -based Shakespeare on the Kennebec is presenting an ambitious, completely uncut production of the Bard's "Scottish play"- aka Macbeth at the Chocolate Church. The twenty-six person ensemble rendered the full text of Shakespeare's play - with many often cut scenes now heard - while at the same time Director John Willey takes a fresh conceptual look on the work.BWW Review: Affecting and Effective TITANIC at Portland Players May 26, 2018
For most of us who love the theatre, attending a performance is an exciting, stimulating, anticipated event, but for some children with sensory issues, going to the theatre can be fraught with anxiety; a room full of strange people, new sounds and fantastical characters - all can make this experience overwhelming. And yet, once immersed in the magic of the play, the children can find delight and connection.
To encourage this journey of discovery and to provide families with a safe viewing experience, Maine State Music Theatre last year initiated a program of sensory friendly rehearsal performances of the Theatre for Young Audiences shows. MSMT uses its large rehearsal hall as the performance venue - a space less daunting than the 600-seat Pickard main stage. The hour-long shows are presented with piano (not full orchestra), in full costume with relevant props, and include interaction among the cast, crew, and directors with the young audience. The families have access to a quiet room, are free to move about during the performance, enjoy a snack break, and receive a study/activity guide and some small gifts to take home.BWW Review: Arts Bringing the Community Together: MIDCOAST MAINE'S GOT TALENT 2018 May 19, 2018
To an audience used to the likes of today's television talent show formats -The Voice, American Idol with their fiercely competitive, instant celebrity emphasis and often abrasive judging - the annual Midcoast Maine's Got Talent seems to hark back to a gentler era and a more positive model to showcase aspiring performers. Each year the Brunswick Rotary Club puts together this gala as a fundraiser for its social and civic programs, but also as a community service to help nurture the arts in Maine and to create an audience for the creativity and expression that artists provide.BWW Review: Searing Conversation About Race in Portland Stage's THE NICETIES April 8, 2018
Portland Stage's current production of Eleanor Burgess's two-character drama, The Niceties, is a intense, searing, often exhausting theatrical experience. The play, written during the last Presidential campaign, probes a plethora of contemporary issues from race in America to the meaning of revolution, feminism, the impact and influence of history, the struggles for power between the elite and the voiceless. Set at an Ivy League Eastern college, The Niceties explores the intellectual and emotional journeys of a respected history professor and her rebellious African-American student.