Ogunquit Playhouse Awarded Grant from Maine Arts Commission

The Ogunquit Playhouse is the proud recipient of a Great Works grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, in the amount of $5,000 to support its production of West Side Story and an associated student outreach program conducted in partnership with LearningWorks of Portland, Maine. The Ogunquit Playhouse has a superlative heritage of producing the most outstanding theatrical works since 1933 and an ongoing commitment to provide underserved communities the experience of Live Theatre.

Through the Great Works grant program, the Maine Arts Commission offers major support for programs that will have a lasting cultural impact on Maine audiences. The grant is designed to fund institutions with considerable resources that represent a commitment to excellence. The Great Works grant projects are expected to incorporate a contextual component, such as discussions, programs or classes in partnership with an educational or community institution.

West Side Story is an award-winning musical adaptation of the classic romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. The story takes place in New York City with two warring gangs - one white, the other Hispanic - representing the feuding families. Their hatred is juxtaposed against a love story between main characters Tony and Maria. Throughout the show tension escalates, until a tragic and heartbreaking event unites the warring gangs. The powerful message about hatred, love and prejudice remains as timely today as ever. West Side Story is considered one of Broadway's finest musicals and the Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim score contains some of the most memorable songs ever written for the stage, including "Something's Coming," "Tonight," "America," "I Feel Pretty" and "Somewhere."

LearningWorks was established in 1967 to provide the best learning opportunities in Southern Maine for at-risk youth, the immigrant community and low-income families. This compelling show is the perfect vehicle to reach out to high school students, as much of the organization's work focuses on race relations and conflict resolution strategies, with the goal of reducing youth violence and incarceration. The program will explore specific themes in West Side Story with the students, many of whom have had first-hand experience with the subjects addressed in West Side Story, including prejudice and youth violence. The program will also address the impact that exposure to arts and culture can have on the students' own creativity and problem-solving abilities.

Tickets are on sale now for the all new production of West Side Story on stage September 4 through 28, 2013. Single ticket prices range from $39 to $78 per show. For tickets call the Box Office at 207-646-5511 or online at OgunquitPlayhouse.org. Following West Side Story, Buddy, The Buddy Holly Story returns by popular demand to close the season from October 2 to October 20.

The Ogunquit Playhouse is America's Foremost Summer Theatre, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, producing the finest Broadway musicals each season, with performances Tuesday through Sunday, from May 22 to October 20, 2013. Follow the Ogunquit Playhouse on Twitter (@OgunquitPH) and become a fan on Facebook for behind-the-scenes info, photos and fun throughout the season. For a complete list of show times, pricing and more information about the season, visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org.

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