On the way to the theater in Maine
Amid the winter doldrums and a new wave of the pandemic, Maine’s theater scene is experiencing a hiatus. Several companies have been forced to cancel shows or postpone openings, and all are struggling to fulfill their programming plans and provide Mainers with the live theater they crave.
So what should we expect in 2022? Here is a short list of personal choices that are planned for later this year.
Summer in Maine is one of the best times to experience theater across the state, and what summer would be without two of the most acclaimed professional theaters in the region and nation: the Maine State Music Theater and the ‘Ogunquit Playhouse?
1. Maine State Musical Theater is slated to perform its “Revival Season” – its first fully scheduled slate of offerings at its Brunswick home since the pandemic. With a solid main stage lineup that opens with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s hard-to-resist classic THE SOUND OF MUSIC (June 8-25), and follows with JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT (June 29-July 16) , THE COLOR PURPLE (July 20 – August 6) and KINKY BOOTS (August 10-27), MSMT will also produce its Theater for Young Audiences series and what promises to be a dynamite concert series featuring Heidi Kettenring in YOU’ VE GOT A FRIEND (June 19-20), CLASSIC ROCK (July 10-11) with Joe Boucher and company, and DARLIN’ COMPANION (July 31-August 1) with Scott Moreau. Additionally, MSMT plans to reinstate its popular free outreach activities, including the Outdoor Concert on the Brunswick Mall in August, the Roundtable Series, PEEK BEHIND THE CURTAIN, the Movie Preview Series, TEASER TUESDAYS and sensory performance for children. The little taste of MSMT in 2021 with concerts and JERSEY BOYS has only whetted the appetite for a return to a summer full of song, dance, laughter and storytelling in the inimitable and extraordinary way for which this company is known. January 31 is the last day to renew subscriptions and keep the same seats. Individual tickets will go on sale in April.
2. Ogunquit Theater has yet to announce its 2022 season. The venerable company had to pivot last summer and present its productions in a new outdoor pavilion that took into account Covid protocols. Although they have yet to release details of their next season which will run from mid-May to the end of October, management has announced plans to produce four musicals at the Playhouse again. With tickets going on sale in March, theatergoers can expect the Playhouse’s usual all-star lineup and solid production values from the company.
And while we’re all yearning for summer, here are some more upcoming productions for you to enjoy:
3. Good theater, which opened in September with a superb world premiere of LADY SUSAN by Rob Urbinati, was forced to postpone the January opening of George Eastman’s comedy HARRY TOWNSEND’S LAST STAND until February 2 due to the pandemic. His remaining scheduled plays are all worth a visit, including SIGNIFICANT OTHER (March 2-20), a romantic comedy about modern love, and DESPERATE MEASURES, (March 30-April 24), a hilarious musical comedy. This intimate theatrical space on Munjoy Hill continues to bring sophisticated and heartfelt productions to greater Portland.
4. Portland Scene was forced to cancel its live Christmas carol and plans to resume live production with SENIOR LIVING (January 26-February 13), a piece that questions the choices of aging, the Clauder Competition’s new work, LAST SHIP TO PROXIMA CENTAURI (March 2-20) which explores race in a futuristic world, and Lauren Gunderson’s poignant I AND YOU from March 30 to April 17), an ode to youth, love and human connection. Portland Stage, which also offers streaming options for most of its productions, has been a constant presence and advocate for live theater throughout the pandemic.
5. Crazy Horse Theater has two other productions planned this season: Allison McCall’s WAITING FOR ALICE (February 3-27), a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party riff, and Jen Silverman’s COLLECTIVE RAGE (May 5-29), described as “a lesbian , bicurious, genderqueer, Shakespearian comedy for all…dealing with the anger, love and loneliness of modern life.” Known for its provocative and avant-garde productions in a fifty-seat black box, Mad Horse brings to Portland some of his best new work.
6. The public theater, Lewiston’s next live event, Deborah Zoe Laufer’s BE HERE NOW – an offbeat comedy about a pessimistic teacher whose transformation raises questions about the pursuit of happiness, has been postponed to June 17-26.
Before that, the public will stream his productions of DANCING LEÇONS and SCREWBALL COMEDY. Always a venue that serves up smooth, mellow comedy, theatergoers can expect to have a blast here later this year.
So, Maine theatergoers, say your prayers to the Muses that 2022 will bring all of this wealth to the stage in 2022 and that the arts, which have suffered greatly in recent years, will once again flourish freely and exuberantly in Maine and everywhere!
For more information: