Once again, PortFringe has kicked off Portland’s summer of theater, and you have through June 24 to catch some of the crazy — check out last issue’s PF Roundup and this issue’s capsule reviews.
Summer usually proceeds with a measure of Shakespeare, but some of the usual suspects are mixing things up interestingly this year. Fenix Theatre Company is instead staging Chekhov in Deering Oaks Park: Three Sisters runs in the band shell July 13 through August 5. And while Bare Portland has produced Shakespeare in public spaces and a cathedral, this summer they’ll offer a devised adaptation of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s arresting proto-feminist classic The Yellow Wallpaper (August 18-26), in the new Eighteen Twenty Wines’ Tasting Room on Anderson St.
Look to the Theater at Monmouth for Shakespeare; Macbeth and Othello are the Bard shows in a season themed “Power, Passion, and Privilege.” The line-up also includes Molière’s The Learned Ladies; Three Days of Rain, about an architect's mysterious will; and Red Velvet, which explores a race, abolition, and theater in 1833 England, when a black American actor is tapped to play Othello (in rep, June 24-August 20). And Mainstage Shakespeare offers A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Winter’s Tale (July 12 through August 12) in rep in Kennebunk and Freeport.
And now, the musicals. Maine State Music Theatre presents Always Patsy Cline (June 7-24), Guys and Dolls (June 28 through July 15), Grease (July 19 through August 5), Disney’s Newsies (August 9-26), and, in partnership with Portland Stage Company on the PSC Mainstage, a 1930s/'40s musical revue called The All Night Strut! (August 15 through September 10). The Ogunquit Playhouse launches with Mamma Mia! (through July 1), then moves on to Bullets Over Broadway (July 5-July 29), Ragtime (August 2-August 26), and Heartbreak Hotel (August 30-September 30). Penobscot Theatre Company takes it off with The Full Monty (June 15 through July 9), then stages a musical adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes (August 17-20). Biddeford's City Theater stages The Wizard of Oz (July 21 through August 6); while Cast Aside Productions gives us an homage for the disaster films and soundtracks of the ‘70s, in Disaster! The Musical (July 13-16), and then Hedwig and the Angry Inch (August 17-26).
Down in Portsmouth, Players’ Ring continues its Late-Night Series, kicking off with the fallible motives and memories of Tape (June 23 through July 2), produced by Towing Jehovah. In Lab Rats (July 7-16), New World Theatre presents a couple making a living in medical experiments; Smirking Heron Productions offer Junior’s Sporting A Mohawk (July 21-30), about two couples, a secret, and porn; and in Heist (August 4-13), by Outcast Productions, a bank robbery devolves. Finally, Theaterography presents Living Through (August 18-27), which jumps through time to examine “the people we feel obliged to love.”
Also in Portsmouth, New Hampshire Theatre Project runs one more weekend of its multi-disciplinary Adventures of Oliver Z. Wanderkook (through June 25), which combines movement, an original score, illustrations, and cinema.
Another new work comes from Portland’s Theater Ensemble of Color, which presents their first original devised piece, Lived Experiences, about a day in the life of several multicultural and multiethnic Mainers (workshop performance June 23 and 24 at Mayo Street Arts, and the fully formed version July 5 and 6 in Congress Square Park).
Romance is in the air at Deertrees Theatre with Last Train to Nibroc, about love on a cross-country train, and Indoor/Outdoor, a look at relationships through the eyes of a cat (in rep, July 7 through August 18). And it’s all about women at the Footlights at Falmouth, which stages The Ladies Room Written (June 27 through August 31).
Finally, the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine invites you to be a helpful munchkin in Dorothy And The Wizard Of Oz: A Participation Play For Children (July 28 through August 19). And big puppets will reign on the Eastern Prom as Mayo Street Arts and the legendary Bread and Puppet presents the Bread and Puppet Circus, an outdoor spectacle on Saturday, September 2 — a date that seems far off but that is, of course, still summer.
Latest from Megan Grumbling
- Chekhov in the Park â€” Fenix Finely Forgoes Shakespeare for Elegant 'Three Sisters'
- Out to Win â€” MSMT's 'Guys and Dolls' Spins American Myths
- Theater of the Transformative â€” TEoC's Original 'Lived Experiences' in Congress Square Park
- Early Highlights from the PortFringe Festival
- Giving In To Trickery â€” Bess Welden's 'Legbala is a River'