October 7, 2013

Theater at Monmouth offers fall tour of Shakespeare’s 'Twelfth Night'

Monmouth is using a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to reach out to students.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Dawn McAndrews views the Theater at Monmouth’s fall tour of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” as something of a pay-it-forward idea.

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Max Waszak as Malvolio in Theater at Monmouth’s upcoming “Twelfth Night” tour.

Aaron Flacke photo

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Rylee Doiron as Olivia and Max Waszak as Malvolio in Theater at Monmouth’s upcoming “Twelfth Night” tour.

Photos courtesy of Theater at Monmouth

Additional Photos Below


THE THEATER AT MONMOUTH’S touring production of “Twelfth Night” has several public performances, including a kick-off weekend at its home at Cumston Hall.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Oct. 13

WHERE: Cumston Hall, 795 Main St., Monmouth

HOW MUCH: $20 to $30

INFO: 933-9999 or theateratmonmouth.org

COMMUNITY PRODUCTIONS that are open to the public:

• 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at University of Maine at Augusta, Bangor campus, at Eastport Hall

• 7 p.m. Oct. 18, Rangeley High School

• 7 p.m. Oct. 21, University of Maine at Augusta

• 7 p.m. Oct. 26, Vienna Union Hall

• 6 p.m. Oct. 28, University of Maine Machias

• 7:30 p.m., Nov. 2, Johnson Hall, Gardiner


The 5,000 or high school and college students who see the 90-minute production probably won’t buy tickets next summer to see a play at the Theater at Monmouth’s primary home at Cumston Hall in Monmouth.

But someday they might think about buying a ticket to a theater somewhere, and that’s good enough.

“We want people to love the show and we want people to love the art,” said McAndrews, Monmouth’s producing artistic director. “Maybe they won’t come to our theater, but they might go to another theater.”

As theater companies across the state think about ways to reach a younger audience, Monmouth is using a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to spread its particular brand of theater. Monmouth is known as the Shakesepearean Theater of Maine, and this production is part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, an NEA program in partnership with Arts Midwest. The Theater at Monmouth is one of 40 theater companies nationally to participate in this initiative.

After an opening weekend of performances at its home at historic Cumston Hall in Monmouth, the company will present the show 16 times at more than a dozen schools and theaters across the state, with more bookings pending. In a tour dubbed Shakespeare in Maine Communities, those theaters range from the Waterville Opera House to the Vienna Union Hall to the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone. Most of the performances are geared to students, but many are open to the public.

The fall tour is not unusual for Monmouth. The theater has a long history of sending its actors out across the breadth of Maine, north to south and east to west, after its summer season closes.

But what is unusual, the theater will kick off the tour with a weekend of performances on its home turf, and for the second year since McAndrews took over as producing artistic director, it also will offer a holiday show, opening on Thanksgiving Day. Both the fall tour and the holiday show address a concern that is not unique to Monmouth: How to keep the theater strong and economically healthy as audiences age. Every theater in Maine wants to diversify its offerings and attract younger audiences.

McAndrews said the theater is excited about the prospect of beginning this tour at its home theater in central Maine. “Twelfth Night” runs for one weekend only in Cumston Hall, beginning with a preview on Thursday and additional performances Friday through Sunday.

It hits the road after that, with performances into November.

The Theater at Monmouth shares the 250-seat Cumston Hall with Monmouth Academy, the Monmouth school system and Monmouth Community Players. Its exclusive right to use the theater extends from Memorial Day through the end of September. October dates are rare – and welcome.

Most theaters in Maine operate in the fall, winter and spring, and cede the summer season to the traditional summer theaters, of which Monmouth is one. Another is the Ogunquit Playhouse. Slowly and steadily, the summer theaters have begun extending their seasons.

This is the eighth year that Ogunquit has mounted shows beyond Labor Day.

Bradford T. Kenney, Ogunquit’s executive artistic director, said the fall has been an economic windfall. Last year, “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” was the highest-grossing show in the theater’s history, topping $1 million in sales. Ogunquit opened a three-week reprisal run of “Buddy” last week.

In September it mounted a new production of “West Side Story,” which took in just under $1 million in box-office sales.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Max Waszak as Hamlet and Grace Bauer as Gertrude in the 2012 “Hamlet” tour.

Aaron Flacke photo

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Lena (Noelle LuSane), Kevin (Bari Robinson) and Tom (Lucas O’Neil) from Good Theater’s production of “Clybourne Park.”

Photo by Stephen Underwood and Craig Robinson, courtesy of Good Theater

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Tom Bloom, Tina Fabrique and Corey Gagne in the Portland Stage Company production of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

Photo by Aaron Flacke, courtesy of Portland Stage Company

click image to enlarge

Kurt Jenkins in the title role in the Ogunquit Playhouse production of “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.”

Photo by Gary Ng


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