‘Python’ under the Playhouse Pavilion in Ogunquit

After the dark 2020 season, Brad Kenney knew he had to somehow bring live theater back to the Ogunquit Playhouse in 2021.

Then, over the winter, benefactors Carol and Noel Leary stepped forward with an offer to create a matching Challenge Grant to bring it back safely. And in early April, a huge outer tent – named Leary Pavilion in their honor – began to be erected on the southern lawn of the campus on Route 1 in Ogunquit, Maine.

The pavilion is a 25,000-square-foot, fully-covered, steel-framed event space that costs over $ 300,000.

The opening night will be this Friday, June 18, with “Monty Python’s Spamalot” as the first show.

“If you get it right, they’ll come,” Kenney said recently, speaking of last year’s challenges and the joy of bringing back live theater this season.

Charles Shaughnessy plays King Arthur in “Monty Pythons Spamalot” at the Ogunquit Playhouse.COURTESY OGUNQUIT PLAYHOUSE

“Spamalot,” an insanely hilarious retelling of King Arthur, his knights and their quest for the Holy Grail, is the perfect way to get people back to the theater, Kenney said.

“The theme is always to look on the bright side of life, and that is exactly what we do,” he said. “It plays well outdoors and is set in the Middle Ages when a pandemic was raging, so it made sense to do it.”

A Playhouse favorite, BT McNicholl, is directing and Charles Shaughnessy, best known to TV fans for his role as Mr. Sheffield on CBS’s “The Nanny,” plays King Arthur, whom he played here in 2010.

Spamalot runs through July 16 and is recommended for adults ages 13 and up due to its issues.

This is followed by “Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville,” July 14 through August. 28; “Mystic Pizza”, September 1 – October 2; and “Young Frankenstein” with Playhouse favorite Sally Struthers, 6.-31. October.

“We do world-class shows as always, but people’s safety is our number one goal,” said Kenney.

The seats will sell as two-person pods this year for $ 94-204. Visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org or call 207-646-5511. No walk-up sales this season.

In the wings

JUNE ENTH IN LOWELL: The Free Soil Arts Collective is holding its first annual Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 19th at 1pm. Take part in a site-specific outdoor travel theater experience that highlights the black legacy of Lowell. The creative work is done in collaboration with DIY Lowell and the Visualize Lowell’s Black History Project. Venues include the Arts League of Lowell’s ALL Gallery Gates Block Garden, City Hall, Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Lowell High School, and St. Anne’s Church. The travel experience is just under a mile, and each stop takes about five minutes or less. Bring your own seating. RSVP to the Free Soil Facebook page at fb.me/e/dMPxhrxGT. … And since you are downtown, check out the Lowell Arts Market hosted by the Lowell Cultural Council in Lot B at the Tsongas Center. Artists, food and more from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Optional masks for fully vaccinated people.

Jerry Bisantz is directing a movie on offer from the Titanic Theater Company this weekend. COURTESY TITANIC THEATER COMPANY

FUN FILMED GAMES: Lowell actor / director / playwright Jerry Bisantz puts his director’s hat on and attends On the Verge, an evening of filmed comedies and music by the Boston Titanic Theater Company on Saturday 19th ”by James McLindon. It is about a hilarious encounter at an Eastern European airport terminal and features Amy Talbott, Phil Thompson and David Hansen. You can also see Kim Costigan’s play “Who We Choose To See” with Alisha Jansky, Shelly Brown and Hansen and about the attempts by “women of a certain age” to attract attention. There is also music by Jeremy Silver and Michael Ricca. “We used real cameras and real film – not zoom,” said Bisantz. To access it, visit www.titanictheatre.org/currentshow.

COMEDIC NIGHT: Enjoy tons of giggles in the Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Friday, June 18 as Boston comedians Jimmy Dunn and Tony V take the stage from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. in one of the venue’s first live shows in over a year. Dunn, an actor comic that began in a Gloucester bar, is best known for his work on the CBS sitcom The McCarthys. Tony V, a well-known comic, appeared in “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”, “Seinfeld” and “The Single Guy”, among others. Tickets $ 36 at the box office or www.etix.com/ticket/v/13821/lowell-memorial-auditorium. Visit www.lowellauditorium.com/covid for the latest Covid requirements.

GALA SUCCESS: The Lowell Together Virtual Gala, held on Friday June 11th, raised over $ 75,000 that was shared between the Merrimack Repertory Theater and the Free Soil Arts Collective. “We were privileged to share the stage with Free Soil Arts Collective, our based company, last Friday,” said Bonnie Butkas, Executive Director of MRT. “Our very first virtual gala was called ‘Lowell Together’ for good reason. We shared stories from Lowell performed by artists from MRT and Free Soil. One of the most exciting parts of the gala was the improved accessibility for artists and audiences with online appearances and different ticket prices. As always, without our sponsors, employees, artists, donors and trustees, this would not have been possible. “Christa Brown, Founder and Managing Director of Free Soil, confirms Butkas:” The opportunity for the Free Soil Arts Collective, the first resident company at MRT being is an immense privilege. We are so grateful that we have joined MRT to host a joint event that will benefit both organizations. The community support was incredibly humble. “

Nancye Tuttle’s email address is [email protected]


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