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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: July 10, 2017

Good Theater takes its shows on the road

Written by: Bob Keyes
Good Theater artistic director Brian P. Allen stars in the one-man show "Blueberries, Broadway and Brian." Photos courtesy of Good Theater

Good Theater artistic director Brian P. Allen stars in the one-man show “Blueberries, Broadway and Brian.” Photos courtesy of Good Theater

Good Theater artistic director Brian P. Allen hits the road this week with his autobiographical play about his life in theater, but he won’t be playing to strangers. He’ll perform “Blueberries, Broadway and Brian” on Thursday at the Strand Theatre in Rockland and on Friday at Nasson College in Springvale.

Allen grew up in Union, a neighboring town of Rockland, and graduated from Nasson in 1982.

“In Rockland, there should be people in the audience who are in the stories that I tell on stage and a lot of people who know me fairly well. That will be a lot of fun,” he said. “And I haven’t been on the Nasson stage since I was graduating. It will be fun to do the show in the space where I performed when I was in college.”

“Blueberries, Broadway and Brian” is part stand-up comedy, part theater. It’s a one-man memoir about Allen’s family, his years working in blueberry barrens and his love of theater. At the Strand, Allen will perform in the theater where he spent much of his youth. “As a kid, that’s where I went to the movies. I remember going there often, because it was the only game in town. It’s been beautifully refurbished, and I’m excited to perform there,” he said.

“Blueberries” is one of three shows that Good Theater is touring this summer. The theater’s tribute to Barbra Streisand, “Happy Days Are Here Again – Streisand’s ’60s Songbook,” will play at three theaters across the state, and “No Biz Like Show Biz,” a tribute to Mary Martin and Ethel Merman, will make one stop at Nasson.

The summer shows give Allen and his audiences the chance to experience theater in the elegance of the Camden Opera House and the woodsy charm of Deertrees Theatre in Harrison. Allen is thrilled to bring a Good Theater show to Deertrees, one of his favorite theaters in Maine. An Adirondack-style opera house built with hemlock in the 1930s, it’s on the National Register of Historic Places.

“It’s just such a beautiful venue and in such a unique location,” Allen said. “It has that quintessential summer-theater feel, where your mind goes when you think of summer stock and barn theaters. It makes for such a great night to sit in such a cool building and see a show – and possibly swat a mosquito or two.”

Lesley McKinnell stars in Good Theater's "Happy Days Are Here Again."

Lesley McKinnell stars in Good Theater’s “Happy Days Are Here Again.”

Going back to Nasson will be special for Allen, who graduated with degrees in theater and business administration and uses both in his work at Good Theater.

These touring shows are a new venture for the company, which Allen co-founded with his partner, Stephen Underwood.

Good Theater presents most of its shows at the St. Lawrence Arts Center in Portland and is using the summer to expand its season and build an audience outside Portland.

“It’s a cool opportunity to take your creative work and put it in a different venue to see how it plays, how the audiences respond and to see if the room influences your work,” he said. “We’re really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a fun summer.”

Good Theater on the Road

“Blueberries, Broadway and Brian,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Strand Theatre, 345 Main St., Rockland, $20, rocklandstrand.com/event/blueberries-broadway-and-brian; 7 p.m. Friday, Nasson Community Center and Little Theater, 457 Main St., Springvale, $10, nassonlittletheatre.ticketspice.com/blueberries-to-broadway

“Happy Days Are Here Again – Streisand’s ’60s Songbook,” 7:30 p.m. July 28, Deertrees Theater, 156 Deertrees Road, Harrison, $25, $16 for 15 and younger, deertrees-theatre.org; 7:30 p.m. July 29, Camden Opera House, 29 Elm St., $20 and $25, camdenoperahouse.com; 2 p.m. July 30, Nasson Community Center and Little Theater, 457 Main St., Springvale, $18; nassonlittletheatre.ticketspice.com

“No Biz Like Show Biz,” 7 p.m. Aug. 25, Nasson Community Center and Little Theater, 457 Main St., Springvale, $18, nassonlittletheatre.ticketspice.com

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