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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: January 23, 2017

Winter brings an abundance of theater in Portland and beyond

Written by: Bob Keyes
 "The May Queen" Photo courtesy of The Good Theater

“The May Queen”
Photo courtesy of The Good Theater

After a brief breather, the theater scene is busy once again. Here are four shows with openings this week:

Good Theater begins a marathon run of two shows in production simultaneously at the St. Lawrence Arts Center in Portland. Good Theater opens the new comedy “The May Queen” this week and presents it through Feb. 26 with six weekly performances, Wednesday through Saturday. On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of each week, Good Theater presents the play “Love Letters.”

That means Good Theater has 33 days of continuous theater. “We wanted to do something to help combat the long Maine winter,” artistic director Brian P. Allen said in a press release. “Presenting shows that are comedic and touching seemed like a great way to treat patrons to something upbeat and fun during winter,”

“The May Queen” by Molly Smith Metzler is a new play about a former high school May Queen who returns to her hometown for a job in the local insurance company office. The show stars Rob Cameron, Thomas Ian Campbell, Laura Houck, Abbie Killeen and Hannah Elaine Perry. Allen directs; 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday; $22 to $30.

“Love Letters” by A.R. Gurney gets three performances per week, at 5 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, and will star Kathleen Kimball with Tony Reilly for performances through Feb. 7. Steve Underwood takes over the male role for performances Feb. 12 to 14 and Feb. 19 to 21. All performances are $20; or 207-885-5883.

 "Arsenic and Old Lace" Photo courtesy of Portland Stage Company

“Arsenic and Old Lace”
Photo courtesy of Portland Stage Company

Portland Stage Company presents the durable dark comedy “Arsenic and Old Lace” through Feb. 19. The production marks the return to the stage of Maureen Butler, the Portland actress who recently moved to Ireland and is back in Maine for this performance. She is joined by local actors Daniel Noel and Wil Rhys, as well as her longtime acting friend and Portland Stage regular Cristine McMurdo-Wallis. In all, the cast of nine tells the familiar story of the Brewster Sisters, who run a boarding house that includes extended stays for certain guests. The play opened in 1941, and Cary Grant starred in a movie version in 1944; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to Friday; 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday through Feb. 19; $32 to $48; or 207-774-0465.

The photo is Doug Rees as Lou Ziegler and Annie Grier as Raina Lamott in "Under the Skin" playing at The Public Theatre January 27 through February 5, 2017. Photo courtesy of the Public Theatre Photo courtesy of The Public Theatre

The photo is Doug Rees as Lou Ziegler and Annie Grier as Raina Lamott in “Under the Skin” playing at The Public Theatre January 27 through February 5, 2017.
Photo courtesy of the Public Theatre

In Lewiston, the Public Theatre presents the New England premiere of “Under the Skin,” a provocative new play about the complicated connection between parents and children. It opens Friday and runs through Feb. 5. Raina’s ailing father needs her kidney, but he hasn’t been a great dad and she questions whether he’s worth the sacrifice. It is written by Michael Hollinger.

The cast features New York actors Doug Rees, Annie Grier and Melissa Maxwell, and Washington, D.C.-based actor Jon Hudson Odom; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday through Feb. 5, with additional 3 p.m. performance on Feb. 4. $20; or 207-782-3200. The theater is located at 31 Maple St., Lewiston.


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