Pamela Dewell –

DATE: March 25, 2024

STONINGTON – Opera House Arts (OHA) has just announced a jam-packed summer season featuring Grammy Award winner Arturo O’Farrill, Emmy Award-winning actor Gordon Clapp, two mainstage plays – one a world premier, OHA’s annual fundraising Gala, the return of Broadway Comes to Stonington and special events celebrating Maine artists, musicians, and history.  

Latin jazz pianist Arturo O’Farrill will headline the 24th Annual Deer Isle Jazz Festival, appearing both the 13th and 14th of July with members of his Afro-Latin quintet.  Born in Mexico with ties to Cuba, O’Farrill’s professional career began with the Carla Bley Band then continued as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists, including Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Belafonte. Winner of eight Grammy Awards, Arturo O’Farrill is Professor of Global Jazz Studies and Assistant Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at UCLA, has been honored as a Steinway Artist for many years, and is a Blue Note Records Recording Artist.  This year’s Jazz Festival will be funded in part by Rich and Mary Howe and George and Liz Zentz. 

The world premiere of SALVAGE, made possible by the Anahata Foundation, was written by Lena Kaminsky and will be directed by OHA Artistic Director Kathryn Markey.  The pair first worked together in last season’s production of ALMOST, MAINE.  Kaminsky’s original work examines three lives as they intersect at a small town dump in the months right before the global pandemic. Markey said, “SALVAGE will resonate with those who understand the kind of community that is formed in small everyday acts in small everyday towns. It is a funny and surprisingly deep look at the dignity of regular folks in front of a backdrop of dump runs, beer cans, and pizza.” The play will run June 20 – 30.

CYRANO, the second mainstage production funded by the Anahata Foundation, is a lively retelling of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 classic tale of unrequited love.  Both effortlessly funny and deeply affecting, this contemporary adaptation features a virtuosic cast of five taking on dozens of roles in a fast-paced and inventive take on the sweeping story of a love-struck man with the “soul of a poet and the nose of an anteater”.   CYRANO, written by Jason O’Connell and Brenda Withers, will be directed by Kathryn Markey who said, “This superb text nods to OHA’s tradition of classic theatre, but with a modern bent that will make it accessible to a wide audience. We are assembling a top notch group of actors and design professionals and can’t wait to share it this summer!” The play will run August 8 – 18. 

Emmy-winning actor Gordon Clapp (NYPD Blue’s Detective Medavoy) will star in ROBERT FROST: THIS VERSE BUSINESS, an award-winning one-man play.  Written by A.M Dolan, the script was culled from actual recordings and writings of Robert Frost and provides a glimpse of the public and private faces of America’s beloved poet.  The show will run for just two nights, July 19th and 20th, and has been called “a testament to the intrinsic value of the arts”. This special production at the Stonington Opera House will be the first time it is performed in Maine and is made possible by Ray and Judy McCaskey.

In addition to professional theater, the summer will feature concerts, too. Local artists John McVeigh and Fred Rose will collaborate with Kathryn Markey on this year’s production of BROADWAY COMES TO STONINGTON July 22 and 25. They will be joined by special guests for two evenings of soaring music in celebration of the best of the Great White Way, both past and present.

Acclaimed young classical artists, both local and international, bring contemporary chamber music to DOWNEAST NEW MUSIC, a vibrant array of new sounds that surprise, engage and emotionally affect audiences. A premiere work by Waldoboro composer Conrad Winslow will be featured in this special concert on July 17.

Beloved local band Waterbound will perform STORIES OF STONINGTON, a concert of musical stories celebrating Stonington’s past on the water, in the quarries, and along our shoreline.  Retired lobsterman and bandleader Frank Gotwals said the group plans to donate all proceeds from ticket sales to benefit the Stonington Opera House.  The story-telling concert, performed by local musicians, will take place on August 30.

In addition to the concerts and theater offerings this summer, the Opera House will present the MAINE MASTERS FILM FESTIVAL with talkbacks featuring the filmmaker, Richard Kane. Four films celebrate the lives and work of Maine artists Stephen Pace, J. Fred Woell, Jon Imber, and Rob Shetterly. 

“Artistic Director Kathryn Markey has orchestrated a remarkably diverse program for this year’s summer season,” said Pamela Dewell, Interim Executive Director of Opera House Arts.  “We are excited to share the schedule as we all look ahead to summer. There is much more to come and we look forward to sharing details with you as plans come together.”  Dewell suggested visiting Opera House Arts’ website to see updated show information for both the weeks ahead and this coming summer. “Tickets for the summer season will go on sale April 30th.  Please visit our website for updated show information or to subscribe to our enewsletter to get updates delivered to your inbox every week,” she suggested.

“Opera House Arts is fortunate to have received a grant from the Anahata Foundation which enables us to present two mainstage shows this summer.  The Foundation’s generosity will also replace our old generator which did not survive the onslaught of storms this winter.  Coupled with overarching contributions to the Opera House’s year-round operations from the Maine Community Foundation, the Town of Stonington, Maine Arts Commission, and many friends and donors, we came through the winter in better shape than when it began,” said Dewell.  “We could not be more grateful.”

Dewell also talked about the fundraising Gala that the Opera House holds each year, scheduled for July 5th this summer.  “The funding raised at each year’s Gala goes a long way toward the ongoing care of this historic theater,” said Dewell, “Dollars raised at the Gala also support free admission to all live performances for all Hancock County students 17 and under. “

The highly popular and family-friendly Live! For $5 series, so named as all tickets are just $5 thanks to funding from the WF Whitman Foundation, along with blockbuster movies and classic films will continue to entertain families and round out the year-round offerings at the theatre.

Opera House Arts, a 501 [c] [3] nonprofit organization, was founded in 1999 to restore the 1912 Stonington Opera House, on the National Register of Historic Places, and its original purpose as a performance space and community cornerstone. Professional theatre, movies, variety acts, music and dance, educational programs, and special events are offered year-round. Hancock County students are invited to attend live performances for free thanks to the generous supporters of Opera House Arts.

For more information or to subscribe to advance notice of shows and events, please visit the Opera House website 


Arturo Ofarrill

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