Erika Sanger –

DATE: APRIL 30, 2024

STONINGTON – Theatre-goers and jazz lovers are now invited to pick their favorite seats for the summer season at the Stonington Opera House when tickets go on sale April 30. “The Opera House is thrilled to showcase eight-time Grammy Award winner Arturo O’Farrill and his Latin Jazz band, Salvage a world-premiere play, Emmy award winning actor Gordon Clapp in Robert Frost: This Verse Business and a new twist on Cyrano, said Erika Sanger, Executive Director of Opera House Arts (OHA). “Several performances were completely sold out last summer and we urge people to secure their seats early in order to avoid disappointment!”

“This summer’s professional productions kick off with Salvage, a world-premiere written by Lena Kaminsky and directed by Kathryn Markey,” said Sanger. “ Lena and Kathryn first worked together in last season’s highly successful 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 and is made possible by the Anahata Foundation.

Latin jazz pianist Arturo O’Farrill will headline the 24th Annual Deer Isle Jazz Festival, appearing both the 13th and 14th of July. “Guitarist Stephen Ulrich and his trio, the New York-based band Big Lazy, will open the Saturday night show. “Their music has been described as elegantly gritty crime jazz,” said Sanger. The Arturo O’Farrill Trio showcases O’Farrill’s dynamic approach to the piano and his interplay with bassist Carlo da Rosa and drummer Juan Carlos Polo. The Trio will play classic songs from past masters, including Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock and Carla Bley, along with original compositions.

On Sunday, NINE8, the ever-popular jazz band from Blue Hill’s George Stephens Academy will open for the Arturo O’Farrill Afro Latin Jazz Quintet, which includes percussionist Carlos Maldonado and saxophonist Jasper Dutz – both members of his acclaimed Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. O’Farrill will mine the traditions, rhythms and influences of a vast legacy that is essential to jazz, including that of his father, the great Cuban composer Chico O’Farrill. This year’s Jazz Festival is funded in part by Rich and Mary Howe and George and Liz Zentz.

“We are also excited to announce a very special event starring Emmy-winning actor Gordon Clapp in Robert Frost: This Verse Business, an award-winning one-man play with a script culled from actual recordings and writings by America’s classic 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 is the first time the play will be performed in Maine and is made possible by Ray and Judy McCaskey.

Cyrano is the second mainstage production funded by the Anahata Foundation and is a lively retelling of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 classic tale of a love-struck man with the “soul of a poet and the nose of an anteater”. Written by Jason O’Connell and Brenda Withers, Cyrano will also be directed by Kathryn Markey who said, “This superb text nods to OHA’s tradition of classic theatre, but with a modern bent. 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.

In addition to professional theater, the Stonington Opera house will also feature a series of concerts beginning with two important fundraising events. The annual Bud Carter Scholarship Concert on Tuesday June 4 will showcase the talent of local students and scholarship recipients and is the sole source of funding for these scholarships. Following that, a special performance by Sam Jones and Rockabilly Rumble will kick off OHA’s annual fundraising Gala on July 5th this year. “Each year the Gala supports the theatre’s operations and ensures that local students may attend all live performances for free,” said Sanger.

The Halcyon String Quartet will perform “Make Way for Ducklings” their third annual family performance on July 9th. This performance of the beloved Robert McCloskey story will combine music, story, and illustration for an hour of joy, humor, and storytelling for children of all ages.

Downeast New Music will bring acclaimed young classical artists, both local and international, and contemporary chamber music to the island with a vibrant array of new sounds. 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 celebrating Stonington’s past on the water, in the quarries, and along our shoreline. Retired lobsterman and bandleader Frank Gotwals said the group will donate all proceeds from ticket sales to benefit the Stonington Opera House. The story-telling concert will take place on August 30.

In addition to the concerts, movies, 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.

Sanger suggests subscribing to OHA’s e-newsletter to get show, concert, and movie updates every week and added, “thanks to the generosity of the WF Whitman Foundation, we will be able to continue to present “Live For $5”, the fun and family-friendly variety acts with admission tickets selling for just $5. Once again we’ll have magicians, mimes, masks and more for the whole family to enjoy.”

“Opera House Arts is fortunate to have received a grant from the Anahata Foundation which enables us to present two mainstage shows this summer. Thanks to the Anahata Foundation, the Maine Community Foundation, the Town of Stonington, Maine Arts Commission, and many friends and donors, Opera House Arts is kicking the summer off stronger than ever,” said Sanger. “We could not be more grateful to everyone who has enabled us to provide this remarkable lineup this summer.”

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 


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