News Column

Public Theatre season full of love, laughter and drama [Sun Journal (Lewiston, ME)]

September 21, 2013

YellowBrix

LEWISTON -- The Public Theatre is launching a 23rd season of outstanding theatrical presentations. It's a schedule filled with comedy, romance, nostalgia, and provocative drama, as well as the pre-season Manhattan Short Film Festival Sept. 27-29.

David Place returns as Scrooge, in Public Theatre's production of "A Christmas Carole."

Christopher Schario, TPT's executive director and artistic director, and Janet Mitchko, co-artistic director, said the quality of the 2013-14 shows will live up to a high standard. More than two decades of quality stage presentations won acclaim for The Public Theatre (TPT) when Down East magazine's Reader's Choice poll named it the best theater in Maine in its July issue.

The Manhattan Short Film Festival is an unofficial season opener next week which takes TPT back to its movie roots when the building on Maple Street was the Ritz Theater. The festival features ten short films from around the world seen inone viewing. These films will be shown to audiences at selected venues around the globe during a one week period, and voting ballots from every audience member will be totaled to decide the winner. Finalists from this festival have gone on to win the Oscar in the short film category.

"Love/Sick," a new collection of funny, sweet and sad stories by Maine playwright John Cariani, author of "Almost, Maine," will kick off the stage season in mid-October. Following, for the holidays, is TPT's own version of "A Christmas Carol." Then comes "Tigers Be Still" in late January, with "a heart-felt and hilarious look at how we survive the tough moments in life."

The March presentation is "Good People," nominated for best play on Broadway in 2011. Wrapping up the TPT season in May is "Moonlight and Magnolias," a side-splitting farce based on fact about the creation of the screenplay for "Gone with the Wind."

There's also a three-day fundraiser Nov. 8-10 with Robert Dubac's one-man comedy show, "The Book of Moron." This is not included in season subscription tickets.

Schario, who is director for "Love/Sick," said author John Cariani has been collaborating with TPT during pre-production and rehearsals for the show as part of the play's final development process. Much like his skit format of "Almost, Maine," Cariani's characters include a bride who wears isotoners to keep her "cold feet" warm, and a man who loses his hearing every time the words "I love you" are spoken.

"Love/Sick" is described as a delightful "unromantic comedy" that is the "perfect show for imperfect lovers."

With "The Book of Moron," his new show in November, Robert Dubac tackles the subject of media hype and overload. Dubuc's provocative presentation reminds us, "If thinking were easy, everyone would do it."

TPT presented this comedian's highly popular show, "The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron?" last year.

In TPT's Dec. 13-14 production of its own version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," the role of Scrooge will be played by David Place. He performed that role in 2006, and he will also be remembered by TPT audiences in "Well," "Gun-Shy" and "Deathtrap."

Schario wrote this adaptation which has been staged world-wide, and he has directed the TPT productions in past years. This year Mitchko handles the directorial duties. She said auditions will be held to cast the role of Tiny Tim.

January's production of "Tigers Be Still" by Kim Rosenstock was an off-Broadway hit that promises to put a smile on your face and a lump in your throat.

"Good People" comes to the TPT stage in March. This recent Broadway hit by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsey-Abaire is about class issues and the anxieties of revisiting humble beginnings.

Mitchko, who will play a lead role, said its characters are "kind of scrappy" and the play's family and social situations in South Boston will resonate with residents of the L-A area.

"Moonlight and Magnolias" is TPT's last show of the season in May, and it's a hilarious look at Hollywood high jinks.

The Public Theatre brings professional actors from New York to Los Angeles to the Twin Cities for a top ticket price of only $20, as well as a $5 youth ticket (18 and under) for any show. Season subscriptions are currently on sale.

For more information and show times visit www.thepublictheatre.org or call 782-3200. The Public Theatre is located at 31 Maple St. in downtown Lewiston.

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