Category Archives: Theatre

Ten Bucks Theatre Presents “Shakespeare Under the Stars” The Merry Wives of Windsor

      The great Bard, the weaver of tragedies, the writer of writers who can be still your beating heart…Well this time he has taken quite a turn. This highly comedic and entertaining Falstaff fiasco will toss you to the parallel universe of Shakespeare’s humorous side of life. A most intriguing self inflicted mess of meddling misadventure turns our pompous Master Falstaff into a target to the delight of those he wished to deceive. The actors are brilliant (and who wouldn’t be to memorize Shakespeare) with their exaggerated development of their colorful characters. Be sure to keep watch for their wordless facial expressions which sometimes say more than their words, not to mention the not too blatant and yet not too hidden Monty Python references complete with accents. See this masterpiece performed again at Fort Knox in Bucksport Thursday through Sunday (August 3,4,5, and 6) at 6 P.M. and prepare to be dazzled. The fault lies not in our stars but in not attending. (469-6553 for tickets or e-mail fofk1@aol.com for more information fortknox.maineguide.com/). 

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Penobscot Theatre Presents “I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti” (food, truth, and the complexities of love…Italian style)

   Once in a great while, a true love will be born out of soulmates who find each other. Happy is the person who walks the earth and finds true love. And as the bible teaches us, we shall cleave to that love, even forsaking all others…as it should be. A frightening prospect for those who harbor some doubts or insecurities. Yet, a manifestation of the truest adoration for those who toss themselves in with all of their heart, mind, soul, and spirit. This tall tale of love, unfettered emotion, and cuisine all together determines a destiny and a journey of unrequited love, sacrifice, and false adoration…perhaps even a little insanity. The long list of losers, leches, and leavers is unleashed within the confines of the heart of a woman. Her sincerity and vulnerability are the forces behind her openness and expression. During her conversation with us as she prepares a three course dinner with wine like any self respecting Italian, she is perpetually interrupted at inopportune times by her well meaning mother whose eye for her happiness and future is forever on the horizon. There were actually moments when I truly believed she was speaking only to me in a one on one conversation.  Her past rested within a kitchen drawer full of souvenirs from past errors in judgement reminding her that the clock was ticking. That and advice from friends whose opinions, thoughts, and comparisons were of no avail to her problem. Her kitchen skills were only matched by the size of her heart. Could there ever really be a true love in her life?

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Penobscot Theatre Company Presents “Paper Maker” by Monica Wood

 In a small city somewhere between somewhere and nowhere lies a paper mill in distress. However, this finely tuned business has come to a clash with it’s life’s blood…the workers, whose very hands are the heart of the industry in which it runs. It appears that management ,  ownership, and the many hands that keep it in motion disagree on some of the more integral portions that will ultimately decide if money or survival will triumph. The company itself exists as a benefactor for the working class and a sense of pride for the captains of industry. Eventually, the executive sees for himself just how this growing animosity between them truly affects the very existence of these people. They no longer merely remain the hands and feet propelling paper through the machines, they are now living beings suffering as a result of disagreement with no compromise in sight. When they meet entirely by accident, or unless providence moved its mighty hand, offering both parties, even within the bitter battle of a strike, an odd form of compassion grows from both sides remembering the forgotten workers who held the mill together. Delving deeper we see an inner quadrangle of personal difficulties begin to heal as a father and daughter come to see love perhaps for the first time, and the loss of a beloved wife to a loving husband enters into acceptance as his remaining days with her become more important than the strike and the prideful arrogance ensued against the industrial machine, even building her an arc to show his love for her. An endearing story unleashing ones truest feelings in the midst of crisis when we are all called to see what is most important in our lives.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Penobscot Theatre Company Presents “Lumberjacks in Love” (they’re lumberjacks and they’re ok)

fscn1061_1668    Prepare yourself for a collision between Monty Python’s Flying Circus and modern day vaudeville in the midst of a time space continuum with a tumult of emotion peppered with fear of commitment throughout. A wonderful production skillfully prepared with the typical lumberjack testosterone flowing not so freely at times, and yet love conquering the hearts of even the most confirmed woodsmen. Lyrics and music compliment the sincere acting abilities as well as the amazing dance routines popping out at the most opportune times with laughter in abundance tailing the whole play. These “Shanty Boys” who have become “Lumberjacks in Love” being touched by the “Winds of Morning” are nothing more than a “Buncha Naked Lumberjacks” followed by a “Little Black Raincloud” with one of them hoping that “Someday I Will Be Clean” during a “Bachelors Prayer” understands “I only Have a little Time” and that “I Think I’m in Love with the Kid” waiting once again for “The Winds of Morning” knowing full well “It Would Be Enough For Me” even though a “Little Dress” leads to “Stupid, Stupid Love” becoming “Shanty in the Pines” making for “Happy Lumberjacks” who now know for sure that “It Would Be Enough for Me” in reprisal mode. Primo singing, dancing, and spirituous music are a complete recipe for a great play. So chop down trees, eat your lunch, and go to the lavatory.

Written by John D’Alessandrofscn1069_1671

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

The Penobscot Theatre Company Presents “Oliver” (you want some more?, you got it…)

fscn0399_1414   Many variations have sprung from classic stories, both from a comedic angle as well as as a more, shall we say artistic side of life (the latter not always a winner). However, when a jewel such as Oliver is presented to us in its truest form with a large side helping of flawlessness, and its ever recognized and loved musical numbers, then we have a wonderful marriage of ability and paramount standard that combines the grace in which the classic story was intended to portray. It caters to our nostalgic memories and ignites the entertainment all over again (not to mention the audience singing along with them). The actors gave life to these amazing characters with their own unique acting flair, composing facial expressions and virtual heartfelt feelings for their counterparts with heart, mind, and soul most definitely intermingled within their world. rscn0415_1419The ever quite mobile stage setting, highly versatile as it was, maneuvered about very well to accommodate its transitory setting. The Artful Dodger brilliantly played by Andrew Barrett, grants us the need to see him in his truest form as the lying, cheating, thieving, wretch that he is with a handful of street class and a heart of gold. Fagin, masterfully portrayed by Dominick Varney, not only gave us exactly what we expected to see in this low life faceless criminal lurking in the shadows, but a mastermind of the miscreant underworld, yet as a thief in real life stealing the show with his prancing, daunting eyes, and glaring teeth perfectly. Ben Layman as Mr. Bumble, is not only a wonderfully versatile actor, but has the uncanny ability to make you believe he is a different person no matter how many charterers he dons the stage with. And his jolly articulation along with his own facial variations are priceless. Brianne Beck’s dazzling vocals and poignant sincerity spilled all over the stage and onto the spectators as her character, Nancy, whose heart was drawn to the miserable Bill Sykes (frighteningly played by the extremely believable Neil E. Graham) without seeing the goodness in her own heart  drowning in her own self worthlessness had become embroiled in a life of corruption. The vocals were launched into the stratosphere with triumphant success and everyone’s heart was most definitely flourishing onstage. A legendary story brought to life once again by the Penobscot Theatre Company. Did you say you wanted some more? Come and get it!

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

 

The Penobscot Theatre Company Presents “Murder for Two” (a young readers guide to murder and fun)

rscn3049_1221 Can murder be fun? It can be if you went to the Penobscot Theatre Company’s gala presentation of “Murder for Two”. Last night’s performance was so stellar I believe several stars in the Orion  nebula were crying out of jealousy. In an old isolated mansion in New England  our story begins. For us anyway. A surprise party turns awry with calamity, lies, and of course…murder.

A shot rings out! There’s been a murder (there’s that word again. Pay attention it’ll come up again). As dialogue and song spills it guts (oh, sorry) throughout the evening, Marcus (a sometimes unsuspecting and yet always suspecting detective wannabee) played by the brilliant and most talented Jason Cohen, doles out scenario after scenario in high hopes of cracking the case wide open to impress his boss and make detective. Although there is a sense that he is inwardly doing it for himself as well and unwillingly looking for love again after a disheartening relationship leaves him saddened.

fscn3041_1219 On the other side of the piano (which both Jason and Danielle played beautifully) we have the ever present queen of the multiple split personality and voice characterizations, Danielle Erin Rhodes who without question made us question just how many people really were on the stage. Like a bird whose highly developed cerebral cortex allows them to make split second decisions in flight, Danielle’s second to second facial expressions and voice changes were a most superior triumph.

Jason gives us a variety of feelings to deal with. He’s a tough guy (with his cop attitude), a dismal failure when he believes he won’t solve the case, and yet, his heart floats about him ever so freely when encountered by a young lady. His masterful emotions are portrayed wonderfully and with a most convincing manner.

fscn3047_1227 As our story progresses, so does the incredulous comedic never ending banter interpolating the piano that danced and spoke as much as every character did with both simplicity and complexity in a marriage of extreme entertainment. Before I go I need to say the “Protocol Song” was hilarious and sprung up in a spray of sincerity in so many places. So, between dead husbands and stolen ice cream (you’ll see) this marvelous and endearing song and banter show is a fabulous must see. The wonderful story and music by Joe Kinosian and story and lyrics by Kellen Blair only go to show that a young readers guide to murder can be fun.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Penobscot Theatre Company Presents: “Guys on Ice” (a big bit o’ broadway on the bangorian stage)

guys     For those who wish to partake in the usual humdrum predictable debris, you may find all you can digest (or perhaps not) on your nightly nauseating television programs designed for those who have decidedly chosen to follow the herd right off the proverbial cliff downward into the abyss. Then again you can be a true purveyor of the arts and thoroughly enjoy an evening at the Penobscot Theatre with the delightfully entertaining “Guys on Ice”. This cleverly crafted unintentional therapy session with a couple of plain old guys whose immediate ambitions (or obsession) meanders around fishing and fishing alone. However, it turns into so much more. The turn includes hilarious banter, a heartwarming and near tears recollection of better times, and an honest exchange of what begets what’s truly important in life aside from a fishing pole and a beer. The focus upon the transition between selfless motivation and emotional rescue will capture your heart in your hand alongside rhyme, reason, and song. An enchanting array of lyric and music feed the fire with childhood memories, moments in time, and those far too recognizable exasperating moments with no answer in sight. Our souls as well as those of the characters whose very spirits eventually burst with hope for a better tomorrow draw from each other the answers needed to come through the valley. Countless breathtaking dance routines, expressive facial expressions, and a host of general shenanigans brought so much life onto the simple stage setting that your eyes could be closed and you would still see it. Humor and its overwhelming protege in the form of an audience were deeply touched by the sentiments buried within the hearts of our two dear friends who actually did learn the lesson of the day with comfort, love, and the loss of two perfectly good football tickets. Scott Raymond Johnson and his profound facial interpretations mixed with semi-crazed logic complemented Marvin and what he determined his initial dream to be something more than what he was. Ben Layman, playing Lloyd, figured out that his dance moves seriously outweighed the danger of running out of beer, overshadowed only by the tenderness in his voice. Ernie the moocher was a one man riot squad in his own right. Offering his own brand of vaudevillian mayhem, a variety of vocal bursts of refreshing fruit flavor, and general pilfering (with a dash of game show half time conundrums). A gracious thank you to Larrance Fingerhut for providing us with musical accompaniment as well and the emotion behind it. A thoroughly enjoyable evening with so much flavor you’d need two tongues to taste all it has to offer. A masterful triumph moving your spirit in every direction.