Penobscot Theatre Company produces Our Town for our time

Our Town April 24 - May 11.

Our Town April 24 – May 11.

Rehearsals are underway for the crown jewel of Penobscot Theatre Company’s 40th-anniversary season: OUR TOWN by Thornton Wilder. “Widely regarded as the greatest American play, this piece perfectly illustrates the power, relevance, and importance of theatre in our community,” says Artistic Director Bari Newport. Newport is directing the upcoming production, which will run April 24-May 11, and freshness is at the core of her vision.

 

“On the surface, OUR TOWN is about two rural New England families in the early 20th century,” explains Newport, “but the reason the play has resonated so deeply is that it transcends time and place to get at some very fundamental questions about relationships, the meaning of home, and the relative smallness of the individual against the canvas of time.”

Jacob Augustine to compose and play original score for Our Town live each performance.

Jacob Augustine to compose and play original score for Our Town live each performance.

To set the tone, Newport engaged Maine musician Jacob Augustine to compose an original score and soundscape, and he will play live at every evening performance. “Jacob is an extraordinary artist, whose distinctive sound is so raw, so moving. This collaboration has been a joy,” said Newport.

Joining Augustine on stage will be Brendan Powers of Florida in the iconic role of the Stage Manager (last seen by Penobscot Theatre Company audiences as Daddy Warbucks in the 2012 production of ANNIE); and Monica Willey, an Equity actor from Bangor currently living in New York City, and Jordan Lorenz of Hermon in the roles of young lovers Emily and George. A number of talented local actors will round-out the large cast: Allen Adams, Bronwyn Beardsley, Bob Daisey,Nick Danby, Irene Dennis, Shaun Dowd, Julie and Ron Lisnet, Nathan Manaker, Doug Meswarb, Doreen Moody, and Steve Robbins.

The evening of April 21, the Bangor Public Library will host a free OUR TOWN event for the public to encourage a community-based conversation about the production’s themes. Bari Newport and Jacob Augustine will discuss their collaboration, offer a preview of the new music, and invite questions and comments.

The theatre is also seeking community involvement in the creation of a time capsule, which will be buried under the stage of the Bangor Opera House, PTC’s historic home, and opened in 40 years. “The Stage Manager makes a significant reference to a time capsule in Act 1,” explains Brad LaBree, PTC’s manager of community engagement. “Taking our cue from Thornton Wilder, we want to spark a public conversation. We’ll be asking people at the library, online, and in our audience to weigh-in on the contents of our time capsule. What items reflect our place in time and the values we share?”

To ensure Wilder’s classic is broadly accessible to young audiences, PTC is offering discounted student matinees, May 1 and May 6, at 10:00 am. Tickets are just $6 per student and and $10 per adult chaperone. Prior to each matinee, the theatre will provide participating schools with a student study guide to prepare for the performance; and PTC will invite student groups to stay after the matinee for a “talk-back” session with the actors and creative team to deepen understanding of the production’s themes and artistic challenges. Additionally, PTC has created an OUR TOWN residency, modeled on the theatre’s popular “Shakespeare in the Schools” program, which involves special workshops for grades 5-12 conducted by professional teaching artists.

OUR TOWN is produced in partnership with the Maine Arts Commission, Bangor Savings Bank, Quirk Insurance, the City of Bangor, and Lori Argent of Wells Fargo Financial Advisors.

To purchase tickets or for more details, call the Box Office at (207) 942-3333 or go online at www.penobscottheatre.org.

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About Amy Roeder

Director of Education – Amy Roeder is pleased to be joining the staff at PTC. Amy received her BFA in theatre from the University of Evansville and her Master of Fine Arts in acting from The University of Georgia. She recently relocated to Bangor from Chicago where she taught and performed with famed comedy institution The Second City. Local audiences may have seen her onstage with Improv Acadia in Bar Harbor where she has been a company member since 2005. Amy has performed all over the country including at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Cincinnati’s Playhouse in the Park and with the Improv Asylum in Boston. In addition to teaching acting and improvisation classes all over the world, Amy is also designs and facilitates workshops in improvisational techniques for businesses. Amy hates writing in the third person.