Tag Archives: Ogunquit Playhouse

Ogunquit Playhouse Announces 2020 Season Lineup

Tony-winners Jason Alexander and BD Wong to Premiere New Shows at
Ogunquit Playhouse as Part of its 2020 Season

Jason Alexander

The legendary Ogunquit Playhouse is thrilled to announce an exciting lineup of shows for its 88th season that includes the Northeast regional premiere of the hilarious dark comedy The War of the Roses, a new play based on the novel by Warren Adler and helmed by Tony Award-winner Jason Alexander, and the world premiere of the funny and heartwarming musical adaptation of Mr. Holland’s Opus, helmed by Tony Award-winner BD Wong. The season opens with the high-energy musical sensation Dirty DancingThe Classic Story on Stage based on the smash-hit film, then continues with a stunning revival of the Tony Award-winning, all-Gershwin, tap dancing extravaganza Crazy for You, and the exhilarating Broadway hit musical based on the lives of Grammy Award-winning husband-and-wife team Gloria and Emilio Estefan, On Your Feet!. The season will stretch to the holidays once again with the return of the hit show White Christmas in collaboration with The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

BD Wong

“We are honored and thrilled to be collaborating with an incredible team of industry leaders on a number of premieres as part of our 88th season in 2020,” stated Bradford Kenney, Ogunquit Playhouse Executive Artistic Director. “It’s been a great honor to be able to collaborate with Eleanor Bergstein to bring to the stage her iconic film Dirty Dancing. We have been working closely with Tony-winner BD Wong and Tony-nominee Wayne Barker over the last several years on the development of the new musical adaptation of Mr. Holland’s Opus, and we are thrilled to produce its world premiere for Playhouse audiences this year. We have also been working alongside Tony-winner Jason Alexander and the Broadway team on the development of the hilarious new play The War of the Roses, which makes one of its premieres on our stage in late summer. The cultivation of new works is now part of our mission as we produce world-class performances, tell the most compelling stories, and challenge and inspire our audiences in new ways. We are honored that these wonderful new shows will be seen alongside the entire season this year at Ogunquit Playhouse.” 

Five-show season ticket subscriptions are on sale now and the only way to guarantee the best seats for the best price to these exciting shows! Three and four-show subscriptions are on sale beginning Tuesday, February 18. Prices start at only $250 for a five-show subscription and $150 for a three-show subscription. Individual tickets are on sale exclusively for Ogunquit Playhouse Members starting March 11. Individual public ticket sales begin Wednesday, March 18 with prices starting at $53. Gift certificates are also on sale online and through the Box Office. To learn more about becoming a Member, season subscriber, or to purchase tickets and gift certificates, visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org or call the Box Office at 207-646-5511. 

Review: “Annie” At The Music Hall In Portsmouth, NH

Leapin’ Lizards!

The Ogunquit Playhouse Production Of

Annie

Is Great Fun At The Music Hall

In Portsmouth

Reviewed by Bobby Franklin

Josie Todd as Annie and Macy as Sandy
Photo By Gary Ng

The Ogunquit Playhouse has been closed down for the winter, but the season is not quite over. Ogunquit’s Executive Artistic Director Brad Kenney has joined forces with Patricia Lynch who is the Executive Director of The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire to bring a lovely holiday gift to New England theatre goers. That gift is the superb production of the musical Annie playing at the Music Hall through December 22.

Directed and choreographed by Jamie Rocco, Annie is running on all cylinders on the stage of the magnificent Historic Theater in Portsmouth. Just stepping into this beautifully restored Victorian Era theater is a breathtaking experience. Even before the curtain goes up it is impossible not to be impressed by the surroundings. And once the orchestra starts playing the overture and the actors first take to the stage it all comes together for a wonderful night of theatre

Annie first appeared on Broadway in 1977 and has lost none of its charm over the years and through many revivals. The Ogunquit Playhouse version  playing in Portsmouth has been freshened up a bit while retaining its original score and still brings smiles to the faces of the audience while tugging at the heartstrings. 
ring that dream with a very lucky audience.

This production of Annie is flawless and rivals anything you will see on Broadway. It is a top notch production that should not be missed.

Josie Todd as Annie, the orphan who sets out to find her birth parents, is feisty and lovable. She leads the other orphans in great renditions of Maybe and It’s A Hard Knock Life and takes it to the top with Tomorrow. I would imagine this is a dream role for Ms Todd and she is sharing that dream with a very lucky audience.

The orphans at the Municipal Girls Orphanage run by Miss Hannigan are played by an ensemble of young actors who are excellently choreographed and get to really show their talents in the number You’re Never Really Dressed Without A Smile. Each and every one of them performed like experienced Broadway performers.

Robert Newman brings an Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks to the stage who shows the strength and drive that made him a billionaire while conveying the warm heart that is melted by his relationship with Annie. Mr. Newman’s version of Something Was Missing is touching and lovely. 

I last saw Gail Bennett in the 2014 production of Mary Poppins at the Ogunquit Playhouse. In Annie she is cast as Grace Farrell the personal assistant of Oliver Warbucks. It was a pleasure to see her on the stage again.

Josie Todd (Annie), Robert Newman (Daddy Warbucks), and Cast
Photo by Julia Russell

The scene recreating a 1930’s radio broadcast where Oliver Warbucks takes to the air offering a reward to find the birth parents of Annie, it is filled with nostalgia. Kevin McMahon plays host Bert Healy wearing a straw hat and accompanied by a ventriloquist with a dummy, and a sound effects man (Trent Kidd) There is also an Andrews Sisters style singing group the Boylan Sisters (Karen Largerberg, Zina Ellis, and Kym Chambers Otto). The program revolves around the song You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile. It is all set in a recreated radio station. There is quite an enjoyable tap-dancing number performed by the sound effects man using  wooden shoes on a table. 

Cast of Annie
Photo by Gary Ng

This wonderful cast has another member who is truly unforgettable; Sally Struthers reprising her role as Miss Hannigan. It is more than a bit ironic that Ms Struthers who has spent her life advocating for children would be playing a character who runs an orphanage as if it were a prison. In the number Little Girls she is very funny while displaying her dislike of the children by manipulating a doll in a rather sociopathic manner. It is a scene that was suggested by Ms Struthers and could only be pulled off by her.

Sally Struthers is a regular at the Ogunquit Playhouse every year and never disappoints. In her role as Miss Hannigan she outdoes herself. I’ve mentioned it before but must do so again in saying that she has a knack for comedic timing that is rarely seen. Her pauses and glances at the audience induce laughter every time. Ms Struthers also shows what a true professional she is by never attempting to steal scenes from the other actors. She works well with everyone. Of course, she is working with a cast that is deeply talented and all enhance one another.

Ms Struthers is at her character’s conniving best when plotting with her younger brother Rooster (Jeffry Denman) and his girlfriend Lily St. Regis (Angie Schworer). They are all wickedly funny.

What would Annie be without her dog Sandy who is played by rescue dog Macy. Macy comes close to stealing the show and captures the hearts of the audience with her beautiful eyes. She was an orphan in real life so it is only fitting she has a role in this play about orphans.

Set during the Great Depression the story has many references to figures of that era and includes a scene with Franklin D. Roosevelt (Doug Carfrae) and his cabinet joining Annie in singing Tomorrow. I’m not sure how many young audience members will be familiar with the names of these confidantes of FDR as well as the references to figures of the day such as Harpo Marx, Jack Dempsey, Babe Ruth, Bernard Baruch, Herbert Hoover, and Fiorello LaGuardia, but not knowing them takes nothing away from the enjoyment. Mr. Carfrae is returning to the Ogunquit Playhouse after an absence of a mere 46 years. He still has it!

In the spirit of the season the play closes with a beautiful Christmas party. This combined with the festive decorations in the theatre and then stepping out to the streets of Portsmouth to breath in the Christmas Season is a delightful experience.

This production of Annie is flawless and rivals anything you will see on Broadway. It is a top notch production that should not be missed. I highly recommend you take in a performance. It’s a wonderful coda to this year’s Ogunquit Playhouse season. 

Many people give up on the coast of northern New England after summer, but by doing so they are missing out on a very beautiful time of the year.

Ogunquit Playhouse’s Annie at the Music Hall in Portsmouth is just the recipe for getting into the holiday spirit. You’ll leave the theatre filled with the Christmas Spirit that will have the biggest Scrooges smiling. Head north, see Annie, enjoy Portsmouth, and then continue on to Ogunquit and the many other places that put the joy in this time of the year. You’ll be glad you did.

Annie

Though December 22

The Music Hall at the Historic Theatre

28 Chestnut Street,

Portsmouth, NH

603.436.2400 themusichall.org 

“Kinky Boots” Opens At The Ogunquit Playhouse September 18

Hilarious and Heartwarming, Kinky Boots to Open at Ogunquit Playhouse

The winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Kinky Boots hits the Ogunquit Playhouse stage September 18 through October 27. Featuring a hilarious, uplifting book by four-time Tony winner, Harvey Fierstein and a joyous, Tony-winning score by Cyndi Lauper, the Ogunquit Playhouse production is staged by Nathan Peck, and stars Graham Scott Fleming as Charlie Price, and Kyle Taylor Parker as Lola, with Tony-nominated Scenic Design by David Rockwell and Tony-nominated Costume Design is by Gregg Barnes.

The hit musical is based on the 2005 Miramax film written by Geoff Dean and Tim Firth, and tells the heartwarming story of Charlie Price who has reluctantly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos, Lola. As it turns out, Lola is the one person who can help Charlie become the man that he is meant to be. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair find that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible… and discover that, when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world. This joyous show is sure to have audiences dancing in the aisle and discovering, sometimes, the best way to fit in… is to stand out! 

Graham Fleming

Leading the cast as Charlie Price is Graham Scott Fleming. He portrayed Charlie at the Muny in St. Louis earlier this year, and was nominated for a Dora Award for Best Male Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Charlie Price in the Canadian production of Kinky Boots. On Broadway he performed in Miss Saigon, and at Papermill Playhouse in My Very Own British Invasion. In addition to Kinky Boots, Mr. Fleming starred in the Canadian premieres of Ghost and Jukebox Hero. 

Kyle Taylor Parker returns to the Ogunquit Playhouse as the fabulous diva, Lola. Last season he performed in the Ogunquit production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe that transferred to New York City, and he continued to perform in the production through its Off-Broadway run. Mr. Parker was in the original Broadway cast, as well as the National Tour of Kinky Boots for which he won an IRNE Award for Best Visiting Actor for his performance. In addition, he performed in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway and the National Tour of In the Heights. He was recently featured in NBC’s smash hit Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert. At regional theatres he has performed in Dreamgirls, Hair, and the world premiere of My Very Own British Invasion. 

Kyle Taylor Parker

The Ogunquit Playhouse production of Kinky Boots features Joe Coots as Don, Maggie McDowell as Lauren, Ashley North as Nicola, and John Scherer as George. Joe Coots performed in the Ogunquit Playhouse productions of The Full Monty, Crazy for You, and South Pacific. His most recent theater credits include the world premiere of Human Error and the First National Tour of Kinky Boots. Maggie McDowell returns to Ogunquit Playhouse after performing as Marty in 2014’s Grease. She has performed in Kinky Boots on Broadway, in the First National Tour, and at The Muny earlier this year. On Broadway she performed in Disaster!, and Off Broadway in The Marvelous Wonderettes, and Pinklacious. Ashley North joins the cast after recently performing in the National Tour of Kinky Boots. Her many regional theatre credits include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Hair, and Les Miserables. John Scherer returns to the Ogunquit Playhouse stage where he last appeared in 2001’s 42nd Street as Billy Lawlor. On Broadway he has performed in Lovemusik, By Jeeves, and Sunset Boulevard. His Off-Broadway shows include Olympus On My Mind, Dames At Sea, and Preppies.

Tickets are on sale now. Preview performances start at $36 and economy seats start at $51 each. To learn more about becoming a Playhouse member, or to purchase tickets and gift cards, visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org or call the Ogunquit Playhouse Box Office at 207-646-5511

Review: “Cabaret” At The Ogunquit Playhouse

Cabaret

A Dark and Decadent 

Reminder

At The  Ogunquit Playhouse 

Cabaret

Through August 10

The Ogunquit Playhouse

Directed By BT McNicholl

207.646.5511

ogunquitplayhouse.org 

Reviewed by Bobby Franklin

Randy Harrison and Cast
Photo:Gary Ng

When you enter the theatre for the production of Cabaret now playing at the Ogunquit Playhouse, the curtain is already up and some of the cast are on stage slinking about and interacting with the audience. You have not only arrived at your seat, you are now in the Kit Kat Club where much of the story unfolds. 

I have seen a number of productions of Cabaret over the years, and they keep getting darker and rawer. This is not to say the original was an uplifting story. It is, after all, set in Berlin in the early 1930s at the time the Nazis were gaining power and much was changing. None of it for the better. 

The play, with music by John Kander and Fred Ebb, is based on the story I Am A Camera which was included in Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Diaries. Many musicals, while still very enjoyable, become dated. This is not true with Cabaret. The story set against the backdrop of extremists gaining control of government while using fear and hatred to stir up support is as relevant today as ever. In a time when we are seeing politicians from both sides of the political spectrum spouting hate and instilling fear in people, it makes seeing a work such as Cabaret even more important to serve as a reminder of just how far out of hand this  rhetoric can lead. Politicians from both major parties have become comfortable spewing repellent bigotries such as anti Semitism and hatred of immigrants. Class warfare is also on the rise, with people being told there is always someone else to blame for their troubles. 

“Even the orchestra is beautiful”

Overall, the Cabaret I saw the other night in Ogunquit was excellent. The  14 piece orchestra led by Bruce Barnes that was onstage throughout the performance lived up to line in the opening number “Even the orchestra is beautiful”. 

Randy Harrison as the Emcee puts his own interpretation on the role and was entrancing and disturbing. As the symbol of the decay and sickness that was engulfing the Weimar Republic, he haunted the stage throughout the evening. As soon as he opens with Willkommen, it is clear his will be an incredible performance, and it is.

Randy Harrison deserves high praise for his bravura performance.

Mr. Harrison, joined by a member of the cast dressed as a gorilla in If You Could See Her, has the audience smiling at first, but when he sings the final ugly line of the song it feels like a punch to the stomach. He is also superb on the decadent Two Ladies, as well as Money, and the ominous I Don’t Care Much. Randy Harrison deserves high praise for his bravura performance. 

Mariette Hartley, John Rubinstein, and Cas
Photo: Gary Ng

The legendary Mariette Hartley plays Fraulein Schneider, the proprietor of a rooming house who is trying to survive amid the rampant inflation of the time. Ms Hartley’s presence on the stage is striking. She does fall just a bit behind on some of her lines, but when she sings What Would You Do? in Act II, she so captures the struggle of choosing between principle and survival that it forces audience members to grapple with that question. By the time she is done, you understand why she has endured as a star for over fifty years.

Broadway veteran John Rubinstein plays Herr Shultz, the owner of a fruit store, who is Jewish and believes the Nazi movement will pass. He is quite taken with Fraulien Schneider. To show his affection he brings her a pineapple and they sing It Couldn’t Please Me More while pineapple lanterns descend from above the stage. 

When he proposes marriage to Fraulein Schneider, he sings Married where he explains to the skeptical Schneider “the world can change, it can change like that, due to one little word, married…”.  An absolutely amazing performance is given by Katrina Yaukey who sings Married in German from above the stage while standing behind a frame hanging at an angle. Her voice is beautiful and reminiscent of Marlene Dietrich as it carries over the couple while they are dancing. I was very taken with Ms Yaukey’s performance. 

Closing out Act I is the rousing and chilling Tomorrow Belongs To Me. What has always fascinated me about this song is how moving it is until you realize what it foretells. It is  with songs like this that Kander and Ebb let you know how easy it is to get caught up in the emotion of a political movement. It begins with a promise of hope and revival, but by its conclusion you feel the hate.

Kate Shindle
Photo: Gary Ng

I have left the roles of Sally Bowles (Kate Shindle) and Cifford Bradshaw (Billy Harrigan Tighe) for last. While both were adequate, they lacked the emotional synergy to really make the impact that was needed. Ms Shindle, while hitting all the right notes and lines, but was just not convincing. Mr. Tighe  also did not seem fully engaged in his role as Cliff. Neither is awful, they just were a bit flat .

Despite this weakness, it is still a solid and emotionally jarring production.  It’s a bit different than the usual Ogunquit Playhouse musicals in that it is not a toe tapping musical comedy. However, even with the play’s darkness, the music is beautiful and powerful. Along with fine choreography and   its magnificent staging it  serves as a  reminder that those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. The final scene is something you will not forget. It is disturbing and ugly and a reminder of what hate can motivate people to do. 

I have seen four previous productions of Cabaret including one with Mariette Hartley in 2003, and the 1987 revival with Joel Grey. I have pointed out some weak points, but this may have been the best I have seen. In fact, I might see it again before it closes. I highly recommend it. Cabaret at the Ogunquit Playhouse should not be missed. 

“42nd Street” To Run At The Ogunquit Playhouse From June 19 through July 13

Tap Dancing Extravaganza, 42nd Street to Open at the Ogunquit Playhouse

Come and meet those dancing feet! The ultimate tap-dancing, show-biz musical sensation, 42nd Street celebrates Broadway, Times Square, and the people who make magical musical theatre hits the Ogunquit Playhouse stage June 19 through July 13. The Ogunquit production is staged by Tony Award-nominee Randy Skinner, the creator of the Broadway revival and recent West End production of 42nd Street. The tap-dancing extravaganza stars Broadway’s Rachel York as Dorothy Brock, Steve Blanchardas Julian Marsh, Jessica Wockenfussas Peggy Sawyer, Con O’Shea-Crealas Billy Lawlor, and features Emmy-Award-Winner Sally Struthers as Maggie Jones. The Ogunquit production of 42nd Street also features the Lawrence Olivier-nominated and Tony-nominated costumes by Roger Kirkalong with Douglas Schmidt’sTony-nominated sets.

Rachel York

The delightful and dazzling show tells the story of aspiring chorus girl Peggy Sawyer who leaves her small town for the big city and soon lands her first job in the ensemble of a glitzy new Broadway show. Mayhem and mirth ensue when just before opening night the leading lady breaks her ankle. Will Peggy be able to step in and become a star? The musical 42nd Street isbased on the novel by Bradford Ropes withbook byMichael Stewart and Mark Bramble. The score by Harry Warren(music) and Al Dubin (lyrics), is chock-full of Broadway standards, including “You’re Getting to Be a Habit with Me,” “Dames,” “We’re In the Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle off to Buffalo” and “Forty-Second Street.”

Rachel York returns to the Ogunquit Playhouse as Dorothy Brock, the quintessential Broadway diva. Ms. York last dazzled Playhouse audiences as the Lady of the Lake in Monty Python’s Spamalot. She was most recently seen on Broadway in the musical Head Over Heels, and is best known for her critically acclaimed Broadway performances in City of Angels, Les Misérables, Victor/Victoria (Drama Desk Award) with Dame Julie Andrews, and for her portrayal of Lucille Ball in the CBS TV movie, Lucy. Ms. York has stunned audiences of the stage, screen, and concert halls across the country through her numerous National Tours, regional theatre appearances, concert performances, and TV guest-starring roles.

Sally Struthers

Two-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner Sally Struthers joins the cast as Maggie Jones. Ms. Struthers is best known for her role as Gloria in the groundbreaking TV series, All in the Family as well as reprising that role in the series spin-off, Gloria. She also appeared on Fox television series 9 to 5, and in recurring roles on the CBS’s Still Standing and the CW network’s Gilmore Girls. Sally Struthers has performed many roles at Ogunquit Playhouse including Punky Olander in Grumpy Old Men the Musical, Evangeline Harcourtin Anything Goes, Duchess Estonia Dalworth in Nice Work If You Can Get It, Mama Morton in Chicago, and Paulette in Legally Blonde.

Broadway veteran, Steve Blanchardstars as the notorious Broadway director Julian Marsh. He is probably best known for his portrayal of Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in both the Broadway production and First National Tour. Other credits includeFred in A Christmas Carol, Lancelot in Camelot with Robert Goulet, Pulitzer in Disney’s Newsies, and Pa in Little House on the Prairie. Joining the cast as the starry-eyed chorus girl, Peggy Sawyer is Jessica Wockenfuss who also performed the role in the North Shore Music Theatre’s 2017 production. Off-Broadway, she has been seen in Hey, Look Me Over!, and Me and My Gal. Her National Tour credits include Jersey Boys, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, The Little Mermaid, and Monty Python’s Spamalot. ConO’Shea-Creal will make his Ogunquit Playhouse debut as Billy Lawlor. His Broadway credits include Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and Side Show, and he has performed in many National Tours including Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins as Bert, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas with Randy Skinner, and Something Rotten.

The Ogunquit Playhouse production of 42nd Street includes one of the largest casts to ever hit the theatre’s stage. It featuresRyan K. Bailer as Pat Denning, Cliff Bemis as Abner Dillon, Megan McLaughlin as Annie, Kilty Reidy as Bert Barry, and JakeWeinsteinas Andy Lee. The ensemble includes Danielle Aliotta, Emily Applebaum, Willie Beaton II, Allison Blanchard, Quinten Patrick Busey, Brittany Cattaruzza, Alex Drost, Liz Friedmann, Patrick Heffernan, Alex John Johnson, Tommy Joscelyn, Trent Kidd, Ryan Koerber, Brianna Latrash, Lily Lewis, Elizabeth McGuire, Andrew Muylle, Melissa Schott, andKristen Welsh.

For ticket information visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org or call the Ogunquit Playhouse Box Office at 207-646-5511

.

.

Jersey Boys Kicks Off Ogunquit Playhouse 2019 Season

Ogunquit Playhouse Season Opens with the Multi-Tony Award-Winning Musical “Jersey Boys”

Runs From May 15 Through June 15

The Ogunquit Playhouse 2019 season kicks off with Jersey Boys! The multi-Tony Award-winning, international sensation that performed to sold-out houses during its run in 2018, is back by popular demand May 15 through June 15. The cast that BroadwayWorld exclaimed to be “the closest you’ll ever get to having seen Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons,” also returns to the Ogunquit stage – Jonathan Mousset (Frankie Valli), Matt Magnusson (Tommy DeVito), Andy Christopher (Bob Gaudio), and Matthew Amira (Nick Massi).

Follow the incredible story of four guys bound by one dream, who worked their way from the streets of New Jersey to the heights of stardom. Jersey Boys takes audiences on an exhilarating journey with the electrifying performances of the golden greats that took these hometown boys from Jersey all the way to the top of the charts: “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Dawn,” “My Eyes Adored You,” and many more. If you missed it last year, don’t miss your chance to see this blockbuster show – you’re sure to leave exclaiming, “Oh, What a Night!”

Starring as Frankie Valli, lead vocalist of The Four Seasons is Jonathan Mousset. His phenomenal performance, falsetto, and range was described as astounding by the Portland Press Herald last season. Mr. Mousset has performed in many regional theatres across the U.S. in such shows as Newsies, In the Heights, and Godspell. He has also performed in concerts at New York City venues including 54 Below, the Times Center, and the Town Hall. Matt Magnusson returns to play charming bad-boy Tommy DeVito, the lead guitar player of The Four Seasons, who serves as the show’s primary narrator and founding member of the band. Mr. Magnusson has numerous regional theatre credits including Grease, Spring Awakening, American Idiot, and Ring of Fire. 

Reprising his role from last season as Bob Gaudio, the sensible and poised songwriter behind The Four Seasons is Andy Christopher. He has performed as Buddy Holly in the National Tour of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story and in many regional theatres across the U.S. including Bucks County Playhouse, Flat Rock Playhouse, West Virginia Public Theatre, The Muny, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Great Lakes CFA, Fulton Theatre, Maine State Music Theatre, Casa Mañana, and the Ogunquit Playhouse where he got his start in 2012. Matthew Amira also returns to the Playhouse after his highly regarded portrayal of The Four Seasons bassist Nick Massi. Mr. Amira also performed at the Ogunquit Playhouse in the 2016 production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. His many regional theatre credits include Madame Defarge, She Loves Me, Fiddler on the Roof, and South Pacific among others.

The Ogunquit Playhouse production will once again be helmed by Award-winning director, writer and producer Holly-Anne Palmer. Ms. Palmer is the lead Producer and Creative Director of theglobal hits Wine Lovers the Musical, PROHIBITION, and Holiday Happy Hour. She has numerous Broadway credits including Jersey Boys, Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays, Bring It On: The Musical, Dracula, Walking With Dinosaurs, and Cover Girls. Her many Off-Broadway and regional credits include the 25th Anniversary Production of Steel Magnolias at Le Petit Theatre, Gentleman’s Wish and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? at Barrow Group, Platforms at TASC, Autophobia at Ars Nova, Inventing Avi Aviv at Abingdon Theatre, Oklahoma! for the Reagle Players, and for the Ogunquit Playhouse 2009 production of All Shook Up starring Sally Struthers.

www.ogunquitplayhouse.org

Box Office 207.646.2402 

Video From Last Year’s Outstanding Run. This year Jersey Boys plays from May 15 through June 15:

The Ogunquit Playhouse Announces Lineup For 2019 Season

Jersey Boys!, 42nd Street, Cabaret, and Murder On The Orient Express With More To Follow

The legendary Ogunquit Playhouse is thrilled to announce a sensational lineup of shows for audiences in 2019. For the first time in over a decade the Playhouse will stage a non-musical play in addition to five musicals, including the return of the multi-Tony Award-winning, international sensation Jersey Boys; the quintessential tap dancing extravaganza 42nd Street; and the iconic and powerful jazz musical Cabaret. The play that will ignite the stage with murder and mystery is the beloved Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. Closing out the season is a hilarious musical comedy that will be announced soon and a Tony Award-winning, smash hit musical which will be announced in May. 

“As we head into our 87th season, we are delighted to present an exciting lineup of musicals for our audiences,” stated Bradford Kenney, Ogunquit Playhouse Executive Artistic Director. “I am very excited to produce my first play here at the Playhouse. I am a huge Agatha Christie fan and we have carefully chosen one of her most thrilling murder mysteries, a brand new play adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig. It will be seen here for one of the first times anywhere, live on our stage this summer.”

Season ticket subscription packages are on sale now and the only way to guarantee the best seats for the best price to these exciting shows! Prices start at only $250 for a five-show package and $150 for a three-show package. Gift certificates are also on sale online and through the Box Office. Individual tickets are on sale exclusively for Ogunquit Playhouse members the week of Monday, March 4. Individual public ticket sales begin Monday, March 11 with prices starting at $36. 

It’s just too good to be true! The season kicks off with the return of the multi-Tony Award-winning, international sensation that performed to sold-out houses during its run at the Ogunquit Playhouse in 2018, Jersey Boys! The hit show is back by popular demand May 15 through June 15. Returning to the Playhouse stage as The Four Seasons are Jonathan Mousset (Frankie Valli), Matt Magnusson (Tommy DeVito), Andy Christopher (Bob Gaudio), and Matthew Amira (Nick Massi). Follow the incredible story of four guys bound by one dream, who worked their way from the streets of New Jersey to the heights of stardom. Jersey Boys takes audiences on an exhilarating journey with the electrifying performances of the golden greats that took these hometown boys from Jersey all the way to the top of the charts: “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Dawn,” “My Eyes Adored You,” and many more. Don’t miss your chance to see this blockbuster show – you’re sure to leave exclaiming, “Oh, What a Night!!”

Come and meet those dancing feet! The ultimate tap-dancing, show-biz musical sensation, 42nd Street celebrates Broadway, Times Square, and the people who make magical musical theatre, on stage June 19 through July 13 and featuring Emmy Award-winner Sally Struthers. The Ogunquit production will be staged by Randy Skinner, the creator of the Broadway revival and recent West End smash hit. Aspiring chorus girl Peggy Sawyer comes to the big city and soon lands her first job in the ensemble of a glitzy new Broadway show. Mayhem and mirth ensue when just before opening night the leading lady breaks her ankle. Will Peggy be able to step in and become a star? The score is chock-full of Broadway standards, including “You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me,” “Dames,” “We’re In The Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle Off To Buffalo” and “Forty-Second Street.” Be sure to shuffle off to Ogunquit for this delightful and dazzling musical!

Decadent nightlife meets dangerous times at Berlin’s alluring Kit Kat Klub in Cabaret, on stage July 17 through August 10. The Ogunquit production is based on the searing Sam Mendez musical recently revived on Broadway and is set in the cabaret underworld on the eve of Hitler’s rise to power. This unforgettable musical tells the story of Cliff Bradshaw, a young American writer newly arrived in Berlin, who falls in love with cabaret singer Sally Bowles. Their romance sizzles amid the back room culture of the cabaret and the tumultuous atmosphere of pre-Nazi Germany. Cabaret is a raw and powerful jazz musical that explores the dark life of Berlin’s natives and expatriates as Germany slowly yields to the emerging Third Reich. The show has had numerous Broadway and London revivals and is the winner of multiple Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score for Kander and Ebb’s compelling musical numbers which include, “Willkommen,” “Money,” “Tomorrow Belongs To Me,” “Maybe This Time” and “Cabaret.” Come to the Cabaret, your table’s waiting!

All aboard! The exotic Orient Express is hurtling down the tracks… to a murder! Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express hits the stage August 14 through August 31 with a train full of suspects and an alibi for each one. It’s the perfect mystery for detective Hercule Poirot, n’est-ce pas? Wax your mustache and hold on to your passport! Newly adapted for the stage from Agatha Christie’s masterpiece by two-time Tony-nominated playwright Ken Ludwig, the beloved mystery unfolds in a fresh and thrilling way. This exciting play will take audiences on a suspenseful, thrilling ride aboard the legendary Orient Express! Don’t go off the rails – hop on board today!

Closing out the season is a hilarious musical comedy on stage from September 4 through September 14 that will be announced soon and a Tony Award-winning, smash hit musical that will run from September 18 through October 27, which will be announced in May. Stay tuned – you won’t want to miss them!

“Elf The Musical” Opens At The Music Hall, Portsmouth, NH

The Ogunquit Playhouse Announces the Cast and Creative Team for the Holiday Production of Elf The Musical at The Music Hall

The Music Hall and the Ogunquit Playhouse are thrilled to announce the cast and creative team of Elf The Musical, on stage November 28 – December 16 at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Based on the beloved film, Elf The Musical is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole and raised as one of Santa’s elves. Eventually Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to embark on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. 

The Ogunquit Playhouse production is helmed by Broadway director/choreographer Connor Gallagher and features an all-new set designed exclusively for the Ogunquit production at The Music Hall by acclaimed scenic designer Jason Sherwood. Leading the professional cast are New York and Broadway veterans Steven Booth as Buddy the Elf, Diana Huey as Jovie, Jen Cody as Deb, Lothair Eaton as the Macy’s Manager, Annie Edgerton as Emily Hobbs, Blake Hammond as Santa, Philip Paul Kelly as Mr. Greenway, and Christopher Russo as Walter Hobbs. The role of Michael will be played by Calvin Middleton. 

Steven Booth (Buddy)

Steven Booth stars as Buddy. Mr. Booth recently starred as Charlie in the first National Tour of Kinky Boots, and as Richie in the first National Tour of Happy Days. On Broadway he has performed in School of Rock, Glory Days, and Avenue Q, and for regional theatres has performed in the Signature Theatre’s production of Glory Days, Avenue Q at the Wynn Las Vegas Theatre, Capitol Repertory’s Edges, North Shore Music Theatre’s Three Musketeers, and Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre’s Pippin.

Diana Huey co-stars as Jovie. Ms. Huey most recently starred in the first National Tour of The Little Mermaid as Ariel. She has performed in numerous New York and

Diana Huey (Jovie)

Regional productions including Girlstar, Jasper in Deadland, James and the Giant Peach, Spring Awakening, Avenue Q, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog, Rent, Mame, and Signature Theatre’s Miss Saigon for which she won the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actress. 

Portraying Deb is Jen Cody. Ms. Cody has starred in numerous Broadway productions including A Christmas Story, Shrek, Pajama Game, Taboo, Urinetown the Musical, Seussical the Musical, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Grease, and CATS. Off-Broadway her credits include Cleopatra, The Wild Party, Judith of Bethulia, and Henry and Mudge. In film her voice can be heard in many animated films, including her Annie Award-winning role as Charlotte La Bouff in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog.  On television she has performed in CBS’s Instinct, Bull, Unforgettable, and Blue Bloods, and provided voiceover work for Shrek Live, American Dad, Phineas and Ferb, and Mickey and the Roadster Racers among many others. Ms. Cody was last seen on the Ogunquit Playhouse stage in 2012’s Damn Yankees, 2009’s All Shook Up, 2006’s Cinderella, and was the Choreographer for the 2016 and 2015 smash-hit Million Dollar Quartet. 

Lothair Eaton joins the cast as the Macy’s Manager. Off-Broadway Mr. Eaton starred in the original company of Nunsense A-Men, and in the UK Tour of 5 Guys Named Moe. In Regional theatres he has starred in Trav’lin 1930’s Harlem Musical, When Pigs Fly, Sunday In The Park With George, and Show Boat. Additionally, he starred as Papa the Old Steam Train in the Germany, Las Vegas, New Zealand and UK Tour of Starlight Express. 

Portraying Emily Hobbs is Annie Edgerton. Ms. Edgerton has starred as Rosie in Mamma Mia! on Broadway as well as in the first two National Tours. She has also performed on Broadway in Kinky Boots, and in numerous Regional and Off-Broadway productions including Fly Me to the Moon, Comedy of Errors, King Lear, Les Miserables, Legally Blonde, Babes in Toyland, Showboat, and Betrayal, among others.

Blake Hammond joins the cast of Elf The Musical as Santa. On Broadway he has performed in numerous productions including Sister Act, Elf The Musical, Billy Elliot, Disney’s The Lion King, Hairspray, The Music Man, Kiss Me Kate, and On the Town, and Off-Broadway in When Pigs Fly, Carnival, and Do Re Mi. Mr. Hammond has also starred in the National Tours of Something Rotten, Cinderella, The Addams Family, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Mr. Hammond was most recently seen on the Ogunquit Playhouse stage as Harry in 2018’s Grumpy Old Men the Musical. Additionally he has performed at the Playhouse in 2015’s Sister Act and 2009’s Guys and Dolls.

About The Music Hall

The Music Hall is a performing arts center featuring curated entertainment from around the world in two theaters in its downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire campus—one, a landmark 1878 Victorian theater, designated an American Treasure for the Arts by the National Park Service’s Save America’s Treasures Program, the other the intimate Music Hall Loft around the corner, recently named “best performing arts venue” by Yankee Magazine and the recipient of the NH AIA award for design excellence. 

For tickets visit http://www.themusichall.org or call The Music Hall Box Office 603-436-2400.

Oh What A Night With “Jersey Boys” In Ogunquit

Jersey Boys

At The Ogunquit Playhouse

Through October 28

The Ogunquit Playhouse

Ogunquit, Maine

ogunquitplayhouse.org 

207-646-5511 

Reviewed by Bobby Franklin

Photo credit: Gary Ng

Jersey Boys debuted in 2005 and was an immediate hit. I am probably one of the few people who had not seen it before taking it in at the Ogunquit Playhouse the other night. As the old saying goes “Good things come to those who wait”, and what I witnessed was beyond good.

Of course, being of a certain age, I was very familiar with the music of the Four Seasons. Their unique sound was something I grew up with and have never tired of hearing. That music is all included in Jersey Boys, along with the very interesting, and very 1950’s, story of how the group came to be. It is a story that takes us from the street corners of New Jersey to clubs, bowling alleys, the back seats of cars, recording studios, and the Brill Building. Disc jockeys, gangsters, loan sharks, and record producers are all part of the story. 

Director Holly-Anne Palmer points out in the program that a Rashomon approach is taken to telling the story, with each member of the group taking a turn giving their version of events. The segments where each member takes over the narration are divided by season, with wisecracking Tommy DiVito (Matt Magnusson) starting things off in Spring. He is followed by song writer Bob Gaudio (Andy Christopher) in Summer, Nick Massi (Matthew Amira) bringing us Fall, and Frankie Castelluccio, make that Frankie Valli (Jonathan Mousset) ending with Winter. Each actor brings us the differing personalities of the four members of the group along with the varying views of events each had. It makes for a fascinating story, or perhaps I should say stories.

While the tale of the four young men from New Jersey who escaped from a criminal past and dealt with financial troubles, conflicts among themselves, and family tragedy, is told with much depth, emotion, and humor by these fine performers, it is the music that evokes a tremendous audience response. No, this is not a tribute band performance, and don’t get me wrong, the story is a major part of what makes this so good to see. The songs contain even more power when enhanced by learning how it all came to be.

I was very much taken with the constant energy displayed during the production. Set changes happened without a pause as props were moved on and off the stage without the action skipping a beat.

…a super high energy evening of music and theatre.

Nearly three dozen songs are performed and each one is enhanced by the amazing lighting and framing the production team has put together. The colors are amazing. Neon style signs, wonderful costumes, and terrific choreography add a strong touch of the spectacular to songs such as , Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like A Man, and Rag Doll.  Jonathan Mousset really brought the house down with Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You. In fact, the audience leapt to its feet after many of the numbers during the show. I could feel the anticipation people had before each song began, and their excitement as soon as the first few notes were played. This is a super high energy evening of music and theatre. 

Photo credit: Gary Ng

Jersey Boys brings us back to a different time without getting overly nostalgic or sappy. While the story is predictable, what works here is the way the actors give us the strong insight into each of the character’s personalities. By the end of the play you will have experienced how we all see things through our own individual lens. It is also interesting to see how people with so many differences can still work together to accomplish great things. There was a synergy between the cast and the audience that filled the theater with excitement all evening.

Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons had a very original sound that has held up through the decades. While their music is in the “Golden Oldies” category, there is nothing moldy about it. Listening to it performed live reminded me of just how fresh and original it still is. 

The Ogunquit Playhouse is closing out its 86th season, one of its best, in great form. Jersey Boys is not to be missed. You would be hard pressed to see a better production of this very exciting play anywhere. I do know tickets have been selling strong for this all summer. Fortunately, it runs through October, so you can take advantage of the off season rates if you want to stay in Ogunquit. Fall is a beautiful time in southern Maine.

When it comes to summer in Ogunquit Let’s Hang On To What We’ve Got! And there’s no better way to do that than with Jersey Boys. 

 

“Jersey Boys” Comes To The Ogunquit Playhouse

Northeast Regional Premiere

Runs September 5 Through October 28

The multi-Tony Award-winning, international sensation that took Broadway and the world by storm, makes its Northeast premiere at the Ogunquit Playhouse, on stage September 5 through October 28. Jersey Boys takes audiences on an exhilarating journey behind the music of mega-stars Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The musical was penned by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe. It follows the incredible story of four guys bound by one dream, who worked their way from the streets of New Jersey to the heights of stardom. Audiences around the world have gone wild over the electrifying performances of the golden greats that took these hometown boys from Jersey all the way to the top of the charts: “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Dawn,” “My Eyes Adored You,” and many more. 

Jonathan Mousset

Starring as Frankie Valli, lead vocalist of The Four Seasons is Jonathan Mousset. He has performed in many regional theatres across the U.S. in such shows as Newsies, In the Heights, and Godspell. Mr. Mousset has also performed in concerts at New York City venues including 54 Below, the Times Center, and the Town Hall. Matthew Guy Magnusson makes his Ogunquit Playhouse debut as Tommy DeVito, lead guitar player of The Four Seasons. Mr. Magnusson has numerous regional theatre credits including Grease, Spring Awakening, American Idiot, and Ring of Fire. 

Performing as Bob Gaudio, songwriter behind The Four Seasons is Andy Christopher. Mr. Christopher has performed as Buddy Holly in the National Tour of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story and in many regional theatres across the U.S. including Bucks County Playhouse, Flat Rock Playhouse, West Virginia Public Theatre, The Muny, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Great Lakes CFA, Fulton Theatre, Maine State Music Theatre, Casa Mañana, and the Ogunquit Playhouse where he got his start in 2012. Returning to the Playhouse to star as Nick Massi, The Four Seasons bassist is Matthew David Amira. Mr. Amira was last seen at the Ogunquit Playhouse in the 2016 production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. His many regional theatre credits include Madame Defarge, She Loves Me, Fiddler on the Roof, and South Pacific among others.

207.646.5511  ogunquitplayhouse.org