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Public Theatre and Maine State Music Theatre partner for “Grease: The Musical”

With shows running June 18 through 30, this collaboration will be the first time the Public Theatre has presented a musical for their audience. (Photo by Janet Mitchko)

The Public Theatre in Lewiston and Maine State Music Theatre in Brunswick are partnering for the first time to bring the musical “Grease” to The Public Theatre stage in Lewiston June 18 through 30.

“When the possibility of having our two professional theatres collaborate on a musical was presented, we jumped at the idea,” said TPT’s Executive-Artistic Director Christopher Schario. “We think that combining the strengths of our organizations will create a production that will surprise and delight both our audiences.”

This collaboration will be the first time the Public Theatre has presented a musical for their audience and gives Maine State Music Theatre audiences an opportunity to visit Lewiston-Auburn and experience the exciting work happening at the Public Theatre. For the past six years in a row, the Public Theatre has been voted Best Theatre in Maine by the Down East Magazine readers’ poll.

While the cast and costumes will come from MSMT, the production will be directed by Schario and performed on TPT’s stage in Lewiston, making the show a true artistic collaboration. In fact, Schario has a long history with the musical “Grease,” having performed the role of Kenickie in the National Tour when the play was first running on Broadway.

Grease steps back in time to follow the triumphs and tribulations of Rydell High’s senior class of 1959, whose duck-tailed, hot-rodding “Burger Palace Boys” and their gum-snapping “Pink Ladies” in bobby sox and pedal pushers evoke the look and sound of the era. Head “greaser” Danny Zuko and new “good girl” Sandy Dumbrowski attempt to relive the romance of their “Summer Nights” as the rest of the gang sings and dances their way through the songs “Greased Lightnin’,” “We Go Together,” “Born to Hand Jive,” and many others.

Tanner Callicutt, a recent graduate from Elon University, will play the lead role of Danny. Callicut has played Tony in “West Side Story” at the New Bedford Festival Theatre and Link Larkin in “Hairspray” at Surflight Theatre and Laguna Playhouse. Katie Brnjac whose credits include Violet in “Alice in Wonderland” at Stages St. Louis, will play Sandy.

The cast includes interns from Maine State Music Theatre’s renowned Educational Fellowship Program, including Alicia Babin (Rizzo), Jonathan Bryant (Johnny Casino), Diego Cortes (Sonny), Nicole Fava (Frenchy), Liv Nurmi (Patty Simcox), Collins Rush (Doody), and Robert Avery Wilson (Kenickie). Former MSMT intern (Class of 2017) Natalie Bellamy will play Marty.

Local actors rounding out the cast include Andrew Carney of Gorham (Eugene), Mara Dale of Portland (Jan), Nicholas Hall of South Berwick (Teen Angel), Ayanna Stover of Wiscasset (Cha-Cha), Ben Walker-Dubay of Kennebunkport (Roger), Cameron Wright of Yarmouth (Vince Fontaine), and Jane Abernethy of Brunswick (Miss Lynch). Siobhan Kelley of Portland is ensemble and understudies the female roles.

The show is directed by Christopher Schario and choreographed by Raymond Marc Dumont. The creative team includes Evan Cuddy (music director), Jennifer Madigan (scenic designer), Kathleen Brown (costume designer), Thom Beaulieu (lighting designer), and John Morrison (sound designer).

Performances will take place June 18 through 30 at The Public Theatre at 31 Maple Street in Lewiston. Showtimes are Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., with an added matinee on Wednesday, June 26 at 2 p.m. Audiences will enjoy a pre-show tasting with Baxter Brewing Co. on Wednesday, June 19 and a wine-tasting courtesy of Central Distributors on June 25.  

For tickets, contact The Public Theatre at 782-3200 or www.thepublictheatre.org or Maine State Music Theatre at 725-8769 or www.msmt.org.

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