The decorations are all packed away, the remaining shreds of wrapping paper are stuck under the couch, and the overeating has turned into fat to be burned off with the annual pledge to exercise more. It’s time to take a deep breath, get that “Nutcracker” music out of your head and look forward to the area’s entertainment offerings in the new year.

And what a year it’s shaping up to be. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s headed our way this month:

Portland Ovations presents the Maine premiere of “Mamma Mia!”, the monster Broadway musical that spawned a monster film, all based on monster ABBA hits of the ’70s and ’80s. Tickets are going fast for this one, so don’t dawdle if you want to feel the beat from the tambourine, oh yeah. The play runs Jan. 12-14; tickets are $56 to $71 through

One of the best-attended shows ever at the Portland Museum of Art was an exhibition of rock ‘n’ roll photos in 2009, so it’s no surprise that one of the PMA’s big spring shows is another photography exhibit. “Making Faces: Photographic Portraits of Actors and Artists” includes dozens of portraits of 20th-century pop icons and artists, including Andy Warhol, Andrew Wyeth, Lucille Ball and Pablo Picasso. Some of the artists’ portraits will be accompanied by their paintings, drawings and sculptures. The exhibit runs Jan. 14 to April 8; go to

January is a big month for art museums. In addition to the PMA show, new exhibits are on tap for the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick (“Inside Out: Exploring Gifts of Art from Private Collectors, Jan. 24-April 15), the Dyer Library/Saco Museum in Saco (“Rugs All Marked Out,” Jan. 14-March 24), the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland (“The Art of the Book,” Jan. 14-April 1), and the Olin Arts Center at Bates College (“Xiaoze Xie: Amplified Moments” and “James Ensor: Scenes de la vie du Christ and Other Works,” both Jan. 21-March 18).

Good Theater, located in the St. Lawrence Arts Center on Portland’s Munjoy Hill, has consistently presented some of Maine’s best local theater. On Jan. 25, it will open the Maine premiere of “Next Fall” by Geoffrey Nauffts. Nominated for a Tony Award in the Best Play category last year, “Next Fall” centers on two gay men — one devoutly religious, the other an atheist — trying to make their relationship work. The play will run through Feb. 19; visit

Classic rock fans have lots to choose from at the dawn of 2012. Poco, formed from the ashes of Buffalo Springfield in the late ’60s and best-known for country-rock hits such as “Just for Me and You” and providing members to The Eagles, will be at One Longfellow Square in Portland Jan. 12. Songstress Aimee Mann, who hit the big time with ‘Til Tuesday back in 1985 and has since blazed an impressive (and adventurous) solo career, comes to the Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield on Jan. 18.

Marc Cohn, best-known for the 1991 hit “Walking In Memphis,” heads a trio at Stone Mountain on Jan. 20. And Paula Cole, who racked up several monster hits in the ’90s (including her signature tune, “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone”), makes her annual trek to Maine with a concert at Stone Mountain on Jan. 28.

If the rest of 2012 has as much high-quality entertainment as January, it’s going to be a very good year.

Deputy Managing Editor Rod Harmon may be contacted at 791-6450 or at:

[email protected]


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