The cast of an upcoming production of Treasure Island, showing at Maine State Music Theatre June 26 to July 13. (Photo by Kinectiv)

Maine State Music Theatre in Brunswick celebrated its 60th season last year, but is hardly letting go of its ambitions this year, its 61st.

The theater is launching its summer season with “Sophisticated Ladies,” a compendium of songs by jazz virtuoso Duke Ellington originally produced on Broadway. The production requires a big band onstage and top-notch singing and dancing talent for what the theater’s website itself notes is “the largest tap dance sequences since Newsies and Singin’ In The Rain.” The production runs for nearly three weeks starting with its two June 5 previews.

While 60 years was a milestone to be proud of, Maine State Music Theatre Artistic Director Curt Dale Clark said that he’s approaching every season with similar purpose. “We are it for the Midcoast and people count on us,” he said in a phone interview. “We’ve basically sold out every performance, so they want more and more and more performances.”

It’s a challenge that will be aided by a new three-tiered approach to subscriptions, for the main stage, children’s productions and special events, although Clark said he’s been surprised to see how many people have subscribed to all three, which he dubs “super subscribers.”

The company is no less ambitious when it comes to staging its children’s productions, and this summer it will present Treasure Island, a swashbuckling new musical based on the Robert Louis Stevenson classic that, like Sophisticated Ladies, is made possible through its collaboration with Pennsylvania’s Fulton Theatre. “Maine State and Fulton will be forever listed as the originating theaters,” he said. “It’s not your typical happy-go-lucky musical — our regular audiences will be treated to something different and we’ll get a lot of people who might not otherwise go.”

WHERE: The summer season is staged in Bowdoin College’s Gothic granite and stained glass Pickard Theater, a 600-seat venue with a classic proscenium stage. Check the company’s website for prices and showtimes, which include matinees on several days of the week.


SUMMER HIGHLIGHTS: Sophisticated Ladies, June 5 – 22.

Dear Evan Hansen, July 11, matinee only. A deeply personal musical about getting the chance to fit it.

Broadway favorite Hello Dolly, July 17 – Aug. 3.

The Wizard of Oz, Aug. 7 – 24. Family-friendly musical based on the famous 1939 film.

Walkin’ the Line, June 16-17 (new shows added). A tribute to Johnny Cash performed by Scott Moreau, who starred as the country music icon in the theater’s production last year of Million Dollar Quartet.

Lettin’ the Good Times Roll, July 1. A evening cabaret concert of jazz, blues, gospel and show tunes starring award-winning divas E. Faye Butler and Felicia P. Fields.


The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber July 29 & Aug. 12. Maine State Music Theatre celebrates the prolific composer of Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Sunset and other famous musicals with some of their best-loved songs.

Especially family-friendly:

Snow White, two shows each day on June 12 & 15, starting at 10 am. New England premiere of Treasure Island, June 26 – July 13.

Three Little Pigs, 4 shows on July 8, starting at 10 am.

The Little Mermaid, four shows on Aug. 19, starting at 10 am

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