Although Maine State Music Theatre’s mainstage productions will be in Westbrook this year, Brunswick audiences can still get a taste of Broadway-style performances. The theater is bringing to town a handful of crowd-favorite stars for a special concert and story-telling series over the next two weeks.

Lauren Blackman in ‘Hello, Dolly!’ performed at Maine State Music Theater in 2019. Roger S. Duncan photo courtesy of MSMT

In May, the Portland Press Herald reported that Maine State Music Theatre would not stage its major productions this year at the usual venue of Bowdoin College’s Pickard Theater in Brunswick. Due to uncertainties related to the pandemic and the college’s schedule, the performances would instead be hosted in Westbrook, the Press Herald reported.

However, “The Stars of Maine State Music Theatre” will still shine at Pickard. The performances will feature players from past seasons, including long-term Maine State Music Theater mainstays like David Girolmo and Charis Leos.

Girolmo, who is originally from Rochester, New York but now lives outside of Chicago, has been a professional actor since 1989. He first fell in love with theater, however, after a 7th grade play.

Throughout his career, Girolmo has performed in two Broadway shows: “Candide” directed by Hal Prince and “War Paint” directed by Michael Greif. At Maine State Music Theater, Girolmo has done about a dozen shows, performing roles such as The Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz.”

“The theater itself, the Pickard, it’s a great place to do what we do,” Girolmo said. “I’m certain there will be plenty of tears shed backstage, for us it’s going to be a really emotional time because this is a place that I love desperately.”

Girolmo estimated that the largest audience he has performed for was between 7,000 and 10,000 people. He will be at the concert series during next week’s performances, and he said the audience can expect a rendition of “Weekend in New England” originally by Barry Manilow.

Girolmo said his favorite parts of live theater include the process of creating, the people who surround him and the overall sense of community.

“There’s a group dynamic that is created each and every night that is utterly different,” Girolmo added. “There’s nothing like that experience of looking each other in the eyes and saying let’s create something unique together for this group of people and that’s what we do.”

Leos, another performer scheduled to make an appearance during this week’s concert, said that she has never done anything else but theater. She currently lives in Pennsylvania and has done 15 seasons with Maine State Music Theatre.

In 2019, Leos played Dolly in “Hello, Dolly!” at the Maine State Music Theatre. She said that she has traveled all over the United States for different performances and that she is excited to perform a number from the show “Gypsy.”

“There is just something about the shared experience of live performance,” Leos said. “I think it’s important and it brings people joy, it can be pure escapism, or it can teach us something about ourselves. There really is not limit as to how the art form can touch people.”

Other performers scheduled to take the stage include Robert Creighton, Lauren Blackman, Kingsley Leggs, Felicia P. Fields, Gregg Goodbrod and Heidi Kettenring.

According to Artistic Director Curt Dale Clark, the performers were asked to do songs that they were either famous for locally or from Broadway shows.

Clark said that, in picking the best eight, he knew he could not satisfy everyone, since there are so many beloved performers by the audience.

“I try make sure I get good people, not just good performers,” Clark said. “I had to find eight of what I consider are most famous stars that were available for these two slots.”

Performances will be held on July 28-29 and Aug. 4-5 at the Pickard Theater on the Bowdoin College campus in Brunswick. For more information or to reserve tickets, visit msmt.org or call the box office at (207) 725-8769.


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