The big theater buzz this summer is of course is the Fringe, which actually comprises two overlapping programs from June 26 to July 1: PORTFRINGE 2012 is a festival of shows produced by the Portland Theater Collaborative on the "fringes" of the Portland Performing Arts Festival. The PPAF, in turn, will itself present theater events and (a little confusingly) its own line-up of events on its own fringes, so to speak, as the PORTLAND FESTIVAL FRINGE. PortFringe will stage shows at Lucid Stage, the St. Lawrence, and Geno's, and will include productions by a huge range of established local artists and companies, as well a slew of new and visiting theater prospects (look for a comprehensive preview in an upcoming issue). The Portland Festival Fringe will feature a new production by the Celebration Barn, and Acorn Productions' interactive Shakespeare installation, All's Well On the Waterfront, as well as theater and puppet performances at Mayo Street Arts and Oak Street Studios. Stay tuned for more on this summer's coming of the Fringe.
ALL HANDS ON STAGE Maine State Music Theatre’s run of A Chorus Line continues through June 23 in Brunswick.
Summer is typically a ripe time for the Bard, and this season will see some lesser-produced works, along with Shakespeare's most beloved. The eminent THEATER AT MONMOUTH (in its first season with new producing artistic director Dawn McAndrews) will stage Two Gentlemen of Verona, a comedy of outlaws and the deceitful Proteus, as well as Henry IV, Part I, in which the indelible Falstaff wreaks his wastrel influence over young Prince Hal (Monmouth also mounts Molière's Tartuffe and Williams's The Glass Menagerie; in repertory July 5 through August 19).
Back again in Deering Oaks Park, the FENIX THEATRE COMPANY steps away from its usual Shakespeare comedies to mount Macbeth (July 19-August 11); and the PLAYERS' RING, in Portsmouth, presents the greedfest shenanigans of Timon of Athens.
Perhaps you cut your teeth on Shakespeare during a stint in college. Are you still paying somebody back for that stint? Well, higher ed costs and business models are even more stupefying today, and a new play, For Profit, will elaborate (July 30-August 4, at LUCID STAGE). Young graduate Aaron has a new job in a McDonald's-like Admissions Office of For Profit University. But how much can his constantly-assaulted set of ethics take?
Speaking of depression, a CHILDREN'S MUSEUM AND THEATER OF MAINE show will treat the Great one: In The Boxcar Children, four siblings orphaned in the 1930s try to skirt the adult world, making a home for themselves in an abandoned boxcar (July 13-22). Barbara Field's script is adapted from the first book of Gertrude Chandler Warner's Boxcar Children series, in this show acted by, and for, young people.
A little song and dance goes a long way in troubled times, and there's plenty to go around this season. Among the offerings of the MAINE STATE MUSIC THEATRE, in Brunswick, are the feel-good therapeutics of A Chorus Line (through June 23), the only-in-America litigation antics of Legally Blonde (June 27-July 14), and — actually, this is a nice dark one — the delusional grandeur of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard (July 18-August 4). SEACOAST REPERTORY THEATRE, in Portsmouth, presents the high-jinx of under-employed Brits in The Full Monty (June 8-July 18). At the ARUNDEL BARN PLAYHOUSE, the summer stock ensemble will stage, among others, Forever Plaid (June 5-June 23), White Christmas (June 25-July 14), Cinderella (July 17-August 4), and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (August 7-August 18). Among the shows of the OGUNQUIT PLAYHOUSE this summer are the classics South Pacific (June 20-July 15) and Damn Yankees (July 25-August 18), along with a show that was perhaps always destined to become a stage classic, 9 to 5 (August 22-September 15). Finally, PORTLAND STAGE COMPANY brings back a show that qualifies as plenty musical, if not exactly a musical: the two-man show 2 Pianos 4 Hands (through July 1).