In celebration of their 25th anniversary, Freeport Players will present a lavish production of “The Wizard of Oz” from July 17 through 27. Audiences can expect to see fabulous costumes and sets, a giant talking Wizard head, a tornado, the Wicked Witch melting into the floor, the exciting revelation of “Technicolor” when Dorothy arrives in Oz, and more.
Making a special appearance on Sunday, July 20, at 12:30 p.m., before the 2 p.m. matinee performance, will be Willard Carroll, the world’s premier collector of original Wizard of Oz memorabilia and founding partner of the soon-to-open National Oz Museum.
Carroll will answer questions about his collection and the museum and will show a brief video. He began collecting Oz memorabilia as a child and now owns thousands of rare and one-of-a-kind items, including the hourglass used by the Wicked Witch, an original costume worn by one of the Lollipop Guild Munchkins, and a dress worn by Judy Garland.
For the second year in a row, The Public Theatre in Lewiston has been voted “Best Theatre in Maine” by readers of Down East Magazine in its annual readers’ poll.
“To be included in this list, selected by the readers of Down East or its editorial team, means that you are truly part of what makes Maine great,” said Down East editor-in-chief Kathleen Fleury. “Our readers and team take the task of selecting this annual ‘Best Of” list very seriously. It really is an honor.”
“Winning this award two years in a row is a great victory for us and for Lewiston-Auburn,” said Artistic Director Christopher Schario, who also acknowledged another Lewiston business, The Vault, on their award for “Best Wine Store.” “We’re located a few blocks away from each other on Lisbon Street in downtown Lewiston, and I think this award is indicative of the exciting and positive things happening in our community.”
On Saturday, July 19 at 8 p.m., Celebration Barn Theater in South Paris will present a special second-cut screening of Michael Miclon’s original comic feature film, “Richard3.”
Founder of BooDog Films and the Oddfellow Theater, Miclon has created several videos and short films over the last eleven years. A veteran of live performance, he’s perhaps best known locally for “The Early Evening Show,” the longest running variety show in Maine history.
A concert to benefit former Franco Center Director Louis Morin, who suffered a life-threatening stroke in March, will take place at the Franco Center on Saturday, July 19 from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. The event will feature live performances by several of Maine’s finest bands, including Rustic Overtones, the Grateful Dead tribute band Lazy Lightning, the Phish tribute band Pardon Me Doug, and The Kind. Getting the night started will be local favorite $2 Pistol.
The Franco Center is donating the use of its Heritage Hall for the event and all the bands are performing gratis. Prior to taking the Director’s position at the Franco Center, Morin spent many years working for and with MPBN and has been a lifelong supporter of local music and the arts. He was one of the original members of the bands Lazy Lightning and The Kind.
The 32nd annual Moxie Festival, running Friday through Sunday, July 11 through 13 at various Lisbon venues, will feature three new events for 2014.
The Kavanaugh Amusement Carnival will run from Thursday through Sunday at Don’s Automotive on Capital Avenue, just off of Route 196. Featuring 10 to 12 rides, games, food vendors, and other activities for all ages, the Carnival will operate on Thursday from 5:30 to 10:00, Friday from 5:30 to 11:00, Saturday from noon to 11:00, and Sunday from 11 to 5:00. A $16 bracelet will provide unlimited access to rides on Thursday and Sunday; rides on Friday and Saturday will be by ticket only.
The Franco Center in Lewiston has selected Mitchell Clyde Thomas of Durham to be its new Executive Director. Thomas will join the Center’s staff as the third director in its 14-year history. He replaces Louis Morin, who suffered a severe stroke in March. Board Chairman and Interim Executive Director Raymond Lagueux made the announcement last week on behalf of the Board of Directors.
The Town of Poland’s Community and Economic Development Committee and Board of Selectmen recently unveiled the first of three phases of interpretative signage to help visitors identify the town’s most important historical assets.
Tourism has been an important part of the town’s history for two centuries. In August of 2013, the Poland Spring Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places. One of only a handful in Androscoggin County, the district is composed of the golf course and over two dozen historical buildings, including the Maine State Building, All Souls Chapel, and former springhouse and bottling plant of Poland Spring Water.
Two other phases will be installed, including new signage for the six major entrances into town. For more information, see www.historicpolandspring.com.
The 2014 Bates Dance Festival, taking place July 8 through August 9, will feature new works by a variety of renowned contemporary artists, including performances by Prometheus Dance, Camille A. Brown & Dancers, David Dorfman Dance, Vincent Mantsoe and Yin Mei.
Founded in 1982 at Bates College, the annual six-week Festival brings together an international community of contemporary choreographers, performers, educators and students to study, perform and create new work together at what has become a respected summer laboratory for artists making important contributions to contemporary dance.
Mainstage performances will take place in the College’s air-conditioned Schaeffer Theatre, located at 305 College Street in Lewiston. Tickets for mainstage performances are $25 ($18 for seniors, $12 for students). Advance reservations may be made by calling 786-6161 Monday through Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased online at batestickets.com. For more information about the Festival, see batesdancefestival.org.