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WHO WE ARE
We are a not-for-profit professional theatre arts group based
in Southern Central Maine dedicated to the presentation of high quality
musical theatre to as wide an audience as possible. We believe that the
uniquely American art form of musical theatre is one of the great treasures
of this country and that its joys should reach all the American people all
over the country -- not just a selected few who have access to Broadway!
We are doing our part to bring these joys to the people of Maine.
We are dedicated to the total production of musical theatre. That is,
our set designs, costumes and musical arrangements are original, and are
designed and constructed here in Brunswick, Maine. We are the only resident,
professional musical theatre operation in the country. Our professional
status is achieved not only by our attitude, but by the fact that our actors,
directors, stage managers and many of our designers are members of their
respective trade unions, working year-round in their professions, often
on Broadway and in leading regional theatres.
- Preserve the classic American musical and to bring the wonder of this
art to the people of New England.
- Present the best quality of musical theatre in all aspects of production,
and to encourage professionalism in the performing arts.
- Educate young theatre students in the skills necessary to produce musical
theatre at a professional level.
We began our mission in 1959, when Victoria Crandall put her dream of
a resident musical theatre company in Maine into action. Ms. Crandall, Executive
and Artistic Director of the theatre, nurtured its incredible growth for
nearly thirty-two years. Her zeal for high professional standards was reflected
in numerous awards for the theatre and its founder. Originally named the
Brunswick Summer Playhouse, we became the Brunswick Music Theatre in 1967.
In 1986 the Maine State Legislature designated it the official "Maine
State Music Theatre," in recognition of its superb productions and
its legacy to the state of Maine.
In the spring of 1990 Victoria Crandall passed away leaving the Theatre
in the hands of the Board of Trustees and Billings Lapierre who had recently
been hired as Managing Director. Charles
Abbott was then hired as the new Artistic Director. Together this team
began developing a new vision for the Maine State Music Theatre. Under their
direction, the Theatre became closely aligned with the national theatre
scene by making a commitment to present new or rewritten works.
This artistic vision remained the defining characteristic of the theatre,
despite Billings Lapierre's announcement that he was departing for Philadelphia.
In the wake of this news, the Board of Trustees conducted a nation-wide
search for a new Managing Director. Their efforts yielded the arrival of
Steven C. Peterson in
October, 1994. Based on his experiences at Casa Mañana Theatre in
Fort Worth, Texas, Steve brings a fresh perspective to MSMT, as well as
renewed energy and interest in new works. As a result, each season one of
the five shows we present is a new piece, in some cases a world premiere,
or a revival of a classic. Our audiences become the beneficiaries of a rich
new theatre experience.
Since 1959, we have produced and presented nearly 300 shows at the 610-seat
Pickard Theatre on the Bowdoin College campus. The 122 different titles
include the classics, operettas, contemporary works and even world premieres.
We have grown from a handful of subscribers in the early years to over 4,800
in 1995. During the past ten years our subscriber base has increased over
We have an eleven week season that begins in June and runs through August.
In that short period we present five originally produced musicals to over
48,000 theatre patrons.
A theatre group is, above all else, a family. Each performance brings
cast, crew and audience closer together. Every person matters. Meet the
- The theatre became non-profit in 1979, is governed by a twenty-member
Board of Trustees and follows closely the guidelines for the National Alliance
For Musical Theatre. Members of the Board represent a variety of backgrounds
and occupations in Southern, Central and Coastal Maine. Under the active
direction of Steven C. Peterson
and Charles Abbott, the
Theatre employs a year-round staff in its Brunswick office. This staff
prepares for the upcoming season by keeping up with subscriptions, fund
raising, seeking sponsorships, publicity, publishing the Theatre's newsletter
QUARTER NOTES, organizes benefit events, and working with the community
in helping with arts events year round and in promoting theatre arts. Along
with the theatre professionals we hire for the season, Maine people are
given the opportunity to join our family assisting in anything from lighting
design to set construction to actually performing in our productions.
- During the season the theatre employs over 120 performers, directors,
designers, technicians and musicians. These professionals join our theatre
at the beginning of each summer and become a resident company working on
the five-productions over a three-month period. They are members of Actors'
Equity Association, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers,
United Scenic Artists and the American Federation of Musicians.
- We offer a unique internship program to thirty students every season.
Interns are given the opportunity to develop career interests in performing,
technical skills and theatre management. They participate in all the productions
and work closely with professionals and staff to become well-rounded theatre
professionals who will carry on the legacy of American musical theatre
in other parts of the country. Classes are held three times a week and
are taught by the Intern Director and professional company members. Interns
may earn college credit and Actors' Equity (union) points.
- Over 50 volunteers work together throughout the season to provide assistance
to the Theatre. These "Angels," as they call themselves, participate
in many projects including fund raising, opening night parties, ushering,
transporting company members, "adopting" an intern for the season
(making them feel "at home") and distributing our season posters
and flyers. They save us hundreds of dollars by not having to pay someone
to accomplish these essential tasks.
- In 1994 we reached 85% average capacity. Our audience is drawn mostly
from residents of Southern and Central Maine. Nearly two million patrons
have attended our performances over the past thirty-five years, representing
all fifty states and numerous foreign countries. In our efforts to bring
theatre enjoyment to all, we give special, signed, performances for the
deaf, and we offer discounts to senior citizens, students, as well as offering
group discounts. The Theatre also gives backstage tours to special groups
who want to get a glimpse of the action "behind the scenes."
Through a grant from the Davis Family Foundation, the Theatre installed
an infrared sound system for the added convenience for our hearing impaired
- We actively strive to be an integral part of our community. Each season,
over forty paid positions are filled by local residents. These jobs include
performers, box office staff, painters, designers, carpenters, musicians,
cooks and seamstresses. It is estimated by the Brunswick Chamber of Commerce
that the Maine State Music Theatre generates over $2.75 million in revenue
into the Brunswick Community. Our theatre patrons contribute to local businesses
and merchants acknowledge these benefits by advertising in our season PLAYBILLS.
We are proud of our cultural contributions to our local communities and
to the preservation of the American musical on a national level. We are
committed to continuing to present superb theatre and to train theatre students.
Our major efforts are focused on the following areas:
- We design and build everything needed for the productions "from
scratch." Months before the season starts, we begin to assemble our
staff. We spend grueling weeks in New York City auditioning performers,
and we pour over a myriad of resumes of theatre professionals from across
the country, including designers, carpenters, electricians, musicians,
costume experts, and stage managers. We are committed to continuing the
tradition of a resident company producing original shows here in Northern
- This vital program teaches theatre students all the intricate skills
needed for the production of sophisticated musical plays. These students
represent the future of American theatre and they will bring rare talent
to other communities across the country and ensure the continued legacy
of the American Musical. We have a deep commitment to this program and
would like to expand it.
- We would like to initiate this program for the benefit of the Maine
community. A theatre professional (choreographer, performer, director)
would spend several months in Maine in the off-season and work with local
arts groups, high schools and Universities. The "artist-in-residence"
would conduct workshops, give performances, and have informal planning
sessions with local artists and teachers with the goal of heightening the
awareness and enjoyment of the arts for the community, and giving students
a taste of what's involved in professional theatre.
Developing New Works And Rediscovering Lesser Known Works
14 Maine St.
- As an active founding member of the National Alliance For Musical Theatre,
we are committed to producing at least one new work or a lesser known work
each season in which our audiences are given the opportunity to expand
their knowledge and experience of musical theatre.
MAINE STATE MUSIC THEATRE
Brunswick, ME 04011
e-mail Maine State at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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