Maine State Music Theatre
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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.

OUR GOALS

OUR HISTORY

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 250%.

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.

OUR FAMILY

A theatre group is, above all else, a family. Each performance brings cast, crew and audience closer together. Every person matters. Meet the family:

Management

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.

Professionals

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.

Interns

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.

Volunteers

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.

Audience

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 theatre patrons.

Community

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.

OUR FUTURE

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:

Production

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 New England.

Internship Program

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.

Artist-in-Residence

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

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
14 Maine St.
Suite 109
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 725-8769
e-mail Maine State at: msmtstev@biddeford.com

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