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Hackmatack Playhouse Line-up for 2019

January 16, 2019

The one-time barn in Berwick that now serves as a seasonal theater will step out of its comfort zone this summer to present four shows that have never before been done on the Hackmatack Playhouse stage. Eschewing the pattern that brings back at least a few already presented Broadway favorites each year, Hackmatack is offering a line-up that includes all shows new to Hackmatack.
 
From its June 14 opening with “Always …Patsy Cline,” to the Aug. 14 closing with “Peter and the Starcatcher,” Hackmatack will give audiences a range of musicals and dramas directors have never before produced in Berwick. Midseason, the theater will offer “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” and the Broadway hit, “Mamma Mia!”
 
“All four are new shows to our Hackmatack audience, something that hasn't happened for many, many years,” said Michael Guptill, owner and producer at Hackmatack. “We just about always repeat a show somewhere along the line.”
 
With down-home humor and emotion, “Always.. Patsy Cline” is a musical tribute to the legendary country singer based on the true story of her friendship with a fan she met in Texas in 1961. It includes many of her hits, including “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces,” and “Walking After Midnight.” Patsy Cline continued her friendship and correspondence with Louise Seger for two year’s until the singer’s death in a plane crash at the age of 30 
The “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time,” which opens July 3, is a show based on the best selling book of the same name about a 15-year-old autistic boy who solves the secret of a murdered dog – and in the process solves several other mysteries. With a script written by Simon Stephens, this show won a Tony award for best play in 2015.
 
“Curious is one of the most interesting and fun shows that has been on Broadway for the past few years,” said Guptill, who noted it is a production with interesting characters that actors will love. 
The play premiered August 2012 in London and October 2014 on Broadway. It differs from the book in that is is presented as a play-within-a-play. Critics have been impressed by its ability to convey the point of view of the boy with autism as well as his compassion school mentor.
The best known show in Hackmatack’s season, “Mamma Mia!” will open July 24 with the music of ABBA telling the story of a young woman’s search for her birth father. 
 
“Our audiences have been asking us to do Mamma Mia for years,” said Crystal Lisbon of Dover, the returning artistic director for Hackmatack.
 
This tale about love and family was made available to general theaters only in the last few years. According to Guptill, the minute it became available, folks at Hackmatack knew they would put it on the schedule. 
 
It takes place on a Greek island when a bride-to-be decides to find her father so he can walk her down the isle. She ends up bringing three men onto the island from her past, all who are possibly her father. The large cast, the humor and the dancing are all part of its its appeal.
“It’s a high energy show with a good dose of dancing,” said Lisbon, noting audiences are often moved to join in singing songs like “Take a Chance on Me,” Knowing Me, Knowing You,” “Dancing Queen” and, of course, “Mamma Mia!”
Closing the Hackmatack season with an Aug. 14 opening will be “Peter and the Starcatcher,” an add-on to the century-old story of Peter Pan. Guptill predicts this story of the boy who wouldn't grow up, based on a novel co-written by humor writer Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, will appeal to adults as much as younger members of the family. 
 
In it, a dozen actors portray more than 100 characters, including orphans and pirates, tyrants and tycoons.  Following an orphan and his mates who are shipped off from Victorian England to an island ruled by an evil king, it explores greed and despair, friendship, duty and love. At sea, the boys are discovered by a precocious young girl named Molly, a Starcatcher-in-training who realizes that a trunk in the captains cabin holds a celestial substance so powerful that it must never fall into the wrong hands. When the ship is taken over by pirates the adventure begins.
 
“There are lots of Tony winy and Tony-nominated shows this season,” said Lisbon. “The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive and we are looking forward to sharing all of these pieces with our audiences.”
 
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Season tickets for the four shows are available on the website. “Always… Patsy Cline” will be shown 8 pm June 14 and 15 and as well as June 19 to 22 and 26 to 29 with matinees at 2 pm Thursday June 20 and June 27. All other shows run Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8 pm, with matinees at 2 pm Thursdays.“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” will be presented July 3 to 6, 10 to 13 and 17 to 20.“Mamma Mia!”” runs July 24 to 27; Aug 31 to 3 and Aug 7 to 10. “Peter and the Starcatcher” will run Aug. 14 to 17; Aug. 21 to 24 and Aug. 28 to Aug. 31. For tickets or more information, go to hackmatack.org or call 207-698-1807.