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- The Forecaster
As tiny buds of green portend full-on spring leaf-out, it’s that time of year when many producers and presenters are wrapping up their fall-winter-spring seasons.
Good Theater for one, is exiting with a bang; “Lucky Stiff,” the company’s final 2018-2019 production, is a drop-dead funny musical comedy.
Portland Community Chorus wraps up 2018-2019 with its annual spring program, performed Friday and Saturday.
Portland Ovations concludes its modern dance series on May 1 with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Portland Symphony Orchestra presents its penultimate Classical Series concerts on Sunday and Tuesday.
A mummified corpse, mounted in a wheelchair, goes on vacation in Monte Carlo, carrying $6 million in diamonds, pursued by a British shoe salesman, an American gangster’s moll and a lovelorn fundraiser for a dog shelter.
Don’t ask me what I’ve been smoking. And please don’t shout “fake news.” I’m simply reporting the facts.
These particular facts represent the over-the-top plot to the final offering of Good Theater’s 2018-2019 season, “Lucky Stiff,” a drop-dead funny musical comedy with book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty.
The plot is too complicated to relate, but the first paragraph above accurately summarized the situation. Amazingly, it all holds together for a tuneful evening of laughter.
Director Brian Allen gets topnotch performances from Lynne McGhee, playing a hopelessly near-sighted woman who tried to shoot her gangster boyfriend but accidentally killed the wrong man – the title character, played unmovingly by Glenn Anderson – and Mark Rubin as her brother, an optometrist. (She shoots better with corrective lenses.) Another important role is played by Daniel Patrick Smith, as the shoe salesman who wheels the corpse around town in hopes of inheriting the $6 million.
Good Theater presents “Lucky Stiff” through April 28 at the St. Lawrence Arts Center, 76 Congress St. (top of Munjoy Hill) in Portland. Call 835-0895 or visit GoodTheater.com for furthers.
For the past half-dozen years, a highlight of my spring concert-going has been the Portland Community Chorus’ annual season finale, scheduled for this Friday and Saturday in South Portland.
Although artistic director Rob Westerberg’s program represents a musical smorgasbord that runs from Baroque to psychedelic, for 2019 he’s concentrating on classics from the American heartland.
Selections include the American folk tune, “Home On The Range,” which is also the official song of Kansas. “Shenandoah” is another staple of mid-American folk culture. Another example is a medley of American camp meeting songs, a piece which celebrates the spirit and energy of traveling frontier preachers.
Portland Community Chorus presents its annual spring concert at 7:30 p.m. April 26 and 2 p.m. April 27 at South Portland High School, 637 Highland Ave. Call 370-5320.
Sixty-one years ago last month, a new dance company debuted in New York, and it quickly rocketed to critical aclaim and box office success. Now an established fixture of this country’s culture, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is currently touring the U.S. with a retrospective collection of some of its signature terpsichorean art. The tour motors into Portland on May 1.
The company’s namesake founder was a Texas-born African-American choreographer whose work was characterized by athletic prowess, passionate energy and intense artistic expression. Often chosen to represent the U.S. as a cultural ambassador — as officially recognized by a resolution of the U.S. Congress — the company has been seen by 23 million people in 71 countries on six continents.
One day years ago, after hearing Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8, commonly known as “From the New World,” I remarked to a friend: “If classical music had a few more pieces like this in the repertoire, symphony audiences would double.” It’s that good, full of melody, rhythm and abounding in optimism.
So I’m delighted to see it featured on the Portland Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming concerts on Sunday and Tuesday, the next-to-last outings in the 2018-2019 season.
Two guest artists will be featured. Conductor Marcelo Lehninger is a former conductor with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and currrently leads the Grand Rapids (Michigan) Symphony. Violin virtuoso Benjamin Beilman will be the soloist in Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto.
“Lucky Stiff” is an over-the-top musical comedy at Good Theater. The title character is a mummified gangster, played by Glenn Anderson, left, who was mistakenly killed by a hopelessly near-sighted jealous moll, played by Lynne McGhee.