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Musicals at Ogunquit and Merrill, a premiere at Portland Stage and Good Theater returns

The Ogunquit Playhouse continues its season into the fall in its 25,000-square-foot outdoor pavilion.

Beginning Wednesday, the playhouse premieres “Mystic Pizza: A New Musical,” based on the 1988 movie. It tells the story of a trio of young working-class women who figure out the complexities of life while dishing up slices of pie in a small-town pizza joint.

The show’s music comes from the pop hits of the 1980s and ’90s – think Cyndi Lauper, Robert Palmer, Melissa Etheridge and many others. The cast includes actors with a lot of Broadway and national touring experience: Krystina Alabado (“Mean Girls”) as Daisy, Kyra Kennedy (“Waitress,” first national tour) as Kat, Gianna Yanelli (“Mean Girls”) as Jojo, Rayanne Gonzales (“Phantom of the Opera”) as Leona, Joel Perez (“Fun Home”) as Tim, Garrett Marshall as Bill, and Corey Mach (“Kinky Boots”) as Charles. It’s on stage though Oct. 2.

On Oct. 6, Ogunquit presents “Young Frankenstein,” with longtime friend Sally Struthers as Frau Blucher. The show, and the fall season at Ogunquit, closes Oct. 31. For tickets and details, visit ogunquitplayhouse.org.

Big, Broadway-style musicals also return to Merrill Auditorium this fall.

Portland Ovations, which is requiring audience members, artists and staff to be vaccinated, will present the Broadway National Tour of “Rent” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28-29 at Merrill. This is the 25th anniversary of the landmark musical, which tells the story of starving artists struggling together to survive AIDS and gentrification. It’s message is as simple as it is complicated: Enjoy life while you can. With the pandemic at hand, the themes of “Rent” feel ever more timely. Tickets are $45 to $75, and available at portlandovations.org/event/rent.

On a smaller scale but just as timely, Portland Ovations presents the multimedia theater piece “Cartography,” at 7 p.m. Nov. 4, also at Merrill, in partnership with Indigo Arts Alliance. It explores human movement and migration as a result of climate change, wars and poverty. Tickets are $20 to $45, available at portlandovations.org/event/cartography.

Portland Stage, which has been active for much of the pandemic, opens its fall season Sept. 29 with the premiere of Maine playwright Callie Kimball’s latest play, “Perseverance.” Portland Stage commissioned Kimball to write a play for the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage, and she created a fictional story about two women, whose stories intertwine through their work in the same physical space 100 years apart. The story begins in 1920 with Perseverance Turner, an African-American schoolteacher and suffragist in Hillcroft, Maine, and continues with Dawn Davis, a white school teacher a century later. Both work to improve the lives of their students with the resources of their times. On Nov. 3, Portland Stage presents “Searching for Mr. Moon,” a play by Richard Topol and Willy Holtzman that contemplates the mysteries of parenthood and mortality. For tickets and more information, go to portlandstage.org.

Good Theater, which sat out the past year, resumes live performances Oct. 20 at the St. Lawrence Arts Center in Portland with “Jane Austen’s Lady Susan,” a world premiere of a new play by Rob Urbinati. It’s a comedic romp, adapted from a Jane Austen short story, about a recent English widow who visits her brother- and sister-in-law, with daughter in tow, to help clarify her estate. “She is trying to survive with that British stiff upper lip, and hilarity ensues,” said Good Theater artistic director Brian Allen. “Sparks fly as romance and comedy bloom.” goodtheater.com.

On the waterfront in Rockland, playwright Michael Gorman and his Forty Hour Club present “Never Leaving this Boat – Fragments of a Blues Opera” at 1 and 4 p.m. Sept. 11 and 3 p.m. Sept. 12 outdoors at the Steel House Amphitheater, 639 Main St. The musical explores the impact of opiates on the commercial fishing industry, and is part of Gorman’s ongoing project, “Chasing the New White Whale – Harpooning Addiction.” fortyhourclub.com.

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