Staff Picks!

Staff picks is a fun time of the season where each staff member at Portland Ovations writes about an upcoming performance they’re most excited about. We work very hard to bring these productions to you throughout the season and often get just as excited as our audiences to see these artists live on stage. Scroll down to read our picks and purchase your tickets!

Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower

Friday, April 14, 2023, 7PM
Merrill Auditorium, Portland

“The performance I am most looking forward to is Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower. After years of discussion, viewings of countless videos, stalled momentum due to COVID, fervent commitment by all partners, and a few grant proposals – I finally saw this performance live this past summer. Epic. Glorious. Mind, heart and soul shifting. It is performances like Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower, a gem with so many facets, that one is compelled to see again (and again) with each experience bringing new insights. It is productions like this that make evident the arts as a transformative experience. These productions make this more than a job, it’s an avocation. I’m grateful to our partners, co-presenter Indigo Arts Alliance for sparking the idea to bring Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower to Maine and to Bowdoin College for supporting this presentation and the work being done in the community to set the path. ”

– Aimée M. Petrin, Executive & Artistic Director

Jessica Vosk

Thursday, February 16, 2023, 7PM
Merrill Auditorium, Portland

I am so excited for Jessica Vosk to grace Merrill Auditorium’s stage, a true Broadway talent who has played Elphaba in Wicked and has the voice and tone which gives you chills and goosebumps. Her repertoire will include tunes from Broadway and the Great American Songbook, and her powerful stage presence, endless energy, and pristine vocals will leave you wanting more. I can’t wait!”

– Mary Campbell, Office Administrator

Cirque Alfonse: Animal, A Farm Story

Friday, April 21, 2023, 7PM
Merrill Auditorium, Portland

Is there anything more joyous than the circus? When you take your seat at a Cirque Alfonse performance, you are transported to simpler times. An instant flash back to childhood, like Ego the food critic when he takes his first bite of Remi the rat’s ratatouille. The mischief and madness are inescapable: rubber chickens with teeth, naughty ducks, and cows run amok! Come fill your hearts with a night full of music and surprise, in a performance only Ovations could bring to Portland. ”

– Casey Oakes, Director of Marketing & Development

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

Sunday, April 23, 2023, 7PM
Merrill Auditorium, Portland

I consider Wynton Marsalis to be a contemporary – He’s my age basically. We both play brass. We both loved jazz in the time of Rock and Roll. We both loved classical music in the age of Disco. He’s always been my hero. He was this amazing kid – a mensch – a prodigy – a genius- drawing both on Miles Davis and Bix Beiderbecke. Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong. One foot in bebop, and the other in the New Orleans tradition of his massively talented family. And with the strength of character to be his own style, forging his life and art exactly as he sees fit. I do want to be Wynton if I grow up. See you there.

– Eric Hager, Production Manager

Bluey’s Big Play

Thursday, March 16, 2023, 6PM
Merrill Auditorium, Portland

Something that brings me great joy is seeing young people in a dark theater being delighted by live performance. This is why I am elated to bring Bluey’s Big Play to Merrill Auditorium in March. I hope that families enjoy these familiar characters brought to live on stage through beautiful puppetry as much as I will — I too have watched almost every episode! Tickets are nearly sold out for this performance, be sure to purchase yours today.”

– Katie Day, Marketing Manager

Fiddler on the Roof
Broadway National Tour

Friday, April 28, 2023, 8PM
Saturday, April 29, 2023, 1PM & 7PM
Merrill Auditorium, Portland

“Tradition,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Matchmaker”…I could listen to the emotional and lively score of Fiddler on the Roof all day long. After performing in a high school production (as so many have), I find new resonance in this family saga every time I revisit it as an adult. I am so looking forward to welcoming the recent Broadway revival to Portland this spring, and hope you’ll join me—and the denizens of Anatevka—for what promises to be a wonderful show!

– Katelyn Manfre, Director of Community Partnerships

Memphis Jookin’: The Show featuring Lil Buck

Tuesday, January 31, 2023, 7PM
Merrill Auditorium, Portland

If you’ve ever been curious to see a literal embodiment of the phrase “poetry in motion,” look no further than Lil Buck. A master of movement with precision that appears altogether effortless, gravity-defying and often approaches the surreal.  Lil Buck is a classically trained genre-defying innovator of modern dance, Ambassador of Memphis Jookin’ and living proof that the fine arts are not exclusive to theaters, but are also alive and well on the streets.

– Jamie Barilone, Development Manager

Wabanaki Stories

Saturday, February 4, 2023, 3PM
Merrill Auditorium, Portland

I’m particularly excited about Wabanki Stories. With master storytellers from three different nations and storytelling traditions, music, and puppetry, it’s going to be an amazing experience for the whole family. As a new Mainer, I’m excited to learn more about Wabanaki storytelling, histories and cultures through this lovely show.

– Liz Schildkret, Director of School & Family Programs