There’s an embarrassment of riches to be found on Seacoast stages every year, and 2015 is no exception. The new year offers a mix of original productions from local playwrights and favorite classics. Here’s a look at what 2015 has in store for Seacoast theatergoers.
Pontine begins 2015 with “New England Utopia: Transcendental Communities.” Presented as a café evening with informal seating and refreshments, Pontine’s artistic directors M. Marguerite Matthews and Greg Gathers perform scenes from their original production, “The Common Heart,” and lead a discussion of New England transcendentalism. Audiences can relive and talk about the utopian experiments led by Bronson Alcott and George Ripley and the Concord, Mass. community of transcendentalist thinkers that centered around Ralph Waldo Emerson. Feb. 6-8.
In March, storyteller Jay O’Callahan sets his sights on the heavens in a slightly different way. His show, “Forged in the Stars,” celebrates more than a half-century of American space travel. Commissioned for NASA’s 50th anniversary in 2008, “Forged” weaves together stories about J.C. High Eagle, a NASA engineer of Cherokee Indian heritage whose childhood dream was to help men land on the moon; astronaut Neil Armstrong; and New Hampshire’s own Christa McAuliffe, along with the continuing journeys of the two Voyager spacecraft. March 13-15.
Springtime is the best time for a little nonsense. In April, Pontine premieres its original adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark.” Matthews and Gather bring to life Carroll’s nonsense poem, about the misbegotten voyage of a crew of tradesmen (and a beaver) as they pursue the mythical Snark, using a miniature cardboard theater, inspired by popular 19th century parlor entertainments.
All performances are at West End Studio Theatre, 959 Islington St., Portsmouth. Call 603-436-6660 or visit pontine.org for ticket information.
The Players’ Ring
The Ring kicks off the new year with a premiere. “Rush,” an original play by Callie Kimball and the first production from Jasmin Hunter’s Soul in the Sea Productions, takes the stage Jan. 2-18. The year is a mix of new productions and classic plays: Patrick Dorow Productions presents “Songs for a New World” from Jan. 23 to Feb. 8, while “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” returns to the Ring courtesy of director Matthew Richards from Feb. 13 to March 1.
Also in March: Veterans in Performing Arts brings its production of “A Few Good Men” to the theater March 6-22. Bretton Reis directs “Marat/Sade,” on stage March 27 to April 12, and Todd Hunter directs and produces “Seminar,” a satire about four young writers at a New York City writing seminar, April 17 to May 3. The original musical “Hemingway’s Wife” makes its world premiere with Gary Locke directing on May 29 to round out the Ring’s season.
All performances are at The Players’ Ring, 105 Marcy St., Portsmouth. Call 603-436-8123 or visit playersring.org for ticket information.
Seacoast Repertory Theatre
After a successful fundraising campaign in late 2014, The Rep is rebuilding and looking toward its future. Its spring 2015 main stage productions step back into the past with a pair of classics. “Guys and Dolls,” about would-be gambling mogul Nathan Detroit and his attempts to win a big score while keeping his girlfriend Adelaide happy, opens on Feb. 6. In May, the Rep stages Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Into the Woods,” a re-telling of fairy tales that follows a baker, his wife, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (of the beanstalk), and Cinderella as they contend with the consequences of their wishes.
All performances are at Seacoast Repertory Theatre, 125 Bow St., Portsmouth. Call 603-433-4793 or visit seacoastrep.org for ticket information.
New Hampshire Theatre Project
NHTP begins 2015 with “I Am My Own Wife,” an evocative, Pulitzer Prize-winning show featuring CJ Lewis as Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, the German antiquarian and transgender person who survived both the Nazi and Communist regimes in East Berlin. Genevieve Aichele directs. In March, NHTP presents “Goblin Market,” a mini-musical adapted from Chrinstina Rosetti’s poem, directed by Danielle Howard and starring Heather Glenn Wixon and Linette Miles. And in April, the Intelligent Theatre Festival returns for a third year, with professional and community actors reading scripts by local playwrights and contemporary authors.
All performances are at West End Studio Theatre, 959 Islington St., Portsmouth. Call 603-431-6644 or visit nhtheatreproject.org for ticket information.
The Garrison Players kick off their spring season with “Fiddler on the Roof,” the classic musical about Tevye, who tries to maintain his family and Jewish traditions while coping with his strong-willed daughters, the encroachment of outside influences on his family life, and an edict from the tsar that evicts his family from their village. March 6-21. In May, the players present “You Can’t Take It With You,” about the romance between Tony Kirby and Alice Sycamore, a grand duchess working as a waitress, a printing press in the living room, and other mad happenings. May 8-23.
All performances at Garrison Players Arts Center, 650 Portland Ave., Rollinsford. Call 603-750-4278 or visit garrisonplayers.org for ticket information.
The Leddy Center for Performing Arts
Epping’s playhouse enters the new year with “Scene Changes,” a romantic dramedy written and directed by local playwright Donald Tongue. The play follows Samantha Wheelwright, played by Deirdre Bridge, a faltering star who must mentor a young, inexperienced actor in a traveling production of “A Christmas Carol.” Jan. 16-25. In March, “Steel Magnolias,” about a close-knit circle of women who find friendship at a small beauty parlor in Louisiana, takes the stage. March 20-29.
All performances at The Leddy Center, 38C Ladd’s Lane, Epping. Call 603-679-2781 or visit leddycenter.org for ticket information.
Seven Stages Shakespeare Company
There are plenty of ways to keep the Bard in your life in 2015, but perhaps the most comfortable is at ShakesBEERience, Seven Stages’ monthly reading of a different Shakespeare play at The Press Room. The company finishes its 2014-2015 season with “Troilus & Cressida,” directed by Geoffrey Pingree, on Jan.