Karen Galella

“Burt Dow, Deep Water Man” Opens Friday

Karen Galella
New York actor Doug Shapiro stars as Burt Dow alongside Deer Isle-Stonington school students in the new version of Opera House Arts’ original children’s opera, “Burt Dow, Deep Water Man” at the Stonington Opera House. The final four shows are at 7 p.m. Aug. 16-19.

STONINGTON — “Burt Dow, Deep Water Man,” an original musical based on Robert McCloskey’s classic children’s story, continues its run Aug. 16-19 at the Stonington Opera House.

Conceived and composed by Maia Aprahamian (1935-2011), the musical was first staged in 2010. The original show was created in collaboration with students from the Deer Isle-Stonington and Brooklin elementary schools as part of artists’ residencies in 2009.

The new production features both returning and original cast members, new puppets designed by Brooksville artist Mia Kanazawa and other modifications that will allow the show to embark on a statewide tour in the spring of 2013.

The restaged production is again directed by Joan Jubett with music direction by Peter Szep, scenic design by David Barber, lighting design by Barbara Samuels and costumes by Debra Otte.

“Remounting ‘Burt Dow’ is a rare opportunity to delve deeper into the story, shedding new light on the production,” said Jubett. “We return to Robert McCloskey’s beautiful themes and Maia Aprahamian’s wonderfully musical world, but we also ask for everyone who saw the show before: how is this a different experience?”

Written in 1963, “Burt Dow, Deep Water Man” was the last book by award-winning children’s book author and longtime Deer Isle resident Robert McCloskey.

The title character is based on a former Deer Isle resident, Bert Dow of Dow Road. Dow is buried in Mount Adams Cemetery under a stone provided by McCloskey that reads “Bert Dow, Deep Water Man.”

Opera House Arts’ musical version of “Burt Dow, Deep Water Man” is a “children’s opera.” It is scored for three soloists; an eight-member children’s chorus; a 12-member adult chorus; and a six-piece orchestra.

New York City-based actor Doug Shapiro stars in the title role, with Lewiston’s Robbi (Starnegg) Thornburg as Burt’s sister, Leela, and Deer Isle middle school student Riley Getto featured once again as Burt’s faithful companion, The Giggling Gull. Children’s chorus members range in age from 9 to 14 and include returning cast member Alison Eaton along with Ian Cust, Soozinn Kim Cha, Katie Hutchinson, Jill McDonald, Benjamin Penfold and Emma Plummer.

The adult chorus features two students formerly in the children’s chorus, Alyssa Chesney and Marvin Merritt, as well as returning members Sue Bolton and John Wilson with new members Samuel Coombs, Ray Dinsmore, Pam Getto and Suzy Shepherd.

Ticket prices range widely from $35 for premium reserved seating to free for students from Deer Isle, Brooklin and Sedgwick.

To reserve seats, call 367-2788 and visit www.operahousearts.org.

For more arts & entertainment news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

Fenceviewer Staff

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