Evening Aboard Whaleship Essex Explores Universal Tragedy
Heidi Sistare

“People ask me how will you get a boat on stage? What I like to say is — theatrical imagination.”

With these words, Joe Forbrich introduced a reading of his new play, The Whaleship Essex, on Monday, July 22. The staged reading was part of The Vineyard Playhouse’s Monday Night Specials series. It was performed by a group of 16 actors and actresses, two from New York and 14 from Martha’s Vineyard.

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One Woman Show Mixes Humor, Tragedy
Connie Berry
Award-winning writer and performer Ann Randolph brings her spin on life’s little challenges to the Vineyard with her solo show, Loveland. Ms. Randolph takes the audience along on a cross-country flight described as both hilarious and deeply human. She will offer two shows at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven, one this Saturday beginning at 7:30 p.m. and another performance next Saturday, July 13, at the same time.

In an interview from the Berkshires where she is teaching a writing workshop, Ms. Randolph provided some insight as to where she gets her material.

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Stars Align for Vineyard Playhouse
Olivia Hull
Mary Steenburgen saw her first play at a community theatre in Arkansas where she grew up. It was the Music Man, performed by a travelling company and she was instantly captivated.

“I literally could not breathe,” she said in an interview with the Gazette at her home in Chilmark. “I was so transported by it, and it meant so much to me.”

Ms. Steenburgen grew up in a home with “fairly modest means,” and found refuge from family and life challenges in the audience, on the stage and in the wings of the community theatre.

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Ape Woman Rock Opera
On Wednesday, August 29 and Thursday, August 30, the folks at the Pit Stop in Oak Bluffs are hosting The Ape Woman Rock Opera. For those not up on their 19th century oddities, the Ape Woman was Julia Pastrana, an indigenous Mexican woman born in 1834, who suffered from hypertrichosis terminalis; her face and body were covered with black hair.
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Stagestruck

Stagestruck

The Orleans Arena Theater on Cape Cod wasn’t the first summer stock theater, but it was the first “in the round” theater that operated only in summertime. The Arena’s history is told through dramatic reenactment, historical photos and former resident interviews in Stagestruck: Confessions from Summer Stock, which will be screened this week. The film is a nostalgic look at the Orleans Arena Theater which operated from 1950 to 1976. Author and playwright Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., an Orleans Arena Theater alumnus, is featured in the film.

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Dance Theatre Breaks Down Barriers

Dance Theatre Breaks Down Barriers

Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded in 1969. At the time it was comprised of African American artists who were barred from U.S. ballet companies because of the color of their skin. Its mission over the past four decades, as stated on its website, has continued to be to “present a ballet company of African American and other racially diverse artists who perform the most demanding repertory at the highest level of quality.”

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Creative Drama Grants

Creative Drama Grants

Phyllis Vecchia Creative Drama has been awarded grants from the Martha’s Vineyard Center for the Visual Arts and the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank Charitable Fund.

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The Plays the Thing, for a Few More Days

The Plays the Thing, for a Few More Days

Come this fall there will be much regret when you begin to understand just how much parting is sweet sorrow when you know not from what light through yonder window breaks. But fear not, for my purpose is, indeed, a horse of that colour. In other words, if music be the food of love, play on, and play on the Vineyard Playhouse’s Outdoor Shakespeare Festival does, but just for one more weekend.

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Aloft on Soft, White Wings, Heart of the Story Unfolds
Katie Ruppel

On an island off the coast of Georgia, moths beat against the screen as George Dawes Green and his childhood friends stay up late telling stories on a cozy summer porch.

Years later, Mr. Green sits in New York city growing tired of the loud, crowded and fast-paced parties of his adopted home.

“They were just so rapid-fire — no one could possibly squeeze in a word,” he remembered. “I just got tired of cocktail parties because I had been nurtured on stories and people telling them.”

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Joyce Carol Oates Stirs Up Wild Night, Miniature Emily Dickinson in Tow
Tara Keegan

What would happen if we actually were able to live with the celebrities we fawn over? You’d need to fully restock your kitchen three times a day to support Michael Phelps. Annie Oakley would surely stir up trouble with the neighbors. Whoever it is, normal life would simply go awry.

In her work-in-progress play, Wild Nights, award-winning author Joyce Carol Oates portrays the attempted assimilation of not only a celebrity, but one of the greatest literary names of all time — Emily Dickinson.

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