MSMT will open season with Patsy Cline music

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BRUNSWICK — The Maine State Music Theatre will open its 52nd summer season with “Always … Patsy Cline” on June 9 and end with “Spamalot,” a musical based on the 1975 film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

In between, the theater located on the Bowdoin College campus will stage “My Fair Lady” and “Chicago.”

The season will also be a celebration of Charles Abbott’s 20th and final year as artistic director; he will retire in late August.

Special events for this summer include a concert version of the acclaimed musical “RENT,” June 20-21; the return engagement of a cappella group Toxic Audio on July 26; and Broadway, Tony-nominated star Euan Morton in concert on Aug. 16.

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Children’s programming will include Two Beans Productions’ “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing,” based on the book by Judy Blume, on June 14; and “Alice in Wonderland,” with book, music and lyrics by Marc Robin, on Aug. 25.

Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at the box office at 22 Elm St., by calling 725-8769 or online at www.msmt.org.

“Always … Patsy Cline” is more than a tribute to the legendary country singer who died tragically at age 30 in a plane crash in 1963. The show is based on a true story about Cline’s friendship with a fan from Houston named Louise Seger, who befriended the star in a Texas honky-tonk in 1961, and continued a correspondence with Cline until her death.

The play, complete with down-home country humor, true emotion and an on-stage band, includes many of Patsy’s unforgettable hits such as “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Sweet Dreams” and “Walking After Midnight” — 27 songs all told. The show’s title was inspired by Cline’s letters to Seger, which were consistently signed “Love always … Patsy Cline.”

“Always … Patsy Cline” has enjoyed a successful run off-Broadway. It has been one of the most produced musicals in America, according to American Theatre Magazine. MSMT’s production will run June 9-26.

“My Fair Lady” is a Lerner and Loewe classic title that MSMT last produced 15 years ago. The show includes some of musical theater’s most beloved tunes: “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Street Where You Live,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and “Get Me to the Church On Time.”

Adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion,” iconic characters Eliza Doolittle, Professor Henry Higgins and Colonel Pickering will be brought to new life on MSMT’s stage from June 30 to July 17.

“Chicago,” produced at MSMT eight years ago, was requested by theater patrons in a survey conducted last summer. This production will feature the flavor of the original Bob Fosse choreography in an original production. It will run from July 21 to Aug. 7.

MSMT is one of five regional theaters given rights to produce Monty Python’s “Spamalot,” which centers around the Lady of the Lake and Knights of the Round Table, including Arthur, Galahad, Lancelot and Sir Robin.

“Spamalot,” which will be present Aug. 11-28, was the No. 1 show requested by surveyed MSTM patrons. The show is being jointly produced with Fulton Theatre in Lancaster, Pa. It will feature the original costumes, wigs and props from the London professional production. Abbott will return to the stage in this performance, as Patsy and in various other roles.

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