Michael Parent, a Franco-American storyteller and musician, will perform “Tales and Tunes” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, in the Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center in Gardiner. The show is the second in the new Center Stage Series featuring storytelling, comedy, juggling and music for all ages. This evening of stories and music will appeal to grandparents and grandchildren, to adults and teens.

Since 1977, Parent has been telling stories and singing songs from New England to New Zealand. A storyteller, singer, actor and juggler, he draws upon his Franco-American heritage to perform stories and songs in both French and English. Although he’s particularly interesting to people with French heritage, creating characters they know and singing songs they remember, he engages everyone in the audience with his warm and humorous style.

Parent received the Circle of Excellence Award from the National Storytelling Network in 1999, and has received critical acclaim. Melvin Maddocks wrote in Time magazine, “The storyteller, in the fullness of his craft, has struck, and the spell is on, as surely as it was when Homer conjured up a fleet of ships on a wine-dark sea bound for the walls of Troy.”

Parent’s French-Canadian heritage is rich with songs and stories. Growing up in Lewiston, he was surrounded by family members who spoke both French and English. His original stories, many of them rooted in that tradition, have been included in various anthologies. His bilingual CD collaboration with Greg Boardman, “Chantons, Let’s Sing,” was released in 2000; it includes many songs from the Franco-American culture, sung in an alternating French-English pattern.

The last Center Stage show will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 5, featuring Michael Cooper in “Masked Marvels and Wondertales,” an extravaganza of masks, mime and stories. More information is available at www.johnsonhall.org.

Tickets for the Jan. 22 show are $12.50 for adults; $11.50 for Johnson Hall members; $10 for children under 13. Seating is limited; the first show in the series sold out. Tickets may be reserved at (207) 582-7144 or [email protected] The snow date is Jan. 29. The center is at 280 Water St.


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