LEWISTON – If there’s anything predictable about a season of shows for The Public Theatre, it’s quality and originality. The upcoming 2008-2009 schedule is no exception.

The new season kicks off, literally, with “Secrets of a Soccer Mom” on Oct. 24. This is a humorous and uplifting play about three multitasking moms who recapture their spirit, humor and passion when they leave their traditional roles on the sideline and play in the annual mother-versus-son soccer game against their 8-year-old boys – and they attempt to win the game.

Christopher Schario, artistic director of The Public Theatre, said he is sure “Secrets of a Soccer Mom” will strike a chord with local audiences.

“This is our audience. It’s not about soccer, it’s about being a parent,” he affirmed. “We chose this for the community. It’s very uplifting, very funny and very true.”

This production is the New England premiere of the recent off-Broadway comedy.

Moreover, the play’s theme about very busy mothers led Schario and Associate Artistic Director Janet Mitchko to schedule a show they call the “mommy matinee” at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28. On that day, mothers who can’t get out for evening shows unless they hire a babysitter can drop the kids off at school or day care, come see the show and 90 minutes later they’ll still have time for lunch before turning back into a chauffeur, Schario said.

The three soccer moms in this rejuvenating comedy by Kathleen Clark are Heather Dilly as Alison, Maura O’Brien as Lynn and Mitchko as Nancy. The show runs through Nov. 9.

On Dec. 12-14, Schario’s adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” returns, coupled with “A Solstice Celebration” with fiddler and storyteller Jennifer Armstrong.

“Collected Stories,” by Donald Margulies, opens on Jan. 23. This is a witty and compelling tale of a famous writer and her adoring protégé. Following her mentor’s advice on how to succeed all too well, the student progresses quickly from colleague to confidante, and ultimately to rival.

Kathy Lichter is Ruth and Emma O’Donnell is Lisa in this play by the author of “Dinner with Friends.”

The Maine premiere of “The 13th of Paris” opens on March 13. In this charming and whimsical romantic comedy, a young man takes a suitcase filled with the love letters of his late grandparents and impulsively travels to Paris in search of the true meaning of love. When he begins receiving romantic advice from a dapper French ghost in a pinstripe suit, he discovers the key to listening to his heart.

The 2008-2009 season ends with a heartfelt family comedy. “The Last Mass at St. Casimir’s,” by Tom Dudzick, is about a gathering by a family to say goodbye to its recently sold childhood home – before it’s converted into a Vietnamese restaurant. The Pazinski clan is trapped together in an unexpected blizzard and given the opportunity to come together again as a family.

“This play takes place in Buffalo, but it’s a town very much like Lewiston,” Schario said, noting that this is only the second-ever production of the play. It revisits the Pazinski family of the popular comedy “Over the Tavern” 18 years later.

Playwright Dudzick, who has been called the Neil Simon of the Catholic working class, is expected to be in attendance during performances of “The Last Mass at St. Casimir’s” next year.

As The Public Theatre begins its 18th year, Schario pointed out that recent work related to the current capital campaign means a new $250,000 heating and air-conditioning system is going to be in operation for the new season.

For tickets and subscription information call 782-3200 or log on to www.thepublictheatre.org. The Public Theatre is at Lisbon and Maple streets in the downtown.

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