LEWISTON — Freeport may soon have a little less awesome.

Seven months after Jason and Matt Tardy of Turner opened the Freeport Theater of Awesome, a 99-seat black-box theater on the retail town’s Depot Street, the brothers have announced they will likely close early next year.

“We’re hoping to find somebody to keep it going,” Jason Tardy said Thursday. “We’d be happy to have someone keep the (theater’s) name and keep that (family) style of entertainment.”

The reason they’re leaving is work.

The guys are being offered jobs on bigger, more lucrative stages. And the grind of running the whole operation — from performing and booking other acts to taking care of concessions and overseeing the online ticketing — was taking too much time from their families. Both men, who live in Turner, are married with young children.

They also felt a tug from Disney.


In September, the brothers were hired to perform aboard a Disney cruise ship. It went so well that the pair has been booked for four more in 2014.

Their agent is also lining up many out-of-state dates and the Tardys are expanding their act, bringing on a third performer to fill in for one of the brothers. For about two years, apprentice Steve Corning has been working with them, assisting them in their act, a combination of music, comedy, juggling and techno-gadgetry called AudioBody.

“What we want to do is expand the AudioBody show to have multiple members,” Tardy said.

Their original idea for the theater was to settle down, sign a lease and put up a marquis.

They made money and sold out many of their shows, particularly after getting a boost from the online site TripAdvisor, which listed the theater as the busy town’s “No. 1 attraction,” besting even retail giant L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Discovery School.

“Running a theater is more work than we thought, for sure, but it was manageable,” Tardy said. “All in all, it went pretty much as well as we expected.”


For now, their plan is to take the high-profile work and play shows through the end of the year at the Theater of Awesome. They are scheduled to do a Halloween show this weekend and holiday shows in December. Several other acts, including a comedian and a hypnotist, are also booked.

A new theater operator could take control with the new year.

“Our cruise schedule stars in January,” Tardy said. “We’re going to wait out the next month or so and, hopefully, line somebody up to take over.”


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