Karen and Tony Montanaro Submitted photo

Celebration Barn Theater celebrates its 50th anniversary with three evenings of performances: On on Thursday, July 28, and Friday, July 29, Karen Montanaro performs her new show about her partnership with world-renowned mime and Celebration Barn founder Tony Montanaro; and on Saturday, July 30, Bill Irwin and Avner Eisenberg headline Celebration Barn’s 50th Anniversary Spectacular.

The anniversary events mark five decades of Celebration Barn’s contribution and commitment to physical theater and the Oxford Hills community. Located in South Paris, Celebration Barn offers workshops and residencies for physical theater artists to hone their craft and develop their body of work. The nonprofit also services the local community through its popular Show Series and community-based initiatives, such as Theater in Schools.

The weekend of performances kicks off with Karen Montanaro’s “Tony Montanaro ~ A Love Story,” a brand new one-woman, multi-media show directed by Robert Post. “Tony Montanaro ~ A Love Story” is described as “a funny, intimate, and breathtaking account” of the personal and professional relationship between Tony and Karen Montanaro. A former professional ballerina whose art was transformed through her relationship with the late Tony Montanaro, Karen has gained a reputation for “bringing the fusion of pantomime and dance to its highest level of expression” (Main Echo, Hanau, Germany). A second presentation of the show takes place Friday evening.

Avner Eisenberg Submitted photo

Bill Irwin Submitted photo

On Saturday, American actor, clown, and comedian Bill Irwin and Avner Eisenberg, described by New York Magazine as “a clown for the thinking man,” headline Celebration Barn’s 50th Anniversary Spectacular. Irwin is best known for his vaudeville-style stage performances and has been noted for his contribution to the renaissance of American circus during the 1970s. He has also made a number of appearances on film and television, and he won a Tony Award for his role in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf on Broadway.” Children know him as Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street’s “Elmo’s World.” Eisenberg is hailed as one of the greatest clowns of all time and is often a featured performer in comedy, magic, clown, and theater festivals around the world. His show “Avner the Eccentric” was a Broadway hit in the 1980s. He also appeared on Broadway in “Ghetto” and “The Comedy of Errors.” Avner is widely known for his portrayal of the holy man in the Michael Douglas film “The Jewel of the Nile.”

“Irwin and Eisenberg are two of the brightest stars in the firmament of clowning,” said David Bruin, the Barn’s executive artistic director. “For decades, their stellar performances on stages, screens, and street corners have amazed audiences worldwide. As paragons of artistry, consummate professionals, and world-class teachers, it is an honor to showcase them both as we celebrate fifty years of Celebration Barn.”

Celebration Barn’s 50th Anniversary Spectacular will also spotlight performers including Hilary Chaplain, Fritz Grobe, Amanda Huotari, Sheila Kerrigan, Bernie Kramer, Khalil LeSaldo, Mike Miclon, Dyer Rhoads, Antonio Rocha, Lou Sydel, Thom Wall, and members of the original Celebration Mime Ensemble. In addition, the Spectacular will feature the presentation of two awards. The inaugural Tony Montanaro Award will be presented to the Encompass Collective for their contributions to artistry and community at Celebration Barn, and the inaugural Community Partner Award will be given to Frank and Cheryl Shaskan for their longtime support and dedication to the life of the Barn.


“We’re thrilled to be honoring the past and ushering in the future of Celebration Barn with this incredible weekend of performances,” said Celebration Barn Board President Davis Robinson. “We look forward to celebrating this exciting milestone with our special and ever-growing community.”

Tickets to Karen Montanaro’s “Tony Montanaro ~ A Love Story” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 28, and Friday, July 29, are available for $30 for adults, $20 for seniors (65+), and $10 for kids (17 and under). Limited tickets to Celebration Barn’s 50th Anniversary Spectacular at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 30 are available for $50. All tickets are general admission. The lobby and concessions open at 7 p.m. Purchasing tickets in advance is strongly recommended.

All patrons ages 5 and up attending a show at Celebration Barn must present proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Adults are also required to show a matching photo ID. A booster shot, while recommended by the CDC, is not required in order to attend a show at this time. Attendees age 4 and under are only required to wear a mask.

To purchase tickets or for more information, visit celebrationbarn.com. Celebration Barn Theater is located just off Route 117 at 190 Stock Farm Rd., South Paris.

Celebration Barn Theater Submitted photo

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