Portland Ovations Staff Picks


The Portland Ovations Team share with us some of their favorite upcoming shows.

Casey Oakes – Waitress – Broadway National Tour

January 10 & 11, 2020, Merrill Auditorium, Portland

Growing up in Cape Elizabeth, the bright lights of Broadway seemed a world away. It wasn’t until high school that I realized not only could I see Broadway productions in Maine, but they were right in my backyard thanks to Portland Ovations. Now that I’m older and privileged to work at Ovations, I couldn’t be happier to recommend the Broadway National Tour of Waitress. This heartwarming show, full of incredible music by Sara Bareilles, is the perfect way to stave off your post-holiday blues and ring in the New Year.


Linda Nelson – Gabriela Montero: Westward

January 25, 2020, Hannaford Hall, Portland

I’ve had a lifelong fascination with the art of improvisation, which deepened over my years spent curating and producing the Deer Isle Jazz Festival. That magical gift of careful listening and creative response that a jazz musician offers to another or to a theme or a film: the art of improvisation is how we might live our best lives. Add to this my training as a classical trumpet player and love for the formalities of how music is composed to create certain emotions – including, as the Venezuelan Gabriela Montero herself demonstrates, the passion for social justice — and you can see why I’m so excited about her upcoming solo piano concert of 20th century masters and improvisation to Chaplin’s 1917 silent film, “The Immigrant.”


Sarah ColemanFebruary Vacation Theater Camp

February 17-21, 2020, East End Community School

We’ve got a February Vacation Camp again this year that I’m so excited about. As a kid, I fell in love with theater while working behind the scenes at Mad Horse Children’s Theatre. Those experiences were instrumental in making me the artist and educator I am today. I’m thrilled Ovations is offering young people this opportunity to show off their creativity and become a part of an ensemble while creating a play in a week!



Samantha Lambert – MOMIX: Viva MOMIX

February 7, 2020, Merrill Auditorium, Portland

Unlike many of my Ovations colleagues, I was not already familiar with the dance company MOMIX, and I’m really looking forward to experiencing their work for the first time. Their inventive costumes and beautiful visuals will make this performance perfect for families, and a great way to introduce my kids to dance. Definitely watch the preview video on our website to see what’s in store!



Atiim Boykin – New Orleans Jazz Orchestra 

February 20, 2020, Merrill Auditorium, Portland

As a band leader and lead singer, I really appreciate large band and small band dynamics. As a child I picked the trombone as the instrument to learn in and out of school, and the only music that grabbed my attention had trombones in it. Namely, big band jazz and, of course, New Orleans second line music. For all of these reasons, I look forward to the arrival of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. The last and most important reason I am so excited about NOJO’s arrival is their programmatic emphasis on the Congo Square, as it was the birthplace of yet another African American music, Jazz.


Aimée M. Petrin – Malpaso Dance Company

February 26, 2020, Westbrook Performing Arts Center

In January of 2017, I was fortunate to be in the audience at the Joyce Theater in New York City to experience Malpaso Dance Company. I found their grace, athleticism, energy and unique blend of contemporary dance informed by Cuban culture captivating. Several months later, Ovations Members shared with me that they had just been in Cuba and seen the most exciting dance company. We quickly realized they were talking about Malpaso. We are thrilled the company will be with us for several days, sharing multiple masterclasses, a social dance workshop and time with Ovations dance devotees as part of our inaugural Raise the Barre series.


Mary Campbell – Russian National Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty

March 18, 2020, Merrill Auditorium, Portland

I started dancing at the age of five and although the curtain has closed on my own dancing days, I still love ballet. Many of my best memories are of wonderful performances—the first time I saw Edward Villella, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov. My delight at watching was as great as what I felt when dancing. When the Russian National Ballet makes it appearance in Portland and performs The Sleeping Beauty, you can bet I will be there with eyes open wide, heart pounding, and delighting with the rest of the audience at what live dance, and ballet, can give us all. A night to remember.


Katie Day – The Snowy Day and Other Stories

March 29, 2020, Merrill Auditorium, Portland

Before coming home to Maine last year, I spent five years with an incredible arts education organization in Keene, NH called MoCo Arts. It was during that time that my passion for youth theatre and dance was ignited. In June of 2018 my family welcomed my niece, and now as a lively 18 mo old she is already toddling around, singing and dancing nonstop, ready to start experiencing the magic of live performance. If she were a little bit older, she would be front row at the upcoming performance of The Snowy Day and Other Stories, dancing in her seat to the musical happening on stage. I look forward to seeing all of the children attend, and feel excitement as they are moved by the lights, sound, shadow puppetry, and actors in this show.


Laura Stauffer – BLUE MAN GROUP

March 31 – April 2, 2020, Merrill Auditorium, Portland

I was almost 30 when I first saw Blue Man Group, when Ovations first presented it in 2011. The performance was pure joy, combining humor, music, spectacular visuals — all without saying a word. Its pinnacle moment — when Merrill transformed into a giant party complete with 6’ balls flying throughout the audience — has been one of my happy places that I return to in my memories. Nearly a decade later, I am thrilled BMG is returning with a brand new production and that I can share in the magic with my 7 year old. They create a universal performance experience that everyone can enjoy, despite age, background or even language.


It’s never too late to become a Portland Ovations Member!


And check out all the wonderful shows Portland Ovations is bringing us this year!