As theatres from Broadway to our NH backyards struggled with their closure these past 16 months, the challenge was how to return with the energy, creativity, and celebration audiences would be craving – and in Lincoln, a new partnership emerged to kick off the 2021 Season at North Country Center for the Arts in Lincoln.
The stars will perform under the skies above Loon Mountain this July, when The Sound of Music debuts a first-ever mountainside outdoor production on the hills surrounding Loon’s Pemi Base Camp, July 8 through 10.
“Almost as soon as the pandemic shuttered our theatre, we began exploring the ways and means of when – and how – we would be able to reopen,” observed Managing Director Lyn Osborne Winter. “But, of course, we first had to survive the intervening months and be willing to adapt to information that changed with the course of the quarantine.”
For the 36-year-old North Country Center for the Arts (NCCA), adapting to change had been a way of life. From a humble beginning in a tent with a summer of children’s theatre, to its home in a renovated paper mill, to three seasons at Loon’s Governor Adams Base Lodge, and then to their new and present building in 2012, NCCA grew, persevered, and became a mainstay of award-winning, live professional theatre and entertainment in the heart of the White Mountains. In August 2020, with strict guidelines and procedure in place, weekend performances played to limited-capacity audiences, and in December a free video series of their annual Christmas show was produced thanks to the sponsorship of RiverWalk Resort.
“But we knew – and hoped – that a return to live performance in 2021 was not only going to be possible, but would need to be special,” said Joel Mercier, Producing Artistic Director. “We’d need smaller cast shows for the safety of our actors and staff, balanced with shows to appeal to audiences with an appetite for musicals designed for audience confidence. And an outdoor production seemed like just the ticket to start things off, with the right show and a prime location.”
The prime location turned out to be Loon Mountain, and an agreement was struck; and with the Mountain as a partner and the Mountain Club at Loon also joining as a sponsor, the logical production became Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic The Sound of Music.
The musical story, based on the experiences of the Von Trapp family, is filled with many “favorite things” in an exciting story with familiar songs like “Climb Every Mountain”, “Eidelweiss”, “Sixteen (Going on Seventeen)”, and, of course, “The Sound of Music” among the memorable score – and will be performed in concert-style. That is, the set will be the backdrop of the mountains under the canopy of the skies, while actors deliver the entire script and songs live to an outdoor audience.
Patrons can bring their own blankets and low-back beach chairs, find a space on the mountainside appropriately distanced from others to enjoy the show. Masks will not be required while watching the production, but attendees are asked to wear them while entering, exiting, ordering food, or using the restrooms. Concessions and Restrooms will be available, and parking attended by volunteers.
Only three performances are scheduled at Loon Mountain’s Pemi Base Camp, July 8-10 (with a rain date of July 11), at 7:00 pm. Tickets are available online now, and advance purchase recommended to accommodate capacity. More information and ticket purchase online only (until the Box Office opens June 29) at www.jeansplayhouse.com
This outdoor production kicks off a full summer Season at NCCA, with Clue the Musical, Evita, and Forever Plaid to follow at the Playhouse through August. Information and schedule at their site.