Historic Deertrees Theatre Announces 87th Summer Entertainment Season

Deertrees Theatre in Harrison, Maine, courtesy image
Deertrees Theatre in Harrison, Maine, courtesy image

McGRATHPR.com – Historic Deertrees Theatre, Maine’s most enchanting playhouse, announces its 87th season summer of events and entertainment.  Serving as the Greater Maine region’s summer entertainment source since 1936, Deertrees’ diverse entertainment opportunities offer theatrical productions, comedies, exhibits, family shows, and concerts annually from June through early September, at 156 Deertrees Road, in Harrison.  The complete season schedule and tickets are available at deertrees-theatre.org/events.html.

Deertrees Theatre values the performing and visual arts as an essential part of life in Western Maine.  The theatre’s staff and board of directors are dedicated to the cultivation and active participation of a wide range of artists and audiences of all ages – locally and beyond – and to preserving Deertrees’ national historic landmark building.  A cultural mecca, Deertrees is a respite destination in the magical Maine Lakes Region village of Harrison.  “This year, we’ll continue to bolster our connection with performance and fine artists, creators, and teachers in our local community,” shares Deertrees’ Executive and Artistic Director Gail Phaneuf.  “Our 2023 season is very ‘Maine focused,’ featuring Maine-themed shows and local artists from a vast array of talent.  Our gallery will exhibit stunning pieces by community artists, as well as an Oxford Hills High School student exhibit.”  

~  2023 Summer Schedule  ~

Artist Reception

Friday, June 23, 6:30 pm, admission is free

A gathering Deertrees Art Gallery’s exhibiting artists.  This night of food and artistic beauty enables attendees to honor and engage with visual artists.   Entertainment features Dan Fox, saxophone, and Gail Phaneuf, piano, in Deertrees’ cozy Salt Lick Cabaret – a great, social event to kick off the summer season.

Gong Show – Open Mic Night

Saturday, June 24, 7 pm, entry fee is $5, audience admission is $10

A fun-filled night of music, song, storytelling and comedy!  Come and share your talents in Deertrees Theatre’s gorgeous, historic environment.  Aspiring performers are invited to showcase their talents in Deertrees’ Salt Lick Cabaret space.  The caveat?  If the audience chooses to gong your act – you get the hook!  Hosted by Sami Sabbagh; beer, wine, canned cocktails, and snacks are available in the Café.  Bring your best, quirky, unusual, and astounding talents for a fun night of surprises – maybe your big break!  All are welcome, whether performing or just enjoying the show from the audience.  Please schedule a performance time slot at deertrees-theatre.org/gong-show-open-mic-night.html.

Magic Bus, The Who Tribute Band, courtesy image

Magic Bus – The Who Tribute Band

Friday, June 30, 7:30 pm, tickets are $27

The Who, one of rock’s most iconic bands, made the charts in 1964 with their hit song, “Can’t Explain,” launching their amazing journey to fame.  With five decades of performances under their belt, The Who’s music can be heard in commercials, television theme songs, and on the radio. Magic Bus, a tribute band based in Portland, Maine, captures The Who’s authentic original sound and feel. Band members take the audience on a musical tour of the rock band’s discography, covering top tracks from “My Generation” to “Who Are You,” and select songs from rock operas “Tommy” and “Quadrophenia.”

Almost Maine – A Real Romantic Comedy

Fridays, July 7, 21, and 23, and Saturdays July 8, and 22, 7:30 pm, tickets are $25

John Cariani’s play “Almost, Maine,” comprises nine short plays exploring love, loss, and a little bit of magic in a remote, mythical almost-town named “Almost,” Maine. On a cold, clear midwinter night, under the northern lights in the sky above, Almost’s residents are falling in and out of love in the strangest ways. Love is lost, found, and confounded, and life for the people of Almost will never be the same.

“Almost, Maine,” premiered at Portland Stage Company, where it broke box office records and garnered critical acclaim.  Playwright John Cariani released a new novel based on the play in 2022.  The warmth and humor of the Mainers populating this story are truly extraordinary. What better place to enjoy this show than in “Maine’s Most Enchanting Playhouse?”  Featuring the official Maine state song “My Sweet Maine,” by local composer Terry Swett.

Tipping Points:  The Halcyon Quartet – A Benefit Concert for The Center for an Ecology-Based Economy

Sunday, July 9, 4 pm, tickets range from $5 to $60 (pay what you can)

​The Center for an Ecology-Based Economy (CEBE) presents a multimedia performance featuring The Halcyon Quartet, raising awareness for environmental challenges.  CEBE engages the community in addressing the climate emergency. The nonprofit organizes, educates, takes direct action, and implements practical, ecological solutions for a just transition to a thriving, regenerative economy. Located in Norway, Maine, CEBE welcomes volunteers to support its greatest potential as a community, creating a future where all can thrive.  Performance proceeds benefit The Center for an Ecology-Based Economy.  Learn more at ecologybasedeconomy.org, or follow @ecologybasedeconomy on social media.

Sebago Long Lake Music Festival 

Tuesdays, July 11 through August 8, 7:30 pm, tickets are $35 per concert, season passes are $135

Deertrees plays host to Sebago Long Lake Music Festival’s 51st annual season, offering five Tuesday evening classical music concerts that will astound audiences as the signature event of the Festival’s season. Deertrees’ picturesque, historic setting at the top of Long Lake in Harrison, Maine, complements the Festival’s stunning chamber music under the summer stars.

Family & Movie Musical Songs – with Susie Pepper, Ali Butler, and Mixology

Thursday, July 13, 3 pm, and Friday, July 14, 6:30 pm, tickets are $15

Performing artist Susie Pepper and her amazing twin sister Ali Butler bring their voices and unmatchable energy to two concerts geared for families and kids, ages 2 to 102!  Attendees are encouraged to enjoy making costumes to dress up as their favorite movie character and attend the concert in high-style! 

Donor/Sponsor Dance Party – featuring The Cobblestones Band

Saturday, July 15, 6:30 pm, suggested $10 donation, free admission for all sponsors, donors, and volunteers

Sponsored by Deertrees’ Board Members Jane Curran and Gail Bowen

Dance the night away in honor and appreciation of the generous donors, volunteers, and sponsors that support Deertrees Theatre year in and out.  The popular Cobblestones Band performs tunes to sway and dance to all night long.   Enjoy complimentary bites and a cash bar, mingle with friends, listen to great music and explore Deertrees’ Art Gallery, Salt Lick Café and cabaret setting, and the welcoming back porch under the Maine stars!

Camp Encore Coda’s Faculty Ensemble Concert

Monday, July 17, 6:30 pm, admission is free, donations gratefully accepted

The talented staff of Camp Encore Coda present a 20-piece chamber orchestra concert, free to the public. ​Camp Encore Coda’s unique combination of incredible faculty and teachers in a traditional camp setting makes Camp Encore Coda a true masterpiece for musicians.

Phil ’n the Blanks

Thursday, July 27, 7 pm, tickets are $10

Phil Allen sings and plays his guitar all around southern Maine as a solo artist and as the front man of Phil ‘n the Blanks.  Studying music, theatre and opera as a young man, his vocal training comes through in his tight intonation and dynamic control.  Phil learned to talk with the crowd and improvise melodies while playing the street corners of Key West and New Orleans.  His gratitude for living his dream comes through in his stage presence and soulful guitar solos.  Phil’s original songs reflect lessons hard learned and the joy that comes from a life dedicated to his art. Come chill with Phil in Deertrees’ Salt Lick Caberet space!

The Piano Men: The Music of Elton and Billy

Saturday, July 29, 7:30 pm, tickets are $34

Sponsored by Garvey Construction

What do you get when you combine Elton John and Billy Joel on one stage? A night of Grammy® award-winning, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducing magic! “Piano Men – The Music of Elton and Billy” is a tribute to the amazing songs of Billy Joel and Elton John, featuring Joe Boucher on piano and vocals with arrangements by Christopher Eastburn.  Elton John and Billy Joel have collectively sold more than 350 million records worldwide.  For four decades they have been at the top of the world’s musical landscape, with continuous radio airplay, topping album charts and performing to sold out audiences. 

An Evening at Dave’s Sauna, 2022 performance, image by Ram McDonough

An Evening at Dave’s Sauna

Friday, August 4, 7:30 pm, and Saturday, August 5, 7:30 pm, tickets are $29

Sponsored by Camp Laughing Grass and Cook Farms

The “Rated N for Naughty” musical is back by popular demand! All bets are off in this tale of a Saturday night in 1980 at the legendary Dave’s Sauna in South Paris, Maine, where hippies, rednecks, bikers, townies, swingers, and all kinds of folks would come for a sauna (and maybe more)!  This original musical is based on true accounts of the sauna back in its heyday.  Meet Weird Rob, Bearded Hippie, Off-Duty Waitress, 9-5 Guy, Neighbor Not Happy, Local Town Cop, Trailer Park Woman, MassHole, Dave’s best friend Saul, his wife Nancy, her best friend Josephine, the seductive Sauna Sirens and many other colorful characters.

Lobster Roll Fundraiser

Friday, August 11, 12 to 4 pm, preorder for $25 at deertrees-theatre.org/lobster-roll-fundraiser.html

Preorder accepted online by August 5 to enjoy delicious lobster rolls (chock full of tail, knuckle, and claw meat), a bag of chips and a cookie, all in support of Deertrees Theatre.  Purchasers pick up their order at United Parish UCC, 77 Main St., Harrison.

Midnight Breakfast

Saturday, August 12, 7:30 pm, tickets are $22

Admission includes a glass of bubbly (attendees must be age 21+ up)

Maine’s five-piece Indie-soul band Midnight Breakfast has quickly become a household name. Drawing inspiration from across the rich, multiethnic pantheon of American musical traditions, the band aspires to honor their pioneering predecessors by continually creating musical concoctions with new invigorating flavors and flair. Improvisational live performance style, commanding stage presence, and groovy melodies make each Midnight Breakfast show unique, energizing, and ultimately unforgettable.

3 Day Funk

Thursday, August 17, 7 pm, tickets are $10

Performing Artist Susie Pepper, courtesy image

Enjoy 70’s to 90’s-era hard classic rock in Deertrees Salt Lick Cabaret setting.  3 Day Funk is a classic rock trio paying homage to the great bands of yesteryear. With attention to detail and dedication to their craft, this trio create a sound that will blow listeners away! With a music catalogue of familiar songs – whether blues, hard rock, or a little funk – attendees are sure to enjoy a rockin’ good time.

Susie Pepper Sings Carole King and Bonnie Raitt 

​Friday, August 18, 7:30 pm, tickets are $35

Susie Pepper & Mixology present a one-of-a-kind concert featuring the beloved songs of Carole King and Bonnie Raitt.  This thrilling selection of songs will soar to the star-filled sky over Deertrees, where this artist is loved!  Susie Pepper is a dynamic and highly sought-after vocalist throughout the region. Her talents led to her win Fox23’s “Maine Idol” competition and become Miss Maine in 2009.   She has been featured in Portland Symphony Orchestra’s Magic of Christmas series, in addition to countless other performances. 

Yesterday Once More – Music of The Carpenters

Thursday, August 24, 7 pm, tickets are $20

Sponsored by Bob and Carol Phaneuf

Back by popular demand, performing artists Katie Connor, Gail Phaneuf, and Patti Hathaway sing your favorites and lead a cabaret performance of some of The Carpenters’ most famous hits, and its suddenly yesterday once more!  With Sam Levy on electric guitar and Dan Fox on saxophone, this is a fun night to kick back and “Sing a Song” in Deertrees’ Salt Lick Cabaret setting.

Dark Side of Somewhere Dance Immersion

Friday, August 24, 7:30 pm, and Saturday, August 25, 7:30 pm, tickets are $25

Sponsored by The Ballroom

Dark Side of Somewhere, image by Erin Phelps

“The Dark Side of Somewhere” is the world premiere of a unique and immersive multimedia dance and circus arts experience brought to life by sisters Nettie and Hannah Gentempo. This new, exciting production is set to mark the 50th anniversary of the legendary Pink Floyd album “Dark Side of the Moon”.   Conflict, greed, time, money, life, death, and a deep dive into the imagination are all themes explored through this production that includes a full cast of dancers and flow/circus artists, puppets, costumes, and a stunning, large-scale video backdrop.

A Tribute to Jeff Buckley with Sami Sabbagh

Thursday, August 31, 7 pm, tickets are $10

Join first-time Deertrees artist and theatre intern Sami Sabbagh as he makes his solo debut and carries listeners through the history and meaning behind one of the world’s most enchanting artist’s songs.  Explore a retrospective of the life and times of Jeff Buckley, son of famous folk singer Tim Buckley, whose life was cut short by a riptide in the Mississippi River. In a live Salt Lick Cabaret performance, Sabbagh covers multiple songs from Buckley’s albums “Grace” and “Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk.”

Kippy – Pray for the Dead and Fight Like Hell for the Living!

Friday, September 1, 7 pm, tickets are $20

Sponsored by Lakes Region Recovery Center

A one-woman theatrical imagining of Kip Tiernan, “Kippy – Pray for the Dead and Fight Like Hell for the Living!” explores the life of social justice hero and founder of Boston’s Rosie’s Place, The Greater Boston Food Bank, Healthcare for the Homeless, The Poor People’s United Fund, and many others.  Kip Tiernan was an extraordinary character and a force of nature who changed the face of social justice in Boston. Passionate and salty-tongued, she engendered outrage and empathy for the plight of poor and homeless women in crisis.  Kip founded Rosie’s Place in 1974, the first ever homeless shelter for women in the United States.  Written and performed by playwright and Deertrees’ Artistic Director Gail Phaneuf.

“Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Still Only the Piano Player!” – David Sheel, Comedy/Piano

Sunday, September 3, 7 pm, tickets are $24

It’s no small wonder that his style is often compared with the late, great Victor Borge. Comedian and pianist David Sheel welcomes audiences to spend a night alternating interludes of hysterical laughter with technically brilliant piano performance.  David was titled “A master of the keyboard,” by The Times, Critics’ Choice, London, and lauded for his “Brilliant mayhem! He is a master of improvisation, accents, comedy, and down-right beautiful music,” by Adelaide Advertiser, Australia.  Constantly evolving with fresh material, David enjoys enormous success worldwide. 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Friday, September 8, 6:30 pm, and Saturday, September 9, 6:30 pm, tickets are $20

A modern staging of this Shakespeare classic, set during 1960’s America – a nation in transition, in the real-world city of Athens, Georgia. Serving today as a safe haven for queer and genderqueer persons, in the 60’s, Athens was full of tight-knit townsfolk in one of the most conservative towns in America. The setting transforms the faerie characters from fey spirits to queer and genderqueer aliens, whose interaction with conservative Athens fundamentally changes the city for the better.​​  From the minds of Shakespeare veterans Rob Faucher and Hal St. Louis comes a night of love, magic, and robots unlike anything you’ve seen before. Brace yourselves to experience something otherworldly – the extraterrestrial universe just got a whole lot bigger in this fabulous frolic!

~  The Salt Lick Café Cabaret Series  ~

Deertrees’ Salt Lick Café opens two hours before each event, and is home to

Deertrees Art Gallery curated by Artist Karen Pettengill.  The café offers beer, wine, canned cocktails

and a variety of sweet and savory snacks.  The Salt Lick Cabaret space has art gallery table seating

for up to 65 people, serving as a cozy, intimate space for Deertrees’ smaller performances.

For more information, visit deertrees-theatre.org/salt-lick-series-events.html.

Originally founded in 1936 as an opera house by prominent opera singer/director Enrica Clay Dillon, Deertrees Theatre has been home to countless Broadway stars and local actors, world-acclaimed musicians, and aspiring students.  Nestled in the beautiful foothills of Southern Maine’s Lakes Region in the town of Harrison, it has historically served as a secluded retreat and cultural center for artists. The acoustically perfect theatre is set in one of the nation’s most idyllic locations, boasting a rose hemlock wood structure harvested from the property, featuring hand-carved beams, doors, trim, and light fixtures. The building, in stages of restoration since 1990, is now listed on Maine’s State Register of Historic Landmarks, and on the National Registry of Historic Places.  Deertrees offers classical music on Tuesday evenings in July, The Backstage Art Gallery features the works of local artists, and The Salt Lick Café, offers cabaret acts, small bites, beer, wine, and canned cocktails during events.

Deertrees Theatre’s ticket prices include a $2 Heritage Fee that supports the ongoing restoration and improvements to Deertrees Theatre.  To purchase tickets, or more information, visit deertrees-theatre.org, email gail@deertrees.org, or follow Deertrees Theatre on Facebook and Instagram.

About Deertrees Theatre

Founded in 1936 as an opera house, Deertrees Theatre was built on the site of an old deer run in the forest above the village of Harrison, Maine. Constructed of rose hemlock in the Adirondack style with hand carved fixtures and near perfect acoustics, the theatre has long been home to Broadway-quality entertainment.

Now listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the non-profit Deertrees Theatre presents an eclectic offering of theatrical productions and comedies, family entertainment, and a variety of musical concerts during the quintessential summer theater season annually from late June through early September.  As a most active performing arts venue of the Northeast, Deertrees is home to the Sebago-Long Lake Music Festival on Tuesday evenings in July, The Backstage Art Gallery featuring the works of local artists, and The Salt Lick Café, offering cabaret acts, small bites, beer, and wine.

Deertrees Theatre is located at 156 Deertrees Road, in Harrison, Maine.  For more information, visit deertrees-theatre.org, email gail@deertrees.org, or follow Deertrees Theatre on Facebook and Instagram.

Related Posts