When Broadway showman Walter Hartwig and his wife Maude opened the Ogunquit Playhouse in 1933, they likely never realized they were establishing a theatrical legacy. Then again, they might have had an inkling—from the very beginning, the playhouse hosted performances from luminaries including Ethel Barrymore, Bette Davis and Walter Matthau. Even today, it’s not unusual to see famous names and attached talents treading its historic boards, such as Stefanie Powers from Hart to Hart or Charles Shaughnessy from The Nanny. It’s all part of the theater’s mission to provide the best shows possible while promoting the local arts. Along with star-studded Broadway musicals, the stage hosts dance shows, children’s theater, and acting workshops for the next generation of spotlight-stealers.
Longtime Whose Line Is It Anyway? stars Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood have toted their quick-witted, improvised comedy around the country for years. Not bound by scripts, the duo takes suggestions from the audience and fluidly bounces off each other's screwball bits to craft hilarious scenes on the fly. As the evening rolls on, they draft game but uncoached audience members into the onstage action. Though audiences can expect daredevil games and easy patter between the two stage vets, the form of any given show won't unfold until the night of the performance—as Mochrie reported to the Herald-Review, they've "developed an aversion to ever performing the same joke or routine twice." Built in 1920 to commemorate World War II veterans, the auditorium suffuses even the most lighthearted events with a sense of history and the patronage of local bald-eagle populations.
Owner Geoff Houghton transformed an abandoned 1830s mill into a bustling pub on Factory Island, a place dominated for centuries by the iron and sawmill industries. Today, the only things milling there are Houghton's handcrafted beers, which flow from The Run of the Mill's 14 barrels straight into the bar's taps. These lagers, ambers, and cask-conditioned ales complement classic pub meals of wings, crab cakes, and burgers. The Run of the Mill also organizes a Mug Club, which awards guests who drink 300 of its beers in one year with a handmade ceramic mug, an official hat or T-shirt, and a heartfelt, bar-top eulogy to all the fallen hops.
The Acorn Acting Academy faculty exercises years of experience performing and teaching at reputable institutions that include off-Broadway theater and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. The team introduces children to on-stage performance with theater games, and expands the skills of adults through an array of classes. Beginner's acting courses teach students to intrepidly bare their creative souls in front of an audience, whereas Performance Intensive classes strengthen advanced thespians so they can deliver monologues, perform short scenes, and carry scripts carved into lead. Acorn Acting Academy also schedules writing classes that focus on themes such as enhancing writer-actor relations and penning soliloquies.
Acorn Acting Academy is run by Acorn Productions, a performing-arts organization that has been going strong for more than a decade. Its artists supply the people of southern Maine with a lens through which to view their emotions and proclivities for using the word "thee" via annual play festivals and theater series such as Naked Shakespeare.
The intimate Headliners Comedy Club at The Gold Room seats guests at private tables to take in the quips of regularly performing comedians. During two-hour shows, three standups—including one national headliner—take the stage in turn. Onlookers can also enjoy pub-fare offerings from the kitchen, such as saucy chicken wings or classic sliders, to fuel belly laughs and distract mouths so they don't shout out premature punch lines.