Around Cape Ann Gloucester Stage staging season outdoors in Rockport

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Jun. 10—After a year-long pandemic-driven hiatus, Gloucester Stage Company is launching its 2021 main stage season at Windhover Performing Arts Center in Rockport, where the two organizations teamed up to create a socially distanced gathering space for theater and dance performances throughout the summer.

The Gloucester Stage season is identical to what the theater would have presented last year, had COVID-19 not shut down all performing arts across the country.

The opening show, "Tiny Beautiful Things," will appeal to anyone, and particularly to fans of Nia Vardalos, who wrote and starred in the romantic comedy "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," for which she received an Academy Award nomination in the category of "Best Writing, Original Screenplay."

"Tiny Beautiful Things" is based on a memoir by Cheryl Strayed, a New York Times best-selling author. This work was adapted for stage by Vardalos and co-conceived by Vardalos, Wall Street Journal columnist Marshall Heyman and Thomas Kail, the Tony Award-winning director of "Hamilton."

This play made its debut in 2016 at the Public Theater Off-Broadway where it had a sold-out run.

According to the synopsis, the play explores Strayed's encounters as the unpaid, anonymous advice columnist "Dear Sugar," whose replies include her real-life experiences sprinkled with "laughter and hope."

In a video excerpt featuring Strayed talking about being "Sugar" on the evening that she revealed her identity in San Francisco on Valentine's Day in 2012, she told the audience that "the ordinary is the extraordinary," and she talked about the power of sharing one's problems and being supported by others, some who may face similar challenges.

The play, to be presented as an open-air production on an outdoor stage, runs from June 11 to 27.

The Gloucester Stage season features three more plays at Windhover: "Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery," from Tony-Award winning playwright Ken Ludwig, from July 2 to 25; a regional premiere since its sold-out Off Broadway run of "Seared" by Theresa Rebeck, from Aug. 6 to 22; and "Reparations," by James Sheldon, from Sept. 4 to 27.

Performance times are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Windhover Performing Arts Center, 257R Granite St., Rockport. Ticket prices range from $15 to $54 with discounts available for seniors, military families, college students, youth younger than 18, EBT card holders, and Cape Ann residents. For more details, visit www.gloucesterstage.com. Season packages can be purchased or renewed by calling the box office at 978-281-4433 or visit gloucesterstage.com/subscribe.

Rounding out the main stage season will be the world premiere of Ken Riaf's "Think of Me Tuesday" from Oct. 1 to17 at the East Gloucester theater.

Additionally, Windhover's grounds boast a specially designed, beer garden where socially distanced patrons can enjoy craft beer, wine, and food while overlooking the property's gardens.

Post-auction art sale

The Rockport Art Association & Museum is holding a Post-Auction Fundraising Exhibit through June 20. The works can be viewed in the Martha Moore Room at the Rockport Art Association and online. "With this special exhibit, we are providing an opportunity to view and purchase a selection of works that are still available from the auction to continue our fundraiser," according to an exhibition statement. To inquire about purchasing artwork, contact Margaret Redington at margaret@rockportartassn.org or 978-546-6604, ext. 1002. The works can be viewed at https://www.rockportartassn.org/postauction-fundraising-exhibit.

New visions of the sea

Jane Deering Gallery presents "Aggregate Abstractions and the Sea — painting the sea in Lanesville" by artist Beverly Rippel. The gallery, at 19 Pleasant St. in Gloucester, is hosting a reception with the artist on Saturday, June 12, from 1 to 5 p.m. The show runs through July 5.

In the artist's words: "It is exhilarating to paint — with my feet sometimes in the water — as I work just ahead of the incoming or outgoing tide. The wind, the mist, and the sun all get mixed up in the orchestration of the paint's quickened movement. In turn, the paintings become love poems."

Rippel has a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the University of Maine, Orono, and continued with studies at Rhode Island School of Design, the International Encaustic Conferences at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly and the Truro Center for the Arts in Provincetown. She has been an instructor of drawing at the Portland Museum of Art, Maine, and served as juror and curator of numerous exhibitions. More information is available at janedeeringgallery.com.

Around Cape Ann is a column devoted to events happening on Cape Ann and artists from Cape Ann performing elsewhere. If you would like to submit an item, contact reporter Gail McCarthy at 978-675-2706, or gmccarthy@gloucestertimes.com, at least two weeks in advance.

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