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Bringing Broadway to Maine

It’s a June afternoon in Madison, a one-time mill town located just north of Skowhegan, and Lakewood Theatre is between plays. Backstage, in the historic 1901 wooden playhouse on Lake Wesserunsett’s western shore, a four-man crew is tearing down the set of “Arsenic and Old Lace,” the opening season fare. Backdrops and props are to be set up for “Some Sweet Day,” billed as “A love triangle between two people.”

“These fellas only have five days to do their jobs between our nine plays and musicals this summer and they’re great …” said Susan Quinn, who co-owns the theater with her husband, Jeff. “We try to have a little something for everyone, even the musical ‘Shout!’ to draw in young folks.”

Like everyone working at the nation’s oldest continuously operating summer theater, Quinn wears many hats. She oversees costuming, fund-raising, and the small army of volunteers needed to run the place. Jeff Quinn serves as general manager, actor, and found time to direct seven plays in the theater’s current 117th season.

Rounding out the family affair is the Quinns’ son, Matthew, technical director and set builder, and their daughter, Katie, who manages the restored 1926 Lakewood Inn restaurant. In summer, Jeff and Susan live in two rooms over the inn, and after the curtain drops in September on the play, “A Comedy of Tenors,” they spend the winter in nearby Cornville, where Jeff grew up.

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