May 2003

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May 31, 2003
Lumberjacks lose home opener 8-4

The Bangor Lumberjacks again had to fight rain, which has plagued the team since its season opening series last week at Allentown, Pa., but they managed to get their home opener in Friday night against the New Jersey Jackals at the University of Maine's Mahaney Diamond. The Lumberjacks squandered a 4-0 lead and lost 8-4.

The Lumberjacks lost both games of a twilight doubleheader Thursday night against the North Shore Spirit of Lynn, Mass., their first games since winning the season opener at Allentown on May 22. Their record is now 1-3. would report more on the Lumberjacks' home debut, but the team's front office failed to respond to two written requests for a pass to the home opening series, and failed to return a phone call as promised.

May 29, 2003
Lumberjacks debut at home Friday night
Pro baseball returns after almost 6 years

Professional baseball will return to the Bangor area after an almost six-year hiatus when the Bangor Lumberjacks play their first home game Friday night at the University of Maine's Mahaney Diamond, in Orono. Game time is set for 7:15 p.m.

The Lumberjacks' opponent for the home series opener will be the New Jersey Jackals, who were 4-2 after Wednesday.

However, rain might continue wreaking havoc on the team. After winning their season opener 2-1 at Allentown, Pa., last Thursday, the Lumberjacks have had five consecutive rainouts. Friday's weather forecast is calling for a chance of showers.

An indepedent team with no major league affiliation, the Lumberjacks play in the eight-team Northeast League. Bangor businessman Chip Hutchins bought the team last winter and moved it from Glens Falls, N.Y. Teams in the Northeast League play a 92-game regular-season schedule from the end of May through August.

General admission tickets will cost $3 for adults and $2 for children 12 and younger and adults 55 and older. Box seats will be $8 for adults and $6 for children 12 and younger and adults 55 and older.

Fans can buy tickets the day of the game at the team's store in the Bangor Mall until 3 p.m. After 3 p.m., tickets will be available at Mahaney Diamond.

Bangor's last professional baseball team, the Blue Ox, also played in the Northeast League and debuted in 1996 but moved to Quebec after the 1997 season when not enough Bangor city councilors voted for construction of a stadium behind the Bass Park grandstand. The Blue Ox had played at Mahaney Diamond. The Lumberjacks would like to play at the John Winkin Baseball Complex at Husson College next season. Husson is about $1.8 million short in funding for lights, a grandstand and restrooms for the newly refurbished artificial-turf field.

May 21, 2003
Theater cancels Shakespeare festival

Citing financial problems, the Penobscot Theatre Company announced Monday that it canceled three of the four shows scheduled for this year's Maine Shakespeare Festival.

The professional theater company will not produce "As You Like It," "Macbeth" or "Alice in Wonderland." "The Fantasticks," which had been scheduled to run at the beginning of July, won't beginning its run until July 25.

Monday's news came almost three weeks after the theater company announced it would close Aug. 31 if it didn't raise $250,000 this summer. Although the theater sold more tickets last year than during any other in its 29 years, the sales accounted for only 36 percent of the theater's $650,000 annual budget. Individual donations and corporate sponsorships are down.

"The Penobscot Theatre is like the quiet sister everybody forgot to ask to the dance," Dan McKay, vice president of the theater's board of directors, said in the May 2 issue of the Bangor Daily News. "My personal fear is that the community has forgotten that to support a theater of this quality it takes more than buying tickets."

Producing artistic director Mark Torres told the Bangor Daily in the May 2 issue that the theater needs an annual budget of close to $1 million to survive as a professional company. The theater's permanent staff features six full-time and six part-time employees. The theater hires designers, directors and actors on a play-by-play basis. Most of the actors are from out of state and require union pay in addition to a stipend for expenses such as lodging and meals.

Dropping this year's Shakespeare festival will help the theater cut costs. The theater also canceled its touring production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" to area schools. To increase revenue, the theater is seeking to sell its old headquarters at 183 Main St., and it will increase ticket prices and leave a full-time position vacant.

So far the theater has raised $35,000 toward its goal of $250,000.

The theater opened in 1973 as Acadia Repertory. It changed its name to Penobscot Theatre in 1984. In 1986, the theater bought the building at 183 Main St. that it had been renting from a neighboring church for office and stage space. In 1997, the theater bought the Bangor Opera House, giving it a much larger stage and more seating.

The Maine Shakespeare Festival started in 1994 as Shakespeare on the River. Through last year, the shows were held outdoors on the banks of the Penobscot River. After last year's festival, though, Torres said the festival would move indoors to the Opera House stage this year because of unpredictable weather and logistics related to staging and equipment.

Theatergoers with tickets to the three shows canceled for this year's festival have three options. They can exchange their tickets for tickets to another production, they can get a refund or they can have the cost of the tickets go toward the theater's fund-raising effort.