Milford Arts Council launches outdoor summer arts series

MILFORD — Harmonizing brothers, outdoor theater and reggae-ized 1980s pop music will highlight MAC In the Park, the Milford Arts Council’s news series celebrating the arts on a new stage at Eisenhower Park.

The series will run June 26, July 17, Aug. 17, Sept. 18 and Oct. 1 featuring a mix of soul, jazz, reggae and live theater.

“It was an enormous amount of work, planning and coordination with the city,” said Lorie Lewis, the MAC marketing director.

Executive Director Paige Miglio said the series was a dream that had been in the works for a while.

“Our events were selling out, so the only way to be able to share the arts and make them more accessible was to expand outside of our walls,” she said. “The pandemic accelerated our timeline, and it’s the best serendipity we could have imagined.”

Lewis said the council has been consistently selling out its events for about two years, and demand for tickets typically outstrips supply.

“Our audiences have grown about 40 percent, in that time, to mostly sell-outs,” she said.

Each of the dates has a different act, including local jazz musician Jay Rowe on July 17. Jamaican artist Mystic Bowie’s “Talking Dreads,” will bring reggae-style covers of classic Talking Heads music to Milford on Aug. 7.

Nebraska natives the Talbott Brothers will perform rural Midwest-inspired harmonies on Sept. 18 and Eastbound Theater is scheduled to conduct a performance of “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder on Oct. 1.

Tickets are being sold as seating circles that can fit up to four people from the same household per circle. Premiere seating is also available and features premium parking.

Lewis said the plan was for 60 to 70 circles, plus six premier circles. Guests would be invited to bring a picnic basket full of “sips and nibbles” and spread out a blanket or lawn chair under the stars.

“This is new to us. So it may be a fluid target,” she said.

But regardless of crowd size, she said the important fact was that live performances were returning to Milford.

“We are so excited to get back to live performances, to see our community again in the flesh, to give hugs to vaccinated friends, and to expand our ‘reach’ way beyond Milford,” she said. “If this goes well, we hope to expand significantly next year.”