Cotuit Center for the Arts presents “Take Me to Provincetown,” a one-man musical revue by Kevin Quill, May 17 through 27 in the Black Box Theater. Performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 2 PM.
“Take Me to Provincetown” is a marriage of music, history, and storytelling, as Kevin Quill takes the audience on a town-by-town journey across Cape Cod and through time, stopping along the way to share engaging and colorful, mostly untold stories about the Cape.
Some of his songs relate to particular towns, such as Cole Porter’s “Tale of the Oyster,” which suggests Wellfleet, or “The Downeaster Alexa” by Billy Joel, which brings to mind to the fishermen of Provincetown. Other songs span the breadth of Cape Cod.
Quill was inspired to do the show by a talk he attended with his mother at the Eastham Historical Society last summer. Local historian Mark McGrath shared stories about the once-famous Cedar Banks Links golf course, which flourished on the northern shore of the Nauset Marsh from 1928 to 1950 prior to the designation of the National Seashore. It was described by the Boston Evening Transcript as having “one of the finest natural layouts in the world.”
Quill learned that his grandfather was a caddy at the golf course, carrying golf bags for the likes of Bobby Jones and other pro golfers. The stories sparked Quill’s curiosity and soon he was connecting songs—from all genres and decades of music—to his subject matter. Golf is represented in Quill’s show by Stephen Sondheim’s “Pour le Sport” from “The Last Resorts.”
McGrath is included in the show as well, by means of a video projection interview integrated into Quill’s song and storytelling. A number of other local Cape Cod experts and storytellers are also virtually featured throughout the evening, as Quill accompanies them on piano.
The Cape Cod Baseball League is represented by such songs as “Glory Days” by Bruce Springsteen and “Tessie” by the Drop Kick Murphys. As the evening progresses, we move closer and closer to Provincetown and the title song, by Kinosian and Blair.
“It’s been fun, and challenging, to research the history of Cape Cod, to find all these rarely told stories—and the really interesting people who tell them,” said Quill. “I care about Cape Cod history, and I know a lot of people in the audience do too and will enjoy these stories and songs.”
Quill’s Cape Cod roots go deep. He was born in Eastham and grew up on the Cape, attending Nauset High School. His mother was born here as well, and his grandfather was a native Cape Codder. His interest in music was nurtured by the Cape. “As a small child, I remember going to Ben and Jerry’s on Tuesday nights when the Good Time Guys would play tuba, trumpet, and banjo. I used to steal a straw and conduct them—though I don’t think they followed me,” he said.
Now an actor, singer, pianist, and director in New York City, Quill returns to the Cape often. He performed his one-man show, “An Iliad,” at CCftA last year. It was named one of the Cape Cod Times’ “performances of the year” for 2017. He was also in CCftA’s production of “Side by Side by Sondheim.”
Tickets are $20, $15 for members. Cotuit Center for the Arts is at 4404 Route 28 in Cotuit. For more information, visit artsonthecape.org or call 508-428-0669.
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“Take Me to Provincetown”
Black Box Theater, Cotuit Center for the Arts, 4404 Route 28, Cotuit
May 17 through 27, 7:30 PM
$20, $15 for members