Places in the Heart 

Where is Almost, Maine, the titular village of John Cariani's popular romantic fantasy? It's more a state of mind than an actual place, where love arrives like a thunderclap or meteors shooting across the sky.

Melissa Moore, who has taken on three roles in Playhouse on the Square's production of Almost, Maine at TheatreWorks, describes it as "a mystical sort of town under the influence of the aurora."

"It's the perfect winter play to help you come to terms with the emotional frenzy from year-end holiday stresses," she says. Almost is a lighthearted, if occasionally devastating anthology of duet performances.

"It's about many different kinds of love," says director Ken Zimmerman, who recommended the piece to Playhouse founding executive Jackie Nichols after staging a production at UT-Martin, where Zimmerman teaches. "And there's some magic in this play too. It seemed especially appropriate for this season. It's the sort of thing that will appeal to a lot of people for a lot of reasons."

Almost, Maine is an actors' showcase, and Zimmerman has assembled a cast full of notables, including Moore, Playhouse regular Joshua Quinn, and John Maness, who was recently nominated for an Ostrander for his outstanding work in the cop drama A Steady Rain.

The set, designed by Nichols, repurposes some of the neighborhood crepe myrtle trees that were cut back hard to accommodate Overton Square development.

Almost, Maine, a POTS at the Works production, at TheatreWorks January 3rd-26th. playhouseonthesquare.org

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