Barnie Life

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 Check out the latest Barn news, events, sneak peeks, and behind the scenes content!
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SPRINGTIME WITH THE BARN: UPCOMING EVENTS

 

Thursday’s Child:
Dinner for the Barn
at the New London Inn and Coach House Restaurant
TWO DATES THIS YEAR!

Thursday May 11/Thursday June 15 *Education Night!*

As part of their popular Thursday’s Child series, our friends at the New London Inn will be donating 50% of the net proceeds from their May 11 and June 15 dinner services to the Barn. The additional June date is new this year, and will be specifically dedicated to supporting our Theater Education programs. Enjoy a delicious, elegant meal in support of your favorite summer theater!

Reservations highly recommended; call 603-526-2791 or click here to reserve your table.


2016 SUMMER SEASON HONORED WITH 19 NEW HAMPSHIRE THEATER AWARD NOMINATIONS!

brigadoon-10Our 2016 Summer Season has been honored with 19 nominations from the New Hampshire Theatre Awards, the state’s preeminent theatrical alliance!

Our 2016 submissions of Brigadoon and Shrek the Musical have each received multiple nominations in the areas of acting, directing, choreography, and design. Nominees include actor Talia Suskauer, a 2015 Acting Intern and current Penn State undergraduate who played Princess Fiona in Shrek; Jesse Factor, a longtime Barnie and alumna of the Martha Graham Dance Company who created the hauntingly beautiful choreography of Brigadoon; and Ali Crutchfield, another Barn veteran whose costume design for Shrek included over 1500 distinct pieces.

 
A complete list of 2016 NHTA nominees can be found here. We send our congratulations to all the nominees and our deepest thanks to every member of our outstanding 2016 Barn Company. You are all winners! 

CRAZY FOR YOU WINS THE 2016 MOSS HART AWARD!mosshart

The New London Barn Playhouse has just been honored with the prestigious Moss Hart Award for Excellence in Theatre for our August 2016 production of Crazy for You, directed and choreographed by the Barn’s Artistic Director Keith Coughlin. Awarded annually by the New England Theater Conference, the Moss Hart Award honors the memory of legendary dramatist Moss Hart by recognizing outstanding theatrical productions in the New England region. The Conference looks for productions that bring fresh, imaginative, and creative treatment to their material. Past honorees in the professional division have included the Ogunquit Playhouse, the North Shore Music Theatre, Northern Stage, Seacoast Rep, and the New Bedford Festival Theatre. Congratulations everyone!


Between the Boards:
Musings from a Summer at the Barn
~
Part 7
August 22nd, 2016
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MAIN STREET. Move-in day for Colby Sawyer College is rapidly approaching, which means the handful of houses rented from the school for the Barn’s 84th summer season must now be vacated and promptly spit-shined. Company management staff do what they can to stay ahead of the avalanche of linen laundry, but the slow trickle of arrivals throughout the summer has suddenly been eclipsed by a drastic decline in the number of familiar faces. Following Sunday’s final run of Crazy For You, all but one of this season’s Acting Interns have gone. The scene from late Sunday night was what you might expect. Long hugs. Tears. Gratitude. Interspersed with the snorting of drills and the yielding squeal of wood to crowbars and clawhammers.

In spite of how things are beginning to look and feel, the season isn’t over yet. It almost doesn’t seem fair that the fresh cast of Don’t Dress for Dinner will have—when all’s said and done—almost entirely missed the beginning and middle of the summer with the Acting Interns. They don’t complain. They know what time it is. And they’re each doubtlessly grateful to not be behind the wheel for an overnight drive back to college in order to make the first day of classes, like so many of the 2016 company. Still, some remnant of restlessness lingers behind and has already managed to cling to these closers. It manifests itself in different ways. One cast member drowns his morning Chex with coffee in lieu of milk and claims complete sanity.

Green House at the tail end of August is eerily close to Green House at the tail end of May. It’s cleaner than it has been of late. Quieter. There are fewer faces to cross paths with on your way to the bathroom. The refrigerator. The porch. The lunch line is shorter. But cooler weather and the promise of fall have brought with them a similar excitement to the one experienced at the outset. It’s a longing for home, mixed with the sensation of fulfillment in a successfully executed Barn season, now that the final show is up and running. Today, we miss our families. Our beds. Our pets. Tomorrow, we’ll miss the thrill of the lights. The night walks down Main Street. And all those long New London days spent anxiously awaiting the loud clanging of the porch bell.


Come See our Box Office hit Crazy For You!

August 19, 2016

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History is being made at the Barn! Crazy For You had broken our records for the best pre-show sales, and sales have been booming ever since.

So far, our 2011 production of Chicago has been the best-selling show in Barn history. However, after this weekend, Crazy For You may break that record. With every show being close to completely seling out, it won’t be a surprise to see a Barn record being broken.

Tickets are selling out incredibly fast! Make sure to buy your tickets today before they disappear for good!

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Between the Boards:
Musings from a Summer at the Barn
~
Part 7
July 30th, 2016

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SATURDAY. I watched from the second story window of the Barn’s backstage crossover as a group of scenic technicians move frantically to uproot a new awning before a freakish, rogue windstorm beats them to the chase. The skies above loomed, apocalyptically. Heaps of twine and sawdust swirled together to form a funnel cloud of discarded—or otherwise, forgotten—iterations of creative vision. Somehow, it didn’t seem like a sufficient offering to keep the storm at bay. We’re too frugal for that. The god of gale force demanded wood scraps. A sliver of spare burlap. He could pry it from our cold, dead fingers!

The power had just gone out in the middle of my pre-show checklist. That’s right. I have a pre-show checklist. Because Shrek The Musical isn’t playing around, and they’ve called in the big guns. And by “big guns” I mean a twenty-nine-year-old writer with (at best) a paltry knowledge of musical theater and the hands of a donut maker. The Production Stage Manager, Whitney Keeter, doesn’t discriminate, though. There are a couple huge pieces of scenery to be moved and a veritable laundry list of other tasks that need designated oversight. I unplug/plug in the projector at the top of the show, take the Big Bad Wolf’s magazine before “Story of My Life,” dress/undress the castle arches with curtains, and hand maracas to the Ugly Duckling during “I’m a Believer” (which I’ve learned is best done with a flashlight).

If I’ve observed anything while on run crew at the Barn, it’s this place’s uncanny ability to be economical with things like physical space, precious commodities, and borrowed time. The Scenic designer is annoyingly efficient with the stage space he’s been given. Down to the fragment of an inch. I brush the corner of a mounted key light with a swinging castle door (and not because of someone’s negligence). It’s just good stewardship of space. Things like flashlights, batteries, bobby pins, borrowed fabric, and probably stray hairs get stored in safe places to be used again and again. Ensemble members gather round microphone stands backstage to sing company numbers while changing costumes. There’s even a moment I get to watch each night, featuring a mesmerizing quick change (which clearly must be witchcraft), as Fiona goes full ogre, at the hands of five or six designated assistants. I’ll never get over it.

My time in the wings is almost over now. It’s been instructive, to say the least. I’ve got one show left to adopt my pre-show ritual, as so many backstage seem to practice when they believe no one is looking. A prayer. A mantra. A quiet moment, eyes closed. A lone finger, bouncing to a bit of memorized choreography. Maybe I’ll understand it all, soon. Maybe I never will. 

— by Nick May

Up next at the Barn: The 39 Steps! Click HERE for showtimes and ticket information or call the Box Office at 603-526-6710.


Between the Boards:
Musings from a Summer at the Barn
~
Part 6
July 29th, 2016

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GREEN HOUSE. Green House porch has been taken over by people who don’t know who Al Gore is. The Junior Interns are preparing their second production of the summer (Humpty Dumpty is Missing!). Back at the theater, the Acting Interns are wrapping up How To Succeed…, rehearsing for Shrek The Musical, coming off Intern Idols, and leading weekly camps for the area’s youngest aspiring thespians. We’re in the thick of it, ladies and germs, and we haven’t even hit the halfway mark. Leger Alley is a maze of storybook archways, storybook tree trunks, storybook battlements, and an actual giant storybook with moving pages. 

The costume shop has brought in extra hands to assist in finishing upwards of 1500 individual pieces for Shrek The Musical, opening in just a few short days. While delivering a room key to one of the recruits in the shop, I observe a trio of curly, pink tails pinned to the wall. And lots of fur. Or wool. I can’t tell. That’s why no one asked me to man a Singer. Though, I can’t say I would hate it. It’s always super chill in there. Club music playing. iPads streaming. Feet up while hemming. A/C on turbo. They’re also the only shop who gets to go home (if they ever go home) without looking like cast members of Survivor: Clarke’s Hardware.

Aside from preparation and education, Barnies are no strangers to letting their hair down at the end of the day. July 3rd is a late night of food, drinks, and explosives in the parking lot behind Red House. July 4th is company day off. Some use it to catch up on sleep. Others go for a hike. A drive. A dip in Pleasant Lake. I eat a ground beef burger with apple pie, drink root beer from the bottle, and watch Angels in the Outfield on VHS, because America. 

— by Nick May

Check out the behind-the-scenes trailer for Shrek below! Click HERE for showtimes and ticket information or call the Box Office at 603-526-6710.


Between the Boards:
Musings from a Summer at the Barn
~
Part 5
June 29th, 2016

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7:45 PM Stick around long enough—I’m talking 5 minutes after the Sunday closing of a Barn mainstage production—and you’ll hear the fourth wall completely shatter. Preempted by warning shouts from the wings, of course. “Line two! Suspension of Disbelief! Going out!” and the whole place sends up a resounding “Thank you!” Everyone but me. I’m wondering what on earth to do with my hands.

It’s the other side of the magic of theater. The part where it all comes crashing down to the loud, violent ratcheting of power tools. I instantly feel like a war correspondent on the front lines of battle. They’ve ordered me to put down my typewriter and pick up an M16—in this case, a piece of dejected staging—because it’s gotten too thick out there. There’s something about carrying sheets of plywood to the curb that agrees with my basic, human mechanic. It’s visceral work. Unassuming. Hungry.

At 8:00 PM the cowbell rings. We don’t even wash our hands. Well, maybe it’s just me. But I’m not about to risk looking like a noob. We blow through a stack of pizza boxes the size of a condominium. We say goodbye to several members of the company who have to catch planes, while we say hello to all new ones who move in right behind them. I’m headed back to Green House for the night, where I’ll sleep peacefully, while a host of electricians, painters, and scenic designers pull an all-nighter. The next morning, I’m helping to focus lights for How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.

At 7:30 AM Greg Solomon is easily the most awake person in the room. His foremost concern, before undergoing the painstaking task of implementing his lighting design for the next show, is making sure the electrics interns got enough sleep. The House is quiet as a tomb. The smell of soldering filament lingers in the air. They assure him they’re good to go. Though Greg is an artist first, he is admittedly conscious of the sensitivity surrounding his job—both in time and correctness. If a unit is hung wrong or a cable is showing, he stops the whole caravan and commands that it be done right. 

“What color is this?” he asks. “It should be 201.” 

“That’s 201,” someone says. 

“I guarantee you this is not 201. Please check again.” Silence. 

“It’s 200…”

I tell him he’s intense. “I don’t think anyone’s ever told me that,” he says. I tell him people just aren’t being honest. It’s not a bad thing. The truth is, Greg has earned the right to be direct. He knows what needs to be done, and he’s not about to let a 15 pound Source Four ellipsoidal fall and bludgeon an oblivious member of the musical ensemble. He’s a pro with over 120 productions under his belt. The dude worked with Soderbergh. He worked on NBC’s Peter Pan Live! for pete’s sake (pun absolutely and unabashedly intended, signed, sealed, stamped, shipped, owned, trademarked). He tells me to hold the ladder.

And another changeover is in the books.

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Click HERE for showtimes and ticket information or by calling the Box Office at 603-526-6710.

— by Nick May


Opening of
How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying
~
June 28th, 2016

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The cast and crew of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying have been working hard (and really trying) on our second production of the season, which opens today with two wonderful shows! Click HERE for showtimes and ticket information or by calling the Box Office at 603-526-6710.


Between the Boards:
Musings from a Summer at the Barn
~
Part 4
June 21st, 2016

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SO you’re all perfectly happy living here in this little town?” I’m definitely not the first person to see the similarities between Lerner & Loewe’s Brigadoon and this—our own colony of annually appearing performers that help to anchor this “little town” in the stitching of its own history. (I will, however, claim to be the first to see the similarities between the production and its 2005 buddy comedy counterpart, Wedding Crashers. Just think about it.) It’s Tuesday again. Which means many of us are rounding out our first month in New London. Some will even be leaving soon. The rest have settled into a natural rhythm. I’m constantly trying to figure out where their infectious sense of self-motivation comes from. While I’m first in line for every meal, they’re stitching kilts, shellacking bread, ripping sheet wood, pushing faders, planning choreography.

But there are moments of repose interspersed in these long strides of productivity. Over the weekend, a steady trickle of cast and crew make their way to and from a private, local oasis on Pleasant Lake—a name which humorously evokes a certain essence a la Stephen King novel, but does indeed live up to its title. Some enjoy getting their yearly dose of Vitamin D in a single afternoon, others glide across the surface of the water aboard kayaks, while still others use the quiet solitude to go over lines for tomorrow’s rehearsal. I’m told—at one point drawing near—that the production staff will be tasked with managing their parts from two separate productions at one time, as final performances of one show cross paths with rehearsal schedules for another! It’s a mind-numbing conundrum—the question of “how?”

There’s a problem of purpose that always seems to arise in scenarios like this. Why does Brigadoon reappear every one hundred years? Why does the New London Barn Playhouse return to life at the beginning of every summer? For things this wonderful to happen and keep happening, there must exist a certain tangible measure of love for it. Just as Tommy Albright learns in act two. There is a fierce love for theater in this community. In fact, I’m convinced the only thing this town loves more than Mainstage productions at the Barn are dogs and Subarus. (Seriously, it looks like Paul Hogan pulled an Oprah and gave everyone in town an Outback.) It doesn’t stop with a general fondness for theater, though. New London exudes love for citizens of the Barn. For what the Barn, itself, stands for. And that’s why it will always come back.

Brigadoon closes this Sunday, June 26th. Don’t miss your opportunity to see this magical town come to life. Here’s a peek into a bit of the rehearsal process below:

— by Nick May


Video by Marketing Intern, Emmy Snyder.


Opening of
Brigadoon
~
June 16th, 2016

Orlando Ribbon

A ribbon on the Barn doors honoring the community of Orlando.

Congratulations to the cast and crew of Brigadoon! We survived our first changeover of the season and presented two lovely performances to our community on opening day. Thank you to all those who attended. We are proud to offer this show, not only to our own wonderful community but also in support of the community of Orlando.

Brigadoon is playing through June 26th. Get your tickets here.

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Company of BRIGADOON

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From left to right: Aiden Ankli, Kerry Conte*, and Jenna Rapisarda

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From left to right: George Vickers V, Daniel Schwartzberg, Marc Willis (above), Adam Zeph, Michael Hornig, Kevin Dort, and Spencer S. Lawson (ground)

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From left to right: Adam Zeph, Woody Minshew, Christopher Rex Jacobs

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From left to right: Aiden Ankli, Jenna Rapisarda, Laura Sky, Allsun O’Malley

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From left to right: Allsun O’Malley, Jenna Rapisarda, Laura Sky, Veronica Burt, Kelsey Seaman, Aiden Ankli

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Laura Sky strikes a pose as Veronica Burt looks on.

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From left to right: Laura Sky, Allsun O’Malley (above), Katie Griffith, Woody Minshew, Debra Buckley, Aiden Ankli

*Courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.


Between the Boards:
Musings from a Summer at the Barn
~
Part 3
June 12th, 2016

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CHANGEOVER. The feeling of newness at the Barn lingers about as long as unshorn grass in New London. Though what transpires in these seventy some odd hours between the Straw Hat Revue and Brigadoon seems like it must be nothing short of chaotic—disappointingly—it is not. I wish I could say it came with more nerves, more tears, more blood. These manifestations might at least seem worthy of the feat that is truly taking place here, while the town sleeps. Alas, the remarkable execution of completely trading out an entire production for another—sets, lights, effects, props, costumes, etcetera—seemingly overnight, tends to appear, at times, as professionally uneventful as a NASCAR tire quick change.

On Sunday night, the wind picks up, and I can only compare it to the coastal storms I’m so familiar with along the Gulf of Mexico. Are there twisters in New Hampshire? I wonder. Inside the Barn, it’s what you might expect. Technicians being technicians. Interns aiding technicians. Actors acting as technicians. Everyone has a drill. Out in the alley, Producing Artistic Director, Keith Coughlin, works alongside a team of two, loading large pieces of scenery and staging into “Rocky” the truck. 

“Do you want us to smile?” they want to know, as I snap a few pictures. They’ve learned to let the wind do its thing. They course-correct between gusts. 

Dinner goes in two shifts. Electrics and Sound at 8:00. The rest of the company at 8:30. They come like clockwork. Little packs of them, surfacing from their holes, if just for a brief venture, only to return moments later. They shield their paper plate pizza with their lives, lest a violent wind come and carry it away. Inside the warmth of the costume shop, in a most poignant reminder of their adoration for the craft, a tiny family of wardrobe designers huddles around the glow of a thirteen-and-a-half inch display during their dinner break to watch the Tony Awards. The same is happening at Gray House. 

“This is summer stock,” I’ve heard them say numerous times. “This is changeover.”

Brigadoon opens tonight and runs through June 26th. Click here for showtimes and ticket information.

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— by Nick May


Between the Boards:
Musings from a Summer at the Barn
~
Part 2
May 29th, 2016

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SUNDAY. The pace in New London feels somewhat slower than it should for this big little town. The courtyard at Tucker’s is empty. Then it’s not. Churchgoers don their best. Just up the road, Green House stirs groggily from sleep, following another late night. This principal group of wardrobe supervisors, costume shop managers, and props designers, is an insomniac one. They keep busy, without needing to be reminded of what’s ahead. It’s a self-motivated and obsessive discipleship. Their own brand of reverent devotion. Already, fabric is being repurposed, props reassigned and wigs reconditioned. One member of the team waves a coupon in the air, giddy at the prospect of saving ten dollars on paint. 

Today is the disputed “first official day of summer,” because it includes an “opening ceremonies” of sorts. Something called a “Kumbaya,” which I’m told will happen later. Tomorrow is “Love Your Barn” (a company-wide cleaning/maintenance assemblage taking place on Memorial Day). Late in the morning, the Barnies share brunch to stave off their hunger for tonight’s “Mentor BBQ.” At this point, the titles are nearly indiscernible, but it’s ok. Somehow, no one misses a lick.

By 5:00 PM most everyone is here. A Who’s Who of this summer’s interns and remaining staff. The initial group has doubled—tripled in size. Add to it a host of volunteer mentors eagerly attempting to navigate a sea of blue and white stick-on name tags and locate their appointed mentee. Together, they partake in a veritable feast of meatballs, marinated steak, rice pilaf, stuffed grape leaves and gluten-free cornbread. It bears all the traditional markings of a Southern Baptist potluck, save for the tent revival to follow.

Actually, that’s not exactly true. Following the meal, a communal gathering does take place inside the Barn for all in attendance, only no hymns are sung. The interns and staff sit on the stage, while the patron mentors file into theater chairs. Introductions are made (by everyone). Mentors are thanked graciously for their generosity and patronage, while those onstage are wished best of luck in the coming season. One last introduction is made—a “hidden” member of the company. The Barn’s Producing Artistic Director, Keith Coughlin and his wife, Sarah Case, announce they are expecting. The house erupts.

The final phase of the evening, as promised, is the Kumbaya. For the first time this summer, the family is all under one roof. We circle up. Keith stands in the middle with all the poise of a flamenco dancer and delivers a rousing call to arms. A charge worthy of a Roland Emmerich film. Then, in a remarkable display (which I’m told occurs at the outset of each summer), Coughlin asks everyone on the stage to remove their name tags and then proceeds to address each and every individual with a personalized and poignant welcome. A feat that can only be described as bewitching. Magical. Deeply moving.

It almost feels religious. There’s a measure of faith to it. With so much riding on the next three months, there pretty much has to be. Sunday at The Barn is for believers.

— by Nick May


Between the Boards:
Musings from a Summer at the Barn
~
Part 1
May 26th, 2016

MAIN STREET. Food service has begun at the New London Barn Playhouse, which (according to veteran “Barnies”) is a good indicator that the theatre’s 84th season has at least awoken. The slow crunch of gravel beneath tires in the parking lot heralds each new arrival, as company staff and interns trickle in from across the country. Midweek, the scene here is still relaxed. Yawning. Expectant. Empty vessels, drawers, chairs, small appliances, lamps without bulbs sit clustered in corners, awaiting use. The “Linen Barn” at The Green House remains—for now—fully stocked with mismatched sheets, pillows, blankets. It’s hard to find a trashcan with a liner. One early arrival bearing leftovers from Peter Christian’s opens a refrigerator and is met with the obligatory, “I don’t think it’s plugged in yet…” A phrase that seems to poetically agree with much of the essence surrounding New London at the tail end of May. 

Denizens may notice small gatherings of “porch-dwellers” when driving down Main Street around lunch time. You might even witness the stirring of props, costumes and set pieces from nearby storage cubbies as members of The Barn’s technical staff begin to dust off workbenches and fire up their power tools in observation of a seemingly ancient tradition. Over a dinner of sesame chicken and sweet and sour pork at the semi-local Imperial Buffet in Claremont, titles and job descriptions come forth as new recruits are introduced to the old pros. Technical directors, props and lighting designers, master electricians. These are the folks who begin to crank and oil the machine before the actors, ushers and patrons show up. But not ahead of those who steward the legendary performance hall through the off months. The creative directors, company managers and groundskeepers who often see this place in the snow.

The ice has long since melted away, but as of Thursday afternoon, much of the inside of The New London Barn Playhouse still remains covered with a hodgepodge of multicolored materials, like some colossal patchwork quilt, keeping the seats warm for patrons. Just the way they were left at the end of last season. And there they will remain. Dormant. Hibernating. Awaiting the arrival of the most anticipated member of the company … You.

The New London Barn Playhouse enters its 84th season with 6 Mainstage productions beginning mid-June, as well as children’s theater, Monday-night cabarets and other special events throughout the summer.

— by Nick May


JUMP TO: – Newest – 


The New London Barn Playhouse is one of the oldest continuously operating summer theaters in the country. Housed since 1933 in a centuries-old converted barn with historic landmark status, the theater offers a mix of classic and contemporary musicals and plays performed by seasoned professionals alongside emerging young artists. The Barn has received countless accolades, including over 127 nominations from the New Hampshire Theater Awards since 2010. Details and tickets available at www.nlbarn.org or by phone at 603-526-6710.