Bert and I, those “You can’t get there from here …” storytellers from Maine are coming back and are looking for new voices, new stories and a few new characters to carry on this tradition of Maine humor. Online auditions are open now in preparation for the Bert and I Talent Show Friday, Aug. 2, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Maine Lobster Festival in Harbor Park. Emcee will be Maine performer Michael Miclon.

Them as can talk like a real Downeast Yankee, tell stories, act, write, draw pictures; are poets, musicians or songwriters; and want to be part of the new Bert and I are encouraged to apply. Anyone who knows a character in town who can tell a whooping good story, can talk Yankee, has a unique perspective on life are encouraged to nominate said character, as well.

The Bert and I Talent Show is by invitation. To audition, visit BertandI.me, click on Audition and follow the instructions. Submissions include a short resume, a photo, a link to website or YouTube video; auditioners also may can send in samples of what they do. Needed are people who can create sound effects, tell a story, sing and perform, as well as writers who want to help create new Bert and I material. Amateurs and professionals of all ages are welcome. Stories may be true or tall, made-up or heard, slyly humorous or downright funny but they must be short; performers chosen to appear will have six minutes on stage.

The new Bert and I Company of Maine is about the bring new life to the characters and humor that Bob Bryan and Marshall Dodge created with their recordings 50 years ago. This new company, formed by friends and associates of Dodge and Bryan, is developing a series of new recordings, a stage play, vaudeville show, a feature film and a television series. The new company is searching for characters, voices, actors, performers and writers who want to be part of the new Bert and I.

Dodge and Bryan launched their first Bert and I recording of Downeast stories more than 50 years ago. That original recording has sold well more than a million copies and continues to sell well today. Dodge and Bryan made three more recordings, but there has been no new Bert and I material since Tim Sample and Bob Bryan recorded “How to Talk Yankee” in 1983. All these recordings are still available. David Lyman of Camden, Creative Director of the Bert and I Company of Maine, produced many of Dodge's stage appearances in the ‘70s and worked with him to create the Maine Festival of The Arts. Lyman also founded Maine Photographic Workshops (now Maine Media), and Rockport College and was its director for 35 years.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.