Count Hollywood actor Ed Asner among the nationally known people who are drawn to the easternmost city in Maine.
Asner, perhaps best known by some for playing Santa Claus in the movie “Elf” and by others for playing Mary Tyler Moore’s boss in her 1970s television show, will appear onstage at the Eastport Arts Center on Oct. 12 and 13 in a production of “God Help Us!”
It will be the second professional appearance in Maine is as many years for Asner, who will turn 90 in November. He performed last October at Gracie Theater at Husson University in Bangor in a one-man production of “A Man and His Prostate.”
“God Help Us!” is billed as a political comedy in which Asner, playing the role of God, referees between two pundits who are former lovers torn apart by their different viewpoints and their inability to get along, according to the Eastport Arts Center. Also performing in the show are Peter Frewen and Jenie Smith as the pundits, and Ann Cornelison and Brian Giles as angels.
“Given the current state of our politics, GOD HELP US! speaks to audiences of all political persuasions with one essential argument: that we must listen to each other so that we can all live — and laugh — together,” arts center officials said in a statement.
Asner himself is well known for his left-wing political views. He has supported establishing a single-payer health care program in California and the group Humane Borders. In 1982, just after his television show “Lou Grant” ended its five-year run, Asner came to Maine to advocate for closing down the Maine Yankee nuclear power plant in Wiscasset, which eventually shut down 14 years later.
Eastport, located 6 miles from Route 1 on Moose Island, on the Maine-New Brunswick border, has a year-round population of roughly 1,300 residents.
Among other famous people who have made appearances in Eastport in recent years are New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose aunt lives in Eastport and who last week ended his campaign for president. Nationally known writer James Fallows has visited Eastport a few times in recent years and written about the city both for The Atlantic magazine and in “Our Towns,” a subsequent book he co-wrote with his wife Deborah Fallows.