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Home | Current News and Features | USM Department of Theatre Announces 2013-2014 Season: Operetta Written by Holocaust Survivor to Get English-Language World Premiere

USM Department of Theatre Announces 2013-2014 Season: Operetta Written by Holocaust Survivor to Get English-Language World Premiere

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Cutline: The University of Southern Maine Department of Theatre has
announced the lineup for the 2013-2014 season, which includes a comedic
drama, distinctively Irish comedy, drama, comical murder mystery
musical, and English-language world premiere of a darkly comic

USM Department of Theatre Announces 2013-2014 Season: Operetta Written
by Holocaust Survivor to Get English-Language World Premiere

GORHAM, Maine – The English-language world premiere of a darkly comic
operetta written by a Holocaust survivor while imprisoned in a WWII
concentration camp – the script for which was smuggled out of the camp
-- is one highlight of the exciting lineup for the University of
Southern Maine (USM) 2013-2014 Season.

The USM Theatre season includes: “Night Sky,” a comedic drama by
Susan Yankowitz, award-winning playwright; “The Cripple of
Inishmaan,” a dark comedy by Martin McDonagh, world-renowned
playwright; “Doubt,” a Tony Award-winning drama by John Patrick
Shanley; “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” a musical murder mystery by
Rupert Holmes, based on a Charles Dickens novel; and “In the
Underworld,” a darkly comic operetta by Germaine Tillion, a French
Holocaust survivor who wrote the script while imprisoned in WWII
Ravenbrück concentration camp for women.

“The USM Department of Theatre is proud to present the 2013-2014
season, which promises to not only entertain a variety of audiences, but
also to inspire educational discussion and activities,” said Charles
Kading, professor of theater and department chair.

“We have a very strong, talented group of student actors who deliver
remarkable performances,” Kading said. “Our directors are working
professionals who each have the capability of drawing the best work
possible out of performers.”

Each production brings forth educational experiences for students, as
well as opportunities for collaboration among departments at USM and
partnerships with organizations throughout the state.

The subject matter of the season-opener, “Night Sky,” directed by
Assunta Kent, associate professor of theater, has inspired an academic
panel discussion which will involve the Department of Theatre, the Women
and Gender Studies Program and the Office of Academic Affairs for
Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity. The panel discussion,
“Women, Science and the Night Sky,” will take place at 2:45
p.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 8 in the USM Planetarium, Portland campus.

Thomas Power, professor of theater will direct “The Cripple of
Inishmaan,” a dark comedy set on the island of Inishmaan, off the
coast of Ireland. Power has dual citizenship in Ireland and the U.S. and
will share his expertise of his home country with the show’s cast. 

The production of “Doubt,” a ripped-from-the-headlines drama
directed by William Steele, professor of theater, will take place
off-campus in The Studio Theatre at Portland Stage.

“Every season we present one production in Portland,” Kading said.
“We tend to sell out the productions we feature at Portland Stage. We
usually have four performances and this year we’ll have eight.” 

Each year the USM Department of Theatre and School of Music partner to
co-produce a musical or opera. This year they will present the musical
“The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” a comical murder mystery where the
audience plays detective, directed by Wil Kilroy, professor of theater,
with musical direction by Edward Reichert, lecturer in musical theater
for the School of Music.

“The partnership allows musicians from the School of Music to play
for the musical, thereby gaining experience as part of a theatrical
orchestra,” said Kilroy. “The resources from the Department of
Theatre, including professional set, costume and lighting design, allow
the vocal music students to participate in a fully mounted production.

“Theatre students cast in the musical are encouraged to take private
voice lessons and benefit from having a musical director work with them
on their singing and musicianship,” said Kilroy. 

Collaborative efforts are under way for “In the Underworld,” an
operetta directed by Meghan Brodie, assistant professor of theater, with
musical direction by Jonathan Marro, School of Music alumnus, to involve
the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine with educational aspects
of the production. The production is partially funded by the
Dimmer-Bergstrom Fund. 

Audiences are encouraged to reserve their seats for each show ahead of
time, especially for the crowd favorite, “$5 at Five,” a Wednesday
matinee (for “Night Sky,” a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee) with all tickets
available for just $5 ($10 for the musical).  

“Five at five is wildly successful,” said Kading. “It normally
sells out. It’s a great time of day to bring kids to the show and
still get them home in time for bed.”

Three of the five productions, “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” “The
Mystery of Edwin Drood” and “In the Underworld” feature a 10 a.m.
Tuesday high school matinee, which is open to large groups of high
school students. It’s an opportunity for students to experience
professionally-produced theater and for teachers to build educational
activities around the subject matter of the show.

USM Theatre 2013-2014 Season at a Glance

All performances take place on the Main Stage of Russell Hall, USM
Gorham campus, with the exception of “Doubt,” which takes place in
The Studio Theatre at Portland Stage.

● “Night Sky”
By Susan Yankowitz
Directed by Assunta Kent
7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 10
7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11
2 p.m. (all seats $5) and 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 12
5 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 13 

A female astronomer, an opera singer and a teen foreign-language
learner cooped up in a small New York apartment search for words -- to
express their yearnings, frustrations and, ultimately, their love. When
the pressure gets too high, they explode. What bonds hold us together as
lovers, family and friends?  Humans have always looked for answers in
the Night Sky!

● “The Cripple of Inishmaan”
By Martin McDonagh
Directed by Thomas Power
7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 15 and Nov. 22 
7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16 and Nov. 23
5 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 17 and Nov. 24 
10 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 19; high school matinee
5 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 20; all seats $5
7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 21 

Martin McDonagh’s comic masterpiece is set on the tiny island of
Inishmaan off the coast of Ireland. The arrival of a Hollywood film crew
threatens to turn their idyllic life upside down and “Cripple Billy”
wants to be in the film more than anyone – if only to escape the
tedium of small-town life. This not-to-be-missed dark comedy is from one
of the theater’s most original Irish voices.

● “Doubt”
A drama by John Patrick Shanley
Directed by William Steele
7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7 and Feb. 14
7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 8 and Feb. 15 
5 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 9 and Feb. 16 
5 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 12; all seats $5
7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 13 
Performances take place off-campus at The Studio Theatre at Portland

What happened between the progressive Father Flynn and a troubled young
boy behind closed doors in a Catholic school in 1964? The truth may set
us free -- but how do we get to the truth? This
ripped-from-the-headlines drama is a roller coaster of suspicion,
accusation, defense, paranoia, persecution and equivocation. And that
most troubling and nagging of human emotions: Doubt.

● “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”
A musical by Rupert Holmes
Directed by Wil Kilroy
Musical Direction by Edward Reichert
Choreography by Vanessa Beyland
A co-production with the USM School of Music
7:30 p.m., Friday, March 14 and March 21
7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 15 and March 22
7:30 p.m., Sunday, March 16 and March 23 
10 a.m., Tuesday, March 18; high school matinee 
5 p.m., Wednesday, March 19; all seats $10
7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 20 

Charles Dickens died before he could finish his extraordinary murder
novel, and that is only the beginning of the mystery. Both sinister and
hilarious, this Tony Award-winning musical picks up where Dickens left
off. This is like no theater you’ve ever seen, where the audience
plays detective and even votes on who the murderer is. Come see the show
that is never the same twice!

● “In the Underworld”
A darkly comic operetta by Germaine Tillion
Directed by Meghan Brodie
Musical Direction by Jonathan Marro 
Translation by Annie and Karl Bortnick
Musical Arrangement and Composition by Christophe Maudot
7:30 p.m., Friday, April 18 and April 25 
7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 19 and April 26 
5 p.m., Sunday, April 20 and April 27 
10 a.m., Tuesday, April 22; high school matinee
5 p.m., Wednesday, April 23; all seats $5
7: 30 p.m., Thursday, April 24 

Join us for a major theater event! While imprisoned in Ravensbrück
concentration camp, French author Germaine Tillion secretly wrote an
operetta that turned her own experiences into a powerful testament to
the triumph of humanity Satirical, searing, and altogether unexpected,
“In the Underworld” is the English-language world premiere of the
extraordinary operetta first produced in France in 2007. The production
has received generous support from the Dimmer-Bergstrom Fund.


Tickets for each production go on sale one month prior to opening
night. A season Flex Pass is available at any time.

For tickets or Flex Passes, go to: and
click on “Purchase Tickets,” or call the USM Theatre Box Office at
(207) 780-5151.

Plays: $15, general admission; $11, seniors, USM employees and alumni;
$8, students
Musical: $21, general admission; $15, seniors, USM employees and
alumni; $10, students
Flex Pass: Just $45 for six tickets, to be used in any combination
(limit two for the musical).
High School Matinee: Contact the USM Theatre Box Office at (207)

For more information about the USM Department of Theatre, go to:

For more information about USM’s College of Arts, Humanities and
Social Sciences, go to:

For more information about USM, contact:

USM Office of Public Affairs
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