Department of Theatre

2016-2017 USM Theatre Season Preview

Rinde Eckert

The USM Department of Theatre is proud to present our 2016-2017 season of productions.

On September 3 at 8 p.m. a performance in Corthell Hall begins a year long creative project of theatre, music, art and more, culminating in our final production in April. Begin the journey here with visiting artist Rinde Eckert in My Fools: A Life in Song - A Performance History. Learn more about this performance here.


Late in September, we open the Theatre season with Under Milk Wood, a play for voices by Dylan Thomas, directed by Andrew Harris.

In November, Sara Valentine directs The Language Archive by Julia Cho. With this production, high school drama programs have a field trip opportunity with a school day matinee.

Also in November, the Department of Theatre collaborates with the School of Music, Department of Athletics and the Department of Campus Life to host the second annual USM Big Band Ballroom Bash, a community dance featuring the Portland Jazz Orchestra, the USM Jazz Ensemble, and several dance demonstrations coordinated by USM's dance instructor, Maria Tzianabos. 

In December, Maria leads the ever popular "Dance USM!" showcasing a variety of styles of dance performance. 

In March, the Department of Theatre and School of Music collaborate again with the fullly-staged opera, The Merry Wives of Windsor by Otto Nicolai, directed by Cary Libkin, music direction by Scott Wheatley, with the Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robert Lehmann.

Then to top off the season, we present an exciting world premier performance of Molded by the Flow, a collaborative creation of music, theatre and art led by visiting Libra Professor, Paul Dresher, involving USM students, faculty and staff from many disciplines exploring the many ways that the flow of water has molded the state of Maine and her people. The show opens first in Lewiston, and then back at Russell Hall. 

It will be a full and creative season. We hope to see you many times. Continue reading for more information, and to purchase tickets. 

Under Milk WoodUnder Milk Wood
A play for voices by Dylan Thomas
Directed by Andrew Harris

Friday, September 30 to Sunday, October 9, 2016

Friday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 2 at 5 p.m.

Wednesday, October 5 at 5 p.m. (all seats $5)
Thursday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, October 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 9 at 5 p.m.

Main Stage, Russell Hall, USM Gorham Campus

“To begin at the beginning: It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black...”: — and so the lyrically written, riotously funny and deeply moving portrait of the circle of a spring day in the small Welsh seaside village of Llareggub begins...with ghosts and dreams before dawn, the brilliance and noise of day, to the rain of dusk and the bawdy night! The play was first given a ‘try-out’ performance in 1953 in New York and promptly hailed as, “probably the richest and certainly the earthiest theatre experience of the season.” On January 25th 1954 the B.B.C. broadcast the play, complete and as it was intended - resonating with the Welsh ‘singing voice’. We pass along to you, our audience, the very same words Dylan Thomas gave to his actors in 1953, “Love the words.”

$15 general public; $11 seniors/USM employees/alumni; $8 students
Box Office: (207) 780-5151, TTY 780-5646 or visit


The Language ArchiveThe Language Archive
By Julia Cho
Directed by Sara Valentine

Thursday, November 10 to Sunday, November 13, 2016

Thursday, November 10 at 10:00 a.m. (High School matinee)
Thursday, November 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 12 at 2 p.m.
Sunday, November 13 at 5 p.m.

"Even with all my languages, there still aren't the right words."

When George, a serious-minded linguist with a passion for preserving dying languages discovers cryptic notes hidden in his shoes and coffee cup, he begins to think his wife might be trying to tell him something. But can he decipher the enigmatic language? Through a series of encounters both poignant and perplexing, this whimsical and quirky comedy explores the nature of love, and the attempts we make to find and express it.

Main Stage, Russell Hall, USM Gorham Campus
$15 general public; $11 seniors/USM employees/alumni; $8 students
Box Office: (207) 780-5151, TTY 780-5646 or visit


USM Big Band Ballroom BashSPECIAL EVENT: The USM Big Band Ballroom Bash
November 12, 2016
   6 p.m. Dance Lesson
   7 p.m. Live music and dancing

Live Music by the Portland Jazz Orchestra and the USM Jazz Ensemble
Both big bands directed by Christopher Oberholtzer
And featuring the students of USM's Ballroom Dance Class taught by Maria A. Tzianabos

Celebrate Veteran's Day Weekend with us in USO style and get ready for a night of dancing that will never go out of fashion. Come to the Gorham campus for a celebration of big band swing in music and dance. Ballroom dancers at all levels are invited. Food and drink will be available for purchase.

$20 per person, $35 per couple
Free for Veterans and Students with a USM ID.
Availability is limited so get your tickets early. 
Hill Gym, Costello Sports Complex, USM Gorham Campus
Box Office (207) 780-5555 or 5151, TTY 780-5646 or visit or

The USM Big Band Ballroom Bash is presented by the Department of Athletics, School of Music, Department of Theatre and Department of Campus Life, and sponsored by University Credit Union.


Dance USM!Dance USM!
Directed by Maria A. Tzianabos

Thursday, December 8 to Sunday, December 11, 2016

Thursday, December 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 11 at 5 p.m.

Main Stage, Russell Hall, USM Gorham Campus

Directed by Dance lecturer Maria A. Tzianabos, the concert features student, faculty, and guest choreographers in colorful and energetic performances in a variety of styles. Come join us in our celebration of life, movement, and the joy of dance to start your holiday season!

$15 general public; $11 seniors/USM employees/alumni; $8 students
Box Office: (207) 780-5151, TTY 780-5646 or visit







The Merry Wives of WindsorThe Merry Wives of Windsor
Fully staged opera by Otto Nicolai
Directed by Cary Libkin
Musical Direction by Scott Wheatley
Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robert Lehmann

Friday, March 3 to Sunday, March 12

Friday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 5 at 5:00 p.m.

Friday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 12 at 5:00 p.m.

Otto Nicolai’s opera The Merry Wives of Windsor is based on Shakespeare’s wonderful comedy of the same name. The piece is full of fresh and sweet melodies, beautiful harmonies and elegant orchestrations. Add to that some of Shakespeare’s most immortal comic characters; Mistresses Ford and Page, the beautiful Ann Page and her ill-suited suitors Slender and Dr. Cajus, and of course, the most beloved rascal of all, Sir John Falstaff, and you are certain to have a great time. The music soars, and comedy roars, and you’ll leave wanting more.

Main Stage, Russell Hall, USM Gorham Campus
$21 general public; $15 seniors/USM employees/alumni; $10 students
Box Office: (207) 780-5151, TTY 780-5646 or visit


Molded by the FlowLibra Visiting Professorship at USM: Molded by the Flow

A collaborative creation of theatre, music and visual art with internationally-acclaimed artists Paul Dresher & Rinde Eckert, and USM students, faculty and staff.

Friday, April 14 through Saturday, April 29, 2016

Thursday, April 13 School Performance TBD
Friday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. Lewiston
Saturday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. Lewiston

Friday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m. Gorham (Gorham opening night)
Saturday, April 22 at 2:00 p.m. Gorham
Sunday, April 23 at 2:00 p.m. Gorham

Wednesday, April 26 at 5:00 p.m. Gorham (all tickets $5)
Friday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. Gorham
Saturday, April 29 at 2:00 p.m. Gorham

A poetic, visual and musical narrative inspired by Southern Maine’s rich natural and human history. Molded by the Flow explores how the state’s rivers, ocean, weather, plants and animals inspire diverse groups of people to inhabit the area, and thereby shape the landscape and the history of Maine.

This year-long collaboration is led by Libra Professor Paul Dresher and visiting artist Rinde Eckert, and is made possible with the support of the Libra Professorship at USM. Participating departments include the Department of Art, School of Music and Department of Theatre, and project participation made available to University students of many other disciplines.

Venues for Molded by the Flow

Gendron Franco Center, 46 Cedar St, Lewiston
Main Stage, Russell Hall, USM Gorham Campus
$15 general public; $11 seniors/USM employees/alumni; $8 students
Box Office: (207) 780-5151, TTY 780-5646 or visit