Friday-Sunday, October 27-29
George and Ira Gershwin's/George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind's
OF THEE I SING
Book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Directed by Edward Reichert
Music Direction by Kellie Moody
This all-American political satire focuses on the election campaign and Presidency of John P. Wintergreen, whose party, lacking a viable platform, runs on love. With politicians skewered right and left, Of Thee I Sing is an hilarious and timeless send-up of national institutions that is as relevant as ever, (It even features its own impeachment proceedings!).
In 1932, this show was the first musical to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama! Of Thee I Sing first appeared on Broadway at The Music Box Theater, directed by George S. Kaufman.
We are presenting this as a semi-staged concert version featuring a 10-piece orchestra led by Music Director Kellie Moody. The show opens at the USM School of Music on Friday, October 27th at 8 p.m., with additional performances on Saturday, October 28 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, October 29 at 2 p.m at Corthell Concert Hall on the USM Gorham campus. Tickets are $15 for Adults, $10 for seniors and USM alumni and employees, and $5 for students. Tickets can be purchased online at www.usm.maine.edu/music/boxoffice, or by calling the Music Box Office at (207) 780-5555.
Co-Sponsored by Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution and Richard & Edna Krull.
The story follows John P. Wintergreen's (Sean Arsenault from Scarborough) campaign for president until his triumphant election on the slogan "Put Love In The White House." As the chairman explains. "What you need for an issue is something that everybody can get excited about and yet something that does not really make any difference." It is decided the candidate shall marry the winner of a beauty contest after proposing to her in every state. Wintergreen, however, falls in love with pretty and demure Mary Turner (Meg Ward of Bangor) instead, to the dismay of beauties like Diana Deveraux (Rachel Shukan of Woburn, Mass). Interwoven are the comic adventures of Alexander Throttlebottom (Sam Allen from Harpswell), the new vice president seeking recognition. Political and legal complications add to the merriment of the finale where the graybeards of the Supreme Court dance and sing their way through important decisions to one of the most absurd and delightful climaxes seen on Broadway. Revived at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
The show boasts a large cast, demonstrating the strength of the School's musical theatre program, including:
John P. Wintergreen: Sean Arsenault of Scarborough
Mary Turner: Meg Ward of Bangor
Alexander Throttlebottom: Sam Allen of Harpswell
Diana Devereaux: Rachel Shukan of Woburn, Mass
The French Ambassador: Chris Figaratto of Portland
Matthew Arnold Fulton: Ben Walker-Dubay of Kennebunkport
Louis Lippman: Garrett Moyer of Ellsworth
Francis Gilhooley: Keegan Perry of Westbrook
Senator Robert E. Lyons: Scotty Venable of Lewiston
Senator Carver Jones: Ian Yarnall of Newport, VT
Sam Jenkins: Andrew Carney of Millinocket
Miss Benson: Jackie Condon of Houlton
Ensemble (playing various roles); Arianna Angelone of Methuen, Mass; Meg Mayfield of Marlborough, Mass; Thomas McLaughlin of Freeport; Miles Obrey of Gorham; Victoria Stackpole of Biddeford; and Abby White of Dalton, Mass.
“This Gershwin score is chock full of familiar hits, including Love is Sweeping the Country, Who Cares? and the title song Of Thee I Sing,” says Ed Reichert. He adds, “Expect some surprise appearances by recent alums, faculty and administration!”
"Of Thee I Sing" is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.
Those needing special accommodations to participate fully in this program, contact Lori Arsenault, (207) 780-5142, email@example.com. Hearing impaired: call USM's telex / TDD number (207) 780-5646.
"Of Thee I Sing" Reviews:
"A brisk musical comedy… There are lyrics done in Ira Gershwin's neatest style...Best of all, there is Mr. Gershwin's score. Whether it is satire, wit, doggerel or fantasy, Mr. Gershwin pours music out in full measure and in many voices. Although the book is lively, Mr. Gershwin is exuberant." - New York Times
“…one of the silliest and yet most sublime things on a New York stage right now.” – New York Times
“…the musical is borne aloft on the buoyancy of George Gershwin's music and Ira Gershwin's intricate, often hilarious lyrics.” – New York Times
High Resolution photos are available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usm-music/albums/72157687193440530