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Celebrate women playwrights and directors this season with the USM Department of Theatre

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Join the University of Southern Maine Department of Theatre as they kick off the 2019-2020 season on Friday, September 6, 7:30 p.m., at Russell Hall on the Gorham Campus with the performance of "Fortune," a quirky romantic comedy about finding love, (or not)! The production is currently part of the 83rd summer season at Deertrees Theatre in Harrison, ME featuring USM students in leading roles; in early September the students bring the performance to their home stage as well as to the Gorham audience. 

Co-directed by Andrew Harris and Dan Burson, the show features students Mariah Larocque and Blake Wright with sound by Luis Del Valle, lights by Austin Tomison, and stage management by Emma Zerba - all current or recently graduated USM Theatre students.

The 2019-2020 USM Theatre season aims to celebrate the work of women playwrights and women directors.

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“Our idea for this season began from a series of relevant events and conversations: the #metoo movement, the divisive political climate, and the approaching centenary of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing equal voting rights to both women and men,” said Sara Valentine, assistant professor of USM Theatre. 

Valentine continues, “Theater stimulates a larger dialogue and helps shape conversations around sensitive and timely topics. In addition, this season's plays stand alone as remarkable, well-constructed pieces of theater.”

Take a look at the upcoming season preview below, and stay tuned to the Department of Theatre Box Office for all ticket information. 


Fortune, September 6-8, 2019
by Deborah Zoe Laufer, tickets by donation only

This production featured USM Theatre students as part of the 83rd summer season at Deertrees Theatre in Harrison, ME, and will open the season at USM Russell Hall. “Fortune” is a quirky romantic comedy about finding love, whether it's in the cards or not! Maude is a storefront psychic who has given up on love. When Jeremy, a sad, love-hungry accountant, stumbles into her shop, Maude wrestles with fate and destiny. 

Friday & Saturday 9/6-7, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, 9/8, 2:00 p.m.

The Women Who Mapped the Stars, October 4-13, 2019
By Joyce Van Dyke, directed by Sara Valentine

A Maine premiere by Boston-based playwright, Joyce Van Dyke. It's the end of the19th century; four courageous women of science at the Harvard College Observatory pave the way for the next generation of astronomers and astrophysicists, including Cambridge University-trained scholar, Cecilia Payne. In this heart-warming and time-bending story, taken from true events, we experience the struggles and achievements of these remarkable women who imagined the impossible and changed the way we see the universe and ourselves. 

Friday & Saturday 10/4-5, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, 10/6, 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday & Thursday 10/9,10, 5:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, 10/11-12, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, 10/13, 2:00 p.m.

Theatre posterThe Love of the Nightingale, November 15-24, 2019
By Timberlake Wertenbaker, Directed by Rachel Price Cooper

Set in ancient Athens, this is a story of human resilience, tracking victims’ abilities to reclaim their voice, recover their agency, and ultimately transform in the face of trauma. This striking adaptation pulls from Ovid and Sophocles to explore the troubling cycle of violence and revenge later popularized in Elizabethan tragedies like ”Titus Andronicus.”

Friday & Saturday, 11/15-16, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, 11/17, 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday & Thursday, 11/20-21, 5:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, 11/22-23, 7:30 pm
Sunday, 11/24, 2:00 p.m.

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf
December 9-12, 2019, by Ntozake Shange, tickets by donation only

In commemoration of the loss of the acclaimed African-American playwright, poet, author and performer, Nzotake Shange (1948-2018), USM Theatre is honored to present a special staged-reading of her seminal work. This influential piece shares stories of love, loss, empowerment and sisterhood, and was nominated for the 1977 Tony Award for Best Play and described by Shange as a “choreopoem.” Presented with support from the Warren Memorial Foundation, this piece will feature current USM students and alumni and be additionally presented at venues in Portland and Lewiston. Stay tuned to USM Dept. of Theatre for showtimes. 

Dear Edwina promoDear Edwina, February 28-March 8, 2020
A collaboration between the Department of Theatre and the School of Music
By Zina Goldrich & Marcy Heisler, Directed by Joyce Presutti, Musical Direction by Ed Reichert

Thirteen-year-old Edwina Spoonapple would do just about anything to be a part of the Kalamazoo Advice-a-Palooza Festival. While her siblings both have proof of their accomplishments, poor Edwina has nothing. When a talent scout from the convention visits her hometown, she trots out her musical advice, giving shows live from the family garage in hopes of finding her place in the spotlight. She is assisted by her older siblings, quirky friends and neighbors. Together, they set out to tackle the world's problems in number after hysterical number about everything from birthday party etiquette to proper table settings.

Dear Edwina is a heartwarming musical about the joys of growing up, from the creators of “Junie B. Jones The Musical.” The show's heroine is an advice-giver extraordinaire, like a spunky, singing version of Dear Abby.

Friday & Saturday, 2/28-29, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, 2/29-3/1, 2:00 p.m. 
Wednesday & Thursday, 3/4-5, 5:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, 3/6-7, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, 3/7-8, 2:00 p.m.

Theatre posterCrimes of the Heart, April 17-26, 2020By Beth Henley, Directed by Tess Van Horn

Set in Hazelhurst, Mississippi in the early 1980s, this is a story of the three Magrath sisters as they reunite in their grandmother's kitchen for the first time in many years - Babe, the youngest, is out on bail after shooting her husband; Meg, the middle, is back from LA; while, Lenny, the oldest, just wants to eat her birthday cake in peace. A hilarious and heart-wrenching look into the lives of three women ready for a chance at freedom from their current circumstances.

Friday & Saturday, 4/17-18, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, 4/19, 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday & Thursday, 4/22-23, 5:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, 4/24-25, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, 4/26,  2:00 p.m.


USM Department of Theatre Showcase
Thursday, April 30, 2020, 7:00 p.m., tickets by donation only
In a relaxed format, USM students from across theatrical and academic disciplines will present original projects, creative ideas, and newly-acquired skills developed throughout the year under the guidance of faculty or in collaboration with other students. Don’t miss this end-of-season exploration!