For immediate release: 2/20/18
Danielle Vayenas, USM Director of Communications and Media Relations
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Daniel Hartill, USM Communications and Media Relations Specialist
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USM Department of Theatre and School of Music exploring identity with the touching musical “A Man of No Importance”
The University of Southern Maine’s 2017-2018 arts season continues with “A Man of No Importance” by the musical team of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens and a book by acclaimed playwright and author Terence McNally.
USM students from the School of Music and the Department of Theatre will be featured in the musical co-production, led by stage director Cary Libkin and music director Ed Reichert.
"It's very exciting for me to help bring this charming and smart score to life,” Reichert said. “The authentic flavor of Dublin, combined with heartbreaking, foot-stomping, and hilarious moments, will be on display as performed by our talented cast. The five-piece band, led by recent USM alum Kellie Moody on piano, will be seen onstage and woven into the magic of this special piece of theater."
Cary Libkin, who is directing the production, said he continues to be fascinated with the story’s central conflict, summed up with two lines from the work. It’s “You just have to love who you love” vs. “The love that dare not speak its name,” Libkin said.
“In a very theatrical way, the musical uses 1960’s Dublin and the words of Oscar Wilde to shed light on struggles as contemporary as today’s headlines,” Libkin said. “The design staff has been inspired by the use of theatre and the process of putting on a play as a place dedicated to exploring the search for identity. But when does a place of safety become a hiding place; not a place to shine light on one’s identity, but rather hide from it in the words, actions, and clothes of another?”
This poignant story of self-discovery is set against the backdrop of Dublin, Ireland, in the early 1960’s. Bus conductor Alfie Byrne shares his passion for theater by reciting poetry to his passengers and directing a troupe of players in the basement of St. Imelda’s Catholic Church. The trouble begins when Alfie decides to produce his favorite playwright Oscar Wilde’s scandalous play, Salome. The church simply can’t allow such heathen decadence to be performed, even in the basement. During the course of a tumultuous rehearsal process, Alfie learns that the theatre is not a place to hide from the world, but instead the very place where we may finally discover our true selves. Author Terrance McNally wrote, “The small world of the St. Imelda’s Players becomes an enormous one and I would be surprised if you did not find at least a small part of your world in theirs.” Indeed, you will see that Alfie Byrne is a man of great importance.
Libkin also praised the score, by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (“Ragtime”, “Seussical”, “Once on This Island” and “Anastasia”.)
“Flaherty and Ahrens have created songs that are at once Irish, music hall, Broadway,” he said. “They are intensely personal and at the same time, utterly relatable by today’s audience.”
A Man of No Importance opens on Friday, March 2 and plays through Friday, March 9.
All performances take place on the USM Gorham campus in historic Russell Hall.
The show is approximately 2 hours with one intermission.
To purchase tickets, or for more information, visit USM Theatre online at usm.maine.edu/theatre, or call the USM Theatre Box Office at (207) 780-5151.
For more information on USM’s Department of Theatre events and programs, click here.
A Man of No Importance
Based on a book by Terrence McNally
Music by Stephen Flaherty
Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Directed by Cary Libkin
Music Directed by Edward Reichert
Performances dates and times:
Evenings: March 2, 3, 8, & 9 at 7:30pm
Matinees: March 4 & 7 at 5:00pm and March 3 at 2:00pm
School matinee: USM Department of Theatre also offers a special school matinee on Friday, March 9 at 10:00am for grades 8 and up. To bring your school or class to the school matinee, contact Outreach Coordinator, Sara Valentine at email@example.com
Tickets for A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE are
$22 for Adults
$16 for Seniors, USM employees and alumni
and $10 for students
The discount Wednesday performance on November 15 offers all tickets for $10.
Those needing special accommodations to participate fully in this program, contact the Box Office at (207) 780-5151, or email: USMTheatreBoxOffice@maine.edu
Hearing impaired: call USM's telex / TDD number (207) 780-5646.
A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI, 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019 Tel.: (212) 541-4684 Fax: (212) 397-4684 www.MTIShows.com.
Situated in Maine’s economic and cultural center, the University of Southern Maine (USM) is a public university with 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students taking courses online and at campuses in Portland, Gorham and Lewiston-Auburn. Known for its academic excellence, student focus and engagement with the community, USM provides students with hands-on experience that complements classroom learning and leads to employment opportunities in one of the nation’s most desirable places to live.