The University of Southern Maine Department of Theatre and School of Music present a collaborative production of "Unlock'd," a delightful “modern-ish musical romance” about the roles we are born into and people we secretly wish to become. The show opens on Friday, March 1 and runs through Sunday, March 10, in historic Russell Hall on the USM Gorham Campus.
"Unlock’d," written by Maine native Sam Carner, is a whimsical coming-of-age story, fusing baroque and classical music with contemporary pop musical theatre; it is based on a satirical mock-epic poem by the English writer, Alexander Pope. This original musical from the American musical theatre songwriting duo, Carner & Gregor, premiered Off-Broadway in 2013 and is a recipient of the 2014 Richard Rodgers Award. The USM performance will be the first production of "Unlock'd" in New England.
The show is approximately 2 hours with one intermission; music by Derek Gregor, book and lyrics by Sam Carner; directed by Sara Valentine; musical direction by Edward Reichert.
Meg Ward, a senior musical theatre major who plays the character “Belinda Fermor,” said working on the show with Valentine helped to break her out of her comfort zone and be as silly as possible for her character. “A positive challenge about the rehearsal process is the fact that we are only the third company to put on Unlock’d. There are so many things that we don’t know because the show is so new, but it means we really get to make it our own,” said Ward.
“...It’s not something you get to do every day, that you get handed a brand new piece of work and also get the opportunity to have that person who wrote it come work on it with us,” said musical theatre major Ben Walker-Dubay.
Musical director Edward Reichert brought Carner in to present a master class with musical theatre majors a few years ago. He says, “Sam was a big hit with the students. He introduced me to “Unlock’d” over the next year of our friendship. I'm personally very attracted to the variety of musical styles woven into the piece. I felt as though we had the perfect combination of talent at USM this year to be showcased in the play. It's especially exciting for me to see it come to life with our cast and student musicians from the School of Music.”
“We think the audience is going to be delighted by the world of this play. These characters are on a journey of self-discovery, but they don't know it. We've been looking at the idea of perspective and forced perspective: “Where do we place importance, how do we see the world, and can we see from a different perspective, or acknowledge that the way we've been presenting ourselves to the world has been at the expense of another's feelings or needs?” Those questions have allowed the students to explore the boldness of the characters, while still finding the moments of truth that make this story so endearing,” said director Sara Valentine.
Featuring USM student performers:
Cast: Samuel Allen, (Baron Windsorloch), Harpswell; Matty Boyd, (Umbriel/Zeus), Medford, NJ; Andrew Carney, (Barney the Gnome), Lewiston; Mikayla Clifford, (Gertrude), Gray; Ezri Donnangelo (Lord Littlewit), Yarmouth; Abram Dwyer, (Sir Flittybud), North Yarmouth; Noli French, (Beatrice/Serving Maid/Sylph Understudy), New Gloucester; Arianna Gordon, (Swing for Sylphs/Ladies/Beatrice), Strong; Aaron Kircheis, (Inconstatine/ Edwin Understudy), Bucksport; Ayanna Main, (Esther), Wiscasset; Megan Mayfield, (Avia/Clarissa Understudy), Marlborough, MA; Caitlin McGonigle, (Madeline), Brentwood, NH; Victoria Stackpole (Ariella/Belinda Understudy), Biddeford; Nash Tasker, (Caleb), Berwick; Ben Walker-Dubay, (Edwin Shearing), Kennebunk; Megan Walz, (Katherine), Portland; Meg Ward (Belinda), Bangor; Abby White, (Clarissa Evers), Dalton, MA; Brandon Wong (The Gardner/Swing for Gnomes & Gentlemen), York.
Orchestra: Lynnea Harding, violin; Cameron Prescott, cello; Jacob Cooper, guitar; Eric Yim, percussion; and Ed Reichert, piano/conductor.
Performances dates and times:
Evenings: March 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Matinees: March 3, 6 at 5:00 p.m., March 10 at 2:00 p.m.
$22 for adults, $10 for students/youth, and $16 for seniors 60+, USM employees and alumni. Discount performance (all tickets $10): Wednesday, March 6.
The USM Department of Theatre also offers a special school matinee with a talkback with cast and crew on Friday, March 8 at 10:00 a.m. for grades 6 and up, reservations are required. For more information or to schedule your class, contact Outreach Coordinator, Janice Gardner, firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Unlock'd" is sponsored by Richard and Edna Krull and Drs. John '90 and Elizabeth Serrage.
For tickets and more information, visit USM Theatre online at usm.maine.edu/theatre, or call the USM Theatre Box Office at (207) 780-5151.
Those needing special accommodations to participate fully in this program, contact Janice Gardner at (207)780-5289 or email@example.com. Hearing impaired: call USM's telex / TDD number (207) 780-5646.