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USM Theater brings 2017-2018 season to a close with “The Importance of Being Earnest”



Press Contacts:
Danielle Vayenas, USM Director of Communications, 207-780-4150, 207-239-5715 (cell)

Maureen Puia, PR/Event Promotions Associate, 207-780-4200

USM Department of Theatre contact:
Janice Gardner, Audience Services & Student Recruitment Coordinator, 207-780-5289


USM Theater brings 2017-2018 season to a close with “The Importance of Being Earnest”

The University of Southern Maine Department of Theatre closes the 2017-2018 season with the upcoming production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde, directed by Andrew Harris. Opening on Friday, April 20 and running through Sunday, April 29, all performances will take place on the USM Gorham Campus in historic Russell Hall. Special school matinees for grades 6 and up will take place on April 24 and 27 at 10:00 a.m, reservations are required.

“The USM production is based on the three-act version of the play, first performed at the St. James’ Theatre in London in 1895”, says director Andrew Harris. “The play is full of eminently quotable paradoxes, puns and aphorisms, all of which are easily recognizable as the exquisite wit of Mr. Wilde. We are convinced Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece will continue to entertain and delight a 21st-century audience with its keen depiction of Victorian conventional manners as well as with its inspired and imaginative theatrical language and verbal dexterity.”

Oscar Wilde’s most brilliant tour de force, “The Importance of Being Earnest” is a witty and buoyant comedy. This superb satire, full of delightful repartee and hilarious piercing of hypocrisy and pomposity, is known to make audiences laugh out loud. Two young carefree dandies, Algernon Moncrieff and the utterly reliable John (Jack) Worthing, lead double lives to court the attention of the exquisitely desirable Gwendolyn Fairfax and Cecily Cardew. The gallants grapple with the riotous consequences of their deceptions, as well as with the formidable Lady Bracknel, and with a stage set for clever manipulations and hilarious confusion, being earnest takes on a whole new meaning!

For theatre major and graduating senior, Brittany Burke, her final role as Gwendolyn is a deeply satisfying one. “She’s more sure of herself than other characters I’ve played. She’s very opinionated. She wants what she wants and is passionate and driven and motivated. Now that I’ve gotten older and am graduating college, playing a character that is more confident is more fitting. I really like this show and we’re all excited to have an audience!”

Performances dates and times:

Evenings: April 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Matinees: April 22, 25 at 5:00 p.m. and April 29 at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets: $16 general public, $8 for USM students, $12 for seniors, faculty, staff, and alumni. Discount performance on Wednesday April 25: all tickets for $8.

Bring your school or class to the school matinee!
USM Department of Theatre offers special school matinees on Friday, April 24 and 27 at 10:00 a.m. for Grades 6 and up. For more information contact Outreach Coordinator, Sara Valentine

To purchase tickets, or for more information, visit USM Theatre online at, or call the USM Theatre Box Office at (207) 780-5151.

Those needing special accommodations to participate fully in this program, contact the Box Office at (207) 780-5151, or email:

Hearing impaired: call USM's telex / TDD number (207) 780-5646.