USM to Present THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD, Begin. 3/14

USM to Present THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD, Begin. 3/14

Audiences will get to choose their own ending next month at the University of Southern Maine (USM) Department of Theatre and School of Music co-production of "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," a "whodunit" murder mystery musical, in Russell Hall on the USM Gorham campus.

Charles Dickens died before he could finish his extraordinary murder novel, and that is only the beginning of the mystery. Both sinister and hilarious, this Tony Award-winning picks up where Dickens left off. "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" is a comical play-within-a-play, featuring actors at London's Music Hall Royale in the late 1800s. Each character is an actor who plays a particular role in a show at the music hall.

Throughout the production, the Chairman, a master of ceremonies of sorts, speaks to the audience and explains their responsibility in determining the end of the show. In the second act, Edwin Drood has there are eight suspects who may have contributed to his assumed demise. Along with the murder mystery, there are several intertwined love stories, and the audience also must vote to decide which characters will end up together.

"Another aspect that will change for each performance is the title role, which is double-cast," Kilroy said. Eileen Hanley and Emily Davis, each USM senior musical theatre majors, will alternate playing Edwin Drood for each performance.

Along with a distinctive ending for each show, there also will be a unique beginning -- and it starts as soon as audiences enter Russell Hall. The Chairman and Victorian-era costumed characters will be roamingthrough the crowd and greeting guests as they arrive. The audience interaction doesn't stop there. "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" was inspired by British pantomime and music hall traditions, in which actors continually interact with the audience and welcome participation, such as hissing at the villain.

Reichert noted that the show's music "perfectly exemplifies the show's sassy and saucy flavor." There will be a five-piece band comprised of USM students majoring in music, and Kellie Moody, USM senior piano performance major, will provide accompaniment and is the associate musical director.

Show Times (including the actress who will play Edwin Drood)
7:30 p.m., Friday, March 14 (Davis)
7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 15 (Hanley)
5 p.m., Sunday, March 16 (Davis)
10 a.m., Tuesday, March 18; high school matinee (Davis)
5 p.m., Wednesday, March 19; all seats $10 (Hanley)
7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 20 (Davis)
7:30 p.m., Friday, March 21 (Hanley)
7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 22 (Davis)
5 p.m., Sunday, March 23 (Hanley)

$21, general public; $15, seniors, USM employees and alumni; $11
Call the USM Theatre Box Office at (207) 780-5151 or go to

A special reduced-price matinee at 5 p.m., Wednesday, March 19 offers
all tickets at just $10.

A special high school matinee will be presented at 10 a.m., Tuesday,
March 18. Reduced ticket pricing is available and reservations are
required. High schools should contact the USM Theatre Box Office for
more information and reservations.

"The Mystery of Edwin Drood" includes some adult subject matter.

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