USM Spotlight Concert features musical theatre and Broadway favorites

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GORHAM — Guest vocalist Marie Pressman and University of Southern Maine’s School of Music professor, Ed Reichert, return to Corthell Concert Hall for one night only with their unique stylings of musical theater and contemporary composers in “Hear My Song,” the Best of Broadway and Beyond, part of the USM School of Music Spotlight Concert series. After a 10-year hiatus from cabaret/concert performances, the pair will reunite to entertain with newer music by Ryan Scott Oliver, Jason Robert Brown, Adam Guettel, and Maury Yeston, as well as fresh and exciting arrangements of songs by Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Stephen Sondheim. The program will also feature their signature song, “Jonathan Wesley Oliver, Jr.” by beloved composer and colleague, Tom Brown.

Reichert, as director, and Pressman as a cast member, met in 1990 when the pair gained notoriety with the musical, “Nunsense,” presented to sold-out audiences at Portland Players and Catherine McCauley High School. Their talents drew them together professionally and personally, as life-long friends.

Pressman considers her work with Reichert as a collaboration. She said, “The lens through which our selections are shaped is a combined effort, but over the years I have come to rely heavily on Ed’s inventive vision and his incomparable directing and coaching. I may be front and center, but our performances are like taking a breath together and holding hands over the sometimes rocky road of performing solo in front of a live audience.”

Creating a production company called Big 2 Do Productions in the early 90s, the performing partnership of Pressman and Reichert impressed and delighted audiences when they created cabaret-style entertainment in Portland. Their ground-breaking show “Loved Her, Hated Him!” lead to engagements at the famed New York City cabaret Eighty-Eights, Sanibel Island, and North Conway, NH. The duo went on to produce and perform small cast musicals in Maine and Florida before returning to cabaret and concert hall shows. They earned praise for the numerous appearances, most notably performances of Broadway composer Maury Yeston’s song cycle, “December Songs,” as well as The Diva concerts at The Portland Museum of Art, LeFrak Concert Hall (Queens College), Nantucket, Roundtop Center for the Arts, and USM’s Corthell Concert Hall. They performed and recorded Yeston’s song cycle about six years ago with Yeston sitting in the audience.

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The concert will be held at 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 25 (Jan. 26 snow date) in Corthell Concert Hall on the USM Gorham campus. Tickets are $15 for the general public; $10 for seniors, USM employees and alumni; and $5 for students. For more information, visit usm.maine.edu/music/boxoffice, or call 207-780-5555.

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