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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: March 8, 2016

Maine premiere of ‘Reefer Madness’ opens at USM in Gorham

Written by: Bob Keyes
"Reefer Madness:

“Reefer Madness” features Jimmy Harper (Eric Berry-Sandelin, South Portland), Jack Stone (Matthew LaBerge, South Portland) Courtesy photo

“Reefer Madness” gets a full-blown production at the University of Southern Maine beginning this week.

The USM Department of Theatre and the USM School of Music present the Maine premiere of the musical “Reefer Madness,” inspired by the original 1936 film of the same name. This musical comedy takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the hysteria caused when clean-cut kids experiment with marijuana, leading them journey of jazz music, sex and violence. The addictive and clever musical numbers range from big Broadway-style showstoppers to swing tunes like “Down at the Ol’ Five and Dime” and the Vegas-style “Listen to Jesus, Jimmy.”

“We are so excited to be presenting the Maine premiere of this wild and wacky musical,” the show’s musical director, Ed Reichert, said in a press release. “It’s always fun rehearsing our singers and musicians on a score that the theater-going community has never seen or heard before onstage.”

"Reefer Madness"

Jimmy Harper (Eric Berry-Sandelin of South Portland) and Mary Lane (Ali Sarnacchiaro of Saugus, Massachusetts) before they take their first puff. Courtesy photo

Guest directing the production is Cary Libkin, professor emeritus from Penn State University and freelance director now living in Maine. He is the immediate past president of Musical Theatre Educators Alliance. The choreographer is Vanessa Beyland.

The cast includes Eric Berry-Sandelin of South Portland; Ali Sarnacchiaro of Saugus, Massachusetts; Matthew LaBerge of South Portland; Sarah Flagg of Hampden; Taylor Gervais of Hermon; Cameron Wright of Ellsworth and Abbey Kielinen of Dudley, Massashuetts.

‘Reefer Madness’

WHEN: Opens Friday, through March 20; performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday; 5 p.m. Wednesday; 7:30 p.m. March 17-19; 5 p.m. March 20.
WHERE: Main Stage at Russell Hall, Unviersity of Southern Maine, Gorham
TICKETS & INFO: $21, $15 seniors, faculty and staff, $10 students; 780-5555 or

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