Photo courtesy of USM School of Music

By: Zoe Bernardi, Staff Writer

A new musical experience is about to hit USM, 35mm: A Musical Exhibition at the USM School of Music is a mixture of a concert, art exhibition, poetry jam and the performing arts. It brings photos and music together, creating photos that mirror songs, the exhibition is a collection filled with moments that shadow life and everyday events. Emotions and feelings that everyone experiences, such as love, loss, insanity, abuse, humor, happiness and sadness.

The show has influences from the 35mm Musical Exhibition by the Tony award winning producer, John Johnson, who is the inspiration for the USM spinoff. The music and lyrics were done by Ryan Scott Oliver and photos by Matthew Mulary. The show is explained by Oliver as, “A collection of ‘snapshot stories’ are woven together as each of the evening’s original songs are performed – with gusto and musical virtuosity — while the audience is immersed in stunning projections of the photography that inspired it.” USM School of Music stated that Matthew Mulary, who is a New York City theater and dance photographer, is the main influencer for the show.

The show will have a wide range of stories from 18 students from USM, as well as the band of four students, from around Maine and neighboring states. Ed Reichert is the shows director and will be playing piano. As stated in the School of Music’s press release for the show, Reichert explains the music that will be played during the exhibition as, “The score is fascinating to me because it covers so many genres such as rock, gospel, country, pop, and musical comedy. He [Oliver] is equally inspired by the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Stephen King, and Stephen Sondheim… with Halloween just around the corner, at least three of the songs are timely: Leave, Luanne (a Southern Gothic Ghost Story), Twisted Teeth (a duet between two vampires), and The Ballad of Sara Berry (think prom queen…).”

One student who is involved with the show, Noli French, a freshman studying musical theater, said that, “Personally, I find 35mm to be incredibly meaningful in so many different ways. The stories presented within it are quite diverse, where at times they are sporadic and fun, and other times more hard hitting. I often find myself relating intensely to numbers, which really helps me to feel more connected to the show and the messages within it. Not to mention it’s a musical based on photographs, and I’m a photographer myself!”

When asked how Noli got involved with 35mm, she stated that, “Being a musical theatre major here at USM, I had immediate involvement in the production. Though, that doesn’t mean I didn’t have to audition!” Noli also stated a variety of things that she enjoyed about being in the exhibition, making it extremely difficult for her to pinpoint one thing as her favorite. “I’ve loved each moment! From the music, to the staging, and the stories we bring to life. I’ve loved getting to know the people behind the characters too, and those also involved with keeping us in check!”

The show has three performances at the Corthell Concert Hall, Friday, Oct. 26 Friday, Saturday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m., and a matinee on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for seniors, USM alumni and employees, and $5 for students. You can buy tickets by phone at (207) 780-5555, at the door and online at


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