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Footloose Kicks Off Opera Music Theater Season
A dark Sondheim chamber musical, a romantic Mozart comedy, and an exuberant song-and-dance tale inspired by a real-life Oklahoma drama highlight the 57th season of Oklahoma City University’s Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company. The season kicks off Sept. 26-28 with “Footloose,” followed by the Oklahoma premiere of the 2000 operatic comedy “Too Many Sopranos” Oct. 24-26, and Puccini’s “La Rondine,” Nov. 14-16, in Italian with English supertitles. The 2009 half of the season begins with Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” Feb. 20-22 and Sondheim’s “Assassins,” March 6-8. “Most Happy Fella,” from the creator of “Guys and Dolls,” closes the season April 24-26. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with 3 p.m. Sunday matinees. Tickets range from $10-$25; call (405) 208-5227. Free director’s talks are held 45 minutes before curtain. Twice each semester, OCU President Tom McDaniel and Mark Parker, dean of the Bass School of Music, host opening night dinners in the grand Atrium of the Bass Music Center. Opening night dinners for 2008-09 are Sept. 26, Nov. 14, Feb. 20, and April 24. For dinner reservations ($20), contact 208.5227. Details of the 57th season: FOOTLOOSE (Pitchford, Snow, Bobbie, Loggins 1998) Based on a 1984 movie inspired by Elmore City, Oklahoma, lifting its hundred-year ban on dancing for a senior prom in 1980, the dance musical tells of Chicago teen Ren McCormick moving to a small town where rock music and dancing are outlawed. When the local minister’s rebellious daughter becomes smitten with Ren, her boyfriend is irked and the plot thickens. The film soundtrack has sold more than 15 million copies, and spawned six Top 40 singles. (Sept. 26-28; rated G) TOO MANY SOPRANOS (Edwin Penhorwood, 2000) OKLAHOMA PREMIERE Four divas arrive in heaven only to learn there is not enough room for them all. They must audition for St. Peter, who is so impressed he allows them to descend into the netherworld to try and rescue enough tenors and basses to balance the Heavenly Chorus. Gabriel and St. Peter accompany the sopranos on their journey to save tortured souls in this two-act comedy. (Oct. 24-26; rated G) LA RONDINE (Giacomo Puccini, 1917) Performed in Italian, with English supertitles REVISED VERSION: OKLAHOMA PREMIERE The life of Parisian courtesan Magda is filled with free-flowing champagne and light-hearted liaisons. But she finds her soulmate in the handsome – but poor -- Ruggero. On the threshold of their new life, Ruggero receives an anonymous letter detailing Magda’s past. The results are the stuff of operatic legend. Okalahoma City University presents the first college production of a revised version of this Puccini jewel. Director Marta Domingo, wife of Placido, conceived and directed the new version, performed by Los Angeles Opera in summer 2008. (Nov. 14-16; rated PG) THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO (W.A. Mozart, 1786) Performed in English Viennese audiences loved the show so much that Emperor Joseph II decided to forbid encores for future performances, as they were too time-consuming. Set three years after the events of The Barber of Seville: Figaro has entered into Count Almaviva's service as valet. Figaro is engaged to Suzanne, head chambermaid of the Countess. The bored Count wants to take advantage of the young bride-to-be and makes advances towards Suzanne, who tells Figaro and the Countess. The three hatch a conspiracy to trip up the Count and ensure a happy ending. (Feb. 20-22; rated G) ASSASSINS (Stephen Sondheim, 1991) A one-act revue that begins with Hail To The Chief; not in its familiar stirringly patriotic certainty, but eerily arranged for a carnival calliope, and not to herald the entrance of the President but to announce his would-be killers. The show features eight assassins or would-be assassins from U.S. history, and their take on the American dream. (March 6-8; rated PG-13) MOST HAPPY FELLA (Frank Loesser, 1956) From the composer/lyricist of “Guys and Dolls,” Frank Loesser’s dramatic love story about a middle-aged vintner, whose mail-order marriage proposal is accepted under the girl’s mistaken assumption a photo of his young foreman is her intended husband.??Her hurt and humiliation when she learns the truth, as well as a terrible accident which nearly kills Tony as he hurries to meet her, almost ends the relationship before it begins. But a loving understanding blossoms between them during Tony’s long convalescence.?Filled with sweeping ballads, intense dramatic arias and splashy numbers, this “Broadway opera” has found a home on opera and musical theater stages. The show’s lasting popularity has led to two Broadway revivals. (April 24-26; rated PG) Oklahoma City University presented its first musical production, Gilbert and Sullivan's “HMS Pinafore,” on April 4, 1930. As OCU's talent pool and audiences grew over the next two decades, the University established the Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company. In 1951, the Company mounted the first of what has become 57 consecutive seasons of fully staged productions. The Company now has presented more than 1,000 performances of nearly 150 different operas and musicals. More than a half-million people have attended shows on campus or on one of OCU’s international tours. For additional information on these and other performances at the Bass School of Music, visit www.okcu.edu/music.