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Okamura Makes Tokyo "Chorus Line," Smith Cast in NYC Festival
Recent OCU graduate Minami Okamura has been cast in "A Chorus Line" at the landmark Shiki Theatre Company in Tokyo. The production opens Oct. 17, featuring Okamura as Tricia/Vicky. Abby C. Smith, a fellow alumna of the studio of Professor Brenda Holleman, has landed a role in "The ToyMaker," a new musical by Bryan Putnam. The show will be staged at The Theater of St. Clements Oct. 5-18 as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Smith recently ended a national tour of "James and the Giant Peach" with Two Beans Productions. Smith and Okamura are among scores of alumni from the Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University thriving in national tours, regional theaters, opera companies, and music festivals. A sampler of recent successes: Traci Bair has been cast as Grace Farrell for the 2009-10 national tour of “Annie.” The tour, to run from mid-November through mid-March, is scheduled to play Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Costa Mesa, and Tempe. Shain Fike is featured as Glen Guglia in the national tour of “The Wedding Singer.” Last year, he was in the national tour of “Footloose” as Cowboy Bob. Alumna Katie Cortez is on her third national tour with "Thomas the Tank Engine." Stephanie Joiner is Kelsi in “High School Musical” at Wisconsin’s Fireside Theatre. Ernie Pruneda and Erin West are performed in “42nd Street” at Goodspeed Theatre, April 17-July 4. Sony/Epic Records National Radio Star winner Natalie Loftin (Hollleman) was featured in "That's ShowBiz!" debuting July 16 at the June Havoc Theatre, part of New York City’s 2009 Midtown International Theatre Festival. Dylan Hauck has signed with Springer Opera House in Columbus, Ga., to sing Willard in “Footloose” and will be featured in the national tour of a four-man show entitled “Route 66,” Aug 24.- Nov. 20, from Springer Theatricals. Earlier this year, he was with Cumberland County Playhouse in Tennessee, performing as Brad and understudying Link in “Hairspray,” May 26- Aug. 23. Michael Galyon, recently returned from performing at Tokyo Disney, and Jonathan Fiske Hill, an alumnus of the Keller studio and of Glimmerglass Opera Young Artist Program, are featured in “The Twelve Irish Tenors” in Branson. Scott Guthrie played the role of Jerry Lukowski in the ReVision Theatre's production of “The Full Monty” Aug. 12 – Sept. 6 in Asbury Park, N.J. Details at www.revisiontheatre.org Peyton Royal is performing in “The Light in the Piazza” at Chicago’s Marriott Theatre, which premiered July 29. Earlier at the Marriott, he performed in the world premiere of the musical “The Bowery Boys,” which ran from Dec. 17-Feb. 15. The David H. Bell work was inspired by Horatio Alger characters and songs by George M. Cohan. John Jacob Lee plays Andy Lee in “42nd Street” at the El Dorado Casino in Reno, Nev., in August and September before joining the CATS tour as Skimbleshanks, opening Oct. 13 in Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre. Allyson Turner was praised for her “beautiful tone and expressiveness of her voice” by the theater reviewer of the UCLA Daily Bruin for her portrayal of Nails O'Reilly Duquesne in the Los Angeles premiere of Cole Porter’s “Red, Hot and Blue!” May 29-July 5 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. Laura Shofner made her Bronx Opera debut as Papagena in “The Magic Flute,” staged May 8 and May 16 at Lehman College. In September, she will sing the role of Sally in “Die Fledermaus.” with Salt March Opera of New England. Ohio Light Opera has featured Jon Gerhard as Fyedka in “Fiddler on the Roof,” Throttlebottom in “Of Thee I Sing,” as well as roles in “Mademoiselle Modiste,” “H.M.S. Pinafore,” “Ruddigore,” “The Beautiful Helen of Troy,” and “A Night in Venice.” Light Opera of Oklahoma tapped Jessica Salley for roles in “My Fair Lady,” as well as Anne in “A Little Night Music” and Fiametta in “The Gondoliers.” On Aug. 2, she performed a 12-minute program at the afternoon concert of the Sigma Alpha Iota Triennial Convention Awards finals at the international music fraternity’s 45th annual convention. On Aug. 15, she will present a recital of songs and arias in her hometown of Burnsville, Minn. Lauren Rieger, from the studio of Professor Vicky Kelly, is an actress and instructor with the Merry-Go-Round Repertory Company Youth Theater of Auburn, N.Y. Lauren Westlake performed the role of Fantine in “Les Misérables” for Shooting Star Productions in St. Louis.