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OCU Opens Musical Season with "The Light in the Piazza"
Classic comedy and tragedy from Puccini and Verdi, a recent Tony Award-winning Broadway romance, a musical comedy based on a hit movie, and the most famous clown in opera are among the highlights of 2010-11 season of Oklahoma City University’s Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company. OCU kicks off its 59th season Sept. 24-26 with the romantic musical “The Light in the Piazza.” "The goal is to really make the audience feel like they're in love or desperately want to be in love...I just want people to feel that feeling for those two hours,” said composer Adam Guettel of his work, which won six Tony Awards. The original Broadway production of "The Light in the Piazza" starred OCU alumna Kelli O’Hara, garnering her first Tony Award nomination for the role of Clara. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a 3 p.m. Sunday matinee at the Kirkpatrick Auditorium at OCU’s Bass School of Music, NW 25th and Blackwelder. Tickets ($25-12) are available from 405.208.5227 or online at" David Herendeen, head of the Oklahoma Opera and Music Company since 1997, will direct the OCU production of “The Light in the Piazza” and its cast of 30. Matthew Mailman will conduct the 40-piece orchestra. Herendeen will present a free director’s talk 45 minutes before each show. “This story of loss and renewal explores the love of a mother for the daughter she cannot protect forever,” Herendeen said. “It’s a beautiful show, appropriate for romantics and those that wish they were.” OCU’s season continues Oct. 8-10 with the spotlight musical satire “Smile,” chronicling the backstage troubles of the fictional California Young American Miss beauty pageant. The show features music by Academy Award-winner Marvin Hamlisch (“A Chorus Line”) and book and lyrics by Howard Ashman ("The Little Mermaid,” "Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin”). Director Karen Coe Miller will team with music director Chuck Koslowske. For the weekend before Thanksgiving, OCU presents Giuseppe Verdi’s beloved opera “La Traviata,” a story of tragic love and selfless sacrifice inspired by the Alexandre Dumas play “Camille.” The Nov. 19-21 production will be performed in Italian, with English supertitles. Karen Coe Miller will direct; Jan McDaniel is musical director. Spring shows kicks off Feb. 25-27 with a twin bill of one-act masterpieces of comedy and tragedy: Leoncavallo's “Pagliacci” and Giancomo Puccini's “Gianni Schicchi.” In “Pagliacci,” members of a traveling theater troupe bring a play to life with tragic consequences. The classic opera is best known for its aria “Vesti la guibba,” sung by opera's iconic clown. The work will be performed in Italian, with English supertitles, and directed by Herendeen. Benjamin Nilles is music director. On the second half of the operatic twin bill, Puccini breaks with his sentimental side with “Gianni Schicchi,” a comic opera based on an incident from Dante's Inferno, when a cunning father outwits a scheming family. The work will be performed in English. Herendeen again directs; Matthew Mailman is music director. The spring spotlight musical is “The Opera Rehearsal,” (Die Opernprobe), performed in Burg Theater March 4-6 in English and German, with supertitles. The story opens with young Baron Anton fleeing an unwanted marriage to a woman he has never met. When he lands in disguise at the court of an opera-mad count's court, intrigue begins with an opera within an opera. The work will be directed by Miller, with Brian Osborne music director. The season concluded April 15-17 with “The Wedding Singer.” Based on the movie starring Adam Sadler and Drew Barrymore, this romantic musical comedy tells of an unlucky-in-love wedding singer and a hapless waitress engaged to the wrong people. Paula Sloan will return as guest director; Jan McDaniel will be music director. For more information on the season, visit or call (405) 208-5227. See also: Online Ticket Office