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'9 to 5' Works Hard for OCU Musical Season Opener

Oklahoma City University will open its 62nd consecutive season of opera and music theater Sept. 27 through 29 with the country-music flavored comedy “9 to 5,” featuring music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a 3 p.m. Sunday matinee.

The Bass School of Music production features a cast of 32, under the direction of David Herendeen, and a 12-piece contemporary country pop band, led by professor Jan McDaniel.Tickets ($12 to $25) are available from (405) 208-5227.

“This season, we are celebrating the extraordinary stories of ordinary women given voice through American opera and musical theater," said Herendeen, veteran director of OCU’s Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company. “In ‘9 to 5,’ it’s business as unusual when three strong women take on their sexist egotistical swindler boss. The show is set in 1979, which allows us to have a lot of fun with period staging and costumes, friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era.”

The award-winning musical debuted on Broadway in 2009, inspired by the comedy classic that the American Film Institute calls one of the top 100 Funniest Movies of all time. The stage adaptation, with book by Patricia Resnick, won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for best Musical Score and Best Choreography, 15 Drama Desk nominations, and four Tony Award nominations.

An opening night dinner will be held at 6:15 p.m. Sept. 27 in the atrium of the Bass Music Center. Tickets are $20, by reservation only, from (405) 208-5227. The performance will be in the historic Kirkpatrick Auditorium at N.W. 25th Street and Blackwelder Avenue. Herendeen will present a free director’s talk 45 minutes before each show.

OCU’s six-show 2013-14 season features 19 performances of musicals and operas drawn from classic American works of the 20th century. The composers and librettists were inspired by a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, two Pulitzer Prize-winning plays, a movie comedy, a short story about a journey to see a Tulsa televangelist and photographs of Depression-era farmers.

The all-American season continues Oct. 25-27 with productions of  “Violet,” based on the short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim” by Doris Betts (spotlight musical, Burg Theatre, $10) and Kurt Weill’s “Street Scene,” based on Elmer Rice’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, with lyrics by Langston Hughes, Nov. 15-17 (Kirkpatrick Auditorium, $12-25).

Spring semester shows include the Oklahoma premiere of Ned Rorem’s operatic take of  Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” Feb. 21-23, (Kirkpatrick, $12-25); “The Tender Land,” March 7-9, from Aaron Copland (spotlight musical, Burg, $10); and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Tony Award-winning “South Pacific,” April 24-27, a co-production with Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre (Kirkpatrick, $15-35).

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