Musical styles ranging from gospel to bluegrass to Memphis blues are featured in Oklahoma City University’s presentation of “Violet,” an award-winning musical about a 1964 cross-country bus trip to visit a Tulsa televangelist. The production will run Oct. 25 to 27 in the Bass Music Center’s Burg Theatre at N.W. 25th Street and Blackwelder Avenue.
The 22-member cast from the Bass School of Music will be directed by Karen Coe Miller in three performances: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a 3 p.m. Sunday matinee. Music director Chuck Koslowske accompanies the singers on piano.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.okcu.edu/tickets or by calling (405) 208-5227.
“The cast has really embraced the themes in this moving and humorous musical,” Miller said. “We all struggle with scars, whether external or internal. It is a basic human need to be accepted for who we are, to have others see past the surface of our skin.”
The work evokes Dorothy’s quest in “The Wizard of Oz,” imbued with what The New York Times called “shadowy Southern Gothic with an inspiring promise of sunshine.” It tells of Violet’s trek from North Carolina to Oklahoma to meet a TV preacher to heal the jagged scar that disfigures her face. Along the way, she encounters fellow travelers, befriends two poker-playing soldiers, and comes to terms with the father who inadvertently gave her the scar.
“Violet” was named 1997’s Best Musical by the Drama Critics Circle and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical. Based on Doris Betts’ short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim,” the show features music by Jeanine Tesori and libretto by Brian Crawley.
The 62nd season of OCU’s Opera and Music Theater Company continues its season of American works Nov. 15-17 with Kurt Weill’s “Street Scene,” based on Elmer Rice’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, with lyrics by Langston Hughes. Spring semester shows include the Oklahoma premiere of Ned Rorem’s operatic take of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” Feb. 21-23; “The Tender Land,” March 7-9, from Aaron Copland; and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Tony Award-winning “South Pacific,” April 24-27, a co-production with Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre.
For more information visit the OCU Bass School of Music website at www.okcu.edu/music.