Oklahoma City University | Bass School Announces Musical Theater… Skip to content

Bass School Announces Musical Theater Season

Sister Act promo image

The world premiere of an American opera, the university debut of an iconic work by Stephen Sondheim and a classic musical from the Golden Age of Broadway highlight the 2017-18 musical theater season at Oklahoma City University’s Bass School of Music.

The university’s award-winning Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company, the world’s oldest continuously running campus troupe devoted to both opera and music theater, embarks on its 66th consecutive season with six works that explore the themes of love and friendship.

The season opens Sept. 29-Oct. 1 with the musical comedy “Sister Act,” featuring a cast of 33 and a 13-piece band. Based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, the show’s disco-infused score was composed by Alan Menken, renowned for musical classics such as “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin.” The production will take place on the historic Kirkpatrick stage in the Fine Arts Center at 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave.

Sondheim’s “Company” will make its OKCU debut Nov. 3-5 as a spotlight opera, with piano accompaniment, in the intimate Burg Theatre. Winner of six Tony Awards in 1970-71, the work won the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical in 2007. The musical centers around a surprise birthday party for Robert, a 35-year-old bachelor who is dating three women and thinks he finally might be ready to settle down. His observations of his married friends, however, leave him reluctant to join their ranks.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro”one of the most performed operas of all time — will be presented in Italian with English translations projected above the Kirkpatrick stage Nov. 17-19. The comic opera features a cast of dozens, full orchestra, disguises, surprises and compromises. Among the lyrical score’s most memorable songs: “Duettino- Sull’aria,” the third-act duet between the countess and her maid featured in the movie “Shawshank Redemption.”

The world premiere of “The Vaudevillian” runs Feb. 16-18 on the Kirkpatrick stage. The new American work is described by David Herendeen, Oklahoma City University’s director of opera and music theater, as “Pretty Woman” meets “La Traviata.” Featuring music and lyrics by Thomas Pasatieri — who created the orchestrations for films including “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “Legends of the Fall”the opera will feature a full orchestra and lavish costumes. Inspired by the true story of Rosa Ponselle, a friend of the composer’s family, the tale follows her journey from vaudeville star to Metropolitan Opera debut at the age of 21 to her subsequent disappearance from the spotlight.

The March 2-4 spotlight opera in Burg Theatre is “The Bartered Bride,” a romantic Czech frolic by Bedřich Smetana performed in English with piano accompaniment. The plot centers on true love overcoming conniving parents and a scheming marriage broker against a carnival backdrop including a traveling circus, plucky heroine (hurrah!), unpleasant stepmother (hiss!), dancing bear and nodding donkey. The happy ending is inevitable — although not quite as expected.

The April 20-22 season finale, On The Town,” salutes the 100th anniversary of the birth of composer Leonard Bernstein. His classic score features one of the best-known show tunes in Broadway history — “New York, New York” — and provides a buoyant soundtrack for three optimistic sailors on 24-hour shore leave in Manhattan. The show inspired the Oscar-winning film of the same name, starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. Featuring book and lyrics by the acclaimed Broadway team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green, the musical will be presented in Kirkpatrick, with full orchestra.

“We are honored to have had audiences support our productions over seven decades,” said Mark Parker, dean of the Bass School of Music. “Alumni who not long ago performed on these stages are starring in venues from Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House, Broadway to Bayreuth, earning Grammys, Emmys, and Tony Awards along the way.”

Among Oklahoma City University’s award-wining alumni are Mason Williams, composer of “Classical Gas”; opera standouts Leona Mitchell, Sarah Coburn, Marquita Lister and Robert Watson; and Broadway veterans Kristin Chenoweth, Kelli O’Hara and Ron Raines.

The Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company was honored earlier this year with three production awards from the National Opera Association.

For more information on Oklahoma City University’s 2017-18 productions, or to purchase tickets ($12-28), visit okcu.edu/tickets or call 405-208-5227.

Back to all news
Back to Top