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OCU Opera and Music Theater season spotlights rebels from the past

Opening Oct. 3, the state premiere of “Bonnie and Clyde” will kick off Oklahoma City University’s 63rd year of opera and music theater. Photo provided.
Opening Oct. 3, the state premiere of “Bonnie and Clyde” will kick off Oklahoma City University’s 63rd year of opera and music theater. Photo provided.

By Darla Shelden

City Sentinel Reporter

The state premiere of “Bonnie and Clyde”will kick off Oklahoma City University’s 63rd year of opera and music theater. Opening Oct. 3 – 5, the season will spotlight outlaws, rule-breakers and rebels depicted throughout the centuries.

Productions by OCU’s Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company have earned national acclaim winning two first-place National Opera Association awards in the past three years.

“We are thrilled at the recognition, and looking forward to another season of innovative works and longtime favorites,”said Mark Parker, dean of the Bass School of Music and the Ann Hundley Hoover chairman.

“Our student performers continue to astound,”Parker added. “Our directors, musicians, designers and tech crew collaborate seamlessly to create memorable comedies, tragedies and some shows that are a bit of both.”

Reflecting the 80th anniversary of the deaths of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the season opener combines blues, gospel and rockabilly in a score by Frank Wildhorn, who also composed musical scores for “Jekyll & Hyde”and “The Civil War.”

The show debuted on Broadway in 2009. Opera and Musical Theater Director David Herendeen will lead the cast of 30, while Matthew Mailman conducts a nine-piece country ensemble for the show.

The season continues Oct. 31 – Nov. 2 with the return of “Bat Boy: The Musical.”

The four Burg Theatre showings will include a midnight performance Halloween weekend. Directed by Courtney DiBello and featuring Charles Koslowske, music director. The musical comedy/horror cult hit, based on a story in “Weekly World News,”features a title character who is half boy, half bat.

Two one-act operas will be presented on the Kirkpatrick stage from Nov. 14 – 16.

The evening begins with Maurice Ravel’s 1925 setting of a libretto from Colette, “L’enfant et les sortileges”translated as “The Bewitched Child: A Lyric Fantasy in Two Parts.”

The second half of the program will be a performance of “Suor Angelica,”part of Giacomo Puccini’s “Il Trittico,”which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1918.

English translations will be projected during both performances, which will be directed by Karen Coe Miller. It will feature Jan McDaniel conducting the Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company Orchestra.

Spring semester will feature the comedy “The Pirates of Penzance”from Feb. 27 – March 1 on the Kirkpatrick stage. Herendeen and Mailman again partner as directors.

From March 6 to 8, Burg Theatre will host Claudio Monteverdi’s “The Coronation of Poppea”directed by Miller and music direction by Koslowske.

The April 24-26 season finale will be Lerner and Loewe’s “Brigadoon,”a post-war romantic fantasy directed by Herendeen, with music direction by McDaniel.

Each production features three performances. Evening shows are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. along with a Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. Tickets ranging from $12-25 are available online at or by calling 405-208-5227.

Friday opening night dinners, hosted by Director Herendeen and Dean Parker, will be held Oct. 3, Nov. 14, Feb. 27 and April 24 at 6:15 p.m. in the Bass Music Center atrium.

The Bass School of Music students will provide musical entertainment. Dinner tickets are $25 and reservations are required.

Main stage productions also feature free director’s presentations 45 minutes before curtain.

“After hundreds of performance of 130 different operas and musicals, we look back in gratitude at the half-million people who have attended shows on campus or on one of our international tours,”said Parker.

“Our audiences enjoy the nation’s most dynamic young performers, innovative stagings, and a repertoire that combines the comfort of the familiar with the thrill of the unexplored.”

Season tickets ranging from $36-75 are available for the four Kirkpatrick productions.

Mini-packages for main-stage operas and musicals begin at $18. Each of the Burg Theatre spotlight productions are $10, open seating. For more information, visit

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