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Theater professionals eye 2017-2018 season

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As we make the canicular transition from the old to the new theater season, Red Dirt Report asked some theater professionals which plays and musicals they are most looking forward to seeing in 2017-2018. The only restrictions were that the shows be staged in the Oklahoma City area (defined as everything between Guthrie and Norman, inclusive) and be collegiate up through professional-level productions. Other than those limits, all area theatrical productions were eligible for picking.

A total of 15 shows were cited, ranging from the appalling to the surprising and from local premieres to hoary scripts that have been way over done. Fun Home (Lyric Theatre), the musical adaptation by Lisa Kron (book/lyrics) and Jeanine Tesori (music) of Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir of the same title, received the most picks with Heisenberg by Simon Stephens (Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre) following close behind. The latter is a two-hander and will feature Stacey Logan and Ben Hall.

Actor David Fletcher-Hall is looking forward to Neil Simon’s roman à clef Laughter on the 23rd Floor (Pollard Theatre Company), which will be directed by Donald Jordan, who starred in City Rep’s production of this play in 2004. Fletcher-Hall also picked Heisenberg, To Kill a Mockingbird and A Few Good Men, the latter two at Jewel Box Theatre.

Actor/singer/director Cristela Carrizales cited Heisenberg, Fun Home and The Little Mermaid (Pollard). She regrets the demise of theater companies that produced “grittier” work. Don’t we all.

Jeffrey Meek works as principal costume designer for Lyric Theatre, so it’s not surprising he favored three musicals: Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Pollard), tick, tick . . . Boom! (City Rep) and Nice Work If You Can Get It (University of Oklahoma). Casting of the title role in Hedwig has not been announced. Boom! is an early work by Jonathan Larson (Rent). Nice Work will be directed by musical-theater expert Lyn Cramer and choreographed by Kristen Beth Williams Ludwig, an accomplished OU graduate.

Kae Koger, dramaturge and OU drama professor, is looking forward to the area premieres of Heisenberg and tick, tick . . . Boom!

Actor/singer Charlie Monnot went for all musicals: Rock of Ages (Lyric), featuring 1980s rock songs by famous glam metal bands; Fun Home; The Little Mermaid; and Freaky Friday (Lyric), a 2016 show based on a 1972 novel and 1976 and 2003 films, about a mother and daughter who “swap bodies.” Monnot also picked Mamma Mia! (Lyric), which he calls a “guilty pleasure.” Guilty, indeed.

Actor/singer Renee Anderson enthused about A Christmas Carol and Hello, Dolly! (both Lyric). These are surprisingly conventional choices from someone who has played Yitzhak in Hedwig.

Matthew Alvin Brown named Mark Twain Tonight! starring Hal Holbrook, who has been doing this show since 1954! It will run for one performance presented by City Rep. Brown also likes Fun Home, Little Mermaid and tick, tick . . . Boom!

In addition to Fun Home, Laughter on the 23rd Floor and tick, tick . . . Boom!, actor, director and general man-of-the-theater Ben Hall picked Carpenter Square Theatre’s Ages of the Moon, a 2009 play by Sam Shepard, who died last month.

While not exactly new works, several of the cited shows will be receiving their first productions in the area. Now, let’s open the question to everyone. Theatergoers, what shows not named above are you looking forward to seeing in 2017-2018?

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About the Author

Larry Laneer

Larry Laneer has reviewed theater for several Oklahoma City publications.  He has...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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