The Ohio Light Opera presents 2016 season: director Steven Daigle

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For thirty-six seasons, The Ohio Light Opera has dedicated itself to the exploration and production of the best of traditional operetta and musical theater. Founded by James Stuart as a Gilbert and Sullivan repertory summer festival, the company has grown to encompass all forms in the light opera canon. This includes the complete Gilbert and Sullivan repertoire, as well as the recognized treasures from the Viennese, French, Hungarian, German, and American repertoire. Along with this unique mission, the company also reconstructs and produces those rare operetta titles of artistic value that were popular in their own times but have long since been forgotten. 

Steven Daigle, Artistic Director for OLO, spoke with WCLV's Jacqueline Gerber about the first three shows of the season. 

 

Kiss Me, Kate 
(1948)
Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Sam and Bella Spewack
 
June 18, 22, 25, 28; July 1, 6, 14, 20, 26, 30; August 3, 6, 7, 12
"Another op'nin', another show." If ever a musical dispelled persistent rumors that its composer was "washed up," it was Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate. Not only the crowning achievement of his remarkable Broadway career, but one of the supreme glories of American musical theater, the show bristles with captivating "Top 40" tunes in a dazzling variety of musical styles, all set, as an extra bonus, to Shakespeare's comedy of the sexes The Taming of the Shrew. Stage stars Fred Graham and Lilli Vanessi are divorced, but nevertheless still working together in a Baltimore stage production of the Bard's comedy. Complications arise when Fred hires a perky cabaret performer Lois Lane to perform the role of Bianca, Fred winds up on the wrong side of two gangsters trying to collect a gambling debt, and Lilli hits the ceiling when she is mistakenly delivered flowers from Fred that he intended for Lois. Virtually every song in the score became a hit: "So in Love," "Why Can't You Behave?" "Always True to You in My Fashion," "I Hate Men," and "Brush Up Your Shakespeare," to name just a few. Join us in celebrating Cole Porter's 125th birthday in the season-opening production of Kiss Me, Kate. Wunderbar!
 

Annie Get Your Gun 
(1946)
Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin
Book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields
 
June 23, 25, 29; July 2, 9, 12, 15, 23, 24, 29; August 5, 9, 13
"Irving Berlin has no place in American music. HE IS AMERICAN MUSIC." With these words, penned in 1924, Broadway composer Jerome Kern captured the essence of the Russian-born immigrant who wrote words and music to some of our most touchingly eloquent song classics, including "God Bless America," "Always," "Easter Parade," and "White Christmas." But he could let his hair down, too ... and in 1946 Berlin wrote music and lyrics to a humorous, homespun tale - yet another battle of the sexes - of American folk hero Annie Oakley. Naive as they come, but a whiz with a rifle, Annie wins a job with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and falls hard for its handsome shooting star, Frank Butler. When he feels upstaged by her shooting antics and higher marquee billing, he leaves the show and joins a rival company. Attempts at a merger fail and it remains for Chief Sitting Bull to give Annie a lesson on how to win herself an obstinate man. Berlin churned out one winsome song after another, including "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly," "You Can't Get a Man with a Gun," "The Girl that I Marry," "Anything You Can Do," and what became the unofficial entertainment anthem, "There's No Business like Show Business."
 

The Mikado 
(1885)
Music by Arthur Sullivan 
Libretto by William Gilbert
 
June 30; July 2, 8, 16, 21, 30; August 3, 13
More than 130 years after its premiere, The Mikado - in the timelessness of its characters and situations, its witty lyrics, and succession of engaging tunes - remains a wonder of lyric theatre. Tailor Ko-Ko, condemned to death for flirting, is reprieved and appointed Lord High Executioner of Titipu. He is betrothed to his ward Yum-Yum, but she has fallen in love with the Mikado's son Nanki-Poo. Displeased with the lack of executions in Titipu, the Mikado orders that the situation be rectified. Nanki-Poo, distraught because he cannot marry Yum-Yum, agrees to be executed in a month, provided that he can marry her in the meantime. When the Mikado sees Nanki-Poo's name on Ko-Ko's falsified execution affidavit, he condemns Ko-Ko to death for compassing the death of the heir-apparent. "A Wand'ring Minstrel I," "I've Got a Little List," "Three Little Maids from School," "The Flowers that Bloom in the Spring," and "Tit-Willow" are but a few of the song gems that have made this the most popular of the G&S shows.

 

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