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Opera and Music Theater opens season with ‘Children of Eden’

Children of Eden promo

Oklahoma City University kicks off its 70th season of opera and music theater Oct. 1-3 with a cast of 43 presenting “Children of Eden” to in-person and livestream audiences.

Inspired by the Book of Genesis, the 1991 musical from Tony Award winners Stephen Schwartz and John Caird explores the themes of love and family through the journeys of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah and the flood.

“Children of Eden” will be presented 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 1-2, with a 3 p.m. Sunday matinee Oct. 3, in the Wanda L. Bass School of Music’s Kirkpatrick Auditorium, 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave.

“We are honored to have had audiences support our productions over seven decades, and thrilled to welcome them back to live performances,” said Mark Parker, dean of the Bass School of Music. Audience members will be required to wear masks inside the theater.

Tickets ($12-$28) are available from www.okcu.edu/tickets or 405-208-5227. Information for the livestream of Saturday and Sunday performances is available from tiny.cc/ocu-eden.

The production is under the direction of David Herendeen. Matthew Mailman will direct the pit orchestra, and Sheri Hayden is choreographer. The show will feature costumes by Rachel Barnett, scenic design by Kimberly Powers, lighting by Clara Wiebe, and sound design by Jacob Henry. Dilynn Stovall is technical director, with Hannah Maner as stage manager and Katelyn Walk as props supervisor.

Reviewer Matthew J. Palm noted of a recent production: “‘Children of Eden’ is more than anything, a celebration of humanity – the ‘spark of creation’ inside us that makes us question authority, seek what’s beyond the next hill and, yes, sometimes sneak a bite of the forbidden fruit.”

The 2021-22 season continues with a Spotlight production of the 1998 revision of Kander & Ebb’s “Cabaret” (Nov. 5-7) in Burg Theatre, directed by Karen Coe Miller with music direction by Chuck Koslowske.

Guest director W. Jerome Stevenson, recently retired as Pollard Theatre’s producing artist director, will direct Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s “The Threepenny Opera” (Nov. 19-21) on the mainstage. Jan McDaniel will serve as music director.

Spring shows explore journeys into adulthood including the mainstage Mark Adamo opera “Little Women,” based on the Louisa May Alcott classic (Feb. 18-20), with Miller directing. The production will feature Oklahoma City Philharmonic artistic director Alexander Mickelthwate in his operatic debut as guest conductor.

The Spotlight musical “Legally Blonde” (Feb. 25-27), winner of the West End’s Best New Musical at the 2010 Lawrence Olivier Awards, will be led by the team of Herendeen and Koslowske, followed by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical “In the Heights” (April 22- 24) as the mainstage season finale.

This year marks the 70th consecutive season for OCU’s award-winning Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company, the world’s oldest campus troupe devoted to both opera and music theater.

Under the leadership of David Herendeen, who this season celebrates his 25th year as director, OCU has won 11 National Opera Association production awards in the past nine years; seven in the past four seasons.

For more information on events, visit www.okcu.edu/music.