OLO sets schedule for 44th summer of favorites

OLO sets schedule for 44th summer of favorites

The Ohio Light Opera, the resident professional company of The College of Wooster, will stage its 44th season from June 10 to July 30.


The Ohio Light Opera, the resident professional company of The College of Wooster, will present musical theater favorites alongside unusual repertoire in its 44th season, which will run from June 10 to July 30.

With performances taking place at Wooster’s Freedlander Theatre, 329 E. University St. in Wooster, this summer’s season will feature a rotating schedule of six shows including three classic Broadway musicals, two comic operas and an operetta.

Founded in 1979 as a Gilbert and Sullivan repertory company, OLO has more than 150 show titles to its credit and has earned an international reputation. OLO also offers the opportunity for audience members to see all six productions in just a few days at the end of the festival.

“The Ohio Light Opera attracts audience members from throughout the country and internationally to see a wide variety of operetta and musical comedy,” Executive Director Laura Neill said. “Operetta, comic opera, musical comedy, light opera — the distinctions among them are subtle, but each conjures up a bygone era of romance, conflict, dance, champagne and swashbuckling heroes, a world in which all hearts beat in three-quarter time. The audience truly enjoys the atmosphere of The College of Wooster’s campus and all it has to offer.”

The summer season will open with “Camelot” on June 10. With music by Frederick Loewe and book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, this musical was first performed in 1960 and won four Tony Awards. In the show King Arthur instills in a young boy the hopes and ideals of a once-enchanted kingdom, where he himself promoted justice and civility over battle and greed. Lerner and Loewe’s score includes Arthur’s title song, Guenevere’s “The Simple Joys of Maidenhood” and Lancelot’s “If Ever I Would Leave You.”

“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” will open June 15. The winner of seven Tony Awards and only the fourth musical to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, this musical tells the story of a young window washer, J. Pierrepont Finch, who — always with his all-foreseeing “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” manual in hand — sets his sights on rising through the ranks of the World Wide Wicket Company.

Making its Freedlander Theatre debut, the 1925 musical, “No, No, Nanette,” will open June 22. This show, with music by Vincent Youmans, captures the spirit of the 1920s with famous songs like “Tea for Two,” “I Want To Be Happy” and “You Can Dance With Any Girl at All.” The OLO also will present the show with its original orchestrations, the first theater in decades to do so.

“H.M.S. Pinafore,” with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by William S. Gilbert, will return to the OLO on June 29. This comic opera, first performed in 1878, entertains audiences with a romp through naval life, class distinctions and melodramatic villainy that has delighted millions since its London premiere.

“Arizona Lady” will open July 6. This work centers on Hungarian ranch owner Lona Farrell, who has fired her overly brazen manager and is now left with no one to ride her race horse, Arizona Lady — at least until a guitar-slinging cowboy arrives at the ranch. The score by Emmerich Kálmán has an entertaining Viennese and Hungarian style, with strong influences from the American west.

The final show this summer season, “Orpheus in the Underworld,” will begin its run July 13. This famous comic opera irreverently tackles one of the most famous legends in Greek mythology. The musical score by Jacques Offenbach is topped off by the “galop infernale,” better known to audiences as the “can-can.”

Alongside the performance lineup, on Fridays and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m., a free lecture will take place prior to each show in the Lean Lecture Room of Wishart Hall, just down the hall from the Freedlander Theatre lobby. Led by the shows’ directors, designers and authorities on the genre, these preperformance talks allow audience members to learn lesser known facts about the show’s history.

OLO also will present its 21st annual POPS concert on July 4 at 7 p.m. in the public square of downtown Wooster, in partnership with Main Street Wooster and the downtown Wooster businesses. This free concert will highlight the young musicians from all over the country who perform in the OLO Orchestra and accompany all productions.

For more information including a full season calendar or to purchase tickets, visit the OLO website or call 330-263-2345.

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