SMTD Theatre Season Preview

Dean Vaglia, Staff Intern

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Starting in October, the Oakland University School of Music, Theater and Dance (SMTD) will kick off the 2018-2019 theater season. This year, the SMTD has five MainStage productions which OU students will star in and crew; a high fantasy production, a Russian theater classic and a British rock opera.

Kicking the season off is “Into the Woods,” a tale that combines the classic elements Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk. This production will be guest directed by Scott Mikita, who is currently performing on Broadway in “Phantom of the Opera.” Performances will be on Oct. 11-14 and 17-21.

Following “Into the Woods” is “Lysistrata Remix.” Based on the ancient Greek play “Lysistrata,” “Remix” takes the original show’s conflict and themes and updates them for the collegiate environment of 2018. While there have been countless adaptations since the original performances in 411 BCE, Director Karen Sheridan’s inspiration came from the original, and the “Remix” is said to strike people on its own merit for its originality and tone. “Remix” will run from Nov. 15-18, 29, 30 and Dec. 1-2. There will be a special late-night performance on Nov. 30 at 11 p.m.

Next up is “Seagull,” a classic play by Anton Chekhov. One of Chekhov’s four major plays, “Seagull” is a slice-of-life drama set in 19th century rural Russia with conflict focusing on the characters’ romantic and artistic passions. “Seagull” will run from Feb. 7-10 and 13-15.

The fourth SMTD production is “The Who’s Tommy.” The first rock opera to be done by the Department of Theater, “Tommy” is based off of The Who album and Pete Townshend book, both titled “Tommy.” All performances will be signed in ASL by Synergy on Stage, a decision that was made due to the titular character’s condition.

“It’s usually two performances that are given [ASL interpretation],” Director David Gram said, “but because of the nature of “Tommy” and that the main character Tommy experiences a trauma that results in him becoming Deaf, blind and mute we thought it was a great opportunity for us to partner [with Synergy on Stage] for the whole production.”

The interpreters, along with a seven-piece band, will be integrated into the show. “Tommy” runs from Mar. 21-24 and 27-31.

Finally, the SMTD will put on Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach” as their annual kids’ show. Scheduled performances will take place on May 17 and 19 and Jun. 7 at the Varner Recital Hall and Jun. 1 at the Flagstar Strand Theater in Pontiac. The show is expected to reach up to 6,000 kids through touring schools in the Metro Detroit area. Director Lynnae Lehfeldt said she was “thrilled for the opportunity to bring live theater to the children in Pontiac” at the Strand. The Jun. 7 performance is the second production to feature Synergy on Stage interpreting the performance for the Deaf.  

More information on each show and how to order tickets can be found on the OU SMTD website.