The merriment of Ohio Light Opera, as seen here in last season’s production of “The Merry Widow,” returns to The College of Wooster in June for its 34th summer festival, which features four new shows and three old favorites.

The merriment of Ohio Light Opera, as seen here in last season’s production of “The Merry Widow,” returns to The College of Wooster in June for its 34th summer festival, which features four new shows and three old favorites.

 

Ohio Light Opera’s 2012 Season Features New Productions and Old Favorites

34th annual summer festival opens in June with the first of 60 performances

January 12, 2012 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — Ohio Light Opera will roll out its 34th season in June with four new productions, a trio of old favorites, and a number of familiar faces that make The College of Wooster’s Freedlander Theatre a place of enchantment each summer.

Artistic Director Steve Daigle welcomes back J. Lynn Thompson as music director and Steven Byess as associate music director. Also returning are longtime cast members Ted Christopher, Nathan Brian, Sarah Best, Natalie Ballenger, David Kelleher-Flight, Nicholas Wuehrmann, and Stephen Faulk, among others.

Highlighting the 2012 festival will be Frank Loesser’s “Guys and Dolls,” a 1950 Broadway smash with such hits as “Luck be a Lady,” “If I were a Bell,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” and “My Time of Day.” Also new this year is Rodgers and Hart’s “A Connecticut Yankee,” based on Mark Twain’s 1889 fantasy novel and boasting such favorites as “On a Desert Island with Thee,” “My Heart Stood Still,” and “To Keep My Love Alive.” Rounding out the list of first-time productions at Ohio Light Opera this summer are Sigmund Romberg’s “Blossom Time” with engaging adaptations of Franz Schubert melodies, and Emmerich Kálmán’s “Miss Springtime” with English libretto by OLO’s own Steven Daigle.

Headlining the list of traditional favorites is Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado,” a colorful production with a timeless message and a string of familiar songs, including “I’ve Got a Little List,” “Three Little Maids of School are We,” “The Flowers that Bloom in the Spring,” and “Tit-Willow.” In addition, Oscar Straus’s “The Chocolate Soldier” will be performed for the first time since 1998, and Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Utopia Limited” returns for the first time in more than a decade. All three productions have CD recordings from previous seasons available for sale. The company will also present its annual 4th of July Concert on the square in Downtown Wooster, and offer pre-performance lectures every Friday and Saturday evening.

Established by James Stuart in 1979, Ohio Light Opera has developed a reputation for professional productions that encompass the best of lyric theatre, particularly rare shows that were successful in their day and worthy of revival. “We are the only company in North America and perhaps the world to present 19th and 20th century operettas and musicals from such a broad selection of American and European composers,” said Laura Neill, executive director.

Approximately 20,000 patrons from across the country and around the world come to Wooster for Ohio Light Opera performances each summer. “OLO continues to be a destination of choice for many,” said Neill. “This is a true boost for Wooster and Wayne County's local economy."

Individual tickets, which go on sale Jan. 18, are $48 for all evening (7:30 p.m.) and matinee (2 p.m.) performances. Tickets for students (ages 16-23) are $20, and admission for children (ages 3-15) is $10. Group discount rates and special packages are also available. VISA, MasterCard, and Discover Card are accepted. The box office is located in Westminster Church House (353 E. Pine St.) during the off-season, and is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Additional information about Ohio Light Opera is available by phone (330-263-2345) or online.