8 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Lyric Plaza Theatre
1727 N.W. 16th
After a successful sold-out debut last year, Oklahoma City-based actress and singer Renee Anderson will premiere her second one-woman show, "Alive," this weekend at the Lyric Plaza Theatre.
An Oklahoma City University graduate with a master's in musical theater, she grew up in Edmond and has been performing since she was 7, when she was cast, with no prior experience, as Gretel in a local production of "The Sound of Music."
"My dad said I was a natural as I stood onstage and sang, and thus, the performing bug was planted," Anderson said. "I began studying singing, acting and dancing at a young age, and it gave me something to really work on outside of school and to be focused on."
Those experiences were a big part of what motivated her when she first approached Lyric Theatre's executive director, Paula Stover, about doing a one-woman show to raise money for Lyric's Thelma Gaylord Academy, where Anderson teaches voice.
"I see myself in so many of the academy students, and want them to feel the same way that I did. When I was younger, it gave me a sense of great dedication and satisfaction while either rehearsing or performing, and if I can help donate for scholarships, costumes, sets, food, rights to shows, etc., then I feel I have given back what was given to me," she said.
Anderson is an in-demand local performer. In just the last year, she has appeared onstage in "Zombie Prom" and "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" for Oklahoma City Repertory Theater and "Rainbow Around the Sun" at Lyric. She also appears on a semiregular basis singing at The Boom. When it came time to start putting the new show together, Anderson decided to take some time off from her normally busy performance schedule to prepare.
"I felt I had to outdo what I did last year," she said, noting that meant bringing aboard more musicians and adding extra performances to upstage her 2009 show.
Anderson describes her "Alive" show as a "glorified" cabaret concert in which she will share some of her favorite songs and styles of music alongside stories from her life.
"I am covering everything from classic and contemporary musical theater to jazz/blues and rock," she said.
While Anderson does want to keep the set list under wraps, she hinted that audiences might hear selections from Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Don McLean, Pat Benatar, The Beatles and Janis Joplin. Anything is possible, Anderson warned " even Lady Gaga.
"Alive" will run about 90 minutes with an intermission and is suitable for all ages. Friday's performance will be followed by a reception at Iguana Mexican Grill with free food and a cash bar. She stressed the importance of getting tickets early, as last year's show sold out quickly.
After some difficult experiences in recent months, Anderson said that songs that were chosen a long time ago have taken on new meaning, and that putting the show together has been cathartic experience that has left her stronger and inspired. She hopes to share some of that emotional journey with audience.
"I hope that it will make you laugh, cry, and rock out," she said. "I'm hoping at the end of the show to be bringing the house down like last year!" "Eric Webb