Five years ago, Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre, aka CityRep, began with a group of old friends who had studied theater together at Oklahoma City University. Behind their first modest season of three productions was a dream to establish and maintain Oklahoma's first fully professional theater.
Michael Jones, founding company member and frequent CityRep director, explained that the term "professional theater" doesn't technically refer to the production quality, but "designates a theater's way of doing business," complying with the actors' union rules.
This allows CityRep to be first to get the rights to new shows, and give regional college theater students a venue to acquire a union card "? a critical step toward a professional career.
Jones said this all works together to build a better Oklahoma City because it "fosters state talent and raises the artistic profile of Oklahoma City." While it was not without its struggles, CityRep is pleased with its first five years.
"I'm really proud of all the shows we've done and where we've come," Jones said. "I've seen a lot of theaters stumble, so I know how hard it is to sustain a theater company here."
On tap for CityRep's sixth season are:
" "The Fantasticks," Oct. 12-28,
" "This Wonderful Life," Dec. 7-23, and
" "The Miser" and "The Glass Menagerie" in 2008.
Both Jones and Artistic Director Donald Jordan feel that "theater begets theater." The more that's produced, the stronger the theatrical community becomes.
"Any artistic striving for excellence affects the entire community in a positive way," he said. "?Linda McDonald