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OKC Theatre Company kicks off its season with a fundraiser

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Rachel Irick poses for a photo at her home in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Aug 5, 2015. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Rachel Irick poses for a photo at her home in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Aug 5, 2015.

OKC Theatre Company (OKCTC) opens its 17th season Sept. 10 with John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Before that, though, it hosts a season kickoff party and auction on Aug. 20 to raise funds for artists that work in its productions.

Silence! The Auction is what it sounds like: a silent auction that takes its name from the company’s second show of the season, Silence! The Musical, which runs Oct. 22-Nov. 7.

Rachel Irick, OKC Theatre Company’s artistic director, said nearly all proceeds raised by the fundraiser go directly to OKCTC artists.

“We have very little overhead,” she said. “We pay rent to Civic Center Music Hall to use one of the theaters, and we need a few supplies, so most of the budget goes to pay our artists.”

The auction features tech gadgets, cases of wine, jewelry, original works by local artists and other items. Irick said it was scheduled during “happy hour” — 5:30-8:30 p.m. — so guests and company members could make it a true party, complete with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. (Irick would neither confirm nor deny whether a nice Chianti and liver with fava beans will be served.)

The nonprofit group has three part-time employees, including Irick, so it relies on public auditions to fill each show’s roster of performers. Silence! The Musical is the season’s most expensive production, partly because it’s a musical, which requires a larger cast.

Silence! is a satirical, “unauthorized parody” of Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme’s film The Silence of the Lambs, which was based on author Thomas Harris’ best-selling novel. Its songs appeared online in 2002, and the full stage show, created by Jon and Al Kaplan, premiered in 2005 at New York International Fringe Festival.

“There is a chorus of floppy-eared lambs,” Irick said. “The lambs sing — it’s a musical — and they narrate.”

The production is “naughty,” and its numbers have content-appropriate names such as “I’d Fuck Me” and “Put the Fucking Lotion in the Basket!” Ultimately, it is an engaging, smart comedy that is in line with OKCTC’s mission to provide boundary-pushing, thought-provoking entertainment.

“We stage new plays alongside classics that we produce with an edgy, modern twist,” she said. “We want to provoke conversation about things that are important to the community.”

OKCTC also regularly works with area writers in its productions.

The Christmas show, Alcoholidays, is written by husband-and-wife team Ted Satterfield and Melanie Wilderman of Norman. It runs Dec. 3-20. Irick describes Condescendin’ White Boys by local playwright La’Charles Purvey as “theater of the absurd” that challenges common African-American stereotypes. It runs Jan. 21-31, 2016.

“We love to produce unpublished plays from new playwrights,” Irick said. “Supporting our company means supporting exclusively local talent [and] allowing the artists we have to stay here and not have to move to a larger market to practice their craft.”

Auditions and casting begins soon for Silence! The Musical. Irick said OKCTC’s season also launches with a new managing director, Christine Jolly.

Find audition information, company details, tickets, shows, dates and times at okctheatrecompany.org.

 

 

Print headline: Loud Lambs, OKC Theatre Company kicks off its season with a launch party, auction and hat tip to killer musical comedy.

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