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Spotlight shines brightly for many local productions' players

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d exemplary depth of understanding and preparation.

But the theatrical season runs the same as the academic year "? fall through spring, with an additional summer session. So if you go back to late 2007, when Mays stole the show as Mozart in OCTC's "Amadeus," the feat becomes even more impressive. Talk about the hardest-working man in show business.

'THE LARAMIE PROJECT'
Other than the aforementioned "Glass Menagerie," the 2008 theatrical season took a while to get going, but late in the year City Rep and Pollard Theatre joined forces for an extraordinary production of "The Laramie Project," clearly the theatrical highlight of the year. The performance featured an outstanding ensemble cast and was directed by Robert Benedetti, who found a surprising amount of humor in this documentary play about the murder of Matthew Shepard a decade ago in Laramie, Wyo.

Just about the time theatergoers were thinking "Is that all there is?," Carpenter Square Theatre came to life late in the year with an excellent production of John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt." Michael Payne's smooth staging of Shanley's flawless, airtight script showed that Carpenter Square can still get your attention when it really tries. But here's the tragedy: "Doubt" played to small audiences while CST's inferior "Debbie Does Dallas," a tepid musical adaptation of the 1975 pornographic movie of the same title, played before packed houses. Lesson: Sex sells.

On the collegiate side, the University of Oklahoma Department of Musical Theatre, recently upgraded to the A. Max Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre, gave audiences the old razzle-dazzle in a production of the musical "Chicago" many professional theater companies would envy. Directed by Ron Kellum and choreographed by Randy Slovacek, OU's "Chicago" was based closely "? almost an exact reproduction, in fact "? of the current, long-running Broadway production.

Lyric Theatre has been in its nifty Plaza Theatre for a full year now. The site has excellent acoustics, good sight lines and plenty of parking. Kudos for best set design go to Amanda Foust for Lyric's production of "Greater Tuna." Her trailer-park set included a working bug zapper and two worse-for-wear travel trailers.

With admirable patience, the deciders at Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre are building an organization, artistic reputation and quality of work. City Rep now sets the standard for Oklahoma City theater. If City Rep combined its quality and professionalism with the edginess and provocativeness of, say, Oklahoma City Theatre Company or Ghostlight Theatre Club, that would be something to see.   

"?Larry Laneer

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