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Summerstock and UCO invite audiences to 'have some more' with outdoor production of 'Oliver!'



ight TV cult icon John Ferguson, aka Count Gregore, makes a special appearance as Dr. Grimwig. Spotlight Theater performer Ethan Carr stars as Oliver.

Billie Thrash, Summerstock artistic director, said that "Oliver!" was selected in part because of the opportunities it affords child actors.

"We want to offer productions with performing and technical opportunities for that age range, as well as for the many fine veteran actors in the area," she said. "It's also very challenging for those talented young actors. They also receive the chance to work and learn alongside some of our finest area actors."

Thrash said that the biggest challenge in staging "Oliver!" is the outdoor setting.

"Our scenic designer/technical director, Christopher Domanski, had to come up with a set that could withstand the elements and still represent 1850's London, and he did," she said. "All lighting and sound equipment and set dressing must be set up and taken down each night and stored safely away from possible rain, humidity, wind, etc. That makes everything far more work-intensive."

Budget considerations exist, as well.

"I just laugh when some have said to me that 'Oliver!' costuming would be cheap and easy," she said. "It's 1850's London, folks "? even the rags have to be period."

Audiences are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and/or blankets for the outdoor show.

"We have a lovely tiered area for seating, but no chairs, and while we are offering limited concessions, they are also welcome to bring their own refreshments," Thrash said.

"Oliver!" is the first joint production of Summerstock and UCO since the two partnered last year. The university is providing support with scenic and costume design, technical support and artistic direction, but the partnership works both ways.

"The benefits for our college include serving the Edmond community and surrounding area, providing opportunities for our students to work in a community setting," said John Clinton, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Design, "and to aid Edmond Summerstock in the continuation of outstanding community music theater." "?Eric Webb


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