It’s not too early to start planning your summer vacation, and if you like Broadway music and operetta, I’ve got just the place for you. Three years ago I made a trip to Wooster, Ohio to see and hear the Ohio Light Opera company. It was a great experience, and I heartily recommend it. Each summer about 100 performers come together to take part in a series of productions that are staged from mid-June to mid-August. The orchestra is great, the costumes are great, and the performers seem to thoroughly enjoy themselves.
This summer there will be seven productions: The King and I (1951), music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II; Silk Stockings (1955), music and lyrics by Cole Porter; H.M.S. Pinafore (1878), music by Arthur Sullivan, libretto by William Gilbert; The Gypsy Baron (1885), music by Johann Strauss, libretto by Ignaz Schnitzer; Lady, Be Good (1924), music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin; The Gondoliers (1889), music by Arthur Sullivan, lyrics by William Gilbert; and The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein (1867), music by Jacques Offenbach, libretto by Henri Meilhac, and Ludovic Halevy. All productions are sung in English.
The first performance, The King and I, will be on the evening of June 15, and the last performance, The Gondoliers, will take place on the evening of August 10. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays there are often, but not always, both matinees and evening performances – always with two different shows. So, you could conceivably see six different productions over a three day period. That may seem excessive, but there are a lot of die-hard fans who relish that idea. There is also a pops concert on July Fourth. The theater is closed on Monday, so that would be a good day to arrive in Wooster, and get oriented.
While you’re there be sure to tour the campus of the College of Wooster (the performances are in the Freedlander Theater on the College’s campus), and be sure to set aside time to travel into the Amish country which is very near Wooster. While everyone talks about the Amish in Pennsylvania, Ohio has more Amish people than any other state.
For more information explore the Ohio Light Opera website.