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Performing Arts

Make a wish

Metro-area artistic directors say what they really, really want.

Larry Laneer August 15th, 2012

Oklahoma Gazette recently asked artistic directors at seven area theater companies if one wish could be granted for their company — other than “more money” — what would it be? The answers ranged from concrete (literally) to abstract (vaguely).

Thinking big — and why shouldn’t she? — Kathryn McGill of Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park said she yearns for a comprehensive performing arts center with 60-, 250- and 400-seat theaters and office and rehearsal space.

She correctly notes the severe shortage of affordable, available theater space. But OKC already has one of the most important and hailed theater buildings in the world. A Stage Center renovation would essentially fulfill McGill’s wish.

Oklahoma City Theatre Company’s Rachel Irick wishes the city of Oklahoma City would “follow through on its promise” to renovate the Freede Little Theatre in the Civic Center Music Hall.

The Freede Little is one of the best theaters in the city, with impeccable acoustics. “Renovate” wouldn’t entail ruining the exisintg art deco space.

Michael Baron at Lyric Theatre would like to have a development program for musicals and plays. With few exceptions, local theater companies are deficient in shepherding new work.

Some artistic directors focused on audiences. W. Jerome Stevenson of Pollard Theatre Company in Guthrie wishes for a “sophisticated, articulate and tolerant” theatergoing audience. He said someone complained about Pollard’s production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman because “it was written by a Communist.”

Carpenter Square Theatre’s Rhonda Clark would like the public to develop the “habit” of attending live theater. Professional, semi-pro and collegiate theaters in the metro stage close to 100 plays and musicals annually. Often, touring musicals play to large audiences, while productions by local companies play to much smaller crowds down the street or even in the same building.

Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre’s Donald Jordan wishes for “continued and increased commitment by everyone in our theater community to the goal of building an increasingly vibrant and integrated theatrical environment.” It’s hard to argue with that.

Lance Garrett with Ghostlight Theatre Club wants “more local media coverage of the theatrical arts.”

“Most media outlets don’t have a clue,” Garrett said. (Maybe he doesn’t know how hard it is for local media to get accurate, complete and timely information from theater companies.)

Now, we’ll see if any angels make these wishes come true.

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