New artistic director directs classic 'The Music Man' 

rs like "Ya Got Trouble," "Seventy-Six Trombones," and "Till There Was You," director Nick Corley said that he is not approaching "The Music Man" as a museum piece. He hopes to breathe new life into the show by taking a more modern approach to some of the staging, having some of the action take place in front of the orchestra pit, closer to the audience.

"This way, the whole audience becomes an extension of the town," Corley said. "We play some intimate scenes out there. We tried to break that proscenium arch that divides us from the audience and bring the show out to them."

He said that the effect is like the theatrical version of 3-D. The director and his team are also trying to tell the story that takes place over several days in a more modern way, with fewer blackouts and smoother transitions.

"We're trying to take a more cinematic approach, so the audience can really feel how the days move and shift, rather that breaking them up into little vignettes. Most of the blackouts now occur at the end of the days," Corley said.

Beyond the staging, Corley also wanted to make sure that the characters were more than just cartoon caricatures, and said the cast and crew worked to make sure Lyric's "Music Man" represented change and how each character evolves throughout the musical.

VIBRANT THEATER SCENE
Corley, who became Lyric's artistic director in January after years of acting and directing in New York and regional theaters around the country, said he's excited by Lyric's role in Oklahoma City's vibrant theater scene. Instead of seeing OKC as being isolated, he said that the city's central location is a great opportunity to act as an artistic hub, bringing in actors, directors and choreographers from both coasts to work with local talent.

While he is working hard on planning the next season of diverse shows, he said that Lyric's immediate goal for the summer is to provide high-quality entertainment that will lift spirits.

"We know times are tough and money is tight, so we felt more than ever that we had to put on a great show that earned every dollar being spent," Corley said. "Even during tough times, we should continue to enjoy life. I know if you spend the money, you're going to have a good time. You're going to walk away very satisfied." 

The Music Man stages at 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and again at 2 p.m. Saturday by Lyric Theatre at Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker.

"?Eric Webb

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