The Ohio Light Opera 2018 Season in 3 Panels Each!

It's almost opening week for the Ohio Light Opera! I'm looking forward to going to Wooster later in the summer to get my annual light opera and early musical fix, but for now, here's a rundown of their entire season.... starting with Adler and Ross's classic musical about sleepwear and industrial action!

20180612-ThePajamaGame.jpg

Next up is a Rodgers and Hart classic that was turned into a classic-but-totally-unrecognizable film adaptation starring Mickey & Judy, featuring free-range theatre kids attempting to PUT ON A SHOW.

Next up, a Cole Porter musical. As with most Cole Porter musicals that are not Anything Goes or Kiss Me Kate, I know lots of the songs in this one, but have never heard of it before. 

20180612-FiftyMillionFrenchmen.jpg

No Ohio Light Opera season would be complete without a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta.

I'm excited about OLO's first Leonard Bernstein production, especially because it's Candide. It has an AWESOME OVERTURE. 

You can almost always guarantee that an Offenbach operetta is going to be silly, but La Perichole actually seemed comparatively sedate by his standards... until it gets to Act 3.

20180612-LaPerichole.jpg

And finally, a Lehar operetta. These are generally either moderaetly fluffy or somewhat self-importantly bittersweet and romantic. Fortunately, this is firmly in the first category. 

Looking forward to seeing all this good stuff on the stage on the Freedlander Theatre later this summer! 

The Ohio Light Opera 2017 Season in 3 Panels Each!

It's almost time for my favorite light opera theatre company's season to start! The Ohio Light Opera kicks off their 2017 season this weekend. Let's see what they have in store for us this year...

We start off with a couple well-known musicals, the first being Meredith's Willson's magnum opus, The Music Man. 

So far so good. Next up is Cole Porter's Anything Goes. 

When you think about Anything Goes, you think about all the great song and dance numbers. You never think about the denouement with the dubious Chinese disguises. That's because it's stupid. 

OLO was kind enough to program the same Gilbert and Sullivan operetta that is playing at the Stratford Festival this year, so I didn't have to draw a new comic of it:

"THIS RESOLVES EVERYTHING SOMEHOW", a.k.a. the motto of most Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. I loves 'em.

From Gilbert and Sullivan to Gershwin, Primrose looks like a nice, typical, early American musical, with lots of couples getting mixed up.

Side note: I really resent drawing 3-panel plays of shows that have more than two couples in them, because it's a real pain to try and fit six or more people in a single panel. 

A lovely Ruritanian romance classic by Sigmund Romberg is up next:

There always has to be a bittersweet operetta in any OLO season to balance out all the frothy, lighthearted capering, and The Student Prince is this year's offering.

Next up is ONE OF MY FAVORITES AAAAAAAAAH I LOVE IT:

I love Countess Maritza. Apart from Die Fledermaus, it's probably my favorite of the Classical Viennese Operetta genre. The music is great and the plot is actually decent. The last OLO production of Maritza back in 2003 probably ranks as one of my top ten theatrical experiences of all time; I'm not even joking.

OK, next up we have this hot mess: 

Don't ask me any questions about this one. I have absolutely no answers, but it's currently in the running for this season's Stupidest Plot in a Musical or Operetta award. I absolutely can't wait to see it. If it's half as stupid as Herbert's Dream City and the Magic Knight, it'll be a real winner. 

And that's the Ohio Light Opera's 2017 season! If you're in Midwest, seriously think about checking them out - they've perfected the art of balancing the madcap stupidity and unapologetic melodrama of operetta and early American musicals, and it's always a delight to watch them. I can't wait to visit them in August!

Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival

In other news, I will be exhibiting at the Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival (nee Kids Read Comics) this weekend! Stop by the downtown Ann Arbor District Library between 12:00pm and 5:30pm on Saturday and Sunday and say hello! I will be selling the usual t-shirts, posters, and comic books. It's going to be a lot of fun!

tumblr_inline_oq23k07zJ21qabace_500.jpg

A Modern Major Shakespeare Fan

Are you familiar with the song "I am the very model of a modern major general" from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirate of Penzance?

Are you familiar with mathematician and satirical songwriter Tom Lehrer's parody of that song listing all the elements in the periodic table?

Well... this is kind of like that, only with Shakespeare plays. 

If you send me video of yourself or some friends singing this song, I will totally share it with the world.

The Ohio Light Opera 2015 Season... in 3 Panels!

This blog/comic might be predominately devoted to Shakespeare, but, as a general theatre lover, I would be remiss if I didn't address one of the highlights of my year: my annual family trip to the Ohio Light Opera, whose season kicks off this Saturday. 

As I've mentioned before, operetta was a formative part of my theatrical upbringing. Sadly, operetta and early, pre-Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals have largely faded from American stages. Fortunately, places like OLO make it their mission to keep these otherwise obscure and unjustly ignored plays alive. 

Here is their current season, condensed into three panel plays. And by the way... if you think Shakespeare's comedies have stupid plots, you have never seen a comic operetta. I have been going to OLO for almost 30 years now, and it is always ridiculously, stupidly fun. (Here are my round-ups of last year's productions.)

An early American musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, who is one of my favorites. I read the plot for this and it is SO INCREDIBLY STUPID. This isn't a bad thing. In my experience, the stupider the raw material, the more hysterical the OLO performance of it is. 

Not my favorite Lerner and Loewe musical, although it's popular with many people. It's got some nice songs in it, though, and the preponderance of gratuitously fake Scottish accents is always amusing. 

Music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Ogden Nash? I'm intrigued.... This will be my first Kurt Weill musical. Also, the plot? It's ridiculously stupid. CAN'T WAIT.

By composer Franz Lehar. I love me some Lehar (most famous for The Merry Widow). This is classic overwrought operetta fare - a true romance selflessly sacrificed by a young maid who only wants the best for her man, etc. etc. Great music, though. 

Music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin! That's always a good thing. Like many early American musicals, the plot for this is.... wait for it.... totally stupid. This is a recurring theme with comic operetta and early musicals, but, as I said, it's not a bad thing. The stupider the better, I say.

Gilbert and Sullivan! My first theatrical love! I might have large passages of Shakespeare memorized, but I can almost literally sing through any entire G&S operetta (with the exception of the Act I choruses, which always involve lots of people singing different words very loudly all at the same time, and thus are harder to pick up by ear.) Yeomen is the only G&S operetta that ends on a bit of a downer, but the music is gorgeous. 

I love all the G&S operettas, but I'm particularly fond of Ruddigore, possibly because it has freaking picture gallery ghosts who come down from their frames and very politely torture people. It's great. 

Anyways, that's my round-up of the Ohio Light Opera! I will be going there for the last week of their season in August, where I can catch all the shows at once. If you're in the Midwest area and enjoy truly mindless entertainment with truly great music, I highly recommended checking them out. A lot of these shows you literally will never see anywhere else. 

The Ohio Light Opera in 3 Panels, part 1

I'm on vacation this week, partying it up in Wooster, OH at the Ohio Light Opera! As I've mentioned before, I am a lifelong fan of light opera in (almost) all its forms, and I'm having a grand time indulging in a solid week of abnormal people singing very loudly about things that normal people wouldn't sing loudly about.

For those of you unfamiliar with light opera, I am summarizing this season's performances in my now-traditional three-panel mode. 

IMG_7774.jpg

Emmerich Kalman's Der Kleine K├Ânig  tends to take itself a bit seriously for my tastes, and is sadly lacking in the glorious Kalman gypsy csardas that we all expect from him, but that shouldn't detract from the fact that the main plot point involves an opera singer attempting to assisinate the King of Portugal with a bomb hidden in a bouquet of roses. I mean... how awesome is that?

I had this entirety of The Pirates of Penzance memorized when I was about four years old, and would run around the house singing "WITH CAT-LIKE TREAD" over and over again. Surprisingly, I was not disowned.  I eventually fulfilled my childhood ambition to be a pirate by sneaking into the underpopulated men's chorus of my college's Gilbert and Sullivan society's production, where I sported the most charming penciled-on piratical beard ever seen on stage.

Seriously, I am in love with this show. It was, I believe, the first thing I ever saw in a theatre, at the tender age of three. I then watched the Covent Garden video of the gala performance with Kiri Te Kenawa over and over and over again. To this day, the only German phrases I know come directly from the libretto of Die Fledermaus.

Tune in again on Monday, when I will inflict four more three-panel operetta summaries on you! But just you wait. They'll be worth it...