The Norman Transcript

N-town stories

November 7, 2013

OU production weaves together elements for emotional show

NORMAN — Delve into an epic melodrama of danger and excitement during the University of Oklahoma’s upcoming production of “Coram Boy.”

Set in 18th-century England, the play — based off the award-winning children’s novel by Jamila Gavin — weaves together several storylines and music in what director Rena Cook calls an “emotional wallop.”

“It's an emotional thrill ride and in getting that, of course, you deal with the themes of human trafficking, cruelty to children — which was prevalent in the era — trouble with friends and relationships, the pursuit of passion — it deals with those themes,” Cook said.

A cast of 50 students from OU Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts’ schools of drama, musical theatre, music and dance tell the story focusing primarily on two young men who are orphans at the Coram Hospital for Deserted Children. The cast also includes five children from the community.

The audience watches the boys — one raised in wealth who wants nothing more than to be a musician and the other a young man raised in poverty by a cruel, abusive father — as they grow and progress over eight years, Cook said.

The production also largely centers around George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah,” which Cook said acts as the emotional underlying foundation of the storytelling.

“The chorus is another character,” Cook said. “They not only enhance and underscore the drama but they come forward in five different places in the show to just sing music that enhances the story telling, to have their own statements and contribute to the understanding of the show.”

The chorus is supported by a chamber orchestra of Norman Philharmonic members, led by director Richard Zielinski, Norman Phil music and artistic director and OU professor.

The music features contemporary twists on Handel’s “Messiah,” Zielinski said. Offering the listener clever takes on an old favorite, the arrangements include excerpts of melodies or duets made with a variety of instrumentations.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
N-town stories
  • Roller Derby Dolled up destroyers bring the pain

    What do a teacher, lawyer and a bartender have in common?  They want to deliver hard hits, at speed, and have fun doing it....

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ads you will never see again

    OU journalism professor Fred Beard, author of “Humor in the Advertising Business: Theory, Practice, and Wit,” offered his take on a collection of ads taken from the archives of The Norman Transcript.

    July 12, 2014

  • Homecoming: Norman native Vince Gill returns for concert at Riverwind Casino

    Vince Gill was born in Norman in 1957. The country music star is coming back home for a show at Riverwind July 18. Tickets for the performance are sold out. “I do consider Norman home although I don’t consciously remember it because of ...

    July 7, 2014

  • Ogre the top: Sooner Theatre makes magic with ‘Shrek The Musical’

    Sooner Theatre’s Shrek the Musical may make a ‘believer’ out of theatre skeptics yet. Based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks film, Shrek the Musical will bring the hilarious story of an ogre, donkey and princess to the stage....

    July 7, 2014

  • ‘MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT’: Lyric Theatre brings British humor classic to the stage

    Killer rabbits and dancing nights are just a few peculiar things you can expect to see on stage from Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma's production of MONTY PYTHON'S SPAMALOT. Adapted from the film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," this comedic ...

    July 7, 2014

  • Steve Boaz.jpg Breathing Rhythm Studio a center for creativity

    Recording engineer Steve Boaz has brought his musical ambitions to fulfillment in a downtown Norman studio.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • It’s a hard knock life at the Sooner Theatre

    It’s a hard knock life at the Sooner Theatre during the upcoming production of “Annie.” Based on the “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip, the musical tells the charming story of the young orphan Annie in 1930s New York City as she searches ...

    June 13, 2014

  • Formed in stone

    According to Steve Westrop, University of Oklahoma geology and geophysics professor, 99.99 percent of all species that once inhabited the earth are now extinct. What they left behind are physical remains enshrined in stone. Often the ...

    June 13, 2014

  • Norman filmmakers screening at 2014 deadCENTER Film Festival

    Oklahoma City’s deadCENTER Film Festival began in the first year of the new century and has grown dramatically in those 14 years. It’s the Sooner state’s largest film festival....

    June 13, 2014

  • “Oil and Wood” exhibit features art masterpieces

    The works of two distinguished professors emerti of the OU School of Art & Art History are being exhibited during “Oil and Wood: George Bogart and Jim Henkle,” at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art through Sept. 14....

    June 13, 2014