Sunday, July 22, 2012

In the Wings: Oklahoma! Meet Cecil Shoemaker.

Cecil Shoemaker is music director for Oklahoma! the second of two summer productions from Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette in 2012. The music is by Richard Rodgers. The book and lyrics are by Oscar Hammerstein II.

Question: What does a music director do?
Cecil Shoemaker: The music director prepares the chorus and principals to sing the music in the show. The director also prepares the harmonies, finding the right parts. That's what we're working on this week.

Q: How many times have you been music director at a Civic Theatre camp? Why do you enjoy it?
C.S.: This is the fifth year I've been music director at a Civic summer camp. One of the reasons I do it is that I get the chance to work with younger kids. I enjoy it because it's short and you know there's a starting point and ending point.

Q: What are your thoughts on this summer's show?
C.S.: I'm excited this year because Oklahoma! is a very important American musical. It's important for children today to know these pieces of art. Children are not getting the music education they once did in schools. They need to learn who Rodgers and Hammerstein are. They need to get to know these wonderful works of art from the American repertoire.

Q: What do you want the performers to take away from this experience?
C.S.: Having had a children's theatre experience at a very young age in Lafayette, I find that the theatre arts teach children to hold themselves, carry themselves, project their voices and present a positive attitude. Kids learn these things by being on stage.

Q: What will an audience enjoy about this production?
C.S.: The audience will enjoy seeing children performing this American standard classic that they may remember from their childhood. And they'll hum along with the Rodgers and Hammerstein songs.

Q.: Have you ever seen corn as high as an elephant's eye?
C.S.: Yes, I have. That's one of the first lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II wrote for Richard Rodgers. What a visual image, what a lyric.

Oklahoma! will run July 27-29 at the historic Monon Depot Theatre at the corner of 5th Street and North Street in downtown Lafayette. The Friday show begins at 7:30 p.m. The Saturday shows are 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The Sunday show is at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $5.00 per person.

For information about the show or to order tickets, call Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette at 765-423-PLAY (7529) or visit its

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