Sunday, July 22, 2012

In the Wings: Oklahoma! Meet Lori Portner.

Lori Portner directs 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. Lori is the director of outreach and education at Civic Theatre.

Question: What makes Oklahoma! a popular musical?
Lori Portner: First, it's a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical and there are a lot of fans out there. It's really the story of how the West was settled with ranchers and farmers. They faced a lot of struggles to settle the territory and become a state, which was their goal. There's a lot of history that goes with it.

Q: What is the goal for this intensive summer camp?
L.P.: It's a very process-oriented camp. They work on each stage of developing the show – acting, singing and dancing – but they also learn about lighting, the set and costumes. They will be involved in every step of the process. We also have workshops to introduce them to other aspects of theatre. There also is a group of kids who will be on the crew – being backstage, running the call board and sound board and calling cues.

Q: What will an audience enjoy about this show?
L.P.: People will be tapping their feet to these songs. I think these characters are so endearing; they are characters that really stick to you and you can relate to.

Q: Are you a city kid or a country kid?
L.P.: I'm a city kid. I grew up in the country, but I'm a city kid.

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

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