One of Avon Lake’s longest-standing traditions, Mighty Goliath Productions, is celebrating its 54th year with Rodger and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, which opens Feb. 8. MGP, a musical theatre company, contributes funds toward the performing arts programs of the Avon Lake City Schools and has donated more than $210,000 in proceeds.
The all-volunteer production, performed at Avon Lake High School’s Performing Arts Center is one of the most popular productions held each year. Previous productions have included Titanic, Annie, Sound of Music and Oliver.
This year, Ian Atwood will by directing. He and his wife Jessica (also the choreographer) will be producing.
Atwood is also an entertainer and performer with Pickwick and Frolic.
“There was a couple reasons why Oklahoma! was the show I pitched this year,” Atwood said. “First and foremost, we all know MGP to be the type of theatre that is family driven, but after doing back to back to back years of the more popular ‘kid heavy’ shows, I thought perhaps it was time for the adults to have some fun on stage again.
“And secondly, MGP has been around for over 50 years, so it’s difficult to not duplicate productions, but Oklahoma! had not been done since the London and American revivals in the late 90s and I thought it would fun to have those elements put back into what I consider to be the musical that set the bar for every other musical ever written.”
Throughout its more-than 50 consecutive seasons, the organization has been home to more than 2,000 volunteers who donate their time and talent. Atwood said longevity and the MGP “name” has resulted in a draw of major talent.
“Having a company like MGP with the longevity that it has, has produced many talent actors and wonderful performances over the years,” Atwood said. “I feel that Cleveland has some serious talent in it and that every theatre company should always want to continue to raise the bar. I feel like we are doing just that with the talent that we will be presenting this year. I’m excited that when the audience reads the bio’s in the programs, that they will be seeing new names and faces to MGP and Avon Lake.”
Oklahoma! marks a directorial debut for Atwood.
“This is my directorial debut, but it doesn’t feel that way to me,” he said. “I have been performing for over half my life and have had the pleasure of working with some amazing people (both on and off stage) all over this country. I think that when you surround yourself with a certain caliber of personality and talent, it will make you better if you allow it to do so. It is because of those experiences, that I feel like I have been directing the whole time.”
This year’s cast includes Meggie Wittman, the current Miss Greater Cleveland, who will play Laurie, the Oklahoma Territory farm girl of the early 1900s.
Meggie Wittman - Laurie
Aunt Eller - Colleen Kane
Curly - Jerry Popiel
Jud Fry - Gilgamesh Taggett
Ado Annie - Susan Didino
Will Parker - Douglas Bailey
Andrew Carnes - Douglas Brill
Tickets now on sale
Presale tickets, good for any performance, are now on sale for only $10 at Rio Coffee Brewery, Hartsel's Automotive, online at www.ticketspigot.com, or from any cast member. Tickets purchased at the door are $15. For additional ticket information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.mightygoliath.com.
The production runs Feb. 8, 9 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m and Feb. 10 at 2 p.m.