‘OU Outside the Box,’ an Outdoor Performing Arts Festival on Campus

Oakland University’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance (SMTD) will unveil its new outdoor stage, “OU Outside the Box,” a performing arts festival running April 5 – June 27. The festival will feature performances by SMTD students, artists-in-residents, and faculty in a safe, outdoor setting on the Oakland University (OU) campus.

A view of the sky through an open box

“We are beyond excited to have this opportunity to safely showcase our students and put their work front and center in this performing arts series,” said Amy Hardison Tully, director of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance. “Due to COVID-19 protocols, our indoor performance experiences are limited and this outside option will demonstrate the highest levels of our resilience and creativity. Our audiences will not be disappointed!”

All events, including those that are free, require an advanced ticket purchase/reservation. Tickets may be printed at home or presented on mobile devices at the door. Performances will include the following.

Failure: A Love Story
By Philip Dawkins.
Staged reading, directed by Monica Orozco Lopez.
Monday, April 5 at 4:00 p.m.
Tuneful songs, and a whimsical chorus follow the story of Nelly, Jenny June, and Gerty as they live out their lives above the family clock repair shop near the Chicago River, before their time unexpectedly runs out. A magical, musical fable where, in the end, the power of love is far greater than any individual’s successes or failures.

Percussion Ensemble Concert
Wednesday, April 7 at 5:30 p.m.
Students from the percussion studio demonstrate their skills on works utilizing a myriad of percussion instruments. Various sized groups will perform, including talented soloists. Composers Jean Sibelius, John Williams, Claude Debussy and Peter Tchaikovsky will be featured.

Repertory Dance Company: Ship It!
Friday, April 9 at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.
“Ship it!” is a visual collage of the many uses of an everyday U-Haul box. Come and experience the choreographic and audio display of this new dance, performed by the Repertory Dance Company and Jon Anderson, under the direction of Thayer Jonutz, associate professor of dance.

Akwaaba African Drum Ensemble and Pan-Jumbies Steel Band
Saturday, April 10 at 4:00 p.m.
Join the students of Akwaaba and the Pan-Jumbies as they present music from Africa and the Caribbean. This concert will feature traditional pieces as well as student and faculty compositions. Chinelo Amen-Ra and Patrick Fitzgibbon, directors.

Oakland Chorale and University Chorus
Sunday, April 11 at 2:00 p.m.
After nearly a year of working solely online, the Chorus and Chorale finally have the opportunity to share music together in one place. Michael A. Mitchell, conductor. Brandon Gauvin, assistant conductor and piano.

Oakland University Brass Ensembles
Sunday, April 11 at 5:30 p.m.
Chamber ensembles of the Oakland University trumpet, horn, trombone, euphonium and tuba studios. David Denniston, Kenneth Kroesche and Jennifer Oliverio, directors.

Jazz Band and Jazz Combos Concert
Tuesday, April 13 at 5:30 p.m.
Tim Blackmon, Marion Hayden and Enrique Rios-Ellis, directors.

Opera Workshop
Thursday, April 15 at 6:00 p.m.
A presentation of operatic scenes from The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, Die Fledermaus, Orfeo ed Euridice, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Carmen, and Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Presented on the festival stage, this is sure to be a mixture of beautiful singing, drama, and laughs. Drake Dantzler, director. Victoria Shively, musical director. Amanda Sabelhaus, piano.

New Theatre Student Showcase
Friday, April 16 at 2:00 p.m.

Ngoma – World Percussion Ensemble
Sunday, April 17 at 2:00 p.m.
The OU World Percussion Ensemble presents a concert of original music for global percussion. The program will feature new works by graduate students Braden Macchia and Daniel Shiller, a collective composition by the entire ensemble, and three new works by Prof. Mark Stone written/arranged during his recent sabbatical. Mark Stone, director.

Senior Dance Concert: Remember, Remember Not
Monday-Tuesday, April 19-20 at 7:00 p.m.
Presented by BFA senior dance majors, Remember, Remember Not brings solo and group works to the Oakland University outdoor stage.

Young Choreographers Forum
Friday – Sunday, April 22, 23 and 24 at 7:00 p.m.
Oakland University dance majors will present their work at the Young Choreographer’s Forum. Come see what these talented artists have created as they rise above a year of hardship in the arts, and press on with creating innovative and inspiring new works.

Choreography II Performances
Friday, April 23 at 2:00 p.m.
Choreography II students have been excavating, experimenting, improvising, and building movement studies together and individually throughout this year. This year has been a challenge, but with these challenges, we have found creativity and connection. We have found that we are resilient, we are passionate, we are movers, we are artists, we are improvisers, we are storytellers, we are human. Students will be performing a collection of work they have been cultivating throughout the semester. Elizabeth Riga, instructor.

The Servant of Two Masters
By Carlo Goldoni. Directed by Karen Sheridan.
April 24-25 and May 1-2 at 2:00 p.m.
She is pretending to be him. He is supposed to be dead. A wedding waits. A dowry is in the balance. But, all the confusion and intrigue doesn’t change the growl in the servant’s stomach. If he serves one master, he may get a meal. If he serves them both he may get two. Is he clever? He’s about to find out in this physical comedy by Carlo Goldoni.

Instrumental Ensembles Concert
Sunday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m.
Featuring works for winds, brass and percussion by Kevin Day, Jennifer Jolley, Michael Daugherty, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Bela Bartok and John Harbison. Gregory Cunningham and Pamela L. Klena, conductors.

By Kassie Dunaj. Directed by Sophia Cannella. Dramaturgy by Emily Nichter.
Thursday, April 29 at 2:00 p.m.
Exes, a world premiere, features Veronica, a struggling writer trying to find her place in the world. After meeting Eliza and taking a writing job at her up-start magazine, Polish Magazine, Veronica discovers her toxic ex-boyfriend, Charlie, also works for the magazine. Battling her past and the future ahead of her, she relies on her friends, Marney and Ben, to guide her through this uncomfortable situation. Exes, by Kassie Dunaj, is a coming of age story for everyone, reminding us to let go of the past and to embrace the uncertainty of the future.

How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying
Music and Lyrics Frank Loesser.
Book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock, and Willie Gilbert.
Based on “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” by Shepherd Mead.
Directed by Don Brewer.
Thursday, April 29 at 7:00 p.m.
Friday, April 30 at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 1 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 2 at 7:00 p.m.
This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical, is a story about the triumph of the common man amid the buffoonery of big business. When a restless, creative, and ambitious window washer named J. Pierrepont Finch happens upon a book entitled ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’, he decides to begin his rise up the corporate ladder. With the book’s instructions and a dose of his own cleverness, Finch navigates his wild rise to the top of the World Wide Wicket Corporation, and he may just find love along the way.

The Mountaintop
By Katori Hall. Directed by Karen Sheridan.
Saturday, May 1 at 9:30 p.m.
A fictional depiction of Dr. Martin Luther King’s last night on earth. Katori Hall’s play takes place in Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel. Dr. King orders a cup of coffee from room service and a knock at the door brings his coffee and a pretty maid who has only seen him on the television down at Woolworth’s. A friendship is forged as Dr. King prepares his next speech and unbeknownst to him, his final journey.

Oakland University Brass Band
Wednesday, May 5 at 6:00 p.m.
The Oakland University Brass Band performs works by Paul Lovatt-Cooper, Philip Sparke, John Williams and others. The concert will also feature Dr. Jennifer Oliverio, Oakland University’s new assistant professor of music, as cornet soloist. Kenneth Kroesche, conductor.

Take Root presents SixWord Stories
Friday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 8 at 2:00 p.m.
Using a series of six words to create multiple stories, Take Root creates a conversation of connection, perseverance and vulnerability. Performed outside at Oakland University, Take Root is in their element continuing to thrive in breaking the fourth wall using their visceral movement, under Take Root’s founder/director/choreographer Ali Woerner. Live music created and composed by Take Root musical director Jon Anderson and accompanied by percussionist from Rela Percussion, Mike List.

The Things We Feel: Kaitlin Arena Solo Dance Performance
Sunday, May 9 at 4:00 p.m.
A self-produced show by Kaitlin Arena showing a number of new works. The pieces featured were created to exhibit, express, or communicate different feelings we have as humans going through life.

Eisenhower Dance Detroit LIVE!
Saturday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, May 16 at 2:00 p.m.
An evening of exhilarating dance with the awe-inspiring dancers of Eisenhower Dance Detroit. The program includes works by international choreographer Christian Denice, Artistic Director Stephanie Pizzo, Founding Artistic Director Laurie Eisenhower and a preview performance of Hyper by LA-based choreographer Micaela Taylor. The world-premiere of Hyper is scheduled for Spring of 2022 in Austria.

How I Became a Pirate (children’s play)
Book, Music and Lyrics by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman.
Based upon the book “How I Became a Pirate” Written by Melinda Long and Illustrations by David Shannon.
Directed by David Gram.
Thursday, June 3 at 10:00 a.m.
Friday, June 4 at 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 5 at 2:00 p.m.

A comic opera in two acts with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. Directed by Drake Dantzler.
Thursday – Sunday, June 24-27 at 5:00 p.m.
Patience, or Bunthorne’s Bride — the sixth collaboration of Gilbert and Sullivan — is a satire on the aesthetic movement of the 1870s and ’80s in England, including fads, superficiality, vanity, hypocrisy and pretentiousness, romantic love, rural simplicity and military bluster.

“There is nothing that can fill the feeling a live performance provides,” said Ali Woerner, associate professor of dance, director and co-founder of Take Root, director of the Senior Concert, and a member of the Season Planning Committee. “I am incredibly thankful that our students will have the opportunity to show the work they have created over the last year to a live audience. Performing artists feed off connections. I am beyond proud of the work our students have created, a true testament to their resilience and power as artists.”

All events are subject to change. Decisions on weather conditions will be communicated three hours before the event. For a complete list of dates, times, performance descriptions, ticketing information and required safety protocols, visit www.oakland.edu/smtd.

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