Distant Thunder and Grease Highlight Plaza Theatre, Civic Center Music Hall Season

Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma’s 2020 season includes an eclectic mix of shows featuring stories of hope, love and family, Native peoples and reunions.


The season features three productions at the intimate Lyric at the Plaza, 1725 NW 16 St., – Having Our Say (Feb. 19-March 8), the world-premiere Distant Thunder (March 25-April 11), and Head Over Heels (Sept. 23-Oct. 11) – and three productions at the grand Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N Walker Ave., – Roald Dahl’s Matilda (June 23-28), Grease (July 7-12) and Kinky Boots (July 21-26).


Starting Lyric’s 2020 season is Having Our Say, a joyful production celebrating the true story of a century with 103-year-old Sadie and 101-year-old Bessie, famously known as the Delany sisters. From the old Jim Crow South, to renaissance Harlem, and ultimately as a professional teacher and a dentist, respectively – their stories weave a rich American tapestry of lives lived triumphantly. While making dinner (live, on stage) these two African American sisters tell us of the last century as they lived it – with true stories that touch the soul and your funny bone – filled with humor, faith, love and family. Written by Emily Mann (adapted from the book by Sarah L. Delany, A. Elizabeth Delany and Amy Hill Hearth), Having Our Say will be directed by Monique Midgett. The production stars two great American actresses, Terry Burrell and Julia Lema. Ms. Burrell’s Broadway credits include Dreamgirls, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Swinging on a Star. Ms. Lema’s Broadway appearances include Guys and Dolls, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music and Honky Tonk Nights.


In late March, Lyric will present the world premiere Native American musical Distant Thunder, written by a mother-son team based on their own family journal. Darrell Waters, a successful young attorney, returns to his childhood home in Montana to broker a deal that can benefit his tribe, the impoverished Blackfeet Nation. He soon faces his reclusive father about their painful past and grapples with the paradigm of what it means to be Native American in the United States. Cultures collide and unite through music, dance, stories and faith as we witness the dawning of a Distant Thunder. The book is written by Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Shaun Taylor-Corbett. Distant Thunder features music and lyrics by Chris Wiseman and Shaun Taylor-Corbett, with additional music and lyrics from Robert Lindsey-Nassif and Michael Moricz. The production will be directed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett. Starring in the production are Shaun Taylor-Corbett (Darrell), Ryan Duncan (Hector), Spencer Battiest (Tonto), Xander Chanucey (Jim Running Crow), Chelsea Zeno (Shareen), April Ortiz (Betty Still Smoking), Brent Florendo (Old Man), Jeff Barehand (White Feather), Matoaka Little Eagle (Grandma Jingle Dress), Carolyn Dunn (Roberta), Katie McCollum (Aiyana) and Johnlee Lookingglass (Sheriff Running Buck).


In June, Lyric heads downtown for its “Summer at the Civic” starting with the family-favorite Roald Dahl’s Matilda, based on one of the most beloved children’s books of all time. The inspiring story of an extraordinary little girl who, gifted with a vivid imagination and a sharp wit, dares to prove that you can change your destiny despite all odds. While surviving a tumultuous life with her unscrupulous parents and tyrannical headmistress, Matilda discovers a secret that will liberate her fellow students. Packed with high-energy dance and songs, this Tony Award-winning musical revels in the anarchy of childhood, the power of imagination and the inspiring story of a girl who dreams of a better life while becoming the greatest little hero. Written by Dennis Kelly, based on the book by Roald Dahl, Matilda features music and lyrics by Tim Minchin and will be directed by Lyric’s Associate Artistic Director Ashley Wells. Amy Reynolds Reed will choreograph and Brian Hamilton will serve as music director.


Up next at the Civic Center, Lyric invites audience members to hand-jive the night away with the hit musical Grease in an all-new production. A secret summer romance between the new girl in town and the school’s coolest cat finds its way into Rydell High’s school year. These were “the good times” where hula-hoops, bouffants and hot rods were all the rage and rock ‘n’ roll was king. Grease will feature all of the unforgettable songs from both the stage production and the movie, including “You’re the One that I want,” “Grease is the Word,” “Summer Nights” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” With book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, the production will be directed by Lyric’s Producing Artistic Director Michael Baron. Grease will be choreographed by Vince Sandoval and feature music direction by Eric Grigg. Patrons are encouraged to dress up for an on-stage costume contest and class reunions will be recognized at each performance.


The summer season culminates with the spectacular Tony Award-winning Best Musical Kinky Boots. Charlie Price has reluctantly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. While trying to save the family business, he finds inspiration from Lola, a fabulous drag entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair find that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible and discover that when you change your mind, you can change your world. Kinky Boots was written by Harvey Fierstein with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, based on the Miramax motion picture Kinky Boots written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth. The production will be directed by Wells, feature choreography from Hui Cha Poos and music direction by Jan McDaniel.


The season returns to the Plaza Theatre in the fall for Head Over Heels, a new pop musical mash-up of royalty and renegades. Featuring direction from Baron, this gender-bending Elizabethan romp follows the escapades of a royal family on an outrageous journey to save their beloved kingdom from extinction, only to discover the key to their realm’s survival lies within each of their own hearts. The laugh-out-loud adventure of dramatic irony and comical courtship is told through verse set to the iconic pop music of the 1980s all-female rock band, The Go-Gos.


Additionally, Lyric will produce two season add-on shows – the children’s favorite The Cat in the Hat (Jan. 23-Feb. 9) and the holiday classic Lyric’s A Christmas Carol (Nov. 27-Dec. 24), both at the Plaza Theatre.


Following the highly successful productions of James and the Giant Peach, Junie B. Jones-The Musical and Curious George: The Golden Meatball, part of Lyric’s Theatre for Young Audiences Series, The Cat in the Hat comes to life in a wild ride of physical comedy. Sally and her brother are stuck home in the rain when a Cat comes knocking at the windowpane. But the Cat has brought friends, Thing One and Thing Two, who make messes and problems and oh, what to do?! Mischief and mayhem and laughter galore, bring the kids – they’ll clamor for more! The co-production with Adventure Theatre MTC is based on the book by Dr. Seuss and will be directed and choreographed by Adam Immerwahr and staged by associate director Matthew Sipress. The production will star Eli Bradley (Boy), Kalyn Glover (Sally), Josiah Brooks (Cat), Lexi Windsor (Fish), Katelyn Curtin (Thing 1) and Kaleb Michael Bruza (Thing 2).


Closing the year, Oklahoma’s favorite holiday tradition, Lyric’s A Christmas Carol, returns for its 10th year – opening the day after Thanksgiving. In Charles Dickens’ timeless tale, three magical ghosts whisk the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge away on an unforgettable adventure of transformation and redemption. Jacob Marley, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, The Fezziwigs and a host of unforgettable characters spring to life in Lyric’s spectacular production sparking the holiday spirit in audiences of all ages. Directed by Baron, the show will feature choreography from Wells. Hamilton will serve as music director with lighting design by Westin Wilkerson, set design by Kimberly Powers and costume design by Jeffrey Meek. Brad Poarch will serve as sound designer for the production, with props designed by Courtney Strong.


Season tickets are available for all six mainstage productions starting at just $235 per person. For more information, visit LyricTheatreOKC.org or call Lyric’s box office at (405) 524-9312.