USAO Students Get Musical This Spring With “A Man of No Importance”

A photo of students in the spring theater production on a rough stage taking direction from Professor Katie Davis
Contemporary musical is the first collaborative production of the School of Visual and Performing Arts

The University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma’s School of Visual and Performing Arts will highlight the skills of art, music and theatre students for the spring 2023 term with the production of the musical “A Man of No Importance,” with book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens.

Performances will take place March 30 through April 1 at 7:30 p.m. and April 2 at 2:00 p.m. in the Davis Hall Little Theatre. Tickets are $20 and will be available at the door.

Based on a 1994 film of the same name, “A Man of No Importance” tells the story of a community theatre group as they struggle to stage a production of Oscar Wilde’s “Salome,” despite objections from church authorities. Set in 1964 Dublin, the musical focuses on local bus conductor and director of the amateur company, Alfie Byrne, his struggle to comes to terms with his homosexuality and how his family, actors and the conservative Catholic community react to it becoming known.

“This musical is about how we rely on community and how we find joy and escape in putting on a show,” said Katie Davis, professor of theatre arts and production director. “This is more than a ‘coming out’ story. There are several characters who are facing the judgement of their friends, and the resolution is heart-warming, positive, and a model for how we might all face confusing times. It has been my joy to be directing a play about how theatre can touch people. I’m excited to share it.”

The film version of “A Man of No Importance” starred Albert Finney and received positive reviews from critics. The musical premiered in 2002 in Lincoln Center, winning the 2003 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical. A revival production ran in 2022 at the Classic Stage Company in New York featuring Jim Parsons, of “Big Bang Theory” fame, in the title role.

The USAO theatre arts program holds productions each fall and spring which support the interdisciplinary mission of the university. Students from all majors work in a broad range of theatrical styles, develop acting skills in extended rehearsals, and practice behind-the-scenes roles ranging from costuming and stagecraft to arts management. With its focus on applied theatre, this program graduates students with a thorough grasp of creative and communication skills required to stage a successful theatre production and the versatility to use this experience in a variety of career paths.

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