College of Fine Arts and Design

UCO's Broadway Tonight Series Presents 'Little Mermaid' Star Jodi Benson and Young Voices of Edmond

August 19, 2010jodi benson

The University of Central Oklahoma's Broadway Tonight series will kick off its 2011-2012 season with Jodi Benson and the Young Voices of Edmond at 7:30 p.m., Fri. Aug. 26 and Sat. Aug. 27 in UCO's Mitchell Hall Theater.

Benson received worldwide recognition and critical acclaim as the voice of "Ariel" in the Academy Award-winning Walt Disney animated feature film "The Little Mermaid," as well as the bubbly voice of "Barbie" in Disney's "Toy Story 2."  She is the resident guest soloist for the Walt Disney Company/Disney Cruise Line and ambassador for feature animation.

Benson has also been recognized for her performances on Broadway.  She has received a Tony Award nomination and a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for creating the starring role of "Polly Baker" in the Tony Award-winning Broadway Ira Gershwin musical "Crazy for You."

Benson's other Broadway credits include "Doria Hudson" in the Howard Ashman and Marvin Hamlisch musical "Smile," "Betty Bursteter" in Cy Coleman's "Welcome to the Club," and "Virginia" in Kenny Ortega's "Marilyn: An American Musical."

"This is going to be a really fun program with something for everyone.  We will perform both Disney and Broadway favorites, which will be fun for the whole family," Benson said.

The Young Voices of Edmond, a community choral group consisting of more than 100 children, ages five through 15, will perform with Benson.  Sequoyah Middle School choral director, Angie McKenna, organizes the choral group.

This is the second year the Young Voices of Edmond will have the opportunity to perform alongside a Broadway star. Last August, as part of the 2010-2011 Broadway Tonight series, the group performed with Andrea McCardle.  McCardle is best known for her performance in the title role of the 1977 Tony Award-winning musical "Annie."

During Benson's visit she will lead a music theatre master class for Central music theatre students.

"I am really passionate about working with students and see this as a perfect opportunity to do what I love to do. Central's music theatre students have a lot of talent, and I am excited to get to work with them," Benson said.

A reception is scheduled following the Saturday evening performance, offering audience members a chance to meet Benson and the Young Voices of Edmond.

For tickets, call UCO's Mitchell Hall Theater box office at (405) 974-3375.