College of Fine Arts and Design

Summerstock to Resume Production of Outdoor Musicals


Dec 3, 2009

Summerstock Productions, now a partner with the University of Central Oklahoma, will resume production of two outdoor musicals this summer after a year hiatus in production.

To mark Summerstock's return to the stage, the new board chose the classic "Oliver!" and the more recent "All Shook Up" for its summer 2010 season.

 "Oliver!" is based on the Charles Dickens' classic novel about a lonely orphan who runs from an oppressive workhouse and falls in with a gang of youthful pickpockets.  "All Shook Up" is an original story inspired by and featuring the songs of Elvis Presley. The musical premiered on Broadway in 2005.

"The board approved these musicals based on the history of Summerstock's family friendly fare. We are continuing the tradition of quality shows," said Billie Thrash, Summerstock artistic director.

Thrash said that the musicals, which will be performed in the Mitch Park amphitheater in Edmond, offer variety for both audiences and casts.

"'Oliver!' includes an enormous number of roles for boys. We also will be accepting young girls who don't mind playing boys," Thrash said.

"It's very popular for regional theater. It's a poignant story that not only touches people, but can make them laugh as well. And the kids may be pickpockets, but they can be disarmingly charming." 

 "All Shook Up" takes place during a 24-hour period in summer of 1955 in a small Midwestern town.

"Thematically, it's 'Footloose' meets 'Twelfth Night.' There are the mistaken identities of 'Twelfth Night' and the rock-and-roll singing hero - like in 'Footloose' - who inspires the town. It is just great fun," said Thrash.

Songs included in the musical include "Jailhouse Rock," "Love Me Tender," "Heartbreak Hotel," Teddy Bear," Blue Suede Shoes," "Don't Be Cruel"  and the title song, "All Shook Up."

In Edmond, "Oliver!" will be performed during the three weekends from June
17 -July 2. The musicals are performed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights with the exception of the final weekend which will be presented on Thursday and Friday only because of the Fourth of July holiday.

"All Shook Up" will be presented during two weekends from July 15-24. Auditions for the two musicals will be in April and will be open to all performing artists in the area.

"We are planning on keeping Summerstock going every summer. It was enormously successful and we hope to rekindle past support. Every year, we want to get better and better as we go along," Thrash said.

From 2005-2008, the all-volunteer Summerstock Productions produced two musicals each summer. In 2009, Summerstock officially partnered with UCO, which provides professional support from the music theatre, theatre production, artistic and design staffs.

Updated information on Summerstock Productions, including audition dates and details on the 2010 season, will be available at