School of Music, Theatre and Dance

Music, Theatre and Dance season kicks off Sept. 6, will feature more than 250 performances

Events range from musical theatre to modern dance and ‘everything in between’

icon of a calendarAugust 29, 2019

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Music, Theatre and Dance season kicks off Sept. 6, will feature more than 250 performances
Julliard String Quartet
The Juilliard String Quartet.

Oakland University’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance invites you to attend its 2019-20 performance season, which will feature more than 250 performances ranging from musical theatre to chamber music, opera to modern dance, band, choir and everything in between.

“We hope that this season’s events will serve to educate, entertain and elevate our audiences, all in an effort to expand our aural and visual senses, our perspectives, and our concept of movement and space with these diverse performance styles and genres,” said SMTD Director Amy Hardison Tully.

The season kicks off with a performance of Orestes at 8 p.m. Sept. 6-7 and 2 p.m. Sept. 8 in Varner Studio Theatre. The play, a new version by OU Theatre Professor Karen Sheridan and based on the original by Euripides, was also performed in June on the Greek island of Hydra by a group of 10 OU students who travelled to Greece to study, rehearse and perform the production in the island’s outdoor amphitheater.


“In Orestes, Orestes was told by Apollo that he had to avenge his father’s death, which means he had to kill his mother because she killed Agamemnon,” Sheridan said. “The play asks how you judge Orestes if the gods, or in this case Apollo, told him to do it. The citizens gather to argue the case and if need be, determine the punishment. Art reflects life here as the idea of democracy was new. An anonymous vote is taken. It is both a rich family story and an intensely political one.”

Attendees are asked to pay what they wish in advance, with a $5 minimum on the day of the performance.

The 2019-20 performance season will continue with the Chamber Music Society of Detroit at Oakland University series, which kicks off at 3 p.m. on Sept. 29 with the Juilliard String Quartet. The series will also include performances by Imani Winds with Tian Tian (piano) at 3 p.m. on Nov. 3; Gryphon Trio at 3 p.m. on Jan. 26; and Curtis on Tour – Vera Quartet with Meng-Chieh (piano) at 3 p.m. on March 15.

This year, the SMTD will also celebrate the music, humanity and legacy of Ludwig van Beethoven, who is regarded as one of the most magnificent artists in the history of western music, by presenting his 32 piano sonatas in a 10-concert series starting in October 2019 and ending on the composers 250th birthday on Dec. 17, 2020.

“No one in the history of music can inspire like him,” said Tian Tian, associate professor of music at OU. “One can always hear in his music how real his struggles were, and how he never ceased to find light in every darkness life casts upon him.”

In addition to Orestes, the OU Department of Theatre’s Secondstage Series will also include Facing Our Truth: 10-minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege from Dec. 5-7 in Varner Lab Theatre; A Trip to Broadway: Scenes, Songs, and Snippets from Dec. 2-3 in Varner Studio Theatre; Major Barbara from April 16-18 in Varner Lab Theatre; and Nightclub Cabarets from April 7-8 and April 13-14 in the Hemingway Room at 139 S. Main Street in Rochester.

Also during the 2019-20 season, performances on the Mainstage will include: Urinetown from Oct. 10-20 in Varner Studio Theatre; Blue Stockings from Nov. 14-24 in Varner Studio Theatre; Macbeth from Feb. 6-16 in Varner Studio Theatre; Cabaret from March 26-April 5 in Varner Studio Theatre; and The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse on May 15, 17 and June 5 in Varner Recital Hall.

Other highlights of the 2019-20 performance season include:

Repertory Dance Company

• The OU Repertory Dance Company, under the direction of Associate Professor of Dance Thayer Jonutz, will present an evening length dance work at 7:30 p.m. on March 27 at Hillcrest Hall and 7:30 p.m. on March 28 at the Engineering Building that will engage the senses via movement, music, costumes and unique lighting — all designed for the interesting architecture in two different sites on the Oakland University campus. Admission is free.

• Performances by special guests to campus, including Haruna Walusimbi and Regina Carter. Walusimbi — a Grammy Award winning multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, dancer and one of Uganda’s most celebrated artists — will perform on Oct. 20, Nov. 2 and Nov. 22. Carter, a renowned violinist and OU’s artist-in-residence, will perform on Nov. 18, March 16 and March 19.

• Eisenhower Dance Detroit and Take Root, OU’s professional dance companies-in-residence, will be performing in Varner Recital Hall. On Oct. 26-27, Eisenhower Dance Detroit will present Eye of the Beholder, a program featuring Artistic Director Stephanie Pizzo and the EDD dancers as they investigate the literal and figurative dimensions of perspective, how it shapes judgment, and what impact it has on culture and society. On March 6-7, Take Root will present Take Root in Berlin and Other Obscure Dreams, which will begin with a special presentation by Take Root’s Dance for Parkinson’s Disease Program and Arts Education Program.

• Oakland Dance Theatre and OU Repertory Dance Company will present their annual showcase on Dec. 5-7. The showcase will feature works choreographed by OU dance faculty and guest artists Dušan Týnek and Bailey Allshouse.

Josh Young

• Josh Young, an assistant professor and OU’s newest theatre faculty member, will perform show tunes from the catalog of Andrew Lloyd Webber on Jan. 24 in Varner Recital Hall. Young was nominated for a Tony Award for his Broadway debut as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar.

• The Oakland Symphony Orchestra’s 2019-20 season will begin Oct. 6 with Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op. 21 by Felix Mendelssohn; The Yellow River Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by Xian Xinghai/Yin Chengzong featuring Tian Tian (piano); and Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven. Additional OSO performances will be held on Nov. 2, Feb. 16, and April 14.

• The Young Choreographers Forum will take place from April 16-18. This annual showcase will feature works choreographed by talented student choreographers and guest artist Zvi Gotheiner.

Ticket sales begin Sept. 3 and can be purchased online at, by phone at (800) 514-3849, or in person at the Varner Hall Box Office (outside of the recital Hall) or the Office for Student Involvement (OSI) service window in the lower level of the Oakland Center.

For more information, visit


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