2018 Kicks Off With VIOLET at Olathe Civic Theatre Association

2018 Kicks Off With VIOLET at Olathe Civic Theatre Association

Olathe Civic Theatre Association (OCTA) begins 2018 with the award-winning musical Violet, an inspiring story of a girl with a disfiguring scar who sets out on a journey to seek healing and finds her true beauty along the way. With book and lyrics by Brian Crawley, music by Jeanine Tesori, and a story based on "The Ugliest Pilgrim" by Doris Betts, this production is helmed by local theatre veterans Julie Ewing (director) and Kevin Bogan (music director). Violet runs three weekends February 9-25, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm.

Set in 1964, Violet won both the Drama Critics' Circle Award and the Lucille Lortel Award as Best Musical for its touching script and show-stopping anthems ranging from American-roots to folk to gospel. Speaking of her experience with the show, director Julie Ewing says, "I saw a production of Violet at Wichita State and couldn't get the message or the music out of my head. It is simple yet complex and I enjoy stories that not only entertain but challenge the audience to reflect and think." Ewing is thrilled to be back at OCTA and credits her first acting teacher, the late Jan Conner (OCTA co-founder and frequent performer), for her connection with the theatre. Ewing directed OCTA's wildly popular Little Women in 2014 and is slated to direct South Pacific at Theatre in the Park this summer.

Music director Kevin Bogan is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his first production with OCTA having directed Leading Ladies there in 2008. He was also music director for the theatre's production of The Great American Trailer Park Musical in 2010. Up next, he'll work on Urinetown: The Musical at The Barn Players and Overture, a new musical, at the KC Fringe Festival and The Arts Asylum. For now, Bogan is delighted to work with many new and returning local actors in Violet including: Larissa Briley, a newcomer to Bogan who he credits as "a tremendous talent as Violet"; Nathaniel Rasson, a soldier who is a dreamer and go-getter; Austin Stang who plays Monty, Flick's friend and fellow soldier who's looking for a good time; and Matt Richardson as the revival preacher, last seen at OCTA in Little Women in 2014.

Both Ewing and Bogan are excited to work with the 13-member cast to bring Violet to the OCTA stage. Ewing gushes, "They can individually belt their faces off and bring it down, and blend beautifully in the choral numbers." Ewing expresses her hope that "...the audience will feel like they are sitting right next to us on the bus" as they experience this unique story. Bogan adds that "... much of the dramatic tension happens within the musical settings of monologues, scenes, and production pieces. The story and music in Violet are subjects that everyone deals with including acceptance, forgiveness, and social stereotypes. This weighs heavily in the book and in the music and submerges the audience through the quest of one woman to find all the answers to these questions." Bogan's favorite songs include "I Am On My Way" and "Bring Me to Light" as the opening and closing ensemble numbers.

Join OCTA to witness the following local talent in this uplifting production: Larissa Briley (Violet), Nathaniel Rasson (Flick), Austin Stang (Monty), Bridget Walsh (Young Vi), Michael Scahill (Father), Joy Richardson (Old Lady, Hotel Hooker), Matthew Richardson (Preacher, Radio Singer, Bus Driver 1 and 4, Bus Passenger), Tyler Hileman (Virgil, Billy Dean, Bus Driver 2, Radio Singer, Bus Passenger), Renee Blinn (Music Hall Singer, Choir, Bus Passenger), Matt Pollock (Leroy Evans, Choir, Radio Singer, Bus Driver 3, Bus Passenger), Ashley Jones (Almeta, Lula Huffington, Choice, Bus Passenger), Alyson Golladay (Bus Passenger, Choir), and Mark McNeal (Bus Passenger, Choir).

In addition to Ewing and Bogan, the production team includes: Annette Cook (costume designer), Joshua Finch (sound designer), Ken Schmidt (set designer), Betsy Sexton (stage manager), Cheryl Singers (set foreman), Zoe Spangler (lighting and projections designer), Sarah Bergeson (assistant stage manager/props), Quinn North (dramaturg), and Peter Leondedis (OCTA production manager).

Violet Extras:

February 9: Opening night attendees will be treated to a post-show celebration with the cast and production team and will be among the first to see the latest updates to the theatre (more below).

February 18: Join us for a talkback after the show on Sunday, February 18th. Director Julie Ewing and the cast of Violet will talk with Lauren Ward, coming to us live from London! Lauren, a native of Kansas City, created the role of Violet in the original production at Playwrights Horizons in New York City and will share her experiences and stories of the creation of this wonderful musical. Lauren was also nominated for a Tony Award for her role as Miss Honey in the critically acclaimed Matilda, The Musical.

Due to strong language and adult situations, Violet is recommended for ages 14 and above.

Tickets are available online at www.olathetheatre.org or at the door an hour before performances. OCTA season ticket holders are encouraged to make seating reservations early by calling 913-782-2990 or by e-mailing tickets@olathetheatre.org. Adults $18, seniors (55+)/students/military $15, and groups (8 or more) $13 prepaid.

A Special THANK YOU | Building Update: We're Over Halfway There!
As part of OCTA's $130,000 fundraising campaign to make critical repairs and updates to the organization's 147-year-old building, the board is thrilled to announce that, with the help of patrons, the theatre met the $10,000 calendar year end match offered by an anonymous donor. Combined with a generous grant from The Sunderland Foundation and efforts from board and volunteers, this has allowed OCTA to complete phase one of the work to the interior of the building, most of which can be seen during the run of Violet. Fundraising for phase two, which consists of primarily outdoor projects such as painting/siding, replacement of the parking lot, two new HVAC units, and more, continues, with the goal to complete the work this summer. To read more, visit olathetheatre.org/donate.

Olathe Civic Theatre Association is a 501c3 all volunteer organization producing theatre in Olathe since 1974. Performing in the Buddy Rogers Family Playhouse, OCTA produces five high-quality, engaging, and thought-provoking theatre productions a year. Through the generosity of volunteers, season ticket holders, and donors, OCTA has grown into one of the most progressive community theaters in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Receive updates by liking OCTA's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/olathecivictheatre and following OCTA on Instagram and Twitter at @OCTATheatre.


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