Lyric To Stage Regional Premiere Of GIRLFRIEND

Jump back to a time when flannel was the height of fashion and mix tapes were the language of love. Lyric Theatre presents the regional premiere of this coming-of-age love story - Girlfriend - later this month at Lyric at the Plaza, 1725 NW 16 St.

In collaboration with Washington, D.C.'s Signature Theatre, this production set in a small Nebraska town in the early 1990s follows two recent high school graduates, Mike and Will, and their quest to find love and acceptance.

Girlfriend opens Wednesday, Feb. 27, running through March 17, on the theatre's Paula Stover Stage. It is inspired by Matthew Sweet's alternative rock album of the same title and features an all-female rock band with direction from Signature's Matthew Gardiner.

Jimmy Mavrikes is making his Lyric Theatre debut as Will, a role he also played at Signature. Returning to Lyric in the role of Mike is Ian Marcontell, last seen in Lyric's 2018 Summer at the Civic production of Mamma Mia!

College-bound Mike and self-assured Will rush into summer love in Alliance, Nebraska, at a time before the Internet was abundant or any recognizable gay or lesbian characters graced American television screens. Will thinks he's the only gay person in Nebraska - maybe even the world - while Mike struggles to come to terms with his own sexuality and his relationship with his own girlfriend. Both are careful what to reveal, especially to each other.

What first drew Gardiner to the piece was its beautiful simplicity. Like the recent movies Love, Simon and Call Me By Your Name, this is an important story for its lack of complication. It's depiction of a gay experience is relatable - everyone falls in love the same way. Plays like Angels in America and films like Philadelphia explore the trauma of the AIDS crisis and the political struggles of the LGBTQ+ movement, and while those are vital stories, this production portrays a gay story normalized without the layer of suffering. Everyone remembers their first love - the awkwardness, the butterflies and that soaring emotion when you realize your feelings are returned.

A special Pride Night, sponsored by The Gayly, is scheduled for Thursday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m. with a pre-show reception at 6:30 p.m. Lyric is also hosting its inaugural Diversity Organizer Forum later this month with leaders from the LGBTQ+ community to discuss the production.

This week, theatreWashington announced the nominees of its prestigious Helen Hayes Awards, and Girlfriend received eight nominations, including Outstanding Production in a Musical, an Outstanding Lead Actor nod for Mavrikes, as well as recognition for direction, musical direction, and sound, lighting, and set design. The 35th annual awards ceremony will be presented in Washington on May 13.

Written by Todd Almond and music and lyrics from Sweet, Girlfriend includes music direction by Britt Bonney, scenic design from Misha Kachman and costume design by Frank Labovitz. Colin K. Bills will provide lighting design, and the sound designer is Ryan Hickey.

Single tickets to Girlfriend start at just $25. For more information, visit LyricTheatreOKC.org or call Lyric's box office at (405) 524-9312.

About Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma

Founded in 1963, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma is the state's leading professional theatre company. Lyric produces classic and contemporary musicals, new works, and plays featuring artists from Oklahoma and around the nation. Shows are presented at two Oklahoma City venues - the intimate Plaza Theatre and in the summer at the grand Civic Center Music Hall. Lyric's Thelma Gaylord Academy is the premier professional theatre training ground, offering classes in all aspects of the performing arts. Lyric is a nonprofit member theatre of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre and Allied Arts. For more information, visit www.LyricTheatreOKC.org.

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