From ‘The Magic Flute’ to ‘Shrek’: ASU’s Lyric Opera Theatre announces lineup for 2016–2017

The cast of ASU Lyric Opera Theatre's production of "The Drowsy Chaperone," on stage.

The cast of "The Drowsy Chaperone," presented by ASU's Lyric Opera Theatre in spring 2016.


For 53 seasons, the Lyric Opera Theatre program at ASU has showcased the talents of student singers, dancers and actors in operas and musicals.

This upcoming season promises to continue the tradition with operas and musicals that include one of Mozart's greatest works and a show based on the movie "Shrek."

The program is also launching two new initiatives, including the Lyric Opera Theatre Lab, which features entirely student-driven productions, and a New Works Reading series at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center. Lab productions will take place throughout the year and will be announced at a later date.

“Our season represents great works from the past four centuries, each centering on important social issues of their time,” said Brian DeMaris, associate professor and artistic director of the Lyric. “We are also proud to be producing three works by female composers: Jeanine Tesori’s ‘Shrek the Musical’ on the main stage season, as well as readings of two new works by female composers and librettists — one opera, one musical — both involving ASU alumni. We’re excited to welcome Andrea Jill Higgins and Beth Morrison back to ASU for these exciting new projects.”

The program also presents several smaller projects each year, including a Musical Theatre Showcase, which will be held at the Phoenix Theatre this year, and the traditional end-of-the-semester Opera Scenes program.

Here are the upcoming performances:

"H.M.S. Pinafore" 
Music by Sir Arthur Sullivan
Libretto by W. S. Gilbert
Conductor: Brian DeMaris
Director: Dale Dreyfoos
Choreographer: Molly Lajoie
Performances: 7:30 p.m., Sept. 29-30 and Oct. 1; 2 p.m., Oct. 2 

Lyric Opera Theatre sets sail for the season with Gilbert and Sullivan’s ever-popular comic operetta “H.M.S. Pinafore,” a delightful parody of the British class system in Victorian England where “the high seas” meets “the high C’s.” This nautical treasure is filled with effervescent and tuneful music, hilarious stage action, and colorful scenery and costumes in a show for all ages.

"Babe: An Olympian Musical" (new work reading)
Music by Andrea Jill Higgins (Lyric Opera Theatre alum)
Book and lyrics by Carolyn Gage
Performance: 6 p.m., Nov. 6 at ASU Kerr Cultural Center

The Lyric is proud to present a reading of this new musical composed by ASU alumna Andrea Jill Higgins and librettist Carolyn Gage, based on the story of the great American athlete Mildred “Babe” Didrikson. Full of music that is beautiful, big and brassy all at once, the story follows Babe’s career from high school basketball star to Olympic gold medalist to vaudevillian sideshow to first woman on the professional golf circuit. You will leave inspired by this brilliant new musical and the incredible woman it portrays. This performance is appropriate for ages 13 and up.

"Guys and Dolls" 
Music and lyrics by Frank Loesser
Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows
Director: Toby Yatso
Conductor: Miles Plant
Choreographer: Molly Lajoie
Performances: 7:30 p.m., Nov. 17-19; 2 p.m., Nov. 19-20 

Frank Loesser’s classic “musical fable of Broadway” has captivated audiences for decades with its colorful characters, iconic music and endearing story about love, honesty and finding one’s true calling. Set in Damon Runyon’s mythological New York City, where disparate groups such as gamblers, evangelists and show girls come together, the story centers around a group of gamblers trying to find a place for a game, while their girls have different priorities in mind. This show is appropriate for ages 13 and up.

"The Magic Flute" 
Music by W.A. Mozart
Libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder
Conductor: Brian DeMaris
Director: Dale Dreyfoos
Performances: 7:30 p.m., Feb. 23-25; 2 p.m., Feb. 26

“The Magic Flute” has long been hailed as one of the greatest musical masterpieces of all time. Mozart’s heavenly music provides the perfect setting for this timeless fairy tale, which is an enchanting blend of magic, mystery, lofty Masonic ideals and earthy humor that is truly Shakespearean in its scope. The opera will be sung in German with English dialogue, and it is an ideal introduction to opera for audiences of all ages.

"Love: An Opera in One Act" (new work reading)
(Excerpts from a work in progress)
Music by Ellen Reid
Libretto by Roxie Perkins
Produced by Beth Morrison (ASU/Lyric Opera Theatre alum)
6 p.m., April 2 at ASU Kerr Cultural Center

“Love” tells the story of a mother, V, and her daughter, L, who have locked themselves away from the world in order to heal L from a mysterious sickness that grows from within her. However, between the awakening of a new symptom and L’s maturing relationship with her chorus of imaginary friends, L and V’s carefully constructed world begins to crumble — causing L to question her mother’s motivation for locking them away and the very validity of her sickness. “Love” explores humans’ desperate need to make sense out of senseless situations, and the different ways we attempt to heal after a trauma — both one another, and ourselves. This performance is appropriate for ages 13 and up.

"Shrek the Musical" 
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Book and Lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire
Director: Matthew Wiener
Conductor: Josh Condon
Choreographer: Molly Lajoie
Performances: 7:30 p.m., April 20-22; 2 p.m., April 22-23

Based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks film, Jeanine Tesori’s “Shrek The Musical” is a Tony Award-winning fairytale adventure that brings all the beloved characters you know from the film to life on stage, and proves there’s more to the story than meets the ears. An unlikely hero finds himself on a life-changing journey alongside a wisecracking donkey and a feisty princess who resists her rescue. Irreverently fun for the whole family, Shrek proves that beauty is truly in the eye of the ogre.

Ticket prices: $11 – Flash Friday, $21 – adult (for all dates except Flash Friday), $15 – faculty, staff, alumni, $12 – senior, $10 – group (minimum of 10 tickets), $8 – student.

Tickets are on sale as of Aug. 1 for the general public. Save 25 percent by ordering tickets to three or more Herberger Institute events per person by Sept. 15. A $2 handling fee applies to all orders, and a web per ticket purchase fee will apply.

Summer box office hours are 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and  and 1:30–4:30 p.m., Monday–Thursday.

To order tickets and find more information on the complete season, call the Herberger Institute Box Office at 480.965.6447 or visit

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