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The Scarecrow Marks Second-Ever Performance

Michael Dezort (Scarecrow) and Allison Stanford (Polly) in the ASU Herberger MainStage Lyric Opera Theatre production of The Scarecrow, Nov. 17-Dec. 2.

Photo by Tim Trumble, courtesy Herberger College of Fine Arts.

October 24, 2006

TEMPE, Ariz. The ASU Herberger College MainStage Lyric Opera Theatre presents The Scarecrow. Composer Joseph Turrin conducted the world-premier performances in February 2006 at the University of Texas at Austin. The Lyric Opera Theatre production is the first not directly involving Turrin and marks the second ever staging.

“Turrin designed the show specifically to showcase the voices of performers who are in their mid- to late 20s,”says William Reber, artistic director of the Lyric Opera Theatre. 

The Scarecrow also is underwritten by a two-year, 12-school commissioning consortium, which includes ASU, Yale, University of Michigan, Michigan State University and the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. Local patrons can experience performances Nov. 17-18 and Dec. 1-2, 2006 in the Evelyn Smith Music Theatre on the ASU Tempe campus. 

Gary W. Hill, director of bands, is the musical director, and the show is guest-directed by professional stage director Graham Whitehead. 

“It’s a bit of a mix of Frankenstein and Pinocchio,” Whitehead says. “On one level, it’s a thoughtful piece about the redemptive power of love – on another level, it’s an existential examination of the theory that existence precedes essence, which I think makes it a very interesting opera.”

Set in Colonial Massachusetts, The Scarecrow is an operatic adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Feathertop: A Moralized Legend The story follows a living scarecrow who was fabricated by his “mother” and animated by the devil to take revenge against a hypocritical, well-to-do neighbor. The scarecrow beguiles the neighbor’s innocent niece, but becoming more human than his “mother” had intended, he falls in love with the girl.

Tickets for The Scarecrow are $7-$22 and available online at or through the Herberger College Box Office, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays, and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays, 480-965-6447. Show times are 7:30 p.m., Nov. 17-18 and Dec. 1-2. Performances are held in the Evelyn Smith Music Theatre, 40 E. Gammage Pkwy., ASU Tempe campus.

The School of Music in the Herberger College of Fine Arts at Arizona State University is ranked 19th in the country and eighth among public institutions by U.S. News & World Report. More than 100 music faculty artists and scholars work with approximately 800 music majors each year in research, performance and scholarly activities. It presents approximately 700 concerts and recitals each year. To learn more about the School of Music, visit