For forty one seasons, The Ohio Light Opera has dedicated itself to the exploration and production of the best of traditional operetta and musical theater. Founded by James Stuart as a Gilbert and Sullivan repertory summer festival, the company has grown to encompass all forms in the light opera canon. This includes the complete Gilbert and Sullivan repertoire, as well as the recognized treasures from the Viennese, French, Hungarian, German, British, and American repertoire. In recent years, the company has expanded its offerings to include traditional musical theater—rare musical gems as well as popular works that are nevertheless being produced less often today. Composers represented include Adler and Ross, Berlin, Bernstein, Bock and Harnick, Gershwin, Kern, Leigh, Lerner and Loewe, Loesser, Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Rodgers and Hart, Styne, Sondheim, and Willson. Along with this unique mission, the company also reconstructs and produces those rare operetta titles of artistic value that were popular in their own times but have long since been forgotten. The historical performance practices of each work premiered are delicately balanced with the resources of a state-of-the-art theater and engaging and entertaining performance values. Each summer, between seven and nine titles are presented in a revolving format of approximately 60 performances over an eight-week period. Nearly 20,000 patrons each season see productions in The College of Wooster’s intimate Freedlander Theatre.
Over 120 company members from around the United States are selected each year to become a part of our residency program. The 40 performing artists who make up the vocal ensemble are chosen for their abilities to perform and work at the highest level in all disciplines demanded by the company’s specialized repertoire: singing, acting, and dancing. With 150 titles produced, over 300 productions, and over 750,000 patrons watching, The Ohio Light Opera has become the forerunner in promoting the lyric theater genre. The company’s contribution to the preservation and promotion of traditional lyric theater has received recognition in prominent national and international publications and its work is frequently cited by leading scholars of operetta and light opera. In residency on The College of Wooster campus, the summer festival offers a country setting with an inviting community that is proud of the unique service this company has given to its many patrons and to the art form.
In this time of reflection on our society’s social injustices, the Ohio Light Opera (OLO) reaffirms its commitment not to discriminate against any employee, program applicant, or student on the basis of race, color, religion, sex/gender, gender identity, or gender expression. As a part of The College of Wooster, we are committed to ensuring equitable opportunities for all company members to learn, work, create, and thrive. For over 40 years, Ohio Light Opera has produced historical titles in the spirit of being faithful to the original material. We make every effort to balance the past’s artistic ways with the sensitivities expected from our present society. Although words may be omitted and stereotypes refuted, OLO performance editions sometimes contain evidence of prejudices prevalent at the time of a work’s creation. To completely ignore these prejudices, or change the work entirely, would be the same as not acknowledging or recognizing that they existed.
College of Wooster non-discrimination statement
—Steven A. Daigle