An opera brings vulnerability and grief to the stage through a story inspired by the life of Jackie Kennedy.
Jackie O is a celebration of musical life in the late ‘60s. The pop opera explores the relationship of musical expressions associated with “high-class” and “popular” culture in America.
The production focuses on a woman’s struggle through grief while she becomes the woman we now know as “Jackie O.”
OCU’s production of Jackie O is an Oklahoma premiere of the show, and students said they are excited to set the standard and work with an uncommon, modern piece.
Karlye Whitt, vocal performance junior, plays the lead role of “Jackie O.”
“Playing a lead role is always an incredible opportunity and way to discover who you are as a performer,” Whitt said. “Being Jackie makes that experience even more special.”
The show was chosen to display the students’ ability to sing through many styles of music with ease and grace. The music gives the audience a taste of folk tunes, ballads, pop music, beat poetry, and classic opera.
“I was so nervous for this show. I never would have thought I’d be in an opera in my life,” said Casey Andrews, music theater sophomore. “But now I’m having too much fun with this show.”
Brooke Bradley, music theater senior, plays “The ghost of Jackie Kennedy.” Dr. David Herendeen, opera and music theater director, has adapted the show and added the character, which was not in the original script.
“This change allows the audience to better understand the struggle of letting go of one’s past as I literally haunt the stage, perpetually stuck in a world I no longer belong,” Bradley said. “I am no longer just playing a character, I am playing a woman who existed, who struggled and who fought through terrifying circumstances.”
The production is at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday in Burg Theater in Kirkpatrick Fine Arts Center.
Tickets are available for $10 at okcu.edu/tickets or by calling 405-208-5227.
“Jackie O is vulnerable and witty,” Bradley said. “You will laugh at the many oddities surrounding the time period, you will cry at Jackie’s pain and loss, and you will leave with a better understanding of Jackie’s transformation from Jacqueline Kennedy to Jackie O.”