Getting the Community Involved
In 1979, faculty and students from the Music Department and the Theatre Department
(separate entities at that time) teamed with Hammond’s community theatre, Columbia
Theatre Players, to present the first in a long line of summer Broadway musicals,
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Southeastern provided the stage director, orchestra and conductor, musical director,
scenic, lighting and costume designers, and rehearsal spaces; CTP provided a performance
venue, a stable of community actors and funding for production expenses. Actors and
backstage crew for that first summer show were a mix of Southeastern students and
The collaboration continued almost every summer through 1991. In 1993 Opera/Music Theatre Workshop held a two week summer musical theatre camp for children and high school students that culminated in a production of Cinderella.
In 2001, Opera/Music Theatre Workshop began presenting summer musicals again with
a production of Annie. In 2003, Oliver! was presented in the historic (and newly renovated) Columbia Theatre for the Performing
Beginning with Annie, the summer productions have had two unique features: (1) each production has had a professional director and choreographer; the remaining creative staff (set, costume and lighting designers, musical directors and conductors) have been Southeastern faculty and staff; and (2) each production has been chosen specifically to allow as many children as possible to participate. Over 100 children grades 3 12 have participated in summer musicals since 2001, and over 6,000 audience members have seen the kids’ performances. Community casts, both children and adults, come not just from Tangipahoa Parish, but also St. Tammany, Washington, Livingston, East and West Baton Rouge and Ascension Parishes.
Because of the high costs associated with presenting large musicals (with an average cast of 70), Opera/Music Theatre is currently able to produce shows only in alternate summers.
2009: Peter Pan
2007: The Wizard of Oz
2005: The Music Man
1991: My Fair Lady
1986: The Sound of Music
1985: Guys and Dolls
1984: South Pacific
1983: Fiddler on the Rood
1982: The Music Man
1981: Man of La Mancha
1979: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum