Cast chosen for Southeastern Opera Workshop's “It’s Only Life”

Thursday, September 5, 2013 
by: Tonya Lowentritt

It's Only Life rehearsalLEADING THE WAY – Guest Stage Director Ken Goode, foreground, leads a rehearsal with the cast of "It's Only Life" scheduled at Southeastern's Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts on Sept. 19 and 20. From left are Benjamin Vollentine, Jonathan Dupre, Kristina Temple, Provence Hatfield, Nicholas Smith, Alyssa Hernandez, Jeremy Lloyd, Emily Wright, Dana Arthu, Chase Ledet, and Analynn Sober. Not pictured is Kayla Blanchard.

HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University's Opera/Music Theatre Workshop will present the Broadway musical revue "It's Only Life" on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 19 and 20, at 7:30 p.m. at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts in downtown Hammond.

Lyricist and composer John Bucchino's songs have been performed and recorded by renowned pop (Art Garfunkel, Judy Collins), theatre (Liza Minnelli, Patti LuPone, Kristin Chenoweth, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald), cabaret (Barbara Cook, Michael Feinstein), and classical (Yo-Yo Ma, Deborah Voight, Nathan Gunn) artists as well as The Boston Pops, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The revue has played in in venues including Carnegie Hall, The Metropolitan Opera, The Hollywood Bowl, The Sydney Opera House, London's O2 Arena and the White House.

"The show is a music revue, which means that there's no plot, no spoken lines. It's a collection of about 25 of Bucchino's songs; there are a lot of solo songs, but also some duets and larger ensemble numbers," said Chuck Effler, director of the Opera/Music Theatre Workshop. "There's no story line, but, of course, each song has its own unique story to tell. There is a song about the midlife crisis of an artist, love songs – lots of love songs, but not always happy love songs – a song about relationships, a song about taking stock and taking charge of one's life, a song of extreme gratitude, one about mentally painting a kitchen as a psychological exercise, a song about a pretty girl's smile, a song about sucking up to a powerful man just because he's powerful."

Opera Workshop welcomes guest stage director Ken Goode for this production. Goode attended Southeastern in the fall of 2005 as an evacuee from Tulane University in New Orleans.

"I've kept in touch with him over the years, and last spring he asked me to conduct the orchestra for a student production for Tulane's Music Department that he was directing. I was so impressed with what he did with the students that I asked him if he'd like to direct something for me."

Effler said there are no character names; the cast will be indicated in the program using their own names. The cast, in alphabetical order, is comprised of Dana Arthur (Abita Springs), Kayla Blanchard (Lafayette), Jonathan Dupre (Luling), Provence Hatfield (Amite), Alyssa Hernandez (Ponchatoula), Chase Ledet (Schriever), Jeremy Lloyd (Baton Rouge), Nicolas Smith (Ponchatoula), Analynn Sober (Lake Charles), Kristina Temple (Amite), Benjamin Vollentine (Covington), and Emily Wright (Slidell).

Effler will serve as musical director and pianist, as the show is written for piano instead of orchestra; Department of Fine and Performing Arts faculty member Steve Schepker is designing the sets; theatre student Lynsey Manley will design the lighting. Brent Goodrich of Sulphur will serve as the assistant director, Mindy Guidroz of Houma will serve as stage manager, and Rebecca Fife of Pearl River is the projection designer.

Advance tickets are available at the Columbia Theatre box office Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will also be available beginning one hour prior to each performance. Ticket prices are $21 for adults; $16 for seniors, Southeastern faculty/staff and non-Southeastern students; and $8 for children twelve and younger. Southeastern students are admitted free of charge with their university ID.

"It's Only Life" is a new musical revue, with music and lyrics by John Bucchino, conceived by Daisy Prince and John Bucchino and originally directed by Daisy Prince; the world premier was June 21, 2008 at the Rubicon Theatre Company. Originally presented Off-Broadway at SPF-04, "It's Only Life" is presented through special arrangement with R&H Theatricals:

For more information about the Opera/Music Theatre Workshop contact Effler at

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