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2013-14 Season

Music In Person Series: Billy McLaughlin
Since the 1980s, Billy McLaughlin has astounded audiences around the world with music and sounds they never expect to hear from an acoustic guitar. But in 2001 he was diagnosed with focal dystonia, an incurable neuromuscular disorder that rendered him unable to play his own music. Overcoming all odds, McLaughlin taught himself to play left-handed, and he continues to create his complex and rhythmic music. Oakton is proud to kick off its Performing Arts season with this amazing artist.

A Staged Reading

By David Mamet
Pulitzer Prize winning playwright David Mamet tackles the incendiary topic of race—along with guilt, class, and sex—in this fast-paced legal drama. When a wealthy white man is accused of raping a black woman, he seeks out a unique law firm with two partners—one black, one white—and a young, black, female attorney to assist with the case. Together, they must grapple with the evidence, their own biases, and society’s assumptions about race as they debate whether or not to defend the accused.

Noises Off
By Michael Frayn
Take a hilarious peek backstage with this classic farce. Frayn’s “funnier from behind” play-within-a-play, which has delighted audiences for 30 years, returns to Oakton. As the cast of the second-rate comedy Nothing On tours backwater theaters, they struggle with missed cues and lines, misbehaving props and sets, offstage shenanigans, and onstage bedlam. Rapidly deteriorating relationships add to the actors’ woes as every rehearsal and performance hits uproarious show business bumps. Side-splitting comedy guaranteed to tickle your funny bone!

Oakton Follies
It’s baaaaaack! This Halloween, celebrate “The Return of the Oakton Follies”—showcasing our own faculty, staff, and administrators as they strut their stuff. Featuring singing, dancing, musical numbers, sketch comedy, and more, this variety show is an Oakton original—all for a cause so great it’s almost scary. Support student scholarships as you marvel at our talented team. The only “boos” you’ll hear will be from the ghosts in the balcony!

Jazz Lounge
Come in out of the cold and warm up with some smooth beats and hot tunes courtesy of Oakton Jazz Band members. Join this small combo in the converted Performing Arts Center Lobby, framed by Lake Oakton and a beautiful fall landscape.

Dreams and Rainbows Musical Brunch
Master vocalist Eileen Berman and friends welcome special guest David Baker, Oakton vocal instructor, as they sate your hunger for great music and delicious food. Celebrate the Thanksgiving season with a potpourri of songs, musicals, opera arias, and duets by composers ranging from Mozart and Rossini to Gershwin and Hammerstein—set against the backdrop of Oakton’s gorgeous autumnal woods.

Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler from an adaptation by Christopher Bond
The team that turned last season’s How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on its head brings you one of the most chilling musicals ever written. This story of vengeance and culinary horror in 19th-century London will leave you wary of barbers—and meat pies! After a decade of wrongful imprisonment, Sweeney Todd thirsts for revenge over the men who rigged his conviction and destroyed his family. With his sinister landlady Mrs. Lovett he embarks on a bloody, malevolent campaign. Not for the faint of heart!

Speaker Showcase
Don’t miss Oakton’s brightest speech students as they talk the talk and walk the walk at the Performing Arts Center’s newest annual tradition. Join Showcase Director Bob Gynn, and listen up as our students demonstrate their presentation skills on topics the span the spectrum from meaningful to heartwarming to hilarious.

The Winter Noteworthy Festival
Throw off the winter blues and join us in the Footlik Theater as students take the next step in their musical education. Our week-long festival highlights talented student musicians with a variety of recitals.

  • Vocal Recital
    Voice students directed by Eileen Berman, a member of Oakton’s music faculty, perform solos and duets. Audience favorites from Broadway, opera, classical, and contemporary songbooks fill this recital with a little something for everyone.
  • Choral Recital
    An audience favorite, this recital presents a wonderfully warm collection of seasonal selections from the Oakton Community Choir, directed by Eileen Berman.
  • Jazz Invasion
    The legendary Oakton Jazz Band, under the direction of Robert Evans, performs toe-tapping big band hits from the last 60 years of American jazz—accompanied by a visual history of the music. A classic seasonal concert!
  • Guitar Ensemble
    No matter what your flavor—electric or classic—Oakton’s Guitar Ensemble offers something for everyone. Students perform solo and combo pieces under the direction of Tom Clippert, a member of the Avanti Guitar Trio and graduate of Yale University School of Music.
  • String Ensemble
    Celebrate the season with an evening of pizzicatos, ponticellos, and portamentos; all ably performed by Oakton students. Under the direction of Daniel Golden, instructor of strings, the ensemble always provides the audience with beautiful music and some surprises along the way.

Hard Headed Heart
Technical mastery, heartfelt storytelling, and high art converge for an unforgettable night of puppetry with Redmoon Theater founder Blair Thomas. Three stories — The Puppet Show of Don Cristobal, St. James Infirmary, and The Blackbird—make up this amazing performance of traditional hand puppets, rod marionettes, and shadow puppetry. Don’t miss the show the Chicago Tribune described as “nothing short of staggering.”

Jazzin’ Around
Burn off the winter doldrums with a toe-tapping start to our winter Performing Arts season. Oakton music faculty and friends take to the Footlik stage for an amazing night of jazz hits. Led by Mark Olen, instructor of music, Jazzin’ Around features classic and contemporary favorites, with a little something for everyone. This year’s concert will open with the Loyola Academy Jazz band.

The Art and Music of Nature
Fine art meets musical delight when Oakton’s Department of Music and Department of Art and Design join forces for this one-night “happening.” Student artists display their paintings, drawings, ceramics, sculpture, and photography against the backdrop of a special performance by the College’s talented student and faculty musicians—all in the spirit of spring.

Romeo and Juliet
By William Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s most famous and frequently performed play, Romeo and Juliet, has been translated into more than 40 languages, permeating every aspect of popular culture. This stylized and modern telling of the world’s greatest love story, set along the banks of Adige River on the Ponte Pietra, slicing Verona into east and west, pulls the characters and audience into a whirlwind of energy, words, and violence. Despite a world screaming out of control, two young lovers find quiet in each other, and try to break an ancient grudge.

Sorrows and Rejoicings
By Athol Fugard
Wife, lover, and daughter come together in the rural Karoo region of post-apartheid South Africa to mourn the man they all loved: Dawid, a poet who fled the country when the government banned his writing—and then returned home to die. One of Fugard’s most powerful works, this semi-autobiographical play speaks universal truths through ghosts who haunt the characters and seem all-too-real—and fights for some small reconciliation between the twin scourges of racism and exile...and hope for the future.

Six Piano Ensemble
After playing to standing ovations last fall at the University of Wisconsin, the Ensemble brings its musical virtuosity home to Oakton. Founded and conducted by Glenna Sprague, Oakton professor and coordinator of music, the Ensemble has amazed and delighted sold-out crowds near and far for more than 25 years (the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music has invited the group to perform next summer). Showcasing classical, ragtime, and popular music as well as symphonic repertoire transcribed for the pianos by Sprague, the group’s rich, layered sound is comparable to an orchestra, with each pianist playing a different part of a composition. Enjoy an extraordinary concert experience and get your tickets early for this annual favorite!

Rabbit Hole Staged Reading
By David Lindsay-Abaire
How do you survive when your child is gone? Becca and Howie face the aftermath of their son’s sudden death and search for a way out of the darkness. Seemingly a reflection on loss, this Pulitzer Prize-winning script and Tony Award-nominated play takes us further down the rabbit hole to explore the depths of grief. Time does not necessarily heal all wounds and these shattered parents find that their pain only gets harder to bear as each seeks a way up, out, and toward each other.

Spring Noteworthy Festival
Welcome spring with the Noteworthy Festival, Oakton’s traditional season closer. Join the audience for a sparkling array of recitals and concerts in the Footlik Theater and play a role in Oakton’s music education program as the College’s student performers and outstanding music faculty showcase their talents.

  • Guitar Recital
    Fond of five-finger flicking? Don’t miss this musical treat, coordinated by Yale School of Music alumnus Tom Clippert. Featuring solos, duets, and selections from the Oakton Guitar Ensemble, this concert offers something for fans of classical and contemporary guitar music.
  • String Ensemble
    Led by instructor of music Daniel Golden, Oakton’s String Ensemble is enjoying its third year as one of Oakton’s most diverse musical ensembles. Performing a wide range of string selections, these talented musicians never fail to impress—and surprise—audiences with skill and showmanship.
  • Vocal Recital
    Voice students directed by Eileen Berman, a professionally performing member of Oakton’s music faculty, showcase their skill with bright notes and dazzling tunes. Don’t miss the only Oakton recital that features Broadway and classical favorites!
  • Choral Recital
    Eileen Berman returns for a second night of vocal virtuosity, with the crowd-pleasing Oakton Choir. Classic choral pieces and modern songs combine to create a lovely evening of song and voice.  
  • Jazz Invasion  
    A fitting finale to the Noteworthy Festival, Oakton’s Jazz Ensemble was the College’s original musical group. Under the direction of Robert Evans, the big band and smaller combos will delight you with jazz classics and big band hits. There’s no better way to welcome spring!

Speaker Showcase
Be a part of this Oakton tradition! Speech Showcase gives our best speech students the opportunity to showcase their skills to a live audience—including you! Enjoy a one-of-a-kind evening of presentations that inform, delight, amuse, and move you in unexpected ways.

Play On Student Playwriting Festival
Now celebrating its sixth year, PlayOn gives community college playwrights a chance to shine! Be the first to see these one-act plays written by students from Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Proceeds benefit performing arts students at Oakton.

Student Profile

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Jason Nwosu embraces the challenges college brings – both inside and outside the classroom.