Musical Theater Convocation Set for Feb. 25

Feb. 23, 1999

by Richard Veit

Two leading figures on today's musical theater scene will appear at Baylor University this week, as Baylor ShowTime! and the School of Music's division of music education present "Perspectives in Musical Theater" with Cheri Coons and Phil Reno. This special convocation will take place at 4:10 p.m. Thursday in Roxy Grove Hall.

Coons enjoys a multi-faceted career as a lyricist, playwright and performer. Since 1988, she has collaborated on a dozen new musicals for Chicago theater, many of which have gone on to regional and/or touring productions. These new works include Sylvia's Real Good Advice, an adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Phantom of the Country Opera, Labors of Love, The Liar's Opera, and most recently, Female Problems: An Unhelpful Guide. Her comic novelty songs have been featured on "Good Morning America" and "Today." As a performer, Coons has appeared at many Chicago venues, including the Pump Room at the Ambassador East Hotel. Today's Chicago Woman magazine also named Cheri one of "100 Women Making a Difference in Chicago."

Reno just conducted the sold-out run of the new stage musical How the Grinch Stole Christmas at the Old Globe Theatre, and last summer conducted A New Brain at Lincoln Center. He has had numerous associations with the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber. For two years, he conducted the Broadway production of Cats, and for more than a year he conducted the touring production of Starlight Express. He was also the musical director for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (starring Donny Osmond) and the original musical director for the world premiere tour of Music of the Night. Reno provided new arrangements for Tim Rice's latest version of Chess, and more recently, he was musical director for Jenifer Lewis' The Diva Is Dismissed. He has toured internationally as a conductor in Sweet Charity.

"Perspectives in Musical Theater" is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Baylor School of Music at 710-3991.

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