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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

OPAS to begin 50th ‘Golden Anniversary’ season

MSC+OPAS+celebrates+50+years+of+bringing+performing+arts+to+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+this+year.
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

MSC OPAS celebrates 50 years of bringing performing arts to Texas A&M this year.

Over the past 50 years, the Opera and Performing Arts Society, or OPAS, has showcased performances that have dazzled audiences with fierce intensity, comedic lightness and poetic beauty alike. 

Texas A&M OPAS will kick off its 50th anniversary season in Rudder Auditorium this month with two performances of Neil Berg’s “Fifty Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll” on Sept. 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. As part of its Golden Anniversary season, OPAS will celebrate 50 years with performances nostalgic to the past, showcases embracing the present and new productions looking toward the future. “Legally Blonde,” “Anastasia,” “STOMP,” “The Simon & Garfunkel Story” and “Winnie the Pooh” are just some of the productions on tour this season. 

OPAS Executive Director Anne Black said she wanted to start the momentous season off on the right beat and said Broadway composer Neil Berg knew just how to do that.

“We can’t wait to rock out and are thrilled to kick off the 50th season in September,” Berg said. 

According to the OPAS website, “50 Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll” brings back five decades of the edgy music genre that took the world by storm. This Broadway production will feature the era-defining songs of rock pioneers, such as Ray Charles, the Beatles, Arethra Franklin, Janis Joplin, Aerosmith and Elvis Presley, among others.

“This is our third time playing [at] Texas A&M, and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of something so special,” Berg said.  “We love the audiences, the backstage crew, the technical team — all pros and the very best people to work with.”

The Memorial Student Center OPAS Student Committee, known as the “Opasites,” is one such dedicated, behind-the-scenes organization that is committed to introducing the performing arts to Aggieland. 

Anthropology senior Madie Gereighty, director of publicity and advertising for the MSC OPAS student committee, said this season, OPAS presents some of its most striking and exhilarating performances. Gereighty said she is most excited to see “Dublish Irish Dance” in February and that it will be a melodious evening of dancing.

“Our smaller shows always surprise me — they’re a ton of fun and find interesting ways to involve the audience,” Gereight said.  “I am also excited to see ‘Legally Blonde,’ ‘My Fair Lady,’ ‘Anastasia,’ and ‘Our planet.’”

“It’s safe to assume I am excited for every show we’re bringing. The shows are hand selected by the OPAS Board and never disappoint. They take into consideration every member of the community, young and old.”

For Gereighty, OPAS is more than just a stage for grand performances and she recalled a showcase from last spring that illustrated how OPAS impacts the community. 

“I was assisting a mother and son to their seats, and when we walked into the auditorium, they both gasped in delight,” Gereighty said. “They told me they were from El Paso and had just moved to the area. They saw our advertisement for the show and bought tickets because they never lived close enough to a city that hosted broadway performances.”

“They were in shock at how big the stage was and told me they had never seen one that big before.,” Gereighty said. “As they took their seats, I could see the mother wiping her tears because she was so excited to allow her son to see a Broadway show.” 

With a fervent conviction, Gereighty said the long-established productions of OPAS have done what they do best for 50 years: presenting creative shows with resounding messages worth sharing.  

“OPAS doesn’t just enlighten and entertain. We provide shows that inspire conversations that should be addressed,” Gereighty said. “All of the shows we bring for education outreach offer more than entertainment; they’re there to provide an educational experience for the children who watch.”

History senior Mattie Calhoun serves as the MSC OPAS’ Student Committee Chair and, like Gereight, believes in OPAS’ mission to reflect a culture’s values and aspirations through performing arts. 

“Since 1972, OPAS has maintained its mission of enlightening, entertaining and inspiring this community,” Calhoun said. “OPAS is a hallmark of the arts here at Texas A&M, and this significant milestone represents the longstanding tradition it has kept and will continue to be kept for 50 years more.”

Calhoun is most excited for “Anastasia” in March, a sumptuous fairy tale about a young amnesiac princess, Anya, in post-Revolutionary Russia seeking her way home amid war and chaos.

“I relate to her story of finding her true identity with the help of those around her,” Calhoun said. “That, I feel, is what we experience on a daily basis here at Texas A&M — we surround ourselves with people that bring out our best qualities and, in doing so, find ourselves through one another.” 

The OPAS 2022-23 season invites the community to experience performances that will usher audiences into OPAS’ magical, sacred arena of imagination — productions that will leave viewers absorbed in thought long after the curtains have dropped. Gereighty said there is much anticipation for the momentous golden season. 

“Hitting 50 years is an achievement that is truly one of a kind,” Gereighty said. “[This] is our biggest year yet. We are bringing more big names in one year than we ever have before. It is not something you are going to want to miss.” 

Tickets to all of OPAS events are on sale now. For ticketing information and the whole 50th-anniversary season schedule, visit opastickets.org.

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