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Published by Uncovering Oklahoma – Read original article here

Originally published on January 21, 2015

Christopher Sieker as Miss Bible Belt - Photo 2 by KO Rinearson

Lyric Theatre’s PAGEANT

Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma will open its much-anticipated 2015 Season with six unique contestants vying for Miss Glamouresse in PAGEANT, a musical comedy beauty contest. Opening at Lyric’s Plaza Theatre January 28 and running through February 15, PAGEANT’s contestants experience the thrill of success and the agony of defeat every night as each audience chooses their own winner. After successful runs of this show in 2004 and 2006, Lyric is excited to bring this crowd pleaser back to Oklahoma City.

“PAGEANT is a side-splitting night at the theatre, perfect for the post-holiday blues,” said Michael Baron, Lyric’s artistic director. “These talented and hopeful ‘ladies’ want nothing more than to bring home the title, and will stop at nothing to get it. Watching the contestants find out who wins and who loses alongside the audience makes for an hilarious and charming evening of theatre.”

The cast includes several performers regularly seen on Lyric’s stages, including Monte Riegel Wheeler (DISNEY’S THE LITTLE MERMAID, MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT) as Frankie Cavalier, James Michael Avance (DISNEY’S THE LITTLE MERMAID) as Miss West Coast, Tanner Hanley (BYE BYE BIRDIE) as Miss Texas, Ross McCorkell (ALTAR BOYZ) as Miss Industrial Northeast, Sheridan McMichael (BIG RIVER) as Miss Great Plains, and Christopher Sieker (THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, XANADU) as Miss Bible Belt. The cast also includes Lyric newcomer Shane Pruitt as Miss Deep South.

To talk more about Lyric’s production for this Performing Arts Q&A is Ashley Wells, Lyric’s associate artistic director and the director of PAGEANT.

What five words would you use to describe Pageant?
ASHELY: Hilarious, Zany, Outrageous, Unique, Fun

Now, using more than five words, what’s it about?​
ASHLEY: PAGEANT is about six unique contestants vying for the title of Miss Glamouresse. In this musical comedy beauty contest, we see the “ladies” experience the ecstasy of success and the agony of defeat as each audience chooses their own winner. It’s a side-splitting night at the theatre, perfect for the post-holiday blues.

What are some unique aspects for your version of Pageant?​
ASHLEY: Our set is very unique. I don’t want to give anything away, but it turns into something unexpected. Also, our costumes are beautifully funny. Jeffrey Meek, our costume designer, has done an amazing job on bringing each character to life. ​

What was the biggest challenge with this production?​
ASHLEY: There are a few things to work on with this production. Most importantly, the men acting as women are not trying to be “drag queens”. There is a very fine line and finding that line can be difficult. Also, the actors learning how to walk in heels- I have had fun watching them do that.​

What scenes or moments do you and the actors enjoy?​
ASHLEY: The scenes I enjoy the most are the ​talent portion of the competition. Each contestant has worked really hard on their talent. Some of the things they have come up with are crazy.

Has working on this show changed your views on pageants?​
ASHLEY: Not really, I have never had a strong opinion one way or another regarding Pageants. The women in Pageants work really hard and our ladies are probably working a little harder. Pageants serve a wonderful purpose for women and girls and with this show we get to have a little fun with that.​

Why should one see it?​
ASHLEY: For pure entertainment. You will leave this show with a smile on your face.​

Anything else you want people to know?​
ASHLEY: By the end of the evening, you will find yourself rooting for a particular contestant. The show is for everyone.