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Famous Oklahoma City University Alumni Perform

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Issue date: 2/11/07 Section: News
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Some of OCU's most famous alumni will return to the city next month to honor longtime music professor Florence Birdwell.

Tony Award-winning actress and vocalist Kristin Chenoweth, Tony-nominee Kelli O'Hara and former Miss America Susan Powell will headline the evening of performances at Starry Night, a fundraiser event for the Florence Birdwell endowment. Starry Night will begin at 8 p.m. March 30 at the Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave.

Rounding out performances will be OCU alumni Lara Teeter, Barbara DeMaio Caprilli and John Sawyer. The singers, all former students of Birdwell's, will join with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic for Broadway songs and lighthearted humor that will pay tribute to Birdwell throughout the evening.

The event will create an endowed professorship at OCU's Wanda L. Bass School of Music.

Birdwell, a master teacher and performer, studied under the legendary Inez Silberg at OCU as an undergraduate and graduate student before beginning her teaching career at the university. She received Oklahoma's highest arts honor, the Governor's Arts Award, in 1985 and has received woman of the year honors from the Girl Scouts of America, the Association for Women in Communications and others. She is an OCU Distinguished Alumna and is in OCU's Performance Hall of Honor.

Chenoweth, who was featured in "Wicked" and "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," debuted at the Metropolitan Opera on Jan. 19 becoming the second musical theater performer presented by the Met. She also is scheduled to return to the Met in 2010 to play the role of Samira in John Corigliano's "The Ghosts of Versailles."

O'Hara earned Tony nominations for her roles in "The Light in the Piazza" and "The Pajama Game" where she appeared opposite Harry Connick Jr. Other Broadway credits include "The Sweet Smell of Success," "Dracula," "Sondheim's Follies" and "Jekyll and Hyde."

Powell, Miss America 1981, hosts the Discovery Channel's "Home Matters" television show. She has performed at the New York City Opera and in various venues around the country.

Among Teeter's Broadway credits are his Tony-nominated role as Junior Dolan in the revival of "On Your Toes." A soprano, Caprilli has received international acclaim. Sawyer appeared on Broadway in "The Civil War" and has appeared at numerous regional theaters.

Starry Night is an Oklahoma centennial event. Ticket prices range from $12 to $62 and can be purchased by calling 842-5387. Performance tickets are also available at all Civic Center ticket outlets. Tickets to the reception can be purchased for $100 by calling Wendy Smith at 208-5290. The reception will follow the Starry Night performance.
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