8 February 2004
This year, Lyric Theatre, the mainstay of local musical theatre, decided that there might be some audience for off-Broadway, non-mainstream stuff, and established something called Second Stage to mount productions that you might not think would go over in sanitary central Oklahoma.
Judging by the crowd at the Civic Center's Little Theatre today, they needn't worry. Pageant: The Musical Comedy Beauty Contest, Second Stage's debut offering, satirizes that American institution nine ways from Sunday, mocking insipid talent competitions, brainless "spokesmodels" and vapid production numbers, and throwing in just a hint of backstage backstabbing. It's screamingly (I almost said "hysterically," but that wouldn't do, would it?) funny, and the ending might be different every night, since members of the audience actually pick the winner. (Earning the tiara today was Miss Great Plains, who in her talent spot performed a bit of wayward oratory called "I Am the Land.")
All in all, it was a wonderful two hours of silliness, complete with an actual wardrobe malfunction, made more ironic by the fact that the victim also serves as Lyric's costume designer. (Of course, as a Southern belle, she never lost her sense and sensibility for so much as a second.) I have no idea what the second offering from Second Stage will be, but I'm there, Jack.