(2000)
Music by W.F. Gluck
Lighting Design by [name]
Costume Design by Anna Oliver
Set Design by Allen Moyer

"I wanted to portray the opera during a recent historic period when life was so desperate that the only comforts were community, family and love," said director and choreographer Doug Varone. "When material things are stripped away, we hold on to truths like love." The Great Depression of the 1930s inspired Varone as a time period close enough to our collective memory to amplify the mythological story of Orpheus for a modern audience.

When the stock market crashed in October, 1929, businesses closed, factories shut down and banks failed. Farm income fell some 50% and, by 1932, approximately one out of every four Americans was unemployed. By 1933, 11,000 of the United States' 25,000 banks had failed. As the Depression deepened, a severe drought and huge windstorms swept over the central Plains states, extending from Colorado to Texas. The Dust Bowl forced thousands of families to relocate.

At the same time, the 1930s became the golden age of the Hollywood movie musical. During these desperate times, 40,000,000 Americans were attending movies every week. "Film stars of the 1930s were very much like gods to normal human beings," Varone said. Glamorous film stars such as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in celluloid fantasies such as Top Hat and The Gay Divorcee were helping Americans escape the day-to-day hardships.

As audiences flocked to movie palaces, one 1938 newsreel even went so far as to bid audiences to "Enter the dream house, brothers and sisters, leaving your debts asleep, your history at the door; this is the home for heroes, and the loving darkness a fur you can afford."


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