Images: Ohio Light Opera Brings Music to the Air

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The Ohio Light Opera is a professional repertory theater devoted to the American and British light comic operas of the late-19th and early-20th centuries.


The Ohio Light Opera, a professional company in Wooster, Ohio, is one of the only places in the country where you can hear live performances of operettas and light operas.

The company was founded in 1980 by Stuart Churchill, who was then the chairman of the music department at The College of Wooster. He had the idea to start a summer festival dedicated to operettas, a genre of music that was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Since its inception, the Ohio Light Opera has performed over 100 different operettas and light operas. The company offers both fully-staged productions and concert versions of shows. It is also known for its educational programming, which includes workshops and classes for both children and adults.

In addition to its performances in Wooster, the Ohio Light Opera also takes its shows on the road. The company has toured throughout the United States and Canada, as well as to Europe and Asia.

History of the Ohio Light Opera

The Ohio Light Opera was founded in Wooster, Ohio, in 1978. The company performed its first season in 1979. Since then, it has become one of the leading professional summer stock companies in the United States, known for its productions of operettas and musicals from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The company is based at the College of Wooster, where it performs in the Freedlander Theatre, a 514-seat venue that is part of the university’s performing arts complex. The company’s season typically runs from late June to early August.

In addition to its mainstage productions, the Ohio Light Opera also presents concerts and educational programs throughout the year. It has been featured on National Public Radio and BBC Radio, and its productions have been broadcast on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s Broadway Station.

The Ohio Light Opera Today

In the nearly four decades since its founding, The Ohio Light Opera has become one of the country’s most respected summertime destinations for fans of light opera and musical theater. Each season, the company presents an eclectic mix of classic operettas, classic musicals, and Independent Productions – usually three different Production Companies performing in repertory. All told, more than 50 different titles are performed over an 8-week period.

The Future of the Ohio Light Opera

After 52 years of presenting musical theater in the idyllic college town of Wooster, Ohio, the Ohio Light Opera (OLO) is facing an uncertain future. The company, which was founded in 1969, has been a staple of the Wooster community, entertaining audiences from all over with its unique brand of light opera.

However, the OLO is facing financial trouble and may not be able to continue operating in its current form. The company has been forced to cancel its 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is unclear if it will be able to rebound financially. If the OLO is unable to find a way to stay afloat, it would be a devastating loss for the Wooster community and for the art form of light opera itself.

The OLO has been working hard to raise money and awareness in hopes of avoiding a shutdown. It has launched a fundraising campaign and has been working with local businesses to try and drum up support. The future of the OLO is still very much up in the air, but there is hope that this unique company will be able to weather the storm and continue entertaining audiences for years to come.

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