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July 25, 2007

Louisiana Lyric Opera joins cultural economy movement; Lt. Gov Landrieu to attend “The Pirates of Penzance”

The state’s only professional summer stock theatre, Louisiana Lyric Opera (LLO), is quickly gaining momentum. On Aug. 16, the opening night of “The Pirates of Penzance,” ULM will welcome Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, whose attendance will commemorate LLO’s induction into the World Cultural Economic Forum (WCEF).

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor, together with the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism, developed the forum to leverage the state’s unique heritage and to ensure that it remains the driving force and embodiment of a global cultural economy.

The WCEF is a week-and-a-half-long series of events including “Cultural Passport Events” and an “Executive Session.” LLO, the professional resident company of the University of Louisiana at Monroe School of Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA), has been chosen as a Cultural Passport Event.

Of this distinct honor, VAPA director Keith White said, “We are thrilled that Lt. Gov. Landrieu has chosen the LLO as one of the Cultural Passport Events. Culture and the arts have always had an economic impact, and that's part of LLO’s mission. The Lt. Governor’s visit and being a part of WCEF will help fulfill the missions of both organizations.”

Landrieu’s support benefits ULM, LLO and the region, President James Cofer said. "We anticipate the upcoming visit from Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu and sincerely appreciate his vote of confidence in the Louisiana Lyric Opera and ULM. Contributing to the economic and cultural vitality of this state is a natural consequence of so many talented people working together for the betterment of our students' futures."

The WCEF will conclude during the weekend of the 24th in New Orleans with an Executive Session, where leaders from around the world will convene to discuss best practices for growing cultural industries as key segments of a global economy.

Of the new initiative, Landrieu said, “We launched the Cultural Economy Initiative to grow jobs through Louisiana's culture - including the state's music, food, film, and arts,” he said. “We appreciate the enthusiasm and diversity each Cultural Passport Event brings to the state and we encourage visitors to get a taste of everything Louisiana has to offer by attending.”

More about the WCEF:

Fashioned after the formative years of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the WCEF is a series of statewide events that will convene annually on the anniversary of hurricanes Katrina and Rita to demonstrate the resilience of our culture. In this demonstration year, opportunities to elevate cultural enterprise as a cornerstone for a growing economic sector in Louisiana will be a focal point.

Building from the success of the three previous Louisiana Cultural Economy Summits, the Forum is anticipated to develop in the coming years, attracting cultural ambassadors, educators, arts and cultural leaders from around the world, complete with a series of events, programs, exhibitions, workshops and performances designed to demonstrate the emergence of culture economic growth in Louisiana, the nation and internationally.

“Louisiana has tremendous potential to grow the cultural economy,” said Secretary Angéle Davis, Secretary, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. “Our culture is what holds our people together, and by showcasing this asset on an international level, we hope to build an economic engine that will support our state for years to come.”

In 2007, the initial forum will focus on laying the foundation for a healthy cultural economy, building investment and financing new cultural economic models, and utilizing culture to find common higher ground in communities and across the globe.

The objectives of the Forum are to provide a space where matters of cultural economy will be discussed and best practices shared, to promote greater participation in international dialogue and exchange, and, by doing so, to promote culture as a means of sustainable development.

To get a full listing of the World Cultural Economic Forum’s events, please go to

More about Louisiana Lyric Opera's upcoming season:

Little Shop of Horrors”
Aug. 1 - 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Aug. 5 at 2 p.m. in Spyker Theatre.
Ticket price: $25

The show takes place in the 1960s on a skid row in a large U.S. city. Three “down-and-out but loveable” characters dominate the plot: Mushnik, the owner of a florist’s shop; Seymour, an orphan he took in off the streets; and Audrey, his pretty young employee who dreams of a better life. Seymour finds a plant that is really an alien from outer space. It generates interest that helps business and changes everyone’s lives.

The show is full of satirical comedy, slapstick humor, 1960s style songs, and a surprise ending. The musical won several awards in 1983 and again in 2004. It is a satire of the original film, a 1950s science fiction farce of the same name.

“Cabaret Dinner”
Aug. 1 - 4 at 6 p.m. in BlackBox Theatre.
Ticket price: $20

“Cabaret entertainment has become the rage in New York this past year. Many big name stars are presenting a solo cabaret act in restaurants and night clubs. We thought we’d offer it to our theatre community too. Folks can have dinner, be entertained, walk around the corner and see a great show all in one evening,” said Keith White, VAPA director.

“The Pirates of Penzance”
Aug. 16 - 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Aug. 19 at 2 p.m. in Brown Theatre.
Ticket prices: $35, $25, $15

This version is the 1981 Tony-winning adaptation of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, complete with songs and antics. In Act I, a band of pirates; an apprentice, Frederic; and Fredric’s nanny, Ruth, are swashbuckling on a beach and find the daughters of an illustrious major general out for a picnic. The pirates capture the daughters. Their father arrives and negotiates their freedom.

In Act II, the pirates attack the major general’s house, and a group of policemen fight to protect it and the daughters.

The show, referred to as “rollicking fun from beginning to end,” ends happily as several misunderstandings are revealed.

To reserve tickets or inquire about season tickets, call VAPA at (318) 342-1414. Additional information about the Louisiana Lyric Opera is available at

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