‘Freak Flag’ flies

Valencia College presented it’s Opera Theatre Workshop on Dec. 9 and 10 at Valencia’s East Campus Black Box Theater.

The event, which has been done every semester for the past ten semesters, showcased various talents of the musical theatre and opera genres. This year’s theme and title of the event was “Freak Flag.”

“[Freak flag] is about embodying the thing that makes you different,” said John Clayton, the director of the musical theatre portion of the show and Valencia alumnus. “We have a lot of talent here at Valencia.”

The musical theatre portion of the show featured various numbers from different musicals such as “A Very Potter Musical,” “Dreamgirls,” “La Cage Aux Folles,” “Legally Blonde,” “Memphis,” “Company,” “RENT,” and “Shrek: The Musical.”

“We worked really hard this week,” said performer Jordan Smith who played Albin, a gay man who has to try to pretend to be straight during the performance of “Masculinity” from the musical “La Cage Aux Folles.” This is Smith’s second semester in the Opera Theatre Workshop.

The most powerful performance of the musical theatre portion comes from Paul Hambidge, who sang “I’ll Cover You (Reprise)” as the character, Collins, from the musical “RENT”.
“It was so powerful,” said Smith. This is Hambidge’s third semester in the Opera Theatre Workshop.

The other portion of the event was the opera “Dido and Aeneas” by Henry Purcell. The heartbreaking story was directed by Alan Gerber, part of the Music Department at Valencia. “I’m a fan of Baroque opera,” Gerber said.

Dido, the main character, was played by guest artist and Valencia faculty member, Cheryse McLeod Lewis. She is a classically-trained singer and has performed professionally across the United States. “It was so wonderful to have her do that for us,” Gerber said.

The night showcased much of Valencia’s talent ranging from theatre to opera and even the tech crew. “We’re lucky to have the tech classes and light classes collaborate with us,” Gerber said.

The Opera Theatre Workshop is a fantastic opportunity for Valencia to showcase some of it’s brightest stars. If you missed this semester’s shows, have no fear, there will be more to come.