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Coming this weekend: Missouri State offers world premiere of new musical based on Oscar Wilde's 'Dorian Gray'

Poster design courtesy Missouri State University Theatre and Dance

Missouri State University Theatre and Dance presents the world premiere production of the musical "In Vain." It's a satirical take on the Oscar Wilde gothic novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray," this weekend in Craig Hall Coger Theatre.

It's the work of frequent collaborators Cristina Pippa, from the Missouri State University Department of Media, Journalism and Film—who wrote the book for the show—and New York-based composer and lyricist Sharon Kenny.

The female protagonist named Vivian Wilde (in honor of 19th-century poet and playwright Oscar Wilde) is a stunningly beautiful young woman who has no idea what she looks like, as her mother, an eccentric Hollywood actress, has never allowed mirrors in their house in order to keep her child from developing personal vanity.

After the mother dies prematurely, a celebrity photographer shoots a perfect picture of Vivian. Upon viewing it, she makes a fateful wish to remain as young and beautiful as she is at that moment. (You probably know what happens to the photo portait....) "In Vain" satirizes pop culture's obsession with youth, beauty and fame, with a musical score that veers from modern pop to Gothic-era organ sounds.

Cristiana Pipp and Sharon Kelly joined us on "Arts News" to talk about their longtime collaboration, and about getting this world-premiere production on the Coger Theatre stage this weekend, including last-minute changes and inspirations.

Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job has evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning Arts News. Stewart assists volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He's also become the de facto "Voice of KSMU" in recent years due to the many hours per day he’s heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's Ozzie Award in 2006.