Set in Stalin-run 1953 Soviet Union, Life of the Party is a commission of the LaGuardia High School Opera Workshop. Paul Lincoln, who helmed an inventive production of Kismet for the Workshop last season, also directs the world premiere.
The dark comedy features a cast of over 60 LaGuardia students and a student orchestra of over 45. Performances are scheduled for May 3-6.
Here's how it's billed: "Life of the Party tells the story of a director who, denounced by his wife and star actress, is released after 10 years’ hard labor in Siberia and ordered by Stalin to make a communist movie musical to compete with 'Singin' In the Rain,' 'On The Town' and the other musical films pouring in from the West. The film he's ordered to make – 'The Happy Bandit,' a thinly veiled ode to Stalin himself – is a suicide mission. But hungry for freedom and a chance for revenge against his wife, he agrees to direct. And production begins, complete with temperamental stars, secret police informers, and a chorus of women from the local insane asylum."
O'Keefe and Benjamin's Legally Blonde recently played a run at Harvard University, where the musical is set. Both writers are alumni of the school. The two also collaborated on Sarah, Plain and Tall and Cam Jansen.
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at laguardiahs.tix.com. Performances will take place at the Concert Hall at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, 100 Amsterdam Avenue.