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Deitrik, played by Dave Mussen (center), criticizes Maston, played by Scott Norvell (left), and Margaret, played by Ashley Lynch, in Nightingale Theater's production of "Grass."

Below: "There's this love triangle and a power struggle, and ultimately it's about Maston gaining the courage to stand up to the bad guy," Norvell said.

Photos by STEPHEN HOLMAN / Tulsa World


Knocked out for a class assignment, ‘Grass’ musical took root and grew into a full-scale production

It's been said that comedy is hard, but Scott Norvell says that going for laughs was a way to play it safe in creating "Grass," a musical comedy about love and lawn care.

He received a letter from his Oral Roberts University instructor the summer prior to taking a course in stage directing that informed him he would have to select a show to produce for the class.

"I've always liked to write music, and I thought, 'Hey, why don't I write something? Why don't I write a musical?'" Norvell said. "So I put together this musical about a lawn care service, and I made it a farce, so that just in case it was really bad, I could say, 'Isn't that funny? It was really bad.'"

The really funny thing is: "Grass" turned out to be quite good and was well-received by the instructor and others, said Norvell, who also staged it as part of a showcase at ORU.

Following graduation with a degree in church music, he went to work expanding the 15-minute production to about a one-hour program, which he will premiere Thursday night at the Nightingale Theater.

"Grass" tells the story of three employees of a lawn care service: the "bad guy" who owns the service, Deitrik (played by Dave Mussen); Margaret (Ashley Lynch), the woman to whom Deitrik is engaged to be married; and Maston (Norvell), who dreams of owning his own lawn service and loving Margaret.

"There's this love triangle and a power struggle, and ultimately it's about Maston gaining the courage to stand up to the bad guy," Norvell said. "It kind of satirizes a lot of different musical theater elements, and it's all music and song, kind of like opera. There's maybe a couple of spoken lines, but all the rest is music."

The author will present "Grass" second on the bill each night, following what he terms as a sneak preview of five or six songs from another show he's creating, "Star Quest," about a pair of space travelers stuck with a robot sidekick who tries to take over the world.

"I hope I'll be able to stage the whole thing later," Norvell, 24, said. "But I'm still working on other things, other orchestral works, and I wrote a symphony."


THEATER

"Grass" and "Star Quest," original musical comedy

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, also 7:30 p.m. May 8-10

Where: Nightingale Theater, 1416 E. Fourth St.

Tickets: $5, may be reserved by calling 446-6809


Michael Smith 581-8334

michael.smith@tulsaworld.com

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