‘Sweets By Kate’ soon to open at White Concert Hall

Matthew L. Self

Interested in a witty, engaging and comedic opera performance that is relevant to the times? Then “Sweets By Kate” may be for you.

Featuring many of the talented performers from the theater and music departments at Washburn, “Sweets By Kate” is not your average performance. Many hijinks occur during the opera including an encounter with Satan and dealing with an angry town all the while being injected with comedy throughout. There are some very real and relevant conversations that take place in the play concerning sexual orientation and acceptance as the main characters of the performance are a pair of lesbians.

The opera is set in a small town in 1950s and focuses on a lesbian couple, Kate and Elizabeth, who must travel back to Elizabeth’s hometown to take over what was left behind by her father who passed away. The local townsfolk are not supportive of Kate and Elizabeth’s relationship and the couple must overcome the initial difficulties they encounter upon arriving in the town. The couple eventually open a bake shop in the town all the while struggling to overcome the acceptance of the locals.

The opera has been performed elsewhere but this is the first time it will make its appearance at Washburn. The cast includes 17 students who are music majors and minors and is being run by Lara Brooks, lecturer in the music department.

One of the cast members, Sienna Haynes, is a senior vocal performance major at Washburn who will be playing the role of Elizabeth in the upcoming opera. This will be her last performance at Washburn before she graduates and she had some choice words for those who are interested in “Sweets By Kate” or who may be skeptical of it.

“The opera just shows another loving couple who are experiencing the passage of a loved one and who wish to continue his legacy while dealing with whether the town accepts them,” Haynes said. “Regarding any negative feedback, I invite people to come see the show and support it. All music and performances are made to enrich our lives and challenge us as people. Come see it.”

Brooks also spoke about how unique the performance was in the operatic world. There are few performances like it in the world as it offers a rather different story than one we are used to hearing. It has a surprising number of lead female characters.

“The performance promotes a lot of interesting female lead characters who must overcome challenges in their community that resonate with many people today,” Brooks said. “There is only one other opera in existence that features a lesbian couple. This performance takes a serious topic and is funny while it does so.”

The performance will run on April 25-28. The performances will be at 7:30 p.m. from April 25-27. The final showing will be at 3 p.m. April 28. Each performance will be at White Concert Hall. Tickets will run at $10 per person while students with a valid Washburn ID will be able to get tickets for $5 a piece. The music department encourages all to attend this quirky performance and witness the talents of the students partaking in the event.