Imagine that Sarah Palin and Bill Allen got together and started a reality television show. To make it really Alaskan, they held tryouts and invited drunks, strippers, ice-road truckers, troopers and politicians, including one Democrat recently turned Republican.
Throw in a few fishermen, lumberjacks, a giant vegetable farmer and a dog musher, set it to the music of Johann Strauss' classic operetta "Die Fledermaus," and you might have a sense of what the newest production from Anchorage Opera is about.
To make this chaotic casting come together, the opera hired former Alaska playwright Deborah Brevoort to rewrite the libretto, setting the story in modern day Anchorage (or perhaps more accurately, taking well-known Alaskans from today and setting the story in what resembles the notoriously seedy Anchorage of the early 1980s).
As Anchorage Opera director Kevin Patterson warned the audience before the student dress rehearsal on Wednesday, "If you're not offended by the end of the show, you probably missed something." Poking fun at everyone and everything "Alaskan," especially the current fascination with Alaska reality television, the production is a smart and funny nod to the wildly successful Fly-By-Night Club revues put on in Spenard by the legendary Mr. Whitekeys.
Anchorage Opera's production of Die Fledermaus runs April 4, 5 and 6 on the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts' Discovery stage.
Disclosure: Loren Holmes is the production photographer for "Die Fledermaus."