The musically thrilling, theatrically compelling production of composer Ricky Ian Gordon and librettist Royce Vavrek’s “27” was a great step forward for the company. The piece tells the story of the famous artistic salons held by American ex-pats Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas at their Parisian address, 27 Rue de Fleurus in the mid-20th century spanning the two World Wars.

To enhance the “27” experience, the West Coast premiere of this new work on 26 April was preceded by our own artistic “salon” in which the two creators explained the development of their opera about the milieu surrounding world famous painters, writers, and personalities. The 45-minute presentation at Stinko’s industrial chic floral shop and events center included Ricky singing a selection from “27” to the attentive delight of the rapt full house.

Immediately after, the group adjourned to the adjacent Cockroach Theatre in Art Square for the premiere performance of “27.” The over sold opening night was quite a triumph for all involved, with the creators being brought on stage for curtain call to cheers from the audience who had risen as one to a standing ovation. Both the Las Vegas Review Journal and the online magazine Talkin’ Broadway rendered highly praiseworthy write-ups.

“It’s not often that a new opera comes along—or holds its West Coast premiere in Las Vegas. Thanks to a collaboration between Opera Las Vegas and Cockroach Theatre Company, that’s exactly what is happening this month. And it’s an event not to be missed.” – Talkin’ Broadway

“’27’ is a good pick for opera newbies. It’s very entertaining.” – Las Vegas Review Journal

Adding to the celebratory atmosphere, Mayor Carolyn Goodman issued a certificate proclaiming 27 April 2019 as “27 Day” in Las Vegas and commended all who were part of Team 27 for bringing this prestigious event to the city. Facebook buzz was substantial, and each of the six performances was cheered to the rafters. The Valley Theatre Awards adjudicators honored “27” with the encomium “Valley Recommended.”

Many favorable comments were rendered at the post-show cast meet and greets, and patrons often thanked us for bringing this production to the Valley. Coincidentally, “27” which tells the story of an openly gay couple, opened on “Lesbian Visibility Day.”

Ricky and Royce were very accessible and nurturing during the whole time they were with us. The duo not only presented a great program to voice and composition students at UNLV, but they also met and talked with the cast and crew for 30 minutes before the final rehearsal, providing information, encouragement, and support.

OLV is most grateful that Blue Ash and Luxury Magazine generously sponsored the salon as well as the entire production. Joan Berry and Art Garnett arranged the delicious refreshments. Special gratitude goes to everyone at Cockroach Theatre who proved to be wonderful partners, and provided first rate production elements, venue, technical support, and the mesmerizing stage direction by Daz Weller.

Photos by Richard Brusky