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Native American musical featuring Spencer Battiest heads to Oklahoma City

Some of the main characters in “Distant Thunder” are from left, Shaun Taylor-Corbett, Ryan Duncan, Spencer Battiest and Xander Chauncey. (Photo Lyric Theatre)

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma will open its 2022 season this spring with the Native American musical “Distant Thunder,” whose cast includes Spencer Battiest from the Seminole Tribe. Battiest, who grew up on the Hollywood Reservation, plays the role of Tonto in the performance.

The production was originally slated as part of Lyric’s 2020 season, but after Covid-19 forced a two-year delay, “Distant Thunder” will be staged at the new First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City from March 23-27. Sponsorship opportunities as well as single and season tickets are available.

The production centers on Darrell Waters, a brash, young attorney, who returns to his childhood home in Montana to broker a deal that can benefit his tribe, the impoverished Blackfeet Nation. He soon faces his reclusive father about their painful past and grapples with the paradigm of what it means to be Native American in the United States. Through a childhood sweetheart, Dorothy Dark Eyes, he rediscovers his identity and feels his perspective shift – his clever business deal will destroy her language school, further erode Blackfeet culture and taint their land. Cultures collide and unite through music, dance, stories and faith.

A scene from a promotional video for “Distant Thunder” includes Spencer Battiest in the upper right corner. (“Distant Thunder” Hold on With Intro video).

In addition to Battiest, casting includes: Shaun Taylor-Corbett (Darrell), Ryan Duncan (Hector/Sam Silver), Xander Chauncey (Jim Running Crow), Jonathan Lynch (Smudge), Chelsea Zeno (Shareen/Tourist), April Ortiz (Betty Still Smoking), Brent Florendo – Sitwallapum (Old Man), Jeff Barehand (White Feather), Matoaka Little Eagle (Grandma Jingle Dress), Karsten Tate (Roberta/Tourist), Katie McCollum (Aiyana), Johnlee Lookingglass (Sheriff Running Buck), Angela Gomez (Dorothy Dark Eyes), Aiden James Łe:ldin Rogers (Young Darrell) and Chava Florendo (Pow Wow Singer/Musician).

Lyric received a production grant, part of the Frank Young Fund for New Musicals, from the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) to assist with the production of “Distant Thunder.” Additional show support has come from the The Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the Osage Nation Foundation, Citizen Potawatomi Nation/Grand Casino, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes/Lucky Star Casino, Sac and Fox Nation and others.

In addition to his stage performance, Taylor-Corbett is also a co-writer of the musical with his mom, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, who is the director and choreographer.

Click here to see a promotional video for the show.

For more information and tickets visit LyricTheatreOKC.org or call Lyric’s box office at (405) 524-9312. For information on how to support Distant Thunder through individual donations or sponsorship opportunities, contact Kerrie Brinkman-White at (405) 524-9310, ext. 211 or Kerrie@LyricTheatreOKC.org.

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