OTA taps into Tom Lehrer’s repertoire

Mathematician’s music finds relevance today in ‘Tom Foolery’

‘Tom Foolery’

What: The music and lyrics of Tom Lehrer

Where: Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave.

When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, May 13-14, 20-21; 2 p.m. Sundays, May 15, 22

Tickets: $10 at the box office 1-5 p.m. Monday-Friday or call 683-7326


Nearly 60 years later and the humor and insight in satirist Tom Lehrer’s songs remain relevant today.

Ranging from pollution to war to race, some of the Harvard-educated math professor’s greatest hits come to Olympic Theatre Arts for its second stage show “Tom Foolery” from May 13-22.

Anna Andersen directs the musical revue with Karen Pritchard directing music for an ensemble of seven performers — Kath Beecher, Lily Carignan, Jayna Orchard, Victoria Redhed Miller, Mike Roggenbuck, Olivia Shea and Richard Stephens.

The cast switches between solos and ensembles for 19 tunes that includes Lehrer’s popular works including “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park,” “The Elements” and “New Math.”

Andersen said there’s a lot of freedom with the production and it’s up to them which songs they could choose from a large selection.

Typically performed with four singers, Andersen said they are going with seven because she was “really taken with how all the different personalities fit together.”

Andersen said she’s a lifelong Lehrer fan and grew up listening to him before she even understood the jokes.

“I learned a lot about the world from Tom Lehrer,” she said. “I learned about plagiarism, politics, pornography, the Periodic Table of Elements. I remember going to my parents and asking them what things meant like sadomasochism.”

Many of the songs begin with introductions and are presented by veterans and newcomers in the cast including author Redhed Miller.

“(The revue) will make you laugh and think and it’s good music,” Andersen said.

Tickets are not available online and only at the box office from 1-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, at the show’s doors or by calling 683-7326.