One of Houston’s most revered sports figures will soon be making an appearance in an unfamiliar field.
Legendary Oilers coach Bum Phillips is well known in sports circles, but will soon enter the arts scene as an Opera about his career and personal life is expected for release in fall 2013.
The idea originated from playwright Luke Leonard in 2011 when he presented the idea to nationally renowned Austin playwright Kirk Lynn and acclaimed composer Peter Stopschinski. Lynn and Stopschinski have worked together on two contemporary musicals – I’ve Never Been So Happy, and under Leonard’s direction of David Lang and Mac Wellman’s The Difficulty of Crossing a Field.
After receiving over $10,000 in donations last April, Leonard’s New York-based nonprofit performing arts organization Monk Parrots has made their idea a reality.
Monk Parrots has commissioned Lynn and Stopschinski to provide the libretto and score, and seeks to challenge existing theatrical forms with this unconventional opera.
Bum Phillips became the head coach of the Houston Oilers in 1975 and quicikly converted one of the NFL’s worst teams into a winning franchise. Phillips’ career as the Oliers’ head coach made him famous, but the opera focuses on his personal life and the effect that his obsession with work had on his family. After Phillips was fired in 1980, he began a spiritual quest that he later said he had avoided his entire life. The opera uses the question “What to do on a Sunday?” as a way to examine themes of ethics, family, faith, and happiness.
The first draft is due by January 2013 in preparation for a concert reading and workshop production, followed by a second workshop and the premiere in fall 2013.
The project has the full support of Bum Phillips and his family.