Ghoulish entertainment for the whole family.
Stephanie Colburn has put the “hallowed” back in Halloween.
Remember Octobers past when apples were for bobbing, not hiding razors? Colburn has captured that innocence in musicals she has produced every Halloween for the last seven years to the delight of neighbors and friends.
With the technical assistance of her talented husband, Bill Janssens, Colburn magically turns her home into a ghoulish stage where experienced actors thrill an audience for five nights before trick-or-treaters canvass the neighborhood. Growing popularity demands a larger venue. This Halloween, Colburn’s musical, “Costumes,” will be performed at the Linnaeus Garden Barn, Oct. 22-24. Ticket sales will benefit Tulsa Garden Center.
Why does Colburn give this gift? It’s hard to figure. It’s her favorite holiday. In fact, she and Janssens married on Halloween in a spooky old chapel.
“I like the mystique of Halloween, the childlike feelings of being scared but safe,” she says.
Colburn writes the book and lyrics and composes the music for the musicals. She says that as soon as she started piano lessons at age 6, she was composing. Her theatrical parents, who met on stage, encouraged her propensities.
If the printed word could transmit sound, then you would know that a Colburn song sticks in your head. The air is one you keep humming.
“I like form and rhyme,” she says. “I’m into melody.”
Songs from this year’s production of “Costumes” include “Scapula Fibula,” sung by the skeleton; “I’ve Known How To Haunt,” sung by the ghost; and others that have more universal messages, such as “There Was A Man” and “The Last Forty Years.” “Costumes” is about 40-year-old Halloween garbs that come alive when found in an attic trunk.
Colburn graduated from DePauw University with a library science degree and stayed in the Chicago area until 2003, when her son Christopher Rapp urged her to come to Tulsa. He acts in “Costumes” along with Natalie Bennett, Chris Eldridge, Alice Froeschie, Kim Jones, Rosa Ryan, Claudia Sanders and David Sanders. Many of the cast members are veterans.
Colburn has been producing a Halloween play in Tulsa since 2003. She has also acted in and stage-managed plays at Heller and Nightingale Theaters. Her Chicago credits read like a Broadway review, including serving as past president of the North Minster Players.
She continues to fine-tune and expand “Costumes” and “Just One Little Bite,” produced alternately. Each year the audience members are “treated” to something old and something new.
“My idea of Halloween is gentleness,” Colburn says. “When I read in 1983 about razors found in apples, I wrote my first Halloween musical.”
8 p.m., Oct. 22-23; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Oct. 24
Ticket cost: $10, donated to Tulsa Garden Center
Location: Linnaeus Garden, 2435 S. Peoria Ave.
Walkway-lit garden will be open during intermission. Audience attendees are encouraged to wear costumes.