Rik Reppe's Glorious Noise, which bows tonight at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, deals in large part with New Orleans's struggle to recover in the wake of Hurricane Katrina a subject that seems like a downer. "I tell folks about it, and when I walk away, I always feel like I made it sound like the most depressing thing ever," Reppe concedes, laughing.
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Fortunately, there's a lot more to the production than sadness. Reppe worked behind the scenes at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for a couple of years prior to Katrina, and when he returned afterward, he was struck by the positivity of the surviving citizenry. "That's New Orleans," he says. "People experience tragedy and embrace it. They smile and sing and dance through it." Reppe and his accompanists attempt to capture this spirit, performing songs by Big Easy tunesmiths working in a wide variety of styles: swamp pop, Cajun, blues and even some rock and roll. The result, he insists, "is actually an uplifting, happy show. Really."
Glorious Noise sounds at 7:30 p.m. at the Newman Center, 2344 East Iliff Avenue. Tickets are $25 to $49, and a free, behind-the-curtain lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. Get more information at 303-871-6200 or www.du.edu/newmancenter.
Sat., May 10, 6:30 p.m., 2008