Nov. 15, 2016

The Benjamin T. Rome School of Music takes audiences back to the tumultuous days of the California Gold Rush with The Outcasts of Poker Flat, an original American opera written by music school professor Andrew Earle Simpson. The show will be performed in Ward Recital Hall from Nov. 17 through 20.

This unique English-language opera uses video sequences and the vocal talents of Catholic University students to bring a classically American story to life. With a contemporary classical score drawing on folk and country music, as well as church and parlor songs, the opera follows a gang of bitter exiles from a California mining town, forced to fight for their own survival amid harsh conditions.

Based upon Bret Harte's short story of the same name, this production explores the importance of looking beyond societal labels to discover the true humanity of others. When preconceived notions pass away, characters have a chance to prove themselves as the quiet heroes or villains they really are.

Simpson, who directs the Master of Music in Composition program for stage music, is best known as a composer for silent film. He is the resident film accompanist for the National Gallery of Art and is regularly featured as an accompanist for the Library of Congress's Packard Campus Theatre in Culpeper, Va.

Performances of The Outcasts of Poker Flat will take place in Ward Recital Hall Nov. 17, 18, and 19, at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 20, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for general admission; $10 for seniors and University alumni/faculty/staff; and $5 for students and those under 18. Visit for tickets and more information.

Getting to Campus: The Catholic University of America is located near the Brookland-CUA red line metro stop. Please note the metro stop will be closed due to Metro's Safetrack. For directions to campus and a campus map, please click here.