If you missed the chance to see the legendary rock band Queen in concert or never heard frontman Freddie Mercury do his thing on stage, here’s your chance.
Heartland Opera Theatre, known for bringing talented opera and theatrical singers to the Joplin metro area, will host a singalong at Bookhouse Cinema, 715 E. Broadway St., alongside twin screenings of the 2018 drama “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
“I’ve heard about 'The Sound of Music' singalongs and everyone is aware of the 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' phenomenon, but we’re looking to do something a bit different and unexpected” next Saturday, he said.
Twenty-two Queen songs made it into the final cut of the film, ranging from “Seven Seas of Rhye” and “Killer Queen” to “Fat Bottomed Girls” and — the biggest hit of them all — the operatic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” considered by some to be the greatest rock song of all time.
“I have loved music in all forms, and especially opera, since a young age,” said Gregory, a longtime Queen fan. “I’m especially fascinated with work which blends more than one type of music into a ‘new’ genre. Singers like Freddy Mercury were unafraid to show their talents in unexpected ways. His collaboration with Spanish soprano Monserrat Caballe was groundbreaking. Their song 'Barcelona' was composed for the 1992 Olympic Games, but he died before they could perform it together at the Games. However, the song was a chart-topper, and Mercury joked that Caballe had 'become a rocker' thanks to him.”
Appropriately enough, it was the band’s fourth album, “A Night at the Opera,” that brought the band worldwide fame.
There will be two showings of “Bohemian Rhapsody” at Bookhouse — 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The drama starts during Queen's formative years and ends with Mercury's historic 1985 Live Aid performance in England.
"Collaborating with local organizations for creative fundraisers like this has become another part of our missions," said Bookhouse owner Holly Crane. "The arts community has been supportive of us from the moment we opened."
Ultimately, she continued, "we want to work to connect more people with the arts and cultural programs they may not even be aware exists" in Joplin.
Advanced tickets are $30; $35 the day of. Tickets cover movie admission into the 47-seat theater as well as a 6:15 p.m. reception taking place between the two showings and will include door prizes, hors d'oeuvres, a drink ticket, popcorn and soda. All attendees can attend the reception. In addition, Dr. David Sharlow, director of choral activities at MSSU and Heartland Opera Theatre board member, will give a short talk before each showing of the movie.
The unique singalong, with lyrics provided, will serve as a key fundraiser for the organization, Gregory said. They hope to raise a “significant amount of money” to be used to fund the upcoming production of "Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicci" in early March at Joplin’s Memorial Hall.
“We moved into a bit of a different bracket last year with our amazing production of ‘La Boheme,’" Gregory said. "Our patrons are expecting something mind-blowing again, and it takes lots of money to do that.”
It’s imperative, he continued, “that we attract younger patrons and people who have never thought opera was for them. Events like this can change people's views of the art form.”
Joplin “is a happy anomaly when it comes to the arts in any fashion you like. I doubt there is another city the size of Joplin that has the offerings available here,” Gregory said.