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Lady Bird (2016)

Project Overview

Lady Bird Promotional

Project Director: Dr. Samuel Mungo, Assistant Professor, School of Music, Texas State University
Community Partners:  Texas State Opera Theatre, Texas Hill Country Opera and Arts Festival, Rock-Jensen Foundation, and private donations to the Texas State Opera Theatre 
Funding Organization: National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded [Samuel] Mungo to co-commission the World Premiere opera, Lady Bird, on the life and accomplishments of Lady Bird Johnson.  The opera is co-commissioned with the Texas State Opera Theatre, via Texas State University and Texas Hill Country Opera & Arts Festival. 

Texas State Opera Theatre has contracted the illustrious American composer Henry Mollicone and the Pulitzer Prize winning lyricist Sheldon Harnick about an opera featuring this iconic Texan, and they are committed to honoring Lady Bird Johnson’s contribution to America, as the woman who stood witness to the historical magnitude of her husband’s term as President of the United States and rode down bigotry as a daughter of the South.

It is this last experience on which the opera will be focused. In 1964, as LBJ struggled to get the Civil Rights Act passed, many Southern congressmen were balking due to opposition back home. Lady Bird, as a daughter of the South, took it upon herself to board a train and canvass the southern United States, in an attempt to persuade the people to support the historic bill. In the face of people calling her a traitor, catcalling, and death threats, she won the people over as she crisscrossed the country. It is due to her dedication that eight crucial southern congressmen voted for the Bill.

This project [culminated] in the World Premiere performance in the spring of 2016 in the new Patti Strickel Harrison Theater in the Performing Arts Center at Texas State University.


Lady Bird, First Lady of the Land has been recognized or awarded the following:

Classical Voice America writes: Mollicone-Harnick One-Act Opera Salutes Lady Bird 

UPDATE 01/07/2017: The Lady Bird accolades keep coming in! Great News! Texas State Opera Theatre has just been selected as a finalist in the Opera Performance division of The American Prize national non-profit competitions in the performing arts. Here's the link: The American Prize will be announcing winners in the division soon. You can learn more about this prestigious national competition here: or follow the news on Facebook: or Twitter:"

Production Information

Producer and Director: Dr. Samuel Mungo
Conductor: Dr. Carolyn Watson
Principal Coach and Chorusmaster: Kristin Roach
Production Stage Manager: Gabriela De la Rosa
Assistant Stage Manager: Tyler Larson
Projection Designer: Jeff Kurihara
Fight Director: Andrew Heinrich
Set Designer/Scenographer: Ia Enstera
Master Carpenter: Beau Harris
Lighting Design: Scott Vandenberg
Costume Design: Glenn Breed

Photography Credit: Reece Shield

Lady Bird : Performance Program (PDF, 22 MB)

Classical Voice America


Lady Bird Johnson: Ivy Cantu‡, Kimberly Sandoval†
Lyndon B Johnson: Micah Parker†, Jordan Van de Vere‡
Young Lady Bird: Mackenzie Bitz†, Christina Ortiz‡
Young Lyndon B Johnson: Benjamin Ruiz‡, Bailey Turner†
Luci Baines Johnson: Martha Hayes‡, Veronica Kokas†
Lynda Bird Johnson: Abigail Diltz†, Haley Steinberger‡
Three Politicians/ Announcer: Conner Scallan
Advisors: Esai Medina, Francis Nieves, Roger Stevens
Rednecks: Reese Landis, Paul Nix, Stephen Richardson
Gospel Solo: Marvin Henderson‡, De’Evin Johnson†
Black Man: Marvin Henderson†, De’Evin Johnson‡
Lady in Crowd: Mackenzie Miller
Judge Sarah Hughes: Christina Arellano
FBI Agent Lawrence: Esai Medina
Justice Earl Warren: Stephen Richardson
Young boy: Ky Lee
Ensemble: Elizabeth Adams, Christina Arellano, Anna Balan, Mackenzie Bitz, Abigail Diltz, Emily Evans, Bailey Galindo, Justin Gonzales, Jay Gonzalez, Audrey Harris, Martha Hayes, Kaitlin Heeren, Marvin Henderson, Sarah Jacob, De’Evin Johnson, Veronica Kokas, Reese Landis, Karen Lara, Esai Medina, Mackenzie Miller, Francis Nieves, Paul Nix, Abraham Ortega, Christina Ortiz, Josh Peña, Caleb Rech, Rachel Reed, Stephen Richardson, Benjamin Ruiz, Conner Scallan, Elizabeth Shults, Haley Steinberger, Roger Stevens, Bailey Turner, Gabby Wall, Cassidy Wallace, Cambrey Willhelm

†Thursday and Saturday, ‡Friday and Sunday