Mary Poppins, Eliza Doolittle, Shrek and Lumière are no strangers to the Schenectady Light Opera Company’s stage.
Now, thanks to a recently completed mural, they’ve taken up residence on SLOC’s campus. Created by two artists and members of the SLOC community, the mural is a detailed treasure trove of musical theater references. It features more than a dozen characters depicted in black and white, with a music staff running through the center.
It will be unveiled on Saturday during SLOCtober Community Day, which runs from noon to 2 p.m.
The idea for the mural was first proposed in the summer of 2021 as part of a fundraising telethon event held by the theater to raise funds associated with reopening its doors after COVID shut the theater down for a year and a half.
It was designed by Rory Alexa and Lui Levanti, who worked on the piece for more than a year. It honors and reflects back on SLOC’s long history.
“For a company that is currently in its 96th season, there was very a long list of previous shows that they’ve done,” said Rory Alexa, a Scotia-based graphic designer and visual artist. “The main idea was to paint icons from the musicals that they’ve done. In choosing them, we wanted to choose the ones that we knew people would recognize.”
That included Doolittle, who is in the center of the piece, which is featured on a small building in SLOC’s courtyard.
“She became the focal point in the center and we just built off of her,” Rory Alexa said.
Shrek, Lumière and members of the Adams family are all featured on Doolittles’ sloping hat. Not too far away, Maria from “The Sound of Music,” twirls atop the music staff and Mary Poppins floats just below it.
Rory Alexa initially created a few digital sketches of the mural in color but felt black and white better suited it.
“I didn’t want it to be noisy and I feel like adding color would have made it very, very noisy,” Rory Alexa said.
The two artists worked on the piece nearly every Sunday (excluding the winter months) starting in the summer of 2021 through early fall of this year. During that time, more murals have popped up around the Electric City, including one at Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady County and one on Franklin Street. Rory Alexa hopes the trend continues.
“I hope it inspires people to want to paint Schenectady more,” Rory Alexa said.
Beyond the mural unveiling, SLOCtober event will also include sneak-peek performances from “First Date,” SLOC’s upcoming production, along with trunk-or-treat and meet and greet with Princess Beauty from Hill City Ice Queen Princesses. Other activities include face painting and crafts.
SLOCtober will take place rain or shine in SLOC’s courtyard. For more information visit sloctheater.org/sloctober.