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This project was successfully funded on April 30, 2012


by Luke Leonard


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BUM PHILLIPS is a world premiere operatic work inspired by the life of retired National Football League coach, O.A. “Bum” Phillips, and produced by Monk Parrots, a New York-based nonprofit performing arts organization.

In 2011, I presented the idea for this opera to nationally renowned playwright Kirk Lynn.  My company, Monk Parrots, wishes to commission Kirk Lynn and acclaimed composer Peter Stopschinski to provide the libretto and score.  This dynamic trio was introduced in Austin, Texas by the success of two contemporary musical-plays, Stopschinski and Lynn’s I'VE NEVER BEEN SO HAPPY, and my direction of David Lang and Mac Wellman’s THE DIFFICULTY OF CROSSING A FIELD.  Our new, unconventional opera inspired by Coach Phillips seeks to challenge the form and advance the careers of burgeoning artists. 

 In 1975, O.A. “Bum” Phillips became head coach of the Houston Oilers, one of the worst teams in the NFL at that time.  Phillips quickly converted the Oilers into a winning franchise resulting in a “Shangri-La” era in the city of Houston and a citywide phenomenon of devoted fans dubbed “Luv Ya Blue”.  This humble hero's triumphs came with sacrifices, as his obsessions affected his relationship with his family.  A devastating termination from the Oilers in 1980 propelled him toward a spiritual quest that he later said he had avoided his entire life.  Sunday mornings, previously a time for football and the military (Phillips had enlisted after the events of Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7, 1941) became a time for church.  As such, Bum Phillips uses the question, “What to do on a Sunday?” as a unifying principle in which to examine themes relevant to contemporary audiences, such as ethics, family, faith, and happiness.

The first fundraising priority is to raise enough money to commission the score and libretto .  We must raise $10,000 by Sunday, April 29, 2012 in order to cover the commission fees.  Should we raise more than $10,000, any additional monies will be applied to the overall production budget, currently $85,000.  The first draft is due by January 2013, in preparation for a concert reading and workshop production, followed by a second workshop and the premiere in fall 2013.  Please join the making of this bold new work by contributing to our fundraising campaign today.  Your generosity will be proudly acknowledged in the production playbill.  Thank you for your support.

For more information about Bum Phillips and Bum Phillips Charities, please visit


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    • April 29, 2012 Luke Leonard Artist

      We can only hope! Thanks for the support, Jim! Fingers crossed. - luke

    • April 29, 2012 Jim Maxey Community Member

      So, I wonder if Wes Anderson has an "assistant" awaiting "midnight hour" to ensure $10K goal is attained. :)