Rodgers & Hammerstein's OKLAHOMA!
July 6-8 & 12-15, 2018
All performances 8 pm
Music by Richard Rodgers
Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs
Original dances by Agnes de Mille
Produced by arrangement with R&H Theatricals.
Directed by Joel Schlader.
Music direction by Mark Dietrich.
Choreographed by Harriet Mason.
(Assisted by Sarah Pon)
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s
Oklahoma! opened on Broadway on March 31, 1943, 75 years ago. Rodgers & Hammerstein’s first collaboration, this show is a recognized landmark in the evolution of the American Musical Theater, and established new expectations for musicals that were followed for decades and are still familiar today. It was not only revolutionary in the way it fused story, songs, and dance, but it also introduced the choreography of Agnes DeMille’s Dream Ballet to reveal the hidden desires and fears of the principal characters. Oklahoma is an absolute must-see for musical theater lovers.
Set in a Western territory just after the turn of the 20th century, the high-spirited rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys provides the colorful background against which Curly, a handsome cowboy, and Laurey, a headstrong farm girl, play out their love story. The scary ranch hand, Jud, the amendable girlfriend Ado Annie and her two admirers, Will Parker and Ali Hakim, and a cast of other interesting characters come together for an exciting plot that ends with a wedding and a brand new state!
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first collaboration is also one of their most memorable scores, with songs like “Oh What A Beautiful Morning,” “Surrey With the Fringe On Top,” “People Will Say We’re In Love,” “Kansas City,” and the triumphant title song, “Oklahoma!”
Read about Oklahoma on R&H Theatricals.
Read about Oklahoma on Wikipedia.
MEET THE CAST
Gary Stanford Jr.
Jud Fry/Ike Skidmore
Ike Skidmore/Jud Fry
Martin Rojas Dietrich*
Rod Voltaire Edora*
Chad Benjamin Potter
Please click on photo for higher resolution. Photos by Kathy Kahn and Natalie Jane.
Please click here for the entire Oklahoma! photo album.
PRESS RELEASE PHOTOS
Nikita Burshteyn* as Curly (July 6-8), Jennifer Mitchell* as Laurey (full run) sing the lovely “People Will Say We’re In Love.”
Aunt Eller (Marie Schell*) spars with Curly (Nikita Burshteyn*)
Oscar Tsukayama as Will Parker, Gina Velez as Ado Annie perform the comic “All ‘Er Nothin’”
A cast of nearly 50 fills the stage at Woodminster for the 75th anniversary of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Dwight Mahabir* as Jud (July 12-15) sings “Lonely Room.”
Gary Stanford Jr. is Curly (July 12-15)
A dozen male tap dancers perform “Kansas City.” Center is Oscar Tsukayama as Will.
Most of the cast of nearly 50 is onstage for the stirring title song, “Oklahoma!”
Carnes (Jim Rupp, L) asks Ali Hakim (Rio Martinez, R) his intentions toward his daughter, Ado Annie (Gina Velez, C)
Jennifer Mitchell* as Laurey with Nikita Burshteyn* as Curly (July 6-8)
Oscar Tsukayama as Will Parker reasons with Gina Velez as Ado Annie. Photo by Natalie Jane.
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Please click on the photo for print resolution size.
“Lonely Room”, the soliloquy written for Jud to sing, is unlike anything written for musical before OKLAHOMA! It tells of brooding and angry despair. Mary Rodgers, daughter of Richard Rodgers, named it her favorite of all his songs.
On March 31, 1957, 15 years after the opening of OKLAHOMA! CINDERELLA the first R & H musical the pair wrote exclusively for TV drew an audience of at least 107 million viewers out of a total population of 170 million in the country at that time.
1943 – AWAY WE GO, the working title for what would become OKLAHOMA, which was changed two weeks before the 1943 Broadway opening.
11th Hour changes...
The song “Oklahoma!” was written as a solo for Curly, but it didn’t have the punch R&H were looking for. One of the chorus members suggested adding everyone, but that meant the orchestrations has to be rewritten. The orchestrator got on a train from New York to New Haven and rewrote the whole song in one night, in time for the Boston opening. It changed everything. Completely picking up the second act, the iconic “Oklahoma!” song that so many know and love is what this orchestrator spent all night writing.
The show must go on! Two weeks before the opening of OKLAHOMA! Agnes de Mille and many of the cast members came down with German Measles. At the same time, Oscar Hammerstein’s wife was hospitalized with an unidentified fever. Rehearsals continued as usual.
After their initial daily meetings, over a three month period where they discussed how they would adapt GREEN GROW THE LILACS, the two rarely worked together. Hammerstien labored over lyrics. It took him three weeks of disciplined daily concentration to write the lyrics for “Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin”. He sent them to Rodgers and Rodgers wrote the music in ten minutes. He said: You would have to be made of cement, to resist the poetic lyrics!” During his 20 year collaboration with Lorenz Hart, Rodgers always wrote the music first and Hart the lyrics second. They always wrote in the same room where they argued frequently and loudly but never with each other, only about the work.
Rodgers and Hammerstein produced their first hit show, OKLAHOMA! in 1943 and continued producing major hits, one every other year: CAROUSEL, SOUTH PACIFIC, THE KING AND I AND SOUND OF MUSIC. Fourteen years to the day OKLAHOMA! opened, March 31 1943, CINDERELLA a version for TV attracted more viewers than any other TV production to date, more than ¾ of the total population of this country tuned in.
Richard Rodgers was 41 yrs old and Oscar Hammerstein was 48 when their collaboration began in 1943. Richard Rodgers’ previous partner Lorenz Hart, was also 48 and all three attended Columbia where they participated in the Spring Varsity Shows. Rodgers and Hamerstein both attended law school while at Columbia. They both came from families who had strong ties to music and theater, they both were astute business men and became the wealthiest team of producers in the business. Both married women named Dorothy both women were interior decorators with different styles and tastes but successful in their own rights.
IS IT TIME TO REVISIT OKLAHOMA?