The innovative Bard Summerscape production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic Oklahoma!, that received critical and audience raves during its run at St. Ann’s Warehouse this fall, will make the journey to Broadway for a limited engagement in the spring of 2019. From April 7 through September 1, the show will play at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre. Directed by Daniel Fish, the production has been hailed as the Best of the Year and a Critic’s Pick by The New York Times and the #1 Theatrical Event of the Year by TIME Magazine.
“What an incredible moment to be producing on Broadway, in the middle of this wonderfully eclectic season spurred by an audience that is hungry for bold, daring work,” said producer Eva Price. “Daniel Fish’s timeless and timely revival of this classic speaks so vividly to the place we as Americans are living in today.”
The atmospheric production has been deemed “Oklahoma! as you’ve never seen or heard it before, re-orchestrated and reimagined for the 21st century.” The 1943 musical is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. It is remembered as a benchmark in the evolution of the American Musical Theatre, authors Rodgers & Hammerstein reinventing how a score, character development, and plot can grow out of one another (also known as “the integrated musical”).
Based on Lynn Rigg’s 1931 play Green Grown the Lilacs, Oklahoma! tells the story of a young farm woman named Laurey who is being pursued by two very different suitors: the cocky cowboy Curly and the obsessive farmhand Jud Fry. This love triangle builds toward a harrowing conclusion as Laurey must make a choice about what is best for her. Set against the backdrop of the pioneer spirit and the eventual call to make the Oklahoma territory into a state, the musical is as American as apple pie. The Rodgers and Hammerstein score is brimming with showtune standards, including the title song, “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin”, “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top”, “Kansas City”, “I Cain’t Say No”, and “People Will Say We’re in Love”.
The cast for the run at St. Ann’s starred: Rebecca Naomi Jones as Laurey, Damon Daunno as Curly, two-time Tony Award-nominee Mary Testa as Aunt Eller, Patrick Vaill as Jud Fry, Ali Stroker as Ado Annie, James Davis as Will Parker, Michael Nathanson as Ali Hakim and Mitch Tebo as Andrew Carnes and featured Mallory Portnoy as Gerti Cummings and others, Anthony Cason as Cord and Will Mann as Mike. Casting for the Broadway production will be announced soon.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.